James Howard Kunstler – Fall of the Great Pumpkin
Welcome to the witching month when America’s entropy-fueled death-wish expresses itself with as much Halloween jollity and merriment as the old Christmas spirit of yore. The outdoor displays alone approach a Babylonian scale, thanks to the plastics factories of China. I saw a half-life-size T-Rex skeleton for sale at a garden shop last week surrounded by an entire crew of moldering corpse Pirates of the Caribbean in full costume ho-ho-ho-ing among the jack-o-lanterns. What homeowner in this sore-beset floundering economy of three-job gig-workers can shell out four thousand bucks to decorate his lawn like the set of a zombie movie?
The overnight news sure took on that Halloween tang as the nation woke up to what is
probably now confirmed to be a national record for a civilian mad-shooter incident. So far, fifty-eight dead and over 500 hundred injured in Las Vegas at the Route 91 Harvest Festival (Nine up in fatalities from last year’s Florida Pulse nightclub massacre, and way more injured this time).
The incident will live in infamy for maybe a day and a half in the US media. Stand by today as there will be calls far and wide, by persons masquerading as political leaders, for measures to make sure something like this never happens again. That’s rich, isn’t it? Meanwhile, the same six a.m. headlines declared that S &P futures were up in the overnight markets. Nothing can faze this mad bull, apparently. Except maybe the $90 trillion combined derivatives books of CitiBank, JP Morgan, and Goldman Sachs, who have gone back whole hog into manufacturing the same kind of hallucinatory collateralized debt obligations (giant sacks of non-performing loans) that gave Wall Street a heart attack in the fall of 2008.
Europe’s quaint doings must seem dull compared to the suicidal potlatch of life in the USA, but, believe me, it’s a big deal when the Spanish authorities start cracking the heads of Catalonian grandmothers for nothing more than casting a ballot. The video scenes of mayhem at the Barcelona polls looked like something out of the 1968 Prague uprising. And now that the Catalonia secession referendum passed with a 90 percent “yes” vote, it’s hard to imagine that a good deal more violent mischief will not follow. So far, the European Union stands dumbly on the sidelines. (For details, read the excellent Roel Ilargi Meijer column on today’s TheAutomaticEarth.)
Next in the cavalcade of October traumas: the USA versus the nuclear weapons ambitions of North Korea. This has been ramping up all year, of course, but it looks to be headed for a climax now that the Golden Golem of Greatness is at the helm. Truly astounding, though, is America’s new method for conducting the most sensitive matters of foreign policy. The day after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson declared that his office was in contact with North Korean officials, the Secretary’s boss, You-Know-Who, tweeted out: “I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful Secretary of State, that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man.”
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Could this possibly be a cleverly orchestrated good cop / bad cop effort to bamboozle Kim Jung-un? Or is the US government just completely dysfunctional? Or maybe something else is afoot. Under normal circumstances, Mr. Tillerson would just resign after such a gross insult, but we must suppose that a patriotic sense of duty compels him to remain in office in case the need suddenly arises in this witching month to run over Mr. Trump with the 25th amendment — the clause in the constitution that allows a consensus of a pretty small number of national political leaders to toss out a sitting president on the grounds of derangement and incompetence. Stay tuned on that one.
Finally — well, who knows what else may pop up now — there is the matter of Puerto Rico. Halloween there is not like New England, with our nippy fall mornings, steaming mugs of hot cider, and quickening fall color. It will remain 90-degrees-plus in the fetid, stinking ruins, with lots of still-standing water, broken communications, shattered supply lines, and very little electricity. FEMA and the US Military may be doing all they can now, but they must be on watch for the ominous blossoming of tropical disease epidemics. The story there is far from over. Trump travels there this week. That may be exactly the moment that the Deep State moves to take him down.
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“Simply the best novel about the 1960s.”
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