Tuesday, February 28, 2017


A Brief Rant About the Prevalence of Conspiracy Theory in America

I've been seeing more and more conspiracy theory and alarmism circulating around the Internet. It's reaching the point that it's like EVERYONE (except you and me of course) is involved in some dark plan to overthrow the government, spread disease, destroy religious freedoms or take away our guns. People, please use your heads for something besides a hat rack, OK? Let's take a look at some of the more dominant conspiracy theories: 

 FEMA Concentration Camps
Folks are finding all manner of reasons to believe Americans will someday be herded into Auschwitz-style concentration camps. And of course, it's FEMA that'll be in charge of this along with the Dept. of Homeland Security. This whole notion has been thoroughly debunked many times by both amateurs and professionals. Keep in mind that such a thing would require a massive effort by our military. Now, does anyone really believe that our sons and daughters will throw their moms and dads in a concentration camp? The rank and file military would mutiny against such a thing almost overnight. It ain't gonna happen.

Chemtrail Conspiracy
Did you know that commercial airlines are secretly spreading dangerous chemicals in the atmosphere via the exhaust of their aircraft? Oh yes, fellow space cadets! Those evil bastards are engaging in all manner of gaseous malfeasance: Mind control, weather control, involuntary innoculations, etc etc etc. It's all contained in those pretty white exhaust trails (con trails) they leave behind.
One group of alarmists even claimed to have photographic evidence of the chemical tanks used in these nefarious operations. Turns out the tanks were just ballast tanks used in test flights of new aircraft designs. No strange chemical concoctions for mind control. Just plain old fresh water. The trails you see behind a passing jet are nothing but condensed water vapor. In other words, a long skinny cloud.
You can see the chemtrail conspiracy debunked by clicking here.

 AIDS and Ebola Conspiracy Theories
The popular notion is that each of these devastating diseases was actually conceived and created by the US government. AIDS, according to nut-sack Louis Farrakhan, is being concentrated in Africa to kill off blacks. It's all part of a larger plan to eradicate black people, or some such thing. Similarly silly theories exist about the weaponization of Ebola. So yeah, of course the global elites (or maybe the KKK?) are going to release deadly pathogens into the world just because we supposedly need population control, or maybe they just don't like black people. Keep in mind that diseases don't care who they infect, so those supposed elites would be putting themselves in danger as well. Fat chance, that. Memo to Louis Farrakhan: Shut up!

 New World Order
(From Wikipedia) As a conspiracy theory, the term New World Order or NWO refers to the emergence of a totalitarian world government.

The common theme in conspiracy theories about a New World Order is that a secretive power elite with a globalist agenda is conspiring to eventually rule the world through an authoritarian world government?which will replace sovereign nation-states?and an all-encompassing propaganda that makes the establishment of the New World Order the culmination of history's progress and an ideology. Significant occurrences in politics and finance are speculated to be orchestrated by an unduly influential cabal that operates through many front organizations. Numerous historical and current events are seen as steps in an ongoing plot to achieve world domination through secret political gatherings and decision-making processes.

Before the early 1990s, New World Order conspiracism was limited to two American countercultures, primarily the militantly anti-government right, and secondarily that part of fundamentalist Christianity concerned with the end-time emergence of the Antichrist. Skeptics such as Michael Barkun and Chip Berlet observed that right-wing populist conspiracy theories about a New World Order had not only been embraced by many seekers of stigmatized knowledge but had seeped into popular culture, thereby inaugurating a period during the late 20th and early 21st centuries in the United States where people were actively preparing for apocalyptic millenarian scenarios. Those political scientists were concerned that mass hysteria could have what they judged to be devastating effects on American political life, ranging from widespread political alienation to escalating lone-wolf terrorism.
I've heard about many political leaders and otherwise-powerful people being involved in the NWO. The Rockefellers, the Bushes, the Kennedys, etc. Oh yes, and somehow the Illuminati are also involved as well. We're all gonna be slaves to the Illuminati. You betcha. Jeez...

