Jumping the Pangolin

Time was when a popular history of our modern world would begin: “In Sarajevo, a fatal shot from a Serbian nationalist rang out, killing the Archduke Ferdinand…”

Future histories of the 21stcentury will no doubt open with: “In a Wuhan wet market, a bat shat on a pangolin..”

No, really. It’s been reported from the beginning that the Chinese don’t eat bats, at least not in Wuhan. And that the bats in Wuhan are the wrong sort of bats. The virus comes from a horseshoe bat, which lives hundreds of miles away, and is only found in Wuhan in a secure laboratory… And there are no pangolins in Wuhan, because selling pangolins is illegal in China, and severely punished, and anyway they’re the devil to hide in a market, even a wet one:

– “What’s that beast you’ve got there sir? It wouldn’t be pangolin by any chance?”

– “No officer, it’s a giant badger.”

– “Badger? It’s got scales.”

– “Nah. It’s having a bad hair day..”

Nigh to the Wuhan wet market, where pangolini and the right sort of bat have never been known to coexist, is a biological warfare research laboratory where the right sort of bat virus may or may not exist, but where the right sort of bat virus researcher certainly does, beavering away researching viruses, ably aided by Western NGOs like the EcoHealth Alliance, of which more later.

Suggesting that a virus generally admitted to have been derived from a bat might possibly have escaped from one of the very few establishments in the world where bat viruses are being studied, which happens to be a few kilometres from where the virus was first identified, has long been treated as a sign of tinfoil hat bonkerdom. Mark Lynas includes it among his ten great conspiracy theories about the coronavirus, thus demonstrating that he has no idea of what a conspiracy is.

No-one in the world has ever suggested that Chinese scientists conspired to release a virus from a lab. Sometimes things happen, without anyone conspiring to make them happen. Only conspiracy theorists like Mark Lynas think that the fact that people think that something might have happened is a sign that they are conspiring to construct a conspiracy theory about it.

A scientific paper from a team of Indian scientists suggesting that the virus had man-made features was published and suddenly retracted. ZeroHedge was banned from Twitter for propagating false news for merely reporting the existence of the theory of an accidental escape of the virus. Now Mike Pompeo, US secretary of State, and Richard Dearlove, ex-head of the British secret service, are suggesting precisely the same thing, and what was once a batshit crazy conspiracy theory has suddenly become an official possible explanation. What’s going on?

There are conspiracy theories surrounding the current pandemic of course, for instance that the numerous papers trashing the effectiveness of chloroquine and its derivatives as a prophylactic have been instigated and financed by Big Pharma to protect their future profits from the invention of a vaccine. But these theories are so obviously true that they hardly deserve comment, except insofar as belief in a true conspiracy is still evidence that you are a tinfoil-hatted paranoid incapable of rational thought, according to the definitive research of Professor Lewandowsky.

So let’s consider a real conspiracy theory, one which fulfils all Professor Lewandowsky’s conditions of bonkerdom, and examine what evidence it has going for it. It’s one I invented myself when the pandemic first started, and which has since received support from Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry.

It is that the virus was concocted by members of the Western establishment, and deliberately planted in Wuhan to weaken the Chinese economy and the influence of China in the world, in order to save the West from an otherwise inevitable decline due to the coming crash of Western economies, whose arrival was semi-officially announced in September 2019 by the Fed’s panic intervention in the overnight repo markets.

According to one of the world’s top experts in conspiracy theory, Professor Lance de Haven-Smiththe way to evaluate the truth of a conspiracy theory is to proceed as would a policeman investigating a crime – identify the prime suspect, and observe his behaviour.

Take, for instance, the murder of John Kennedy. Forget the grassy knoll and the incapacity of the myopic prime suspect Lee Harvey Oswald to shoot a rabbit at five feet with a crap rifle and ask yourself: “who profits from the crime?” Obviously, Vice President Johnson. And what did he do following the murder? Steal the corpse from the legal authorities at the Texas morgue and bundle it into the back of his jet, where he left it and its widow for an hour or two while he got himself sworn in as President of the United States. Case solved.

Let’s apply the same logic to the outbreak of the coronavirus in Wuhan. Who stood to benefit from the lockdown of the Chinese economy and the consequent economic chaos provoked by the outbreak of the epidemic? Obviously, the West, scared shitless that China would inevitably displace the USA as prime world power in the near future, as it is already displacing the old colonial powers in Asia and Africa as the main source of investment and political influence. So who started the pandemic? The evidence points to the Western powers.

When I first concocted this theory, it seemed to me to suffer from two major defects:

  1. It is not at all clear how Western agents could spread a virus in the middle of China, right by a biological research laboratory which could be blamed as the source. How would you get such a lethal product through Chinese customs, and then distribute it? It took two colonels in the Russian secret service to poison five people in Salisbury, according to British investigators. How many Western spies would it take to poison millions of Chinese, and how likely would it be that they could move through a wet market, batting off bats and patting pangolins, without being noticed?

2. Surely the conspirators must have realised that the West would suffer as much as China as the epidemic inevitably spread? Who, in the West would be willing to inflict such suffering on their own populations? What would be the point?

Considering these two objections, instead of obeying Lewandowsky’s Law of Self-Sealing and interpreting evidence against as evidence for, as I should have, I accepted that the objections were solid, and dropped my conspiracy theory as unworkable.

Then, funnily enough, events and Google searches provided answers to both insuperable objections, and my theory suddenly became as self-sealed as an Extinction Rebel’s bottom superglued to the floor of the Shell Building.

1) It turned out that in late October 2019, just before the outbreak of the pandemic, the World military games had been held in Wuhan, with participants from more than a hundred countries. Suddenly, the problem of how an agent might smuggle a dose of bad bat juice into central China was solved. In a soldier’s hockey stick, for example. Suddenly, the idea of Western spies slipping a sample virus into a wet market seemed thoroughly plausible.

2) However, there was still the “cui bono?” argument. Who in the West could possibly wish for the inevitably disastrous economic and political fall-out from the spread of the virus, let alone the deaths and suffering of the population?

To which one can oppose the “cui malo?” argument, [translation: “what’s not to like?”] OK, many people died, but they were mostly elderly. In most countries, the authorities took action to protect their population as best they could. Some screwed up, including Iran, whose failure to kowtow to US policies is just another sign of their unrealistic take on the world and general incompetence. And Italy, which hasn’t done much of note in the past few months except to be the only EU country to sign up to the Chinese Belt and Road initiative, much to the dismay of their NATO partners. Perhaps the biro they signed the Sino-Italian accord with was infected.

Furthermore, in most countries the survivors tended to increase their support for the government in place. In most countries, but not all. What western leaders saw their popularity fall because of the coronavirus? Only Trump and Johnson. Who in the West could possibly wish ill of the US President who has sworn to drain the swamp and withdraw US troops from foreign engagements? Or of the popular newly-elected British Prime Minister leading Britain out of Europe?

If it was precisely the US and the UK, rated by the WHO as the two countries best prepared to face a pandemic, who showed themselves, by their infection and mortality rates, to be the most incompetent, well, there must be a reason. Cummings’ flight to Durham? Trump’s insistence on taking a drug which millions of Africans have been using as a prophylactic against viruses for decades, with no ill effects? Probably.

There are objections to this theory, of course. What evidence is there that the West has obtained any advantage over China from the pandemic? Very little. But what advantage did Lyndon Johnson or the CIA obtain from the murder of Kennedy? None. They went on to kill 50,000 Americans in Vietnam, and lose the war. Conspiracies rarely achieve their long-term ends. But neither do regular non-conspiratorial political actions.

But if the West has obtained no advantage over China, but rather the opposite, it can be argued that Trump and Boris Johnson have obtained political advantage over their opponents. However much of a shambles Brexit turns out to be, it can be blamed on the virus. And the collapse of the Western economies made inevitable by ten years of fantasy economics can be blamed on the virus, and partly compensated for by even more insane monetary policies, in time for the November election. The leaders of the USA and UK may have obtained some advantage, but their bumbling suggests a grasp on events somewhat less than Machiavellian, almost as if they were playing some child’s playground game: “O’Grady says do this.” “Now do this.” Ooops.

But who, in that case, is O’Grady? Let’s not go down that rabbit hole. Let’s leave the “cui bono” argument as undecided, and turn to the details of what happened.

According to Dimitar Dilkoff at Web24 News

Fencing Olympic champion Matteo Tagliariol already suspects the military world games held in Wuhan, China last October, as a hotspot of the corona pandemic. “When we arrived in Wuhan, we were all sick. All six people in my apartment were sick, including many athletes from other delegations,” the 37-year-old Italian told the Corriere della Sera newspaper. “I had a severe cough, many other athletes had a fever,” said Tagliariol, who won gold in epee fencing in Beijing in 2008. The worst awaited him when he returned to Italy.

I had a very high fever and could not breathe. Antibiotics did not help either. I was sick and very weak for three weeks. Then my two-year-old son Leo fell ill. He coughed for three weeks. My partner also got sick, but in When I started talking about the virus, I thought: I was infected. I recognized the symptoms of COVID 19.

According to L’Equipe, French pentathlete Elodie Clouvel and Valentin Belaud are also likely to have been infected at the Wuhan games.

And from the Daily Mirror:

Fears members of the French Army could have been infected with covid-19 back in October after competing at the World Military Games, have been called “completely plausible”, by an infectious disease expert. The French Army has denied any of its athletes were contaminated at the event held in Wuhan, China, which has since been declared as the epicentre of the pandemic.

This revelation came after it was discovered that a Frenchman, Amirouche Hammar, 43, had been infected with the coronavirus in the Paris region as early as December 27. French media reported that investigations into the origins of the coronavirus revealed there is a possibility it emerged in Wuhan as early as October 2019 when the games took place.

According to French news channel BFMTV, a number of athletes returned to France with unusual symptoms, including fevers and body aches. The news channel says none of the returning athletes were tested and the French Army, who were responsible for organising their athletes at the military games, reportedly confirmed that they had not wanted to test any athletes either.

However, when news began to emerge of an epidemic in Wuhan, many athletes on a WhatsApp group reportedly began to openly wonder if it was possible that they had contracted the disease too.

Now that it has been revealed that Amirouche Hammar in France had the coronavirus back in December, closer attention is being paid to what these athletes have said. Local media notes that Elodie Clouvel, a world champion modern pentathlete, was asked on local TV channel Television Loire 7 on March 25, if she was worried about the prospect of potentially having to spend the summer in Japan for the Olympics.

She replied: “No because I think that with Valentin [her partner] we have already had the coronavirus, well the covid-19.” The 31-year-old added: “We were in Wuhan for the World Military Games at the end of October. And afterwards, we all fell ill. Valentin missed three days of training. Me, I was sick too. I had things I had never had before. We weren’t particularly worried because no one was talking about it yet.”

Local media report that since she spoke up on March 25, many athletes have been asked not to answer questions from journalists and to refer media enquiries to the head of communication of the French armies. According to French media, athletes who were in Wuhan reportedly received telephone calls from the army a few weeks ago to reassure them. One of these athletes, who remains anonymous, is quoted as saying: “We were told, there is no risk, you left on October 28, and the virus arrived on November 1.”

French media report that sick athletes were also noted in some other delegations, including the Swedish delegation, with people returning to Sweden with strong fevers. But some athletes are sceptical, with Aloise Ratornaz, silver medallist in sailing, telling Ouest-France: “I do not think there were any significant risks of being infected. We lived in isolation during these world games. We had a whole village just for the athletes. We had a restaurant for the athletes where all the food was completely filtered, controlled, in a completely sanitised atmosphere.”

Professor Eric Caumes, an infectious and tropical disease specialist at the Pitie-Salpetriere hospital in Paris, said the theory that athletes participating in the World Military Games in Wuhan were contaminated with covid-19 is “completely plausible”.

Despite the French army strenuously contesting the allegations, prof Caumes has subsequently been quoted in French media as saying that “the characteristics of the illness and the symptoms that have been described” by the athletes “make one think that it is covid-19. You saw that in France, we had our first official case end January. Then a few days ago, we realised that the first French case actually appeared at the end of December at the Bondy hospital. And we will no doubt find other cases from December. So I’m not very surprised that exactly the same thing happened in Wuhan. The first official case was identified in late December in China. But in fact, it is entirely possible that the virus was already circulating in the background, and that cases actually appeared in the preceding four to six weeks, or even eight weeks.”

Say what you like about the Daily Mirror, l’Équipe, Ouest-France and Corriere della Sera, they can hardly be accused of being spokespersons for the Chinese Foreign Ministry. They are popular newspapers which report the things their journalists find out. I tested the ability of “serious” British newspapers to do the same on this subject by entering the same search terms as I had used to find the two references quoted above – “Wuhan” and “military games” – at the Guardian – the only serious paper available free on-line. It turned up just one hit – which didn’t mention the military games (but did have the word “military.”)

The article, by Peter Daszak, president of EcoHealth Alliance, is devoted to countering conspiracy theories about Covid 19, including “the idea that Chinese scientists deliberately released the virus,” which no-one except the author, Mark Lynas, and a few hundred other eco-journalists has ever contemplated.

