European Union

BREXIT! The FUN Begins!

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on June 24, 2016

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Unbelievably, INCREDIBLY, the Brits Voted for BREXIT, aka divorcing from the European Union.

As this campaign went on over the last few months, the Brexit Champions seemed to be gaining the upper hand, and as of about a week ago I thought Brexit would win over Bremain.

But then, by SHEER COINCIDENCE, something happened.  A Brit MP, Jo Cox was ASSASSINATED, with the Assassin reportedly crying BRITAIN FIRST or something like that anyhow before he shot and stabbed her to death.  Not quite ALLAHU AKBAR! but similar enough to turn off people to voting for Brexit if this reminded them of Terrorist Tactics.

Campaigns were suspended for 3 days on both sides, and although there was some variation in the Polling, the tactic appeared to have WORKED, and the major Polling companies began reporting that Bremain would win.

Global Markets breathed a sigh of RELIEF, and after being hammered for a few weeks the Pound Sterling began to recover.  The markets calmes, all would be well, BAU would continue onward.

However, in the driving rain and flooding in many locations, with Polling locations having to be moved due to the weather issues, the Brits still turned out to vote, and in the end, the Brexit crowd won the day.

Tomorrow, and all of next week as well will see complete TURMOIL in the Financial Markets as well.  Nobody is certain of the repercussions, other than at least at the beginning the financial markets both in Britain and Europe will get positively HAMMERED.

At the same time though, just a Vote by the population at large to dissolve this marriage doesn't instantaneously dissolve all their financial entaglements, any more than when you get a divorce the financial entaglements with your spouse instantly dissapear.  In fact, it is orders of magnitude WORSE in a case like this, with "International Law" and "International Treaties" all involved.  Not just a few, hundreds if not thousands of laws and contractual agreements are on the chopping block here, and each one of them can run into hundreds if not thousands of pages of Legalese.  So what you will have here is a long and interminable set of court cases being held, and trust me the people who voted for Brexit will have no say whatsoever in how those cases are adjudicated.  What comes out at the end of it a few years down the line is a complete mystery, although if BAU ontinues, you can expect the result to benefit the Trnasnational Corporations rather than the people of Britain.

On Sunday here on the Diner on our Collapse Cafe discussion, we will be getting together with a few of the Diner Brits to discuss the outcomes and possible future resultant from the Brexit Vote.  We will go off LIVE @ High Noon Alaska Time, 4PM Eastern Time, 9PM Brit Summer Time.  Be there, or be Square.

There Are No Safe Spaces

terrorists-Anthony-Freda-Studiogc2smFrom the keyboard of James Howard Kunstler
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Originally Published on Clusterfuck Nation November 16, 2015
 

I’m not persuaded that world opinion will ever “make sense” of the Paris attacks. The non-linear rules the day. So-called Fourth Generation Warfare works because there are so many small arms loose in the world and any band of maniacs with a few machine guns and a pound of Semtex plastic explosive can create the equivalent of a war zone in a given locality.

As for the French military, the obvious first move was to bomb the ISIS “stronghold” of Raqqa. But haven’t the US and Russian air forces been doing exactly that for some time now? Either they’ve already bombed the place and everything in it to gravel, or air power is not what it’s cracked up to be — and we have plenty of reason to believe the latter after a decade of selectively pounding jihadists from Afgahnistan to Libya with nothing to show for it except a refugee crisis.

One thing seems assured: hard-line governments are coming soon. Politically, the West had boundary problems that go way beyond the question of national borders to the core psychology of modern liberalism. When is enough of anything enough? And then, what are you really willing to do about it? The answer lately among the Western societies is to do little and do it slowly.

The behavior of college administrators and faculties in the USA these days is emblematic of this cowardly dithering. Intellectual despotism reigns on campus and the university presidents roll over like possums. They don’t have the moral strength to defend free speech as the campus witch-hunts ramp up. The result will be first the intellectual death of their institutions (brain death), and then the actual death of college per se as a plausible route to personal socioeconomic development. The financial racketeering that has infected higher education — the engineering of the gargantuan college loan scam in tandem with the multiplication of “diversity” deanships and tuition inflation — pretty much guarantees an implosion of that system.

The cowardice in the college executive suites is mirrored in our national politics, where no persons of real standing will dare step forward to oppose the juggernaut of Hillary-the-Grifter, or take on the clowning Donald Trump on the grounds of his sheer mental unfittedness to lead a government. In case you haven’t noticed, the center not only isn’t holding, it gave way some time ago. The long emergency is showing signs of morphing into something like civil war. The Maoists on campus apparently want to turn it into race war, too.

