Remember back in the old days of, say, 2019, when anyone who talked about microchip implants, Americans being forced to show travel papers, and re-education camps was thought to be a crazy conspiracy theorist? And then 2020 rolled around and voila! It turns out those conspiracy theories weren’t so “crazy” after all.
And I’m not just talking about the government releasing info about UFOs.
We’re living in a time when someone will attempt to beat the crap out of you, burn your house down, or even kill you if you voted for the “wrong” presidential candidate. We’re being subjected to curfews, our movement is restricted, and our businesses have been forcibly shut down. One day, people will look back on this as the year that everything changed – or depending on how Americans respond to the mandates – the year we finally said enough.
Here are seven things that were considered crazy conspiracy theories…until now, when they’re becoming far too real.
#1) Universal Basic Income
Did you ever really think we’d live in a country where the government would tell private business owners when and how they could operate? Where workers would be told, “You can no longer go to work for your own good?”
Well, welcome to 2020.
22 million jobs were lost and only 42% of those were recovered by last August, when the country began to reopen. Millions of the lost jobs were permanent losses, as businesses across the country fold under the weight of the restrictions that either don’t allow them to operate or the money problems of their former customers.
“It’s clear that the pandemic is doing some fundamental damage to the job market,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody’s Analytics. “A lot of the jobs lost aren’t coming back any time soon. The idea that the economy is going to snap back to where it was before the pandemic is clearly not going to happen.”
…More than 10 million Americans are currently categorized as temporarily out of work. But historically, nearly 30% of people who tell the Labor Department that they are temporarily unemployed never get their job back, said Heidi Shierholz, senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal think tank.
“Even though we don’t know if the historical record will hold in this case, it’s an extremely valid concern that not all of those people are going to get called back,” she said.
People who are counting on businesses reopening their doors may be surprised to find that a temporary loss has become permanent one, said Zandi. (source)
Of the businesses that have closed, many will never reopen. Most harshly affected were small businesses.
About 60% of businesses that have closed during the coronavirus pandemic will never reopen, and restaurants have suffered the most, according to new data from Yelp. (source)
So we have not only people who became unemployed, but we also have business owners who’ve lost everything. As we go into the second round of lockdowns across the United States, it’s not a stretch of the imagination to think that some of the small businesses that have thus far managed to stay afloat will succumb to the economic effects of these mandates…taking with them even more jobs and plunging even more people into poverty.
Poverty is a vicious cycle and one seemingly small thing can suck those who are struggling into a vortex of fees and penalties from which emerging seems impossible. I’ve written about my own experiences with poverty here. The concern is that even fewer people will recover financially after this round of government mandates, leaving even more Americans broke, hungry, and homeless.
But don’t worry – the government is here to help and I mean that in the President Reagan threatening kind of way. They provided a “stimulus” check to everyone in America, gave such huge unemployment money to people that they made more staying home than they did going to work, and went so much deeper into debt that the number is simply unfathomable.
In effect, they paid people not to work. And it isn’t the fault of those people in most cases – the government forced their places of employment to close unless it was considered “essential.”
And that sounds a whole lot like Universal Basic Income. Or as I like to call it, modern feudalism.
Quite a few people are ready to give up their freedom so that someone else can take care of them.
They don’t think they’re giving up freedom. They’re convinced that they are embracing a smart, fair system that eliminates poverty. The greed, entitlement, and lack of ambition that seems inherent in many people today will have them slipping on the yoke of servitude willingly.
They feel like they deserve a living just for drawing breath. As Gawker’s headline reads, “A Universal Basic Income Is the Utopia We Deserve.”
The idea of a universal basic income for all citizens has been catching on all over the world. Is it too crazy to believe in? We spoke to the author of a new book on the ins, outs, and utopian dreams of making basic income a reality.
The basic income movement got a significant boost this week when the charity GiveDirectly announced that it will be pursuing a ten-year, $30 million pilot project giving a select group of Kenyan villagers a basic income and studying its effects. As an anti-poverty solution, universal basic income appeals to impoverished people in Africa, relatively well-off Scandinavians, and Americans automated out of their jobs alike. (source)
Sure, money for nothing sounds great on the surface.
But what would the real result of a Universal Basic Income be?
Feudalism. Serfdom. Enslavement.
UBI would fast-track us back to the feudalism of the Middle Ages. Sure, we’d be living in slick, modern micro-efficiencies instead of shacks. We’d have some kind of modern job instead of raising sheep for the lord of the manor.
