Archive for the ‘Obama’ Category.

Emperor Valerian: What’s Past is Prologue

Emperor Valerian was born Publius Licinius Valerianus during the reign of Septimius Severus in 195 AD. At the time of his birth the Roman empire stretched from modern day Scotland in the northwest to Sudan in the southeast, Morocco in the southwest to Armenia in the east. Although the empire had reached its greatest extent under Trajan a century earlier, Severus had arrested the gradual decline during his rule that lasted until 211 AD. Unfortunately the emperors that followed Severus accelerated that decline as mismanagement, incompetence, and vanity eroded imperial power internally while external threats grew. By the time Valerian took power in 253, the previous emperor had allowed the Goths to invade the empire and return home keeping their captives and plunder as well as an annual payment from Rome, suffering a humiliation the Romans hadn’t experienced in over 500 years.

Valerian had at his disposal a great army, the legions of the Upper Rhine, appointed to him two years earlier. Those legions declared him emperor, and after taking Rome the Senate conferred the title on him.

Valerian had inherited a mess. The empire was besieged by all sides so he appointed his son Gallienus co-emperor to rule the western part of the empire and took the eastern part on himself. Gallienus was in charge of protecting the frontier at the Rhine and keeping the Germans on the northern side of this natural boundary, while Valerian moved his army east to handle the Goths. Plague decimated his troops. Seeing the empire divided and weak the Persian king Shapur I struck, sacking dozens of Roman cities, provinces and protectorates in Armenia, Syria, modern day Iraq and Turkey. Valerian moved his forces to counter the Persians and enjoyed some initial success. But the ravages of plague and war took their toll on his army, and the eastern campaign became a quagmire for Valerian. This didn’t stop him from sending orders back to Rome commanding the execution of Christian leaders and forcing of converts to make public sacrifices to the Roman gods.

Desperate for an opportunity to sue for peace, he sent a peace delegation to Shapur, who suggested a face-to-face meeting between the two emperors. The meeting was arranged and Valerian, ignoring the advice of his generals, went to meet Shapur with a small entourage of aides.

He was never seen again.

Christian historians wrote that Valerian had been captured by Shapur and was either flayed alive or forced to drink molten gold, his skin then being used to cover a stool or filled with straw and hung in Shapur’s court. But that could reflect the desire of the historians to see Valerian punished for his anti-Christian pogroms. Others suggest that he was kept by Shapur as a personal servant or even protected from his mutinous troops and given a comfortable place in exile.

Source Wikipedia: Emperor Valerian standing at the background and held captive by Shapur I found at Naqsh-e Rustam, Shiraz, Iran. The kneeling man is probably Philip the Arab.

A mighty empire in disarray. A quagmire in the Middle East. A vain emperor and persecutor of Christians willing to make a deal at any cost with an Iranian leader.

It will be interesting if Ayatollah Khameini issues an invite to the President.

And it will be even more interesting if he accepts it.


Grow Up Europe!

Here’s the cover of this week’s Economist magazine.

In this issue The Economist argues the US should avoid pulling out of the region. First, America has interests in the Middle East, “Today’s chaos is trashing human rights and torching values that many, including this newspaper, look to America to defend. Not everyone will agree—some Americans are tired of their country acting as a global policeman, and others rightly point out that its geopolitical priority is China’s growing ambition… But even allowing that, the Middle East still matters.” Second the Economist states that even though America is becoming petroleum self-sufficient, “If it cannot keep the oil flowing, its economy will suffer grievously and so will its claim to global leadership.” Finally it must stop nuclear proliferation, “it must be a brake on other regional powers who might think of launching weapons programmes of their own.” In the detailed analysis that follows the lead, it goes on to blame Bush’s excessive hubris for wanting to remake the region while taking Obama to task for his neglect and reticence to engage there. “One president went too deep into Iraq, the next got out too soon; the first over-reached, the second under-shot; the Republican wanted to use American power to strike enemies everywhere; the Democrat often seemed to treat American power itself as dangerous. But whereas Mr Bush improved in his second term, writes Mr Rothkopf, Mr Obama has not learnt from his mistakes.”

Yet nowhere in the 3,000 word piece does it state why Americans have to be the ones who have to die in order to “save” the Middle East. Why does it always have to be us?

Is it because the Europeans have shown themselves time and again to be able to stand on their own and protect themselves? The weakness of the European states during the Cold War was understandable, but the EU was unable to sort things out in the former Yugoslavian states in the 1990s. It couldn’t counter Russia when it partitioned Georgia in 2008 and rolls on its back when Russia does the same to the Ukraine today. Even taking Khaddafi out wasn’t possible without the US “leading from behind.”

It’s been 70 years since the end of World War 2. When will Europe be able to stand on its own?

Anti-American sentiment has grown like a cancer throughout Europe and it hasn’t gone unnoticed by those of us who travel there frequently. I don’t understand why I as an American have to put up with snide comments from complete strangers while traveling on one hand, then be expected to put my military-age son’s life at risk on the other. When we act in our own best interest we get criticized for doing so unilaterally, but when we step back from the line, thereby forcing the Europeans to step forward we are slammed for isolationism. For 14 years we have faced a barrage of criticism for our imperialism in the Middle East from the Europeans, and now we face complaints about wiping the region’s dust from our boots.

I am not an isolationist as 14 years of writing in this journal proves, but I do recognize that isolationism runs red through the veins of our nation. America was founded by people trying to escape  some place, whether religious tyranny in Europe or economic stagnation in central America and Asia. People didn’t come here to integrate with the rest of the world, they came here to avoid its insanity and stupidity. Every American realist or neo-con recognizes this yet outsiders (and our own idiot Left whose ideas were imported for the most part from Europe) are so quick to label us as “imperialists” whenever we act in our interest or whine when we fail to act. I don’t even agree with Obama’s policy of abandoning the Middle East yet take offense at the Economist, a magazine which supported not only the Iraqi Invasion of 2003 but the election of Barack Obama not once but TWICE, chiding us that we must not abandon a region that Europe has done f**k all to help. That’s chutzpah, but then again chutzpah is a word Jews thought up while living among Europeans.

Instead of criticizing the US for abandoning the region why don’t the European take a good look in the mirror and ask themselves why they can’t stand up for themselves in the first place. Why does America need to provide them with not only their spine, but their brains, hearts and claws? Why are the EU nations cutting defense budgets a year after Russia shot down a plane full of Europeans, annexed the Crimea and is about to take serious chunks out of Ukraine? Why is the UK facing “inevitable” defense budget cuts a month after Russia flew a bomber carrying a nuclear missile over the English Channel? It’s easy to develop extensive socialist safety nets while living under a protective umbrella paid for by the American taxpayer and built from skin and bones of American youth.

Nearly 100 years ago the United States came to Europe’s rescue, and our soldiers returned home carrying Spanish Flu, killing 675,000 Americans, double the number killed or wounded in Europe. America then turned its back on Europe, which quickly birthed Stalin and Hitler. 25 years later Americans were once again dying for Europeans, and that time we stayed. And what has it gotten us?

