Where the Wasteland Ends
James Howard Kunstler move over, our own Disaffected has stepped forward to read the tea leaves of the present day and provide us a window on our likely future, a crystal ball reflection of what is to come. For that matter, the Gospel of John may need to take second fiddle to this new Rasputin soloist of ours. A great prognosticator is nothing if not self confident. And we see such confidence jumping from the page in DA’s unabashed forecast. Truly our world is in the midst of the greatest of transformations, a crisis of immense proportions and on multiple fronts, economic, financial, political, social, climatological, ecological — and all on a grand global platform. This is the real meaning of the word-phrase “GLOBALIZATION.” It is the globalized suffering of humankind, the planet, and all that surrounds and supports us. DA is highly evocative and critical in his observations; something lacking in much of American society today. Enjoy his first installment. The second half will come in a few days time. (kC)
As I sit here totally cognitively immersed in the latest round of Walk Hard!TM (Brought to you by NSA Surveillance Technologies Group – Eliminating ThoughtCrime one synapse at time – and by Cognitive Imaging Technologies – CIT, We make dreams come true – and by GoogleSoftCloud – The Hive’s Silver Lining) I can’t help but reflect on our good fortune and how it all came to be. The story of the twenty first century has truly been one for the ages, and those corporate persons who have come through it all relatively unscathed are truly blessed. When I think back on the primitive pre-corporate lives my grandparents – my grandparents for the Cosmic CEO’s sake! – I’m at once appalled and amazed at the progress we’ve made in the few short decades that have passed since then. Hard as it is to remember all now, perhaps I should start from the beginning.
The pre-corporate days of the naughts and the early teens were wild and wooly, no doubt about it. Pre-corporate anti-corporate sentiment had gradually reached a zenith, fueled by the usual cast of characters: career malcontents, ne’er do wells, misfits, hipsters, slackers, self-labeled “doomers”, womanizers, druggies, and generally whatever else the proverbial cat might have dragged in. This was expected and dealt with in all the usual corporate ways of the time, limited as they were. In spite of the Great Leap Forward begun in 1980 under eventual CSA (Corporate State of America) Honorary Patron Saint and Founder Ronald Reagan, the great corporate/private incorporation articles issue of 2022 was yet far from decided, and the “smart money” was still parked firmly on the sidelines.
Nonetheless, the Prequel of 2008 provided the pretext and launching pad for all that followed. Conceived in the Cheney/Bush White House of 2000, it has since been widely hailed as the political masterstroke that enabled the modern age. In the aftermath of Yale/Harvard legacy dilettante dip-shit George W. Bush’s disastrous administration’s pre-planned wreckage of the economy, fellow Harvard silver-tongued token Negro Barack Obama was chosen to succeed him. And what a success he was! As predicted, the disconnect between what Obama said, with all his bullshit oratorical flourishes, and what he actually did thereafter was simply too much for the primitive American people of the time to get their minds around, and Conservatives were able to paint him as a milquetoast “people’s liberal,” even as he wrote them a blank check to continue military escalations across the board, many surreptitiously disguised through immensely lucrative privatization contracts, and unprecedentedly massive infusions of cash by the federal reserve directly into portions of the economy that needed it least and would part with it last – the mega-wealthy corporate scions of the day. It was perhaps the greatest political masterstroke of all time, but it wasn’t done yielding fruit yet.
