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[Markets] A Conspiracy Theorist Confesses A Conspiracy Theorist Confesses Tyler Durden Sat, 06/06/2020 - 00:00

Authored by Iain Davis via,

I am what the general population, politicians and the mainstream media (MSM) would call a conspiracy theorist. While I don’t agree with their definition of the term, there’s not much point in me denying it. It is applied to me, and millions like me, whether we like it or not.

For those who deem conspiracy theorists to be some sort of threat to society, we are the social and political malcontents who lack reason and hate our democratic way of life. We are trolls, bots and disinformation agents on social media, probably employed by the Russians, the Chinese or Iranians.

We are supposedly hellbent on sewing the seeds of discontent and can be found protesting against every government policy and decision. Alternatively, we are arrogant fools, both anti-science and evidence averse, who trot out crazy theories based upon little knowledge and no evidence. Apparently this is a very dangerous thing.

Thus we come to the glaring contradiction at the heart of the concept of the loony conspiracy theorist. Conspiracy theorists are both imbeciles, who don’t have any proof to back up anything they say, while simultaneously being dangerous subversives who threaten to destabilise democracy and foment chaos.

Which is it? It can’t be both. Unless society is so fragile it cannot withstand the opinions of idiots.

So where does the idea that fools present a threat to “our way of life,” come from? What is it that the conspiracy theorists say that is so dangerous? Why do their opinions seemingly need to be censored? What are governments so worried about?


Some definitions are required here. From the Cambridge online English dictionary we have:

Misinformation: [noun] wrong information, or the fact that people are misinformed.

Disinformation: [noun] false information spread in order to deceive people.

Fake News: [noun] false stories that appear to be news, spread on the internet or using other media, usually created to influence political views or as a joke.

Conspiracy: [noun’] the activity of secretly planning with other people to do something bad or illegal.

Theory: [noun] a formal statement of the rules on which a subject of study is based or of ideas that are suggested to explain a fact or event.

Conspiracy Theory: [noun] a belief that an event or situation is the result of a secret plan made by powerful people

It is notable that Cambridge University Press have introduced the concept of “secret” into their definition. By describing something as secret you are suggesting that it is impossible to know what it is. This added notion of secrecy is not commonly found in other dictionaries.

Nor is it present in the legal definition of conspiracy. Blacks Law Dictionary defines conspiracy as:

Conspiracy: In criminal law. A combination or confederacy between two or more persons formed for the purpose of committing, by their joint efforts, some unlawful or criminal act.

Obviously conspirators would like to keep their plans hidden. But that doesn’t mean they always remain so. If all conspiracies were “secrets” nobody would ever discover any of them.

Known conspiracies, such as Operation Gladio, Iran Contra, the Lavon Affair, the 2001 anthrax letter hoax and so on, would not have been exposed had people not highlighted the evidence which proved their existence.

The notion of the “secret conspiracy” is not one most people called conspiracy theorists would recognise. Often the whole point of our argument is that the conspiracies can be quite plainly evidenced. Most of that evidence is in the public domain and freely available.

More often conspiracy theorists are concerned with the denial or obfuscation of the evidence. It is not that the evidence doesn’t exist, rather that it either isn’t reported at all or is hidden by labelling those who do report it conspiracy theorists.

We can define “conspiracy theory” simply to mean: the reporting of evidence indicating a plan between two or more people to commit an illegal or nefarious act.

We can add that a conspiracy theory is an opinion or an argument. The merit of which is solely defined by the strength or weakness of the evidence.

However, if you read Wikipedia a very different definition is suggested. Suddenly conspiracy theory means an attempt to ignore other more plausible explanations. It is a theory based upon prejudice or insufficient evidence, it resists falsification and suffers from circular reasoning. It has left the realms of logical deduction and become a matter of faith.

This rationale is some distance away from the dictionary and legal definitions. It relies heavily upon opinion and is highly subjective. It is a pejorative definition which claims to be based in science, though the scientific evidence is feeble to non existent.

This depiction of the delusional conspiracy theorist, as described by Wikipedia, is the popularly accepted meaning. Perhaps we can agree, the narrative we are given about alleged conspiracy theorists broadly runs like this:

Conspiracy theorists forward arguments that are unfounded. These are based upon limited knowledge and lack substantiating evidence. Most conspiracy theorists are simply wrong and unwittingly spread misinformation. However, prominent conspiracy theorists spread disinformation and have used their large followings on the Internet to create a dangerous phenomenon called ‘fake news.’

Many of those with the largest followings are agents for foreign powers. They use a global network of trolls and bots to advance their dangerous political agenda. This is designed to undermine our democratic way of life and valued political institutions. Therefore all conspiracy theory is anti-democratic and must be stopped.

It is difficult to understand how democracies, which supposedly value freedom of thought, speech and expression, can be threatened by diversity of opinion. Yet it appears many people are willing to ignore this contradiction and support government attempts to censor information and silence the voices of those it labels conspiracy theorist. Which is genuinely anti-democratic.

Consequently it has become relatively straightforward for politicians and the media to refute evidence and undermine arguments. As long as they can get the label of conspiracy theory or theorist to stick, most people will discount their arguments without ever looking at the evidence.

The label of conspiracy theorist is an umbrella term for a huge array of ideas and beliefs. Some are more plausible than others. However, by calling everyone who challenges accepted norms a “conspiracy theorist” it is possible to avoid addressing the evidence some offer by exploiting guilt by association.

For example, many people labelled as conspiracy theorists, myself included, believe even the most senior elected politicians are relatively low down the pecking order when it comes to decision making. We suggest powerful global corporations, globalist think tanks and international financial institutions often have far more control over policy development than politicians. We can cite academic research to back up this identification of “Biased Pluralism.”

We do not believe the Earth is flat or the Queen is a lizard. However, because we believe the former, politicians, mainstream academia and the media insist that we must also believe the latter.

Psychology is often cited as evidence to prove conspiracy theorists are deranged, or at least emotionally disturbed in some way. Having looked at some of this claimed science I found it to be rather silly and anti-scientific. But that is just my opinion.

However, unlike many of the psychologists who earn a living by writing junk science, I do not think they should be censored nor stopped from expressing their unscientific opinions. However, governments across the world are seemingly desperate to exploit the psychologist’s ‘work’ to justify the silencing of the conspiracy theorists.

