Message from Sponsor: McAlvany ICA

Visit this blog’s sponsor: https://icagoldcompany.com/

 

Support JHK on Patreon

 

If you’re interested in supporting this blog, check out the Patreon page.


Now Live on Amazon

“Simply the best novel of the 1960s”


Now in Paperback !
Only Seven Bucks!
JHK’s Three-Act Play
A log mansion in the Adirondack Mountains…
A big family on the run…
A nation in peril…


Long Emergency Cafe Press ad 2

Get your Official JHK swag on Cafe Press


The fourth and final book of the World Made By Hand series.

Harrow_cover_final

Battenkill Books (autographed by the Author) |  Northshire Books Amazon


CFNKindle


emb of Riches Thumbnail

JHK’s lost classic now reprinted as an e-book
Kindle edition only


 

Clusterfuck Nation
For your reading pleasure Mondays and Fridays

Support this blog by visiting Jim’s Patreon Page


Markets

If you take your cues from Consensus Trance Central — the cable news networks, The New York Times, WashPost, and HuffPo — Trump is all that ails this foundering empire. Well, Trump and Russia, since the Golden Golem of Greatness is in league with Vladimir Putin to loot the world, or something like that.

Since I believe that the financial system is at the heart of today’s meta-question (What Could Go Wrong?), it would be perhaps more to the point to ask: what has held this matrix of rackets together so long? After all, rackets are characterized by pervasive lying and fraud, meaning their operations don’t add up. Things that don’t comport with reality are generally prone to failure so sooner or later they have to implode.

Financial markets have been surging supernaturally on “liquidity” since 2009 — and by “liquidity” I mean “money” (digital credit from thin air) supplied by the Federal Reserve, in rotation with the other sovereign central banks, BOE, ECB, BOJ, PBOC, from whence it pings ‘round the world, wherever the lure of the main chance sparkles. Trillions wafted into the stock and bond markets, levitating them as a sort of stage-managed misdirection from the sickening spectacle of wobbling real stuff economies. In 2017, The Dow Jones Industrial Average recorded an astounding 5,000 point year-on-year upzoom, with 12 months of gains and no loser months, and a string of 71 record highs.

America’s central bank, the Federal Reserve, acted as if pumping up the stock markets was the only thing that mattered. The result was a Potemkin economy, a glittering Wall Street false-front with a landscape of “flyover” squalor and desolation behind. The Fed now works at cross-purposes with itself by raising the Fed Funds rate a quarter-point every few months, and supposedly “shrinking” (ha!) their balance sheet — dumping bonds onto the market plus “retiring” termed out bonds, which allows the Fed to disappear the principal paid by the borrowers, namely the US Treasury, or the quasi-governmental werewolf called Freddie Mac (The Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation), which bundles all kinds of janky mortgages into giant bonds the Fed buys in order to artificially pump up the real estate market. Did your eyes glaze over yet? That’s the great thing about finance: it’s bewildering, so that when shit goes wrong, nobody notices until its way too late.

What could go wrong with that program? Well, if you dump billions of bonds on the market, you will change the supply-and-demand equation in the direction of too much supply, and interest rates will have to rise when there isn’t enough bid from the demand side — especially if the US Treasury is creating ever more new bonds to make up for ever-greater deficit spending at the same time the Fed dumps bonds into the market. And if, for instance, the interest rate on the benchmark 10-year US Treasury bond goes up past 3.00 percent, well that may be all she wrote for the US government’s ability to service its monstrous debt. And it may be tits up for the real estate sector, too, because mortgage rates will rise, and fewer people will buy houses. The Fed’s latest actions boil down to a lame attempt to have some maneuvering room to once again lower interest rates and refill their balance sheet via a QE-4 orgy when the economy heads south in a way that even the US Bureau of Labor Statistics can’t obfuscate.

The ECB and the BOJ have already made noises about curtailing their vacuuming up of securities, so the liquidity rotation may end altogether. The new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has at its centerpiece the lowering of corporate income tax from 35 to 21 percent. The hidden agenda may be to hope this can act as a substitute for the dwindling central bank liquidity injections. The tax cuts and other new gimmicks would increase the federal debt by at least $1 trillion over a ten year period (and, by unofficial estimates, probably much more) paving the road to national bankruptcy with good intentions. But, of course, quite a few wise men in this culture have declared that deficits don’t matter. My own view is that they don’t matter until they do, and then you’re pretty screwed.

In the background of all this is an array of perilous real world events playing out that include especially potential conflict around North Korea and the Middle East. China’s banking system is a fun-house of scams and dodges that don’t add up anymore than ours do. The whole wicked pottage of EU / Brexit issues simmers away, along with the EU’s fatal flaw of lacking any fiscal discipline among member nations, so government spending has no relation to sovereign borrowing. NATO’s aggressive military posturing on Russia’s borders is pointless, stupid, dishonest, and provocative. Nobody knows what kind of gambit Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia will try next. Iran demands to be recognized as the regional hegemon. And our dear exceptional nation, with its restless Deep State black box “assets,” is capable of all sorts of mischief at home and abroad.

Any of these things could shove American markets into criticality, as if they don’t have enough built-in fragility already. Manipulation of the markets by the Fed and its water-carrying Too Big To Fail partners have deprived the markets of their chief function: price discovery, the ability to discern what things are really worth. Markets are therefore functionally useless and their uselessness is a giant hazard. No society that depends on money can work for long if nobody knows the true value of things, including the value of money itself. The price of attempting to live in a culture of pervasive dishonesty is that a re-set is inevitable. When it happens, it will be hugely destabilizing.

I expect the DJIA to move down sharply before the third quarter, rebound a little, and eventually bottom at 14,000 or lower by this time next year. I’ll call the S & P to settle in under 1,000. The NASDAQ may be the weakest, since its FAANG members — Facebook , Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Google (aka Alphabet)— are among the most mis-valued stocks, and the most based on vaporous products and services. Call NASDAQ to land at 2,700. Calling for a US dollar index (DXY) of 79 by December. Calling for gold $2,500 and silver $60 twelve months from now. There it is, like so much meat on the table.

Bitcoin and other cryptos have a superficial appeal as a wealth safe haven supposedly out-of-reach of avaricious governments — if you don’t consider everything else that’s wrong with it. (Yesterday, Dec 31, Australia’s biggest banks froze the accounts of Bitcoin investors.) I think the safe haven idea will prove fallacious. Governments are already finding ways to interfere, using taxation schemes and shutting down exchanges. Bitcoin’s other claims on “moneyness” look bogus as well. It’s too unstable to be a medium of exchange, and too difficult to even access when need to sell, and you certainly can’t price anything in it as it shoots up and crashes every day. Bitcoin went way up because people — or maybe just algorithms — saw it going way up, so they hitched a ride. The rush to the exits will be brutal. Its final resting place will be zero, but perhaps not without a trip or two to nosebleed levels in 2018, especially as other markets wobble in the first half of the year. Bitcoin $50-K wouldn’t surprise me. But I’m not among the buyers. Enjoy the show.

2018 is the year that fragilities in the shale oil industry challenge the narrative of the “miracle.” The industry hasn’t made a net red-cent since it ramped up ten years ago. It’s been running on debt, a lot of it junk financing (high-yield, high-risk, covenant-lite). The producers have been fracking and pumping all-out for several years to maximize their cash flow to service their loans. But these shale wells deplete by 80 percent on average after the first three years, and have to be replaced by expensive new wells, which require ever more debt financing. The truth is that shale oil and other “unconventional” oils just don’t pencil out economically. Their success in recent years was part-and-parcel with the central bank credit flood. As that credit flow gets choked down in 2018, oil companies will go out of business at an impressive rate. If the price of oil goes up to $80-a-barrel, as a result, it will be very damaging to what remains of the US economy of real stuff.

US Politics

 Donald Trump survived in office a whole year. Imagine that! After the 2016 election, I figured that the top military brass would give him the bum’s rush inside of three months, in short a coup d’état. Their action actually has been much more subtle: they just ring-fenced him with generals. Since he seems to regard them as his generals (“my generals”), then he’s apparently okay with that, like a boy in the nursery with his toy soldiers. And apart from the fact that the constitution calls for civilian control of the military and not vice-versa, I’m okay with that… for now. He’s got chaperones, at least. This is admittedly not the ideal disposition of American political power.

