Friday, December 25, 2015

A Christmas Present for the Whole World!

Merry Christmas, World!

I have done more than my share of spreading collapse-related doom and gloom, and to make up for it today I am spreading a bit of cheer, in the form of a pleasant, useful, family-friendly booklet titled

The Pitfalls of English: A Guide and Reference

It is a dictionary of English heterographs, heteronyms and contronyms. (If you don't know what they are, read on!) The amazing thing about this book is that up until now it didn't exist. But then, as Nassim Taleb pointed out, how many centuries did it take for people to realize that maybe they should put suitcases on casters(US)/castors(UK)?

If you are reading this, then this book is for you. Maybe you want to avoid making a fool of yourself when speaking or writing English. Or maybe you just want to devise devilishly clever puns. Or maybe you need a thoughtful gift for that special person whose sloppy spelling annoys you. In short, it's a good book to have, provided you either know or would like to know English. It's very reasonably priced, so please buy two, keep one copy as a reference and use the other to slap people with when they make mistakes. Better yet, buy a whole bunch, and give one to every English teacher you know. And if you are an English teacher, have the school buy one for each of your students (at a large quantity discount).

Here is the introduction that lays out the entire rationale for this book:

English is an incredibly handy language. In fact, if you only know one language, but it’s English, you’ll probably manage to get by somehow. It’s almost incomparably easier to learn than Chinese, Arabic or Russian. Even Spanish, which is another incredibly handy language, and also fairly easy to learn, has quite a bit more grammatical machinery to it than English: grammatical gender, inflections and so on.

This is why English is in such widespread use all over the world. If a Chinese, a Russian and an Arab meet and have a conversation, it’s a safe bet that they will be speaking English. There are many reasons why it’s so easy to learn: English grammar is small and simple; English vocabulary is international, much of it borrowed from Latin, Greek, French and other languages; and a bit of English is easy to pick up simply by paying attention, because it has excellent penetration throughout the world via popular music, movies and the Internet.

So far so good. But there is another side to English which makes it rather unnecessarily complicated. While spoken English is easy, written English is so confusing that kids in English-speaking countries spend several more years just learning how to read and write than kids who grow up speaking much more complicated languages, such as the aforementioned Chinese, Russian and Arabic. About half the kids end up having serious difficulties with learning to read and write English.

All the trouble comes from the fact that most English words are still written pretty much the same way they were when they first entered the language—which was often hundreds of years ago, when they sounded very different. For example, when the English first started using the word “nature,” they most likely pronounced it “nah-TOO-reh.” Now they pronounce it “NAY-chuh,” but they still write it as if it were pronounced “nah-TOO-reh.” What this means is that for a great many English words (some 40 percent of them) you have to memorize both how they sound and how they are written, separately. And that, as an English person might put it, is “a bit of a bother.”

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

On the 19th day of Christmas...

[Am 19. Tag der Weihnachtszeit...]
[En el diecinueveavo día de Navidad...]
[Priez pour un hiver doux en Ukraine…]

With all the action in Syria, the Ukraine is no longer a subject for discussion in the West. In Russia, where the Ukraine is still a major problem looming on the horizon, and where some 1.5 million Ukrainian refugees are settling in, with no intentions of going back to what's left of the Ukraine, it is still actively discussed. But for the US, and for the EU, it is now yet another major foreign policy embarrassment, and the less said about it the better.

In the meantime, the Ukraine is in full-blown collapse—all five glorious stages of it—setting the stage for a Ukrainian Nightmare Before Christmas, or shortly after.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

License to Kill

Jakub Rozalski
[Permis de tuer]
[Lizenz zum Töten]
[Licenza di uccidere]

[This post is, once again, a rerun, but its subject seems quite timely. As you watch the political establishment in the US go through its usual antics, ask yourself: are they even capable of understanding the fact that they have already lost the empire?]

The story is the same every time: some nation, due to a confluence of lucky circumstances, becomes powerful—much more powerful than the rest—and, for a time, is dominant. But the lucky circumstances, which often amount to no more than a few advantageous quirks of geology, be it Welsh coal or West Texas oil, in due course come to an end. In the meantime, the erstwhile superpower becomes corrupted by its own power.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

The Imperial Collapse Playbook

[Il libretto del Collasso Imperiale]
[Das Imperiale Kollaps – Drehbuch]
[Manuel pratique de l’effondrement impérial]

[This is a rerun, which seems timely given the recent American efforts to poison relations between Turkey and Russia. The shoot-down of the Russian jet was clearly a well-poisoning exercise either directly ordered or, at the very least, approved by the Pentagon. In a future blog post, I will explain why this same old strategy isn't going to produce the same old results the Americans have come to expect.]

Some people enjoy having the Big Picture laid out in front of them—the biggest possible—on what is happening in the world at large, and I am happy to oblige. The largest development of 2014 is, very broadly, this: the Anglo-imperialists are finally being forced out of Eurasia. How can we tell? Well, here is the Big Picture—the biggest I could find. I found it thanks to Nikolai Starikov and a recent article of his.