This desire to silence people who ask the wrong questions, by labelling all as conspiracy theorists, has been a common theme from our elected political leaders during the first two decades of the 21st century. But where did this idea come from?


Conspiracy theory is nothing new. Nearly every single significant world event had at least one contemporary conspiracy theory attached to it. These alternative interpretations of events, which lie outside the accepted or official narratives, are found throughout history.

In 117 CE, the Roman Emperor Trajan died only two days after adopting his successor Hadrian. All his symptoms indicated a stroke brought on by cardio vascular disease.

Yet by the 4th century, in the questionable historical text Historia Augusta, a number of conspiracy theories surrounding Trajan’s death had emerged. These included claims that Trajan had been poisoned by Hadrian, the praetorian prefect Attianus and Trajan’s wife, Plotina.

While we would call this a conspiracy theory today, the term was not commonly used until the late 1960’s. The earliest written reference to something approaching the modern concept of conspiracy theory appeared in the 1870’s in the Journal of Mental Science vol 16.

“The theory of Dr Sankey as to the manner in which these injuries to the chest occurred in asylums deserved our careful attention. It was at least more plausible that the conspiracy theory of Mr Charles Beade”

This is the first time we see an association made between “conspiracy theory” and implausibility. Throughout most of the 19th and 20th century, if used at all, it usually denoted little more than a rationale to expose a criminal plot or malevolent act by a group.

After the Second World War colloquial use of “conspiracy theory” was rare. However, academics were beginning to lay the foundations for the interpretation which has produced the label we are familiar with today.

The burgeoning idea was that the large numbers of people who questioned official accounts of events, or orthodox historical interpretations, were all delusional to some degree. Questioning authority, and certainly alleging that authority was responsible for criminal acts, was deemed to be an aberration of the mind.

Karl Popper

In 1945 The philosopher Karl Popper alluded to this in his political work The Open Society and Its Enemies. Popper was essentially criticising historicism. He stated that historical events were vulnerable to misinterpretation by those who were predisposed to see a conspiracy behind them.

He argued this was because historians suffered from cognitive dissonance (the uncomfortable psychological sensation of holding two opposing views simultaneously.) They could not accept that tumultuous events could just happen through the combination of error and unrelated circumstances.

In Popper’s view, these historians were too quick to reject the possibility of random, chaotic events influencing history, preferring unsubstantiated conspiratorial explanations. Usually because they made better stories, thereby garnering more attention for their work.

Popper identified what he called the conspiracy theory of society. This reflected Popper’s belief that social sciences should concern themselves with the study of the unintended consequences of intentional human behaviour. Speaking of the conspiracy theory perspective, he wrote:

It is the view that an explanation of a social phenomenon consists in the discovery of the men or groups who are interested in the occurrence of this phenomenon (sometimes it is a hidden interest which has first to be revealed), and who have planned and conspired to bring it about.”

Popper also believed that increasing secularism had led people to ascribe power to secretive groups rather than the gods:

The gods are abandoned. But their place is filled by powerful men or groups – sinister pressure groups whose wickedness is responsible for all the evils we suffer from – such as the Learned Elders of Zion, or the monopolists, or the capitalists, or the imperialists.”

Popper’s theory illustrates the fundamental difference between those labelled conspiracy theorists and those who, on the whole, defend the official narrative and the establishment. For conspiracy theorists the evidence shows that powerful forces have frequently conspired to shape events, control the flow of information and manipulate society. The deliberate engineering of society, suggested by the conspiracy theorists, is rejected by their opponents and critics.

For them the conspiratorial view has some minor, limited merit, but the suggested scale and prevalence of these plots is grossly exaggerated. They see nearly all world events as the result of the unintentional collision between disparate forces and the random influence of fate.

In general, they consider the powerful incapable of malice. Where disastrous national and global events have clearly been caused by the decisions of governments, influential groups and immensely wealthy individuals, these are invariably seen as mistakes.

Any suggestion that the power hierarchy’s destructive decisions may have achieved their intended objectives receives blanket rejection. Even asking the question is considered “unthinkable.”

For many people called conspiracy theorists this is a hopelessly naive world view. History is full of examples of the powerful using their influence to further their own interests at others expense. Often costing people their lives.

For their opponents, like Popper, to reject this possibility outright, demonstrates their cognitive dissonance. They seem unable even to contemplate the possibility that the political and economic power structures they believe in could ever deliberately harm anyone. They have faith in authority and it is not shared by people they label conspiracy theorists.

Following the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963 alternative explanations proliferated, not least of all due to the apparent implausibility of the official account. Many U.S. citizens were concerned that elements within their own government had effectively staged a coup. Others, such as the prominent American historian Richard Hoftsadter, were more concerned that people doubted their government.

Richard Hofstadter

Building on the work of Popper, partly as a critique of McCarthyism but also in response to the Republican nomination loss of Nelson A. Rockefeller, American historian Richard Hofstadter suggested that people’s inability to believe what they are told by government was not based upon their grasp of the evidence. Rather it was rooted in psychological need.

He claimed much of this stemmed from their lack of education (knowledge), political disenfranchisement and an unjustified sense of self importance. He also suggested these dangerous opinions threatened to pollute the body politic.

Like Popper, Hofstadter did not identify conspiracy theorists directly. But he did formulate the narrative underpinning the modern, widely accepted, definition. He wrote:

I call it the paranoid style simply because no other word adequately evokes the sense of heated exaggeration, suspiciousness, and conspiratorial fantasy that I have in mind…It is the use of paranoid modes of expression by more or less normal people that makes the phenomenon significant


Of course, there are highbrow, lowbrow, and middlebrow paranoids, as there are likely to be in any political tendency. But respectable paranoid literature not only starts from certain moral commitments that can indeed be justified but also carefully and all but obsessively accumulates “evidence.”….he can accumulate evidence in order to protect his cherished convictions.

Going to great lengths to focus on the “paranoid’s” tendency to highlight the evidence, as if that were a failing, like most critics of so-called conspiracy theorists, Hofstadter chose neither to address nor even mention what that evidence was. He merely asserted that it was unbelievable. The reader just had to take his word for it.

The Warren Commission Report into the JFK assassination drew considerable criticism. The finding that Oswald acted alone contradicted numerous eye witness accounts, film, autopsy and ballistic evidence.