I did not vote for the Golden Golem, and I don’t esteem his abilities, but the incessant and rather hysterical attacks on his legitimacy, especially by members of Consensus Trance Central, display a mendacity out of George Orwell’s direst dreams. I never believed in the ludicrous Russian collusion fantasy, and find it difficult to believe that the editors of The New York Times do. So far, Special Counsel Robert Mueller has indicted two high-profile grifters (Manafort and Gates) on financial shenanigans involving business dealings in Russia dating from years before the 2016 election, plus one National Security Advisor (Michael Flynn) for speaking with the Russian Ambassador (who, exactly, are foreign ambassadors supposed to speak to if not government officials? And otherwise what are they here for?), and one entry-level foreign policy wonk (George Papadopoulos) who never even met Trump. I believe the grave and solemn Mueller is on a fishing expedition. Aficionados of DOJ tactics know that prosecutors can always fetch up the proverbial ham sandwich to indict, if there’s nothing else at hand.

Then there is the very troubling behavior of FBI employees (Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe), plus some members of Obama’s inner circle (Susan Rice, Samantha powers) in the twilight months of his term. And remember, Robert Mueller has been the erstwhile James Comey’s mentor and true-blue friend going way back. It just looks flat-out like a bunch of Deep State lifers are out to get the Golden Golem. The so-called “optics” are terrible.

Since crashing stock markets are liable to turn Trump into a mad bull, at the same time that Mueller will have to put up or shut up, I predict that long about the vernal equinox Mueller will come up with some Mickey Mouse charges against Trump, or his people, and be promptly fired by the president. General Flynn and the baby foreign policy wonk will be pardoned, and perhaps others. Probably not Manafort and his chum (though their prosecution might fail.) Democrats will go apeshit and batshit both, with talk of impeachment and constitutional crisis, but I don’t think any of that will stick. Congress may have more to worry about with tanking markets and other symptoms of an incipient economic train wreck. The effort to dump Trump would aggravate the tanking markets.

It is also plausible after the disclosures of recent months that the Russian meddling investigation could blow back on Hillary, the Clinton Foundation, Clinton allies, and possibly even some of Obama’s people (maybe even the former president himself). The evidence for Obama-era FBI involvement in the Christopher Steele file is already out there. There is yet to be a satisfactory elucidation of the Loretta Lynch / Bill Clinton Phoenix tarmac meet-up, nor to the circumstances around HRC’s lost emails and private server, nor the Anthony Weiner laptop, nor to the Uranium One matter. The casual observer sees much more circumstantial criminality in these matters so far than any Trump collusion-with-Russia hypothesis provides.

I venture to predict that ex-DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz resigns her House seat in disgrace as the case of her Pakistani grifter IT aide, Imran Awan, moves into the courts.

Trump firing Mueller will drive his Dem-Prog adversaries to new heights of hysteria but their wrath may be so ineffectual that they will fall back on their stock-in-trade, ginning up more sexual panic. This calls into question the pathetic state of the Democratic Party leadership. It’s so sclerotic these days that it makes the Whigs of 1856 look dynamic. They have no program for the compound emergencies the nation faces. The party machinery is in the hands of bought-and-paid-for errand boys, gender crybabies, and race hustlers. Their allies at The New York Times and CNN look ever more ridiculous peddling daily paranoid fantasies and styling themselves as advocates for “the Resistance.” Their cadres in the Ivy League outposts have turned into the most shamelessly illiberal gang of intellectual despots since Mao’s Red Guard roamed the earth.

I’m not persuaded that the Dems will necessarily stomp Trump’s Republicans in the 2018 congressional and state races, as seems to be widely assumed for the moment. I’ll predict, rather, that in 2018 we get the first stirrings of a new party forming to battle both tired old clubs. Trump now “owns” the fate of the stock market and the economy it wags, having bragged on it all year. He and the Republicans will be blamed if it falls out of bed. But my gut feeling is that the voters are even more sick of the Democrats and their victim-mongering. Their coffers are empty, despite jumping through every hoop that Wall Street held out for them. (Did all the money disappear into the maw of the Clinton Foundation?) Finally, on a personal note, I blame them for driving a stake through Garrison’s Keillor’s heart with their reckless sexual witch-hunting, and I don’t forgive them for that, no matter how many tits he may have tried to touch backstage.

Elsewhere on This Planet

Economic savant and international man-of-mystery James Rickards says that Trump and his generals are going to whap North Korea upside its big chunky head soon after the winter Olympics are concluded in South Korea on February 25. But as Trump averred in the election campaign, he is not inclined to state in advance exactly what we might do in a military situation. Maybe the rumor is true that we have interesting new weapons capable of turning Little Rocket Man into a Post Toastie without harming the mass of innocent North Koreans. I’d have to give 50 percent odds that whatever we do in Korea turns out to be an epic illustration of Murphy’s Law, since our track record in foreign military adventures since VJ day in 1945 is pretty scant in the “win” column. The Balkan War, maybe… Bush One’s Gulf War sort of… Grenada (for Godsake)… what else…?

Kim Jung-un may not be able yet to deliver an atomic blast to Rodeo Drive, but he can likely lob one into Tokyo on a five minute flight path. Look at the map. The Japanese must be nervous about it. They were once a world-class military power, in case you don’t remember the banzai era. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants to revise Japan’s pacifist constitution — engineered by US advisors during the post-war occupation — to allow for a robust military. I wouldn’t be surprised if something lethal jumps out of a lacquered black bento box in the direction of Pyongyang around the same time the US goes for that whap upside NK’s head.

And there’s Seoul, of course, less than 20 miles from the DMZ and within range of a supposedly huge array of North Korean heavy artillery. The theory is we have a slim window of opportunity to deal with this rascal before he equips himself to do some major mischief in the world. I don’t believe this is just a bunch of shuck-and-jive cooked up by the arms merchants and their friends. It’s real and existential and very messy. Something is going to happen there.

China has a pretty firm mutual defense treaty with North Korea, and perhaps reason to want to keep the regime up-and-running as a buffer zone. But do they really want to jump feet first into World War Three defending Kim? I guess we’ll find out. In the meantime, China’s president Xi Jinping has got enough on his plate trying to safely land the high-flying, but wobbling, debt-saturated Chinese economy. Odds are that it’s going to be a rough landing. In which case, maybe war is the answer, as a way of distracting the Chinese public’s attention. But what sort of war? Cyber-sabotage? EMP blackouts? Good old-fashioned mutual nuclear destruction? Grinding old-school land campaigns? Naval battles? It’s a dangerous game and Xi does not look like a risk junkie — more like prudent ole Uncle Xi. So I’ll predict that whatever blows on the Korean Peninsula, China will try to stay out of it, even if it makes faces and jumps up and down a bit.

Russia can only benefit from steering clear of war, though its recent offer to act as an intermediary between Kim and Trump was a smart move. (Maybe they remember how Teddy Roosevelt negotiated a peace settlement in the Russo-Japanese War of 1907.) They have little to lose and prestige to gain. Despite what you hear about the unholy thuggery of Vladimir Putin, it seems to me that what he wants most of all for his country is to attain the condition of a politically and economically normal nation — after the 75-year-long misadventure with communism. I suspect Putin and others in Russia would have liked the country to become more fully Europeanized in tone and style than it has been allowed to be, with NATO playing war games on Russia’s border, and US monkeyshines in Ukraine, and sanctions against it for really no good reason. So, Russia has been shoved back into its cubbyhole as a nation not quite of Europe, with sinister Byzantine overtones and ancient exotic Mongol influences.

This quasi-isolation has some benefits for Russia, for one, the imperative to develop businesses and industries for import-replacement, that is, for becoming more self-sufficient. Russia has a lot to work worth, with the world’s highest oil production, lots of ores and minerals, untold hydropower, and endless timber. It can make its own stuff, and Russian citizens are free to try starting businesses. The country may even benefit from climate change with expanded croplands. Russia is already approaching food self-sufficiency after the long catastrophe of soviet farm collectivization.

