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James Howard Kunstler

James Howard Kunstler

James Howard Kunstler is the author of The Long Emergency, Too Much Magic, The Geography of Nowhere, the World Made By Hand novels, and more than a dozen other books. He lives in Washington County, New York.

Articles by James Howard Kunstler

In Memoriam: Reality

4 days ago

The Golden Golem of Greatness shifted into mad bull overdrive for last night’s Minneapolis fan rally, cussing and bellowing at the picadors of the Left who have been sticking lances in his neck for three years. Decorum is not Mr. Trump’s strong suit, but then the bull is not sent into the ring to negotiate politely for his life. The narrative of the bullring is certain death. The bull must do what he can within his nature to dispute it.
It’s in Mr. Trump’s nature to act the part of a reality TV star, and, of course, it is the nature of reality TV shows to be unreal. That is perhaps the ruling paradox of life in the USA these days. Saturated in unreality, the spectators (also called “voters”) flounder through a relentless barrage

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A Hard Rain

8 days ago

A lot of readers (some of them former readers now) have been angrily twanging me by email for writing about the three-year Resistance effort to un-do the 2016 election. I did not vote for Mr. Trump (or Mrs. Clinton) but I resent the coup mounted to overthrow him. I object to the bad faith and dishonesty of the Resistance. I object to the criminal misconduct among the federal bureaucracy, and the mendacity of its partners in the news media, and the hysteria they continue to generate — at the expense of other matters that concern our future.
The political disorder spooling out is the political expression of the long emergency that the nation faces as it finally encounters the limits to growth we were warned about decades ago. The

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Do You Have a Lisance for that Minky?

11 days ago

Sometimes, if you open up a big enough gate and stand in the void, the gate will swing back and slap you on the ass — which is where serial bungler and arch-schlemiel Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) finds himself at the end of an exhausting week’s dissembling in the WhistleGate matter. Long about now, his reluctant partner in the latest impeachment gambit, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, must feel date-raped just a little bit as every unraveling thread in the story leads back to another exposed deception by Schiff, the Inspector Clouseau of impeachment politics.
Maybe reading an alt-reality version of the Trump-Zelensky phone transcript wasn’t such a hot idea after all, since he read into the record evidence of his own bad faith. What was at

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Civil War On

15 days ago

Someone in Impeachmentville is not paying attention. Of course, diverting the rubes is exactly the point of the latest CIA operation to negate the 2016 election. Has nobody noticed that there is treaty between Ukraine and the USA, signed at Kiev in 1998 and ratified by the US Senate in 2000. It’s an agreement on “Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters.” Here, read the cover letter for yourself:

What part of the following do Nancy Pelosi and the news media not understand?
The Treaty is self-executing. It provides for a broad range of cooperation in criminal matters. Mutual assistance available under the Treaty includes: taking of testimony or statements of persons; providing documents, records, and articles of evidence;

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A Dumpster Fire on a Garbage Barge

18 days ago

UkraineGate, son of RussiaGate, raises an interesting question: is our Central Intelligence Agency really this crude that they would loan out a CIA officer to the White House’s National Security Council (NSC) and use him as a weapon to shiv the occupant of the oval office? Or was The New York Times’s unmasking of the “whistleblower” just another ruse by the Deep State Disinfo Division?
Let’s face it, there were not so many CIA spooks working in that White House office, so it shouldn’t be too hard to figure out who it was. A leading candidate is veteran CIA officer Michael Barry, an assassination expert, as it happens, who was loaned out during Mike Pompeo’s brief stint as CIA chief. Barry acted as the NSC’s chief intelligence

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The Odor of Desperation

21 days ago

The swamp abides. The latest news media dumpster fire over President Trump’s phone conversation with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky is a three-way ruse. Ruse 1: deflect attention from the main issue, which is Joe Biden’s trolling for payoffs on his missions to foreign lands as vice-president, first Ukraine, where son Hunter was gifted a board of director’s chair and $50K-a-month salary with Ukrainian gas company Burisma, and then a $1.5 billion “private equity investment” to Hunter Biden’s wealth management fund from the state-owned Bank of China. Ruse 2: to deflect attention from the damage soon to be inflicted on the Deep State by the forthcoming DOJ Inspector General’s report on FISA court abuses. Ruse 3. To set in

