James Howard Kunstler -- World News Trust
Dec. 29, 2017
There he is, our president, both immovable object and irresistible force, unsmiling with slitty eyes beneath that car-hood of a hair-doo, lumbering from one presidential prerogative to the next through squalls of opprobrium, perplexing leaders from foreign lands, punking congressmen and senators, inducing swoons of un-safeness among the zhes, theys, and thems on campus, provoking the op-ed bards of The Times to mouth-foaming hysterics, tweeting any old thing that flies through the interstices of his brain-pan, our Golden Golem of Greatness, MAGA sword in smallish hand against a swirling red sky.
Well, he made it through the year. I thought the fucker would be sandbagged by a claque of Pentagon patriots inside of three months, but I was wrong, wrong, wrong.
What seems to be forgotten is that Donald Trump brought his own swamp to Washington, as in a history of hinky real-estate wheelings-and-dealings, stiffed vendors, bankruptcies, lowbrow TV hijinks, and dark adventures in the Manhattan nightlife of the late 20th century. So, it’s swamp versus swamp.
You may detect that I’m not exactly a fan of the president, but I rather admire his standing up to the permanent bureaucracy that we call the Deep State, and especially its elite poobahs, who have driven this polity into a deeper ditch than the voters realize. The Mueller investigation hangs over Trump’s head like a piñata filled with dog-shit, but he soldiers on. After more than a year, the RussiaGate narrative is looking like something fished out of the Goodwill Industries dumpster, its chief sponsor, the FBI, riddled with conflicts-of-interest, suspicious political motivations, and flat-out partisan animosity. Right now, there’s more reason to suppose Mueller will have to start asking some hard questions about Russia collusion among the Hillary cohort --and don’t forget, there’s that stinky business featuring ex-DNC-Chief Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and her mysterious Pakistani IT go-fer, Imran Awan, waiting in the wings.
Trump’s management of the North Korea nuclear threat has been, shall we say, less subtle than his predecessor’s. The Prez and Kim look like a couple of characters out of a 1949 Warner Brothers LoonyTune. It’s almost enough to make you forget this is serious business. The issue has gone ominously silent for weeks and I rather imagine we’ll witness some real fireworks as the new year rolls out. But if it happens that the United States manages to “neutralize” Little Rocket Man without blowing up Seoul and Tokyo, the GGG may get a brownie point from his fiercest auditors.
I saw nothing wrong with Trump’s attempt to constrict travel to the United States by people from a list of mainly Islamic nations. The Left shrieked about ethnic “profiling.” Yes, that’s exactly what it was. Why? Because a lot of Islamic maniacs are blowing things up, shooting up joints, and plowing trucks into folks around the world, including This Land is Your Land. On the macro level, I’m all for a broad reduction in immigration. We’ve got enough strip-mall nail parlors for now. And there are something like 100 million American adults out of the work-force. A time-out, at least, is warranted.
I’m skeptical of Trump’s MAGA program. We’re not going to replay the industrial age in North America, and we’re for sure not going to return to the life-ways of 1962. I also doubt that we are heading into a Silicon Valley-inspired robotic AI nirvana of “creative” weenies in flying, pilotless Ubers. Rather, I think we’re more likely to land in a return to something more like 1834, with scant central heating, and a lot of suspense about getting a hot meal at sundown. I want a mule.
The Tax Plan? Real tax relief just doesn’t mean a whole lot without a reduction in the size and scale of government. Its unstated purpose is a temporary stimulant replacement for Federal Reserve money-printing. Its actual effect will be to shove the United States closer to real and painful insolvency in which something has to give: either the value of our money, or our having any money. I wonder what sort of dark schemes are being hatched to cold-cock the public with a so-called “cashless society” regime. That’s only one move that could provoke real civil violence, and understandably so, because there’s no greater threat to liberty than the government electronically tracking your every transaction.
Happy New Year, everybody! Watch yourself out on the road!
Coming on Monday: Forecast 2018. Spoiler alert: I’m notoriously wrong about everything, further proof that reality is a slippery fellow….
New years Eve Bonus: New Essay at TAC: Beyond Cynicism: Fumbling Towards Kafka’s Castle
Great Winter Reading… JHK’s new book!
“Simply the best novel about the 1960s.”
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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.