The world gave the appearance
of doing nothing and going nowhere over the past month - apart from the sensational liaison of Kim Kardashian
and Kanye West, which, some
believe, augurs a dazzling speed-up of the much prayed-for economic recovery, return to full employment,
$2.50 gasoline by summer,
and the selection of Jesus
Christ as VP running mate by Mitt Romney - but, in fact, so much
trouble is roiling under the surface all over the world that
it makes you feel seasick
on dry land.
It is true that the European financial fiasco is a story of such fantastic mystifying complexity that the public can't possibly be expected to follow each twist of the plotline. But the fact is that nothing
was fixed for Greece or after Greece and the hazard of evermore profound wreckage is assured.
The only question is how many months before
the appearance of normality
in financial matters yields to fighting in the streets of supposedly civilized countries.
Spain, it was revealed this week, has turned to a form of finance that could only
have been designed by M.C. Escher.
The plan for stabilizing
Spain's hemorrhaging insolvency position works as follows: Spain's big banks borrow
billions from the European
Central Bank (ECB); the Spanish banks
then turn around and lend the Spanish government the money to
fund a bailout operation for the Spanish banks; the Spanish banks then use the bailout money to buy Spanish sovereign bonds, that is, lend
money to the government. The world received news of this dangerous idiocy with a yawn. You'd at least expect a few Germans to choke
on a bratwurst here and there.
The idea that shenanigans like this can
continue must amuse the historians looking on. But three weeks into April so far nothing has penetrated the stupendous wall of illusion that separates money matters from reality like the one-way mirror in the interrogation
chamber of a police precinct
where every last officer of the law is on the take.
The lesson in the
first quarter of 2012 is that
when anything goes, nothing matters. Jon Corzine, chief of the fraudster operation MF Global is still at large how many months after
his firm pulled an abracadabra disappearing
act on $1.2 billion of segregated
customer accounts, many belonging to farmers and ranchers engaged in
the normal options trade in commodities
prices necessary to their business? Nobody has been
fired at the Chicago
Mercantile exchange or the Commodities
Futures Trading Commission for this,
either. No newsman has asked President Obama about any of these things, or how come Jon Corzine
is still listed by the re-election campaign as a continuing major contributor. The New York Times, for one, is much more focused on major bullshit propaganda operations, such as its recent
giant spread on how America will soon be an energy
independent oil exporting nation.
No one in the American media is paying attention to the unfolding tragedy of Japan - and by this I refer not only to the unfinished Fukushima saga, but the parallel
story of Japan closing
down virtually its entire nuclear power industry necessitating gigantic additional imports of oil and gas to generate electric power - all
of which points to the likelihood
that Japan will become the first advanced industrial nation to bid sayonara to modernity and return to a neo-medieval
socio-economic model of daily
The Middle West and North
Africa still smolder away like giant root
fires. Nothing has been settled politically and the
prospects are excellent that Islamic
maniacs will shortly be in charge of Egypt and Libya, not to mention
Syria, or even America's trillion-dollar battleground
of Afghanistan where, after
ten years of persistent
struggle, we can't
control either the terrain or the behavior of the people who dwell on it. Meanwhile, half of Sudan's oil production was blown up over the weekend.
And King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia
is not getting any younger at
88. Saudi spare oil capacity won't matter so much when
the kingdom is up in flames.
What I wonder is
how long the American public will remain in its Kardashian trance. At this torpid
moment no one believes that
any theoretical political cohort in this land - tea-partiers, swindled youth, professional lefties (or what's left of them), or the fugitive thinking
centrists (wherever they are) - might bestir themselves to bust up a nominating convention
or march on one of many debauched institutions in the nation's
capital, from the SEC to the wax museum formally known as the Department of
Justice. I think differently,
though. I think this grim interval
of crisis consolidation is
drawing to a close and, like
the buds swelling on every tree in New England, events will soon burst
into astounding efflorescence.