Contrary to the idea that Chinese scientists deliberately released the virus, existing patterns of infection suggest that the wide spread of Covid-19 was a question of when, not if. Only a handful of people work on bat coronaviruses in labs in China, and they wear masks and gloves so as not to contaminate their laboratories. In 2018, we conducted a pilot survey of people living in rural Yunnan province and found nearly 3% had antibodies for bat coronaviruses. Expanding this data to cover the densely populated area in southeast Asia where there are bats known to harbour coronaviruses, we can safely estimate that between one and seven million people are infected with bat coronaviruses each year.

Unfortunately, this sort of logic will not deter conspiracy theorists. The dark power of the internet means that anyone, anywhere, can find evidence to echo even the most outlandish of claims… Such conspiracies play to our most base instincts and paranoias – fears that dissolve logic and reason. The details of how this virus emerged naturally are far less exciting. They’re about how humans and animals have interacted for millennia, now at an unprecedented rate. They’re about how human domination of the world’s ecosystems as we encroach on animal habitats is opening new pathways for viruses, once hidden in the depths of the forest, to be transmitted to humans.

The Guardian has apparently never mentioned the Wuhan military games, or the dozens of athletes from at least three European countries who reported Covid-19-like symptoms in Wuhan in October 2019. They prefer to give space to the president of EcoHealth Alliance to talk about “how human domination of the world’s ecosystems” is revealing “things once hidden in the depths of the forest.” Batty things revealed by his peer-reviewed research, and nothing to do with “the dark power of the internet.”

The Guardian doesn’t have journalists who find out things by reading around and talking to people. They’re more rigorous than that, more disciplined – more military – one might almost say. They leave publishing stuff found out by journalists to popular (populist, one might almost say) papers like the Mirror and l’Équipe. And when their NGO-chief/part-time journalist opines on conspiracy theories, the Guardian provides a link to a serious fact-checking site on the (dark?) internet. And woe betide any popular (or populist) journalist who might cast doubt on the Guardian and its NGO chums, because the Guardian has friends, and influence, and fact-checking sites on their side.

Comment is Fact-free, for Facts are Scarce – and for populists.


  1. Geoff, good detective work. Given the reports of athletes who took part, it’s quite plausible that Covid-19 was infecting people much earlier than thought and that the spread of the infection across the globe was indeed initiated by athletes returning from the Military World Games in Wuhan Oct 18-27th. How it managed to infect athletes and where it came from – whether it was from Wuhan itself or it was imported into Wuhan via the prior infection of one or more athletes, is a matter of debate. But then we have to ask the question, why did it apparently only start killing people in Wuhan in December? If it was killing people in the West, how come Western doctors didn’t notice this odd form of respiratory disease? Why did it take intrepid Chinese doctors to first note it, doctors who were then subsequently silenced by the CCP? So many questions.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jaime: The gap before the Wuhan deaths is weird. Also, most fit young people don’t even get symptoms of Covid-19. I think it has to have been another virus. Or there was pretty drastic mutation. (I assume highly unlikely but virologist I am not. Virility is another thing. That I’m told I don’t have.)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh where does the make believe end and the unvarnished truth begin? A previously unknown virulet virus brought home from Military Games in Wuhan, leaked from a secret viral laboratory next to a wet market sounds like a new plotline for an upcoming James Bond film.

    There is speculation that the next 007 will be female, so step forward Jamie Bond.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. My first attempt disappeared without trace, then some time later reappeared in the composing box as if unsent. Upon sending it, two versions appeared for your edification.
    I suspect the Chinese were deliberately sabotaging my post because they didn’t want the fact that it was a James Bond storyline gone wrong to emerge. But good ol’ Akismet saved the day.


  5. “how humans and animals have interacted for millennia, now at an unprecedented rate”

    “unprecedented” is one of those keywords. When used in an article, it appears to signify that the writer is on the brink of piling up a metric fuck ton of bullshit or evidence-free assertions.

    I am hoping that the link between Salisbury is going to come into play soon. Locking down Salisbury for 6 months, destroying small businesses to examine discarded perfume bottles in skips seems to foreshadow locking down the world and forcing people to wear ineffective masks.

    To that end, I am encouraged that the Guardian is running a story about the Russian assassins


    Liked by 3 people

  6. JAIME
    I haven’t seen anything about the virus killing people in the west before it arrived “in the normal way” after the evacuation of westerners from Wuhan. There have been reports of it being active in China before the end of October, which is of course necessary for the official account if sportsmen were getting sick then.
    Another puzzle is the mystery of the animal vector. Reports say that a score of early cases were identified as having been in the wet market, in which case we must know what they bought, ate or touched. Yet there’s still only speculation about pangolins, ferrets etc.

    Most fit young people don’t get symptoms, but with the degree of closeness at the games (shared dormitories etc.) it would make sense for most to be infected, and only a minority to show symptoms. And the Italian athlete quoted was 37, so not so young.

    There are plenty more press reports, e.g.:
    But this one is the most entertaining I’ve found:

    As discussed in this series, a swarm of fruit-eating Okinawan giant bats were driven away from southern Japan toward the Yangtze River along the 31st Parallel; and these COV-infected carriers gorged in the abandoned fruit orchards in Hubei Province and cast virus-tainted droppings on the Yangtze River, making all fish there dangerous to eat. This bat-conveyed virus stratagem failed, however, due to an unseasonal autumn heatwave and drought, which was triggered by atmospheric radioactivity from the hypersonic missile tests in Russia and China since early summer. Superweapons bring on super self-destruction, whether hypersonics or synthetic biologicals. One of the maxims of military preparedness is not to destroy your own country and allied nations…

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Does one trust the Luxembourgian triathlete or the Swedish pentathlete?

    Among dozens of other competitors contacted by the MoS, some said they had been told not to comment. Oliver Gorges, a triathlete from Luxembourg, said he became ill with flu-like symptoms and is now to undergo an antibody test this week to discover if he had contracted the coronavirus.

    The first confirmed case of Covid-19 in China was at the start of December, but Gorges claims Wuhan’s streets were ‘nearly empty’ when he went for a cycle ride in the city. ‘It was a ghost town,’ he said. ‘There were rumours that the government warned the inhabitants not to go out.’

    China admitted the disease could be spread between humans in January. Many other athletes at the Games commented on intense cleaning measures put in place in Wuhan, with almost 250,000 volunteers assisting the events.

    Gorges, 22, had his temperature recorded on arrival at the airport, while athletes were forced to wash their hands every time they entered the canteen and were ordered not to take food out of the premises. ‘It was strange,’ he added.

    However, Swedish pentathlete Melina Westerberg said several of her compatriots got sick during the games, but tested negative for the virus. ‘It was just a coincidence,’ she said. ‘We all felt safe.’

    What happened with that antibody test? And how many false positives were those giving a month back anyway?

    The problem for me throughout is total lack of familiarity with the terrain in question. How would I expect Wuhan to look during a major international event? I remember Moscow during the Olympic Games in 1980, with much effort expended to prevent us visitors from meeting undesirables. But translate that 40 years into a dialect of Mandarin and I have no idea of the new normal. Same goes for the vegan nightmare of wet markets and Captain Corelli’s Pangolin. Add the mysteries of viruses and epidemiology. This is why I have chosen not to try and develop independent theories on origins. Just pray for leaders that they see us through whatever comes.

    Meanwhile the cui bono question seems ridiculous, given the uncertainties even now among ‘experts’ about what happens next. Geoff says that conspiracies can backfire very quickly. But how different is that from the all-out cockup theory of history?


  8. Without evidence, I still lean towards the “accidental release of virus from Wuhan lab” explanation.

    I don’t find the anecdotes re: athletes persuasive for a number of reasons. First, I have not spoken to that many people since lockdown, but a common theme of conversation when I have is along these lines: “I had [insert symptom] in [insert month], so I’ve been wondering whether I’ve already had it.” To which my reply is invariably “No.”

    Second, show me an athlete’s village without a viral outbreak and I’ll show you a baboon who can do crosswords. Of course it’s normally norovirus or something.

    Third, it is well established that athletes have weakened immune systems, including to upper respiratory tract infections.

    Put these three factoids together, and it seems to me that it would be unlikely for there NOT to have been stories of sick athletes at the Wuhan games, with an accompanying “maybe” about coronavirus.

    Regarding the empty streets of Wuhan, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if this was mandated at an official level, although it seems unlikely since the Chinese are happy to send swarms of their students to the West and are thus not so precious about protecting their people from freedom-memes.

    Liked by 2 people

    Yes, of course it’s too early to distinguish between cock up and conspiracy, but there is circumstantial evidence for the latter in the reactions, I think. Early reactions should have been the smoothest and most logical, because central government was the only actor, yet it seemed as if some hidden hand wanted the virus to spread, at least a bit. No limits on incoming flights, no tests for travellers, or even temperatures taken. Travellers from infected countries were in the thousands, cases detected would have been in the tens or hundreds, and would therefore have been easy to control. And Britain was one of the best prepared countries, on paper. Meanwhile we could see on every news programme how smoothly things were being run in Japan and Korea. I’m not suggesting that the government wanted to shut the country down, but rather that it was getting soothing messages from somewhere that things should be allowed to run their course.

    The motivation would be double; first, to blame the inevitable economic crash (which still hasn’t happened) on a black swan event; and secondly, to run a dress rehearsal lockdown to prepare for massive social unrest once we see the banks and the stock exchange being rescued for the second time.


  10. Geoff: Assuming for simplicity you’re talking about the UK, we hadn’t done any of those things for SARS and had escaped pretty much unscathed. Moreover, we had a plan ready and waiting – the UK Influenza Pandemic Preparedness Strategy 2011. Spot the lack of mention of the right kind of virus. So we were, with the substantial benefit of hindsight, very badly prepared and that I think explains what seem like chronic decisions looking back. Cockup aka a deadly lacuna made more likely because of the obsession of the chattering classes with the all-conquering and virtue-enhacing risk of climate catastrophe. Gates and Rosling did sound warnings – without getting called climate deniers, which is an interesting point – but I for one didn’t hear it. Nevertheless bad actors do exist, providing “soothing messages from somewhere” to lead us to the kind of destruction that they think will increase their power, somewhere along the line. (Good phrase, if you don’t mind me saying!)


  11. Since the topic is conspiracies, I am reminded of a psychologist friend who assures me it’s not paranoia if they really are out to get you. It turns out they really are out to kill HCQ.

    The hands of frontline medical practitioners have been tied treating Covid19 cases because the drugs that work on the virus work against Big Pharma profits. Computers were employed to produce attack papers overwhelming the growing confidence that HCQ helps patients. A recent paper later on describes how medical science is corrupted to follow the money rather than fight disease.

    What happened in the publishing and press worlds is summarized by Elizabeth Woodworth, Canadian Health Sciences librarian specialized in medical statistics. Leaked: “Deadly” Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) to treat Covid 19: How the World’s Top Medical Journals, The Lancet and NEJM, Were Cynically Exploited by Big Pharma

    The meta-analysis review of clinical studies concluded:

    Overall, and as previously published, the relevance of the analysis of important medical data depends on clinical accuracy (4). Indeed, the discrepancy between clinicians and epidemiologists reflects a major trend, that of the analysis of large medical data, with database warehouse more or less well filled by individuals who are not directly included in the work reported. This analysis is unrelated to the observations made by physicians who are in direct contact with patients and which lead to divergent interpretations and opposite conclusions, which are of real interest and show that the world predicted by Baudrillard (39); that of a parallel world of numerical analysis completely disconnected from reality; is being born.

    Under these conditions, a meta-analysis allowing for the combination of different studies makes it possible to identify a general trend. This makes it possible to reconcile the chloroquine derivative efficacy that many doctors have perceived with the results of the first published studies. This meta-analysis is based on several studies, including four RCTs, and identifies a favorable trend toward the benefit of chloroquine derivatives in the treatment of COVID-19 patients, enabling us to make a grade I recommendation for its use against the disease.


    Liked by 2 people

  12. “the Guardian is running a story about the Russian assassins”

    What did happen to the Skripals after surviving this deadly nerve agent? Craig Murray has commentary on each episode of the BBC’s recent rendering of the events, https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2020/06/putins-gonna-get-me/

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I really do wish that all that comment upon the efficacy of specific drugs or drug combinations would, whether they are medical personnel, journalists or commentators, make the effort to carefully distinguish between those that directly act against the causative agent – the coronavirus, act to reduce the damage caused directly by the virus, and drugs employed to reduce damage caused by the body’s over reaction to the infection or to measures taken by medics to preserve life. Too often, I read that this or that drug is effective against the virus when it patently is nothing of the kind. As far as I know nothing prevents the virus from running its course. Only a body’s manufacture of antibodies suffices (demonstrating once again just how much medical science still has to learn). There was speculation that the virus might be treatable using antibodies from a donor but I haven’t seen anything about this recently.
    Recently Jamie and I have differed over the efficacy of a steroid in combating inflammation, whether induced by the virus, by the patient’s immune over-reaction or to medical interventions. I’m sure that our disagreements would not be as great if we had firmly established exactly what we had been disagreeing about.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Ah, I see it’s working OK now.