But, in the end, we wouldn’t actually own anything because private property would be abolished for all but the ruling class. We’d no longer have the ability to get ahead in life. Our courses would be set for us and veering off of those courses would be harshly discouraged.
People will be completely dependent on the government and ruling class for every necessity: food, shelter, water, clothing. What better way to assert control than to make compliance necessary for survival? (source)
With this second round of lockdowns how many more jobs will go permanently down the tubes? What are all those people going to do for food? For rent? The government is going to give them money. And we can’t even argue, really, because everyone knows someone who has lost a job they had for decades and who can’t find other work.
They might call it something else, but Universal Basic Income is coming. And it’s coming soon.
#2) Travel Papers
Don’t be ridiculous. We’ll never have to show our “papers” to travel freely in the United States.
Not until a COVID pandemic with all its subsidiary restrictions occurred. Back in March, days after I warned about the first lockdown, I wrote:
For everyone who thought the article about the Lockdown of America was a “hysterical overstatement” and that they could still do whatever they wanted because it wasn’t really being enforced, what are you thinking now that “travel papers” are being handed out? To me, this sounds like the lockdowns I wrote of yesterday were just the first incremental step toward a society that nobody hopes to see.
Yesterday, readers sent me photos of “travel papers” provided to them by employers so they could get to and from work. These are employees who work in industries like healthcare, pharmacies, and foodservice, as well as those who work in the production, transport, and sales of essential supplies.
One reader wrote, “We were told to show these if we got stopped on the way to or from work and that if the authorities gave us any trouble, to not argue and just go back home.”
Papers that people sent were from Pennsylvania, New York, Arizona, Michigan, North Carolina, Kansas, New Jersey, West Virginia, Virginia, Oregon, Florida, Louisiana, and Ohio. Industries mentioned in the papers were trucking, grocery stores, medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, city transit workers, railroads, food production plants, pharmacies, gas stations, stores like Target and Walmart, and automotive repair facilities.
Most people were given their papers on Friday or Saturday and told they’d need them to get to and from work starting the week ahead. (source)
You can see some of the papers that people sent me here.
#3) Mandatory GPS tracking of humans
“Don’t be silly. Nobody is actually tracking you with your phone. You’re not Jason Bourne.”
Whoops. 2020 proved that was a lie when they rolled out contact tracing apps to make sure you didn’t breathe the same air as somebody who got a positive COVID test.
Not only do sick or potentially sick people need to worry about being phoned or questioned by contact tracers, but there’s also a whole new world of dystopian technology being rapidly developed.
Apple and Google formed a partnership to develop a phone app with the potential to monitor one-third of the world’s population. The Australian government has developed an app called COVIDSafe to “protect you, your family and friends and save the lives of other Australians. The more Australians connect to the COVIDSafe app, the quicker we can find the virus.”
In fact, all sorts of potentially invasive new technology tools are springing up to “fight COVID.” Some use AI to detect signs of COVID and the Department of Defense is deploying thermal imaging to detect signs of COVID.
These things won’t just go away when the pandemic is over. If they’re in use for a year or two years – however long this virus is with us – chances are, they’re here to stay. (source)
So…if you have a smartphone, rest assured, at some point you’re probably going to have an app like this forcibly installed during one of those relentless updates. Of course, they’ll say that the app is just the framework and you have to enable it for it to work. Oh, wait, they already said that. After installing “the framework.”
#4) Cashless societies
Somehow, the United States ran out of change.
There were no coins to be had…anywhere…for a while. Bloomberg reported in August:
As if a deep recession and a never-ending pandemic wasn’t enough, the U.S. now faces another crisis: a coin shortage. Thanks to the lockdowns, fewer coins are in circulation, leaving businesses unable to make change when customers hand over paper money. (source)
This had a lot of people concerned, especially since Venezuela used COVID to push citizens toward a cashless society. Here in the United States, the “change shortage” was so extensive is caused many stores to give you your change on a store loyalty card or invite you to donate that change to some cause. A true cashless society would allow significant control over our day to day lives. See this article for some of the totalitarian ways it would affect us.
Darpa got involved early on, touting it as a way to “save” us all from COVID. Robert Wheeler wrote:
But governments aren’t having to market the chip as a method to track, trace, and control their populations. Instead, they are marketing the chip as a way to track and detect COVID and other coronaviruses. Clearly, this is a much easier sell to a public literally terrorized by their governments and mainstream media outlets for the last six months.