The Economist may fret about America abandoning the Middle East. I wonder how it would feel about America abandoning Europe, but regardless of how it feels, perhaps it’s time America returned to its isolationist roots. Think of it as a “growth experience” for Europe, which would have to either learn how to take care of itself or speak Russian (given the laziness of the Greeks I know which way they’d go.) Perhaps then the Europeans wouldn’t be so quick to attack the US for acting – or not – in a region that is much closer to and much more important for Europe. But given that the Europeans can’t even clean up their own sport, relying upon the newly installed US Attorney General to take down FIFA’s Sepp Blatter, I’m not holding my breath waiting for the EU to shoulder the burden of its own defense. Oh, and of course the Europeans are already whining about American overreach there.

My ancestors may have been Slavic peasants and Irish sod-cutters, but at least they had the brains – and chutzpah – to leave Europe.

Here vs There

Ten years ago if you had told me that in a decade’s time a state would arise in the Middle East that would make Saudi Arabia look as liberal as San Francisco by comparison I’d have thought you were high. Back then the Sunni tribes had gotten fed up with Abu Masab al-Zarqawi and joined forces with the US to kick al-Qaeda out of Anbar province. Today we have a community organizer in the White House, and ISIS controls large swaths of Iraq and Syria (including all of Anbar province), and sub-Saharan Africa is becoming one giant caliphate stretching from the Atlantic coast to the Tigris-Euphrates valley. What the hell happened?

Over here a woman drags her 50 lb mattress to her college graduation to protest the man she accused of rape being cleared by campus authorities and local police. Over there hundreds of school girls kidnapped by Boko Haram a year ago in Nigeria are still missing and presumed sold into sexual slavery. Over here a former Olympian gets the best plastic surgery only his millions can buy, transforming himself from a youthful male athlete on a Wheaties box into a geriatric pinup model on the cover of Vanity Fair. Meanwhile over there homosexuals are thrown head-first off tall buildings.  Point out the fact over here that under Islam women are mere property and LGBT are KIA will get you called “islamophobe,” but saying the same thing over there won’t arise any attention at all for stating the obvious.

I cannot help but wonder how History will judge us and our time as we ignore the flowering of institutionalized evil once more on our planet while obsessing over comparative trifles in our own country. I expect it to judge us as harshly as those today judge our predecessors for being “racist”, “sexist” and the newly-minted epithet “transphobic.”


Iran Nuke Talks 2015

A summary:

Red Barchetta Coming to a Road – and Sky – Near You

Starbucks Race Together – Forgive me for not wanting to be lectured to by a company with an all-white board of directors and a billionaire white CEO, one without locations in poor neighborhoods including my own. I don’t ask the Dali Lama for Italian Roast whole bean, and so I don’t see why I should be forced to talk to a harried twenty-something coffee-slinger about anything beyond wanting my coffee black.

The ISIS Attack in Tunisia – How many people have to die before we start seeing these attacks for what they are? Religiously motivated hate crimes by adherents of the “religion of Peace.” Sure the machete wielding guy shot dead in New Orleans was a Jehovah Witness, but he wasn’t passing around copies of the WatchTower as he killed people, was he? Terrorist apologists just don’t get that there’s a difference between killing someone because you are nuts and killing someone because you are nuts IN THE NAME OF ALLAH. It’s the difference between a white guy gunning down a black guy and a white guy shouting “N****r” gunning down a black guy. I had plans to visit that museum in the near future, and although I haven’t torn those plans up, I am realizing that the “safe places to visit list” is getting smaller by the day.

Ted Cruz – Ted Cruz is courting the Christian wing of the GOP. That worked well for President Huckabee 4 years ago didn’t it?

Israel – The Obama administration demands Israel commit suicide while allying with its mortal enemy. No surprise given Ayatollah Khameini and President Obama’s shared hatred of both the US and Israel.

The UK’s Green Party – Leader of the Green’s Natalie Bennett is promising to demilitarize the UK and evidently lives on a different planet, one without a Vladimir Putin partitioning Ukraine. If she does win in May, it will make it easier for Downton Abbey fans in the US to mount an invasion, take over the island and force creator Julian Fellowes to write a seventh season – one where Mary awakens from a dream to find her sister Sybil and husband Matthew at her bedside. The fans should be able to take the place over with a few pointed jabs and threatening remarks, that is if Putin doesn’t get there first, which given the recent Russian overflights of the UK may be soon.

Germanwings crash – Humans make mistakes. They make far more mistakes than the control systems that fly the planes, and there’s only so much we can do to protect lives from a pilot who wants to become one with a mountain. Has the time come for pilotless planes? It’s going to take courage for the first cabinfull of passengers to fly without a pilot but in the end it’s going to be the norm. Ditto driverless trucks, trains and eventually cars. Would I trust a fully automated car over my 18 year old kid? Damn right I would. I love driving but I have had too many close calls myself, and recognize that an automated driving system would be a safer driver system, and when that happens driving will become illegal (hence the Rush reference in the title.) The Germanwings crash is going to accelerate the discussion on the technology that could revolutionize our worlds this century. It’s coming and the sooner the better. I think…

BBC firing Jeremy Clarkson from Top Gear – Please forgive my descent into British English, but F*** the Beeb, the bunch of spineless lefty nanny-state loving tossers. They’ll protect a pedophile like Jimmy Savile but not Clarkson whose political views tended towards the right in the UK (which makes him a moderate Democrat here). It’s one thing to discipline him for his misbehavior; it’s another to dog him for his populist beliefs. Well, the sooner Bennett wins the election, the sooner my comrades and I can take over the country and rest assured, the BBC license will be the second item on our chopping block (after that driving on the wrong side of the road business.) Let them grovel like NPR does here.

Head Transplants – My favorite hard Left science magazine wasted 2,000 words on this “what if.” I say wasted because the success of such a surgery hinges on the ability to meld one spinal cord to another. If we can do that, we can cure paralysis – and to me that’s far more newsworthy than worrying about the ethics of something that may not even be possible.




We’ve lived under the Obama administration for 6 years, 2 months. During that time we have witnessed a world turned upside down, one where our allies are treated like our enemies and our enemies are courted. Alliances that can be measured in lifetimes have been ignored, such as the “special relationship” with the UK. Others like Israel have been actively undermined. Even the Canadians have suffered at the hands of this administration as it has pivoted to China and kept the Keystone Pipeline mired in indecision and red tape.

Russia annexes the Crimea, the first territorial annexation in Europe since the Third Reich. It assassinates and jails the critics of its leadership. It invades Ukraine and even shoots down an airliner full of Europeans without consequences. Russian propaganda broadcasts throughout Russia unopposed, developing an ultranationalism straight from a work of fiction or video game. Critics of this coddling are accused of Cold War era thinking, and the administration continues to engage with the regime even as the US people view it as the single greatest threat.