    Hi Geoff,

    Having no interest in bats and never having heard of a pangolin I initially thought that your article would be of no real interest to me. I stuck it out for a few paragraphs and was about to clear off when I spotted reference to my favourite conspiracy theorist, award-winning scaremonger Mark Lynas. It was his catastrophic anthropogenic climate change (CACC) propaganda booklet “Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet” (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Six-Degrees-Future-Hotter-Planet/dp/0007209053) which in 2007 inspired my interest in the CACC conspiracy.

    On CoVid19 you ask ” .. Who stood to benefit from the lockdown of the Chinese economy and the consequent economic chaos provoked by the outbreak of the epidemic? .. Surely the conspirators must have realised that the West would suffer as much as China .. Who, in the West would be willing to inflict such suffering on their own populations? .. “.

    How about this for another conspiracy theory. The rabble-rousing founding members of the world-wide movement Extinction Rebellion, who have jumped on the CACC bandwagon, have made clear that ” .. Extinction Rebellion isn’t about the climate .. We’re a Rebellion .. we’re going to create a new global regime .. we are calling for a fundamental change of the political and economic system .. ” (https://globalpoliticalshenanigans.blogspot.com/2019/04/spotlighton-extinction-rebellion.html).

    Although he claims not to want to damage global economies, Mark Lynas’s connections with leading members of Extinction Rebellion goes back to at least 2010 (e.g. see http://www.environment.gov.mv/v1/news/climate-strategy-training-session-on-capacity-building-and-co-ordination-was-held/) – hhhhmmm!

    But this is all just another of those abundant conspiracy theories.

    Liked by 1 person

    Try as I may, I can’t find a way to self-seal my suspicions and turn evidence against my conspiracy theory (athletes testing negative etc.) into evidence for. Maybe I should take lessons from Lew? Even if the streets of Wuhan were deserted, that would be more evidence against, since it would suggest the Chinese already knew the virus was about before the games started.

    What I’m left with is the way that the serious mainstream media like the Guardian – and Mark Lynas in about six recent articles e.g. here:
    simply ignore any evidence which might conflict with the official point of view – any official point of view, on almost any subject – if it might cast doubt on their climate narrative. Thus questioning anything about the virus crisis might rebound on our confidence in the authorities, in The Science, in official government projections. (Bill Gates finances an environmental page of the Guardian website, so he’s out of bounds too.) Popular papers like the Mirror and France Soir are still willing to follow up interesting leads, sometimes false ones.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Geoff:

    Thus questioning anything about the virus crisis might rebound on our confidence in the authorities, in The Science, in official government projections.

    100% with you on that, on nauseating yet mediocre toadying to power lest events reveal the shaky foundations of the climate crisis and its never-ending non-solution of net zero – for we must never cross the Chinese, which in itself guarantees that the precious crisis on which we depend will never end.

    However, global mindshare, confused as it is, doesn’t anything like cohere with the likes of Mr Lynas. Reality has broken through, despite the best attempts of software models to keep it at bay. It’s just that the shape of that reality is really rather complex – at least it seems so to me. The conspiracy against HCQ is for me both real and malignant, though I also strongly agree with Alan that we must distinguish prophylactic from other forms of later-stage medication. And we should simply ignore the over-egging of folks like Hancock. He expected neither the Spanish Inquisition nor his generation’s version of the Spanish Flu (though far more benign) and he’s now staring the premature death of his ambitions as a politician in the face. Napoleon would long ago have rejected him as an officer because he had proved so unlucky. That’s not the centre of the problem.

    My agnosticism extends to accepting that a more wide-ranging conspiracy may have taken place. But the devil keeps telling me he’s over there in the detail. On which, what exactly were you trying to say about Bill Gates and what people like Lynas will or won’t be willing to say about him?


  17. Geoff,

    Apart from trivial parties (must be pretty good for the manufacturers of PPE) no one has systemically benefited from this. Not any particular nations, not any particular governments, not any particular of their official oppositions, not any unofficial or revolutionary oppositions, certainly not industry, in any place or even in relative terms, no one. Which doesn’t mean that when something causes landscapes to shift, that everyone and his dog won’t be scrambling for higher ground and trying to turn such benefits as they can (like the ‘green recovery’ pushed by climate culture, or ‘look at me leading Scotland everyday on TV’ NS being another). But this is all opportunistic, and in most cases still worse or at least no better, than the position such scrambling interests were in before (if climate culture were sentient, I’m sure it would turn down the offer of a competing apocalypse, in net terms not good at all). Apt innate skepticism, which leads to challenging great imposed wrongs in society, and inapt innate skepticism, which among other things generates tenuous conspiracy theories based on whispers of rumours, both emanate from the same strong drive. Can’t have the benefit of the former without the cost of the latter. Nor in early stage is there any good way to distinguish them.

    However, the above “cui malo?” argument is self-terminating (“the West has obtained no advantage over China, but rather the opposite”), and I’m sure Trump and Boris would likewise to Climate culture have turned down the apocalypse, they were highly likely both much better off without the virus wild card. Boris’ massive poll lead has eroded down to -5% against Starmer’s 22%, and Conservative party fortunes while not so bad, have eroded from amazing to slim. All these poll indicators have turned during the covid months, in which the government have been viewed as more bad than good, and even by many of their own. Trump is also not thought to have handled things well not just by his formal opposition, but by significant numbers in the Republican camp too, not to mention that the covid danger harms his best election tool too, his rallies. You agree with this, while 2 paragraphs later saying it could be argued that they’ve benefited. Well, if the landscape is dramatically altered by a virus, comparing potential ups and downs is indeed hard, the point being that no-one would have a clue as to how they might pan out (except that the total would be generally much worse). Not Boris, not Donald, not any of their SPADs, or indeed any parties of any kind seeking to wound them. And one has to be really really stretching the elastic band of conspiracy to make justifications based upon a tenuously *possible* disasterous *future* of Brexit; a future that the now big majority of Conservative leadership passionately believes in; likewise nebulous economic arguments when no one has a clue what the economy would have been doing next anyhow, except for sure covid has tanked everywhere. The Transatlantic phone call would have been good though: “Hey, Boris, what say we tank everything, so we could never ever be blamed for tanking everything anyway.” “I’m not convinced, Donald. Whatta our chances of both tanking everything anyway?” “Well, no one knows that, Boris. But here’s the thing, if there’s even a tiny weeny risk of that happening… well, we don’t like risks, do we?” “Golly gosh! Put like that, I see what you mean. Yep, let’s tank everything right now…. Oh, after I just check with the girlfriend, of course. I’m sure she’ll be fine, I’ll call you back.”

    Trashing the entire world for some perceived and highly risky potential local political benefit (whether from leaders or oppositions), when the risk is also inclusive of the worst scandal in the entire history of the world should it come to light, is not something even the most machiavellian of quiet advisors would push, unless they were literally insane. Nor would any leader barring perhaps the likes of Kim Jong Un ever listen. The circumstantial arguments seem not to be faring better. From above: “We were in Wuhan for the World Military Games at the end of October. And *afterwards*, we all fell ill.” Emphasis mine. Even ignoring anti-body arguments and simply presuming it was the same disease, this is what would happen when catching it there (which the harder evidence of locked-up / silenced journalists and doctors, indeed points to that covid was emerging around the time; there would presumably be a month or so before anyone even noticed unusual systemic symptoms emerging, despite it would likely be already widespread by then). Nor does veering towards post hoc justification of which countries copped it via their geo-political stances (Italy, Iran) make any sense whatever. As much discussion here at Cli-Scep has emphasised, no-one and no-one’s models had the faintest clue about how bad it would be even within their own countries, let alone which countries would be better off / worse off / indifferent regarding the virus. Unless you are suddenly granting this amazing knowledge to some scientists after all, those in the pay of the plotters, of course, and which knowledge / pre-planning would be on the incredible, godlike scale compared to the entire of the rest of the scientists within the world, who have been all over the place. Bumbling leaders suggests only bumbling leaders, and bumbling scientists suggests only bumbling scientists. I think your scepticism of… what exactly?… that pandemics which have occurred frequently throughout the entire of history can’t still do so in similar fashion (aided or not by inadequate labs)… has not triumphed on this one so far.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Geoff I was intrigued by the title of this tread. But much pondering later, crouched in my pangolin-free bat cave, I gave up searching for answers. Jumping the Pangolin, clearly is a play on Jumping the Shark, that much research (my friend Wikki) now informs me is “an idiom used to describe a moment when something that was once widely popular, but has since grown less popular, makes a misguided attempt at generating publicity that instead only serves to highlight its irrelevance.”

    I lack the audacity to assign on what part of Cliscep you think has “grown” less popular and am even more loath to identify the Fonzi character. What were water skis doing in Wuhan? Part of the military games?


  19. Alan, I think this now means any ‘moment of grand ridiculousness’ that is presented as though it’s in all seriousness a moment of grandly meaningful revelation or step forward, or as our US cousins would say, ‘way to go’. I may have misunderstood, but I presumed Geoff’s title was thus somewhat self-deprecating humour, in that, despite saying above “Try as I may, I can’t find a way to self-seal my suspicions and turn evidence against my conspiracy theory (athletes testing negative etc.) into evidence for”, he nevertheless is not intending that we take this nascent theory too seriously, because indeed he might just be jumping the Pangolin here.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. P.S. IOW re “Try as I may…” he is not a true (enough) conspiracist, but nevertheless presents a conspiracy theory…


  21. Hi Geoff,

    It’s understandable why the Cornell Alliance for Science would be happy to publish CACC scaremonger Mark Lynas’s opinions on conspiracy theories. Not least because he pours scorn on those who dare cast aspersions about Mr Gates. ” .. Our primary source of support is a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation .. ” (https://allianceforscience.cornell.edu/about/funders/).

    No doubt many will find Mark Lynas’s Cornell Alliance “conspiracy theories” article convincing, but I suspect that close scrutiny of his claims will reveal many misinterpretations and omissions. His award-winning CACC Propaganda booklet “Six Degrees … ” was replete with them but he refused to discuss them with me. I suspect the same of anything that he writes but couldn’t be bothered to check into his Cornell Alliance article.

    Instead I took a look behind that impressively-named Cornell Alliance for Science (https://www.cornell.edu/search/?q=alliance+for+science#) to see if they supported Lynas’s unscientific view of the causes of climate change. They sure do ” .. the COVID-19 pandemic .. has exposed fragilities in the global food system that are likely to worsen with climate change. .. offering a poignant preview of the “untold suffering” we can expect if we fail to reduce the fossil fuel-driven carbon emissions that are heating the planet to levels unknown in human history .. ” (https://allianceforscience.cornell.edu/blog/2020/04/global-pandemic-previews-climate-impacts-on-food-system/).

    One can reasonably expect members of an “alliance for science” at such a prestigious university as Cornell promoting CACC claims that our burgeoning use of fossil fuels is the cause of global climate change/disruption/chaos/emergency/catastrophe to have relevant expertise . Apparently THEY DO NOT!

    The alliance boasts a team of 20 and an “Advisory Board” of 18, yet not one of those 38 have education, training and experience in any discipline essential to having any understanding of the processes and drivers of the different global climates. Their areas of expertise include biology, farming, communication, economy, law, psychology, journalism, sociology, wildlife conservation, business admin. There’s not a hint of the necessary expertise in the hard disciplines like physics, chemistry or spectrometry

    In summary, as far as climate science is concerned the Cornell Alliance for Science and Mark Lynas are BEST IGNORED.

    PS. Geoff, have you any idea why this submission, like my previous one, was rejected repeatedly (around 11:00-16:00 Uk time), with the message that “this comment could not be posted”.

    Liked by 1 person

    Mark Lynas seems to have played the same role for you as George Monbiot for me, though I started out with a lot of respect for George. They’re allies over the need for nuclear, so forming a “sensible” fifth column among the catastrophists, but I suspect they may have issues, ever since they both published doom tomes in the same year, “Six Degrees” and “Heat.”

    The Cornell Alliance for Science seems to exist to counter green opposition to GM crops, which is probably why the Gates Foundation funds them. The weekly diatribes about virus conspiracy theories from Lynas seem out of place.

    I’m afraid WordPress rejects comments with more than two hyperlinks, and all we can do is keep an eye out for rejected comments, which I’m afraid I rarely do. Apologies. I think after a while WordPress recognises you as a regular and will let you through, so keep commenting.


    Apologies for the lack of clarity. See Peter Ridley’s comment above on the fact that the Gates Foundation finances the Cornell blog where Mark Lynas publishes a thought a week on the pandemic and its conspiracy theories. My point was that the Guardian won’t ever criticise Bill Gates because (I thought) the Gates Foundation funds a Guardian page called “Cities” (6,000 articles and counting.) I was wrong. The page is financed by the Rockefeller Foundation.

    Funnily enough, this article from 2016
    asks: “Are Gates and Rockefeller using their influence to set agenda in poor states?” Given the poor state of the Guardian’s finances, I think we know the answer.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. ANDY, ALAN
    This article arose from my inapt innate skepticism, which generated a tenuous conspiracy theory, based on the monster economic crisis which has been visible to all sentient commenters since at least September 2019. Ever since the Fed in effect re-instituted quantitative easing by intervening in the repo markets when Wall Street signalled that it wouldn’t tolerate a return to normal market conditions, financial commenters have been saying: it will only take some black swan event to tip us into recession and even depression. And lo, the swan appeared, from China what’s more, meaning that it’s not our fault. Only it was a bat, whose emanations seemed logically to have got out of the bat research place in the city where the outbreak started. One would have expected the Western media to have leapt on the occasion to accuse the Chinese of incompetence or worse, instead of which everything was done to persuade us that it was a naturally occurring bat thing, that it happened all the time, and was nothing to do with the Chinese bat researcher thrown out of Canada for illegally exporting bat stuff to China.