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Shrinking the Technosphere, Part VIII

[Réduire la techno-sphère, Partie VIII]

This series of blog posts offers a preview to a book which is yet to be written. Since it is turning out to be a rather long series, it seems fair to recap, to give you an idea of where we have been and where we are going. We started with a discussion of how the contemporary living arrangement, in the US specifically, but also in various other so-called “developed nations,” has become entirely untenable, because it forces us to rely on a suite of technologies that is unsustainable and catastrophic for the environment. These technologies are forced upon us by a set of political technologies that rob us of our power and will to pick and choose what technologies we use. We have also reviewed another set of political technologies—ones that are used to destroy nations around the world should they prove unwilling to go along with the deranged master plan.

We haven’t yet discussed what political technologies can be used – and are used with an increasing degree of success – to bring this forced death march to a halt. But that’s coming. Instead we took a grand detour, to look at what the best-case scenario looks like if it is, in fact, brought to a halt, if the political technologies that are being used to destroy both society and the biosphere are swept away. And it turns out that the best-case scenario is still pretty bad, because of all the unwelcome developments that are already baked into the cake, such as:

Monday, November 30, 2015

Welcome, Aliens!

[Bienvenue chez nous, aliens !]
[Willkommen, Aliens!]

Dear Alien,

We are very pleased that you have chosen to come to our wonderful country. We are truly honored to receive you in our midst. There are just a few formalities to get out of the way, to make sure that you and our country are a good match.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Shrinking the Technosphere, Part VII

[Réduire la techno-sphère, Partie VII]

You have survived your first winter on the land. Congratulations! The worst part of the ordeal is quite possibly over. Gone are whatever addictions and expectations with which you arrived, be they internet access or coffee. Your new world consists of the few people around you, and a huge number of plants and animals. But it is a world that is indisputably yours—to make the best of, and to pass along to your children and grandchildren.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Shrinking the Technosphere, Part VI

[Réduire la techno-sphère, Partie VI]

Suppose your situation is such that you need to effect a swift change of venue. The circumstances that prompt this relocation can be quite varied, but the common and foreseeable ones are:

Monday, November 16, 2015

A Most Convenient Massacre

[Un massacre qui tombe à pic !]
[Ein Massaker, das sehr gelegen kam]

What a difference a single massacre can make!

• Just a week ago the EU couldn't possibly figure out anything to do to stop the influx of “refugees” from all those countries the US and NATO had bombed into oblivion. But now, because “Paris changed everything,” EU's borders are being locked down and refugees are being turned back.

• Just a week ago it seemed that the EU was going to be swamped by resurgent nationalism, with incumbent political parties poised to get voted out of power. But now, thanks to the Paris massacre, they have obtained a new lease on life, because they can now safely embrace the same policies that a week ago they branded as “fascist.”

• Just a week ago the EU and the US couldn't possibly bring themselves admit that they are utterly incompetent when it comes to combating their own creation—ISIS, that is—and need Russian help. But now, at the après-Paris G-20 summit, everybody is ready to line up and let Putin take charge of the war against terrorism. Look—the Americans finally found those convoys of tanker trucks stretching beyond the horizon that ISIS has been using to smuggle out stolen Syrian crude oil—after Putin showed them the satellite photos!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Shrinking the Technosphere, Part V

[Réduire la techno-sphère, Partie V]

Before we proceed any further in describing how political technologies can be used to bring about the sort of dramatic social change that might grant humanity a new lease on life on planet Earth, let's describe what “naturelike technologies” might look like. By “naturelike” we mean something that is in balance with nature—its rhythms, both diurnal and annual, and its cycles: of water, carbon dioxide, organic nutrients—and human generations. By “technologies” we mean the know-how, passed from generation to generation, which one needs in order to survive—not any fancy gadgets or machinery, not the internet of things, nano-this or genetically-engineered-that.

Of course, there must also exist political technologies that can sustain and defend such an effort, especially against the predations of profit-driven psychopaths who have imperiled human survival through rapid resource depletion and out of control industrial development, but let's put this question aside for now...

Monday, November 09, 2015

A serious error of omission in RT's reporting on Germany

This article on makes it sound as if PEGIDA is specifically demonstrating today because it's the anniversary of Kristallnacht, whereas in fact they are demonstrating today because it's Monday—like they do every Monday. For them to not have demonstrated today would only have provided fodder for the antifascists. Note that I am not taking sides, simply pointing out a flaw in RT's coverage. To correct it, they would simply need to add one sentence: "PEGIDA was demonstrating on Monday as they have done every Monday for a year now."

Supporting Evidence

[Note: a number of comments in response to this post were along the lines of "this is right-wing" or "this is left-wing" and of course I dutifully deleted all of them. You see, attempts to arrange all of humanity along a left-right axis are attempts at manipulation/coercion. Human preferences, even if artificially made into "issues," form a multidimensional object. People insisting on being on the left or on the right are like sheep that insist on going through the left gate or the right gate, both of which lead to the abatoir. And so there is just one thing to say to people who think that what follows isn't sufficiently left-leaning or liberal: "baa!"]