Meanwhile, Europe desperately needs Russia’s oil and natural gas, so they must know that using NATO troops and armor to make threats is a hollow gesture. Notice that Russia is stockpiling gold reserves, where the USA is just selling the stuff off. (China is stockpiling, too. Like mad.) When other currencies implode, there is reason to believe the world will be introduced to a gold-backed Ruble and Yuan, “money” backed by money. They’ll be able to buy stuff they need. Will we? Will a gold-backed currency shove aside the US dollar as world reserve currency? The precursor to that will be China’s effort to establish oil trade in its Yuan.

Europe has stumbled along economically for several years on Mario Draghi’s promise to “do whatever it takes” to keep the EU’s member nations from falling into the black hole of debt deflation, namely, buying every bond that the sovereign governments and corporations issue. That kept the game going, but the structural imbalances in EU banking are now so extreme that it is hard to see a way out besides an EU crackup. The Merkel-led immigration-and-refugee policy looked like a bad bet from the get-go and is liable to get worse when the whatever-it-takes liquidity dries up and the EU member countries fall into recession (or depression) and there’s no more money to pay for all those refugee settlement centers and the social services that have been provided. There won’t be enough gainful employment for Germans, Belgians, Frenchmen, and Swedes, let alone for immigrants and refugees.

I’ll predict that starting in 2018 we’ll see efforts to ramp up deportations of these newcomers. Racist? That will be the knee-jerk hue-and-cry. But the epithet is losing its punch as the effects of Merkel’s open door policy are felt on-the-ground in the obvious hostility, xenophobia, and aggression, displayed by Islamic settlers. The defeat of ISIS on the Middle East battlefields in 2017 suggests that they will be ramping up terror operations to Europe. European nationalism movements will grow in 2018 and gain intellectual respectability as the defense of European culture is taken seriously. Middle European states such as Hungary and Poland have not given in on the EU’s demand to accept immigrants and refugees from Islamic lands. Their example will be followed. Politicians in the rest of Europe will consider the “Just Say No” option.

The United Kingdom enters 2018 especially vulnerable to economic travail. The estimated cost of Brexit at tens of billions of pounds sterling, and the potential loss of business, especially banking, is one mighty headwind. The other, less talked about, is the dwindling of the UK’s oil and gas reserves. The equation is simple: fewer energy inputs equals lower economic activity. The only way around that is the popular central bank strategy of recent years: money-printing and accounting fraud. You can’t base an economy on that, and the truth will become painfully self-evident this new year in Great Britain.

Suddenly this last week of 2017, anti-regime demonstrations are busting out all over Iran. They are said to be protests over poor economic performance and the regime’s squandering of resources sponsoring mischief in other lands (Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, etc). Folks are getting killed in the streets. The Revolutionary Guard — the zealots who took our diplomatic personnel hostage in 1979 — have promised to squash the protest. Many Iranians must be good and goddam sick of mullahs and ayatollahs running the joint.

Otherwise, it’s beginning to look like Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) of Saudi Arabia (KSA) would like to rumble with Iran to beat back their influence outside their borders in the region. Iran has had plenty of opportunity to play with its military hardware in recent decades: in the Iran-Iraq War, arming Hezbollah to battle Israel, in support of Bashar al-Assad’s government in Syria, and lately in Yemen’s civil war. KSA, on the other hand, has been buying jet planes and bombs from the US for decades, with nary a chance to put them to use. MBS seems eager to test-drive this schwag.

A real dust-up between the principals would put a lot of the world’s oil supply at risk if oil tanker shipping in the Persian Gulf were interrupted. China and Japan would bear the brunt, but the whole world would feel it. Kicking the clerics out of government in Iran might tone down the unnecessary religious hostilities between Sunni and Shiites that has played such a big part in the creation of failed states throughout the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Iran has plenty of economic problems inside its own borders.

The disarray in other areas of the vast MENA region will continue in 2018, whether regime change in Iran happens or not. Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan are permanently failed states, with Egypt ever on the verge. Syria will stabilize as a much smaller economy, propped up by payments from Russia for hosting naval and air bases there. This part of the world has suffered ruinous population overshoot in the industrial age, especially the states that produced oil. The desert ecology can’t support all these people as the industry falters and shrinks. Even as the situation worsens, the swollen populations will generate more children. When they can no longer decant themselves into Europe, the real misery starts.

You may have forgotten there is a place called South America. Its many nations have been in a pleasant political coma for a decade or so, except Venezuela, which is in cardiac arrest, organ failure, and brain death. There will be a bloody revolution there this year, and Venezuela’s oil industry will be crippled, adding to the world’s oil supply problems.

The Closing of the American Mind

2017 was a spectacular year for intellectual collapse among the political Left, but especially for its subsidiaries on campus. The trauma of Donald Trump’s election victory put this faction into a fugue state in which no opportunity for coercion and persecution of imagined enemies could be missed. The victim-oppressor politics spawned by the critical-theory-for-lunch-bunch has produced an ideology in which “inclusion” means segregated dorms, racially separate graduation ceremonies, and (at Harvard) closing down age-old men’s and women’s voluntary social associations. And “diversity” means as long as you express the exact same ideas we do. The presidents, deans, and faculty of colleges around the country have turned into the most obdurate enemies of free thought since the Spanish Inquisition, a gang of cowards and villains who disgrace the meaning and purpose of higher Ed.

Highlights of the year in Social Justice Warrior Land include the violence around Charles Murray’s lecture at Middlebury, the Antifa riots at UC Berkeley, the “Day of Absence” ritual at Evergreen U in Washington State where white people were banished from campus, and the Lindsey Shepherd star chamber tribunal at Laurier University in Toronto (I know, that’s outside the USA). In all of these cases, college presidents, deans, and faculty acted contemptibly, supporting coercion, persecution, antipathy to due process of law, the willful betrayal of common decency, and a folio of shockingly stupid ideas — such as the proposition from the chair of the Purdue University Engineering Department (one Donna Riley) that academic rigor is a symptom of “white male heterosexual privilege.”

As it happens, higher education is approaching its own state of implosion, since college has become, most of all, a money-grubbing racket tuned to the flow of exorbitant student loans for exorbitant college costs. Higher Ed’s fate is tied to the financial sector, especially the bond market, since college loans are lately being bundled into janky bonds just like the NINJA mortgages of 2007 were. The entire US college industry has been in a hypertrophic blow-off for decades, and the gross expansion of facilities, programs, and costs has developedan inverse relationship to the value of a college education. I predict that a shocking number of small four-year colleges will go out of business this year. Students who had not completed their degree requirements will just be shit out of luck.

Concluding Thoughts

2018 will be a tumultuous year of shake-outs and loss. The watchword for the year should be “lean.” Individuals will be shoved into leaner modes of living. Companies will suffer despite the new lower tax. Financial rewards will be lean. Nations will have to seriously start planning to get by on less, to downscale, and jettison programs that don’t jibe with the mandates of reality. 2018 is the year that the world comes un-stuck from the past ten years of pretending that it’s possible to get something for nothing. For 2018, it’s full speed ahead into the long emergency.


New Paintings by JHK 2016 — 2017


Great Winter Reading… JHK’s new book!

“Simply the best novel about the 1960s.”

Read the first chapter here (click) on Patreon

Buy the book at Amazon or click on the cover below

or get autographed copies from Battenkill Books


Other Books by JHK

The World Made By Hand Series:
Book 1:
World Made by Hand
Book 2:
The Witch of Hebron
Buy World Made By Hand Signed and local from Battenkill BooksBuy World Made By Hand on AmazonBuy World Made By Hand at Northshire Books Buy The Witch of Hebron signed and local from Battenkill BooksBuy The Witch of Hebron on AmazonBuy The Witch of Hebron at Northshire Books
Book 3:
A History of the Future
Book 4:
Harrows of Spring
Signed and local from Battenkill BooksAvailable on AmazonAvailable at Northshire Books Signed and local from Battenkill BooksAvailable on AmazonAvailable at Northshire Books
Geography of Nowhere The Long Emergency
Available on Kindle Buy The Long Emergency signed and local from Battenkill BooksBuy The Long Emergency on AmazonBuy The Long Emergency at Northshire Books

Support this blog by visiting Jim’s Patreon Page

 

About James Howard Kunstler

View all posts by James Howard Kunstler
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.

