James Howard Kunstler

Unthinkable

In the drunken, drug-crazed twilight of its run as Leader of the Free World, America’s collective imagination swerves from one breakdown lane to the other while the highway patrol throws a donuts-and-porn party down at headquarters and the news media searches the gutter on hands-and-knees looking for the spot where it dropped its brains.

Juked by Medicine

This still moment on the verge of spring equinox, industrial civilization is taking a rest from its travails of finance and economy. The creaking and groaning vehicle of world banking lurches forward with its latest patch, the Greek fix, but the explosive resignation last week of a Goldman Sachs executive director Greg Smith, posted as an op-ed essay in no less than the New York Times, afforded a glimpse into the dark place where…

A Fog of Mendacity

Those frightening sounds, sights, and odors on the wind this foreboding snowless winter – like emanations from some back ward of a global psychiatric hospital – are the signs of a nation going completely mad. The traumatic rise of oil prices above the $100 level is one irritant, prompting a range of people-who-oughta-know-better to gibber and fulminate as though they’d been locked in the nation’s attic since Thanksgiving with nothing to do but…

The Choices We Make

     The misalignment of politics and reality threatens to scuttle both major parties, but it’s especially gratifying to see the Republicans sail off the edge of their own flat earth on the winds of religious idiocy. For forty years it has not been enough for them to just be a conservative party. They had to enlist the worst elements of ignorance and reaction, and they found an endless supply of it in the…

The John Brown Moment

     When Gaia gets pissed off enough at the antics of humanity, she sends in her hit-man, Reality, to settle accounts. Reality is blessed with a cloak of invisibility. The human race is so busy concocting stories about what it is doing, that Reality steals onto the scene unnoticed – until bodies start to fall over, and the sort of bad political weather known as a shit-storm fills the skies, the streets, and the…

All Screaming Id, No Brains, No Honor

     A Martian psychoanalyst observing the US Superbowl on TV would be shocked by the vicious animal spirits emanating from that spectacle, starting with the triumphal trumpet blasts borrowed straight from the old 1950s Hollywood epic movies echoing the prideful mis-steps of ancient Rome, along with the by-now clichéd CGI trick in the opening credits of gleaming metallic heraldic insignia spun into a military cordon of stars so as to protect the tender collective…

Jive Talkin

     Well, he had to get up there and say something. In this particular winter of our discontent, the wispiest nostrums and baldest lies will do. America is not interested in reality. America is a nine-hundred pound man imprisoned in a fetid trailer bedroom begging for one more case of Little Debbie Cocoa Cremes before the front-end-loader bashes through the wall to haul him to intensive care. America just wants to hear another story…

What Gives

     The awesome exertions of the global banking system to evade the mandates of reality finally yield in a sickening slippage to epochal unwind. What a bad idea: to try to juke nature itself. In case you weren’t paying attention over the weekend – and who really wants to? – the cosmic Brinks truck of free money went over a cliff, and the darn thing will keep free-falling until (at least) the American markets…

This Ripe Moment

     The narcolepsy of the long Yuletide draws to a close and the world reawakens to its self-spun web of mutually reinforcing fiascos. Just before the holiday, a sense of futility darkened the European banking landscape as cascading sovereign default looked more and more inevitable. It was halted by a bazooka-caliber currency swap Ponzi that allowed the European Central Bank to pretend it had a $700-billion bag of sugar-plums to hand out to more…

2012 Forecast: Bang and Whimper

     There’s a lot to be nervous about, even if you don’t subscribe to the undercooked Mayan apocalypse lore moving through the gut of the Internet like a Staphylococcus-infected tamale. The casual observer might say that nothing seemed to give on the world scene in 2011 despite the Fukushima meltdown, the Arab Spring uproars, the train wreck of European finance, the disappearing act at MF Global, and the assorted injuries done to the Kardashian…