The English translation of last week's editorial by Alex elicited some strange reactions from readers. Some called it “hysterical.” Some imagined that it signals some sort of political realignment of this blog with right-wing nationalism (I find it hilarious that people can be so clueless).

Overwrought phrases flew about, such as “rumor-mongering of a far-right fantasist,” “a hysterically exaggerated account,” “a terrible hodgepodge of healthy skepticism, dirty innuendo and paranoia,” “full of racism and xenophobia,” and so on and so forth.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

An Exit Strategy for Traitors

[Ein Fluchtplan für Verräter]
[Une strategie de sortie pour les traîtres]
[Предательская стратегия ухода]
[Una strategia di uscita per Traditori]

[Germany—the country at the center of the European Union and its economic powerhouse—is something of a black hole. 70 years after the fall of Nazism, it is still an occupied country, under military and political domination of the US. The national press, popularly referred to as Lügenpresse (the lying press) faithfully echoes the party line set in Washington. Germany's spineless politicians, popularly renamed from Volksvertreter (people's representatives) to Volksverräter (traitors to the people) are no better. And so we are unable to see what is actually happening there, as the European Union is, in the words of Russia's FM Sergei Lavrov, “committing suicide” by letting in the invading hordes from the Middle East. And so this short report by Alex, who tells us what he sees, is most welcome.]

Do you remember the last time you saw a man with wild eyes, strange clothes and a giant sign around his neck saying “The End Is Nigh”? “How ridiculous and pathetic!” you might have thought. Now, imagine the reality of your country changing within weeks to a point where you come to the same conclusion as him, suddenly feeling that his approach might be ever so reasonable. When a large part of your fellow-humans catch a strange sort of illness, one which leads to complete insanity faster than in the worst zombie outbreak, you might find yourself out of more viable strategies.

Предательская стратегия ухода

[An Exit Strategy for Traitors]
[Ein Fluchtplan für Verräter]
[Une strategie de sortie pour les traîtres]
[Una strategia di uscita per Traditori]

[Германия—центральная страна Евросоюза и главный источник её экономической мощи—извне кажется чем-то вроде чёрной дыры. 70 лет прошло после победы над нацизмом, а Германия—до сих пор оккупированная страна, живущая под военным и политическим господством США. Немецкая пресса, которую немцы всё чаще величают Lügenpresse (лгущая пресса) систематично отражает линию партии, провозглашаемую из Вашингтона. Бесхребетные немецкие политики, всенародно переименованные из Volksvertreter (представителей народа) в Volksverräter (предателей народа) её ни чем не лучше. И потому невозможно увидеть, что там на самом деле происходит, по мере того как Евросоюз, как выразился Сергей Лавров, «совершает самоубийство, открывая дорогу беженцам» со Среднего Востока. И потому этот репортаж от Алекса, рисующий ситуацию во всех красках, достоин самого радушного приёма. -Дмитрий Орлов]

Когда в последний раз вам попался человек с сумасшедшими глазами, одетый в отрепье, держащий огромный знак со словами «Конец близок»? «Как нелепо и жалко!» подумали бы вы скорее всего. А теперь представьте себе, что ситуация в вашей стране за какие-то несколько недель изменяется до такой степени, что вы приходите к тому же выводу, что и он, и неожиданно чувствуете, что его подход, возможно, вполне разумен. Увидев, как многие из ваших собратьев-человечков вдруг подхватывают какую-то странную болезнь, которая приводит к полнейшему безумию быстрее, чем при самом серьёзном нашествии зомби, вас может осенить, что нет более перспективного подхода.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Shrinking the Technosphere, Part IV

[Réduire la techno-sphère, Partie IV]

In the previous parts of this series, we started picking away at a very big subject: what a successful strategy for bringing about rapid social change would look like, such social change being necessary if we were to avoid the worst ravages of catastrophic climate change. This change must introduce “naturelike” technologies that would bring the technosphere back into balance with the biosphere.

To be effective, this strategy must rely on technology—but not in the usual sense of fancy gadgets or gewgaws, of which the following examples spring to mind:

• Smartphones and other such gadgets. (“Stupidpeople” no longer know how to get by without them.)
• Windmills that take plenty of coal and diesel to build and maintain, swat migratory birds out of the sky and produce energy in a form that cannot be stored effectively.
• Majestic sailing ships that transport fair trade chocolate, coffee and wine to delight effete foodies in “first world” countries.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Shrinking the Technosphere, Part III

[Réduire la techno-sphère, Partie III]

[Part I] [Part II]

Previously in this series of posts we outlined how inside the US special interests use political technologies to keep the population fooled. We also showed how these efforts will eventually fail, either through internal contradiction or because the parasites eventually end up killing the host. We will now turn our attention to political technologies used by the US against the rest of the world. This may seem like a digression from the task of addressing the question at hand—of how to bring about social change in order to avert climate catastrophe—but it is necessary.