Raul Diego details the creation and coming rollout of the new biochip in his article, “A DARPA-Funded Implantable Microchip to Detect COVID-19 Could Hit Markets By 2021,” where he writes,
The most significant scientific discovery since gravity has been hiding in plain sight for nearly a decade and its destructive potential to humanity is so enormous that the biggest war machine on the planet immediately deployed its vast resources to possess and control it, financing its research and development through agencies like the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and HHS’ BARDA.
The revolutionary breakthrough came to a Canadian scientist named Derek Rossi in 2010 purely by accident. The now-retired Harvard professor claimed in an interview with the National Post that he found a way to “reprogram” the molecules that carry the genetic instructions for cell development in the human body, not to mention all biological lifeforms.
These molecules are called ‘messenger ribonucleic acid’ or mRNA and the newfound ability to rewrite those instructions to produce any kind of cell within a biological organism has radically changed the course of Western medicine and science, even if no one has really noticed yet. As Rossi, himself, puts it: “The real important discovery here was you could now use mRNA, and if you got it into the cells, then you could get the mRNA to express any protein in the cells, and this was the big thing.” (Source)
The microchip talk died down but the fact it as even a discussion and topic of COVID research should be troubling. Anyway, after the initial microchip hubbub, the push got redirected toward our next conspiracy theory.
#6) Mandatory vaccines
Remember back when nobody thought that adults would ever be forced to take vaccines except for “crazy conspiracy theorists?” Well, that day is coming sooner than many people expect.
A much-heralded COVID vaccine could be rolled out in a matter of days. Pfizer and BioNTech have both concluded Phase 3 of rushing their jabs to market. There are still many, many questions.
The return to many of our old familiar ways will take time, and how much time remains unclear. The answers await more research into the vaccines, how they can be distributed and how many people are willing to get them.
“A vaccine won’t be available immediately for everybody,” says Arthur Reingold, a professor of epidemiology at the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley…
…“It probably will take four to six months,” he says. “What that says to me is that people will have to keep wearing masks at least until spring. We won’t be in a magically different situation by February or March. I don’t see how that can possibly happen.”
Equally important are the unknowns about the vaccines themselves. Scientists still don’t know how long vaccine-induced protection will last, for example, or whether inoculations can block actual infection, or only prevent the onset of disease. If the latter turns out to be the case, meaning the vaccines keep us from getting sick, but not infected, we still could be infectious to others. Until we know, don’t toss those masks into the trash…
…Andrew Badley, an immunovirologist who chairs Mayo Clinic’s covid-19 task force, says the return of any normal activities depends on numerous factors, including how many people get vaccinated.
“The only possibility that life will return to normal by summer is if the majority of the population receives the vaccines by then and the early efficacy data is borne out in ongoing studies,” he says. He adds, however: “I think it is unlikely we will be able to vaccinate the majority of the population by then.” (source)
And how will they make sure that “the majority” of the population gets the vaccines? It’ll start out easy – there are tons of people who will gladly roll up their sleeves to get a vaccination that was rushed to market with no testing on the long-term effects. And then, the rest of us will be coerced by being unable to go to work, to a concert, to school, or into a public building without proof we’ve been vaccinated.
YOU WALK TOWARD the arena, ready for a big game, tickets in hand. But what you see is a long line wrapping around the corner of the building and a bottleneck at the entrance as people search their pockets and purses for a small piece of paper. To be cleared to enter, you’ll also need that document—proof that you’ve received a COVID-19 vaccination.
This is the future as some experts see it: a world in which you’ll need to show you’ve been inoculated against the novel coronavirus to attend a sports game, get a manicure, go to work, or hop on a train.
“We’re not going to get to the point where the vaccine police break down your door to vaccinate you,” says Arthur Caplan, a bioethicist at New York University’s School of Medicine. But he and several other health policy experts envision vaccine mandates could be instituted and enforced by local governments or employers—similar to the current vaccine requirements for school-age children, military personnel, and hospital workers…
…The mandates can be directed toward customers, as well. Just as business owners can bar shoeless and shirtless clients from entering their restaurants, salons, arenas, and stores, they can legally keep people out for any number of reasons, “as long as they’re not running afoul of any antidiscrimination laws,” says Dorit Rubinstein Reiss, a professor of health and vaccine law at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.
When a COVID-19 vaccine becomes available, some experts think states will require targeted industries to enforce vaccine mandates for their employees, especially those we’ve come to know as “essential workers.”