556 Responses to “Forecast 2018 — What Could Go Wrong?” Subscribe

  1. manysummits January 1, 2018 at 10:10 am #

    “For 2018, it’s full speed ahead into the long emergency.” (James)

    Sounds about right Jim,

    Happy New Year

    • K-Dog January 1, 2018 at 2:24 pm #

      “For 2018, it’s full speed ahead into the long emergency.”

      The line grabbed me to and probably anybody else who read the book but for now we lull in Kardashian holidays.

      James threw enough mud at the wall so something has to stick. He has his bases covered and he did say go ahead and believe the opposite of what he would post here last week in his las article. I don’t care about the accuracy right now. It was well written and for now the taste of that is more important than the accuracy.

      Thank you James for the new info such as what is happening in Iran among other things.

      Happy New Year to ALL

    • Gonga Din January 2, 2018 at 1:35 pm #

      Aye, and if the actual events don’t bear out, I am sure truth and reason have died. In any case, it’s good consciousness elevation.

  2. Ol' Scratch January 1, 2018 at 10:29 am #

    Thanks for the hard work Jim. With Greer’s prognosis due out on Wednesday, should make for some good comparative reading.

    As for the job of forecasting itself: who in the hell knows anymore? 2017 marked the official slipping down the rabbit hole, and it’s all through the looking glass – darkly! – now.

    • ozone January 1, 2018 at 11:42 am #

      Ahhh, thanks for the reminder and zeitgeist adjustment, Ol’ Scratch.
      May you have a productive New Year — I’m sure there will be plenty of deals to propose (via a buttload of wishful and delusional thinking) and mountainous piles of shocked and bewildered souls to be swept up! 😉

      • Ol' Scratch January 1, 2018 at 12:22 pm #

        Ain’t that the truth! On Greer’s recommendation, I’m reading John Galbreath’s The Great Crash 1929. Then as now, people who should have known better succumbed to the foolishness of get rich schemes of every manner and stripe. Hardly surprising though when you stop to consider that our entire debt-based financial system and the industrial resource extraction economy it fuels are both nothing more than giant, elaborate Ponzi schemes as well. With so much foolishness out there, it’s hardly surprising that so many would be willing to trade their very souls for a piece of the pie as well. But hey, it makes the deal, it pays the price, as I’m fond of saying.

    • Walter B January 1, 2018 at 12:13 pm #

      Second that thanks on the hard work.

      As we all sit here and ponder how it can continue to degrade and never seem to be even close to collapse, our discussions and my experiences in local government are starting to paint a clearer picture of what exactly is happening, at least for me. As people lose their homes and/or walk away from them, the change cannot be seen by the texting commuters that fly past them late for work. All seems the same, all is ok. Houses do not disappear of jump up and down to signal “danger Will Robinson, danger”. Some institutions that hold the paper actually fill these lost income sources with families (especially police families) who are allowed to live rent free to maintain the structures if nothing else. Displaced home owners who move into Mommy’s basement or take up cheap rentals now have more cash (credit) to spend on everything from college for the kids to new 8 year car loans. As homeowners bail out of “ownership” and hedge funds and lawyer owned LLC’s buy up properties and turn them into rentals and group homes, dwindling home ownership numbers has signaled a new tactic for Trenton. Governor-elect Pot Head has promised and will deliver an assault on the remaining homeowners through increased property taxes fueled by smaller or no state aid to municipalities and through accelerating the “affordable” (rental) housing construction all at the expense of home owners. So as the situation degrades the appearances of normalcy remains. Nobody sees it, nobody cares, off to work, two jobs now instead of one.

      On the World scene, Iran and the ME will always be the place to watch for the main event. Surely the ghost of Allen Dulles still haunts the palaces of Tehran in ecstasy as violence and “revolution” once again appear at least to be back in style. All in all, the New Year will be just like the Old Year, just a little more stinky, a bit more ugly and less prosperous for the bulk of the population just enough to allow us all to take it and hope that this is the last hosing we will get. In the end, no one will care how bad it gets for the next guy as long as it not as bad for them. Pick ’em off one by one and no resistance can be had. When each asshole is the center of it’s own universe, galactic conquest can be had one universe at a time. Resistance is indeed futile.

      • Robert White January 1, 2018 at 7:43 pm #

        You need to watch Frank Capra’s Sgt. York again, Walter B.
        The movie watching American public must know how to shoot turkeys by now given the amount of people that have seen that movie over the last decades since Capra produced it, eh.

        If Americans are indeed oblivious enough to get picked off then I’m sure Chuckles Darwin would say that is adaptive on scale with evolution. Herd behaviour is not adaptive when the herd is followed like Lemmings, but human beings have the capacity to think outside of herd mentality when their lives are at stake. Most know on a general level that they too are at risk in a system at risk.

        RW

  3. shotho January 1, 2018 at 10:40 am #

    Nary a hopeful prospect in sight, unless you consider debt default to be hopeful in the sense that it must happen in order for the world’s nations to restore sanity in its dealings with each other and the billions of its inhabitants

  4. venuspluto67 January 1, 2018 at 10:47 am #

    I agree with you about the current state of the Democratic Party. The last time Governor Scott Walker was up for regular re-election, the Dems imposed from the top down with no discussion and no real alternatives, the lamest, most pathetic candidate they possibly could. (Can you say, “taking a dive”, boys and girls and non-binaries?) This pretty much killed any willingness I had to place any faith and trust in this cadaver of a political party, and State Senator Julie Lassa drove the final nail into that coffin by killing in committee a bill that would have legalized medical marijuana in Wisconsin. Bye-bye, baby, bye-bye, he said in his letter!

    And this upcoming election cycle in Wisconsin? It would appear that we have a first-class clown-car Democratic primary taking place for the gubernatorial race, with sixteen or maybe seventeen candidates throwing their hats into the ring. Clown-car primaries do not make for a strong showing for a political party in the following primary election.

    To be honest, the “bat-shit and ape-shit” behavior of the authoritarian left has turned them into a piss-poor counterfeit of the neo-cons, complete with the aggressive stupidity I have until now exclusively associated with the dumb rednecks who need Rush and Fox News to say what two-plus-two equals today. It doesn’t exactly make me want to run out to the polls and fill in the arrow on the ballot for the Democratic Party.

  5. lateStarter January 1, 2018 at 10:50 am #

    2018 – It smells a lot like 1928.

    • malthuss January 1, 2018 at 12:12 pm #

      You must be kidding. Things are much worse now, imo.

      • lateStarter January 1, 2018 at 12:27 pm #

        No. I am not kidding. While I agree that the scale this time will make the events that played out back then seem like a walk in the park, the general mood is similar. As our host points out: What could go wrong?

      • windward January 1, 2018 at 7:10 pm #

        “…We can devise all the clever schemes imaginable to clean up politics and get money out of campaigns, but it won’t work until the American people collectively give up on certain fond illusions: the Horatio Alger myth, American Exceptionalism, and the whole mass of magical thinking that boils down to the belief that God loves America because we’re so virtuous, handsome, and smart, and that we, too, could win the lottery. Well, we’re not necessarily any of those things. The truth is that we lucked into adverse possession of a mostly empty continent in a temperate zone with lots of resources, and straddled east and west by two huge moats. We had firearms and resistance to smallpox, and the original owners didn’t. Virtue had very little to do with it…”

        truth-out.org/opinion/item/10661-stone-cold-sober-an-interview-with-mike-lofgren-author-of-the-party…

  6. Paulo January 1, 2018 at 10:52 am #

    Terrific job with this one. I find absolutely no fault with any of your ‘guesses’, except for all those unknown unknown unknowns. 🙂 Great work, as usual.

    I wouldn’t mind seeing the Market collapse for two reasons. One, it would be great to see Trump wear that one, or hear who he blames it on. Two, it’s just so goddamn phony and meaningless as a measure of how business actually works; you know that quaint old idea of seeing a need, save startup funds or obtain financing, build and sell a product/service, and pay back the investors with a fair return? Instead….

    Speaking of quaint, after 8 years of Obama and 1 of Trump the old GW looks like an old fireside Grampa in comparrison. You could actually see through him as he talked about ‘his base’ and how much money they would make. At least people are actually seeing the Clintons for what they are these days and understand how Obama was in the pockets of the banks.