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A Civil War Between the Sexes

25 days ago

Unlike the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, Elizabeth Warren doesn’t radiate contempt, loathing, and horror at the task of mingling with the hoi polloi. Rather, she has become famous for staging lengthy sessions after campaign speeches to pose for selfies with her fans. The selfie-seekers, you will notice, are all women. It’s heartwarming as all get out. This is at the center of Senator Warren’s strategy for winning the next election: to cadge all of the women’s vote and become the President of all the women of the United States.
It’s a shrewd strategy, to turn the election into a gender-bonding contest, but elections have turned on equally fatuous premises, probably more often than not. Paradoxically, the lumbering

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A View From the Brink

29 days ago

Welcome to the world where things don’t add up. For instance, some people did some things to the Saudi Arabian oil refinery at Abqaiq over the weekend. Like, sent over a salvo of cruise missiles and armed drone aircraft to blow it up. They did a pretty good job of disabling the works. It is Saudi Arabia’s largest oil processing facility, and for now, perhaps months, a fair amount of the world’s oil supply will be cut off. President Trump said “[we] are waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!” Exclamation mark his.
How many times the past few years has our government declared that “we have the finest intelligence services in the world.” Very well,

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Tectonic Rumblings

September 14, 2019

The memory hole that appeared in America’s zeitgeist around 2016 is expanding like some evil cosmic rot. Things happen and then things unhappen and after a while it’s like they never happened. For instance, little seems to have happened all summer long with the matter known as RussiaGate, the attempt by high US government officials to overthrow the result of the 2016 election by pretending that Russia was trying to interfere in the 2016 election.
Quite a confection of lies and subterfuge. It apparently grew out of an effort at the highest levels of the Obama administration well before 2016 to run so-called intel operations against the perceived enemies of Mr. Obama’s foreign policy. One target was General Michael Flynn, who until

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Turning on the Light

September 10, 2019

For years, lawmakers in deeply blue, proudly progressive New York City have grappled with a seemingly intractable problem: Its schools are among the most segregated in the nation.— The New York Times
And so Bill de Blasio, New York’s Mayor, who has been busy running for president, proposes to end the sorting-out system for the “gifted and talented” (G & T) that is theoretically responsible for that segregation. 75 percent of the G & T kids are Asian and white and, according to the school system’s Diversity Task Force, are not equitably distributed among the schools that end up being mostly black and Hispanic.
The proposal stoked a furor among those very “deeply blue and proudly progressive” parents whose G & T kids have been

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Unsettled Weather

September 7, 2019

After leaving the Bahamas for dead, Hurricane Dorian barely grazed the US mainland en route to the Canadian shoals of oblivion, perhaps saving America’s insurance industry. But the steamy west coast of Africa is hurling out a cavalcade of replacements as the high season for Atlantic storms commences, so better keep the plywood sheets at hand. Lots of things are looking stormy around the world just now: nations, markets, politics — everything really except all three divisions of the American League… yawn….
The world is in a nervous place these days The US is something like the world’s crazy old auntie, whom everyone else would like to lock in the attic. Except she happens to be cradling a bazooka, so they’ll go on trying to ignore

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The Quickening

September 5, 2019

An ill wind threatens to rake and churn up the Atlantic coast this Labor Day as a live-action metaphor auguring a more general wreckage to come in the final four months of 2019. More than most years, this holiday weekend seems to mark a boundary between past and future, between ends and beginnings.
The tremors of August appear to mark the end of the ten-year bull market run, a.k.a. “the recovery,” a last-ditch central bank orchestrated campaign to pretend that economic growth is infinite on a finite planet. The magic of credit — “money” untethered to resources — drained economic mojo from the future so that we can watch Miley Cyrus videos while snacking on Lay’s “fried pickle with ranch [dressing] flavored” potato chips. Yes,