“Grocery store workers get exposed to a lot of people, but also have the chance to infect a lot of people because of the nature of their work and the fact that virtually everybody needs to buy food,” says Carmel Shachar, executive director of the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School. Hospitality industry workers—those who work in restaurants, bars, and coffee shops, for example—could also see similar mandates.
“It’s in an employer’s interest to make sure that their workplace is protected and that you can’t infect your colleagues,” Shachar says. “Having a widely accessible vaccine gets a lot of employers out of having to control their clients’ behavior.” And with a vaccinated workforce, “you don’t need to worry if the people you’re serving at the restaurant have COVID-19.”
Even the general public could be incentivized to get vaccinated. “Oddly enough, the best way to impose a mandate is to reward people with more freedom if they follow that mandate,” Caplan says. For example, with proof of inoculation, you would be able to attend a sporting event “as a reward for doing the right thing,” he says. “And I can imagine people saying, If you want to go to my restaurant, my bowling alley, or my tattoo parlor, then I want to see a vaccine certificate, too.”
Booster shots could also be required, depending on the efficacy of future vaccines. (source)
Doesn’t it just make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside how all these experts are planning to force an unwilling populace to accept an untested vaccine? It’s all for our own good, you know.
#7) Re-education camps
Remember how we all used to joke about being put into FEMA camps? Well…..
Finally, for those of us who believed these conspiracy theories were conspiracy facts all along – oh – and for Trump voters – there’s the discussion about how to re-educate us so we can rejoin society.
In a Twitter thread run amok, we saw the dark side of some “well-educated” Democrats who were sincerely trying to figure out how to redeem those of us who did not vote for Joe Biden.
No seriously...how *do* you deprogram 75 million people? Where do you start? Fox? Facebook?— David Atkins (@DavidOAtkins) November 18, 2020
We have to start thinking in terms of post-WWII Germany or Japan. Or the failures of Reconstruction in the South.
I know conservatives are upset by some of the responses here. And yeah, many are out of line.— David Atkins (@DavidOAtkins) November 19, 2020
But what do you expect people to do in self-preservation? The Right has been running 4 years on "fuck your feelings, my conspiracy theories are valid opinions, and we have more guns."
Thank you for starting this conversation. Ignoring the propaganda and disinformation problem would be a grave mistake. We should already have a plan to combat it. Simply replacing the President does nothing. We need actual deprogramming efforts, & we should consult cult experts.— Laura Miers (@LauraMiers) November 18, 2020
Of course, he doesn’t really mean re-education camps. Of course not.
And no, of course I'm not advocating "re-education camps" or anything like that. The point is that conservative infotainment is disinformation propaganda indistuinguishable from cult programming, and social media algorithms enable it.— David Atkins (@DavidOAtkins) November 19, 2020
And Laura found she bit off a bit more than she intended to chew. So of course she blamed non-Americans. (Probably those darned Russians, right?)
If anyone is interested in how these attacks work, see the below tweets. Suggesting public health measures or combatting propaganda brings trolls by the hundreds. It’s not organic, it’s organized. Information warfare. It has a chilling effect on speech, which is the point. https://t.co/1rEwPsz8zB— Laura Miers (@LauraMiers) November 19, 2020
I’m not really sure how we go about combatting propaganda, disinformation, & hate when those who speak out on social media are targeted with tsunamis of hate, death & rape threats. I’ve never encountered it at this magnitude. It started after the election.— Laura Miers (@LauraMiers) November 19, 2020
Welcome to my inbox for the past 8 years, Laura. Every time I have posted a pro-gun, pro-self-defense article, I’ve been barraged with “creative” rape threats with a vast variety of implements and violent threats by the “peaceful” left. People have wished my children dead in a school shooting. So cry me a river, Laura, if your “thoughtful discussion” of putting me and people like me into anti-cult deprogramming in a gulag put you in an unpleasant position.
Trust me, you get used to it. Heck, you might even begin to understand why I’m a gun owner.
Is it just me or has 2020 been like reading every “crazy conspiracy” rabbit hole on the internet while dropping acid? Except you can’t come down from the trip because it’s all actually happening.
Is Biotech ripe for investment yet?
It’s a great time to be looking for opportunities in biotech as the sector is near the bottom, says MPM Capital’s Dr Christiana Bardon. Biotech has…
It’s a great time to be looking for opportunities in biotech as the sector is near the bottom, says MPM Capital’s Dr Christiana Bardon.