The long list of political technologies used within the US to keep Americans fooled helped us show just how pervasive and destructive these technologies are. We are yet to see any ways to neutralize these technologies—because Americans have failed to do so. To find examples of successful ways to neutralize them, we have to look at what the US has been attempting to do to the rest of the world—and failing.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Shrinking the Technosphere, Part II

[Part I]

[Réduire la techno-sphère, Partie II]

Political technologies have three main goals:

1. Changing the rules of the game between participants in the political process.
2. Introducing into the mass consciousness new concepts, values, opinions and convictions.
3. Direct manipulation of human behavior through mass media and administrative methods.

Political technologies pursue these tactical goals in accordance with higher, strategic imperatives, and it is only the noble nature of these higher imperatives that can justify the use of such high-handed, nondemocratic means. Yes, the ends justify the means—once in a while. It is better to save humanity and the natural world through nondemocratic means than to let it go extinct while adhering to strictly democratic ones.

But often the imperatives are far less than noble. They can be separated into two kinds:

1. To improve everyone's welfare by pursuing the common good of the entire society, as it is understood by its best-educated, most intelligent, most decent and responsible members. Political technologies of this kind result in a virtuous cycle, building on previous successes to increase social cohesion, solidarity and setting the stage for great achievements. (These are the good kind.)

2. To enrich, empower and protect special interests at the expense of the rest of society. These kinds of political technologies either fail through internal contradiction, or result in a vicious cycle, in which those who benefit from them strive for ever-higher levels of selfish behavior at the expense of the rest, setting the stage for poor social outcomes, economic stagnation, mass violence and eventual civil war and political disintegration. (These are the bad kind.)

Let's take the United States as an example The United States currently has more than its fair share of the latter sort. Let's briefly review a dozen of the most important ones.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Shrinking the Technosphere, Part I

[Réduire la techno-sphère, Partie I]

On September 28, while addressing the UN General Assembly, Putin proposed “implementing naturelike technologies, which will make it possible to restore the balance between the biosphere and the technosphere.” It is necessary to do so to combat catastrophic global climate change, because, according to Putin, CO2 emissions cuts, even if implemented successfully, would be a mere postponement rather than a solution.

I hadn't heard the phrase “implementing naturelike technologies” before, so I Googled it and Yandexed it, and came up with nothing more than Putin's speech at the UN. He coined the phrase. As with the other phrases he's coined, such as “sovereign democracy” and “dictatorship of the law,” it is a game-changer. With him, these aren't words thrown on the wind. In each of these cases, the phrase laid the foundation of a new philosophy of governance, complete with a new set of policies.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Cockpit design: a picture plus a few thousand words

As I mentioned before, nothing focuses the mind on cockpit design like spending 150 hours in the cockpit of a sailboat more or less in one continuous stretch. Previously, I outlined my conclusions from this experience in prose, but this time I have an actual 3D rendering of my proposed design, with all the details filled in.

And nothing focuses the mind on the need to finish designing and build a houseboat that sails more than what is currently unfolding in South Carolina, which I just recently sailed through. Last week, Charleston, where I had spent a week, had fairly deep water running over the streets. Next week it will be Georgetown's turn; the entire town, where I had spent a few days too, is going to have to be evacuated. “You are lucky to be on a boat!” people keep telling me. Indeed, I am! But it's not exactly the right boat; it's a pretty good boat, but it's not QUIDNON.

Friday, October 09, 2015

Book Review: The Sea Gypsy Philosopher
The Sea Gypsy Philosopher: Uncommon Essays from a Thoughtful Wanderer
By Ray Jason
164 pp. Club Orlov Press – May 2015. $12.00.

by Frank Kaminski, Mud City Press

The author of this singularly beguiling book has been so many things and visited so many places. Growing up in the Philadelphia area in the 1940s and '50s, he developed an avid interest in philosophy, English-language haiku and political science, eventually earning a bachelor's degree in this latter subject. He went on to serve in Vietnam, after which he pioneered the street performance scene in '70s San Francisco, as that city’s first professional street juggler. The `90s saw Jason take up life on a sailboat wandering the seas, a life he continues to ardently pursue to this day. Though he’s sailed nearly enough miles to have circled the Earth one and a half times, he’s discovered a favorite spot in the Caribbean that he calls the “Archipelago of Bliss.” Among the activities that fill his days there are writing, juggling, foraging, getting to know his neighbors (human and animal) and encouraging his many followers to join him on his unconventional path.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

The World's Silliest Empire

[L’Empire le plus stupide de l’Histoire]

I couldn't help but notice that over the past few weeks the Empire has become extremely silly—so silly that I believe it deserves the title of the World's Silliest Empire. One could claim that it has been silly before, but recent developments seem to signal a quantum leap in its silliness level.

