Tag Archives: Mike Rothschild

The September 23rd Apocalypse

skeptoid eyeBy Mike Rothschild via Skeptoid

Biblical prophecy watchers, apocalypse predictors, rapture preachers, and doomsday preppers are buzzing about an upcoming day that might finally usher in the End of the World As We Know It: September 23, 2015. This is supposedly the day that a confluence of events, both political and scientific, is going to herald the destruction of humanity.

Oh man, not broken down cars!

Oh man, not broken down cars!

It’s clear that in prophecy circles, this is a big deal. A search for “September 23 2015 apocalypse” brings up 11 million hits. References to the “events of September, 2015” are all over major conspiracy websites, talking about everything from rapture to asteroids to aliens to Biblical blood moons. YouTube is brimming with videos showing “the signs” of what’s about to happen. Even Isaac Newton is said to have prophesied the end of the world for this date.

So what’s going to happen that day? What are the sources of these prophecies? And most importantly, should you be worried?

Let’s start with what’s being predicted for September 23, 2015 – and for September 2015 in general. According to various conspiracy, prophecy, and prepping websites, the following things will happen on the date itself:

  • Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement.
  • President Barack Obama is scheduled to meet with Pope Francis at the White House. Of note is that Francis is the 266th Pope, September 23 is the 266th day of the year, and the average length of human gestation is 266 days.
  • The Autumnal Equinox.
  • The First day of the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha, also known as “the Feast of the Sacrifice.”

If you add in days either just before or just after 9/23/15, you also get a number of apocalyptic events:

  • A range of dates that Comet 67P is scheduled to make an extremely close passage of Earth, September 15-28.
  • The September restart of the CERN Large Hadron Collider will open a portal to another dimension.
  • The end of Jade Helm 15 on September 15.
  • The September 25th launch of a new UN initiative, Agenda 2030, which signals the end stage of Agenda 21 implementation.
  • The date of the last of the “Four Blood Moons” heralding the End Times, on September 28.
  • The approximate date of predicted economic collapse.
  • The end of a Shemitah year in the Jewish Calendar, the last year of the seven year agricultural cycle, that traditionally brings with it great tribulation.

All of these events have been prophesied to form a combination that will bring on the End Times. What are the sources of these predictions?

Damn you, Ned Flanders! Damn you!

Damn you, Ned Flanders! Damn you!

  • The obvious confluence of the three major world religions on September 23.
  • Biblical prophecy, specifically the “Four Blood Moons” prophecy.
  • The End Times prophecy of Sir Isaac Newton.
  • A dire warning from French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who claimed on May 13, 2014 that we have “500 days to avoid climate chaos.” 500 days after May 13, 2014 is September 24, 2015.
  • Prophetic dreams and visions by people attuned to such things.
  • Predictive programming in Hollywood entertainment – specifically, many uses of the numbers “9” and “23” in films and TV.

If all of this is correct, September 2015 is going to be a spectacularly bad month for humanity, with climactic, scientific, economic, and godly chaos brought down upon us. So stock up on beans, guns, and guns that shoot beans, because we’re in for it.

Except skeptics don’t think like this. We don’t see omens and prophecy and rumor, grab our bug-out bags and head for the bunker. We grab our facts and head for the…facts bunker.

Let’s start with these events of September 23 itself.

Continue Reading . . .

Hey, Where’s the Fukushima Plume?

Mike RothschildBy Mike Rothschild via Skeptoid

After I started writing about the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, it quickly became clear that there was a huge amount of fearmongering about it. Garbage anti-science pieces like “At the very least your days of eating Pacific Ocean fish are over” and “28 Signs the West Coast is Being Absolutely Fried by Fukushima Radiation” were needlessly scaring the crap out of those who didn’t have the training, knowledge, or common sense filter needed to see through them.

fukushima bread 02_200pxThe result was that people became afraid that radiation was melting all life in the Pacific Ocean, that cancer was slamming the West Coast, that fish were inedible, that the beach was a death zone, that Japan would be obliterated, that half of America would have to be evacuated, that giant marine animals were washing ashore, that the ocean was broken, that life as we knew it was over, and on and on.

