Enter, Stage Center

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Enter, Stage Center by James Howard Kunstler

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Howard Schultz seemed like a nice enough fellow on CBS’s 60 Minutes show last week. The coffee maestro from the Brooklyn public housing projects is no Golden Golem of Greatness but, alas, he does happen to be a white man, meaning he’s a walking microaggression. And he informed the viewing audience that he is of the Hebrew persuasion, which must have induced a fugue of hysteria among those who believe that the Jews have put the global economy on layaway for some future apocalyptic Hanukkah celebration.

In a way, he’s calling the Political Identitarians’ bluff. The Democrats who, for the moment, remain a major political party, are absolutely determined to put a woman in the White House because men have made the world a failed planet that can only be fixed with a regime of caring-and-sharing. The Democrats would like to drive a wooden stake through Mr. Schultz’s offensive gonads.  How dare he! Does he not know that his independent ticket in the 2020 election will crib votes from whomever the “It’s Her Turn” candidate proves to be — and result in the re-election of that Diet Coke guzzling shit-magnet in the oval office? (!)

Senator Kamala Harris of California is the big locomotive on the track for now. I suspect her cowcatcher will shove Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand, and honorary feminist Cory Booker into the weeds before the first debates are over. Ms. Harris is a formidable personality. You could see it in her hectoring interrogations during senate committee hearings the past few years. She likes to chew up these equivocating pissants sitting below at the witness table and spit them out. She comes from a family of scientists and economists and has had a distinguished career of her own, dealing with a lot of dicey legal questions in the political hall of mirrors called California. I don’t have any doubt that she’s intelligent and qualified.

But I do have doubts that anyone will want to take the oath of office on January 20, 2021. The problem-of-problems (and there are many) is that America has shot its wad borrowing money to keep things going — things like the consumer economy, suburbia, generous pensions, agribusiness, health care, higher education… stuff like that. The reason we’ve shot our wad: the collateral for our loans is gone. Oh? What was that collateral? It was the promise of future economic growth, rather specifically of the industrial type that produced real stuff and real wealth. We put that on a slow boat to China some years ago and replaced it with financialization, which is a colossal Three-Card-Monte game that produces a lot of “money” without producing wealth. Even worse, financialization destroyed the indexes that accounted for the measurement of real wealth, or capital, and replaced it with accounting fraud, so it’s very hard to see the damage.

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James Howard Kunstler

James Howard Kunstler says he wrote The Geography of Nowhere, “Because I believe a lot of people share my feelings about the tragic landscape of highway strips, parking lots, housing tracts, mega-malls, junked cities, and ravaged countryside that makes up the everyday environment where most Americans live and work.” Home From Nowhere was a continuation of that discussion with an emphasis on the remedies. A portion of it appeared as the cover story in the September 1996 Atlantic Monthly. His next book in the series, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, published by Simon & Schuster / Free Press, is a look a wide-ranging look at cities here and abroad, an inquiry into what makes them great (or miserable), and in particular what America is going to do with it’s mutilated cities.