    Now, if someone would just hack into Trump’s tax returns my year would be complete.

    When Carter was forced out so was decency. It’s been downhill for a long long time…and speeding up big time.

    • windward January 1, 2018 at 7:26 pm #

      That’s right about Carter. He told us what we needed to hear and Reagan told us what we wanted to hear.

      About seeing a need and trying to do something about it, I wonder whether you have tried it. If so, did you succeed and how hard was it?

      • aibohphobia January 2, 2018 at 2:09 pm #

        “seeing a need and trying to do something about it, I wonder whether you have tried it. If so, did you succeed and how hard was it?”

        Yup, done that. I once knew an illegal alien from Barbados who came to the US and started a courier company. She hired Americans to run the packages around. I tried to get her into a couple of “Women in Business” groups; found an immigration lawyer to try to get her a way to legalize her status–She WAS an employer after all, and if the US kicked her out there would be five unemployed Americans shortly after that. Nothing worked as advertised, and she finally told me, “You are very sincere, and I can tell you are trying very hard to help me, but none of your ideas seem to work.”

        • windward January 2, 2018 at 7:46 pm #

          That’s what I have found. The resistance to anything new and the iron grip most people have on what they know or believe is the first and greatest obstacle to progress. If you can overcome that the rest is easy. If you live that long.

  7. 100th Avatar January 1, 2018 at 11:00 am #

    Some fragile people used social media to express how deeply offended they were by NYTimes photos that showed chopsticks upright or leaning on a bowl accompanying an article about an asian steak house or something. deeply offended. snarky comments ensued. photo retracted.

    victimhood epoch

    • harryflashmanhigson January 1, 2018 at 11:45 pm #

      It’s because it’s part of the funeral/death rituals in Japan. It’s a big deal here YOU DO NOT STICK CHOPSTICKS IN YOUR RICE! They take it seriously.

      • 100th Avatar January 2, 2018 at 12:15 pm #

        That doesn’t mean EVERYONE MUST!

      • Walter B January 3, 2018 at 9:12 am #

        Bloody Lance, is it you? I thought Fetnab did you in.

  8. DurangoKid January 1, 2018 at 11:07 am #

    Is it just a coincidence the western press version of the Iranian protesters’ complaints are congruent with the Washington Consensus? Specifically, ‘Iran is not supposed to behave like we do.’ Seems like the thin end of the wedge.

    • Ol' Scratch January 1, 2018 at 12:33 pm #

      Not buying any of it either. No doubt the three letter agencies are knee deep in that mess, as I believe they are in North Korea as well. I’d go so far as to guess that the Lil Fat Man is even dancing to their tune for being allowed to stay in power. He’s playing the part of comic book villain just a little too perfectly, I think.

      • outsider January 1, 2018 at 1:12 pm #

        The Iranian protests, coming as they have after Trump’s dirty trick move to decertify Obama’s hard won deal, are just too perfectly timed. Methinks it is the NGO’s (really just CIA fronts) doing their typical thing. What will they name this new Color Revolution – as it blows up in their face, just like the last one did early in Obama’s tenure?

        • Janos Skorenzy January 1, 2018 at 2:43 pm #

          Yes, they’ve cut social media already. If the Colors, not all “peaceful students” either, persist, the Revolutionary Guard will kill hundred or thousands of them to maintain the Islamic State.

  9. michics January 1, 2018 at 11:08 am #

    Good over view Jim. I read it every year and appreciate the work you put into it. A couple points I’d like to make are that I’m continually struck by how uninformed the public is. Whenever any political discussion arises among my friends they reveal just how much they do not know about the world events. But yet they believe Trump will be the savior.
    Also if the stock market crashes it’s time to go open season on putting elites in jail for misdeeds. Take their mansions away from them and send the message to the business world to clean up their act. Oh, wait a minute. That would likely take the DOJ and Congress and they are politically corrupt. Oh well I can dream can’t I !!!

  10. hmuller January 1, 2018 at 11:21 am #

    JHK, good observations on the SJW crowd. They are the American Red Guard and like their namesakes are already turning on one another in chaotic self-destruction. Their values, goals, and beliefs never carried any weight among us deplorables in flyover country.

    Ditto with the Hollywood and media elite on their high moral horses preaching cultural Marxism – telling us what we should think, what we are allowed to say, and whom we should elect. They stand exposed for the wretched degenerates they are.

    2018 will be a year when even more which is hidden will be exposed. The political and financial elite have much to fear. Time to pack your bags for GITMO, Hillary and friends.

  11. stelmosfire January 1, 2018 at 11:23 am #

    Here I sit all broken hearted paid my dime and only farted! I believe you may be right on the money this time JHK. Excellent job. I’m not prone to out loud laughter but this missive invoked several. Great job!.

    • windward January 1, 2018 at 7:35 pm #

      There goes Roadway a mile a minute,
      Big fuckin’ rig and nothin’ in it.

      • elysianfield January 2, 2018 at 11:46 am #

        There goes Roadway a mile a minute,
        Big fuckin’ rig and nothin’ in it.

        Windward,

        Very esoteric comment…you must be or have been a trucker….

        • Q. Shtik January 2, 2018 at 12:02 pm #

          There goes Roadway a mile a minute,
          Big fuckin’ rig and nothin’ in it. – wind

          ============

          I love short pithy poems like this.

          • elysianfield January 2, 2018 at 6:56 pm #

            Q,
            There once was a man from Nantucket…

            I got a million of them!

        • windward January 2, 2018 at 7:49 pm #

          elysianfield, I did use a truck stop restroom once.

  12. ozone January 1, 2018 at 11:31 am #

    Jim,
    Thanks for venturing into the unknown future with a good will and some objective addition and multiplication… and we’ll not overlook things exponential while we’re at it! (Not an easy thing to gauge.)

    As to this very important tidbit:

    “I’m not persuaded that the Dems will necessarily stomp Trump’s Republicans in the 2018 congressional and state races, as seems to be widely assumed for the moment. I’ll predict, rather, that in 2018 we get the first stirrings of a new party forming to battle both tired old clubs. Trump now “owns” the fate of the stock market and the economy it wags, having bragged on it all year. He and the Republicans will be blamed if it falls out of bed. But my gut feeling is that the voters are even more sick of the Democrats and their victim-mongering…”

    What I’ll be looking for (with popcorn and libations close to hand) is, once again, what will be the actual numbers of lumpen lumps emerging from their cocoons of consent-manufacturing infotainment to make their marks on ballots or press those touch-screen “buttons” of dubious validity? Exit polling numbers are getting harder and harder to find and I contend there is a very deliberate reason for it; a loss of faith (by simple accounting and percentages) that the democratic process can truly make changes for the betterment of the “little people’s” lives is something that those who were “duly elected” by the [supposed] people’s wishes would not like revealed.

    Regardless of an interesting new start-up party, if the whole shebang is perceived by us lumpies as thoroughly rigged and unaccountable, the “duly elected” are going to have an awful tough time claiming they have a mandate for *any* of their foolishness and venal collusions. This is a dangerous situation that can only fester and swell; lest we forget (and boy-howdy do we ever TRY), this nation’s citizenry is very well armed. It matters not the official story, that fella in Las Vegas had plenty of firepower on hand to get the job done, even without all the hoorah about “help”. Think of this little lesson if applied to the Washington landfill rat-shoot. It would become an untrustworthy, heavily fortified armed camp faster than you can say, “swamp critter vermin”.

    Will of the People, my ass…..
    (As an outstanding example, where the fuck did Barry O’Blammo come from anyway? Was no one else available or as slickly veiled to do Wall Street’s bidding? His role as an unknown quantity and excellent purveyor of snake oil probably had much to do with his incredible meteoric rise.)

    • outsider January 1, 2018 at 1:01 pm #

      It’s easy to dump on Barry’s eight lost years, but he did save us from Bomb Iran McCain and Bibi’s college buddy Romney. For that I will always be grateful, even as Obama did nothing to stem The Hegemon’s inexorable slide into the abyss.

      Barry also saved us from Hillary in ’08. In the primaries she actually received more votes than he did. That’s twice she received the most votes and lost. No wonder Hillary’s such a bitter old lady now.