The Obama administration leaves Biden to negotiate the status of forces agreement with Iraq, wasting the blood and treasure expended during the Bush administration. Any physics student or poli-sci major can tell you that nature abhors a vacuum, so Iran takes over in the East and an Islamic Death Cult rises in the West. An ignominious Vietnam-like defeat would have been preferable as Obama wouldn’t have been able to interfere in the region as he has done so. No love letters to Iran and certainly no attempt to overthrow the only friend we have in the region.

Leading from behind a harmless loon is attacked in Libya, leading to a failed state in Libya and the death of our first ambassador in two generations. What difference does it make? Evidently none because there are no consequences for the man in the White House or his Secretary of State minion who orchestrated the affair, the latter of whom is measuring the Oval Office for drapes as the 4th Estate gives her a standing ovation.

In 2008 I worried we had elected Carter. It turns out we elected Nixon instead, although one with a press who would call modern-day duo of Woodward and Bernstein racist. When Nixon went to China the Right had no fear that he would sell out our country to the Communists, a political fact that made it into of all things a Star Trek movie. There is no such comfort with Obama’s obsession for a nuclear deal with Iran. The Mullahs can write any deal they want, chanting “Death to America” all the way to the Bomb.

The Obama administration took power, sneering at the apparent ignorance and failures of the previous administration. Yet this supposedly bright and intelligent group of people have done some incredibly stupid things, mistakes so bad they can only be made by extremely intelligent and ignorant people. Boko Haram in West Africa, al-Shabaab in East Africa, ISIS in North Africa and the Middle East, Iran and Pakistan in Middle East and Central Asia, Russia in Europe and Asia, China in East Asia, Cuba, Nicaragua, Argentina and Venezuela in Central and South America. All these actors are stronger in the world today than they were 74 months ago. America and its allies are all weaker thanks to the efforts of this narcissist and his administration.

Can America survive the next 22 months, and if it can, will it have any allies left?


As Ferguson Burns Again The Ironies Abound


Looters celebrating the burning of Juanita’s Fashion R Boutique, a black owned business. If the Klan did it there would be hell to pay but when a bunch of thugs do it it’s called “righteous outrage.”

Mike Brown doesn’t deserve to die because he robbed an immigrant, but conservative blogger Gateway Pundit does for being conservative?


The Left’s War Against Rural America Part 2

The first part of this series is here.

Is the Obama Administration and the Democratic Party conducting a war on rural America? It’s a question I’ve had in the back of my mind since I moved to rural North Carolina in 2009. At the time the government had just taken over GM. Many of the dealerships that were closed were in rural areas including two in nearby towns. Their repair shops helped keep the trucks and cars of all makes and models on the road, and since rural Americans drive much more than urban or even suburban people, the dealership losses were magnified. It’s one thing to lose a GM dealer if you drive a Toyota; it’s another thing to lose the closest repair shop for 25 miles around as happened in one of the towns mentioned above. It took several years before local mechanics were able to fill the gap caused by the dealership consolidation, but I have to wonder whether this was less a bug and more of a feature of the plan.

Leftists love bringing people together in large groups. It doesn’t matter if it’s Julius Nyerere’s Ujamaa policy of forcing Tanzanians at gunpoint to leave small villages and move to towns and cities, or Mao’s Collectivization policy that did the same thing in China. Forcing people to live in large groups does two things:  it makes them dependent on the State for their survival and it makes them easier to control. If society collapsed tomorrow, people would be starving in the cities within a few days, while people in rural areas would last for much longer – some indefinitely having given up living on the Grid in the first place. People here know how to hunt and grow food, and while everyone living out here isn’t a Doomsday Prepper, they tend to acquire the knowledge and skills one needs to survive independently. Rural people are known for being jacks of all trades  because it’s often impossible to get the repairman out to fix what’s broken, and you either fix it or you do without. That independence builds a sense of pride that makes it very difficult for others to exercise control over. That’s not to stop leftists from Stalin to Obama from trying.

Rural Americans tend to be conservative and religious, perhaps because too much risk taking out here and you end up dead. They are closer to the land than environmentalists are yet do not share their naive and condescending attitude towards the natural world. “They get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations,” Obama once said, providing us with a glimpse of how the man views rural Americans.

In the 6 1/2 years since making that remark his policies have reflected that thinking and rural America has suffered. Since the Obama Administration has failed to secure our borders rural America has been dealing with the issues caused by unrestricted illegal immigration. Each illegal family brings children who must be schooled and health care that must be dispensed paid for by taxes from a declining tax base. The social problems that come with the immigrants are ones that liberals like to charge one a racist for mentioning, but that doesn’t stop drug cartel violence from happening in rural America. The immigrants lack skills so they compete with the poor and middle class American citizens, not the highly educated elites that demand we import them. Wages in construction and carpentry are under pressure from the crews of illegals employed by large contractor firms who have nothing to fear from employing them.

There are probably more guns on a per capita basis in rural America than in some war zones, yet rural America remains comparatively free from violence and other crime. A suburbanite or city person may not be able to wrap their head around the idea of the need of a gun, especially when a call to 911 can bring a cop to your door in less than 10 minutes. In rural America that same call can take close to an hour, and that’s plenty of time for bad things to happen to good people. Suburbanites also don’t have to worry about coyotes, bears and in some parts of the country mountain lions, nor do they wake up one day and have a full-grown 1,500 lb bull munching away in their front yard as I did once. At the edge of civilization guns are a necessity, defining the line between order and chaos, and rural Americans understand this. Suburbanites and city people just don’t seem to get that. Worse, the Obama administration has not respected gun rights that are defined in the constitution, and it has only been the Supreme Court that has kept the right intact.

I’m amazed at how few “green” environmentalists I’ve met while living in rural America. My water comes from deep within the earth just as the spring water they drink in plastic bottles. At night the sky blazes with a carpet of stars and the constellations are bright and easily identifiable. The land is literally alive with all manner of plants and animals and there is more biodiversity on an acre of my land than there are in any city or suburban park. The farmers who live near me respect their land because it feeds their families, and Nature tends to teach respect out here. The bugs are big and plentiful. The winters are brutal enough to kill you but not enough to kill the pests that threaten crops. Hugging trees may be fine in a park, but in a wild wood you’re liable to get poison ivy or worse, hit by one of the many widow makers that await the slightest breeze to fall. There are plenty of environmentalists here: they are called “farmers” and “hunters”. They care about the land, but do so in a mature way instead of the naivete so prominent among green urbanites who freak out over garden spiders in their bathtubs.