So many forces are in motion now and they are all tending toward criticality. The European Union may not survive the reestablishment of boundaries, since it was largely based on the elimination of them. Spain and Portugal are back to breaking down politically again. The Paris bloodbath has discredited Angela Merkel’s plea for “tolerance” — of what is proving to be an intolerable alien invasion. The only political figure on the scene who doesn’t appear to be talking out of his ass is Vlad Putin, who correctly stated at the UN that undermining basic institutions around the world was not a good idea.

None of this is good, either, for a global economy constructed around long, hyper-complex, and fragile chains of obligation, the most critical being global finance and global energy lines. You think the Paris attacks were bad? Just wait until a few maniacs lob some explosives at the giant Ras Tanura oil refinery and shipping terminal on Saudi Arabia’s Persian Gulf coast. Imagine if that happens in the middle of winter, when Europe is freezing. Do you suppose the Big Brains in the Pentagon think about that? The West itself, including America, is a circus of soft targets. The softest ones are between our ears.

 

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.

Greek Pudding

From the keyboard of James Howard Kunstler
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Originally Published on Clusterfuck Nation July 13, 2015
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The proof of the pudding is in the eating, the old saw goes. This one, alas, is a mélange of several old shit sandwiches bound in a liaison of subterfuge and seasoned with political absurdities. Having been fooled in this bistro before, citizen-patrons leave the table resigned to yet another bout of food poisoning as the music of universal upchuck rings across the European Union from Helsinki to Lisbon

What is on display more brightly and clearly than ever, though, is the utter fakery of international banking. The players have lost faith in their own shenanigans. They simply go through the motions now awaiting the political fallout, which is to say the revolt of the people who can still do arithmetic. So, now Greece can supposedly expect another $90Billion-equivalent in new loans on top of the $350Billion-equivalent already racked up. That’s rich. The loan repayment schedule must look like a map of Middle Earth.

Most perplexing — especially for those on summer hiatus in which time seems to be suspended — is the fact that the rescue package will take weeks, perhaps months, to gin up while Greece is right now so utterly paralyzed in bankruptcy that no goods can move, no bills can be paid, and the economy cannot deliver the necessities of daily life. The old refrain, “your check is in the mail” may not be so reassuring to folks who haven’t eaten for three days. Personally, I would expect the gasoline bombs to be flying around Syntagma Square before the middle of the week.

Has anyone noticed the eerie paucity of news emanating from the other hard-luck nations of the EU, namely Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Ireland? The money hole that these deadbeats are in makes Greece look like a dimple in the sand. What, I wonder, is the message to them from the Greek negotiation melodrama? (Lend more money to real estate developers to build more houses and condos that will never be sold? That’ll work!) No, the entire EU debt fiasco harks back to the original meaning of “ring around the rosie” — a theme song of the Black Death. The eventual implosion of the European Union, and the banking system hugging its face vampire squid style, will be the financial equivalent of the Black Death. Kingdoms will fall and social systems will be turned upside down.

The agonizing wait for that outcome is obviously fraying the nerves of all concerned to the degree that all their exertions seem like little more than tragic and pointless exercises in futility — for instance, the terms arrived at in last weekend’s negotiations. Nobody has a shred of faith that they can or will be carried out. In effect, what they’ve done is put together a Potemkin framework allowing them to go just give up for a month or so and go on vacation.

That would, of course, set things up for a mighty financial convulsion in the autumn — history’s favorite season for ruin — when all the ministers and their factotums venture back to the dismal realities they left fermenting at the office. Of all the many things apt to happen, we can count at least on the current Greek government falling and a failure of Greece to make any gesture of repayment in their just-negotiated loan schedule. That would leave the “Troika” (the EU, the ECB, and the IMF) with zero credibility and initiate the epochal widespread repudiation of the entire EU loan structure — in short, the collapse of Europe.

That wouldn’t necessarily be the end of the world, but it would be the end of nearly seventy-year period of peace, prosperity, and stability. The sorting-out would be epic. The standard of living across Europe would sink to the level of the 1830s. The fundamentals of banking and currency would have to be rebuilt from ashes. More nations will break up into smaller units. Western intellectual life would suffer immense shock as all the certainties of the Enlightenment project seemed to go up in a vapor of insolvency and political upheaval. You have to even wonder whether Europe could defend itself against an onrushing Jihad.

But these are admittedly gloomy thoughts for a morning so early in summer. Myself, I’m going to shop for an outfit to wear to Diddy’s annual party in the Hamptons. Coonskin caps may be oddly coming back in style as people all over America try to emulate Donald Trump and the furry creature that lives on the top of his head. Something tells me that the ladies will not be buying many Hillary-style pantsuits. Wouldn’t it be cunning if Diddy’s caterer came up with something like miniature Greek Pudding bites? That would bring a real frisson to the doings, something to chat about besides the marketing genius of Kim Kardashian.

 

 

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.

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