Monday, November 30, 2020

Are Americans Rational?

I've been holding back on commenting on current events because they are far too silly. At this point it is safe to say that the elections in the US have been thoroughly botched and that, no matter who is ultimately chosen as president for the next for years, enough questions will remain in the minds of enough people to thoroughly delegitimize the national leadership in the eyes of at least half the country.

Just this morning I got a missive from Paul Craig Roberts containing the following bullet points:

• Joe Biden’s Twitter account has 20 million followers. Trump’s Twitter account has 88.8 million followers.

• Joe Biden’s Facebook account has 7.78 million followers. Trump’s Facebook account has 34.72 million followers. How likely is it that a person with four to five times the following of his rival lost the election?

• Joe Biden, declared by the biased presstitutes to be president by landslide, gave a Thanksgiving Day message and only 1,000 people watched his live statement. Where is the enthusiasm?

• Trump’s campaign appearances were heavily attended and that Biden’s were avoided. Somehow a candidate who could not draw supporters to his campaign appearances won the presidency.

• Despite Biden’s total failure to animate voters during the presidential campaign, he received 15 million more votes than Barack Obama did in his 2012 re-election.

• Biden won despite underperforming Hillary Clinton’s 2016 vote in every urban US county, but outperformed Clinton in Democrat-controlled Detroit, Milwaukee, Atlanta, and Philadelphia, the precise cities where the most obvious and most blatant electoral fraud was committed.

• Biden won despite receiving a record low share of the Democrat primary vote compared to Trump’s share of the Republican primary vote.

• Biden won despite Trump bettering his 2016 vote by ten million votes and Trump’s record support from minority voters.

• Biden won despite losing the bellwether counties that have always predicted the election outcome and the bellwether states of Ohio and Florida.

• Biden won in Georgia, a completely red state with a red governor and legislature both House and Senate. Somehow a red state voted for a blue president.

• Biden won despite the Democrats losing representation in the House.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

“Watch this!”

There are times in my career as a collapse observer and systematizer when my running commentary can quite reasonably be pared down to just two words: “Watch this!” The current severe stage of the financial and economic collapse sequence that was initiated in 2008, which is being artificially masked (no pun intended) by the fake Covid “pandemic,” and now a hung and fraudulent US election on top of it is just such an occasion: why not just sit back and watch the world burn? But I happen to be in a particularly good and sprightly mood today, and when I get that way few things can hold me back from holding forth and bloviating prophetically.

Let’s start with a quick jaunt down memory lane. I first realized that the USA was going to follow the general trajectory of the USSR back in 1995. I also immediately realized that the USSR was rather well prepared for collapse whereas the USA was about to be blindsided by it, and so, as a public service, I thought I should warn people. “And a fat lot of good that did!” some of you might immediately exclaim. But you would be wrong: lots of people have written to me to say how much better adjusted they are psychologically now that they have heard and accepted my message, for now they are ready to accept collapse with equanimity and poise. This is sure to make their company less tedious moving forward.

And so I had my “Eureka!” moment in 1995, and a decade later, in 2005, I went public with my observations. I got a surprisingly sympathetic response from some particularly enlightened people (even if they said so themselves). And now, a quarter of a century after my initial insight, as the US enters national bankruptcy and institutional collapse, the whole world is being treated to an end-of-empire spectacular election extravaganza starring none other than the consummate showman and impresario extraordinaire Donald Trump. He used to run beauty pageants, while this one is more of an ugliness pageant, but then beauty is rare and always fades while ugliness is commonplace and usually just gets uglier, making it a much safer bet. And so let’s accept it as a parting present to the world from a vanishing nation that gave us horror flicks, reality television and three-ring circuses with sideshow freaks.

Friday, October 23, 2020

A pound of flesh

 A bit of pre-election big picture for you.

At this point the US government borrows roughly half of what it spends. It borrows roughly twice its total revenue. Much of this new debt is short-term. At this point, the US federal budget is a pure pyramid scheme. All of this debt will go bad rather quickly and creditors are jostling for position in the forthcoming bankruptcy and liquidation.

The US foreign policy establishment likes to treat Russia and China as major adversaries, but the two couldn't be more different. Russia holds roughly zero US debt, has roughly zero trade with the US, and is fully stocked up on beer, pop corn and hypersonic weapons in case the US decides to pull any desperate moves.