I don’t mean to idealize rural life. That’s what the Left used to do before they began to demonize its residents as sexist and racist rednecks. Are there ignorant people here in the Sticks? Sure, but for every ignorant redneck there are likely a dozen more  in the suburbs and cities. The longer I live here the more I see a diversity that I hadn’t expected. I’ve met more lesbians in this area than I ever did in suburban Delaware, and I’m still puzzled by that. More importantly I’ve met all types of iconoclasts and free-thinkers, people with beliefs that are all over the political and religious spectrums, a diversity of thought and opinion that few suburbs or urban areas can match. If you want to move someplace where your beliefs won’t be challenged, then I’d avoid rural America or at least these parts of the rural South. Yet all are united by their desire to leave and be left alone, and by their second class “bitter clinger” status conferred upon them by Obama and his supporters.

Will rural America survive the next two years? Of course it will, but the hatred and disrespect expressed to its citizens will remain for generations to come, thanks to the efforts of President Obama and the Left.


The Left’s War Against Rural America

Is Obamacare’s Assault on Rural Health Care A Battle in the Larger War Against Rural America?

As I stared at blue sky above the pines on my property I knew my body was broken, and with a yelp slowly raised myself from the ground. I had taken my son’s dirt bike to get the mail, and on the way back to the house I decided to take a detour through the field to enjoy the beautiful Fall afternoon. As I rounded a turn in the corner of a grassy field I braked slightly, shifting my balance forward on the 125cc 4-stroke bike. At that moment the front tire hit a divot hidden by the grass, and I was sailing through the air, landing on the hard packed North Carolina clay on my shoulder. Amazingly my neck and head were pain-free, but I knew my shoulder was either dislocated or broken, and I worried that the pain in my side while breathing was symptomatic of a punctured lung. There was no dusting myself off from this one; I was going to need medical care and fast.

The two nearest hospitals were roughly 25 minutes away, and a 911 call to get an ambulance likely would bring it to an hour before I would reach either of them.

Both rural hospitals have issues. Their communities have been dying for decades, the textile industry that underpinned both having long ago left the area searching for cheaper labor in Latin American and Southeast Asia. One town resorted to tourism, playing up its ties as the site that inspired Andy Griffith’s fictional Mayberry in The Andy Griffith Show. The other town has been trying for years to become a small town known for its trendy restaurants and shops like nearby Blowing Rock, which itself was struggling to become more like trendy Asheville, a city that yearned to become North Carolina’s Sante Fe. But the popularity of the Andy Griffith Show has waned as its fan base aged and died along with Andy Griffith himself, and the City Fathers of the other town have ignored the new ideas that come with new residents, preferring to stick with the Old Boy Network for ideas, strangling growth. For example NASCAR was born only a few miles away from town, and hot rods, classic custom cars are still deeply revered here, yet the town banned cruising 10 years ago and killed the nightlife that had begun when teenagers and car enthusiasts had started hanging out in town.

The hospitals themselves have taken different paths. The one in Mayberry remains independent and small with a few dozen beds. It has a bad reputation based on several citations by the State for providing substandard care and its future is bleak. The other hospital built an entire new wing and emergency room in the expectation that the government would expand Medicare/Medicaid and that the hospital would be able to make money from higher reimbursements for providing care to the poor and elderly. It was a bad decision, and the hospital has been weighed down by the huge debt used to fund the expansion and the switch electronic medical records as Medicare/Medicaid reimbursements have been cut. It has since traded its independence for an “agreement” with one of the Mid-Atlantic’s largest for-profit hospital systems that is turning it into a referral hub for the hospital system. The system holds an option to buy the rural hospital but is in no hurry to exercise it. The hospital needs the health system more than the health system needs the hospital. While the local members of the hospital’s board may not understand that everyone else does.

I texted my son and he found me walking back to the house, holding my arm tightly against my body. I directed him to lock up the bike, put the dogs inside, and get my insurance card. One lesson I have been trying to teach him is the importance of keeping a cool head amidst trouble. As I’ve gotten older I’ve come to appreciate the value of this lesson. He then drove me about 35 miles to a large hospital  that happens to be owned by the same hospital system that has the agreement with the rural hospital mentioned above.

I discussed my thinking with one of the doctors who treated me. He doubted whether the hospital had the skills needed to treat my injuries on a Saturday evening. “They likely would have transferred you here anyway,” he said.  I would have wasted even more time as well as incurred the additional expense of 50 mile ambulance ride.

Most rural hospitals have staffing issues since they have to compete for the same medical professionals as suburban and urban areas. In the past this has meant rural hospitals paid more, and since Medicare/Medicaid reimbursed more for rural care they could afford it. Obamacare changed that; in order for the law to be budget neutral it built in cuts to medicare/medicaid that weren’t anticipated before the law’s adoption. The law has also increased penalties for re-admission, straining the budgets of rural hospitals even further. In the in-depth article “Rural Hospitals in Critical Condition“  USA Today reporters Jayne O’Donnell and Laura Ungar claim the Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare has damaged the survival of rural hospitals, pointing out that since 2010 over 40 rural hospitals have closed, forcing rural residents to drive long distances for medical care. O’Donnell and Ungar state the law’s requirements such as re-admission penalties and electronic health records added to the burden for rural hospitals.

“They set the whole rural system up for failure,” says Jimmy Lewis, CEO of Hometown Health, an association representing rural hospitals in Georgia and Alabama, believed to be the next state facing mass closures. “Through entitlements and a mandate to provide service without regard to condition, they got us to (the highest reimbursements), and now they’re pulling the rug out from under us.” (link)

Although painful and at least temporarily debilitating my injuries were not life threatening. But I’m reaching the age where my former life of a pack a day smoking, heavy drinking and bad eating habits are catching up with me, and a heart attack or stroke would not be considered unusual for a man of my age. In such an event every minute counts, and the USA Today article points out the importance of the Golden Hour where hearts and brains can be saved with medical intervention. Should the hospital in Mayberry disappear as seems distinctly possible, there will be people in its footprint who will have to travel for close to an hour to reach immediate medical care. Add in a 911 call to the volunteer fire department for  pick up by an ambulance and the loss of the hospital, even a poorly performing one, would be disastrous for the local community just as its been in the towns discussed in the USA Today article. Rural living is hard enough, but take away the safety net of a decent hospital close by and living here becomes downright dangerous for some.

Is this what the Obama Administration wants? It’s not as if the administration has embraced rural America. It disdains its values and laughs at its traditions. Worse it has implemented policies that go well beyond cutting funds to rural hospitals, policies that tear at the very fabric of rural life itself.

Midterm Election Results 2014 Summed Up

Kick Turkey Out of NATO

Lord Palmerstone once noted that nations do not have permanent allies, only permanent interests. This statement assumes that a nation always acts in its own best interest, and this assumption is the basis for the realist school of international relations. Realists always expect national actors to do what is best for themselves. If an action does not benefit the nation in any particular way, or worse threatens it, then one cannot reasonably expect it to act even though one might think and others might agree that it is the right course of action. In international relations at least according to the realist school, there are no completely altruistic acts by nations or their actors.

