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Empty Pageantry

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Published : October 08th, 2012
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The press wet its small-clothes over Mitt Romney's ebullience in last Thursday's so-called debate, as these joint interview contests are styled these days. What a jaunty fellow Mitt came off as, compared to poor Mr. Obama, cloaked in presidential gloom, the wearisome woes of high office and all that - or perhaps just some indigestible tidbit served out of Air Force One's galley, an infected cocktail weenie, a shrimp with attitude, or an empanada with the E coli blues, who knows....


To be sure, Mr. Romney's ebullience had a crafted tang to it, like one of those pumpkin-flavored beers made for the season, especially since all that verve was employed in the service of ebullient lying, statistical confabulation, and self-contradiction. At times his sheer manic zest veered in the direction of what used to be called hebephrenia in the old clinical sense of someone euphorically out-of-touch with reality.


Alienation from reality being at the very core of the current zeitgeist, the American public can only admire somebody who displays such a buoyant disregard for what is actually happening in the universe. To me, Mr. Romney just gave off the odor of someone who will do anything to get elected while Mr. Obama evinced the dejection of someone doubting it was worth it.


Of course, the issues this time around are framed with the presumption that all the current rackets of political economy can be kept running - everything from Fannie Mae to Medicare to suburbia to the systematic looting of the future by the Federal Reserve's shell-game operations with every loser bond instrument lately fobbed off on hopelessly rigged markets - which is exactly the opposite of what reality has in store for us. In fact, the salient feature of these times is the remorseless running down of all these rackets to their entropic end points.


The sad part is that everyone from the leadership down to the lowly clientele of food stamps and gamed disability payments is locked into the vast array of rackets that constitute our national life, and the truth of their failure thresholds is too terrifying to entertain. What to many appears to be a "conspiracy of elites" is just our way of life. Evidence of this is the increasingly eerie way that the financial crimes of recent years somehow vanish into the ethers of history without any official notice from either the media or the police powers of society. In a very serious time, we are just not a serious people. Anything goes and nothing matters.


The central reality broadly ignored is the unavoidable contraction of industrial economies all over the world. The action is especially brutal in the USA, which actually gave up on the nuts-and-bolts of industrial production beginning in the 1970s, but managed to cream off other nation's exertions by reserve currency hocus-pocus, pervasive executive control fraud, and a reckless spewage of glitzy "consumer" service infrastructure over the landscape, which gave the appearance of vitality in the absence of value creation - the exact specialty, by the way, of predatory private equity squads like Mitt Romney's Bain Capital. All of this was enabled by the last gasps of cheap oil, and without it our whole way of life craps out, including the creaming off of leftovers. And this illness of advanced economies is now spreading all over the world.


You would think that the question of what we will do about all this might be at issue in the current election - how we might deliberately face the tasks of reorganizing farming, commerce, transportation, banking, schooling, and all the other practical matters of existence. There is an awful lot to talk about, and much to be done, but nobody is interested. Instead, we've mounted a foolish campaign to keep all the old rackets running, and there is no fundamental difference between Mr. Romney and Mr. Obama on that. The empty pageantry of these debates dresses this dangerous madness in the raiment of clowning.


All of this has consequences, of course, but in a society that has ditched all sense of consequence nobody can pay attention to that either. The poet W.H. Auden called his time "a low, dishonest decade." Bad as the 1930s were, the stakes are even higher now, and our clownish inattention conceals darker falsities that could make that terrible era seem quaint.


 

 

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James Howard Kunstler has worked as a reporter and feature writer for a number of newspapers, and finally as a staff writer for Rolling Stone Magazine. In 1975, he dropped out to write books on a full-time basis. His nonfiction book, "The Long Emergency," describes the changes that American society faces in the 21st century. Discerning an imminent future of protracted socioeconomic crisis, Kunstler foresees the progressive dilapidation of subdivisions and strip malls, the depopulation of the American Southwest, and, amid a world at war over oil, military invasions of the West Coast; when the convulsion subsides, Americans will live in smaller places and eat locally grown food.
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To further emphasise the point about Congress: An article entitled " 73 Members of Congress Supported Legislation that Benefited Themselves".
http://thenewamerican.com/usnews/politics/item/13157-73-in-congress-supported-legislation-benefitted-financially
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While Main Stream Media continues to portray the Presidential contest in a manner similar to a boxing match or whatever sporting event, it isn't a bad time to make a few points.