The first bit of extreme silliness surfaced when Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, the head of the United States Central Command, told a Senate panel that only a very small number of Syrian fighters trained by the United States remained in the fight—perhaps as few as five. The tab for training and equipping them was $500 million. That's $100 million per fighter, but that's OK, because it's all good as long as the military contractors are getting paid. Things got even sillier when it later turned out that even these few fighters got car-jacked by ISIS/al Qaeda in Syria (whatever they are currently calling themselves) and got their vehicles and weapons taken away from them.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

American “allies” in Syria: their shameful performance is perfectly explainable

[En français]

[The recent American failure to train and equip anti-Assad forces in Syria is not an isolated incident. It is a symptom of a systemic problem. This article, which recently appeared in the Russian press, explains why.]

Yevgeny Krutikov, Vzglyad

The scandal around the “30th Divison,” which was prepared by American trainers for war against Assad, and which immediately surrendered to the Islamist An-Nusra Front as soon as it crossed the border from Turkey, is now resounding around the entire planet. There will be many such scandals. They have been predetermined by the methodology of American training of “allies”—in Syria, in Georgia and in the Ukraine.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

America's Latest Foreign Policy Fiascos, Part I

[Les derniers fiascos de l’Amérique en matière de politique étrangère , Partie I]

[Gli Ultimi Fiaschi nella Politica Estera Americana – Parte I]

Some 15 months ago I published a piece on American Foreign Policy Fiascos, in which I summarized the significant negative progress that has been achieved through American involvement in Afghanistan, Iraq and Georgia, among others, and then went on to boldly predict that the Ukraine is likewise going to turn out to be another American foreign policy fiasco. Since then it certainly has turned into one.

US meddling in the Ukraine has produced none of the results it was intended to produce:

• It didn't isolate Russia internationally
• It didn't destroy Russia's economy
• It didn't pull Russia into a futile, unpopular, bloody conflict
• It didn't produce regime change within Russia

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Trump for Prezz

Steve Cutts
[En français]

Go ahead, elect, appoint, anoint—whatever it is you do with Prezzidents. It won't matter. Because it didn't matter who was President, and will matter even less who plays “The Prezz” on reality TV for the next four years.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Design Improvements

Over the past month I have spent some 150 hours sailing—moving south for the winter. This has given me plenty of time to rethink some elements of the QUIDNON design, and to introduce a few improvements. While some are purely products of reflection, others resulted from direct experience with a sailboat design which I found to be inadequate. Here, I will explain the changes in prose. I will come up with updated drawings as time allows.


Tuesday, September 08, 2015

The Financial-Industrial Revolution's Origin and Destiny

Mark Bryan
[En français]

The industrial revolution made the modern world. Before it took off in the late eighteenth century, most people in Europe and elsewhere lived sustainably on renewable resources in traditional societies. Such limited energy as was available came from wind (sailboats, windmills), hydropower (waterwheels), wood (heating and cooking fireplaces and stoves), and muscle power (human and animal labor). There was no electricity, little or no heavy machinery, no modern medicine, virtually no appliances or other labor saving devices, and no telecommunication. Travel was laborious and slow. Almost everything had to be made by hand with simple technology. Death and birth rates were high, mostly because of infant mortality.

Imagine a world without fossil fuels or electricity and you begin to come close to what it was like. Life was simpler, to be sure, more natural, anchored in traditional wisdom and reliant on herbal remedies—since widely disparaged—and certainly without the stresses associated with modern life. Ritual and community were strong; most people were embedded in an intense network of social relations.

Monday, September 07, 2015

Eventual Consequences

Mark Bryan
[En français] [Em português]

The US empire has murdered some 40 million people since World War II (according to John Stockwell), has suppressed popular social change in dozens of countries, has overthrown and assassinated their leaders and has organized and trained right-wing death squads that murdered and tortured their citizens. Both Al Qaeda and ISIS are largely US inventions. Meanwhile, the US enjoyed nearly the highest per capita income in the world, peace, harmony, and consumerism for decades—until recently—while sowing chaos abroad. But there have been no negative consequences for the US—until its recent economic decline.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

The Howling Wilderness of the Mind

[En français]

I grew up in a tiny town of less than 1500 people in western Montana. It is a land of breathtaking natural beauty, and for 18 years I lived in the same house in a form of bucolic perfection. We prided ourselves on living 100 miles from the nearest stoplight. I smile to imagine that many young villagers from all over the planet share a form of kinship enforced by the laws of small communities and big mountains.

It was my home and they were my people, but after traveling, education and 13 years of living elsewhere, I can see what a strange accident of history small town America actually is, a residue left by a frontier that has moved on and twisted inward. This is a report from a correspondent embedded for 18 years and a hundred miles behind the front lines of the American frontier.

Monday, August 31, 2015

The Production of Evil


[Sometimes a peеk behind the Iron Curtain erected by western media can be most instructive. However, this can be rather difficult to do for those who can only read in English or other western European languages. And so, to show you what people are thinking out in the big world where most people live, here is a translation of an opinion piece that appeared recently in the Russian press. If any of this is a surprise to you, you need to do more research. Enjoy!]