I’ve been rooted in the realist school of international relations well before I got my degree in political science, having grown up while Henry Kissinger acted as Nixon’s national security advisor and later secretary of state under him and his successor Gerald Ford.Realists not only expect nations to act in their best interests, but regimes and the organizations constituting them to do the same. In statecraft realists aren’t surprised when regimes do what’s best for them even when it might compromise or damage others, but are willing to act in their own best interest when the opposite party acts in theirs.

Case in point: Turkey. Under the regime of Recep Erdogan for the past 12 years Turkey has been acting in the best interest of Erdogan and his ruling party the AKP. Erdogan is an Islamist in a nation where political Islam had been banned for decades after its re-founding under Kamal Ataturk. While Ataturk and the secularists saw Europe as a useful ally that would strengthen Turkey and their regime in the Middle East, Erdogan has instead positioned Turkey as the next Islamic Caliphate more in line with the Ottoman Empire of the 17th century rather than secular and Democratic Western Europe.

Perhaps the biggest interest Erdogan has besides the desire to remain in power is to avoid empowering the Kurdish minority within Turkey. Unlike the Palestinians, the Kurds  have a much longer claim to their land stretching from northern Syria across southeastern Turkey, northern Iraq to Iran. One commonality between Erdogan and his secular predecessors has been the oppression of the Kurds in Turkey and their nationalist aims. The no-fly zone established in northern Iraq after the first Gulf War led to autonomy under Saddam and later the post-Saddam Iraqi government. Iraqi Kurds are as close to independent as Kurds have ever been, and their Syrian, Iranian and Turkish cousins recognize this.

From Erdogan’s perspective the decimation of the Syrian Kurds by the Islamic State (IS) is welcome. It weakens the Kurdish cause by reducing the number of Kurds in the region. Plus the Syrian Kurds were also strong supporters of the PKK, Turkey’s al-Qaida. From the realist perspective Erdogan will not act against IS on behalf of the Kurds unless there is an even greater, more pressing interest to do so.

And that’s the problem. Current American and European leadership is run by idealists not by realists. American and Europeans leaders simply do not understand why Erdogan  and to more worrying degree Vladimir Putin  act the way they do. To them bombing Kurds in Turkey instead of IS in Syria makes absolutely no sense just as annexing Crimea and dismembering Ukraine. They do not see the world the way Erdogan and Putin do, but realists do. Realists recognize that Putin and Erdogan will only act when the pressure applied to them is real and painful.

For Erdogan that pressure should include Turkey’s rejection from NATO and any possible future admittance to the EU under his regime. If Turkey acts in its own interests, so should the EU and the United States. The truth is that instead of being a beacon of secular Islam as Turkey once was, Turkey under Erdogan has become just another corrupt, Islamic Middle Eastern dictatorship with caliphate dreams. Turkey has condoned the rise of IS as well as backed  other terrorist groups such as Hamas. It has kept a tight leash on the American base in Incirlik, preventing it from participating in the second Gulf War and in attacks on IS.

Switching from Erdogan’s perspective, what is in America’s best interest? The dream for a secular Islamic state isn’t dead, it’s just moved to the southeast. As Iraq and Syria fall apart, the US should throw their backing behind the Kurds. The Kurds are not infected with the anti-western, anti-Semitic and anti-American ideology of Shi’a Iraq and Iran, or Erdogan’s Turkey. They are our only natural allies in the region besides the Israelis and should be supported not just with rhetoric, which the current administration excels at, but with military and logistical support against IS as well as diplomatic backing for an independent Kurdish state.

Doing this would pretty much end the alliance with Turkey, but the alliance is pretty much all but dead. Would the US actually send troops to Turkey if it invoked Article V? What if it invoked it against Israel, as some had suggested when the Israelis raided a Turkish ship attempting to break the embargo of Gaza?

What would the consequences be? Turkey would likely ally with Russia, but this is happening anyway as the Europe of the early 21st century looks increasingly like the Europe of the early 2oth century. After all, what’s the point of having a military base in a country if you can’t use it? Let the Turks and Russians try to get along on their own as they did in the 19th century.

For more on the subject read Michael Totten’s latest which inspired this post. Bernard-Henri Levy also states that should Kobani fall, Turkey should be kicked out of NATO.




The Razor Celebrates 13 Years

For 13 years I have used this medium as my soapbox, to stand and shout into the Void known as the Internet. 2,352 posts. 6,048 comments. Over that time I have swung from righteous anger in the months following 9-11, to optimism and hope in the years after the Iraqi invasion at a time when I was personally trying to change the world, to disappointment following the economic collapse of 2008 and the election of Barack Obama, to the despair of the Benghazi and IRS scandals, ending finally in the cynicism shrouded nihilism of today.

What can I say, but I’m simply stubborn. While I may no longer wish to change the world and simply want to be left alone in my current libertarian exile, there are still things I need to say and this is the only medium I have found to say them.

I have failed at essay writing, and authoring fiction and non-fiction books. I have failed at numerous small businesses and enterprises. Many of my predictions made in this journal and the positions I have argued have been proven wrong. In 2006 I said Google wouldn’t be around in 2011 and that Lindsay Lohan would die tragically in 2007. 8 years later Google is still my homepage and Lindsay Lohan is still alive, although whether her career is alive is arguable.

But my marriage of 24 years has never been stronger. I have helped raise a child over these 13 years, and while he’s not heading towards a full scholarship at MIT or Harvard, he is a very decent human being whose future in this world concerns me. I have built a writing-based career and nurtured the Wife’s education so that together we are comfortable. We have put money to work in our community, buying local products and hiring local workers whenever possible so that our success is shared with others. Our choices have allowed us to take an active role in animal rescue, saving dozens of unwanted animals from miserable deaths.

I was also right about some things. In 2005 I predicted the real estate bubble was becoming unsustainable. I was right that the soaring oil prices of 2008 would succumb to economic gravity and fall. And I was right in 2011 that removing Khaddafi from power was a bad idea.

The world may be indifferent to my existence yet I am confident I have made it a better place. So I may not be as respected as Charles Krauthammer or popular as Matt Drudge, I do occasionally write something worth reading.

I’ve picked one post from each year that is still worth reading today. Enjoy.