And all of that horror was before “the plume” reached the West Coast.

The radiation leak from Fukushima actually has two components. One was the initial leak from the incident itself, which hit the US fairly quickly. The other was the much slower moving “plume” of radioactive water, the extent of which only became clear last year after Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) admitted that 300 tons of runoff was leaking into the Pacific every day, with no way to stop it.

The New York Times’ map of the Fukushima Plume projection. (click image for larger view)

The New York Times’ map of the Fukushima Plume projection. (click image for larger view)

There were generally two reactions to the news that a plume of radioactive water was heading straight toward the West Coast:

Scientists did science. They researched, they set up studies, they developed computer models, they wrote papers, they disseminated their findings, they adjusted their hypotheses accordingly. The aim was to determine when the plume would arrive, what danger it carried, and what the next steps should be.

Panicmongers mongered panic. They wrote long blog posts trumping up the unknown dangers, they spread false stories, they relied on dubious sources, they sold anti-nuclear products, they accused researchers and government officials of covering up the “real story” of how bad it was. The aim was to make money, abolish nuclear power, and spread fear.

What the researchers looking into the plume found was, at least to me, fairly comforting:

  1. Traces of Fukushima radioactivity would reach the West Coast of the US sometime in early 2014.
  2. Because of the natural dilution of a relatively small amount of water in the hugeness of the ocean, they would be just that – traces.
  3. However, there was no way to tell exactly when the radiation would arrive.
  4. Therefore, monitoring of the radiation levels in sea life and water should continue.
  5. While that’s happening, go about your business safe in the knowledge that you aren’t being fried.

So here we are, past early 2014. Almost halfway through the year, really. What’s the status of the plume?

For one thing, we still don’t know when the plume will hit, or if it actually has. The estimates are still a moving target.

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9 True Conspiracies That Aren’t Actually True or Conspiracies

Mike RothschildBy Mike Rothschild via Skeptoid

In Skeptoid Episode #364, Brian made a statement regarding conspiracy theories that I’ve since used many times in my continued battle against tinfoil-helmeted nonsense. It’s simple, direct, and 100% true:

No conspiracy theory has ever been proven true.

A less-elegant and wordier way to say this is that there has never been a popularly held conspiracy theory, ie, a non-evidenced belief that a group of powerful people secretly worked together to do something harmful, that later had compelling evidence to prove that said conspiracy was real.

Don’t think too hard about it, little guy.

Don’t think too hard about it, little guy.

Whenever I use this argument in social media, I’m invariably sent one of about half a dozen different internet listicles that attempt to prove me wrong by going through a number of conspiracies or conspiracy theories that were later proven to be real. One is a really long slog from Infowars. Another is from Cracked. There are still others from Listverse, Style Slides and True Activist.

What much of the content on these lists, as well as those who send them to me, get wrong on a pretty consistent basis is that there is a difference between a conspiracy and a conspiracy theory. Conspiracies are real, and many of them have been proven conclusively to have taken place at all times throughout history. Some of these include the conspiracy to assassinate Abraham Lincoln, the conspiracy to assassinate Adolf Hitler (the so-called July 20th plot), the conspiracy to throw the 1919 World Series, American tobacco companies conspiring to suppress scientific research that painted their products as harmful, and so on. All of these are real and none of them are theories.

conspiracy box secret package_250pxLikewise, things like 9/11 being an inside job, JFK being shot by multiple gunmen, chemtrails, the existence of an all-powerful New World Order, FEMA camps and any number of banking and currency related plots are all conspiracy theories. That is to say, they are all theories that a conspiracy took place – and most have little to no evidence supporting those theories.

Not only is there a difference between a conspiracy and a conspiracy theory, there are all manner of reasons why people would “conspire” about something – and they’re not all bad or harmful. There are perfectly legitimate reasons why a government or corporation would want to keep something secret, whether it’s a patented technology, proprietary research or a sensitive national security matter. Like it or not, not everyone gets to know everything.

conspiracies05With all of this in mind, I want to take a look at one of the lists I’ve been sent a couple of times. It’s representative of the general tone and content of the other lists, and has the added advantage of being from a reputable source, Business Insider. This is a good example of a list of “conspiracies” that is not a list of conspiracy theories, and isn’t even all “conspiracies.”