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Beyond Cynicism: America Fumbles Towards Kafka’s Castle

September 4, 2019

Nobody knows, from sea to shining sea, why we are having all this trouble with our republic. — Tom McGuane
Can a people recover from an excursion into unreality? The USA’s sojourn into an alternative universe of the mind accelerated sharply after Wall Street nearly detonated the global financial system in 2008. That debacle was only one manifestation of an array of accumulating threats to the postmodern order, which include the burdens of empire, onerous debt, population overshoot, fracturing globalism, worries about energy, disruptive technologies, ecological havoc, and the specter of climate change.
A sense of gathering crisis, which I call the long emergency, persists. It is systemic and existential. It calls into question our

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Fish Fry

August 31, 2019

Death comes a-creeping at my doorOh my Lord, oh my Lord what shall I do?
The old plantation spiritual comes to mind as the first in a series of DOJ Inspector General’s reports is issued — this one outlining the turpitudes of former FBI Director Jim Comey — while even more fateful inquiries by Barr and Durham grind away in silence and mystery, and one senses that sometime soon the whole hot mess of RussiaGate will land on the doormat of Barack Obama.
Many other (by now) well-known names have been implicated in this fiasco but Mr. Obama has stood aloft from them on a fluffy cloud of his own, enjoying his multimillion book deal, plenty of international travel, and shopping for real estate on Martha’s Vineyard, the elephants’

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The G-7 Blues

August 27, 2019

What’s at stake in all these international confabs like the G-7 are the tenuous supply lines that keep the global game going. The critical ones deliver oil around the world. China imports about 10 million barrels a day to keep its operations going. It produces less than 4 million barrels a day. Only about 15 percent of its imports come from next door in Russia. The rest comes from the Middle East, Africa, and South America. Think: long lines of tanker ships traveling vast distances across the seas, navigating through narrow straits. The Chinese formula is simple: oil in, exports out. It has worked nicely for them in recent decades. Things go on until they don’t.
That game is lubricated by a fabulous stream of debt generated by

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There Is No Normal

August 20, 2019

The wheel of time rolls forward, never retracing its path, but because it is a wheel, and we are riding in it, a persistent illusion persuades us that the landscape is recognizably the same, and that our doings within the regular turning of the seasons seem comfortably normal. There is no normal.
There is for us, at this moment in history, an especially harsh turning (so Strauss and Howe would say) as our journey takes the exit ramp out of the high energy era into the next reality of a long emergency. The human hive-mind senses that something is different, but at the same moment we’re unable to imagine changing all our exquisitely tuned arrangements — especially the thinking class in charge of all that, self-enchanted with

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The Yin and the Yang of It

August 17, 2019

The New York Times staffers wanted to change the paper’s longstanding motto, All the News That’s Fit to Print, to something more cutting edge, more of-the-moment, more congenial with the crypto-gnostic social justice impetus to change human nature in order to make the world a better place.
My personal suggestion was All the News That’s Fit to Print for Angry, Hysterical Women and Their Intersectional Allies, since The New York Times is now an advocacy rag, but the staff choice apparently is The Truth is Worth It — or perhaps The Times paid some Madison Avenue logo engineers for that.
And one is prompted to ask: worth what, exactly? If “truth” actually amounts to “lived experience,” as The Times insists, then truth can be whatever

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The Feds Have Some ‘Spainin’ To Do

August 13, 2019

The only trouble with the conspiracy theory that hundreds of prominent and powerful people wanted Jeffrey Epstein dead is that Jeffrey Epstein might have wanted Jeffrey Epstein dead even more than they did. But that’s mere conjecture. His mind is beyond being read. Of course, the evidence of his alleged crimes didn’t die — the “meticulous” records he kept live on, along with the names of Mr. Epstein’s patrons, clients, marks, however you might classify the celebs drawn into the pulsating estrogenic bubble of his life, humming that old tune “Thank Heaven for Little Girls….”
I’m a little surprised that Attorney General William Barr didn’t have a heart attack upon learning the news. With Mr. Barr already fully engaged cleaning up

