Conscious Choice cover

From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.


“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.


Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

One dead, four ill, in drug study in France

A drug study in France has caused the death of one person and the possible permanent brain injury to four others.

A government investigation states that the company running the test committed some major errors when the first person experienced ill effects and was hospitalized. The company, Biotrial, did not pay close attention to that person’s condition before proceeding with tests and giving additional dosages of the test drug to subjects. It also did not, as required by its own disclosure statement to the test subjects, inform them that one patient had been hospitalized so they would have all the information necessary to decide whether to continue.

The investigations third complaint, that Biotrial did not inform the government of these issues, is mostly a complaint by government officials that there weren’t treated with the due respect they deserve, and is less important in my mind.

Read the article, as it is disturbing that a research company could be so cavalier about the lives of the human beings it is using as test subjects.

This story also illustrates indirectly the significant decline in the state of today’s modern mainstream press as well as the greater interests of the general public. This is a major science story. For a clinical drug study to kill one of its test subjects is a big deal. Yet I am certain that this will get no coverage in any cable news outlet. (If anyone see a video story about this, please let me know.) The written news outlets on the web will likely do a story, but it will not give it wide exposure.

Worse however is the reason why these outlets will likely not care much about this story. As I like to say, it is the audience that counts. News organizations cover stories that they think their readers or viewers are interested in, and they, like their audiences, are simply not interested in very much these days. Our society is becoming increasingly close-minded and childish, interested only in shallow reports about subjects that are not very important (such the poll numbers in New Hampshire or whether Marco Rubio wears silly boots).

Any interest in a story about how a drug study killed a person and might have caused permanent brain damage to four others? Nah, that’s no fun! Let’s focus instead on how Donald Trump told Jeb Bush to shut up during last nights debate!


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  • Cotour

    Speaking of Donald Trump, this is one persons version of what would happen on his first day in office. Just as valid as the other prognostication that was posted here in an earlier story, even if only one tenth of it turned out was true.


    1….President Donald Trump and Vice President Marco Rubio are sworn into

    2…..In a rare event on inauguration day, Congress convenes for an emergency
    meeting to REPEAL the “illegal & unconstitutional” —Socialist healthcare
    FARCE, known as Obamacare.

    3….The new Director of Health and Social Services Dr. Ben Carson
    Announces that an independent group of healthcare management
    professionals is hired to handle healthcare services for poor and low income …
    They are also assigned the duty of ELIMINATING Medicare and Medicaid
    FRAUD. Government’s costs for healthcare are reduced by 90%.
    Insurance premiums for “working” Americans are reduced by 50%.
    Healthcare service in the U.S improves 100%.

    4……Newly appointed Department of Homeland Security Chief Ted Cruz
    announces the immediate deployment of troops to the U.S. Mexico border to control
    illegal immigration and the immediate deportation of illegals with criminal
    records or links to terrorist groups……. New bio-encrypted Social Security IDs
    are required by every American citizen. “Birthright-is-Abolished”.

    All immigration from countries that represent a threat to the safety of American
    citizens is ‘terminated-indefinitely’. The move saves American taxpayers
    billions of dollars. AND….Several prisons are closed.

    5…..Newly appointed Secretary of Business and Economic Development
    Carly Fiorina eliminates more than 1/2 of the Government agencies operating under
    the Obama administration saving taxpayers billions of dollars. Stocks rise

    6…..Newly appointed Director of Government Finance Rand Paul announces the
    abolition of the IRS and displays a copy of the new Federal Tax Return form.
    It consists of ONE page. The instructions consist of TWO pages. The Federal
    Reserve is audited. The move saves American Taxpayers billions of dollars
    and increases tax revenue.

    7…. Hillary Clinton is in prison….. Her cell is directly across from
    Jesse Jackson AND Al Sharpton who are serving time for
    “Hate Crimes”. She bitches at them constantly from behind the bars of her
    cell in what some call cruel and unusual punishment.

    8….. Bernie Sanders is in the Nuthouse….His room is directly across from
    Nancy Pelosi, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Chris Matthews and Al
    Franken. They meet for tea every day at 10 AM and discuss the success and
    benefits of Communism and Socialism throughout the world.

    9….. Windows 12 is released. It is designed for humans, AND doesn’t require a degree in nuclear
    physics to operate and looks just like Windows 7 EXCEPT, it is easier to use.