Biotech has been in correction over the past eight months
What many see as a sharp decline in biotech, Dr Bardon dubs an overdue correction after a prolonged period of “too much enthusiasm” due to the COVID pandemic. Speaking with CNBC’s Leslie Picker, she said:
The long-term prospects for this industry look as great as ever. The demographics of the aging population means we’ll need new drugs, the support of regulatory environment, and finally the third fundamental is innovation at record high levels.
The iShares Biotech ETF is down 25% from its high in August 2021, but Dr Bardon is focused on the long term. She sees an upward trend in biotech over the next thirty years.
Dr Bardon is particularly interested in Oncology within Biotech
According to the Harvard-trained medical doctor, investors should focus on areas within Biotech that are committed to addressing unmet medical needs, such as Oncology. She added:
Oncology continues to be an exciting area of Biotech. Within Oncology, we’re seeing incredible innovation primarily because of the genomics revolution. And then the regulatory environment is very supportive of cancer drug development.
Dr Bardon sees the U.S. as a global leader in biotech and reiterates that it was this industry that helped the world pull out of the Coronavirus crisis.etf pandemic coronavirus
ironSource CEO: gaming is more than just a COVID play
The VanEck Video Gaming and eSports ETF (ESPO) is up nearly 100% since the start of the pandemic, and ironSource Ltd (NYSE: IS) CEO Tomer Bar Zeev doesn’t see an end to this trend in the near future. Highlights from Zeev’s interview on CNBC’s ‘TechCheck’.
The VanEck Video Gaming and eSports ETF (ESPO) is up nearly 100% since the start of the pandemic, and ironSource Ltd (NYSE: IS) CEO Tomer Bar Zeev doesn’t see an end to this trend in the near future.
Highlights from Zeev’s interview on CNBC’s ‘TechCheck’
Zeev agrees that video gaming and eSports was a beneficiary of the global pandemic but says the segment is now much more than just a COVID play. On CNBC’s “TechCheck”, he said:
When COVID started, we saw an uptick of roughly 10% in the time that users spent within games. As the world reopened, it pretty much stayed the same. So, we think it’s the new norm. We don’t think we’ll see any change in that regard.
According to Statista, much of the increase in hours spent on video games was attributed to the new gamers in 2020 who turned to the industry in search of indoor means of entertainment amidst COVID restrictions.
Gaming is bigger than film and music combined
According to Zeev, gaming is the fastest-growing segment within the app economy, and it will continue to lead the industry on growth in gaming library as well as relevant platform software.
The gaming ecosystem within the app economy is growing super-fast. Gaming is the biggest part of the app economy, it’s bigger than the film industry and the music industry combined. So, it makes perfect sense that it will grow all around. It will continue to lead the app economy.
Earlier this week, Take-Two Interactive said it will buy Zynga Inc for $12.70 billion in cash and stock to expand its footprint in mobile gaming. Zeev expects such consolidation to continue as companies move to benefit from the fast-growing gaming economy.
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Omicron is not a threat for the retail sector in the short-term
Investors are responding rather strongly to reports of a new COVID variant of concern the WHO designated “Omicron” on Friday. But the former Walmart CEO Bill Simon is confident it doesn’t pose much of a threat for the retail sector in the short…
Investors are responding rather strongly to reports of a new COVID variant of concern the WHO designated “Omicron” on Friday. But the former Walmart CEO Bill Simon is confident it doesn’t pose much of a threat for the retail sector in the short term.
Simon’s remarks on CNBC’s ‘Closing Bell’
Bill expects consumer strength and holiday season to help the retail sector absorb this news with minimal reaction. On CNBC’s “Closing Bell”, he said:
People were out shopping today, looking for deals. Stores were crowded, prices were very good and aggressive, particularly in the big-box chains. So, in the short run, with the Black Friday weekend and everything else going on, I don’t think you’ll see much of a reaction.
He refrained from commenting on the long-term impact of the new variant on the retail sector and said it would depend on how the situation unravels. The SPDR S&P Retail ETF is down more than 3.0% on Friday.
Retail has been divided into winners and losers
During the same interview, BMO Capital Markets’ Simeon Siegel said the retail sector was no longer moving in unison; the pandemic had split it into winners and losers.
The question is, who has the pricing power versus who saw fewer promotions. All of them will deal with externalities, whether it’s the variant or the supply chain. But what brands actually structurally improved their business through the pandemic; that’s the dynamic.
According to Siegel, the recent earnings season already made this division evident. On the one hand, we had companies like Capri Holdings that jumped about 20% after reporting results for the latest quarter, and on the other, there was Nordstrom that was down the same after its quarterly report.
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