    That was the extent of my conspiracy fantasising until I read about the military games, which suddenly made it possible for a bunch of western secret agents to wander round the epicentre of the epidemic within spitting distance of a bat virus research centre. So I started writing this, as an experiment in pushing my conspiratorial ideation to see where it might lead. What would happen when my conspiracy theory was criticised? Would I double down and self seal?

    I must have read a few dozen articles sneering at conspiracy theories about Western responsibility, but JIT’s arguments in his comment above are the only ones that seem convincing. One might argue that if it’s true that athletes are always getting sniffles, they would presumably be aware of the fact, and wouldn’t have been so impressed by the symptoms they experienced in Wuhan. It’s the kind of question a journalist would try and resolve with a few phone calls, but why bother when the question can be so easily dismissed with the label of “conspiracy theory?”

    That the effects on our leaders’ popularity have been negative is not relevant, since I never imagined that Trump and Johnson were responsible. They were irresponsible, and demonstrating that fact may have been part of the plan. I hesitate to use the term Deep State, but let’s say that the same people who screwed up over the Skripals, the Douma stink bomb, Russiagate and the Ukraine/Biden impeachment are quite capable of screwing up over a virus.

    Again, as Andy spots in his 2nd and 3rd comments, I’m not standing by this conspiracy theory (hence the title.) But I note that his arguments in his last paragraph (“granting this amazing knowledge… pre-planning on an incredible, godlike scale..”) echo certain arguments against conspiracy theories explaining the Kennedy assassination and 9/11. Chomsky refused to accept a conspiratorial explanation of 9/11 because thousands of people would have had to have been in the know. But thousands of people, from janitors to FBI agents, were in the know. They just didn’t all know the same things.

    I’ve been reading up on Hayek’s theory of how knowledge is diffused in societies. Most relevant to us here.


  25. Geoff,

    “But I note that his arguments in his last paragraph (“granting this amazing knowledge… pre-planning on an incredible, godlike scale..”) echo certain arguments against conspiracy theories explaining the Kennedy assassination and 9/11. Chomsky refused to accept a conspiratorial explanation of 9/11 because thousands of people would have had to have been in the know.”

    Note wrongly, in this case. My point has nothing to do with who is or isn’t in the know, in this case. It is to do with having a level of scientific knowledge and prediction re viral impacts that the entire world and all the rest of its (non-conspiratorial) scientists have more than adequately demonstrated they don’t have. And indeed as part of that godlike prediction, no-one could possibly know outcomes would be such that in the midst of trashing the entire world, the incredibly small relative benefits (to the conspiring parties) of demonstrating irresponsibility in Boris and Donald would ever come off as ‘part of the plan’.This doesn’t pass any kind of smell test. Nor does supplying a massive Black Swan just to demonstrate a few bean counters with their loyal media hacks were right all along. You need massively more work on motive, not to mention what parties would be willing to translate that motive into action. Of course certain parties need little logical motive, for instance anarchists just want to bring the system down by any means. Hence from their PoV, prediction of anything but general chaos doesn’t matter. Yet all these potential explanations are complex and obscure, when there are highly plausible and simple explanations that occur very regularly indeed for this event, which is not the case for radiation poisoning or for aircraft burying themselves in buildings, for instance. Indeed that “a naturally occurring bat thing” that “happened all the time”, is true, is simply historical fact (though for many different animals, not just bats). All of our ‘herd diseases’ come from animals. Albeit “nothing to do with the Chinese bat researcher thrown out of Canada for illegally exporting bat stuff to China” is likely indeed something that doesn’t fit what were approved narratives about China, albeit said narratives do seem to be evolving a bit more realism lately.


    To be absolutely clear, I agree that a stray virus escaping from a lab is a far more likely occurrence than a plot by western spooks to deliberately release a virus that might be disastrous for the entire planet.

    (Not for the first time, I wish I understood Bayesian statistics, because prior expectations are of the essence here.)

    Just as a plot to bring down the Twin Towers by a bunch of fanatical Saudis is more likely than a plot by Dick Cheney and hundreds of members of the CIA/FBI.

    But in the case of the virus, the more likely theory (escape from a lab) has been dismissed and actively suppressed (Twitter banned Zero Hedge for even discussing it) in favour of a theory (bat via pangolin via wet market) for which there is no evidence at all.

    I’ve been following the evolution of the coverage of conspiracy theories since Dallas, November 1963. The Sunday Times devoted a half a dozen pages to extracts from a book outlining a conspiracy theory contradicting the official version. One of the much commented oddities of 22/11/63 was that a Dallas newspaper appeared the morning of the assassination with a black border. This was universally taken to indicate the level of hatred of Kennedy in Texas, leading to a climate in which an assassin etc. etc. It was literally yesterday that Ockham’s penny dropped and I hit upon the real explanation; someone at the newspaper screwed up and published the black border a day early. Of course, this implies that everybody and his typesetter was in on the plot, but unlike the earlier explanation, it makes sense.

    It is unthinkable that the Vice President of the USA should murder 2,000 Americans. It is also unthinkable that he should happen to be in charge of the air defence of Washington on the day and order the USAF not to intervene as a plane approached the Pentagon. (OK, not unthinkable, just unlikely.) What is unthinkable is that he should give his evidence to the enquiry in secret, in the company of the President. And that that happened, not with the knowledge of a few thousand people but of 300 million citizens, who let it happen.

    I rarely get to see BBC TV, but in past decades I caught a documentary about the assassination of Martin Luther King, and another about the Lockerbie bombing, both of which cast serious doubt on the official versions. Until 2001 it was possible to place serious journalism questioning the official line in “official” mainstream media like the BBC. Since 2001, the obvious falsity of the official versions of the Democrats email hack, Russiagate, the Douma gas attack, and the Trump/Ukraine affair, revealed mainly on blogs, including by Steve McIntyre, has been entirely ignored in the mainstream media.

    And last week the BBC treated the Skripal case to a three-part docu-fiction which ignored the Skripals entirely and falsified or ignored many of the known facts. It didn’t even pretend to tell the truth. And it received high praise from Guardian journalists, who provided research input, but didn’t announce their conflict of interest.

    You have to be a certain age to realise the extent to which free enquiry has been suppressed in the mainstream media. And just in case anyone thinks this is due to economic pressures from the new on-line media, remember the research being conducted with government support in Cambridge and elsewhere that links conspiratorial thinking with dangerous rightwing populist memes like climate scepticism.

    Your comments have helped me to understand my own motivations in publishing this article. I knew I wanted to test a theory that is conspiratorial and that would be considered suspect because it involves the kind of accusations against the Deep State that are made by the dafter kind of conspiracy freaks. More generally, I want to stake out the possibility of raising these questions, at the risk of being dismissed as a weirdo. Call it prophylactic Niemöllerism.


  27. Geoff,

    “But in the case of the virus, the more likely theory (escape from a lab) has been dismissed and actively suppressed (Twitter banned Zero Hedge for even discussing it) in favour of a theory (bat via pangolin via wet market) for which there is no evidence at all.”

    Part of the problem here is that some of the evidence would be the same for both cases (e.g. ground zero location essentially the same from spread characteristics). However, without leaning to one or the other, neither possibility nor the contest between them, has anything whatsoever to do with some hugely more complex and hugely less probable possibilities. Including that the mere existence of this contest, in no way lends support to such speculated possibilities.

    “I’ve been following the evolution of the coverage of conspiracy theories since Dallas…”

    There are real conspiracies. And there are vastly more conspiracy theories that turn out to be false. However, using the existence of prior examples, whether proven true or still undecided or just nuts, is like using the circumstances of one particular murder to claim that this helps to prove that someone accused of a different murder, in a completely different country and era and with no connection between any of the individuals concerned, is more likely to be guilty. But only the actual evidence for each actual event, and reasonable logic chains associated with same, matters for conviction in each case. Despite the world has many murderers, they are not connected by telepathic links that connect their cases, even where reasons such as say jealousy or ambition may be common to some cases. I am of a certain age, and I do not have any illusions about the media. But neither this or the existence of prior (real or speculated) conspiracies, is any reason to forgo evidence-based investigation and common sense. The absence of evidence or indeed apparent misdirection, is great reason to ask hard questions about what lies beneath, even if it turns out only to be common garden incompetence. But it is no reason to create fantastical back stories that not only have even less evidence, i.e. zero, but don’t even have motivational, circumstancial, timeline (and so causation), any kind of outcome prediction (needed for a viable ‘plan’), or any other characteristic of any kind that could reasonably be associated with why this might happen.

    “Your comments have helped me to understand my own motivations in publishing this article. I knew I wanted to test a theory that is conspiratorial and that would be considered suspect because it involves the kind of accusations against the Deep State that are made by the dafter kind of conspiracy freaks. More generally, I want to stake out the possibility of raising these questions, at the risk of being dismissed as a weirdo. Call it prophylactic Niemöllerism.”

    Glad to be of service. I don’t think your a weirdo. But I do think your considerable powers of seeing between cracks and under rocks, would be far more productively employed elsewhere. And having quite some experience with publishing, your works of fantasy probably won’t get published.


  28. To lend some weight to the idea that Covid-19 presents a convenient excuse to offload blame for a new financial crisis which was in the pipeline anyway, here’s what Mervyn King has to say in the Telegraph today:

    He said: “I think banks are going to realise they will experience significant losses, not so much on the loans they’ve made since the Covid-19 crisis became evident, but on the pre-existing loans that looked very safe when they were made, but now look a lot more dubious given the challenges facing many businesses, through no fault of their own, that have arisen as a result of Covid-19 and the responses governments have made to it.”

    Did those pre-existing loans really look “very safe”? Really? ‘No fault of their own’? Of course, we all know how squeaky clean the banks are don’t we? They learned their lesson from 2008 didn’t they?


    This was June 2019:

    “Bair had warned of a coming subprime mortgage meltdown, a major precursor of the 2008 crisis, when other prominent figures, such as former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, disagreed that there was a U.S. housing bubble. “The memories—and lessons—of what drove the crisis are completely being ignored,” she told Barron’s.

    Bair’s four big areas of concern, as discussed with Barron’s: reduced bank capital requirements, soaring private debt, a ballooning federal budget deficit, and massive student loan debt. She also shared opinions on Chinese debt, bitcoin, and cyber risk.

    However, especially regarding the “large, complex financial institutions that drove the crisis,” she asserted to Barron’s: “To loosen capital now is just crazy. When we get to a downturn, banks won’t have the cushion to absorb the losses. Without a cushion, we will have 2008 and 2009 again.”

    An independent research arm of the U.S. Treasury Department has found that the financial system still would be in great peril if one or more big banks fail, despite reforms enacted after the 2008 crisis. Similarly, economics professor Kenneth Rogoff of Harvard University believes that leading central banks around the world are unprepared to deal with a new banking crisis.”


    Bair wasn’t exactly the only economist warning of a new financial crisis long before Covid-19 appeared on the horizon. So, it’s legitimate, even if nakedly ideationally conspiracist, to ask the questions:

    1. Where did SARS-COV-2 really come from?
    2. Did the banksters cooridinate an otherwise extremely puzzling global policy of national lockdowns in response to a irus which is ostensibly no more dangerous than the seasonal ‘flu?


  29. So why did governments lockdown when such a policy flew in the face of existing pandemic advice? Why? What drove the ‘madness’? A ‘cultural spell’ that suddenly and very forcefully gripped almost the entire medical establishment as Andy would maintain, amplified and initiated by governments reliant upon ‘expertise’ to make critical political decisions affecting the life and death of huge numbers of people?

    “The man behind Sweden’s controversial Covid-19 strategy has characterized lockdowns imposed across much of the globe as a form of “madness” that flies in the face of what is known about handling viral outbreaks.

    Anders Tegnell, Sweden’s state epidemiologist, said he advised against such restrictions on movement because of the detrimental side effects they often entail.

    “It was as if the world had gone mad, and everything we had discussed was forgotten,” Tegnell said in a podcast with Swedish Radio on Wednesday.”


    Liked by 1 person

  30. Jaime. You really do take the cake, spewing again the “no more dangerous than the seasonal ‘flu” meme. Well as someone who has experienced this non dangerous “seasonal flu” let me tell you it is extremely dangerous. More than a month after being released from hospital my breathing is getting progressively worse and I am beginning to suspect I may have scared lungs. I lost a lot of weight which I can’t regain. All in all, I feel my age for the first time. All due to this non dangerous “seasonal flu”.
    I am hearing stories every day of people like me or much, much worse. Have you got selective hearing?


