Radical media, politics and culture.

James Howard Kunstler,"Suspended Civilization"

Suspended Civilization
James Howard Kunstler

Question du jour: why is Jon Corzine still at large? In what fabulous
Manhattan restaurants has he been enjoying plates of cockscombs and
lobster with sauce hydromel and cinghiale ai frutti di bosco, while less
well-connected citizens of this degenerate republic have to order their
suppers from the dumpster in the WalMart parking lot where they have
been living lately.

Is there still an Attorney General in this country? Will somebody please
follow Eric Holder down a hallway and see if he leaves a trail of
sawdust on the floor. Or did congress just retract all the fraud
statutes by stealth in the same way that the Federal Reserve handed out
$7.7 trillion in bailouts back in 2008 (much more than the generally
accepted figure of the $800 billion TARP) without anyone finding out
until three years later when some Bloomberg reporters rooted the numbers
out of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) filing. And by the way, what
is the US Federal Reserve doing handing out billions of dollars to the
Royal Bank of Scotland? Was Scotland admitted to the Union by stealth,
too? Or did Jamie Dimon just buy it as a birthday present for Barack
Obama, who likes golf.

This is what life in the USA is like nowadays: shit happens and shit
un-happens, and you find out about it years later. Only a desperate and
hopelessly degenerate nation would choose to live this way, in a
law-optional society, in which money means everything, and yet nobody
even knows what money is (or where it goes, and what it does when it
goes there.)

Jon Corzine has not revealed the destination of the loot (somewhere
between $600 million and $2.5 billion, estimated) that vanished from the
"segregated" accounts of his many clients at MF Global. The rumor is
that it went to cover a rude margin call from Jamie Dimon's bank, JP
Morgan, after JC took some unfortunate positions in European sovereign
bonds in a bad month. Beyond the question of why Mr Corzine is not in
jail (as a flight risk, just like DSK) is how come the Department of
Justice has not so much as issued a statement saying that they were
looking into the matter, so as to reassure both the victims and the
financial markets that this is not a culture that just makes shit up as
it goes along - that is, that we have predictable rules and formal
procedures for doing stuff.

The clowns and villains who run America have accomplished something
really epic: they have vanquished meaning. Nobody knows what anything
means anymore. Anything goes now. All bets are off. It's not reassuring.
It leads to bad things happening like blood in the streets. When nothing
means anything anymore, some people will actually strive, make an
effort, to reestablish meaning in practical economic and political life,
because civilized life is impossible without it. So, in those historic
moments when civilization is suspended, people will work like hell to
restore meaning. Sometimes though, like Germany in the 1930s, you
discover that the suspension of civilization is itself intoxicating, and
you ride with that for a while.

Things are really flying apart now, and just in time for Santa Claus.
The European bond rollovers are about to come in fast and furious during
the season of Advent and nobody can make their interest payments. They
will be skipped or postponed and promised for "next Tuesday", and yet
the bizarro universe of credit default swaps will not be triggered - is
there a counter-party on God's green earth who could afford a pay-out?
Of course not. It was all a charade. So we'll just learn that there
actually is no "insurance" on all this paper. Yesterday's "hair-cut"
will be tomorrow's "throat cut" as the middle innings of suspended
civilization play out.

There are heroes as-yet-sung-and-unsung in America, people who prefer
reality over reality TV, people with a taste for meaning in life, which
often requires the recognition that some things are true and some not so
true, and you're better off with what's true. What appears to be true is
that the old order is finished and a new disposition of things is coming
along. The Long Emergency will beat a path straight to the Great Re-set.
Sign up for it. Roll up your sleeves. There is so much to do in this
country. If you are young, especially, it's all waiting for you.