Gay Marriage

This one is too silly to spend much time on. Seems that many (not all) Christians are up in arms because gay marriage "devalues" conventional marriage. Yep, those gays are going to destroy the sacred covenant of marriage. Further, these Bible-thumpers will, with a straight face, tell you that God (theirs) invented marriage. Perhaps they're not aware of the fact that marriage predates Christianity by centuries in many parts of the world. Marriage is simply one of many traditions co-opted by Christianity, which they then claimed as their own. Marriage in the U.S. is a civil contract and the ceremony can be performed by a judge or a ship's captain while at sea. It is therefore not a sacred compact with God. Our Constitution mandates equal protection under the law. It is therefore unconstitutional to deny gays the same rights to marriage as the rest of us. It really is just that simple. So no, your traditional marriage isn't devalued by gay marriage. If Jack marries Phil instead of Jill, your life doesn't change. Leave it alone.

Your Daily Outrage
Social media like Facebook (perhaps especially Facebook) is clogged with boatloads of bullshit about countless, mostly liberal, conspiracies to change various parts of our society. Our currency is a popular target for such nonsense. In fact it was the recent regurgitation of a widely-circulated email from 2007 regarding dollar coins that caused me to write this little tirade. Seems that there's always something about some "evil" corporation like Monsanto, the government, or some ideologically-twisted group trying to screw with something we Americans hold dear.
The vast majority of these tales are patently false. So before you embarrass yourself by posting about an Osama bin Laden postage stamp or a US coin without "In God We Trust" inscribed on the face, please do some research and find out if it's true. You owe it to yourself and anyone else who might see your post.

Maybe the worst part of all this is that I see otherwise-intelligent people gobbling up this nonsense like it was the Gospel. I've seen both Bill Clinton and Paul McCartney accused of being the Antichrist. I watched, in stupefied amazement while George W. Bush was accused by Code Pink and others of being the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks. I've seen sincere people who actually think the AIDS virus is some sort of Divine punishment for homosexuals. It would seem that the bigger the bullshit story, the more likely some people are to believe it.

But why? Is there some internal need for humans to feel like victims? Is it just plain old-fashioned cynicism? Perhaps there is a conspiracy: It's those chemtrails. They're using top-secret chemicals in the chemtrails to make us believe all this nonsense so we don't notice what they are really up to.
Life is complicated enough on its own without tilting at windmills. Get a life, people.

Copyright 2014, 2017 By Alan Burkhart

Sunday, February 26, 2017


Fox News's Bill O'Reilly hosted a couple of folks last Thursday to talk about immigrant troubles in Sweden. One was legit: Anne-Sofie Naslund is a Swedish journalist who is apparently exactly who she said she was. The other guest however, was one Nils Bildt. O'Reilly introduced him as a Swedish security advisor.

Well... he is a security advisor (private sector). And he's apparently Swedish by birth. But he is NOT an official Security Advisor to the Swedish government. And he changed his last name from "Tolling" to "Bildt" a few years ago. This is significant and you'll see why in the excerpt below:

From the Washington Post:
The surname Bildt is well-known in Swedish political circles due to Carl Bildt, the former Swedish prime minister and Swedish foreign minister. Nils Bildt said that he was related to Carl Bildt, who he described as a "most decent and good man." However, when contacted by WorldViews, Carl Bildt noted that his brother, a successful Swedish entrepreneur who is also called Nils, was "highly irritated" when he heard Nils Tolling had began using the surname Bildt. Carl Bildt suggested that the former Nils Tolling had been "trying to use the name to gain favors."
The Bildt who Fox News interviewed is listed as one of the founding partners of Modus World LLC. The company, which says it is based in Washington, Brussels and Tokyo, offers a variety of consulting services, including the “operations and management of possible kidnap and ransom situations,” according to its website, and reports in the Japanese media suggest Bildt was involved a number of hostage negotiations involving Japanese citizens.

David Tabacoff, executive producer of “The O'Reilly Factor,” defended the decision to book Bildt. “Our booker made numerous inquiries and spoke to people who recommended Nils Bildt and after pre-interviewing him and reviewing his bio, we agreed that he would make a good guest for the topic that evening,” Tabacoff said in a statement. (Fox News later said O'Reilly would address the matter on his Monday show.)