  31. Alan, you keep making this needlessly personal. I’m talking generalisations, statistics, you are talking actual, very personal impacts on health. I don’t doubt for one moment that you have been seriously affected by a severe case of this disease, but please show me the evidence that, judged by the health impacts on the nation as a whole, Covid-19 is far more lethal and dangerous than a bad case of seasonal ‘flu. If many thousands of people infected by Covid go on to suffer long term ill health as a direct result of being infected (much more so than people who suffer being infected by a pandemic ‘flu virus), then I am of course open to changing my opinion based on the evidence as currently exists.


  32. Jaime. “show me the evidence that, judged by the health impacts on the nation as a whole, Covid-19 is far more lethal and dangerous than a bad case of seasonal ‘flu”.

    Impossible, by instituting preventive measures (lockdown) it can be argued that the worst that the virus could have done was prevented, so the statistics are skewed away from the worst case that could have occurred. Try looking at what is happening in Brazil.

    And “seasonal flu” does what it says on the tin. In case you hadn’t noticed we are well into summer and had a warm spring. The virus is still very active and is following no tin instructions.


  33. Come off it Alan, UK doctors say Covid patients MAY suffer long term health problems. Climate experts say extreme heatwaves MAY be the norm by 2050. They don’t know. It’s been a few months. We can’t possibly know how this disease will eventually pan out in the long term. All we can say at present is that the ill effects on the populace as a whole appear to have been gossly exaggerated. That’s not me ‘spewing’ out misinformation and even IF it becomes apparent that infection is very bad news for a minority of patients in terms of their long term health, this MUST be weighed against the very substantial and numerous negative effects of lockdowns.


  34. You are almost at the point of arguing “let the aged, the infirm and the feeble minded perish for the good of the economy”. What a country we have become.


  35. “A ‘cultural spell’ that suddenly and very forcefully gripped almost the entire medical establishment as Andy would maintain, amplified and initiated by governments reliant upon ‘expertise’ to make critical political decisions affecting the life and death of huge numbers of people?”

    I’m not really saying this for covid, at any rate not in the same sense as the well-bounded cultural entity of certain catastrophic climate-change, which *long-term* holds a spell over society. I have said that governments were indeed passive actors, selecting from the wide range of available science to pick options which answered the huge pressure of the media and public upon them. Which is why so many very different countries / governments acted in very similar ways. But the timescale is too quick for deep cultural engagement. The drive must be at the simpler end of the scale, pretty much straight fear I guess, albeit *existing* cultural interests can pretty quickly align for or against such waves, and hence provide damping or amplification. For sure the ‘establishment media’ (I think once, that term would have been almost an oxymoron and now they are almost universal) amplified these fears. The anti-Trump crowd blasting HCQ purely for the sake of their stance against him, is another example. And also some more generic left / right divides appearing, e.g. on economic issues.

    “So, it’s legitimate, even if nakedly ideationally conspiracist, to ask the questions:”

    It’s not conspiracist behaviour to ask where the virus came from. Everyone would like certainty on that. Per Geoff mode, that banks and financial institutions may be have been over-exposed, even majorly over-exposed, is not in any way, shape or form any kind of evidence whatsoever that they would trash the world to somehow attempt to disguise this. For a start, for anyone beyond nursery level, it simply wouldn’t disguise this anyhow. Plus everyone including such institutions, are much worse off post virus than pre-virus. And truly, they don’t actually belong to SPECTRE. That businesses morph their positions to optimise as they can when big changes hit society for whatever reason, is a big plus feature of capitalism and why most of us are quite well off in a changeable world, where poverty is plummeting (in relative terms). To speculate that such morphing (and on a very tight timescale too) includes the strong-arming of governments all around the world exactly in order to cause the very thing that they actually want to avoid, turns motive on its head, but anyhow studiously avoids far simpler solutions. People were afraid. They cried out, their media put it through a bull-horn, and their governments acted.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Alan: “Try looking at what is happening in Brazil.”

    I look at all the main countries every day. Deaths per M of population: Brazil, 248. UK, 632. Spain, 606. Italy, 573, US, 373. Sweden, 511. Lockdown or no lockdown, this disease organism did exactly what it wanted to do and the profile has been remarkably similar in most countries.

    In the same way that we were behind Italy by a couple of weeks, so the Brazil outbreak is later again. It is difficult to see that any curves were flattened as a result of lockdown. In the UK, Italy, Spain, the cases and mortality surged within a few days of lockdown.

    In the UK, this may of course have had something to with the emptying of hospital beds of elderly patients to care homes, some infected and the rest untested, which started on March 19th and continued for a month. Lockdown measures were announced on March 20th and enhanced on March 23rd.

    This is what was supposed to happen, but the steeper line was what we got: https://metro.co.uk/2020/03/13/must-work-together-stop-coronavirus-deaths-flatten-curve-12391617/

    The constant headline of “Brazil Covid out of control” is mainly due to the anti-Bolsonaro sentiment in the Western media, in large part due to his rejection of AGW and his labelling as the Brazilian Trump. They seem to be at peak or just past and the next few days will show that or not.

    I am very sorry that you suffered and that the longer term effects are not as bad as you fear.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. You want evidence. Well firstly my lung function has not improved and may be deteriorating, Second, a neighbour down the road (the only other Covid victim I know personally) is saying the same, Thirdly, there have been repeated reports on the television news of people with continuing or worsening conditions months after being released from hospital. Lastly there are reports of UK doctors saying they are finding repeated instances of survivors having lung scaring. This situation exists (and is very real for some of us), the only debate is upon how many will be affected. The speculation is that perhaps a third of those released from hospital could suffer lung damage. It could be less, BUT IT COULD BE MORE. Their estimate is based on data, examinations of patients X-rays.
    So much for your callous comparison with seasonal flu.


  38. Conspiracy theory? This goes back to 2012 and SARS


    “How China stole Coronavirus from Canada and weaponised it.”

    “The Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory is housed at the Chinese military facility Wuhan Institute of Virology linked to China’s Biological Warfare Program. It was the first ever lab in the country designed to meet biosafety-level-4 (BSL-4) standards – the highest biohazard level, meaning that it would be qualified to handle the most dangerous pathogens.

    In January 2018, the lab was operational ‘for global experiments on BSL-4 pathogens,’ wrote Guizhen Wu in the journal Biosafety and Health. ‘After a laboratory leak incident of SARS in 2004, the former Ministry of Health of China initiated the construction of preservation laboratories for high-level pathogens such as SARS, coronavirus, and pandemic influenza virus,’ wrote Guizhen Wu.”


  39. Dennis. You I believe are presenting a different argument – one where I have no data to bring to the table. Jamie is arguing that Covid 19 is no worse than seasonal flu, so the extraordinary measures taken to prevent its spread were unnecessary. Yours is that by comparing countries that instituted lockdowns with those that did not, you find no evidence that lockdowns work. Jaime implies that the UK shouldn’t have done anything to harm the economy and let the virus rip, potentially overwhelming the NHS. Whereas you argue the lockdown has been ineffective and (presumably) has had little effect upon outcomes. Yet, on the other hand, you acknowledge that multiple deaths in care homes occurred because of the lack of an effective lockdown. Confusing what?


  40. “You are almost at the point of arguing “let the aged, the infirm and the feeble minded perish for the good of the economy”. What a country we have become.”

    “So much for your callous comparison with seasonal flu.”

    “Jamie is arguing that Covid 19 is no worse than seasonal flu, so the extraordinary measures taken to prevent its spread were unnecessary.”

    “Jaime implies that the UK shouldn’t have done anything to harm the economy and let the virus rip, potentially overwhelming the NHS.”

    I’m not going to even bother to counter those absurd and false allegations Alan. You seem determined to take my comment personally and equally determined not to engage with the wider facts, just your own personal experience to justify your criticism of me personally. Now you’ve even thrown in the immorality card to falsely accuse me of caring more about the economy than people’s lives. Such a shame. I’d expect this from some left wing lockdown loving loon on Twitter, not you.

    Andy, I take your point, I should have said Andy MIGHT argue. It is more reasonable to suppose that banks are merely exploiting the damage done by lockdowns as an excuse to cover up their excessive prior lending, but it does still bug me how globally coordinated the lockdowns were with near complete disregard for their huge consequences in terms of society, the economy and human lives.


  41. Jaime,

    “It is more reasonable to suppose that banks are merely exploiting the damage done by lockdowns as an excuse to cover up their excessive prior lending.”

    Absolutely. Fig-leaf sales are at an all-time high since covid. On the up-side, people really know that they are fig-leaves and aren’t exactly fooled. On the down-side, the thing about fig-leaves is that they partially work, even when people know that they are fig-leaves. Why this is so, I don’t know.

    “…it does still bug me…” Understandable. A lot of things bug me too, not least the culture of certain catastrophic climate change. The world is far from optimal; but then again I can’t think of any reason why it ever would be optimal.


  42. Well Jaime you seem somewhat upset and exasperated with me. So you now know how upset and exasperated I have felt when I have met up with the meme that the Covid virus is no worse than seasonal flu using statistics to make the case. I have tried to explain to you and to anyone here that this argument is wrong and offensive. Those statistics that you treasure so much are not like climate data, they involve human beings with lives and hopes, with people they care for and people that care for them. They have rights and their lives should not be sacrificed (at least not without full disclosure and debate). To deliberately leave the UK open to the ravages of the virus by not imposing a lockdown would IMO be immoral.
    There can be no doubt that for many developing symptoms, Covid 19 infections can be significantly worse than seasonal flu. Nor have we fully understood the implications of the infections – information about damage to multiple organ systems is emerging.
    If we had wanted to protect ourselves, we should have closed our borders straight away. But this wasn’t done recognising the great damage it would have done to our economy. Then when the infection broke out right across the country, the UK belatedly instituted a lockdown. Surely this must have saved lives,in that transmission of the virus must have been slowed and therefore infections prevented. What would have been your alternative? Preserve what was left of our already mauled economy and let the virus infect across the board?
    The “no worse than seasonal flu” is an insult to everyone who has contracted it. You accuse me of taking it too personally. Damn right I do, I take it extremely personally. Try to remember that your statistics involve individuals dying or suffering damage. Statistics are useful but try also to include information about the individuals affected and their rights.
    I don’t know how the UK should have proceeded, but I do know that repeating false comparisons does not help plot our future.


  43. Alan, I’ve tried, I really have, to explain exactly what I mean by comparing the lethality of Covid-19 with ‘flu. I have tried to explain to you in past comments how I am NOT comparing the biological effect of the disease on the bodies of sufferers with ‘flu. They are very different diseases – I’ve made that clear. Yet still you persist in being offended by my comparison based solely on the impacts of the disease as a whole on the populace, impacts which, now they are becoming evident, do NOT justify a nationwide lockdown, simply because of your own very nasty encounter with the disease. You accuse me of being immoral in not supporting lockdown because supposedly it has saved lives, however few and however ‘old and decrepit and near death’ anyway those lives are. Yet you seem to conveniently forget the huge spike of 15,000 non Covid deaths from March to June which occurred in homes (vs. about 2600 Covid deaths) and you conveniently forget about the 60,000 cancer patients whose cancers would not have been diagnosed early because of lockdown, many of whom will now die as a direct result. The evidence that lockdown caused fewer infections is non-existent and the evidence that an earlier lockdown would have been more effective is risible. Meanwhile, the data keeps rolling in:

    “Almost half the people living in an Austrian ski resort that was a major centre of the European coronavirus outbreak now have immunity, according to a new study released on Thursday.

    Scientists from Innsbruck Medical University found antibodies to the virus in 42.4 per cent of people in Ischgl.

    Packed apres-ski bars where people played drinking games in which they passed the same ping-pong ball from glass to glass are believed to have been the perfect environment for the virus to spread.

    Yet despite the high infection rate, only nine Ischgl residents had to be hospitalised for the virus, and only two died — meaning the fatality rate in the village was just 0.24 per cent.”


    A 0.24% IFR is comparable to a bad ‘flu season. A small population admittedly, but backed up by an increasing number of other studies which reveal that the virus is much less lethal than originally assumed.

    I’m sorry you’re offended by that comparison but it is valid, statistically at least. The 2000 winter ‘flu season was as bad in terms of fatalities as was the Covid 19 spring 2020 outbreak (which is tailing off to zero deaths as we speak). I wish you the very best and hope that you feel better as the months pass. It’s a blessing that you’re still with us and that we are arguing like cat and dog.


  44. Hi Andy, you commented yesterday at 09:30 that ” .. certain parties need little logical motive, for instance anarchists just want to bring the system down by any means. Hence from their PoV, prediction of anything but general chaos doesn’t matter .. “. I Immediately had flash-backs to the pre-CoVid19 chaos caused by the rabble-rousing founders of Extinction Rebellion. The sheeple who follow the XR goats (and the politicians who cow-tow to XR demands) appear to be unconcerned about their anarchistic objectives ” .. to create a new global regime .. we are creating a separate, true, fundamental democracy .. Extinction Rebellion .. are calling for a fundamental change of the political and economic system .. “.

    A major sources of funds for the XR/RisingUp!/CompassionateRevolution organisation has been the Berlin-based Guerrilla Foundation. It says ” .. Extinction Rebellion is a campaign by the Rising Up network, that promotes a fundamental change of the UK’s political and economic system .. “. The Guerrilla Foundation ” .. supports activists .. working towards .. major systemic change across Europe in line with the Great Transition .. redirecting the .. planetary civilization .. “.
    The Great Transition “ .. aims to deepen understanding of values and cultural dimensions of global change, along with social, economic, political, and scientific aspects of a Great Transition .. toward a vision and praxis for a decent planetary civilization .. “.