Four of the seven commissioners harshly criticised the report issued in their name. Widely seen as quite ridiculous, in the absence of any sensible official account of the assassination, numerous explanatory theories inevitably sprang up.

In response to the mounting criticism, in 1967 the CIA sent an internal dispatch to all field offices called Document 1035-960: Concerning Criticism of the Warren Report.

Revealed by a New York Times Freedom of Information Request in 1976, the dispatch is the first written record we have of the combination of Popper’s “conspiracy theory of society” with Hofstadter’s “paranoid style” militant. It defined the modern concept of the conspiracy theorist.

The document states:

Conspiracy theories have frequently thrown suspicion on our organization, for example by falsely alleging that Lee Harvey Oswald worked for us. The aim of this dispatch is to provide material countering and discrediting the claims of the conspiracy theorists.”

It can be considered as the origin of the weaponised term “conspiracy theory.” It recommends a set of techniques to be used to discredit all critics of the Warren Commission Report. Once you are familiar with them, it is obvious that these strategies are commonly deployed today to dismiss all who question official statements as “conspiracy theorists.” We can paraphrase these as follows:

  1. Deny any new evidence offered and cite only official reports stating ‘no new evidence has emerged.’

  2. Dismiss contradictory eyewitness statements and focus upon the existing, primary, official evidence such as ballistics, autopsy, and photographic evidence.

  3. Do not initiate any discussion of the evidence and suggest that large scale conspiracies are impossible to cover up in an open and free democracy.

  4. Accuse the conspiracy theorists of having an intellectual superiority complex.

  5. Suggest that theorists refuse to acknowledge their own errors.

  6. Refute any suggestion of witness assassinations by pointing out they were all deaths by natural causes.

  7. Question the quality of conspiracy research and point out that official sources are better.

The report recommended making good use of “friendly elite contacts (especially politicians and editors)” and to “employ propaganda assets to [negate] and refute the attacks of the critics.”

The CIA advocated using mainstream media feature articles to discredit people labelled conspiracy theorists.

While the use of these methods has been refined over the years, the essential process of labelling someone a conspiracy theorist, while studiously avoiding any discussion of the evidence they highlight, is extremely common in the mainstream media today. We only need look at the reports about academics who questioned the government’s narrative about COVID19 to see the techniques in operation.

The drive to convince the public to use only “official sources” for information has seen the rise of the fact checker.

These organisations, invariably with the support of government and corporate funding, are offered as the reliable sources which provide real facts. The facts they provide are frequently wrong and the fact checking industry has settled legal claims from those who challenged their disinformation.

People have been directed by the mainstream media to abandon all critical thinking. They just need to go to their government-approved fact-checker in order be told the truth.

Providing the public believe the people labelled conspiracy theorists are crazy, ill informed or agents for a foreign powers, the mainstream media, politicians and other commentators can undermine any and all evidence they present. In keeping with the CIA’s initial recommendations, it is extremely unlikely that the evidence will ever be openly discussed but, if it is, it can be written off as “conspiracy theory.”

However, it isn’t just the mainstream media who use the conspiracy theorist label to avoid discussing evidence. Politicians, speaking on the worlds biggest political stage, have seized the opportunity to deploy the CIA’s strategy.


Even for Prime Ministers and Presidents, addressing the General Assembly of the United Nations is a big deal. These tend to be big thematic speeches as the leader impresses their vision upon the gathered dignitaries and global media.

Yet, despite the fact that conspiracy theorists are supposed to be idiots who don’t know the time of day, global “leaders” have repeatedly used this auspicious occasion to single them out as one of the greatest threats to global security.

In November 2001 George W. Bush addressed the United Nations General Assembly with the following words:

We must speak the truth about terror. Let us never tolerate outrageous conspiracy theories concerning the attacks of September the 11th; malicious lies that attempt to shift the blame away from the terrorists, themselves, away from the guilty. To inflame ethnic hatred is to advance the cause of terror.”

Even if you accept the official account of 9/11, and there are numerous reasons why you wouldn’t, how does questioning it suggest that you support terrorism or mark you out as a racist?

The suggestion appears absurd but it does illustrate that the U.S. president wanted both to silence all criticism of the government account and link those questioning it to extremism and even terrorism.

This theme was reiterated by the UK Prime Minister David Cameron in his 2014 address. He said:

To defeat ISIL – and organisations like it we must defeat this ideology in all its forms… is clear that many of them were initially influenced by preachers who claim not to encourage violence, but whose world view can be used as a justification for it. We know this world view. The peddling of lies: that 9/11 was a Jewish plot or that the 7/7 London attacks were staged […] We must be clear: to defeat the ideology of extremism we need to deal with all forms of extremism – not just violent extremism. We must work together to take down illegal online material […] we must stop the so called non-violent extremists from inciting hatred and intolerance.

This season we will mostly be wearing anti-fear glasses

Like Bush before him, Cameron was at pains to identify what he called non violent extremists (commonly called conspiracy theorists). According to him, all who question government accounts of major geopolitical events are, once again, tantamount to terrorists.

Calling for online censorship to stop any questions ever being asked, it is this authoritarian need to avoid addressing evidence that led his successor, Prime Minister Theresa May, to propose wide-sweeping censorship of the Internet.

At the time of writing, the UK is among the many nations still in so called “lockdown” following the outbreak of COVID19. When UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressed the U.N General Assembly in September 2019 he delivered a speech which seemed weirdly out of context. With Brexit and possible conflict with Iran high on the agenda his address, which barely touched on those issues, was received with considerable bewilderment.

Six months later his predictive powers appear to be remarkable. It transpires that Johnson’s comments were extremely relevant. Just six months too early.

There are today people today who are actually still anti-science […] A whole movement called the anti-Vaxxers, who refuse to acknowledge the evidence that vaccinations have eradicated smallpox […] And who by their prejudices are actually endangering the very children they want to protect […] I am profoundly optimistic about the ability of new technology to serve as a liberator and remake the world wondrously and benignly […] Together, we can vanquish killer diseases.”

Despite the wealth of scientific evidence which justifies scepticism about some vaccinesanti-vaxxer (a variant of conspiracy theorist), is another label used to convince people not to consider evidence. The assertion is that those who question vaccines all fundamentally reject the concept of artificially inducing an immune response against a disease.