That’s a lot of qualifiers. To be on this list, the plot has to be huge (whatever that means), driven by the government, and proven to be a conspiracy that with compelling evidence to support its existence.

1. The U.S. Department of the Treasury poisoned alcohol during Prohibition — and people died.

This is completely true. The Treasury, in its capacity to enforce the Volstead Act, added deadly chemicals to the industrial alcohol that was being used by bootleggers as a substitute for grain alcohol. While the poisoning became public knowledge very quickly, over 1,000 people still died in New York alone, thanks to this true conspiracy.

2. The U.S. Public Health Service lied about treating black men with syphilis for more than 40 years.

Another true conspiracy, and one that the CDC openly acknowledges – making up for decades of knowingly sickening hundreds of poor black men. But even during the heyday of the experiment, it was never a popularly discussed theory, and it’s been public knowledge for four decades.

3. More than 100 million Americans received a polio vaccine contaminated with a potentially cancer-causing virus.

Here’s a perfect example of something that’s not a conspiracy, certainly not a government conspiracy and not even true. The Business Insider piece relies on debunked testimony from anti-vaxxer Barbara Loe Fisher to back up the pseudoscience claim that millions of doses of Jonas Salk’s original formulation of the polio vaccine contained the “cancer causing virus” SV40. But no compelling evidence exists that SV40 actually causes any harm in humans (SV stands for simian virus), and virtually every source that makes this claim is strongly anti-vaccination.

The author of the BI piece is either anti-vaccine or fell for anti-vaccine propaganda.

4. Parts of the Gulf of Tonkin Incident, which led to U.S. intervention in Vietnam, never happened.
USS Maddox in action against North Vietnamese torpedo boats (navy.mil)

USS Maddox in action against North Vietnamese torpedo boats (navy.mil)

This would indeed be a “huge government conspiracy” if it were true. As I wrote about in my piece on false flag attacks, the Gulf of Tonkin Incident was actually two separate attacks on a US destroyer by North Vietnamese torpedo boats in August 1964. The first was an actual attack, with bullet holes in both the destroyer Maddox and the North Vietnamese boats to prove it.

The second was theorized even at the time to be a phantom attack, featuring jittery US sailors shooting at shadows. While we now know that this “attack” didn’t happen, there was a tremendous amount of confusion in the White House shortly afterwards, and subsequent tapes show President Johnson openly wondering what happened. It could be argued that there was a conspiracy to make the Incident fit the Johnson administration’s desire to expand US involvement in Vietnam, that’s a conspiracy of a different color.

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Busting Some Rothschild Family Facebook Memes

Mike RothschildBy Mike Rothschild via Skeptoid

If you want to dispense racist, historically ignorant nonsense about wealthy Jews, you can hardly do better than Facebook. Quite a few memes have been going around about the Rothschild family (which, full disclosure, I have absolutely no link to other than having the same last name) and I wanted to take a look at three that caught my eye.

jacob-rothschild_250pxThe first is a picture of prominent family member Jacob Rothschild, a respected British investment banker and a direct descendent of Mayer Amschel Rothschild. While Jacob is renowned for his business acumen and philanthropy, this particular meme isn’t so respectful, contrasting him to a crudely drawn picture of billionaire tyrant character Montgomery Burns from the Simpsons.

There’s also some text, full of the usual Rothschild-related distortions and lies. Part of it reads:

“My family is worth 500 trillion dollars.”

This is a ludicrous accusation that seems to have appeared out of thin air and been accepted as gospel truth by internet conspiracy theorists and anti-Semites. It obviously doesn’t pass the smell test, but just to be sure I looked for the source of the claim. There isn’t one, or at least not one I could find. It appears to be completely made up. It’s also impossible. The entire amount of financial assets held by the population of the earth is a bit less than $200 trillion.conspiracy-theory-alert_200px As of 2011, the total worth of the derivatives market was about $600 trillion, and there’s nowhere near enough money in the world to pay that off should the need arise.