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Rude Awakening

August 10, 2019

Now that everyone and everything not “woke” is a racist, a white supremacist, and a domestic terrorist, the mau-mauing of America is complete. The mug of strong English tea on my desk (a beverage from the worst modern colonialist nation) happens to be white. It is ashamed and disgusted by its privilege of holding captive eight ounces of a beverage-of-color. The beverage’s final indignity, of course, is to be ingested in my white body, and turned into countless chemical reactions there that benefit me while annihilating the beverage’s existence, which surely amounts to cultural appropriation, a kind of servitude, and ultimately murder! My wickedness will never be forgiven. Ironically, I drink strong English tea at 6:50 a.m. in

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Hold the Teddy Bears and Candles

August 6, 2019

In a nation afflicted by fads, crazes, manias, and rages, mass murder is the jackpot for nihilists — begging the question: why does this country produce so many of them? Answer: this is exactly what you get in a culture where anything goes and nothing matters. Extract all the meaning and purpose from being here on earth, and erase as many boundaries as you can from custom and behavior, and watch what happens, especially among young men trained on video slaughter games.
For many, there is no armature left to hang a life on, no communities, no fathers, no mentors, no initiations into personal responsibility, no daily organizing principles, no instruction in useful trades, no productive activities, no opportunities for love and

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Race Hustle

August 3, 2019

When the shining city is at hand, a special slum will be built for me and my meanness. I will be the person, if that’s what I am, in the slum; there will be one of everything; one rat, one tin can. … I will behave poorly.— Thomas McGuane, Ninety-two in the Shade
After two double rounds of Democratic Party debates, one thing is for sure: the characters onstage are followers, not leaders, and they’re following each other off a cliff like so many Wile E. Coyotes, while the Golden Golem of Greatness streaks, beeps, and tweets across the buzzard flats below like the fabled Roadrunner.
In an epic and bizarre case of mimesis, the Democratic Party is mau-mauing itself into America’s political slum, complete with a rank-and-file

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Things to Come

July 31, 2019

“American exceptionalism has led to a country that is exceptionally un-self-aware.” — Peter Thiel
The economic contraction ahead will put this borderline psychotic country through some interesting ch-ch-ch-changes. Mr. Trump now fully owns the Potemkin status quo of record stock markets poised against a withering rot of human capital at the core of an industrial society in sunset mode. Leadership at every corner of American life — politics, business, media — expects an ever-higher tech magical updraft of fortune from an increasingly holographic economy of mere fugitive appearances in which everybody can get more of something for nothing. The disappointment over how all this works out will be epic.
Globalism is wobbling badly. It

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A Purview of Dust

July 27, 2019

Who imagined that in the climactic scene of the blockbuster RussiaGate fantasy, when the curtain was ripped away, the Wizard at the controls would turn out to be… Captain Queeg! We need not rehearse all the depressing particulars of Robert Mueller’s six-hour public humiliation in two House committee hearings in order to reach a set of conclusions about the conduct of his rogue investigation and the perfidious report issued in his name.
One is that Robert Mueller could not have run his investigation. There is even reason to question that he was briefed on the day-to-day developments by the people who did run it — since, for instance, he apparently never heard the phrase “Fusion GPS,” that is, the swarm of flying monkeys who

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What Goes Around

July 23, 2019

Just how dead is the RussiaGate story — and how brain-dead are the House Democratic Committee chairmen, Nadler (Judiciary Committee) and Schiff (Intelligence Committee) to haul RussiaGate’s front-man, Robert Mueller back into the spotlight where the next thing to roll over and die will be Mr. Mueller’s evanescent reputation? The entrapment operation that was the Special Counsel’s covert mission has turned out to be Mr. Mueller own personal booby-trap, prompting the question: is it possible that he’s just not very bright?
Though Mr. Mueller’s final report asserted that the Russian government interfered in “a sweeping and systemic fashion” to influence the 2016 election, the 450-page great tome contains zero evidence to support