The science was already coming in on the climate change we’re experiencing even still today, but of course our corporate forefathers knew that it was in no one’s best interest to acknowledge it just yet, certainly not our corporate forefathers who saved the world and created the utopian society we enjoy today, nor the non-corporate working class brutes who would be sacrificed for the good of humanity in the following years. As the economy continued to stagnate throughout Obama’s second term in office (2013-2016), it was gradually decided that he was simply too good of a foil to let go of, and that he and his democratic party “opposition” (the fix had long been in across the board, with only a handful of exceptions) would propose a pre-corporate constitutional amendment allowing him a third and even fourth term if he decided. Conservative “opposition” was then suitably whipped into a mock frenzy, but in the end, after a suitable amount of hot air and faux outrage was expended, the conservative right “caved” to the inevitable and it was done. “Barack the Great,” as he was soon dubbed, was “Lord of the Land” for the next eight years, at least if he wanted it, and the die was cast. All of which would turn out to be the least of it…
The End of the Beginning
In the run up to the 2016 election, Global Warming finally began to bite… HARD! The weirding that had been progressing steadily for over a decade reached a climax in the late summer and fall, with epic tornadoes and flooding rain outbreaks coinciding with Hurricane Colin just after Labor Day, which slammed the sweet spot between New Orleans and Galveston with epic fury and size. The combination was enough to swamp New Orleans entirely and to take out most of the coastal crude oil refineries and related infrastructure all the way inland to Houston. But that was just the beginning. The fall rains came all across the Midwest and most of the Deep South in record amounts – later being referred to as the Great Deluge of ’16, and right on into the winter, with record cold and snowfall amounts all across the northern tier. But the spring of ’17 delivered the final and cruelest of blows, dawning late and wet once more. The thaw in the north came late and in fits and starts. The snow and ice flowed glacially into the Missouri and Mississippi and their tributaries, clogging up and further flooding things all along the way, until by the early summer it was obvious to all that this was going to literally be an earth changing event. By mid-summer all low lying parts of Minneapolis/St Paul, Omaha, Kansas City, St Louis, and Memphis were under water, and the Missouri and Mississippi river valleys pretty much dropped the valleys from their name and became part of the river proper. The wider parts of both rivers then began forming lakes, and the lakes began widening until they were close to forming seas, and by fall, as the deluge continued over the entire Midwest, it gradually became obvious to all but the most stubborn and obtuse that this was not going to be merely a single season event. With the flooding and the usual summer heat came the flies and the rats and every manner of opportunistic scavenger, and with them and the lack of sanitation standards, came the pestilence and the fighting over remaining food, drugs, and just about everything else. Transportation lines broke down across the board, jobs and livelihoods were lost, infrastructure was destroyed, “just in time” became a cruel joke to those who had become dependent on it, families and lives were disrupted and ended en masse, and everything just generally began to go to hell in the proverbial hand basket in all of the usual and entirely predictable ways that such things do when complex systems break down. And as this same extreme pattern waxed and waned, albeit relentlessly and persistently growing more intense each time, the Midwest gradually became what it is today; a large shallow inland swamp/sea totally unlike its former self. Gone were the giant industrial farming operations and all of the formerly cheap grain stocks they supplied. For the first time in over a hundred years, food energy in the form of calories was again in short supply. Drastically short given the huge populations that 20th century industrial agriculture itself had enabled.
Not that it got much better on the coasts. Sea levels continued to rise for both, and as tropical mega-hurricanes continued to increase in intensity and batter low lying coast lines from early August through late October in the east, winter storms continued to intensify and inundate the rich coastal areas of the west. Even before the great quake of 2019 leveled pretty much everything and ended the great California experiment as they knew it, the die was already cast. Periodic inundations had pretty much reduced the great central San Joaquin valley to a flooded out, swamp like shadow of its former self. Prolific exporter of fresh produce to the world? Not anymore. Migrant farm workers, brought north by the allure of capitalist opportunity only a few years earlier, now found themselves in yet another corporate dystopian hell, albeit one that they themselves increasingly “owned.” As the rich corporate land sharks gradually conceded defeat and moved on, they increasingly found they and theirs left “holding the bag,” default “land-owners” of a land… err… bug infested swamp, that no one actually wanted to lay claim to anymore.
The Beginning of the End
As the whole monumental catastrophe continued to unfold through the late teens and early twenties, two things became glaringly apparent: the US government was either unwilling or simply incapable of responding to the crisis in any meaningful way whatsoever, and in fact served mostly as a giant propaganda disinformation service, deemphasizing the impact of the crisis and spreading the message that “we are all in this together,” when the facts on the ground clearly indicated otherwise. The cognitive dissonance began to evaporate completely, as Obama’s nominally “democratic” administrations were able to do what decades of Republican administrations could not: end Social Security and Medicare and just about every other government guaranteed pension or transfer payment altogether, after first openly defaulting on them for several years to “warm everyone up” to the idea. All to no avail, unfortunately. Unemployment had skyrocketed to immeasurable heights as businesses failed en masse due to the now nearly universal unfolding chaos, and it began to dawn on the few remaining average US dollar holders that their money was pretty much worthless. All of which led nature to take its course and the large unsustainable populations of humans that were now pretty much abandoned to cope with the new harsh realities on the ground did what populations invariably do under such circumstances: they shrank. This is to say, they died. IN DROVES! As massively overwhelmed federal and local governments responded to the growing crisis by shrinking into the woodwork, the long-awaited vicious cycle downward to the inevitable took place: the complete collapse (capitulation, really) and subsequent takeover of the federal government by corporate interests in the early 20’s.
(to be continued in the next installment)