1) The power to spend rests with the Congress. Period.
2) The Congress (goverment) has no money - except that which it extorts/demands from it's productive citizens or that which it borrows from future generations (without their approval).
3) The President has limited spending powers except that which the Congress in it's weakness or self interest (campaign contribution obligations) refuses to challenge (undeclared military involvement).
4) The monetary mayhem to which all the citizens find themselves in relates to the failures of Congress. Period
5) The Congress remains beholden to it's campaign contributors - mostly Wall Street Financial entities and producers of military devises.

In the light of these points it seems the preoccupation on every breath or word or gesture of the two chosen (mostly by media) contenders seems to be a distraction from the real problem - a bought and paid for, selfish Congress lacking the will to exert it's power to uphold the Constitution in any meaningful way but especially as to how it handles the finances of this Nation.
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Thanks for the English lesson. Ebullience is now in my vocabulary. As you can tell I am not very educated. However I am learning something new every day and if I can make it to a hundred and twenty I might catch up to you. Notwithstanding I, like most, have an opinion. An opinion is like a brain, almost everyone has one. I have frequent discussions with my international attorney friend who has only a MSM view of USA politics and is strongly convinced in at lease two myths. First that Romney is better than Obama and second that Romney is winning the election. For a fellow who speaks six languages, a graduate from the Sorbonne, an excellent attorney, an astute businessman and has an IQ much higher than normal, none of this helps him in seeing through the fog spewed out by two very good pettifoggers. One of which is a pettifogger shyster. My friend has been sucked in unawares along with many others. Sometimes a lowly common man can see through deception much faster and clearer than highly educated and highly intelligent men. I am reminded of the farmer who convinced Representative David Crockett that taking money from one to give to another by Congress was a crime: http://hushmoney.org/Davy_Crockett_Farmer_Bunce.htm
Thanks again for an insightful article and education. I look forward to the next installment.
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James, you had me stuck in the on-line dictionary ~ starting with ebullience ~ for a while there. I'm learning a lot from you. I remember the news on the debate: the Dejected-Looking Obama, looking like he doesn't see winning as worth the trouble. He's probably smart enough to figure out that, no matter who wins ~ The Next Prez is the Fall Guy for the whole damn mess. I'm not voting in this Evil vs. Evil election: but I sure hope Mitt wins.
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MR is going to win what ? Just a bunch of losers ! Too BIG to lose.
The dies have been cast long time ago already !
Yeah , make your other war ! You can't get enough. You can get them from us for free.
You're welcome. Don't forget the chewing gum.
How can I invest in them that I make some money ?
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MR can win... what ?
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One would think Kunstler would be overjoyed at the prospect that his world made by hand prediction could be soon fulfilled, but he is more bitter than ever.

He also fails to divine the extent of ingenious innovation and entrepreneurial "animal spirits" which could get us out of this mess eventually, if only we could get free of the greedy grip of politicians and bankers. It may take drastic action to do so.

There are plenty of natural resources, only needing to be used intelligently, James.
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Yes indeed , we... or them eventually could get "could" into "can" , down the road.
Must be ach ie vable one way or another, eventually.
Watch your wallet !
Rec ei vable.
Achever and recevoir. By and from whom ?
???
Apres moi les mouches !
ALT1 squared ☺

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In my opinion there's nothing of sigificance from Kunstler in this article: just an occasion to use unusual words such as 'hebephrenia', and 'zeitgeist', and 'entropic' to make up for the fact.

Then he throws this poetic quote, from W. H. Auden, to describe our times: "...a low, dishonest decade."

Well here's a quote from Shakespeare's MacBeth, Act 5, scene 5 to describes Kunstler's article: "...full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."
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I don't want to live your Sundays. Monday JHK is coming out with his article.
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I can't believe you are acting the apologist Jim. Obongo is an incompetent who could never on his best day win a debate on the issues. All of his issues are mere unexamined slogans. He's just lucky he only had to debate McCain previously whose whole mission in life seems to always be the "bigger man" even if it means losing.
What you saw last week was the difference between a driven winner who always is prepared and a lazy affirmative action joker.
How would you like to be the Black guy who earned his A's and then gets tarred with the brush of losers like Obama his whole life? Obongo is the essence of everything that is wrong with the system.
What chance do you think this lazy ass poseur who likely has never even run a lawnmower has of surviving in your "world made by hand?"
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True, Obongo is ruining it for accomplished black men, such as Alan Keyes, Herman Cain and others. These are not "affirmative action" boys, they are REAL, black, successful American patriots.
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To further emphasise the point about Congress: An article entitled " 73 Members of Congress Supported Legislation that Benefited Themselves". http://thenewamerican.com/usnews/politics/item/13157-73-in-congress-supported-legislation-benefitted-financially Read more
algreeny - 10/9/2012 at 11:49 PM GMT
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