2001 -  Judging News Sources: Truth or Trash

The problem with bias is that it assumes the average reader or listener will believe everything that he or she reads or hears regardless of its source. However for Americans exposed to everything from sightings of Elvis to alien abductions to Clinton scandals, developing a “truth detector” (or its crudely named opposite, the “bullshit detector”) becomes an important skill. Such a skill starts early as children take on the media preferences of their parents, and is refined later in high school and often college when critical thinking skills are emphasized (one purpose of this journal is to save these skills from their demise at the hand of the Politically Correct). (Read the entire post)

2002 – October 2, 2002 – No Prize For Jimmy

President Carter’s crowning achievement was the Camp David Accords which returned the Sinai to Egypt in exchange for the end of a state of war between Israel and Egypt. While the accords ended a shooting war between the two countries, it is worth noting that the agreement was not even negotiated by the Americans – most of the diplomacy having been done by the King of Morocco and the Ceausescu regime in Rumania. Washington DC was simply the money to fund the deal. (Read the entire post)

2003 – May 25, 2003 – Censorship Today

It is important in a society for people to follow the same code of behavior. Americans are notorious for being more unmannered and direct than many other nationalities. Recent events show the impact a slow-death of civility in our society has. It is why President Ford’s saying that “We can disagree without being disagreeable,” remains a shining example that allows us to protect our rights to free expression. (Read the entire post)

2004 – June 25, 2004 – Cognitive Dissonance and Islam

The Saudi royal family has spread Wahabism around the globe, and now are about to be consumed by it. All the makings are in place for a jihadist overthrow of the kingdom: a corrupt government infiltrated by jihadists, a dying king, a large yet effete royal family containing many supporters of the jihadists, and the cognitive dissonance which prevents the leaders from recognizing the true enemies within their own ranks caused by their own inflexible understanding of their religion. (Read the entire post)

 2005 – April 12, 2005 – Visiting the Funeral Home

“These ceremonies are for the living,” the funeral director said. I commented that her job seemed more like a cruise director or wedding planner. “My job is to…” I almost got her to say it but she didn’t. She wanted to say:

Put the “fun” back into “funeral” but she artfully stopped herself from saying that although I knew deep down she wanted to. What followed was a more politically correct explanation of her duties and how much she enjoyed her job.

Well, I suppose it takes all types. (Read the entire post)

2006 – August 10, 2006 – We Are All Israelis

I stand for Israel because I see it as a desert that has bloomed through the hard work and brilliance of its people. I see a people that has suffered unjustly for thousands of years continue to suffer today. I see a people who refuse to accept the status of victims. I see a people who value peace but aren’t willing to trade it for annihilation.

I stand for Israel because Israel is a nation where Arabs, Jews and Christians live together in peace – next to states where religions and their books are banned outright. I stand for Israel because it values everyone. It holds gay pride rallies next to nations where gays are hung from forklifts. It treats women as equals in all ways, while the women in nearby nations can’t even leave their homes alone.

I stand for Israel because it is at the frontier of civilization, an outpost of honesty in a region mired in corruption. I stand for Israel because in the fight to preserve the light from the darkness, we are all Israelis. (Read the entire post)

2007 – October 7, 2007 – The Kiwi And the Eagle: Anti-Americanism in New Zealand

I recently wrote about my Wife’s experience while serving at a hospital in Tanzania with a 24 year old New Zealander. The girl was well versed in anti-American propaganda and felt compelled to heap abuse on my Wife. The Wife is quite capable of defending herself, but she lacks my background knowledge of American foreign policy and world history. During our brief phone call, I provided her with some basic facts to combat the Kiwi’s propaganda regurgitations. Afterward I decided to dig deeper into the youngster’s bigotry and did some research into New Zealand’s attitudes towards Americans. What I found changed my mind about wanting to visit the place anytime soon. (Read the entire post)

2008 – October 20, 2008 – The Good Daughter

Fenwick Island was different; our family was different. There was nothing left to do but accept these truths.

I took the box containing the ashes and at the Wife’s request I opened them and removed the plastic bag that held them shut with a twist tie. Inside were the mixed remains of both the Father-in-law and the Mother-in-law. The Wife cradled them under her pullover as we climbed the dune and walked to the waterline of the beach. As the Kid took the dog upwind, she undid the twist tie and allowed the bag to billow open. (Read the entire post)

2009 – November 19, 2009 – The Weak Horse Named Obama

A friend who voted for Obama last year (and regrets his decision BTW) asked me why I opposed the civil prosecution of terrorists and supported military tribunals. He thought that treating them as run-of-the-mill criminals was an insult, and that by convicting and sentencing them in a military tribunal elevated their status from terrorist to warrior. Here are the reasons I gave him for why I believe that Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision is the worst political decision made since President Ford pardoned Nixon in 1974. (Read the entire post)

 2010 – August 10, 2010 – Riders in the Storm

As with the storms, my instinct tells me that something is seriously wrong with my country. That same paralyzing fear that I had during the storm is with me everyday. The skies are ominous, yet Obama and the Federal Government are driving us deep into the storm and there is nothing much we can do it about it since both are deaf to our concerns. All we can do is listen to our instincts and take every chance we can to limit the danger to ourselves and loved ones the President and the Feds seem determined to visit upon us. (Read the entire post)

2011 – September 6, 2011 – A Short List of Lessons Since 9-11

Islam is Problematic And Our Ruling Elite Doesn’t Understand It
9-11 and the events over the past 10 years have taught us that Islam is different from all other world religions. It is not Christianity with different traditions unless the comparison is made to Christianity prior to the Renaissance. Then Christianity was a political and cultural defining force that determined all aspects of life for the lowliest peasant to the greatest emperor. It determined when each arose, what he did prior to work, his job, how he dressed, how he ate, and his relationship to his superiors (in the case of the emperor, to the Pope). There were no concepts of freedom in thought or deed at that time. The identify of “self” as inviolate would not become accepted until the Enlightenment in the 18th century. Tolerance of other cultures, ethnicities and especially religions simply did not exist at all. (Read the entire post)

2012 – January 17, 2012 – In the Belly of the Swan

Assess the situation. Keep calm. I tend to speak quickly and loudly when I’m nervous so I intentionally slow down the cadence of my words. Keep everyone calm. Crack a bad joke even though no one feels like laughing. Talk about the weather. Whatever it takes to keep everyone – including myself – from panicking. As a writer by instinct I feel myself observing myself, but that is also a task for the future; better to stay in the moment, the now. Time stretches, knees knock, keep scanning the darkness. “Safeties off?” “Yes,” I command. We are locked and loaded. The past is written, the future no longer exists. In the dense fog, in the belly of the swan, waiting for what must happen to happen. (Read the entire post)

2013 – April 3, 2013 – We Are Idiots

The system is corrupt yet we do nothing about it. We are told happy days are here again, that the stockmarket is at record highs, yet those of us who dabbled in the market prior to 2009 have still not recovered from the losses suffered then, leaving us on the sidelines of this rally. Small investors piled into the market and out of the market late back then, proving they were the “greater fools” and some are doing so today as the market skyrockets and smart money looks for the exits. Sure our 401K’s are expanding, but the numbers are meaningless for anyone other than those planning to retire in the coming months before this bubble bursts. Self employed people and contractors like myself don’t have 401K’s, we just have our wits and an ever sharpening skill set that we use to stay employed, but both are slowly being eroded by time as we age and the younger cohorts below us grow hungrier and more competitive. (Read the entire post)

Why I Think Bombing ISIS Is a Bad Idea

Every bomb we drop will kill civilians. If it’s a car full of jihadis they will turn it into a school bus full of orphans. A command and control center will become a day-care center. ISIS has learned Hamas’s playb0ok well, thanks to the liberal morons in the media who propagate whatever they are fed because they are incapable of deciding between truth and lies, having been indoctrinated into viewing both on equal footing.