    10….. Barack Obama flees the United States, and returns to his homeland of Kenya (?)
    before his trial for treason begins.

    11….. A committee is NOT established to determine what is causing global
    cooling. Billions of taxpayer dollars are saved.

    12….. DEAD people are no longer allowed to vote in Chicago, a huge blow for
    the Democrat Party in the State of Illinois.

    And this my friends constitutes———– THE PERFECT FIRST DAY OF DONALD TRUMPS PRESIDENCY!

  • Steve

    That’s great, I am stealing this…..

    Oh, and no mention on the news so far of any drug-trial deaths :-(

  • My god, I publish a post noting the increasingly childish nature of American intellectual discussion, and you reply with a fantasy wish list as childish and silly as any I’ve ever seen. You should be embarrassed by this, not congratulated.

  • mpthompson

    Robert, one of the issues is that the story takes place in France. Not much news from France, or Europe in general for that matter, ever makes it to the U.S. mainstream news with the exception of wars and terrorism. It’s the old story of “If it bleeds it leads”. Otherwise, Europe may as well be Nebraska, Oklahoma or one of the other fly-over states as far as the media is concerned.

    The other problem is news these days seems to be strongly agenda driven. Unless a story can help drive a narrative favored by the elite ruling class, it may as well have never happened. I believe how much a story can push an agenda is much more important when it comes to what stories get covered by the media than whether news editors feel the public will have interest in it. For instance, consider the Fast and Furious scandal. To me, a branch of our government either negligently or criminally selling arms to drug dealers is a pretty huge friggen deal, but the story ran counter to the agenda so it was “disappeared”. To the extent it was minimally covered, the media did their best to make sure it was “boring” and painted as being about “partisan politics as usual” rather than government corruption and ineptness. Yet the media how no problem hyping the Iran-Contra scandal and doing their best to make the public care about the story.

  • mpthompson

    Oh, I forgot the mention is that the media for some reason these days seems to be interested in pushing the narrative that science, or people working under the banner of science, can do no wrong. Much of this is probably driven by the need to push Global Warming which to the media is unassailable because it is “Science”. If the public starts to perceive scientists being flawed humans as much as anyone else and influenced by money, fame and other conflicts of interests, it won’t help further the Global Warming narrative.

    Sometimes I wonder if the Eugenics movement, pushed by progressives in the early 20th century under the banner of Science, were occurring today rather than 80 years ago the results might be somehow different.

  • Cotour

    You find this less childish?

    Why is that? Because its a bit more wordy and you chose to post it?

    What I posted was just more concise and on the positive and not the negative potential. Its obviously tongue and cheek and more of a joke and you are taking it serious? Like I said, if only ten percent, strike that, one tenth of one percent of this “childish” post turns out to be true I will be a happy man. Now who is being “naive”? OY.

    Embarrassed? NOT.

    Congratulations? 1 (Steve)

  • Matt in AZ

    A HUGE percentage of ad revenue for the news media comes from pharmaceuticals, yet another reason we likely won’t see much coverage of this story. Mpthompson above pretty much nailed a whole slew of reasons.

  • Actually, the op-ed I linked to (but not posted- note the difference) was much more thoughtful and actually a quite reasonable analysis of what Donald Trump.might actually do as president, based on his history and on the political realities that presently exist. Your post was a merely a fantasy wish list of what you’d like to see happen, with very little connection to political realities. Trust me, Carly Fiorina is not going to go to work for Donald Trump. And hell will freeze over before Ted Cruz accepts the job of head of Homeland Security. To make believe these absurdities might happen (merely because it makes you feel good) is simply pointless, and indicates a refusal to deal with the realities of the situation.

    Worse, that you don’t see how childish your post is only illustrates further my original point.

    And note, I am glad that you’d be happy if only 10 percent of your wish list became reality, but that remains beside the point.

  • Cotour

    The piece is obviously hyperbolic / fantastical, who would read it and then dissect it literally?

    Who? You.

    Why don’t you now ask the obvious question: How could Trump get all of that done in one day?

    And to add to your analysis, I really do not believe that Hillary Clinton will ever see the inside of a jail, or Jesse or Al will either. Now Pelosi in a nut house I can see, I am sticking with that.