    XR founders Gail Bradbrook and George Barda’s exposed their real motives on a RisingUP blog page ” .. We actively mitigate for power .. Breaking down hierarchies of power for more equitable participation .. We live in a toxic system .. We are initiating and promoting campaigns of civil disobedience .. For many of us these actions are motivated by spiritual beliefs as Pagans, Quakers, Buddhists, Jews and so on. We are called to act in service of a higher authority, a higher purpose or on behalf of the Mother Earth .. The existing political and economic system is set to destroy civilisation and much if not all life on earth if allowed to continue .. “.

    Could the CoVid19 pandemic be powerful enough to radically change global social, economic and political aspects, just what the Great Transition, Guerrilla Foundation and XR/RisingUp!/CompassionateRevolution organisations are striving for.

    The XR founders have already jumped on the CACC bandwagon as a useful vehicle for furthering their anarchistic cause. Is it beyond the bounds of possibility that the CoVid19′ pandemic could be even more useful to them?

    Some professors at Cornell University appear impressed by the likes of those organisations. For example Alexander Livingston, a Cornell professor of government, says “ .. What is so impressive about XR is the ways it has spread rapidly across the globe, leveraging public attention .. to escalate the sense of crisis .. ” (https://news.cornell.edu/media-relations/tip-sheets/extinction-rebellion-elevates-sense-global-climate-crisis). It appears to be achieving much of what XR is striving for.

    Lynas and Cornell Alliance for Science can add this to their list of conspiracy theories.

    Liked by 2 people

  45. Pete,

    “…the politicians who cow-tow to XR demands) appear to be unconcerned about their anarchistic objectives…”

    Yeah. A good place to hide anarchy is beneath the umbrella of a religion with the highest possible moral grounds. In this case, a secular religion that is ‘saving the planet’. Fantastic for turning off any objections.

    “Is it beyond the bounds of possibility that the CoVid19′ pandemic could be even more useful to them?”

    I doubt it will help them much. Will probably only last a couple of years in any strength, and even before that real science will catch up with it, which is to say even if not enough for a vaccine, enough to take much of the mystery and fear out of the thing. At that point it’s not useful anyhow. Whereas CACC is a much more complex, indeed wicked problem, which has meant genuine uncertainties for decades, and likely decades more. Which in turn has allowed culture much more time to exploit the uncertainty and so establish its grip. Also the fear with covid is much too real; people *want* a system that can save them. Whereas religious fears (that even for adherents the subconscious part of their brain knows aren’t real, but just group membership signals), are of the sort that can prompt people to yell for the end of the system, instead of asking it to help them. This doesn’t stop the CACC culture from pivoting to take what advantage it can, e.g. ‘green recovery’, or ‘our climate-change sins caused covid’, and to that extent one can say it’s making use of covid. But I think CACC culture would likely have been net better off without a competing apocalypse, especially one that is much more manifest, i.e. actual body-counts.

    Liked by 2 people

  46. Andy, beyond all doubt now, the Covid-19 outbreak and its impact upon the global economy, will be ruthlessly exploited by the globalist elite to demand the intruduction of a new world order which looks to me very much like global socialism. Johnson and his government are wittering on about #buildbackbetter, the UN is, anybody who is anybody in Big Green Inc. is talking about the ‘necessary’ Green recovery. They ae going to push very, very hard for this, long after the actul virus has disappeared over the horizon. No doubt they will just claim that, because of climate change, we can expect more pandemics worse even than Covid-19.

    “The WEF meeting featured a powerful line-up of global leaders, all of whom seemingly agreed the Great Reset is necessary to “rebalance economies,” promote “fairness,” and create greater “equity” within societies and among nations.

    The purpose of the Great Reset isn’t merely to enact policies that would lead to additional wealth redistribution, but rather to completely overhaul the world’s existing structures and institutions. Among other things, Schwab has said of the Great Reset, “the world must act jointly and swiftly to revamp all aspects of our societies and economies, from education to social contracts and working conditions.”

    How, exactly, are these leaders planning on convincing Americans and citizens of every other industrialized nation to abandon modern capitalism? By scaring people into believing that these changes are essential for stopping the next great “crisis” the world will face when the COVID-19 pandemic finally subsides: climate change.

    At the World Economic Forum’s June meeting, one speaker after another cited climate change and environmental sustainability as the key justifications for radical economic changes that would include massive new regulations and restrictions on economic activity, wealth taxes and expansive government programs comparable to the Green New Deal.”



  47. Alan, Jaime: I didn’t have time to butt into your conversation yesterday, so will now belatedly. Is Wuhan coronavirus more dangerous than a normal seasonal flu?

    I think that it is, notwithstanding that death rates might end up similar. If you only use this one cold metric, bodies on slabs, then you could argue maybe little or no difference.

    I have never seen scenes the like of which happened in Italy and Spain associated with a normal seasonal flu. We now see anecdotes of survivors with scarring of the lungs. For some reason, Wuhan is not killed off in spring, as flu is annually – I wondered whether the change in the weather would can it, but it didn’t. (Partly perhaps the impression that Wuhan is worse than flu is due to chronic overuse of the term “flu” to excuse days off work with what is actually a far more benign virus. And of course a novel strain of influenza could have wreaked as much global carnage as Wuhan.)

    If you look at the weekly deaths stats, this shows that at the peak, the death rate in England and Wales was twice normal. In those weeks the death tally was higher than any recent winter flu peaks. (I’ve only got data back to 2004-5 winter handy.) The winter flu is supposedly carrying off the already moribund… so the spring Wuhan should have had its pool of potential victims already thinned out.

    I don’t see how it can be rationally argued that lockdown had no effect on the course of the outbreak, since it’s obvious that lockdown had a large effect on a key variable. Given that new infections are a function of contact between infected and susceptibles, unless you argue that lockdown did not decrease such contact, then it must have decreased transmission.

    Finally, and not very scientifically, I am an asthmatic who gets the flu jab every year. I am often lackadaisical in organising the jab, but have never modified my behaviour to reduce the risk of catching flu. (Even to wriggle out of going to the panto.) But I won’t be going to the cinema or eating in restaurants ’til there is a vaccine or the outbreak is firmly dead. I’ll go to the pub, but beer garden only! My point is that Wuhan is modifying my behaviour but flu never has. Who can say the contrary?

    Liked by 2 people

  48. Hi Andy, when pondering the ” .. possibility that the CoVid19′ pandemic could be even more useful to .. ” founders of the XR/RisingUp!CompassionateRevolutionLtd organisation than CACC I was not thinking of direct “benefits”. The damage to current global economic systems will only be temporary (albeit for another extended period, like 2008).

    I was thinking more in terms of the relevant lessons to be learned from CoVid19 about how to control mindless morons. Their use of CACC scaremongering has been of enormous benefit to their cause. For the moment that has been pushed onto the back-burner by CoVid19, but as Tesco says “Every little helps”.

    Hi Jaime, I could find nothing contentious in what you said but had never heard of the WEF’s “Great Reset”. Sounds just like the “Great Transition” I mentioned earlier, which underpins XR ” .. The Great Transition “ .. aims to deepen understanding of values and cultural dimensions of global change, along with social, economic, political, and scientific aspects of a Great Transition .. toward a vision and praxis for a decent planetary civilization .. “.
    Politicians love to try to reinvent old ideas by dreaming up a new set of words.

    Surprise, surprise!! another conspiracy theory presented in “The Great Reset – The Final Battle Against Marxists” (https://www.armstrongeconomics.com/world-news/civil-unrest/the-great-reset-the-final-battle-against-marxists/).
    ” .. The rising civil unrest is starting to take notice of Bill Gates and his consortium hell-bent on changing the world economy. They have used the coronavirus as a ploy to shut down the world economy all for their Climate Change Agenda. There is a mountain of circumstantial evidence that points to Fauci funding the creation of this virus and transferring it to the Wuhan lab where neither China nor the United States leaked it, but this consortium which has planned this Event 201 on how to destroy the world economy and rebuild it from scratch. They are already introducing Guaranteed Basic Income, assuming they can wipe out over 300 million jobs and then pay people to sit home and watch TV, where they recreate the world in their own image which they are promoting as the Great Reset. This has all been planned and it is being promoted by the infamous Davos — World Economic Forum. .. “.

    I really do feel so sorry for poor old Bill, Melinda and their little helpers, philanthropists doggedly trying to save the world despite all of the unwarranted abuse being hurled their way. As that inspirational actress Greta said to the UN ” .. HOW DARE YOU!! .. “.


  49. Jaime,

    “How, exactly, are these leaders planning on convincing Americans and citizens of every other industrialized nation to abandon modern capitalism? By scaring people into believing that these changes are essential for stopping the next great “crisis” the world will face when the COVID-19 pandemic finally subsides: climate change.”

    Exactly, which is not primarily a covid thing, but a very long-established climate-change thing. As noted above the climate culture is for sure pivoting to try and make every connection it can between the two, but ‘CC caused Covid’ is in practice incredibly weak, and even many long-term supporters of CC don’t buy this. Not only that, but this angle tends to emphasise that preparedness for covid needs an entirely different (and much more pragmatic) approach than the kind of things pushed for CC, to the extent that they are somewhat incompatible, which some articles / people are realising. The ‘green recovery’ angle has much more traction, but it is only a minor repackaging of the original GND pervasive everywhere before, which is attempting not to miss out because of covid. It’s success or failure does not ultimately depend on covid factors, but on exactly the same factors that existed before covid, and how many (plus how many in the elites, which counts more for policy) are convinced by CACC. I think covid will have unconvinced some, especially those who now realise what it takes in civilisation to keep all the medical systems / food-systems etc running, even while it helped (through general panic / world’s end / guilt) to convince others. So, I’m not saying covid won’t be used, clearly not; but that covid’s occurrence is a 2 year blip at most within a long-term progression, which hasn’t changed the CACC equation much. If anything, there may be more realisation even in high places that the huge focus on CC blind-sided us for pandemics. The net benefit of covid to CACC culture could well be negative, albeit it loses with one hand and gains with another. In the end, no culture can keep its inertia going, even with elites on-board, without some bulk grass-roots support. But the real wake-up call to general publics has been more that CC is bollocks compared to covid, and that they don’t fancy the permanent reduction in emissions that covid showed would have to be far more stringent than the kind of measures lock-down imposed (which was only a 17% CO2 reduction or whatever it was). They may be a silent majority still, and indeed there has never been a political forum in which opposition to CACC can actually be raised (outside the US), but if near-net-zero starts to really bite, I think they will make themselves heard, even if it has to be as the gilet-jeunes did. That resulted in the fuel tax immediately being rescinded, and many other concessions too.

    Liked by 1 person

  50. Pete,

    “I was thinking more in terms of the relevant lessons to be learned from CoVid19 about how to control mindless morons. Their use of CACC scaremongering has been of enormous benefit to their cause. For the moment that has been pushed onto the back-burner by CoVid19, but as Tesco says “Every little helps”

    I see. I think the issue with covid is that publics essentially controlled themselves, via their own fears, albeit highly amplified by most of the media. The difficulty with CACC is that it’s actually not very scary, they have to really pump the disaster porn angle again and again and again, yet most surveys show that this fear angle net backfires, turning more people against the movement even as it also gains some supporters (so it is polarizing, as all strong cultures are). They can see it’s porn. While publics may have let their fear get way out of control for covid, and governments formalised its effects, the truth is that, compared to CACC the fear was real, actual body-counts in the local area of practically everyone on the planet (albeit our focus on these numbers compared to other deaths was immense, perhaps the highest in history). The only way that CACC could learn from this, I’m guessing, is to likewise make the fear seem much more local and immediate to far more people than can be addressed by disaster porn. And I don’t know how they could achieve this. Even the blaming of widespread wildfires in Oz on CACC has probably turned off more people than those it attracted to the cause, albeit both shifts in attitude occurred. But most disasters aren’t widespread phenomena. Per above, the ‘CACC causes pandemics’ angle is very weak, this simply isn’t going to be bought by publics.

    Liked by 2 people

  51. Hi Andy, The CACC hypothesis is founded on ignorance. As religious leaders have fully understood and used for centuries ” .. Fear feeds on ignorance .. ” (James Lovelock).

    Liked by 1 person

  52. JIT says:
    26 Jun 20 at 9:55 am

    >If you look at the weekly deaths stats, this shows that at the peak, the death rate in England and Wales was twice normal. In those weeks the death tally was higher than any recent winter flu peaks. (I’ve only got data back to 2004-5 winter handy.) The winter flu is supposedly carrying off the already moribund… so the spring Wuhan should have had its pool of potential victims already thinned out.

    The NHS was pushing free influenza vaccination throughout the later part of 2019, while there was an outbreak in December, only about 2000 deaths were recorded. This meant that were more people susceptible to Covid when it came along than normal. Indeed the excess death stats for January and early February were negative, ie fewer people were dying those months than in previous years.