China, on the other hand, holds just over $1 Trillion of US government debt. Its share of US trade deficit of over $60 billion a month is over 40%. In return for the valuable service of treating the US as a solvent debtor and sending it product in exchange for some more questionable debt, China would like to position someone friendly and compliant in the White House for the upcoming US bankruptcy and liquidation.

Enter Joe and Hunter Biden. Over the years they have been carefully cultivated and compromised by entities affiliated with the Chinese Communist Party and the People's Liberation Army. If elected, Biden will do everything China asks of him. Thanks to him, the Chinese would be sure to get their pound of flesh once the US debts are called in. In comparison, Trump would huff and puff and tweet like crazy... and the result would be exactly the same.

Welcome to the Post-American Century!

Friday, October 16, 2020

Nefarious Objectives

Suppose you were one of the evil geniuses who run the global economy. Of course, you would want to continue running it in a stable, secure, profitable manner in spite of any problems that might crop up now and again. You would want to solve these problems swiftly and efficiently without drawing any undue attention to yourself and your evil ways. What, then, would you currently see as the major problems crying out for a swift, preemptive solution, and how should you address them?

First, you’d note that there is a major problem developing with the world’s energy supply. This has been endlessly predicted since the mid-1990s, but various technological advancements and geopolitical maneuverings have pushed the final crisis off by two decades. But now the final crisis is getting closer and closer. New resource discoveries have fallen so far behind production that there is no hope of ever catching up. The last great hope for the US and the world, which was fracking, is now failing, having never made much of a profit. Most of the companies involved have either gone bankrupt or are about to. Renewables, in the form of electricity from wind and solar, have proven to be too expensive and disruptive for electric grids because of their intermittency coupled with the impracticality of storing large amounts of electricity. Geopolitical gambits, such as trying to topple Venezuela’s government and steal its oil, or to sanction Russia into behaving like a gas station with its economy in shreds, have all failed. Energy returned on energy invested—a difficult to calculate but ultimately decisive measure of the feasibility of any energy venture—is continuing to decline.

Being an evil genius rather than just some ignorant amateur armchair pilot, you would be fully cognizant of the fact that failure to do something to balance fossil fuel energy supply against demand would cause global economic collapse. Since the advent of coal-based industrialization, economic growth has always been accompanied by a proportional increase in the use of fossil fuels. But further such increases now appear to be impossible. The existing global economy relies on credit to sustain production, and on continuous growth to remain creditworthy. In this scheme, the only alternative to continuous economic growth is economic collapse. And so you start looking for ways to rebalance the energy equation by shutting down parts of the global economy while allowing others to continue to grow. Since nobody is particularly eager to stampede toward the abattoir, your task is to find a way to mislead them into doing so voluntarily, supposedly for their own good.

The next question to decide is which industrialized nations are ready for the meathook. You would observe that certain countries have been continuously living beyond their means. They have been endlessly borrowing money far in excess of their economic growth potential and their ability to ever repay the debts they are now taking on is precisely nil. Chief among them is the United States, which has been living on borrowed time for decades now and whose mammoth debt dwarfs all previous excesses combined. Coupled with the gradual loss of reserve currency status by the US dollar and the concomitant loss by the US of the exorbitant privilege of printing money as needed, this has placed the US at the epicenter of the inevitable financial collapse. You would interpret the REPO panic of August 2019, when interest on overnight loans that used US federal debt as collateral spiked to 10%, as a crack in the carefully maintained Potemkin village façade of the US financial system.

Turning attention to the fiscal situation in the US, you’d notice that the US is no longer able to finance its ever-growing budget deficits by borrowing from abroad because foreigners who are now net sellers of US debt instruments. You are shocked to discover that the US government is now borrowing close to half of what it spends, accumulating short-term debt twice as fast as it could possibly hope to repay it, and nonchalantly planning to roll it over into more short-term debt while borrowing even more in the years to come. An image comes to you of a particularly bullheaded bull standing in the middle of railroad tracks and attempting to stare down an oncoming train.

Being a financial genius, you know all there is to know about pyramid schemes, and you readily identify this state of affairs as a pure pyramid scheme. Since pyramid schemes all fail, and since they tend to do so more or less instantaneously, you start looking for a way to front-run its collapse in order to maintain control of the situation. Your main short-term objective would be to avoid a worldwide panic by placing the global economy into something like a medically induced coma, feeding it an intravenous drip of free money. This pause would give you an opportunity to make some necessary changes, some of them cosmetic, some quite dramatic. 