      • ozone January 1, 2018 at 1:20 pm #

        outsider,
        I do take your point, but just take a look at those (ahem) “choices”, if you will!
        Thus is *my* point handily made. 😉

        A productive New Year to you… and don’t wait around for saviors or fixers! As JHK is urgently implying, time grows short.

  13. Bro Jobe January 1, 2018 at 11:38 am #

    “When other currencies implode, there is reason to believe the world will be introduced to a gold-backed Ruble and Yuan, ‘money’ backed by money. They’ll be able to buy stuff they need. Will we?”

    No. China and Russia also possess one great advantage over us, come Collapse: the military and police have the guns. Keep the army well fed and put them on the streets, and the mob will put up and shut up, even if they have recently acquired a lot of nice consumer goods. In the US it will be Mad Max time, at least as long as the gas and bullets are around.

    After an economic collapse, both nations have the manufacturing base we lack. Russia has oil, China tech to trade for it, and China has the navy to impose its will on the region to secure deep-water wells to keep the oil flowing.

    I also see 2018 getting ugly. Trump was just a symptom of our decline and desperation, North Korea just another brush war even if a nuke or two get dropped. In the end, Trump’s and Kim’s fates will be forgotten as the American project, as we knew it since 1945, winds down into a tragicomic last act.

    • Janos Skorenzy January 1, 2018 at 2:49 pm #

      They also don’t have primitive Blacks and Browns in every large and medium sized City just waiting for the mayhem to begin. But Russia does have a huge Muslim problem. Chechens are very dangerous to name just one Muslim group. And Moscow is full of them.

      • elysianfield January 2, 2018 at 11:48 am #

        ” Chechens are very dangerous to name just one Muslim group. And Moscow is full of them.”

        Janos,
        I mentioned this to Finc, or one of his iterations, months past, and he opined that Chechens are not an issue….

      • cj969 January 4, 2018 at 2:12 pm #

        “primitive Blacks and Browns”

        Unlike those oh-so-sophisticated, Sherry-swilling Trump voters in Appalachia.

    • SuperDave January 2, 2018 at 2:22 pm #

      Me thinks you are not aware of Chinese navy. if we are to assume our host (JHK) is correct, and we end up living in a world of constrained petroleum…the Chinese Navy will not be an issue more than a few hundred miles from China. However, the US Navy (a largely nuclear navy) will be able to project force for a long while to come…The Chinese aircraft carrier uses gas fired boilers and its propulsion system is janky at best. They put to sea with a tug in their task force specifically for the carrier. They will not be forcefully taking anything by sea where deep water wells currently are.

      • elysianfield January 2, 2018 at 6:58 pm #

        SD,
        Cruise missiles are the new carriers….

        • SuperDave January 3, 2018 at 10:17 am #

          Cruise missiles are very handy to blow thing…but without any Guided Missile Cruisers, is China going to be able to get them within range of anything to blow up…and Cruise missiles are not incredibly useful from taking hard assets you don’t want to destroy or for subduing(and enslaving) populations of resistant folks.

          • SuperDave January 3, 2018 at 10:18 am #

            Cruise missiles are very handy to blow things up…but without any Guided Missile Cruisers, is China going to be able to get them within range of anything to blow up…and Cruise missiles are not incredibly useful from taking hard assets you don’t want to destroy or for subduing(and enslaving) populations of resistant folks.

          • elysianfield January 3, 2018 at 11:19 am #

            SD,
            China will develop a blue water navy…but the new generation of cruise missiles put our carrier task forces at risk in the seas around their mainland.

  14. pequiste January 1, 2018 at 11:45 am #

    “What could go wrong?” JHK asks.

    Well, by the bleary vision resulting from a new year’s eve bender and the clear knowledge that another calendar cycle has begun —

    –almost everything! (Like Jim points out.)

    My joy at the prospect of Hillary’s right-hand girl, Huma Abedin ( with personal laptop sharing of state secrets with Anthony “Carlos Danger” Weiner) getting a turn under the microscope with possible dissection under a formal and proper criminal investigation by the Department of Justice, helps warm the cockles of my heart in this chilly first day of the year.

    Conjecturing all sorts of outcomes from a criminal indictment of Ms Abedin; could Mrs. Clinton also finally get a turn on the ducking stool?

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. manysummits January 1, 2018 at 10:10 am #

    “For 2018, it’s full speed ahead into the long emergency.” (James)

    Sounds about right Jim,

    Happy New Year

    • K-Dog January 1, 2018 at 2:24 pm #

      “For 2018, it’s full speed ahead into the long emergency.”

      The line grabbed me to and probably anybody else who read the book but for now we lull in Kardashian holidays.

      James threw enough mud at the wall so something has to stick. He has his bases covered and he did say go ahead and believe the opposite of what he would post here last week in his las article. I don’t care about the accuracy right now. It was well written and for now the taste of that is more important than the accuracy.

      Thank you James for the new info such as what is happening in Iran among other things.

      Happy New Year to ALL

    • Gonga Din January 2, 2018 at 1:35 pm #

      Aye, and if the actual events don’t bear out, I am sure truth and reason have died. In any case, it’s good consciousness elevation.

  2. Ol' Scratch January 1, 2018 at 10:29 am #

    Thanks for the hard work Jim. With Greer’s prognosis due out on Wednesday, should make for some good comparative reading.

    As for the job of forecasting itself: who in the hell knows anymore? 2017 marked the official slipping down the rabbit hole, and it’s all through the looking glass – darkly! – now.

    • ozone January 1, 2018 at 11:42 am #

      Ahhh, thanks for the reminder and zeitgeist adjustment, Ol’ Scratch.
      May you have a productive New Year — I’m sure there will be plenty of deals to propose (via a buttload of wishful and delusional thinking) and mountainous piles of shocked and bewildered souls to be swept up! 😉

      • Ol' Scratch January 1, 2018 at 12:22 pm #

        Ain’t that the truth! On Greer’s recommendation, I’m reading John Galbreath’s The Great Crash 1929. Then as now, people who should have known better succumbed to the foolishness of get rich schemes of every manner and stripe. Hardly surprising though when you stop to consider that our entire debt-based financial system and the industrial resource extraction economy it fuels are both nothing more than giant, elaborate Ponzi schemes as well. With so much foolishness out there, it’s hardly surprising that so many would be willing to trade their very souls for a piece of the pie as well. But hey, it makes the deal, it pays the price, as I’m fond of saying.

    • Walter B January 1, 2018 at 12:13 pm #

      Second that thanks on the hard work.

      As we all sit here and ponder how it can continue to degrade and never seem to be even close to collapse, our discussions and my experiences in local government are starting to paint a clearer picture of what exactly is happening, at least for me. As people lose their homes and/or walk away from them, the change cannot be seen by the texting commuters that fly past them late for work. All seems the same, all is ok. Houses do not disappear of jump up and down to signal “danger Will Robinson, danger”. Some institutions that hold the paper actually fill these lost income sources with families (especially police families) who are allowed to live rent free to maintain the structures if nothing else. Displaced home owners who move into Mommy’s basement or take up cheap rentals now have more cash (credit) to spend on everything from college for the kids to new 8 year car loans. As homeowners bail out of “ownership” and hedge funds and lawyer owned LLC’s buy up properties and turn them into rentals and group homes, dwindling home ownership numbers has signaled a new tactic for Trenton. Governor-elect Pot Head has promised and will deliver an assault on the remaining homeowners through increased property taxes fueled by smaller or no state aid to municipalities and through accelerating the “affordable” (rental) housing construction all at the expense of home owners. So as the situation degrades the appearances of normalcy remains. Nobody sees it, nobody cares, off to work, two jobs now instead of one.

      On the World scene, Iran and the ME will always be the place to watch for the main event. Surely the ghost of Allen Dulles still haunts the palaces of Tehran in ecstasy as violence and “revolution” once again appear at least to be back in style. All in all, the New Year will be just like the Old Year, just a little more stinky, a bit more ugly and less prosperous for the bulk of the population just enough to allow us all to take it and hope that this is the last hosing we will get. In the end, no one will care how bad it gets for the next guy as long as it not as bad for them. Pick ’em off one by one and no resistance can be had. When each asshole is the center of it’s own universe, galactic conquest can be had one universe at a time. Resistance is indeed futile.