The word “ISIS” was laid out in the same font as the word “Hollywood.”

ISIS fighters executed the director of the architectural complex at Palmira, The 82-year-old Khalid Al Asaad was beheaded, and his body was hung on an antique column in the main town square.

ISIS has created a name for itself not just because of their exceptional cruelty. Lots of people can be cruel. But usually countries, organizations and people hide their cruelty. They hide it even if they aren't ashamed of it, but ISIS is demonstratively cruel, for the sake of the show.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Corn Madness Revisited

[En français]

Five years ago I received an unusual email from an unusual character: Yevgeny. I translated and published his letter under the title Corn Madness, and it got some 17,000 reads—a big number for me at the time—and plenty of comments. Yevgeny wrote of his experience with living in the US, and his impressions of it.

Subsequently, we met, and I got to know him. He is educated as a philosopher, a non-drinker, non-smoker, athletic, a self-taught polyglot, an accomplished musician and sound technician, but he was also, by virtue of his economic situation, working as a day-laborer at the time.

Since that time, Yevgeny has returned to Russia. I recently wrote to him and asked him to write an update, which he was kind enough to provide. Below is the original article, followed by his update.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Peculiarities of Russian National Character

[Peculiaridades do caráter nacional russo]
[Zvláštnosti ruského národného charakteru]
[Особенности Русского Национального Характера]
[Aspects particuliers du caractère Russe]
[Svéráz ruské národní povahy]
[Particolarità dell’animo nazionale russo]
[Peculiaridades del Carácter Nacional Ruso]

Ancient Slavic god Zimnik: a squat old man, long hair the color of snow, wears a white coat, always barefoot. Carries an iron staff, one swing with which instantly freezes everything solid. Can summon snowstorms, ice storms and blizzards. Goes around taking whatever he likes, especially children who misbehave.

Recent events, such as the overthrow of the government in Ukraine, the secession of Crimea and its decision to join the Russian Federation, the subsequent military campaign against civilians in Eastern Ukraine, western sanctions against Russia, and, most recently, the attack on the ruble, have caused a certain phase transition to occur within Russian society, which, I believe, is very poorly, if at all, understood in the west. This lack of understanding puts Europe at a significant disadvantage in being able to negotiate an end to this crisis.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Leveling the Playing Field of Death

[En français]

In April 2015, the Washington DC-based Physicians for Social Responsibility released a landmark study concluding that the death toll from 10 years of the “War on Terror” since the 9/11 attacks is at least 1.3 million, and could be as high as two million. However, Nafeez Ahmed begs to differ, writing that western wars have killed four million or more Muslims since 1990.

It seems that the Empire is exterminating Muslims at a higher rate than those of other confessions. Why might that be? There seem to be two competing philosophies at work within the throbbing brain of the Empire: the environmentally hostile, infinite growth-oriented, natalistic view of economists, and the eco-friendly, Malthusian, population-control view of ecologists.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Emergency Eyewash
About a year and a half ago this blog underwent a shift of focus: instead of discussing all things collapse-related, as I have been doing since 2008, I started devoting my attention to the types of collapse we are currently observing:

• Collapse of American hegemony and the old world order
• Collapse of Western “values” and of the Western “civilizational” narrative
• Collapse of the fictional, extend-and-pretend, financial stability of the Eurozone and the US dollar zone
• Collapse in Western media's ability to report on world events

Many people have clearly found this new, sharper focus much more interesting than the discussion of collapses in general: blog traffic has tripled, and now fluctuates between 250,000 and 300,000 reads a month.

This change of focus has helped me define a new mission for myself and for this blog: it is to do what I can to breach the information blockade imposed on the English-speaking world by the corporate-controlled Western media.

Along the way, I have produced a body of work some 70,000 words long, which I have just published as a paperback, titled Emergency Eyewash—the second title from Club Orlov Press, with three more in the works.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Re-posting policy

There has been some confusion on this, so let me clarify. It is henceforth not allowed to take entire articles from this blog and publish them on some other web site. It is still allowed to publish short excerpts provided this is done with proper attribution and a link back to the original. Of course, there are no issues at all with sharing articles from this blog via email, Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, etc. There are no issues with publishing translations of them, but please let me know if you do so that I can link to them. Thank you.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

It's really very simple

[En français] [V češtině] [En español]

[Credit to Dmitry Leikin, whose brief post at served as the source and the inspiration for this piece.]

There are times when a loud cry of “The emperor has no clothes!” can be most copacetic. And so, let me point out something quite simple, yet very important.

The old world order, to which we became accustomed over the course of the 1990s and the 2000s, its crises and its problems detailed in numerous authoritative publications on both sides of the Atlantic—it is no more. It is not out sick and it is not on vacation. It is deceased. It has passed on, gone to meet its maker, bought the farm, kicked the bucket and joined the choir invisible. It is an ex-world order.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

So you say you don't want a revolution?