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Tuesday, September 29, 2020

The Novichok Spa Treatment

Over the past century chemical warfare has devolved from a strategically useless but technically effective way of ruin lots of people’s health to a politically potent but technically ineffectual way to play political games over alleged (but generally unproven) chemical weapons use. And this year even the political games have devolved into something rather worse than useless.  

You may or may not be a huge fan of poisoning lots of people but, let’s face it, chemical warfare has definitely fallen out of fashion. During World War I casualties from chemical attacks numbered somewhere around half a million. During World War II over a million people were killed using Zyklon B. Later, in 1988, Saddam Hussein’s forces used chemical weapons  (which were provided by the Americans) against the Kurds at Halabja, killing as many as 5000 of them and injuring perhaps twice as many. But since then alleged uses of chemical weapons have been largely political.

An example is the 2018 chemical warfare attack in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta, which netted fewer than a hundred casualties and was highly likely (applying a contemporary Western standard of proof) a Western provocation against the Syrian government. To wit, the number of fake chemical attacks in Syria went down to zero immediately upon the death (be it murder or suicide) of James Le Mesurier, head of the fake humanitarian organization White Helmets. It was as if someone flipped a light switch!

The last two instances of alleged chemical attacks against individuals—Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, Wiltshire, UK in 2018, and the Russian opposition blogger Sergei Navalny in 2020—killed zero people. The link between the two cases is the alleged use of a fabled Russian (though actually Soviet) battlefield chemical weapon Novichok, and it is rather tentative because no evidence of it has ever been presented to the public. Until proven otherwise, it would be wise to assume that the shenanigans around Novichok are as real as the late Le Mesurier’s antics in Syria.

The intended use of Novichok is to instantly kill everyone around. Since in neither instance did this happen, we are forced to consider whether someone had bothered to contrive a way to deliver Novichok in nonlethal, minuscule yet readily detectable doses. It is doubtful that this is physically possible; Novichok is an unstable gas that results from mixing two stable ingredients by detonating an artillery shell or a missile. And then there is another question worth pondering: Given all the perfectly reasonable and reliable ways to kill a person, why on Earth would anyone even bother to do that? Since no answer to this question is forthcoming, we should assume that Novichok is of the same nature as mythical creatures contrived to frighten little children into behaving.

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Monday, September 21, 2020

Harder, Faster, Deeper!

’Tis the presidential election season in the US and so I feel the urge to write a token article about it. I generally try to stay off this topic because the US is not a democracy and it doesn’t matter who is president. Gilens and Page proved this in their landmark 2014study, sparing me the need to reargue the case here.

At this point certain people like to object that this is as it should be because the US is a republic, not a democracy. But then why bother with elections? For those who are keen on democracy, I would suggest that they study North Korea; theirs is a “democratic people’s republic.” Fixing the democracy problem would be required to earn a passing grade while making it a people’s republic (instead of an oligarchic republic as it is now) would be for extra credit.

I have been on hand to watch a long parade of presidential stooges, starting with “dim bulb” Ford and all the way to Trump, whose nicknames have ranged from “orange man” to “shit-gibbon.” Though this has been a waste of my time, perhaps I can be useful in putting your mind at ease. A lot of people are currently becoming overwrought over what is a quintessentially meaningless contest and I want to do what I can to lower their blood pressure and cortisol levels and allow them to live longer, happier, healthier lives.

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Thursday, September 17, 2020

Interview on Radio Voice America

Welcome back to Turning Hard Times into Good Times. I’m your host Jay Taylor. I’m really pleased to have with me once again Dmitry Orlov.

Dmitry was born and grew up in Leningrad, but has lived in the United States. He moved here in the mid-seventies. He has since gone back to Russia, where he is living now.

But Dmitry was an eyewitness to the Soviet collapse over several extended visits to his Russian homeland between the eighties and mid-nineties. He is an engineer who has contributed to fields as diverse as high-energy Physics and Internet Security, as well as a leading Peak Oil theorist. He is the author of Reinventing Collapse: The Soviet Example and American Prospects (2008) and The Five Stages of Collapse: Survivors' Toolkit (2013).

Welcome, Dmitry, and thank you so much for joining us again.

A: Great to be on your program again, Jay.