      • Robert White January 1, 2018 at 7:43 pm #

        You need to watch Frank Capra’s Sgt. York again, Walter B.
        The movie watching American public must know how to shoot turkeys by now given the amount of people that have seen that movie over the last decades since Capra produced it, eh.

        If Americans are indeed oblivious enough to get picked off then I’m sure Chuckles Darwin would say that is adaptive on scale with evolution. Herd behaviour is not adaptive when the herd is followed like Lemmings, but human beings have the capacity to think outside of herd mentality when their lives are at stake. Most know on a general level that they too are at risk in a system at risk.

        RW

  3. shotho January 1, 2018 at 10:40 am #

    Nary a hopeful prospect in sight, unless you consider debt default to be hopeful in the sense that it must happen in order for the world’s nations to restore sanity in its dealings with each other and the billions of its inhabitants

  4. venuspluto67 January 1, 2018 at 10:47 am #

    I agree with you about the current state of the Democratic Party. The last time Governor Scott Walker was up for regular re-election, the Dems imposed from the top down with no discussion and no real alternatives, the lamest, most pathetic candidate they possibly could. (Can you say, “taking a dive”, boys and girls and non-binaries?) This pretty much killed any willingness I had to place any faith and trust in this cadaver of a political party, and State Senator Julie Lassa drove the final nail into that coffin by killing in committee a bill that would have legalized medical marijuana in Wisconsin. Bye-bye, baby, bye-bye, he said in his letter!

    And this upcoming election cycle in Wisconsin? It would appear that we have a first-class clown-car Democratic primary taking place for the gubernatorial race, with sixteen or maybe seventeen candidates throwing their hats into the ring. Clown-car primaries do not make for a strong showing for a political party in the following primary election.

    To be honest, the “bat-shit and ape-shit” behavior of the authoritarian left has turned them into a piss-poor counterfeit of the neo-cons, complete with the aggressive stupidity I have until now exclusively associated with the dumb rednecks who need Rush and Fox News to say what two-plus-two equals today. It doesn’t exactly make me want to run out to the polls and fill in the arrow on the ballot for the Democratic Party.

  5. lateStarter January 1, 2018 at 10:50 am #

    2018 – It smells a lot like 1928.

    • malthuss January 1, 2018 at 12:12 pm #

      You must be kidding. Things are much worse now, imo.

      • lateStarter January 1, 2018 at 12:27 pm #

        No. I am not kidding. While I agree that the scale this time will make the events that played out back then seem like a walk in the park, the general mood is similar. As our host points out: What could go wrong?

      • windward January 1, 2018 at 7:10 pm #

        “…We can devise all the clever schemes imaginable to clean up politics and get money out of campaigns, but it won’t work until the American people collectively give up on certain fond illusions: the Horatio Alger myth, American Exceptionalism, and the whole mass of magical thinking that boils down to the belief that God loves America because we’re so virtuous, handsome, and smart, and that we, too, could win the lottery. Well, we’re not necessarily any of those things. The truth is that we lucked into adverse possession of a mostly empty continent in a temperate zone with lots of resources, and straddled east and west by two huge moats. We had firearms and resistance to smallpox, and the original owners didn’t. Virtue had very little to do with it…”

        truth-out.org/opinion/item/10661-stone-cold-sober-an-interview-with-mike-lofgren-author-of-the-party…

  6. Paulo January 1, 2018 at 10:52 am #

    Terrific job with this one. I find absolutely no fault with any of your ‘guesses’, except for all those unknown unknown unknowns. 🙂 Great work, as usual.

    I wouldn’t mind seeing the Market collapse for two reasons. One, it would be great to see Trump wear that one, or hear who he blames it on. Two, it’s just so goddamn phony and meaningless as a measure of how business actually works; you know that quaint old idea of seeing a need, save startup funds or obtain financing, build and sell a product/service, and pay back the investors with a fair return? Instead….

    Speaking of quaint, after 8 years of Obama and 1 of Trump the old GW looks like an old fireside Grampa in comparrison. You could actually see through him as he talked about ‘his base’ and how much money they would make. At least people are actually seeing the Clintons for what they are these days and understand how Obama was in the pockets of the banks.

    Now, if someone would just hack into Trump’s tax returns my year would be complete.

    When Carter was forced out so was decency. It’s been downhill for a long long time…and speeding up big time.

    • windward January 1, 2018 at 7:26 pm #

      That’s right about Carter. He told us what we needed to hear and Reagan told us what we wanted to hear.

      About seeing a need and trying to do something about it, I wonder whether you have tried it. If so, did you succeed and how hard was it?

      • aibohphobia January 2, 2018 at 2:09 pm #

        “seeing a need and trying to do something about it, I wonder whether you have tried it. If so, did you succeed and how hard was it?”

        Yup, done that. I once knew an illegal alien from Barbados who came to the US and started a courier company. She hired Americans to run the packages around. I tried to get her into a couple of “Women in Business” groups; found an immigration lawyer to try to get her a way to legalize her status–She WAS an employer after all, and if the US kicked her out there would be five unemployed Americans shortly after that. Nothing worked as advertised, and she finally told me, “You are very sincere, and I can tell you are trying very hard to help me, but none of your ideas seem to work.”

        • windward January 2, 2018 at 7:46 pm #

          That’s what I have found. The resistance to anything new and the iron grip most people have on what they know or believe is the first and greatest obstacle to progress. If you can overcome that the rest is easy. If you live that long.

  7. 100th Avatar January 1, 2018 at 11:00 am #

    Some fragile people used social media to express how deeply offended they were by NYTimes photos that showed chopsticks upright or leaning on a bowl accompanying an article about an asian steak house or something. deeply offended. snarky comments ensued. photo retracted.

    victimhood epoch

    • harryflashmanhigson January 1, 2018 at 11:45 pm #

      It’s because it’s part of the funeral/death rituals in Japan. It’s a big deal here YOU DO NOT STICK CHOPSTICKS IN YOUR RICE! They take it seriously.

      • 100th Avatar January 2, 2018 at 12:15 pm #

        That doesn’t mean EVERYONE MUST!

      • Walter B January 3, 2018 at 9:12 am #

        Bloody Lance, is it you? I thought Fetnab did you in.

  8. DurangoKid January 1, 2018 at 11:07 am #

    Is it just a coincidence the western press version of the Iranian protesters’ complaints are congruent with the Washington Consensus? Specifically, ‘Iran is not supposed to behave like we do.’ Seems like the thin end of the wedge.

    • Ol' Scratch January 1, 2018 at 12:33 pm #

      Not buying any of it either. No doubt the three letter agencies are knee deep in that mess, as I believe they are in North Korea as well. I’d go so far as to guess that the Lil Fat Man is even dancing to their tune for being allowed to stay in power. He’s playing the part of comic book villain just a little too perfectly, I think.

      • outsider January 1, 2018 at 1:12 pm #

        The Iranian protests, coming as they have after Trump’s dirty trick move to decertify Obama’s hard won deal, are just too perfectly timed. Methinks it is the NGO’s (really just CIA fronts) doing their typical thing. What will they name this new Color Revolution – as it blows up in their face, just like the last one did early in Obama’s tenure?

        • Janos Skorenzy January 1, 2018 at 2:43 pm #

          Yes, they’ve cut social media already. If the Colors, not all “peaceful students” either, persist, the Revolutionary Guard will kill hundred or thousands of them to maintain the Islamic State.

  9. michics January 1, 2018 at 11:08 am #

    Good over view Jim. I read it every year and appreciate the work you put into it. A couple points I’d like to make are that I’m continually struck by how uninformed the public is. Whenever any political discussion arises among my friends they reveal just how much they do not know about the world events. But yet they believe Trump will be the savior.
    Also if the stock market crashes it’s time to go open season on putting elites in jail for misdeeds. Take their mansions away from them and send the message to the business world to clean up their act. Oh, wait a minute. That would likely take the DOJ and Congress and they are politically corrupt. Oh well I can dream can’t I !!!

  10. hmuller January 1, 2018 at 11:21 am #

    JHK, good observations on the SJW crowd. They are the American Red Guard and like their namesakes are already turning on one another in chaotic self-destruction. Their values, goals, and beliefs never carried any weight among us deplorables in flyover country.