    Edward is High IQ sarcasm impaired and he freely embraces it, do I have to now create a new High IQ category, High IQ humor impaired? Like I said, OY.

    And you link to everything, other than accreditation, no, I do not note the difference.

  • BSJ

    I ‘heard’ about the drug sturdy story weeks ago. So, it got some coverage.

    Although, I don’t remember where I first saw it… Maybe Drudge or Wired or even The UK’s Daily Mail (strictly entertainment value!).

  • I am curious: What do you think of this analysis: The Case for Donald Trump?

    It strikes me as thoughtful and fair-minded, but it also tells me that though Trump will undoubtably be a strong candidate against Clinton or Sanders or any Democrat who might run, he is not the best choice among those running. And since we are in the primary stage, when we are trying to pick the person to run against those Democrats, it seems to me we should try to find someone better.

  • Note that I did not say that the written press wouldn’t cover it. To quote me precisely:

    I am certain that this will get no coverage in any cable news outlet. (If anyone see a video story about this, please let me know.) The written news outlets on the web will likely do a story, but it will not give it wide exposure. [emphasis in original]

    What I am curious about is whether any cable outlets did any stories. My guess is no, but would be interested if someone can prove me wrong.

    Moreover, that the NY Times did a story and it wasn’t given wider coverage, considering how most television news outlets use the Times to do their investigative reporting for them, I think serves to underline my point.

  • Cotour

    The article makes many of my points, to your question “should we try to find someone better?” Who might that be? Who is actually in the race that is “better”? We can not choose someone who is not in the race.

    Cruz, I like very much, he is smart as a whip, is a Constitutionalist, knows government, but his appeal IMO is narrow.

    Rubio, on the surface I also like his story but that entire Gang Of Eight debacle exposed him as being young and malleable. So for me he is not a rock more like a clay man.

    Kasich, has a lot of real world government experience, if he were a certified reasonable Conservative he would probably politically be the one, but by his own words the other day “I really should be running as a Democrat”. I have had enough of that.

    Fiorina, She is sharp but she can not run with the big dogs, she has become invisible.

    Christy, wants everyone to believe that he is a player but when push comes to shove he comes off as a dumb dopey bully.

    Rand Paul, Libertarian, although I do understand and in many ways live by the Libertarian view of the world it again has narrow appeal.

    Carson, I personally very much admire Ben Carson, a true American. I became aware of him and his personal story many years ago watching him being interviewed by Charlie Rose, a very decent and talented man unfortunately he is a bit of a political novice and is being pigeon holed and minimalized. My two top choices for president if I were to be granted a wish? Ben Carson and or Allen West, hands down, Americas finest.

    Anyone that I have left out is not on the radar screen.

    Now Trump, Ego maniac, businessman, character, showman, “BILLIONARE!” blah, blah, blah, AMERICAN. He is like I have stated before, a “curve ball”, Washington (and our enemy’s) needs a curve ball. You will find, if he makes it through this trial by fire, someone who will appeal to more women, blacks, Hispanics, gays, conservatives, independents, and regular Joe blow Americans etc. then most all of the previously mentioned candidates. He will have the broadest appeal once he has the stage to himself and will be forced to reveal who he really is. How will that be revealed? When speaks about his family and how and when he was forced to make the choice to run and “do it himself”. I find that a most compelling motivation. Why the hell would he put himself, with the life that he has crafted for himself, through what he is putting himself through? He has the potential, if he can rise above his own ego to become what I term a George Washington president. But that is a big IF and a big risk, but in my opinion worth it. And keep in mind I do not agree with many of his positions, they tend to change over time, he must nail down and communicate his true beliefs. One that I think he (and the Supreme Court) needs to “evolve” on is Eminent Domain, among others.

    So in summary, IMO Trump when everything is weighed has the ability to have the broadest appeal over the rest of the pack, plain and simple. And keep in mind, I will vote for anyone who is not a Marxist, socialist, Democrat socialist, leftist, “progressive” etc, etc. Does this fulfill your curiosity?

    Jeb, I just realized, I almost forgot Jeb. Another one who I will not vote for no matter what, because 1. the whole entitlement / dynasty aspect, the founders did not create what they created to spawn what they were trying to eliminate. And 2. his father and his brother along with the Clinton’s have delivered America to where it is at the moment, why would we want more? My fear is that the party in their dealings with Trump, just like Reagan, have made the deal that if he is successful they will back him, but they will choose the VP, JEB. Look for that, trust none of them.

