The Great American Unspooling Is Upon Us

"Yesterday’s 724-point dump in the Dow Jones Industrial Average is liable to not be a fluke event, but the beginning of a cascade into the pitiless maw of reality ..."

The author is a prominent American social critic, blogger, and podcaster, and one of our all-time favorite pessimists. We carry his articles regularly on RI. His writing on Russia-gate has been highly entertaining.

He is one of the better-known thinkers The New Yorker has dubbed 'The Dystopians' in an excellent 2009 profile, along with the brilliant Dmitry Orlov, another regular contributor to RI (archive). These theorists believe that modern society is headed for a jarring and painful crack-up.

You can find his popular fiction and novels on this subject, here. To get a sense of how entertaining he is, watch this 2004 TED talk about the cruel misery of American urban design - it is one of the most-viewed on TED.

If you like his work, please consider supporting him on Patreon.


With spring, things come unstuck; an unspooling has begun. The turnaround at the FBI and Department of Justice has been so swift that even The New York Times has shut up about collusion with Russia — at the same time omitting to report what appears to have been a wholly politicized FBI upper echelon intruding on the 2016 election campaign, and then laboring stealthily to un-do the election result.

The ominous silence enveloping the DOJ the week after Andrew McCabe’s firing — and before the release of the FBI Inspector General’s report — suggests to me that a grand jury is about to convene and indictments are in process, not necessarily from Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s office. The evidence already publicly-aired about FBI machinations and interventions on behalf of Hillary Clinton and against Donald Trump looks bad from any angle, and the wonder was that it took so long for anyone at the agency to answer for it.

McCabe is gone from office and, apparently hung out to dry on the recommendation of his own colleagues. Do not think for a moment that he will just ride off into the sunset. Meanwhile, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, Bruce Ohr, have been sent to the FBI study hall pending some other shoes dropping in a grand jury room. James Comey is out hustling a book he slapped together to manage the optics of his own legal predicament (evidently, lying to a congressional committee). And way out in orbit beyond the gravitation of the FBI, lurk those two other scoundrels, John Brennan, former head of the CIA (now a CNN blabbermouth), and James Clapper, former Director of National Intelligence, a new and redundant post in the Deep State’s intel matrix (and ditto a CNN blabbermouth). Brennan especially has been provoked to issue blunt Twitter threats against Mr. Trump, suggesting he might be entering a legal squeeze himself.

None of these public servants have cut a plea bargain yet, as far as is publicly known, but they are all, for sure, in a lot of trouble. Culpability may not stop with them. Tendrils of evidence point to a coordinated campaign that included the Obama White House and the Democratic National Committee starring Hillary Clinton. Robert Mueller even comes into the picture both at the Uranium One end of the story and the other end concerning the activities of his old friend, Mr. Comey. Most tellingly of all, Attorney General Jeff Sessions was not shoved out of office but remains shrouded in silence and mystery as this melodrama plays out, tick, tick, tick.

None of this makes President Trump a more reassuring figure. His lack of decorum remains as awesome as his apparent lack of common sense. But he has labored against the most intense campaign of coordinated calumny ever seen against a chief executive and his fortitude, at least, is impressive. What is unspooling for him, and the body politic, are the nation’s finances, and the dog of an economy that gets wagged by finance. Yesterday’s 724-point dump in the Dow Jones Industrial Average is liable to not be a fluke event, but the beginning of a cascade into the pitiless maw of reality — the reality that just about everything is grossly mispriced.

There is plenty of dysfunction in plain sight to suggest that the financial markets can’t bear the strain of unreality anymore. Between the burgeoning trade wars and the adoption in congress this week of a fiscally suicidal spending bill, you’d want to put your fingers in your ears to not be deafened by the roar of markets tumbling.

A 40 to 75 percent drop in the equity markets will leave a lot of one-percent big fish gasping on the beach as the tide rolls out. But the minnows and anchovies will suffer too, as regular economic activity declines in response to tumbling markets. And then the Federal Reserve will ride to the rescue with QE-4, which will very sharply drive the dollar toward worthlessness.

The result: a nation with a sucking chest wound, whirling around the drain en route to political pandemonium.