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What Looms Behind

July 16, 2019

Don’t hold your breath waiting for a coherent pre-election debate about the mother-of-all-issues facing this republic, namely, that we can’t afford the living arrangements Americans think of as “normal” anymore. This quandary has stalked us since the millennium turned. It thunders through all the activities of daily life, and the tensions emanating from it are so agonizing and difficult to face that our politics have deflected off into the kind of hysteria spawned by bad dreams.
As the great Wendell Berry pointed out years ago, this is about the nation’s home economics: energy and resources in, production out, surplus wealth saved. America had a brush with reality in 2008 when all the distortions of our home economics came

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Nemesis Rising

July 13, 2019

Where are Clintons, these dog days of summer? The Hamptons? Salty, sunny Martha’s Vineyard? Under a rock somewhere in the Chappaqua woods? Fate is turning in more than one uncomfortable way for the once-charmed couple of Boomerdom.
There is, of course, the freshly re-issued Jeffrey Epstein underage sex scandal, come ‘round again with a vengeance this time because there are fewer Clinton partisans left in the Department of Justice where the matter has festered for decades like a fistula slowly seeping its rot through the body politic. The vengeance emanates from the Clinton’s nemesis, the uppity Golden Golem of Greatness who dared to “steal” Hillary’s place in the Oval Office (and history). To put it plainly, Mr. Trump had enough

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I Hear That Train a’Comin’

July 9, 2019

Think of the American two-party political system as two ramshackle freight trains running towards each other over old, neglected tracks, on a one-year collision course. Will there even be two parties left for the 2020 election?
The Republican Party is a train of booby-trapped freight cars that can blow at any time. The engine is running on the fumes of the financialized economy. The engineer, Mr. Trump, only has his eye on the gauge that represents the stock market, which produces the gaseous emanations running his train. But the tank cars are leaking. The vapors are highly flammable. Any little spark can set it off, and surely will.
The Democratic Party is carrying seventeen gondola cars of the worst political scandal in US

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Questions To Ask Mueller

July 2, 2019

The playwrights of yore had a neat way of resolving sticky plots: when it seemed all was lost among the confounded mortals on stage, a supernatural figure would descend from the riggings above the proscenium, lowered in a basket on a cable — Moliere liked to use an actor playing Louis XIV, his patron — to resolve, untangle, forgive, and pardon all the complications of the story. This device is known as the Deus ex Machina, God in a machine.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) announced last week that ex-Special Counsel Robert Mueller has agreed to descend from on-high into the witness chair of Mr. Nadler’s House committee chamber on July 17, presumably to resolve all the conundrums left by his semi-inconclusive RussiaGate report.

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Say Anything!

June 29, 2019

My favorite moment in the Wednesday night “B” Team installment of the Democratic primary debates was Julian Castro’s “defense” of transgender abortion rights. Say what…? I almost dropped my bag of Dinamita Mojo Criollo Doritos. Did that really come out of Little Julian’s mouth? Apparently so. But how does it actually work?
Like, say, in theory, someone “transitioning” from female-to-male gets inadvertently knocked-up after a (perhaps mistaken) romantic encounter with an actual man and has to, you know, get rid of the little problem zhe has acquired? Could be… but is this a relatively common occurrence down San Antone way? And how might it apply in male-to-female trans cases of merely hysterical pregnancy? Sounds like something

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One Big Race Hustle

June 25, 2019

As the first of 12 presidential debates blows in at mid-week like an evil patch of bad summer weather, twenty candidates vie for the position of Ole Massa on the Democratic Party plantation, and the air is gravid with bad vibes.
One highly-favored entry, Mayor Pete (Buttigieg) of charming South Bend, Indiana, stepped into (and tripped over) a big fresh patty of mule poop over the weekend at a “town hall” meeting that was called to address the June 16 shooting of one Eric Logan, 54, by a police officer dispatched to check out “a suspicious individual going through cars” at 2:30 a.m. The officer said the suspect came at him with a knife. The officer failed to switch on his body-cam, or so the police department said. Conclusions

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