Q: It’s really good to hear your voice. I know we had you on [the program] back in 2014. It’s been a long time—way too long, as far as I’m concerned. In that discussion we talked about the five stages of collapse that you observed in the fall of the USSR. Could you review them really quickly, and compare them to what you are seeing, what you have witnessed and observed in the United States as you lived here, and of course in your post now in Russia.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Taxi Drivers Know Everything

It so happened that yesterday I was coming home in a taxi. The taxi driver, who looked like Bill Murray, turned out to be very talkative: during the trip, as often happens, we touched on all subjects, from the weather to blondes behind the wheel.

At some point, as background noise, there was some news read out on the radio. After the segment about the poisoning of Alexei Navalny, NordStream 2 and possible EU sanctions the taxi driver shook his head and said thoughtfully: “Yeah, mommy is stuck…”

“What mommy?” I inquired.

“What mommy?” asked the taxi driver. “That same one, Angela Merkel. You know why Navalny was surrendered to Germany? Let me explain.” And then, for a quarter of an hour, the taxi driver presented a coherent theory of what happened, worthy of study at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which answered all the questions that had been bothering me.

This is how it all came down.

Tuesday, September 08, 2020

The Novichok Comedy Hour

Perhaps you’ve already heard the story; if not, here is the synopsis.

The Russian dictator Vladimir Putin had the leading Russian opposition candidate and Putin’s nemesis Alexei Navalny poisoned with an internationally banned battlefield chemical weapon Novichok. Navalny went into a coma and was airlifted in a German military jet to the Charité medical center in Germany, where German military medical experts found traces of Novichok on his body. For this heinous deed the collective West is regrouping and getting ready to impose more sanctions on Russia, perhaps preventing it from completing the NordStream 2 gas pipeline under the Baltic, which would make Europe even more dependent on its natural gas instead of buying cheap and plentiful liquified natural gas from the US.

If reading the above has not insulted your intelligence, then, before you can feel properly insulted, there is quite a steep learning curve for you to climb, but I will do my best to help you surmount it. And if you do feel insulted, then the question is, Just how insulted are you? Because the amount of disdain, condescension, arrogance, indifference and sheer sneering contempt shown toward you by those who are pushing this fake narrative is so extreme that only one psychologically healthy response to it is possible; which is, to laugh at it—at all of it in its entirety, and then at all the individual pieces of it, each of which is funny on its own as a paragon of misguided, delusional stupidity.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2020

“Our technologies could destroy humanity”

Interview for Sputnik Germany

Part 1:

Part 2:


Audio in German:

Sputnik: Mr Orlov, today we want to discuss your newest book, “Shrinking the Technosphere” (the German version), but before we start this I would like to deepen one of your answers in our first Sputnik Germany interview.

You said that the US central bank (the Federal Reserve) created new collateral in the banking ‘repo’ crisis of 2019. I would add two more questions: How would you define ‘collateral’? And you said that the US dollar would lose massive value in the next few months; what makes you so sure of it?

A: Well, to answer the first question, perhaps I misspoke in the first interview. The Fed did not so much create collateral as redeem US Treasuries and other debt instruments as collateral because banks stopped being so willing to honor them as collateral for overnight loans between banks, and so the Fed had to step in and provide these loans, provide the liquidity for these loans to the order of hundreds of billions of dollars of new money that was put into circulation—between banks, not into the broader economy.

So what that shows is that faith in US debt (and the US dollar consists of US debt at this point), that that faith was not as rock solid as some people would like to believe.

Now as far as the second question, why the dollar is likely to lose value: if you look at the value of a currency, you have to stack it up against productive capacity that underlies it. Money is a way of paying for goods and services. There has been a drastic increase in the supply of money. Right now the US government is on track to finance half of its budget using new debt—that is, basically the budget deficit is 50 percent of the federal budget, it’s on track to be that. But we don’t see any increase in the productive capacity of the United States to go with this vast increase in the money supply. In fact, the US economy has shrunk by a large amount, and it’s absolutely uncertain whether it will recover any time soon.

So basically we have more money, we have less stuff to buy with this money, and the result of that is that the money is going to be worth less. The logic of that is extremely simple.

Q: OK. Thank you very much. Now Mr. Orlov, your newest book is entitled “Shrinking the Technosphere.” So my questions: what is the technosphere, and why should it or will it shrink? What is your approach in this? And for our audience, you yourself can be seen as a technologist, as a computer scientist. What is your take on this whole topic?