James Howard Kunstler -- World News Trust
March 17, 2017
Well, of course they bugged Trump Tower. Why wouldn't they?
Trump’s big blunder du jour is that he tweeted “wiretapped,” like some hapless sap out of a 1950s I Was A Spay for the FBI movie. (I know people who still say “ice box,” too.) So he left himself -- or rather poor Sean Spicer -- open for a week of legalistic pettifogging by reporters acting as litigators for the Deep State’s intel corps.
Anyway, Wikileaks “Vault 7” document release earlier in the month made it clear that US intel has the ability to cover and confuse the tracks of any entity -- including especially US intel itself -- that ventures to penetrate any supposedly private or secure realm. And, by the way, that probably settles the matter of who “they” are. Whatever statutory restraints once existed against CIA spying on American citizens is long gone by the boards.
You might suppose, too, that the combined forces of Hillary and Obama, along with the still-entrenched Democratic establishment, would have tried through late 2016 to stop The Menace of Trump at all costs. Somebody had done them dirty in funneling the DNC and Podesta emails to Wikileaks, and it was imperative to fight back -- especially with FBI director James Comey (a Republican, after all), going all rogue on Mrs. Clinton. Hence, the manufactured Russia-did-it story that has gotten more mileage than any political hallucination since Senator Joe McCarthy, at his height of influence, played the newspapers like a whole orchestra of flugelhorns.
It’s hard to see how Trump might ever established the truth of this matter. One of the strange features of these internecine wars is that the Department of Justice -- as far as we know -- isn’t deposing scores of operations people from the myriad agencies under the NSA umbrella to establish who’s been doing what. Anyway, there’s enough loose scuttlebutt around Washington that Trump might have a pretty good idea of who at the various agencies hates his guts, and is working against him, and one wonders why he doesn’t just fire a bunch of them. Perhaps that’s yet to come.
But it also looks a bit as though the Golden Golem of Re-Greatification has wandered into a political minefield so dense with booby traps that he’s already out of moves. First there’s the debt ceiling problem -- which has so far received almost no attention from the Kardashianized collective news media. As David Stockman has pointed out on his blog, the U.S. Treasury amassed a “war chest” of nearly half a trillion dollars last fall (via various book-keeping shenanigans) in expectation that President Hillary would need it to ride out some fiscal bad weather early in her reign.
Then, the truly inconceivable happened and Hillary won bigly in the wrong states and not bigly enough in the right ones, and, well. Immediately, with Trump ascendant, the Treasury and its handmaidens at the Federal Reserve engineered a rapid burn-through of the war chest at a rate of about $90-billion a month since November, so that now there remains only about a month’s worth of walking-around money to run the U.S. Government. With the old debt ceiling truce expired, congress would have to resolve to raise it, to legally enable the Treasury to resume its massive borrowing operations, or else the government won’t be able to pay invoices or issue pension checks or meet any obligations. It could even default on its “no risk” bonds.
Those dangers are theoretical for the moment, especially since there is always more accounting fraud to resort to when all else fails. But the longer a debt ceiling stalemate goes on in congress, the more trapped President Trump will be. The cherry on top is the Federal Reserve’s move to raise interest rates the same day the debt ceiling truce expired. That will thunder through the system, making many loans more expensive to repay, dampening the real estate markets (at a time when commercial real estate is already tanking), and draining all kinds of other mojo (however falsely engineered) from the Potemkin economy.
As if being trapped in a political minefield isn’t bad enough, the remaining safe patch Trump is stranded on turns out to be the LaBrea Tar Pit of health care reform. At this point, the crusade is doing worse than going nowhere -- it’s getting sucked into the primordial bitumen where the mastodons and camelops sleep.
James Howard Kunstler is the author of many books including (non-fiction) The Geography of Nowhere, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, Home from Nowhere, The Long Emergency, and Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology and the Fate of the Nation. His novels include World Made By Hand, The Witch of Hebron, Maggie Darling -- A Modern Romance, The Halloween Ball, an Embarrassment of Riches, and many others. He has published three novellas with Water Street Press: Manhattan Gothic, A Christmas Orphan, and The Flight of Mehetabel.