If we are going to bomb anyone it should be Qatar, for financing ISIS, and Turkey, for supporting their recruitment efforts. Oh, and Saudi Arabia for starting this whole fundamentalist mess in the first place. Then give the Kurds any weapon they want as well as the military advisers to use it, and let them take care of business.

But just watch. The first pictures of dead children will soon be coming our way, and Obama and the Europeans do not have the stomach for this fight.

It’s not that I don’t believe ISIS needs to be stopped, just that bombing is not going to fix anything. Radical Islam is suffocating less violent and more tolerant sects of Islam around the world thanks to the funding by the Gulf States including Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, and is abetted by the doctrine of Political Correctness in the West which is ideologically blind to the intolerance of radical Islam and holds it to a lower standard than any other religion. The Westboro Baptist Church is notorious in the United States for its intolerant view of Christianity, yet the WBC is politically and ideologically liberal compared ISIS, Hamas, and fundamentalist Wahhabi sects taking over mosques around the world. WBC has not killed a single human being; the same cannot be said for these radical Islamic sects.

In order to fight ISIS we would need to remove the blinders of political correctness that prevent us from seeing the world as it is. The Koran is filled with brutality, and while the Bible is too, the difference is that no one today is killing in the name of Christ while tens of thousands kill in the name of Allah. Having Obama portray himself as a Muslim Imam, as Bookworm Room aptly puts it, telling us what Islam teaches shows the moral and intellectual vacuum at the center of today’s policy-making elite. Political Correctness is a form of elitism no different from the “white man’s burden” of Colonialism. Exactly how is Obama telling Muslims what their beliefs should be any different from European missionaries in colonial Africa? Why should we listen to American and European liberals tell us what Islam believes instead of the Muslims themselves?

We cannot defeat an enemy we refuse to see, so there is little point in wasting the lives of men and material on limited air strikes. All we will be doing is “cutting the grass” – an aphorism Israelis use to illustrate their Gaza strategy. Do enough to keep the militants in check, but not too much to defeat them. This strategy works when the threat is somewhat contained as it is in the Gaza strip, but not when it is growing and strengthening.

Hamas might be weakened by such a strategy but ISIS is not. With each new beheading video ISIS’s brand grows throughout the world. Its ideas and ideology spread in ways that must seem puzzling to the elites driving hybrids with COEXIST bumper stickers on them. These elites can’t even fathom another world view especially one as alien to liberal beliefs as Islam. ISIS and a sizable portion of the Muslim community do not want coexistence. Coexistence is something you do while you are weak, not when your forces are rolling through the desert sands in triumph. They have made it very clear that their goals are nothing less than the Muslim conquest of the world. In such a world there will be no place for Jews and Christians, or the LGBT community for that matter. There will be no freedom or democracy because both are haram, forbidden by Islamic law that states the only law is God’s Law.

It’s not like ISIS suddenly discovered this in the Koran. The basis for Islamic world domination has been laying in that book since it was written. “I (Allah) will instill terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them. This because they contended against Allah and His Messenger: If any contend against Allah and His Messenger, Allah is strict in punishment,” (Koran 8:9, 12-13). The Koran and the associated Hadith and other Islamic texts also portray Mohammad as the Ideal Man, al-insan al-kamil – the Perfect Man,  a 7th century Ubermensch whose actions and life were to be emulated by all good Muslims. Unfortunately Mohammad is closer in life and action to Genghis Khan than he is Gautama Buddha or Jesus Christ, and the table below proves it.

Number killed by Mohammad or under his direct orders:

Number KilledWhereCircumstances
?tens?Nakhla RaidMuhammad justifies the killing of women and children (Al-Mushrikun) (1)
2unclearMuhammad orders an adulterous couple stoned to death. (2)
70Battle of BadrMuhammad personally leads his warriors into battle against superior forces. (3)
1Battle of BadrUqba bin Abi Mu'ait begs for his life. "Who will look after my children, O Muhammad?" "Hell" Muhammad replies and orders Uqba killed.
1Battle of BadrAbu Jahl beheaded.
1unclearJewish poet Ka'b bin Al-Ashraf assassinated on Mohammed's orders for writing verses insulting Muslim women.
1unclearJewish merchant Ibn Sunayna killed after Mohammed orders his followers to "Kill any Jew that falls into your power." Ibn Ishaq, The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ibn Ishaq's Sirate Rasul Allah, A. Guillaume trans, 369
1unclearSufyan ibn Khalid al-Hudhali killed on Mohammed's orders.
1Uhud MountainMuhammad kills Quraysh warrior Ubayy bin Khalaf who had once taunted him.
600+Banu Qurayzah tribeMuhammad participates in the killing of captives in the marketplace of Medina.
?100s?Banu Mustaliq tribeMen killed, women, children enslaved.
93Khaybar RaidMuhammad breaks treaty with Jewish tribe.
1Khaybar RaidKinana bin al-Rabi tortured to reveal location of treasure, beheaded by Mohammed.
1unclearZaynab bint al-Harith attempts to poison Mohammed (some traditions say she was spared).
?100s?MeccaMuhammad orders those who resist, and those on a list to be killed.
3unclearMurder of the Poets. Muhammad orders murders of Abu 'Afak, Asma bint Marwan - the latter of whom was pregnant.
700 - 2,000Total

So for those of you keeping score at home, here is the number of people killed by Jesus:

Jesus:  -1 (Christ raised Lazarus from the dead)

From the elite’s point of view both prophets are highly fictionalized characters whose believers are equally misguided. Political Correctness simply wipes away the misdeeds of Mohammad and places him on equal footing with Christ, and in doing so says more about their mindset than the reality of Christianity and Islam. And their ignorance has led them to make policies that have created the conditions whereby an entire generation of Muslims now sees the best chance at the global caliphate since the siege of Vienna. This vision of Islam has displaced all others including the most tolerant and pacifistic of sects from Nigeria to Indonesia.

You cannot defeat an enemy by leaving his ideology intact. In order to stop ISIS we must accept they are fighting on behalf of Islam. Accepting that reality then forces us to confront a larger question: How do we fight Islam?

I’m not sure a religious war of Islam against Infidel is necessary at this point. I refuse to believe that all Muslims sympathize with ISIS, and that some are just as sickened by their beliefs as non-Muslims are. They need to be the ones leading the fight against ISIS on ideological grounds, not President Obama. Obama is the commander in chief. All he needs to do is say “Harm an American and your death will be imminent.” That’s it. No grand speeches about what Islam is or isn’t. We’ll leave that to the Muslims in the US and Europe to decide.