    And that for the moment is my analysis, if it changes I will let you know.

  • I wonder if you noticed that this last link I sent you was written by the same guy who wrote the blistering prediction of what he thinks Trump’s administration would really be like.

    Your analysis is worthwhile, but you are making the same mistake that Republicans have made for the past two elections, picking the candidate they think is most “electable”, even if he won’t give us what we want. Not surprisingly, they then discovered that that candidate was really not so electable when the election finally arrived. I think Trump would be the same. Once head-on-head with the Democrats the press will crucify him, and he will lose. And should I be wrong and he wins, he will then end up doing nothing that either you or I want, but instead work to maintain the bankrupt status quo.

    Thus, I think the weakest part of your analysis is when you say that Ted Cruz’s appeal is too narrow. I do not agree, and based on past elections (Reagan for the presidency and numerous other elections for governors, senators, and elsewhere), when Republicans actually go with a sincere conservative candidate like Cruz, they win.

    Finally, it is this kind of analysis I want to see more of, not the silly stuff you wrote to begin with. The election of the president is serious business. Let’s take it serious.

  • Cotour

    So using your logic you are willing for Sanders or Hillary to become the next president? I will assume that your strategy is willing to risk that the country goes further down the New World Order / socialist Utopian drain hole with the thinking that there will be creative destruction as the country implodes and the people are really forced to rise up?

    It is possible but that level of creative destruction is in general very, very messy. And maybe that really is the only true way to re establish the country being that its has been allowed, strike that, purposefully driven, to that level of destruction.

    (This is not the era of Reagan, things are different in unique ways, specifically how the young voter lives and votes. I am not confident that what applied then entirely applies now.)

    If Cruz is the best conservative we have at the moment but is a questionable winner (IMO, 50 / 50?) then is not your strategy just as dangerous as mine, willing to take a shot with an American who calls himself a republican who appears to have real American concerns?

    And the guy who wrote about Trump comes to a conclusion that you in your thinking agree with, I respect it but have come to a different conclusion as per my post.

    I take it all very serious, but that does not mean that I do not allow myself to step back and appreciate the ridiculousness of our process and life in general.

  • Steve

    Great analysis of the Republican Candidates Cotour, I would have written almost the same except for agreeing w/ Bob that Cruz does not have as narrow an appeal as you might think and he certainly has a better record than Trump.

    I am hoping that Cruz can find his inner Reagan and become a better communicator. There are news reports that he has lowered his voice noticeably .

    I also agree w/ Bob that if a true conservative can sell the principles of conservatism in a plain and upbeat manner then he (or she) can win and win big. There have been very few on the Right who can do that reliably and I’m not sure why that is.

    As far as Rubio, Kasich, and the others, sometimes all I need to know about someone is one thing that shines a light on their character. For Rubio it was the Gang of Eight, for Kasich it was his embrace of Obamacare.

    The only one who has shown me that “One Thing” so far is Cruz. First when he forced a shutdown over Obamacare even though he knew he would get backstabbed over it, and then again when he was the ONLY one who had the cojones to tell Iowa corn farmers to their faces that he was against the Ethanol subsidies…..

  • Steve

    I meant to say: The only one who has shown me that “One Thing” in a positive direction so far is Cruz.

  • Cotour

    Steve: I would be more than happy to vote for Cruz in the event that that is who is presented to me, more than happy. The one thing that sticks out in your post is one word, “IF”. A little tiny word that can change the course of rivers.

    Another observation that illustrates the difference between a conservative / republican and a democrat / liberal is the conservative / republican sees things from the bottom up and the democrat / liberal sees things from the top down. A republican you would think would be concerned with the foundation, that has been cast aside by today’s republican leadership, and the democrat / liberal appears to love the inverted pyramid, and we all know how stable an inverted pyramid is.

    We in time will see who is reading this race correctly, if Cruz is truly attempting to lower his voice that is because he understands that his natural leadership qualities are in deficit, Trump has his own problems but thats not one of them. I think what you will see is Trump being more evolved and thoughtful in what he says to more comprehensively communicate.

    If we were to weight them both side by side my take is that Trump has more general appeal and at this is basically a beauty and do you like me contest (emotion) as opposed to these are my bullet points and this is what the numbers indicate (logic). Is he as conservative as I would like? Maybe not.