[En français]

Over the past few months we have been forced to bear witness to a humiliating farce unfolding in Europe. Greece, which was first accepted into the European Monetary Union under false pretenses, then saddled with excessive levels of debt, then crippled through the imposition of austerity, finally did something: the Greeks elected a government that promised to shake things up. The Syriza party platform had the following planks, which were quite revolutionary in spirit.
  • Put an end to austerity and put the Greek economy on a path toward recovery
  • Raise the income tax to 75% for all incomes over 500,000 euros, adopt a tax on financial transactions and a special tax on luxury goods.
  • Drastically cut military expenditures, close all foreign military bases on Greek soil and withdraw from NATO. End military cooperation with Israel and support the creation of a Palestinian State within the 1967 borders.
  • Nationalize the banks.
  • Enact constitutional reforms to guarantee the right to education, health care and the environment.
  • Hold referendums on treaties and other accords with the European Union.

Monday, July 20, 2015




Tuesday, July 14, 2015

What's Wrong with Our Monetary System and How to Fix It

[In italiano]

[Guest post by Adrian Kuzminski]

[Promoted by the comments, Adrian has provided an update.]

Something's profoundly wrong with our global financial system. Pope Francis is only the latest to raise the alarm:

“Human beings and nature must not be at the service of money. Let us say no to an economy of exclusion and inequality, where money rules, rather than service. That economy kills. That economy excludes. That economy destroys Mother Earth.”

What the Pope calls “an economy of exclusion and inequality, where money rules” is widely evident. What is not so clear is how we got into this situation, and what to do about it.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Financial Nonsense Overload

Kelly Hensing
[En français] [In italiano]

“Those whom the gods wish to destroy they first make mad” goes a quote wrongly attributed to Euripides. It seems to describe the current state of affairs with regard to the unfolding Greek imbroglio. It is a Greek tragedy all right: we have the various Eurocrats—elected, unelected, and soon-to-be-unelected—stumbling about the stage spewing forth fanciful nonsense, and we have the choir of the Greek electorate loudly announcing to the world what fanciful nonsense this is by means of a referendum.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Care and Feeding of a Financial Black Hole

[En français] [En español] [По-русски] [In italiano]

A while ago I had the pleasure of hearing Sergey Glazyev—economist, politician, member of the Academy of Sciences, adviser to Pres. Putin—say something that very much confirmed my own thinking. He said that anyone who knows mathematics can see that the United States is on the verge of collapse because its debt has gone exponential. These aren't words that an American or a European politician can utter in public, and perhaps not even whisper to their significant other while lying in bed, because the American eavesdroppers might overhear them, and then the politician in question would get the Dominique Strauss-Kahn treatment (whose illustrious career ended when on a visit to the US he was falsely accused of rape and arrested). And so no European (never mind American) politician can state the obvious, no matter how obvious it is.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Pop goes the Bubble

Running a fundraiser (which, by the way, has been a great success—thank you all very much!) has prompted me to think about money more deeply than I normally do. I am no financial expert, and I certainly can't give you investment advice, but when I figure something out for myself, it makes me want to share my insights. I know that many people see national finances as an impenetrable fog of numbers and acronyms, which they feel is best left up to financial specialists to interpret for them. But try to see national finances as a henhouse, yourself as a hen, and financial specialists as foxes. Perhaps you should pay a little bit of attention—perhaps a bit more than one would expect from a chicken?

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Fundraiser Update over! Many thanks to all 506 of you who donated, and especially to William who generously gave $217 just now to drive it to exactly 100%.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Magical Content Tree

A long, long time ago books were very expensive. They were produced by copying them by hand, page by page, onto parchment, by very poor monks toiling in their monastic scriptoria, but the books they produced turned out to be expensive anyway. The aristocracy could afford them, and, of course, the clergy, but the laymen had little access to the written word.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Spineless, brainless organisms that feed on detritus

View of Boston Harbor on the morning of June 13, 2015
I think this phrase pretty well describes the mainstream media landscape in the US, to which I try to provide an alternative via this blog.

Coincidentally, this is also what most of Boston Harbor looks like at the moment. I snapped this picture minutes ago.

Friday, June 05, 2015

A new engine for my boat

My boat needs a new engine

A Sad Story—but with a Happy End?

Late last year, as I was sailing my boat south for the winter, the engine failed. I had only made it as far as the Cape Cod Canal, and was able to get a tow back to Boston. By then it was too late in the season to do anything about the engine, so I let it sit. This year, when I tried to fix it, I discovered extensive internal corrosion.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015


[En français]

A long time ago—almost a quarter of a century—I worked in a research lab, designing measurement and data acquisition electronics for high energy physics experiments. In the interest of providing motivation for what follows, I will say a few words about the job. It was interesting work, and it gave me a chance to rub shoulders (and drink beer) with some of the most intelligent people on the planet (though far too fixated on subatomic particles).