This isn’t true but how would you know? The anti-vaxxer label alone is sufficient to convince most to turn away.

Johnson’s speech rambled across so many seemingly irrelevant subjects there is little reason to suspect any COVID 19 foreknowledge. But given the global pandemic that would occur just a few months later, it was certainly prescient. Johnson was sufficiently concerned about the supposedly baseless questions of so called conspiracy theorists (or anti-vaxxers) to allege they killed children. A ludicrous suggestion the mainstream media strongly promoted.

It doesn’t matter that academic research has proven that the official account of 9/11 cannot possibly be true; it makes no difference that Mossad agents admitted that they had gone to New York on the morning of 9/11 to “document the event;” studies showing that approximately 90% of the total 20th Century disease reduction in the U.S. occurred prior to the widespread use of vaccines are irrelevant.

None of these facts need to be known by anyone and governments are going to censor all who try to tell others about them. All questions that reference them are crazy conspiracy theories. They are both stupid questions and a huge threat to both national security and the safety of the little children.

One of the recurring themes the people labelled conspiracy theorists discuss is that policy is made behind the closed doors of corporate boardrooms and policy think tanks. It doesn’t matter who you elect or what party you choose to rule over you, they are only capable of tinkering at the edges of the policy platform.

The policy agenda is set at a globalist level. So the fact that, over two decades, one U.S president and two British Prime Minsters were delivering essentially the same message doesn’t surprise the conspiracy theorists.

As we move toward a world where certain ideas are forbidden and only officially approved questions can be asked, where governments and corporations have a monopoly on the truth and everything else is a conspiracy theory, only one thing really matters. The evidence.

Hofstadter’s believed that his paranoid style militants constant citation of evidence was merely an attempt to “protect his cherished convictions.” This could be true, but the only way to find out is to look at that evidence. The label of the conspiracy theorist has been deliberately created in order to convince you not to look at it.

Regardless of whether or not you think someone’s opinion is a conspiracy theory, you owe it to yourself and your children to consider the evidence they cite. Perhaps you will reject it. There’s nothing wrong with that.

But to reject it, without knowing what it is, really is crazy. Your only other option is to unquestioningly accept whatever you are told by the government, globalist think tanks, multinational corporations and their mainstream media partners.

If you choose to believe that everyone who claims to have identified the malfeasance of officials, the crimes of government or the corruption of powerful global institutions, are all conspiracy theorists, then you have accepted that the establishment is beyond reproach.

If you also agree the same established hierarchy can not only determine what you can or cannot know, but can also set all the policies and legislation which dictates your behaviour and defines the limits of your freedom, you have elected to be a slave and don’t value democracy in the slightest.

6/5/2020 11:32:48 PM
[worldNews] Germany's confirmed coronavirus cases rise by 407 to 183,678: RKI The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 407 to 183,678, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Friday.
6/5/2020 11:02:09 PM
[Markets] Engineering The Perfect Human? Biotech Examines Rare DNA In Himalayan People Engineering The Perfect Human? Biotech Examines Rare DNA In Himalayan People Tyler Durden Fri, 06/05/2020 - 23:40

Variant Bio has spent the last several years scouring the world for genetic outliers in human beings. It found a small group of "outlier humans" with special variations in their DNA that could affect disease risk and eventually be used to develop medicines to improve human life. 

Founded in New York, the 10-person startup's lead geneticist Stephane Castel is focusing on the DNA of Sherpa people living at high altitudes in Nepal and Himalayas. Their unique genetic characteristics allow them to live healthy lives with blood oxygen levels far below what most humans need. Most people in high altitudes suffer from hypoxia, which is the absence of enough oxygen in the tissues to sustain bodily functions. 

"They [Sherpa people] don't suffer any ill health effects," Castel told Bloomberg. "It's incredible." 

Sherpa village 

Castel's team is betting on the sequencing of Sherpa DNA, which could lead to discoveries of new superior traits that would aid in the development of novel medicines and therapies to improve metabolism, eyesight, and immune response.

It's up to Variant's software and scientific analysis to find breakthrough genetic coding in Sherpa DNA, Castel said it could take several years to develop drugs and therapies based on the results. 

Sherpa man

Variant Bio recently received a capital infusion from venture firm Lux Capital for $16 million to pursue the research. 

Josh Wolfe, the co-founder of Lux Capital, said:

 "Wouldn't it be amazing if some secrets of human health were possessed by these small groups of people [Sherpa people], and they could ultimately benefit the rest of the world?," Wolfe said. 

Variant's new CEO, Andrew Farnum, previously managed the $2 billion investment arm of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that concentrated on  global health and infectious diseases. 

"There are huge advantages here for drug discovery," Farnum said while referring to Variant's research. 

 "People will see how seriously we take this and how we conduct our projects, and other populations will want to work with us," he said. 

Variant has held talks with Sherpa village leaders and Nepal's research council to negotiate deals for DNA extraction with locals. 

Keolu Fox, a genome scientist and an assistant professor at the University of California at San Diego, said Variant must compensate Sherpa people for their DNA:

"If the people don't get a cut, this is colonial," Fox said. "It's extractive capitalism." 

Variant has taken the approach that human genetics has the power to transform drug development. Perhaps, the startup is on to something by examining superior genes possed by Sherpa people. 

Could this company be in the early innings of engineering perfect humans? 

6/5/2020 11:02:09 PM
[World] Are Porn Laws and Quarantines Part of the ‘Tyranny of the Majority?’

Or is there something more much coercive going on that has a much more psychological impact, and silencing effect?

The post Are Porn Laws and Quarantines Part of the ‘Tyranny of the Majority?’ appeared first on The American Conservative.

6/5/2020 11:02:09 PM
[Markets] "Unreported Truths" - This Is The COVID-19 Book That Amazon 'Quarantined' "Unreported Truths" - This Is The COVID-19 Book That Amazon 'Quarantined' Tyler Durden Fri, 06/05/2020 - 23:20


Former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson has developed a wide following on Twitter for detailed posts that challenge some mainstream reporting and government declarations about COVID-19. 

Read the full thread here.

Thursday morning he tweeted that Amazon had refused to offer for sale his self-published book, “Unreported Truths about COVID-19 and Lockdowns Part 1: Introduction and Death Counts and Estimates.”