    The very peak death rates are easily explained. At the time, the hospitals did not have a reliable test for covid, which meant that incoming covid patients were not adequately insolated and many people, in hospital for other illnesses, became infected and because their low resistance, sadly died. This, more than anything else, is what cause the panic to send covid patients back to nursing homes. It is also the reason why death rates in the UK and Italy were so much high than in Germany, for instance.

    Liked by 3 people

    Another bit of information which knocks my conspiracy theory on the head. What remains is the question: is this information from RT, largely diffused in the Spanish media, getting through to our media? Or is it being filtered out, like so much else, as too confusing to be announced “when there’s a war on?”


  54. Bill, the peak of deaths is quite easily explained by the government response to an illness which may have been circulating in the wider community for longer than we thought (a lot longer maybe), causing few illnesses and even fewer deaths which managed to slip beneath the radar (probably wrongly diagnosed as ‘flu or pneumonia). They introduced it into the residential home sector where it would go on to claim the maximum number of victims in the shortest time. Meanwhile, they closed the hospitals to non-Covid patients and 15,000 people died at home between March and June 2020 of non-Covid related causes. Tip of the iceberg methinks.

    “This initial response was understandable, but it quite rapidly became clear that it was an overreaction. The problem then was that it was essentially decided that wherever beds could be found, patients would be put in them, whether tested or not tested, positive or negative. They basically just started throwing people out into the intermediate care sector.

    The average age of death from Covid-19 in the UK is around 82, and most of those people have comorbidities. I said to our managers that we had to test people and could not just be throwing them into nursing homes. But that is what they did. Homes were virtually ordered to take elderly patients. We had one nursing home that ended up with 12 deaths in a week.

    The health service treated elderly, vulnerable people as figures on a piece of paper. The lack of any brain power being applied to this was amazing. They had one objective – to clear the hospitals – and everything else was subordinate to that. Of course, they will never say this is what happened. But that is precisely what did happen.

    spiked: You’ve described our policy as an ‘anti-lockdown’. What do you mean by that?

    Kendrick: How many people aged 15 or under have died of Covid-19? Four. The chance of dying from a lightning strike is one in 700,000. The chance of dying of Covid-19 in that age group is one in 3.5million. And we locked them all down. Even among the 15- to 44-year-olds, the death rate is very low and the vast majority of deaths have been people who had significant underlying health conditions. We locked them down as well. We locked down the population that had virtually zero risk of getting any serious problems from the disease, and then spread it wildly among the highly vulnerable age group. If you had written a plan for making a complete bollocks of things you would have come up with this one.

    If you are someone who says, ‘this is bollocks’, you are dismissed as not caring about people, as wanting people to die. Dare question the orthodoxy and you face a full broadside. People want to be seen as caring. But the economy is pretty important. If you do not have an economy, you do not have a health service. If you do not have a health service, everyone dies.”


    I could be wrong, but I’m guessing that Dr Malcolm Kendrick was not one of those NHS staff who were making piss-taking TikTok videos whilst claiming to be stressed out and exhausted on the ‘front line’, people for whom the nation were busily and dutifully clapping like demented, brain-dead seals and making pretty-coloured rainbow posters for even as their neighbours died in their homes and carehome residents dropped like flies, deprived even of the dignity of being with their loved ones or of having their loved ones attend their funeral even.


  55. Geoff, “What remains is the question: is this information from RT, largely diffused in the Spanish media, getting through to our media? Or is it being filtered out…”

    A 10 second search shows its on Reuters and Yahoo, the Daily Telegraph, The Express, and various other outlets around the world. However, caution is rightly being exercised, because as RT itself says:

    ‘Initially, the team had found the virus in samples dated January 15, 2020 – some 41 days before the first confirmed case of Covid-19 in Spain. They decided to check earlier samples, taken between January 2018 and December 2019, and all proved negative “except for the one from March 12, 2019, in which the SARS-CoV-2 levels were very low but were clearly positive,” the team said in a statement, referring to the virus by its official name.’

    If the March 19 sample is valid, what are the chances that all other samples afterwards in date are then negative until Dec 19 / Jan 20? As the Express notes:

    “Experts have said the results of the test appear to be a one-off and cautioned against over-thinking the findings. They suggested contaminated samples could be behind the outcome of the study.”

    There seems to be much more excitement generally that several of these tests in different places (and so, likely valid), push the date back a few weeks from first observed cases. As far back as into Dec 19. But this is consistent with an outbreak that could already be started in Wuhan back as early as October, but which wasn’t acknowledged and indeed as it later gathered pace the knowledge was suppressed by China who locked up journalists and doctors and / or got them to sign confessions denying everything. I saw somewhere a couple of weeks back an estimated start from a backtracking of genetic threads, which as far as I recall came up with early November. But presumably there’s a fair slop on that figure, plus there’d have to be a fair few cases to get any genetic evolution going. Unfortunately I never saved a link.


  56. Interesting statistics from Florida where lockdown rules are being breached. During June Covid 19 cases/ day/ million population have leaped from around 50 to 250.

    And a similar trend for Texas.

    Must be due to more testing (Trump) rather than breakdown of “unnecessary” lockdowns.


  57. Isn’t it weird Alan, daily new cases have been rising in the US but daily new deaths have been steadily declining and the pattern is similar in states which locked down and those which didn’t. On the assumption that deaths are the result of severe cases, I’m guessing that hospitalisations are also declining too. So, infections going up, but severe cases and deaths coming down. Doesn’t make much sense.



  58. Telegraph story today reports significant increase of under 35 cases in southern States. Must pray that these cases do not lead to long-term damage to lungs, kidneys, liver and other organs, as are increasingly being reported in the UK, even for those exhibiting minor symptoms.

    Long term problems for health services?


  59. Surely, this is the grandest conspiracy theory of them all, that climate change, climate activism, Green politics, sustainability etc. (which in 2019 morphed into Greta worship and widespread XR law-breaking) and the Wokeness Revolution (critical race theory, gender theory, ‘whiteness’, social justice and all the other lefty bollocks cherished by academia and now running rife on the streets courtesy of BLM/Antifa) are but two sides of the same New World Order coin. The years of the Long March of the left through our institutions such that they are now almost universally dominated by radical left wing extremists and the long years of climate alarmist propaganda promoted by the UN, the media and scientists themselves were concurrent events leading to the same eventual goal – the imposition of the New World Order. Then, suddenly, in 2020, the year of Trump’s possible re-election in the face of huge and corrupt opposition from the Democrats, up pops Covid-19 and the world economy closes down and civil liberties and democracy are suspended simultaneously in large numbers of countries, but most especially in Western nations, where ‘whiteness’ (as rooted firmly in industrialisation, free-market capitalism, democracy and libertarianism) presents the greatest threat to the imposition of the globalist agenda. Then, right on cue, the rabid Marxist extreme Left and the Greens, the UN, the climate alarmists and the rich elite globalists all suddenly start saying what a wonderful opportunity it would be for a ‘Green reset’, to build back better, to dispense with the old capitalist, patriarchal, colonialist, racist Old World Order and bring in the New. Well here we are! The reset button has already been pressed – it’s called the Covid-19 Pandemic, or more specifically the response to the pandemic. It was just great that it came along just at the right time, when the radical Left and the globalists had steadily marched their troops to the top of the hill in 2019.

    Liked by 1 person

  60. JAIME JESSOP says:
    27 Jun 20 at 9:09 am
    Bill, the peak of deaths is quite easily explained by the government response to an illness which may have been circulating in the wider community for longer than we thought (a lot longer maybe), causing few illnesses and even fewer deaths which managed to slip beneath the radar (probably wrongly diagnosed as ‘flu or pneumonia).

    That’s not what happened. There was a big peak in hospital deaths, followed a week later by a smaller peak in nursing homes:-


  61. Jaime, “Surely, this is the grandest conspiracy theory of them all…”

    It’s only a conspiracy theory if you are proposing that all these things were deliberately planned and coordinated from long (would have to have been decades) ago. But it is not a conspiracy theory to say that emergent movements can form loose alliances, that public fears create opportunities, or that all cultural movements are capable of pivoting to gain maximum advantage from whatever disaster comes along. All these have essentially happened all the way throughout history. And disasters always come along; catastrophic climate-change culture has claimed and made hay out of the big wildfires in recent years, for instance, despite them having precious little to do with climate-change. Not to mention that we were probably over-due for a pandemic; these also happen endlessly, albeit modern medicine has cut or at least blunted the many more we’d otherwise have had in modern times. And no doubt the ‘green recovery’ message would have arisen via the same dynamics whether covid had struck in 2017 or 2023. It is not many months since you thought covid would wipe out CACC culture; obviously as you noted a while back here, you updated your opinions as the climate-change narratives pivoted around the new situation – which they did faster than I anticipated too (I think I said a year, when it was more like 8 or 10 weeks). But there’s no need to whizz to the other end of the scale. There’s no evidence – yet – that covid will prove to be anything like the great green reset that the narratives are claiming. Future history could even show this to be the high-tide mark for CC, when something that approximated to a real disaster, showed publics around the world what a weak and vastly inflated shadow CC really is. We won’t know for a while. Meanwhile, the whole point of these bombarding narratives is to convince people that the great green reset is already under way, and hence ‘why resist something that is inevitable’. We don’t have to believe this; it’s just another fairy-story.

    Liked by 2 people

  62. Here’s another juicy conspiracy theory re. the odd divergence of infections with deaths in the US.


  63. Andy,

    I’m not saying I actually believe that Covid-19 was intentionally unleashed upon the world and that governments subsequently locked down in almost universal perfect sync ostensibly on the basis of some very dodgy epidemiological modelling in order to trash the global economy so they could rebuild it in the image of Big Green, I’m just saying how very odd and coincidental the confluence of circumstances appears to be. But I’m not dismissing it as a possibilty either, however seemingly absurd and unlikely it is. If you’d asked me a few months ago whether the entire nation would be imprisoned and the country closed down for a virus deemed not to be a High Consequence Infectious Disease just before the government removed our freedoms and trashed the economy, I would have laughed at you. I would have laughed even louder had you suggested that there would ensue mass violent riots in the UK because a criminal was murdered by a cop in the US and that Northumbria Police would then ‘facilitate’ a Marxist anarchist BLM rally whilst banning all other gatherings in return (when ALL gatherings are supposed to be banned anyway because of the ‘dangerous’ non-HCID. We live in truly bizarre times.

    Liked by 2 people

  64. I liked JAIME’s “grandest conspiracy theory of them all,” (27 June 2020 4.58pm) and I liked it even more when ANDY (27 Jun 20, 6.34pm) pointed out that “it is not a conspiracy theory to say that emergent movements can form loose alliances, that public fears create opportunities, or that all cultural movements are capable of pivoting to gain maximum advantage from whatever disaster comes along.”

    Andy continues:

    There’s no evidence – yet – that covid will prove to be anything like the great green reset that the narratives are claiming. Future history could even show this to be the high-tide mark for CC, when something that approximated to a real disaster, showed publics around the world what a weak and vastly inflated shadow CC really is.

    This was the intuition behind my article https://cliscep.com/2020/04/10/have-we-won/. We don’t know yet whether covid will be the “blip” that changes everything. We know the economy is going to go down the drain, but we don’t know how and to what extent. We don’t even know whether it’s the economy, stupid, which determines social change (the view of the historical Marx, Bill Clinton, and Daily Telegraph leader writers) or deeper social and cultural patterns which we barely understand. Or maybe it’s people defacing statues and banning ideas which determines the direction of history, as universities and Guardian journalists seem to believe.

    We’ll get a bit more evidence tomorrow here in France when Macron gives his response to the Citizens’ Convention on Climate, which just delivered its 149 propositions to free us from carbon, including reducing maximum speeds on motorways – a sure election loser. Also, results of today’s local elections will reveal whether the Greens gain control of major city councils, as they expect, and as I sincerely hope. The idea that people are going to enjoy being forced to cycle or take public transport needs testing in a large experiment – the sooner the better.

    Liked by 3 people

  65. Oh, now this is getting really bizarre. The Director of the Wellcome Trust (who are sporting a very fetching multi-coloured all inclusive rainbow themed profile pic on Twitter and who have their finger in the pie of developing a vaccine), Sir Jeremy Farrar, says that people won’t be able to tell the difference between having a deadly, planet destroying Covid-19 infection or having the sniffles due to a cold or ‘flu during a Second Coming of Covid this winter. Eh? Say what? Looks like there will be no ‘flu deaths at all, this winter season and cold sufferers will be locked up inside their homes ‘just in case’.

    “Sir Jeremy said the country faces a ‘very precarious situation’ and examples are already emerging of people flouting social distancing rules.

    Crowds were pictured packed onto Bournemouth beach last week, the police have broken up raves and parties in London and Liverpool FC fans celebrating the team’s Premier League win have been partying in the streets against official advice.

    The Wellcome Trust chief said it will be even harder to control a second spike in the winter when people struggle to distinguish Covid-19 from a cold or flu.

    He told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show that people would have to think more carefully about going into work when they were sick because of the risk it could be coronavirus.”

    But . . . . it’s NOT the ‘flu! Who is this moron? He’s a top scientist apparently, an expert among experts. Like wots-is-name at the Royal Society.