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Extinction Survey

Tim White
There is a survey currently running on the Doomstead Diner, which asks people to make specific, numerical estimates about the timing of human extinction. It is inspired by the work of Guy McPherson, who has amassed much scientific evidence that points to very major climate disruption occurring over the next 2-3 decades, caused by multiple runaway positive feedback effects, such as Arctic methane release. Guy's conclusion is that these changes will mean that the Earth will no longer provide a habitat for humans, leading to near-term human extinction. His reasoning, as far as I have been able to piece it together, rests on a supposition of time-invariance: the planet will be warmer than it has ever been in human experience; therefore, no humans will survive. This is far short of a proof.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

No, you can't go back to the USSR!

[En español] [По-русски] [En français]

One of the fake stories kept alive by certain American politicians, with the help of western media, is that Vladimir Putin (who, they vacuously claim, is a dictator and a tyrant) wants to reconstitute the USSR, with the annexation of Crimea as the first step.

Instead of listening to their gossip, let's lay out the facts.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

A little Friday humor. NATO just held a summit in Turkey, which ended with the assembled foreign ministers drunkenly butchering We Are the World karaoke-style. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

America's Achilles' Heel

Heiko Müller
[Auf Deutsch] [日本語訳] [En français] [Em português] [In italiano]

Last Saturday, a massive Victory Parade was held in Moscow commemorating the 70-year anniversary of the surrender of Nazi Germany to the Red Army and the erection of the Soviet flag atop the Reichstag in Berlin. There were a few unusual aspects to this parade, which I would like to point out, because they conflict with the western official propaganda narrative. First, it wasn't just Russian troops that marched in the parade: the troops of 10 other nations took part in it, including the Chinese honor guard and a contingent of Grenadiers from India. Dignitaries from these nations were present in the stands, and the Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife were seated next to President Vladimir Putin, who, in his speech at the start of the parade, warned against attempts to create a unipolar world—sharp words aimed squarely at the United States and its western allies. Second, a look at the military hardware that rolled through Red Square or flew over it would indicate that, short of an outright nuclear mutual self-annihilation, there isn't much that the US military could throw at Russia that Russia couldn't neutralize.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

First title from Club Orlov Press has been released

I am very happy to announce that our first Club Orlov Press offering is

Club Orlov Press is a fledgling publishing company whose mission is to mitigate some of the drastic changes that are unfolding in the world around us, and that are affecting all of us in some way, by producing transformative books based on the author's personal experience. Unlike the traditional book publishing model, in which everyone at the publishing house draws a nice salary while the author gets paid a pittance, with us the author gets to keep more than half of the cover price. We achieve this by using the latest print-on-demand technology, free software, a streamlined editorial process and zero office space. You can help our venture take off by ordering a copy of this book, and by spreading news of it among your circle of friends.

* * *

This book is a collection of the best essays from Ray Jason's popular "Sea Gypsy Philosopher" blog, which now has readers in over 130 countries. Although he deals with controversial subjects, Ray approaches them in a calm, measured manner and avoids strident rants. His highly readable meditations begin with a poignant vignette from his travels. Some of the volatile topics he addresses include: predatory capitalism, television, American imperialism, religion, the downside of civilization, possible societal collapse and many more.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Limits of Propaganda

John Breed
[En français]

As Paul Craig Roberts has recently reported, the US government is in the process of launching an all-out war on truth. Those who express views contrary to the party line out of Washington will be labeled a threat. Eventually they may find themselves carted to one of the concentration camps which Halliberton (Dick Cheney's old company) has constructed for $385 million. But that may take a while. In the meantime, we can expect lots of other, less dramatic developments. Indeed, some of these are already happening. Here they are, listed in order of severity.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Notes from a Funeral

Today I received the following report from Club Orlov's special Kiev correspondent, Yu Shan:
Yesterday I was at a funeral. The crowd was well over 500, much more than I originally thought would be possible. It was a deeply emotional event. The man to whom everyone bid farewell was Oles' Buzina, a writer, historian, free thinker, wacky conversationalist, warm friend, a man who identified deeply with both the complex yet incomplete Ukrainian culture and with the multifaceted entity of eastern Slavic Orthodox Russian civilization, a man who would not take sides easily, and would adhere to his lone stand even when death threats started to arrive at his doorstep on a weekly basis.

Club Orlov Press: Editing and Review Process

For the many of you who have submitted proposals already, thank you! We are reviewing your work and will let you know of our decision once we make it. In the meantime, here is what you can expect as your manuscript sails in the general direction of turning into a published book.

When you agree to work with Club Orlov Press, and to use the site and the name as a platform for your book, you're also agreeing to follow our editing and review process. As stated in the initial announcement, "'s in my interests—and yours—that your ideas find their way to the printed page as clearly, concisely and unassailably as possible." How does this happen?

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Announcing Club Orlov Press

People who like to read books have a number of options these days: from dedicated e-readers to phones to whatever other electronic device you have handy, books can be enjoyed in all kinds of ways that have nothing to do with paper.