Among those responding in outrage over what they called blatant censorship were SpaceX CEO Elon Musk ("This is insane @JeffBezos") and journalist Glenn Greenwald. And late Thursday Berenson reported that Amazon had backed off and is now offering the book for sale on Kindle.

Before Amazon reversed itself (calling its earlier move an "error," according to Fox News), RealClearInvestigations asked the award-winning novelist to elaborate on his experience. Here’s his response, followed by an excerpt from the book: 

By Alex Berenson
June 4, 2020

The booklet was the first in a series of coronavirus pamphlets I plan to put out covering various aspects of the crisis. Readers of my Twitter feed encouraged me to compile information in a more comprehensive and easier-to-read format, and when I polled people on Twitter to ask if they would be willing to pay a nominal fee for such a pamphlet, the response was strong.

Originally I only planned to write one, but I had so much information I realized that the booklet would be an awkward length - longer than a magazine article but shorter than a book.  Also, doing so would take too long, and I wanted to put it out quickly. So I decided to split the booklet into pieces. Part 1 included an introduction and a discussion of death coding, death counts, and who is really dying from COVID, as well as a worst-case estimate of deaths with no mitigation efforts.

It is about 6,500 words, and I planned to sell it for $2.99 as an ebook or $5.99 for a paperback. It is called "Unreported Truths about COVID-19 and Lockdowns: Part 1, Introduction and Death Counts and Estimates."

I created covers for both and uploaded the book. I had published Kindle Singles (Amazon's curated program for short Kindle pieces, which now focuses more on fiction from established writers), so I was relatively familiar with the drill. I briefly considered censorship but assumed I wouldn't have a problem because of my background, because anyone who reads the booklet will realize it is impeccably sourced, nary a conspiracy theory to be found, and frankly because Amazon shouldn't be censoring anything that doesn't explicitly help people commit criminal behavior. (Books intended to help adults groom children for sexual relationships, for example, should be off-limits - though about 10 years ago Amazon did not agree and only backed down from selling a how-to guide for pedophiles in the face of public outrage.) 

I didn't hear anything until this morning, when I found the note I posted to Twitter in my inbox (shown below).

Note that it does not offer any route to appeal. I have no idea if the decision was made by a person, an automated system, or a combination (i.e. the system flags anything with COVID-19 or coronavirus in the title and then a person decides on the content). I am considering my options, including making the booklet available on my Website and asking people to pay on an honor system, but that will not solve the problem of Amazon's censorship. Amazon dominates both the electronic and physical book markets, and if it denies its readers a chance to see my work, I will lose the chance to reach the people who most need to learn the truth - those who don't already know it.

Here are the first 1,000 words of Chapter 1:

Maybe the most important questions of all:

How lethal is SARS-COV-2?

Whom does it kill?

Are the death counts accurate – and, if not, are they over- or understated?

Estimates for the lethality of the coronavirus have varied widely since January. Early Chinese data suggested the virus might have an “infection fatality rate” as high as 1.4 – 2 percent.

A death rate in that range could mean the coronavirus might kill more than 6 million Americans, although even under the worst-case scenarios some people would not be exposed, and others might have natural immunity that would prevent them from being infected at all.

As we have learned more about the virus, estimates of its lethality have fallen. Calculating fatality rates is complex, because despite all of our testing for COVID, we still don’t know how many people have been infected.

Some people who are infected may have no or mild symptoms. Even those with more severe symptoms may resist going to the hospital, then recover on their own. We have a clear view of the top of the iceberg – the serious infections that require hospitalization – but at least in the early stages of the epidemic we have to guess at the mild, hidden infections.

But to calculate the true fatality rate, we need to know the true infection rate. If 10,000 people die out of 100,000 infections, that means the virus kills 10 percent of all the people it infects – making it very, very dangerous. But if 10,000 people die from 10 million infections, the death rate is actually 0.1 percent – similar to the flu.

Unfortunately, figuring out the real infection rate is very difficult. Probably the best way is through antibody tests, which measure how many people have already been infected and recovered – even if they never were hospitalized or even had symptoms. Studies in which many people in a city, state, or even country are tested at random to see if they are currently infected can also help. Believe it or not, so can tests of municipal sewage. (I’ll say more about all this later, in the section on transmission rates and lockdowns.)

For now, the crucial point is this: randomized antibody tests from all over the world have repeatedly shown many more people have been infected with coronavirus than is revealed by tests for active infection. Many people who are infected with SARS-COV-2 don’t even know it.

So the hidden part of the iceberg is huge. And in turn, scientists have repeatedly reduced their estimates for how dangerous the coronavirus might be.

The most important estimate came on May 20, when the Centers for Disease Control reported its best estimate was that the virus would kill 0.26 percent of people it infected, or about 1 in 400 people. (The virus would kill 0.4 percent of those who developed symptoms. But about one out of three people would have no symptoms at all, the CDC said.) (

Similarly, a German study in April reported a fatality rate of 0.37 percent ( A large study in April in Los Angeles predicted a death rate in the range of 0.15 to 0.3 percent.

Some estimates have been even lower. Others have been somewhat higher – especially in regions that experienced periods of severe stress on their health care systems. In New York City, for example, the death rates appear somewhat higher, possibly above 0.5 percent – though New York may be an outlier, both because it has counted deaths aggressively (more on this later) and because its hospitals seem to have used ventilators particularly aggressively.

Thus the CDC’s estimate for deaths is probably the best place to begin. Using that figure along with several other papers and studies suggests the coronavirus has an infection fatality rate in the range of 0.15 percent to 0.4 percent.

In other words, SARS-COV-2 likely kills between 1 in 250 and 1 in 650 of the people whom it infects. Again, though, not everyone who is exposed will become infected. Some people do not contract the virus, perhaps because their T-cells – which help the immune system destroy invading viruses and bacteria – have already been primed by exposure to other coronaviruses. [Several other coronaviruses exist; the most common versions usually cause minor colds in the people they infect.] An early May paper in the journal Cell suggests that as many as 60 percent of people may have some preexisting immune response, though not all will necessarily be immune. (

The experience of outbreaks on large ships such as aircraft carriers and cruise liners also show that some people do not become infected. The best estimates are that the virus probably can infect somewhere between 50 to 70 percent of people. For example, on one French aircraft carrier, 60 percent of sailors were infected (none died and only two out of 1,074 infected sailors required intensive care).

