Hammer Time

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Published : October 12th, 2018
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Looks like somebody threw a dead cat onto Wall Street’s luge run overnight to temporarily halt the rather ugly 2000 point slide in the Dow Jones Industrial Average — and plenty of freefall in other indices, including markets in other countries. A Friday pause in the financial carnage will give the hedge funders a chance to plant “for sale” signs on their Hamptons driveways, but who might the buyers be? Hedge funders from another planet perhaps? You can hope. And while you’re at it, how to you spell liquidity problem?

Welcome to the convergence zone of the long emergency, where Murphy’s law meets the law of unintended consequences and the law of diminishing returns, the Three Amigos of collapse. Here’s where being “woke” finally starts to mean something. Namely, that there are more important things in the world than sexual hysteria. Like, for instance, your falling standard of living (and that of everyone else around you).

The meet-up between Kanye West and President D.J. Trump was an even richer metaphor for the situation: two self-styled “geniuses” preening for the cameras in the Oval Office, like kids in a sandbox, without a single intelligible idea emerging from the play-date, and embarrassed grownups all standing ‘round pretending it was a Great Moment in History. You had to wonder how much of Kanye’s bazillion dollar fortune was stashed in the burning house of FAANG stocks. Maybe that flipped his bipolar toggle. Or was he even paying attention to the market action through all the mugging and hugging? (He did have his phone in hand.) Meanwhile, Mr. Trump seemed to be squirming through the episode behind his mighty Resolute desk as if he had “woke” to the realization that ownership of a bursting epic global financial bubble was not exactly “winning.”

If I were President, I’d declare Oct 12 Greater Fool Day. (Nobody likes Christopher Columbus anymore, that genocidal monster of dead white male privilege.) The futures are zooming as I write, a last roundup for suckers at the OD corral, begging the question: who will show up on Monday. Nobody, I predict. And then what?

The great false front of the financial markets resumes falling over into the November election. The rubble from all that buries whatever is left of the automobile business and the housing market. The smoldering aftermath will be described as the start of a long-overdue recession — but it will actually be something a lot worse, with no end in sight.

The Democratic Party might not be nimble enough to capitalize on the sudden disappearance of capital. Their only hope to date has been to capture the vote of every female in America, to otherwise augment their constituency of inflamed and aggrieved victims of unsubstantiated injustices. It’s been fun playing those cards, and the Party might not even know how to play a different game at this point. Democratic politicians may also be among the one-percenters who watch their net worth go up in a vapor in a market collapse, leaving them too numb to act. The last time something like this happened, in the fall of 2008, candidate Barack Obama barely knew what to say about the fall of Lehman Brothers and the ensuing cascade of misery —  though unbeknownst to the voters, he was already a hostage of Wall Street.

Complicating matters this time will be the chaos unleashed in politics and governing when the long-running “Russia collusion” melodrama boomerangs into a raft of indictments against the cast of characters in the Intel Community and Department of Justice AND the Democratic National Committee, and perhaps even including the Party’s last standard bearer, HRC, for ginning up the Russia Collusion matter in the first place as an exercise in sedition. The wheels of the law turn slowly, but they’ll turn even while financial markets tumble. And the threat to order might be so great that an unprecedented “emergency” has to be declared, with soldiers in the streets of Washington, as was sadly the case in 1861, the first time the country turned itself upside down.


This blog is sponsored this week by McAlvany ICA. To learn more visit: https://icagoldcompany.com/


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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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