    Ditto with the Hollywood and media elite on their high moral horses preaching cultural Marxism – telling us what we should think, what we are allowed to say, and whom we should elect. They stand exposed for the wretched degenerates they are.

    2018 will be a year when even more which is hidden will be exposed. The political and financial elite have much to fear. Time to pack your bags for GITMO, Hillary and friends.

  11. stelmosfire January 1, 2018 at 11:23 am #

    Here I sit all broken hearted paid my dime and only farted! I believe you may be right on the money this time JHK. Excellent job. I’m not prone to out loud laughter but this missive invoked several. Great job!.

    • windward January 1, 2018 at 7:35 pm #

      There goes Roadway a mile a minute,
      Big fuckin’ rig and nothin’ in it.

      • elysianfield January 2, 2018 at 11:46 am #

        There goes Roadway a mile a minute,
        Big fuckin’ rig and nothin’ in it.

        Windward,

        Very esoteric comment…you must be or have been a trucker….

        • Q. Shtik January 2, 2018 at 12:02 pm #

          There goes Roadway a mile a minute,
          Big fuckin’ rig and nothin’ in it. – wind

          ============

          I love short pithy poems like this.

          • elysianfield January 2, 2018 at 6:56 pm #

            Q,
            There once was a man from Nantucket…

            I got a million of them!

        • windward January 2, 2018 at 7:49 pm #

          elysianfield, I did use a truck stop restroom once.

  12. ozone January 1, 2018 at 11:31 am #

    Jim,
    Thanks for venturing into the unknown future with a good will and some objective addition and multiplication… and we’ll not overlook things exponential while we’re at it! (Not an easy thing to gauge.)

    As to this very important tidbit:

    “I’m not persuaded that the Dems will necessarily stomp Trump’s Republicans in the 2018 congressional and state races, as seems to be widely assumed for the moment. I’ll predict, rather, that in 2018 we get the first stirrings of a new party forming to battle both tired old clubs. Trump now “owns” the fate of the stock market and the economy it wags, having bragged on it all year. He and the Republicans will be blamed if it falls out of bed. But my gut feeling is that the voters are even more sick of the Democrats and their victim-mongering…”

    What I’ll be looking for (with popcorn and libations close to hand) is, once again, what will be the actual numbers of lumpen lumps emerging from their cocoons of consent-manufacturing infotainment to make their marks on ballots or press those touch-screen “buttons” of dubious validity? Exit polling numbers are getting harder and harder to find and I contend there is a very deliberate reason for it; a loss of faith (by simple accounting and percentages) that the democratic process can truly make changes for the betterment of the “little people’s” lives is something that those who were “duly elected” by the [supposed] people’s wishes would not like revealed.

    Regardless of an interesting new start-up party, if the whole shebang is perceived by us lumpies as thoroughly rigged and unaccountable, the “duly elected” are going to have an awful tough time claiming they have a mandate for *any* of their foolishness and venal collusions. This is a dangerous situation that can only fester and swell; lest we forget (and boy-howdy do we ever TRY), this nation’s citizenry is very well armed. It matters not the official story, that fella in Las Vegas had plenty of firepower on hand to get the job done, even without all the hoorah about “help”. Think of this little lesson if applied to the Washington landfill rat-shoot. It would become an untrustworthy, heavily fortified armed camp faster than you can say, “swamp critter vermin”.

    Will of the People, my ass…..
    (As an outstanding example, where the fuck did Barry O’Blammo come from anyway? Was no one else available or as slickly veiled to do Wall Street’s bidding? His role as an unknown quantity and excellent purveyor of snake oil probably had much to do with his incredible meteoric rise.)

    • outsider January 1, 2018 at 1:01 pm #

      It’s easy to dump on Barry’s eight lost years, but he did save us from Bomb Iran McCain and Bibi’s college buddy Romney. For that I will always be grateful, even as Obama did nothing to stem The Hegemon’s inexorable slide into the abyss.

      Barry also saved us from Hillary in ’08. In the primaries she actually received more votes than he did. That’s twice she received the most votes and lost. No wonder Hillary’s such a bitter old lady now.

      • ozone January 1, 2018 at 1:20 pm #

        outsider,
        I do take your point, but just take a look at those (ahem) “choices”, if you will!
        Thus is *my* point handily made. 😉

        A productive New Year to you… and don’t wait around for saviors or fixers! As JHK is urgently implying, time grows short.

  13. Bro Jobe January 1, 2018 at 11:38 am #

    “When other currencies implode, there is reason to believe the world will be introduced to a gold-backed Ruble and Yuan, ‘money’ backed by money. They’ll be able to buy stuff they need. Will we?”

    No. China and Russia also possess one great advantage over us, come Collapse: the military and police have the guns. Keep the army well fed and put them on the streets, and the mob will put up and shut up, even if they have recently acquired a lot of nice consumer goods. In the US it will be Mad Max time, at least as long as the gas and bullets are around.

    After an economic collapse, both nations have the manufacturing base we lack. Russia has oil, China tech to trade for it, and China has the navy to impose its will on the region to secure deep-water wells to keep the oil flowing.

    I also see 2018 getting ugly. Trump was just a symptom of our decline and desperation, North Korea just another brush war even if a nuke or two get dropped. In the end, Trump’s and Kim’s fates will be forgotten as the American project, as we knew it since 1945, winds down into a tragicomic last act.

    • Janos Skorenzy January 1, 2018 at 2:49 pm #

      They also don’t have primitive Blacks and Browns in every large and medium sized City just waiting for the mayhem to begin. But Russia does have a huge Muslim problem. Chechens are very dangerous to name just one Muslim group. And Moscow is full of them.

      • elysianfield January 2, 2018 at 11:48 am #

        ” Chechens are very dangerous to name just one Muslim group. And Moscow is full of them.”

        Janos,
        I mentioned this to Finc, or one of his iterations, months past, and he opined that Chechens are not an issue….

      • cj969 January 4, 2018 at 2:12 pm #

        “primitive Blacks and Browns”

        Unlike those oh-so-sophisticated, Sherry-swilling Trump voters in Appalachia.

    • SuperDave January 2, 2018 at 2:22 pm #

      Me thinks you are not aware of Chinese navy. if we are to assume our host (JHK) is correct, and we end up living in a world of constrained petroleum…the Chinese Navy will not be an issue more than a few hundred miles from China. However, the US Navy (a largely nuclear navy) will be able to project force for a long while to come…The Chinese aircraft carrier uses gas fired boilers and its propulsion system is janky at best. They put to sea with a tug in their task force specifically for the carrier. They will not be forcefully taking anything by sea where deep water wells currently are.

      • elysianfield January 2, 2018 at 6:58 pm #

        SD,
        Cruise missiles are the new carriers….

        • SuperDave January 3, 2018 at 10:17 am #

          Cruise missiles are very handy to blow thing…but without any Guided Missile Cruisers, is China going to be able to get them within range of anything to blow up…and Cruise missiles are not incredibly useful from taking hard assets you don’t want to destroy or for subduing(and enslaving) populations of resistant folks.

          • SuperDave January 3, 2018 at 10:18 am #

            Cruise missiles are very handy to blow things up…but without any Guided Missile Cruisers, is China going to be able to get them within range of anything to blow up…and Cruise missiles are not incredibly useful from taking hard assets you don’t want to destroy or for subduing(and enslaving) populations of resistant folks.

          • elysianfield January 3, 2018 at 11:19 am #

            SD,
            China will develop a blue water navy…but the new generation of cruise missiles put our carrier task forces at risk in the seas around their mainland.

  14. pequiste January 1, 2018 at 11:45 am #

    “What could go wrong?” JHK asks.

    Well, by the bleary vision resulting from a new year’s eve bender and the clear knowledge that another calendar cycle has begun —

    –almost everything! (Like Jim points out.)

    My joy at the prospect of Hillary’s right-hand girl, Huma Abedin ( with personal laptop sharing of state secrets with Anthony “Carlos Danger” Weiner) getting a turn under the microscope with possible dissection under a formal and proper criminal investigation by the Department of Justice, helps warm the cockles of my heart in this chilly first day of the year.

    Conjecturing all sorts of outcomes from a criminal indictment of Ms Abedin; could Mrs. Clinton also finally get a turn on the ducking stool?

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.