Thus – in a worst-case scenario – if we took no steps to mitigate its spread or protect vulnerable people, a completely unchecked coronavirus might kill between 0.075 and 0.28 percent of the United States population – between 1 in 360 and 1 in 1,300 Americans.

This is higher than the seasonal flu in most years. Influenza is usually said to have a fatality rate among symptomatic cases of 1 in 1,000 and an overall fatality rate of around 1 in 2,000. However, influenza mutates rapidly, and its dangerousness varies year by year. The coronavirus appears far less dangerous than the Spanish flu a century ago, which was commonly said to kill 1 in 50 of the people it infected.

It appears more comparable in terms of overall mortality to the influenza epidemics of 1957 and 1968, or the British flu epidemics of the late 1990s. (Of course, the United States and United Kingdom did not only not shut down for any of those epidemics, they received little attention outside the health-care system.)

6/5/2020 10:34:13 PM
[] Drew Brees takes apology for initial stance against kneeling during National Anthem to next level with this note to President Trump 6/5/2020 10:02:05 PM
[Lefties on Parade] Dear Corporations: Taking a knee won’t save you

When the George Floyd riots began, corporations began virtue signaling. As all appeasers discover, that will not appease the mob. Exhibit A: Estee Lauder. I’ve written two posts in the past couple of days about corporate virtue signaling. In my latest, I tell how I’m fighting against the virtue signaling.

The post Dear Corporations: Taking a knee won’t save you appeared first on Bookworm Room.

6/5/2020 10:02:05 PM
[Politics] Joe Biden Clinches Democratic Presidential Nomination Joe Biden formally clinched the Democratic presidential nomination Friday, setting him up for a bruising challenge to President Donald Trump that will play out against the unprecedented backdrop of a pandemic, economic collapse, and civil unrest. 6/5/2020 10:02:05 PM
[Markets] Iran's Nuclear Stockpile Rose By Over 50% During Three Months Of COVID Lockdown: IAEA Iran's Nuclear Stockpile Rose By Over 50% During Three Months Of COVID Lockdown: IAEA Tyler Durden Fri, 06/05/2020 - 23:00

Over the past three months of global lockdowns due to the coronavirus, Iran's nuclear development has been busy, apparently. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Friday circulated a confidential report seen by Associated Press which details the Islamic Republic's nuclear stockpile rose by a whopping over 50% in the three months prior to May 20.

"The agency said that as of May 20, Iran’s total stockpile of low-enriched uranium amounted to 1,571.6 kilograms (1.73 tons), up from 1,020.9 kilograms (1.1 tons) on Feb. 19," AP reports. 


Tehran months ago vowed to break from its commitments under the Obama-brokered JCPOA until the biting American-led sanctions regimen is eased. Officials warned Europe that if action weren't taken major nuclear milestones would be reached. 

This has also included enriching uranium up to a purity of 4.5%, blowing past the 3.67% ceiling stipulated under the JCPOA. The IAEA report also noted "with serious concern that, for over four months, Iran has denied access to Agency... to two locations."

Recently reports suggested IAEA inspectors were being blocked in part on Iranian authorities' concerns over the coronavirus pandemic

"The [IAEA] director general calls on Iran immediately to cooperate fully with the agency, including by providing prompt access to the locations specified," the report said, however like other warnings this is likely to fall on deaf ears, given Iran's economy has been decimated, further at a sensitive moment a large chunk of the population and failing health system have been ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The report comes a mere day after President Trump suggested there could be a fresh opening with Iran to 'negotiate a better deal' - as he's long sought after withdrawing from the nuclear deal in May 2018. "Thank you to Iran, it shows a deal is possible!" Trump said in a rare positive tweet regarding the Islamic Republic on the occasion of the return of Navy Veteran Michael White from an Iranian prison. 

But the Iranians immediately poured cold water on that prospect, given Foreign Minister Javad Zarif reminded the US president, "we had a deal when you entered office."

The Iranian position has been that it will never reenter negotiations until Washington removes sanctions, and returns to the 2015 deal it signed in the first place. 

6/5/2020 10:02:05 PM
[Politics] NYT Adds Apologetic Editors' Note to Sen. Cotton Commentary Called on the carpet by its own staff, The New York Times on Friday added an editor's note castigating itself for posting an opinion piece by Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., that called for active military troops to "restore order" to cities roiled by George Floyd protests. 6/5/2020 9:37:15 PM
[Politics] Thug mercilessly kicks guy in the face after he hits the ground at protest; police arrest a 14-year-old for it There was a horrible video of a man being beat up by a bunch of thugs at a protest in Portland, and the cops believe that a 14-year-old did it. Caution, the . . . 6/5/2020 9:37:14 PM
[Politics] Thug mercilessly kicks guy in the face after he hits the ground at protest; police arrest a 14-year-old for it There was a horrible video of a man being beat up by a bunch of thugs at a protest in Portland, and the cops believe that a 14-year-old did it. Caution, the . . . 6/5/2020 9:37:14 PM
[Markets] The Fed Just Unleashed A Trillion In New Debt: Companies Took The Money And Spent It On Dividends While Firing Millions The Fed Just Unleashed A Trillion In New Debt: Companies Took The Money And Spent It On Dividends While Firing Millions Tyler Durden Fri, 06/05/2020 - 22:23

It was all the way back in 2012 when we first described in "How The Fed's Visible Hand Is Forcing Corporate Cash Mismanagement" that the era of ultra cheap money unleashed by the Fed is encouraging corporations not to invest in capex or growth or investing in a satisfied employee base, but to rush and spend it on cheap, short-term gimmicks such as buybacks and dividends which benefit the company's shareholders in the short term while rewarding management with by bonuses for reaching stock price milestones, vesting incentive compensation.

We concluded by saying that this was "the most insidious way in which the Fed's ZIRP policy is now bleeding not only the middle class dry, but is forcing companies to reallocate cash in ways that benefit corporate shareholders at the present, at the expense of investing prudently for growth 2 or 3 years down the road."

For years, nobody cared about what ended up being one of the most controversial aspects of capital mismanagement in a time of ZIRP/NIRP/QE, then suddenly everyone cared after the coronavirus crisis, when it emerged that instead of prudently deploying capital into rainy day funds, companies were systematically syphoning cash out (usually by selling debt) to rewards shareholders and management, confident that if a crisis struck the Fed would bail them out: after all the Fed bailed out the banks in 2008, and by 2020 US corporate debt had reached $16 trillion, or over 75% of US GDP, making it a systematic risk and virtually assuring that expectations for a Fed bailout would be validated.