However, Bildt's low profile made him a surprising choice, according to Swedish experts. Robert Egnell, a professor at Swedish Defence University, told WorldViews that he did know Bildt, but it was only by chance: The pair had studied together at King’s College London in 2002.
Egnell said that Bildt had left the program early and moved to Japan, after which they had gradually lost touch. “He is in not in any way a known quantity in Sweden and has never been part of the Swedish debate,” Egnell said in an email “He has not lived in Sweden for a very long time and no one within the Swedish security community (which is not a very big pond) seems to know him.

There are several problems here. First, Fox did not properly vet this guy. They took him on someone else's recommendation. Bad move, Fox.

Second, Bildt lied on-air. He runs a private security business here. But when he referred to Sweden, he said "we" not "them." Watch the video to see the context of what I'm referring to. He was obviously attempting to pass himself off as a Swedish official.

Third, O'Reilly loves to call his show the "No Spin Zone." But he was nearly frantic to depict Sweden in a manner that fits the narrative he's pushing. Yes, there are troubles in Sweden and yes, Sweden appears to be downplaying it. But O'Reilly was spinning like a top in this segment.

Fourth, Fox says they'll address the issue on Monday. Well gee whiz y'all, why wait until Monday? You goofed. Big time. You should already be addressing it.

All in all, this whole mess reinforces my contention that while Fox's straight-up news reporting remains solid, their opinion people are far too biased to fit the "Fair and Balanced" slogan. O'Reilly was shamelessly grubbing for the comments he wanted. He didn't get them. But he did manage to drive another nail in the coffin of his fading credibility. The Post article with the O'Reilly video is linked below:

 Washington Post Article With O'Reilly Video

Monday, February 20, 2017

The Ascendance of Ignorance

From the 8th through the 13th centuries, the Arabic world was at the forefront of cultural advancement. Advances in medicine, human anatomy, mathematics and astronomy abounded throughout the region. It was the Golden Age of Islam. During these years Baghdad was one of the world's foremost scientific and cultural centers.
But then came the anti-rationalist Ash’ari school whose increasing dominance is linked to the decline of Arabic science. With the rise of the Ash’arites, the ethos in the Islamic world was increasingly opposed to original scholarship and any scientific inquiry that did not directly aid in religious regulation of private and public life. The Arab world, once the height of civilization, fell victim to religious fundamentalism. Where once people stood in the light of knowledge, they now struggle to survive in darkness.
During the European Middle Ages, critical thinking and generally anything contrary to the Catholic worldview was punishable as a crime. Galileo was an Italian astronomer, physicist, engineer, philosopher, and mathematician who played a major role in the scientific revolution of the seventeenth century. But he was severely punished for his free-thinking ways by the church, even subjected to house arrest. Others were less fortunate and were cast into prison or even executed. The Catholic church was the law of the land.
The Renaissance in Europe brought a welcome period of enlightenment as the people slowly began to shake off the chains of the church. That enlightenment continues to this day as more and more of Europe embraces secularism. Europe is continuing to grow more secular, and their standard of living is improving as a result.
But what of America? At one time America enjoyed a period in which science and religion existed peacefully if not always comfortably. Astounding discoveries in all fields of science came in rapid succession after WWII all the way into the 1980s. But as science continued to move forward with both new answers and new questions, religion remained stagnant, rooted deeply in it's “infallible” scriptures.
And now, like in the Arab world of old, Christians are becoming increasingly militant. They reject any discovery that conflicts with their holy book. They have tried repeatedly to have Creationism taught as fact in public schools, even though Evolutionary Theory is proven and documented correct around the world. And now we have a President and Congress willing to drag America backwards both scientifically and culturally. The USA is at a crossroads. We can continue to move forward, or we can allow the Donald Trumps and Ken Hams among us to drag us down into the cesspools of ignorance and religious bigotry.
If we allow such regressive, superstitious nonsense to prevail, all of the progress we've made in the last quarter century will be lost. So it's time to ask ourselves, “What sort of America do I wish to live in?” Will you mindlessly cling to a holy book written by a bunch of Bronze Age goat herders (complete with a talking snake), or will you cast off the yoke of ignorance and move forward? America's future generations deserve better than to have to clean up the messes made by their ancestors.