    He’s in the ToryGraph too:

    “Britain is on a “knife edge” and likely to see an increase in coronavirus cases by July, a Government adviser has warned.

    Sir Jeremy Farrar, the director of the Wellcome Trust and a member of the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said he was concerned that there will soon be a surge of new infections caused by lockdown restrictions being eased towards the end of May.

    “I would predict, I would guess, that we will start to see a few increases in cases towards the end of June or the first week of July, and the continued lifting of restrictions and people deciding to take things into their own hands and go about life as normal,” he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show.

    “We’re on a knife edge – it’s very precarious, the situation, particularly in England at the moment, and I would anticipate we would see an increase in new cases over the coming weeks.”

    “From the middle of May, some retail outlets, like showrooms and garden centres were allowed to reopen. By the beginning of June, schools began to take pupils back and people were allowed to meet in larger groups ahead of the wide-scale opening of shops in mid June.

    Sir Jeremy said the lifting was too early because the number of new infections per day was very high.”

    Is he predicting or is he guessing? Is he a scaremongering jerk? I’m guessing yes, but I’m not the creme de la creme of experts like what Sir Jeremy is, so perhaps I’m wrong.

    No, new infections per day weren’t ‘very high’. In mid May, new infections in the general community were low, lower than the limit to declare an epidemic. He’s lying. Infections now are running at 0.04% of the populace according to the ONS – the epidemic level is 0.4%, breached briefly in March probably (though obviously, we can’t be sure, but that’s when the April 8th peak in hospital deaths suggest).

    Meanwhile, Psycho Handcock, who’s shot his load so often throughout this ‘crisis’ with each new authoritarian announcement and who now has RSI in his wrist as a result, is threatening to close Leicester down because of a ‘spike’ in infections. The Mayor is not a happy bunny, pointing to the fact that hospitalisations and deaths are right down, in common with the rest of the country. So, we can probably look forward to riots in Leicester I guess, if Handcock carries out his threat.



    Liked by 1 person

  66. Nic Lewis is Covid Batman – he always comes to the rescue to dispel myths spread by the Joker about The Virus and the efficacy of lockdowns. He’s just published an excellent analysis of Swedn’s statistics over at Climate Etc.

    “Recorded new cases continued rising until mid-April, and after gently declining from then until late May have doubled since then. All or most of that increase appears to have been be due to a decision on 5 June to expand testing. By the end of June testing was at about double the rate in May, which in turn averaged approximately 25% higher than in April.

    Allowing for the increase in testing over time, the incidence of COVID-19 appears to have declined by about 30% from mid-April until the late May and has since remained broadly stable.

    Deaths peaked in mid-April and have fallen by two-thirds since then.

    It follows that the infection fatality rate has fallen substantially since early in the epidemic.

    Deaths have been remarkably high in relation to confirmed cases. To a substantial extent this reflects Swedish policy of focussing testing in hospital, where the disease is severe, prior to June. It also reflects the spread of infections to care homes, where death rates are very high, relatively early in the epidemic.”

    OMG, you mean? No, it can’t mean, surely? Trump might have been right when he said the increase in cases reflects the increase in testing? Noooo!


    Liked by 2 people

  67. He did it. He actually did it. Handcock locked down Leicester because, I quote, “admissions to hospital are between 6 and 10 per day rather than around 1 a day at other trusts”. What he doesn’t say of course is whether this paltry 6-10 admissions to hospitals per day represents an INCREASE or DECREASE on previou weeks. What is the TREND in hospital admissions? I’m going to stick my neck out here and say that the trend in admissions is probably down and has been since the peak in April. So why the local lockdown, merely on the basis of a recorded rise in infections? The man is a maniac, he’s totally out of control and Boris is not reining him in. Enforcing this lockdown in a deprived and ethnically mixed city like Leicester is going to be nigh on impossible. Huge resentment is going to build. Maybe that’s what the government wants. More chaos.


    Liked by 1 person

  68. Leicester population in the 2011 census: 329,839. England: 53.01 million. So that’s 0.6% in lockdown for a further two weeks after it’s been signficantly lifted for the rest of us. (Probably a little more than 0.6% given the surrounding areas mentioned by Hancock but not much more.)

    I think the principle is fine, given the likelihood of local outbreaks being the problem from here on in. I agree though that the hospital admission stats for the area should have been given as a time series as part of the announcement.


  69. @ Jaime 28th June re: Sweden. I’m really not sure about Nic Lewis’s analysis on this, ‘cos an elementary inclusion ought to have been a comparison between Sweden and Norway. To say with certainty that lockdown does not work would require a side-by-side between similar countries that enacted different anti-covid policies.

    Liked by 2 people

  70. Alison Pearson:

    “A lot of people will be irritated, a lot of people will be puzzled and others quite angry, particularly businesses that were opening,” says Mayor Soulsby. Can you blame them? The prevalence of the virus in their city is 0.135 per cent, only slightly higher than the national figure of 0.09 per cent. That’s not an epidemic. Sensible hygiene measures, and determined shielding of care homes and the vulnerable, should be enough to keep it at bay.

    On Saturday, many of the restrictions we have endured as a nation for three months are to be lifted. It should be a joyous day of release for the British people, but one city is excluded from the celebrations. Leicester is being treated as a social experiment, a cautionary tale for the rest of the country, not a city of individuals whose happiness and livelihoods depend on getting their freedom back. It’s hard to suppress suspicions that this is for reasons of social control, not health.


    It only confirms my opinion that Handcock is a power-mad genuine psychotic – and I’m not sure any more that Boris is simply a moron.

    Liked by 2 people

  71. JAIME
    Allison Pearson, in the article you link to, seems to be saying that Leicester is being made an example of (in the few lines the Telegraph lets me see before they cover it up.) This seems to me insane from Johnson’s point of view, since the urban working class in places like Leicester are precisely the people he has been appealing to via Brexit and the various promises of investment in infrastructure etc.

    Which encourages me to take up my self-sealing wax and revert to my conspiracy theory, according to which Johnson and Trump are major intended victims of the plot, and not at all instigators. For all their faults, neither are morons. Seeing Johnson turn off his newly acquired working class constituency because of six cases of the virus in Leicester suggests a sophisticated game of manipulation.

    My reticence about proposing a conspiracy theory involving some extra-Chinese agent was because I thought they couldn’t. Andy West’s well-argued dismissals of my theory come down to arguing that “they” wouldn’t.

    Leaving aside who “they” are, I’d argue that they were, and are, happy to cause hundreds of thousands of deaths in the Middle East – in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Libya at the risk of a confrontation between nuclear armed states – so a few more hundreds of thousands are no big deal if the stakes are high enough. So yes, they would.

    Russia, a very medium economic power with a very significant atomic arsenal, has been accused of no more than poisoning a few hundred people in Syria, Czecki, and Salisbury. China, a hugely successful economic power with a modest military strength (so far) is being accused of allowing the spread of a pandemic through incompetence and weird culinary practices (plus being nasty to Uighurs and Hong Kongite “pro-democracy” demonstrators who trash their parliament while brandishing flags of their ex-colonial oppressors. Try trashing Congress while waving a British or Confederate flag and see if you get called “pro-democracy.”)

    My approach to understanding our world involves summoning up memories my ill-spent youth conducting focus groups and imagining the research behind the action. I can watch an ad for some ludicrously expensive hybrid motor vehicle containing a mixed race couple and their politically correctly khaki kids careering round some improbably deserted mountain road and reconstruct the research input into this feat of technological social engineering (not the car, the ad.) Likewise, when I read the efforts of the BBC, Guardian, or New York Times to make me hate Russia, China, no, Russia, whatever, I read the entrails of a focus group.

    Russia? Rasputin, Trotsky, poisonings and assassinations using improbable weapons in unlikely locations. Mexico City, Salisbury – icepicks, door handles. It all fits.

    China? Disease and funny food. And they hide the truth and lock up people who disagree with authority. And now their pigs have caught a flu that can be transmitted to humans. Don’t go there.

    Don’t “like” this comment. Someone may be reading it. And if I stop commenting for a long period, I advise you to stop following this blog. Someone may have been at our door handle.


  72. “Andy West’s well-argued dismissals of my theory come down to arguing that “they” wouldn’t.”

    Not at all. You can add that there is no “they” who could possibly predict the outcomes (at which the entire of the world’s scientists appear to be shit, for instance), so therefore also predict who on Earth it’d be advantageous for or against (relatively speaking, because the single thing one might just guess is that the entire world would be much worse off). Which is a prime requirement for a ‘plot’. And also that you have no evidence whatsoever, because the fact of other conspiracy theories in the world, whether those proved right, or those you might like to be proved right, or those that future history has or will show to be just nuts, does not in any way, shape, or form stand as evidence for your conspiracy theory of trashing the world so that Boris can manipulate Leicester.


    I took you as arguing that “they” wouldn’t because no-one could predict the final results. Is that right? My reply would be that it is entirely possible that “they” are stupid enough to believe that they could predict the results. They were stupid enough to believe that they could reshape the Middle East with an invasion of Iraq, and that we would swallow Douma and Salisbury. Unless (and this is possible) that nonsense was devised not only to convince the thickness who read the Guardian and the New York Times that Russia is nasty, but also to get blogs to counter their insanities so they can flush out the dangerous dissidents who can see through their nonsense.

    So I agree with you that “there is no ‘they’ who could possibly predict the outcomes,” but not at all that this “is a prime requirement for a ‘plot.” All sorts of people plot all the time. Someone once turned up at this blog suggesting the existence of plots by Prince Philip and Prince Bernhardt of the Netherlands. I have no problem with that. I’m sure they exchange conspiratorial emails delivered by royal mailmen in powdered wigs three times a day.

    Someone just told me and you that Russia is paying Afghans to kill Americans. No evidence. No source. Americans aren’t being killed. The story has morphed in a few hours (see BBC) into “Trump ignored warnings that…”

    To a reasonable human being, this is primary evidence that the “unnamed sources” for the story in the NYT and the Washington Post – unsupported by any evidence – were out to get Trump, as they were over the Russian hack of the DNC, Russiagate, Ukraine, Flynn etc. Why wouldn’t people who are willing to pervert two presidential elections in a row be willing to accept a few thousand deaths of their fellow citizens as collateral damage? Where’s the problem?


  74. Geoff. The problem is that if you are prepared to believe your theory (or is it prepared to refute your theory?), you are capable of believing any theory (or refuting any theory) regardless of how insane (utterly believable) it is. You would need to find a cave and mumble a lot.


  75. Geoff, Just read your beautiful criticism of Ken over on the New Book by Michael Shellenberger thread. So go find your cave and shout out loud, coherently.

    Liked by 1 person

  76. Geoff, I thought you meant by “wouldn’t”, that they’d choose not to for moralistic reasons, whereas I’d characterise ‘no idea what would happen’ as “couldn’t”. However…

    “My reply would be that it is entirely possible that “they” are stupid enough to believe that they could predict the results.”

    But the problem with this is that the results we observe are going to be nothing like what the plotters in their stupidity expected. So you are postulating plots based upon something that they *didn’t* want to happen, because there is zero chance of any plan based on this kind of event actually conforming to any expectation. While you could change tack and base your speculation on what *might* have happened instead, the next problem is that this leaves a virtually infinite range of possibilities. Meanwhile, you still don’t have a shred of evidence about anything, because all your speculation so far is only about motive, and also can’t be on target because we have no idea what any postulated intent was supposed to have achieved. If you could find some equivalent of the ‘sexed up dossier’, an actual government or other major player document, then you’d have at least 1 nugget of actual evidence. In practice you don’t know what, why, how, or indeed if, so you are just playing with conspiracy porn here (which I think you know, hence thread title).

    Your example, while just due to the far narrower scope is vastly more well-bounded than your above on trashing the world to manipulate Leicester, nevertheless does not constitute ‘evidence’ either. It may be the best reason in the world to *get* some evidence, and indeed plumb the supposed ‘officials’ behind the stories, if they even exist, and whatever else a thorough investigation may turn up. But claims and counter-claims are not evidence of anything, unless proven, which they are not. Typically, these things if they are anything at all tend to have many twists and turns once the threads are pulled; it may be smoke for a completely different fire, it may be exactly what you speculate that it is. I’m sure many are with you on that one. But maybe even an official will pop up and stand by the story (and for instance we’d expect the Russians to absolutely deny everything both if the story was true, plus if it wasn’t true); nevertheless, absent investigation it remains only speculation, not evidence.


  77. Jaime (way back on 30th): I was only going on it being 0.6%. 99.4% of the loaf is better than none, hopefully for a mere two weeks. I doubt they’ll be many more, unless winter has some nasty surprises. My predictometer remains switched off on all that.


  78. Richard, after the 3 week lock down to ‘flatten the curve and save the NHS’ became 100 days and still counting, I’m sceptical that Leicester will be simply released after two weeks. I’m half suspecting that the government wants to keep this nonsense running all over summer so they can announce a nationwide lockdown again in autumn/winter when flu cases start rising rapidly again – to ‘protect the NHS’ of course. That’s the cynic in me. Hopefully, as deaths decline to zero and isolated pockets of infections peter out, the government will not be able to justify any re-impositions of lockdowns, either locally or nationally – unless they seriously manipulate the figures.


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