Sure enough, that's precisely what happened.

But while none of this should come as a surprise to anyone following events over the past decade, what came next may be a shock, because in response to creating a massive debt bubble whose proceeds were used to make shareholders extremely rich at the expense of a miserable employee base and declining corporate viability, the Fed... doubled down and virtually overnight gave companies a green light to do everything they did leading to the current disaster.

In a Bloomberg expose written by Bob Ivry, Lisa Lee and Craig Torres, the trio of reporters show how, 12 years after we first laid out the "New Normal" capital misallocation paradigm, we are again back to square one as the Fed actions - which as even former NY Fed president Bill Dudley admits are brazen moral-hazard - have prompted a record debt binge even as corporate borrowers are firing millions of workers while using the debt to - drumroll - make shareholders richer.

Take food-service giant Sysco, which just days after the Federal Reserve crossed the final line into centrally-planned markets on March 23 when it assured that it would make openly purchase corporate debt, Sysco sold $4 billion of debt. Then, just a few days after that, the company announced plans to cut one-third of its workforce, more than 20,000 employees, even as dividends to shareholders would continue.

That process repeated itself in April and May as the coronavirus spread. The Fed’s promise juiced the corporate-bond market. Borrowing by top-rated companies shot to a record $1.1 trillion for the year, nearly twice the pace of 2019.

What happened then was a case study of why Fed-endorsed moral hazard is always a catastrophic policy... for the poor, while making the rich richer:

Companies as diverse as Sysco, Toyota Motor Corp., international marketing firm Omnicom Group Inc. and movie-theater chain Cinemark Holdings Inc. borrowed billions of dollars -- and then fired workers.

Just two weeks ago, Fed chair Powell testified before Congress, and when asked why the Fed is buying investment grade and junk bond debt, Powell responded "to preserve jobs." That was a blatant lie, because as Bloomberg notes, the actions of the companies that benefited from the Fed's biggest ever handout called into question the degree to which the U.S. central bank’s promise to purchase corporate debt will help preserve American jobs.

Unlike the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program, which has incentives for employers to keep workers on the job and is only a grant if the bulk of the proceeds are used to retain workers, the taxpayer-backed facilities that the Fed and Treasury Department created for bigger companies have no such requirements. In fact, to make sure the emergency programs help fulfill one of the Fed’s mandates - maximum employment - the central bank is simply crossing its fingers that restoring order to markets will translate to saving jobs.

Instead, what the Fed's actions have unleashed so far is a new record debt bubble, with more than $1.1 trillion in new debt issuance in just the first five months of the year, even as companies issuing debt are quick to lay off millions!

“They could set conditions, say to companies, hire back your workers, maintain your payroll to at least a certain percentage of prior payroll, and we will help,” said Robert Reich, the former Secretary of Labor for President Bill Clinton who now teaches economics at the University of California, Berkeley. "It’s hardly clear that if you keep companies afloat they’ll hire employees."

Just don't tell the Fed Chair: in a May 29 webinar, Jerome Powell said that it's "really it’s all about creating a context, a climate, in which employees will have the best chance to either keep their job, or go back to their old job, or ultimately find a new job. That’s the point of this exercise."

The exercise has failed, because just as soon as the bailout funds expire, America will see a second wave of epic layoffs: the extra $600 a week in unemployment benefits that Congress approved in March stops on July 31, while the prohibition against firing workers in the $25 billion government rescue of U.S. airlines expires Sept. 30, and the biggest recipients have said they intend to shed employees after that date.

But where did all the hundreds of billions in newly issued debt go? Well, dividends for one. Without provisions for employees, “the credit assistance will tend to boost financial markets, but not the broad economic well-being of the great majority of the population,” Marcus Stanley, Americans for Financial Reform’s policy director, told Bloomberg.

Of course, when confronted with this reality, the Treasury Secretary did what he normally does: he lied.

“Our No. 1 objective is keeping people employed,” Mnuchin said during a May 19 Senate Banking Committee hearing after Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, accused him of “boosting your Wall Street buddies” at the expense of ordinary Americans. “What we put in the Main Street facility is that we expect people to use their best efforts to support jobs,” Mnuchin said.

The phrase “best efforts” echoes the original terms for the Main Street program, which required companies to attest they’ll make “reasonable efforts” to keep employees. The wording was subsequently changed to “commercially reasonable efforts,” which Jeremy C. Stein, chairman of the Harvard University economics department and a former Fed governor, called a welcome watering-down of expectations that the central bank would dictate employment policies to borrowers.

And while Stein said that it was "smart of them to weaken that", what ended up happening is that companies entirely sidestepped preserving employees and rushed to cash out - guess who - shareholders once again.

But in keeping with the Fed's overarching directive - that its programs are about lending, not spending in the words of Powell - once the Fed has triggered a new debt bubble with its explicit interventions in the secondary market, the Fed has no control over what companies do with the source of the virtually free funds:

"For the Fed to second-guess a corporate survival strategy would be a step too far for them,” said Adam Tooze, a Columbia University history professor. Putting explicit conditions on program beneficiaries would make the central bank “a weird hybrid of the Federal Reserve, Treasury, BlackRock and an activist stockholder," he added, clearly unaware that we now live in a world in which this "new normal" Frankenstein monster is precisely who is in charge of capital markets, as the helicopter money resulting from the unholy merger of the Fed and Treasury is precisely what BlackRock is frontrunning, in its own words. But heaven forbid some of the trillions in new debt are used for emplyees...

And while tens of millions of jobs have been lost since March - today's laughable and fabricated jobs report, in the BLS' own admission - notwithstanding, there has been one clear beneficiary: the S&P 500 has jumped 38% since March 23, the day the Fed intervened; on Friday, the Nasdaq just hit an all time high. Observers of the stock market wonder how it could be so bullish at the same time as the country faces an avalanche of joblessness unsurpassed in its history.

The choices companies are making - choices which we correctly predicted back in 2012 - provide an answer.