    Human beings are emotional animals first.

  • BSJ

    So, TV coverage is the standard by which you judge something to be widely covered?

    TV news ratings are dropping precipitously because more and more people, like me, use mobile devices to get our news. Specifically because I don’t want/need the nattering class to tell me what I should be concerned with!

    Your yardstick needs some adjustment…

  • Hey, you and I are not by definition “low information voters.” By your willingness to read obscure websites such as BtB (and me to write it) we show ourselves interested in those subjects that the mainstream media is not interested in.

    My aim here was to note what the more general public seems interested in. And my impression is that their interest in this kind of science/corruption story has declined significantly. Instead they are consumed by much more shallow and childish stories, even if those stories are directly related to the elections.

    That is my impression. I always hope I am wrong when I come to a pessimistic view. Your point about the collapse of television ratings is true, and encouraging. Nonetheless, I look at what are considered as important news stories on the web and am not encouraged.

  • Edward

    Robert wrote:
    “Any interest in a story about how a drug study killed a person and might have caused permanent brain damage to four others? Nah, that’s no fun! Let’s focus instead on how Donald Trump told Jeb Bush to shut up during last nights debate!”

    So, how many comments here are discussing the disastrous pharmaceutical trial or the poor job that our popular cable news sources do (I count 7 out of 21, so far) and how many are discussing the popular topic of Trump? I think that Robert’s point has been made, even for people who frequently read (and especially comment upon) this site.

    Meanwhile, back at the France, Biotrial definitely messed up by making the assumption that the hospital would contact them rather than making sure that the troubles could not have been associated with the week-old trial. It suggests that they had become complacent due to the (apparent) success of the previous five months of trials.

    This reminds me of the famous case of the heart medication that turned out to be deadly when grapefruit was eaten. At least one patient died after the drug was approved for the general public, then the drug was removed from the market. (There went tens or hundreds of millions of dollars in research and development costs.) I tried to look up the drug’s name and the case, but it turns out that grapefruit reacts badly to a lot of drugs, and the case was lost in the noise of the general phenomenon.

    My point is that even carefully performed trials can miss important problems, and it seems that Biotrial was not being as careful as it was required to be. Missed signals of problems and delayed reporting of problems, especially when cannibis use is likely to be a problem, suggests that the company was not following safety procedures. *That* should be news fit to print (and, yes, the New York Times printed it).

    A secondary point is that the heart medication made headline news, a few years ago, but this case is reported in the Foreign News section of the Times. (Thank you, BSJ, for pointing this out.)

    Robert, since you asked, I found two video stories on YouTube: (1/2 minute)
    AFP (Agence France-Presse) seems to be an international news organization, the name suggesting that it is based in France. (2 minutes)
    Aban News seems to be based in the United States, but since I have never heard of it before, I assume that it is not a major new source (or maybe it is because I don’t subscribe to cable).

    On the other hand, I missed that Rubio has silly footwear or that Trump got testy with Bush. (Maybe I should join in with the rest of Americana and get me some of that cable TV.)

  • AFP is based in France, but is international. Nonetheless, their coverage is probably mostly because they are based in France and that’s where the failed drug trial took place. I also have never heard of Aban News. I will research them a bit.

    Note that both of these video reports are not from the major American cable or television news divisions, which I think helps prove my point.

  • Steve

    They say that Small minds discuss People, Average minds discuss Events, and Great minds discuss Ideas.

    I would add to that and say that Extraordinary Minds can easily combine all three in one discussion.

    Judging by that it appears that Behind the Black is written, read, and commented on by the latter…. ;-)

  • Cotour

    Disliking in the extreme the “debate” system that is employed to sort out who will represent either party in the run for the presidency, I am unable to watch them, I take note of your observation ” Donald Trump told Jeb Bush to shut up”.

    That seems a minor and childish event on the surface but in fact in this limited format it does demonstrate and flesh out one candidate’s personality over another candidates and their ability to dominate in a stressful situation. Is this important? Possibly, but in the beauty and like me contest in which they are participating these opportunities give opportunity for a candidate to connect in some intimate way with the individual voter, and that in essence is what it is all about.

    We can both / all despise the system as it is but the take away over time is the “trial by fire” and ones ability to withstand it and prevail over all others.

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