So until the ruling class loses its political correctness, until American Muslims stand against ISIS, and until the President stops issuing threats and unleashes the gates of hell on anyone that kills an American, then I believe bombing ISIS will do more harm than good and is therefore a bad idea.


1. Muhammed Ibn Ismaiel Al-Bukhari, Shih al-Bukhari: The Translation of the Meanings, Muhammed M. Khan trans, Dar Es Salaam, 1997, vol 4, book 56, no. 3012. Note that other traditions in (nos. 3014 and 3015) have Muhammad forbidding the massacre of women and children.

Here is how no. 3012 reads:

The prophet passed by me at a place called Al-Abwa’ or Waddan, and was asked whether it was permissible to attack Al-Mushrikun (unbelieving) warriors at night with the probability of exposing their women and children to danger. The Prophet replied, “They (i.e. women and children) are from them (i.e. Al-Mushrikun).”

2. Bukhari, vol. 4, book 61, no. 3635
3. Ibn Ishaq, The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah, A. Guillaume, trans, Oxford University Press, 1955, p. 301

It’s Jews All The Way Down

The name of this journal is in honor to Occam’s Razor, the tool of logic used to decide when faced with two theories having the same evidence the simpler theory is most likely true. I selected this name because of the explosion of conspiracy theories that followed the 9-11 attacks. Occam’s Razor is to a conspiracy theory what a can of RAID is to a cockroach. In the immediate aftermath of the attack there were a multitude of explanations and justifications, from Bin Laden striking the blow to protest America’s refusal to curb global warming to the controlled demolition of the towers by the US government itself. Like cockroaches these theories managed to survive and evolve into what we now call 9-11 Truthers, a movement that has become a cottage industry where the only people not responsible for the 9-11 attacks are the ones who actually claimed responsibility for committing them.

Every generation has its tin-foil hat crowd, as do both sides of the political spectrum. FDR knew about Pearl Harbor well before the Japanese launched the attack. JFK was killed by the CIA, mob, Cubans or a conspiracy involving all three. The moon landings were faked as was Elvis’s death. Reagan was killed by Hinkley and replaced with an imposter. The CIA was behind the AIDS and Crack epidemics of the 1980s. Vince Foster was “suicided” by the Clintons.

There’s an anecdote where a great scientist delivers a lecture on cosmology in which he remarks the earth orbits around the sun. At the end of the lecture an old woman stands up and shouts, “That’s poppycock. Everyone knows the earth sits on the back of a giant turtle.” The scientist then asks the woman, if that were true what is that turtle resting on? “It’s turtles all the way down,” she answers.

I’m reminded of this anecdote whenever I visit sites like Zero Hedge where it seems the vast majority of posters are advocates of one conspiracy or another, and often many. Whether its the downing of Malaysian Flight MH17, the rise of ISIS, the civil war in Ukraine, rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza or the Ebola outbreak, some insidious group is behind it – and it’s never the obvious the person or group claiming ownership. Instead that person or group is claimed to be a shill or patsy.

Take for example the Ukrainian civil war. Although Russia is the obvious aggressor because it has the most to lose by having an independent and prosperous Ukraine on its border, the Russian government is not to blame. Instead a belligerent undercover NATO forces are massacring Russian speakers in the East and goading Russia into the war. NATO also bombed Flight MH17 and fabricated the telemetry and satellite data showing the plane was downed by a missile fired from Russian controlled territory. The whole purpose of this exercise is for the West to ignite a war with Russia, one that will cause the price of fuel to skyrocket for the benefit of American energy companies.

Then there’s al-Qaeda and its off-shoot ISIS. It’s a common belief that these groups are under the control of the CIA and the Mossad. All the terrorist attacks committed by these groups, all the beheadings and massacres are manufactured by bureaucrats in Langley and Tel Aviv, operating “false flag” divisions devoted to creating mayhem that then provides justification for their governments to meddle in the Middle East on behalf of the TPTB, the Powers that Be.

Mind you there is not a scintilla of proof behind any of this, and when proof countering this narrative is raised the conspiracy theorists simply move the goal-posts onto another area where the proof is not as definitive. Or they claim the proof offered was itself manufactured, making it impossible to disprove their position. Conspiracy theorists believe such maneuvers make their positions stronger, but the impossibility of disproving a theory actually weakens it from a rational point of view. For example a single piece of evidence could disprove Evolution; simply find the fossil of a modern animal such as a human or horse in sediments dating from the Jurassic Period, and the theory would be gravely weakened. Yet there is no such evidence that can possibly refute the theory that the World Trade Centers were destroyed through explosives set in the structures by the CIA or Mossad as many Truthers believe. The fact that we have video and thousands of eyewitness accounts of the airliners slamming into the buildings does not weaken their convictions. The dearth of such acceptable contrarian evidence forces these ideas out of the realm of factuality and into faith.

And who are the TPTB? It depends on whom you ask. For many it’s the extremely wealthy oligarchs that run the world’s economies, men of unimaginable wealth whose faces are not known, but who control the fates of Man in the same way the gods controlled the fates of the Greeks and Romans. But then one could ask, well, who controls The Powers That Be? Inevitably we run into the Jews. The Jews are the world’s favorite Wizard of Oz, the man behind the curtain that controls everything Evil. If something bad happens there is inevitably a Jew behind it.

But why stop there? Who’s behind the Jews? And then the lady at the back of the room stands up and says “It’s Jews all the way down…”

Over the past 5000 years of their existence other tribes and their religions have come and gone but the Jews remain. They have survived countless persecutions, pogroms, and the greatest mass-murder in History and still they remain true to their faith and identity. Over that time Jews have risen to the heights of power in every civilization they have lived in, wielding power in service to Ottoman sultans, defining Communism in Russia, and serving the cause of freedom and democracy in the American senate. Their success in the Arts is unparalleled. Countless writers, actors, directors and musicians hail from the ethnic group. Their importance to finance, established during the middle ages due to the prohibition of usury by the Catholic Church, gave them the control of wealth that lays at the heart of most anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. This survival and even thriving at times is historically unusual, and when you put success together with survival over 5 millennia, you have a recipe for those of weaker minds to fall for conspiracies involving favoritism or treachery.

And I must emphasize that anti-Semitism is the purvey of weaker minds. It takes much effort to understand History and its complexities, and that is simply too much for many to employ. It is much easier to fall back on conspiratorial beliefs that are simplistic but with a strong history of their own. And that I think is the problem with facts: they take more effort to put together to create the Truth than to weave falsehoods into a great Lie. It is much easier to dream up a conspiracy theory that explains the loss of Malaysian Flight MH17 than it is to objectively examine the evidence. It is also a much more compelling story. But just because it’s compelling doesn’t mean it’s correct, and that apocryphal lady’s belief in turtles will not pluck the Earth from orbit around the Sun and set it upon an infinite column of reptiles just as the Jews are as guilty or innocent as any other ethnic group for the sins of this world.

This Should Get Obama’s Attention