Since selling $4 billion in debt on March 30, Sysco has amassed $6 billion of cash and available liquidity, enabling it to gobble up market share, while cutting $500 million of expenses, according to Chief Executive Officer Kevin Hourican. Sysco, which is based in Houston, will continue to pay dividends to shareholders, Chief Financial Officer Joel Grade said on a May 5 earnings call.

Countless other companies are also splurging on debt-funded dividends, while some - such as Apple and Amazon - are now issuing debt to fund their next multi-billion buyback program.

Of course, it's not just investment grade debt: the Fed notoriously is also active in the junk bond space, buying billions in high yield ETFs (that now hold bonds of bankrupt Hertz).

Movie theaters were one of the first businesses to close during the pandemic. Cinemark, which owns 554 of them, shut its U.S. locations on March 17. Three days later, the company paid a previously announced dividend. It has since said it will discontinue such distributions. Cinemark borrowed $250 million from the junk-bond market on April 13, the same day it announced the firing of 17,500 hourly workers. Managerial staff were kept on at reduced pay, according to company filings. Cinemark, which is based in Plano, Texas, said it plans to open its theaters in phases starting June 19.

The theater chain opted to go to the bond market over seeking funding from the government because “it didn’t come with any of the strings attached that government-backed facilities can include,” CEO Mark Zoradi said on the April 15 earnings call. It “was really no more complicated than that.” And why did Cinemark find no trouble in accessing the bond market? Because with the Fed now buying both IG and HY bonds, there is no longer any credit risk, which is why spreads have collapsed back to all time lows; in effect the Fed is forcing investors to buy Cinemark's bonds, which then uses the proceeds to pay shareholders either a dividend or to buyback stock. As for the company's employees? Why they are expendable, and in a few month there will be millions of unemployed workers begging for work at or below minimum wage.

Win win... for Cinemark's management and shareholders. Lose for everyone else.

Actually, win win for all corporations: like Cinemark, Omnicom issued $600 million in bonds in late March. In an April 28 conference call to discuss quarterly earnings, CEO John Wren said the company was letting employees go but didn’t say how many. He said the company was extending medical benefits to July 31 for employees furloughed or fired.

Wren added: "Our liquidity, balance sheet and credit ratings remain very strong and we have no plans to change our dividend policy."

And once again, Dividends 1 - Employees 0, because everything will be done to prevent shareholders from dumping the stock.

Toyota borrowed $4 billion from investors on March 27. Three days later, the Japan-based car company said it would continue paying dividends to shareholders. Eight days after that it said it would drop roughly 5,000 contract workers who helped staff its plants in North America.

And so on, and so on, as companies issue hundreds of billions in debt without a glitch - now that the Fed has taken over the bond market - and use the proceeds to fund dividends, while laying off millions.

In a March 24 letter, 200 academics, led by Stanford University Graduate School of Business Professor Jonathan Berk, called lending programs aimed at corporations “a huge mistake.” Better to focus help directly on people living paycheck to paycheck who lost their jobs, it said.

"Bailing out investors who chose to take high-risk investments because they wanted the high returns undermines capitalism and makes it an unfair game," Berk said in an interview. "If you don’t have a level playing field in capitalism, it doesn’t work."

Why dear, misguided Jonathan: whoever told you the US still has "capitalism"?

6/5/2020 9:37:14 PM
[037db3aa-8524-51a7-a6a6-f0b9ec78bebe] 'Law & Order: SVU' to address George Floyd’s death and coronavirus pandemic in new season, showrunner says "Law & Order: SVU" will address the death of George Floyd -- and the protests that followed -- in future episodes of the long-running NBC series, according to showrunner Warren Leight.  6/5/2020 9:37:14 PM
[46b0f29a-09f9-553a-9e00-eb8a41a21a07] Abby Lee Miller's new Lifetime show does ‘not have plans to air' following racism accusations, network says Abby Lee Miller's new reality show might not see the light of day following accusations of past racist remarks. 6/5/2020 9:02:02 PM
[Uncategorized] Gibson’s Bakery v. Oberlin College – Appeal Brief Filed – NAACP Supporting College Oberlin College takes a kitchen-sink approach, while the NAACP tries to turn this into a case about race. 6/5/2020 9:02:02 PM
[Markets] "Worst-Case" Scenario - COVID Strikes Navy's New Submarine Program "Worst-Case" Scenario - COVID Strikes Navy's New Submarine Program Tyler Durden Fri, 06/05/2020 - 21:40

Without firing a shot, well maybe unleashing a virus pandemic across the world, China has severely disrupted US Naval operations, from shipbuilding to deployments. 

Breaking Defense reports, the Navy's USS Columbia nuclear missile submarine (SSBN 826) experienced months of construction delays thanks to virus-related issues.

A Navy depiction of the future USS Columbia nuclear missile submarine (SSBN 826). h/t Breaking Defense 

During lockdowns, the main problem for the build were workers' absences at a top supplier, which resulted in delayed work on missile tubes. At the moment, the service is struggling to make up for the lost time. 

Navy and Pentagon officials have become alarmed that large-scale work on the first of twelve nuclear-powered Columbia-class submarines, set to officially start in 2021, with deliveries, beginning in 2030, could now be fraught with timeline delays.

Rear Adm. Scott Pappano, executive program officer for the Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine program, said "a hiccup" during coronavirus lockdowns led to a serious decline in workers at UK-based Babcock Marine, leading to major delays in the work schedule. 

"There was an interruption in our ability to do work," Pappano said, calling the several month delays a "worst-case" scenario if no additional measures were taken to speed up the work going forward. 

"We're analyzing the plan right now," he added. "Prioritizing what tubes go where and then coming up with mid-term and long-term recovery plans to go deal with that."

The Navy is now "walking a tightrope on its Virginia and Columbia programs, and any slip on one program will affect the other," Breaking Defense said.

A major risk developing is that if any of the programs are delayed, it could give China and Russia a leg up in the global arms race. 

While the virus has affected the Navy's shipbuilding, there were deployment issues due to an outbreak of infections on several vessels. One ship, in particular, was the USS Theodore Roosevelt, which saw at least 1,000 soldiers contract the virus. The aircraft carrier had to divert from its mission in the Western Pacific to treat and isloate crew in Guam. 

And just like that, the Chinese virus has weakened the US Navy -- while China's Navy conducts war drills in the South China Sea

6/5/2020 9:02:02 PM
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