The richest living member of the Rothschild family, Benjamin de Rothschild, is estimated to be worth about two billion dollars. Only two Rothschilds, but not Jacob, appear on the Forbes list of richest people in the world – which, of course, has led to a separate conspiracy about Forbes colluding with the family to keep their true wealth quiet. But not so quiet as to keep internet sleuths in the dark, I guess.

As usual, this is a nugget of information that only those “with their eyes open” know.

“We own nearly every central bank in the world.”

There are all kinds of goofy conspiracies about the Rothschilds having central banks in all but 3 or 7 or 9 countries. However, as Brian pointed out in his Skeptoid episode about the Rothschild conspiracy theory, the era of the Rothschilds “controlling the world’s money supply” is long over. There are far more powerful banks around the world, controlling far greater sums of money.

The very fabric of the claim is silly. A “central bank” is by definition  .  .  .

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What Are 250 Million Americans Infected With?

Mike Rothschildby Mike Rothschild via Skeptoid

Even for weird internet ads, this one is especially disgusting. It looks like it was drawn in crayon by a six year old, and shows three equally icky images. One is a “white coated tongue” sticking out, another is a naked guy with rashes all over his body and arrows pointing at him listing all sorts of ailments, and the third is someone sitting on a toilet, apparently suffering from constipation. And the text reads “250m Americans infected” with an arrow that invites you to “learn more.”

The ad in question. The crudeness is on purpose, to make you curious.

The ad in question. The crudeness is on purpose, to make you curious.

On the surface, this looks like just another “one weird trick” ad, using cheap animation and ugly art to promise secret knowledge of miracle products at low, low prices. But “250 million Americans” infected with something is a lofty claim, even for the internet. Is there anything to be concerned about regarding this apparently horrible plague? And could YOU be infected with…whatever it is?

As per the other “one weird trick” ads, clicking on the link is going to give you a lot of information, but none of it with any value. Like many of the other ads of this genre, this ad takes you to a half-hour animated video drawn in the same crude style as the ad. The video is a long blather delving into the usual food conspiracy about the FDA and Big Pharma using aspartame to make us fat, sick and stupid. Nothing you haven’t heard before. It’s only 16 minutes into the video that you even find out what “the infection” is.

But when you do, it’s really bad. It’s presented as “a consequence of the unnatural elements we’ve been exposed to” and “the deep, dark secret the food conglomerates are, as we speak, spending millions of dollars to sweep under the rug.” It’s described as a “killer” that “takes over your body from the inside” and you “never know it’s there – until it’s too late.”

“It” turns out to be candida, a variety of yeasts that lives in our guts, on our skin and in other parts of the body. Everyone has it and it normally doesn’t hurt anyone. It’s a completely harmless fungus that occasionally multiplies out of control due to stress, sickness or antibiotic use. This can cause a yeast infection, or thrush, if it’s occurring in the mouth.

Despite the almost total harmlessness of candida, a fake condition called “Candida sickness” or hypersensitivity has become very popular among alternative medicine advocates. It’s looked at as the new one-size fits all disease, causing everything from  .  .  .

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Can ‘Oil Pulling’ Improve Your Health?

Benjamin RadfordBy Benjamin Radford via Discovery News

The latest health fad making the rounds is something called “oil pulling,” an ancient Indian practice in which people cleanse their mouths (and bodies) of toxins by swishing a vegetable oil (such as olive, coconut, or sunflower) in the mouth for 20 minutes and then spitting it out.

oil-pulling_250pxIt’s ridiculously simple, and, it is claimed, amazingly effective. According to science writer Mike Rothschild’s blog for the Skeptoid podcast, “Oil pulling is said to treat chronic pain, insomnia, cavities, allergies, thrombosis, diabetes, asthma, bad breath, gingivitis, digestive issues, meningitis, low energy, heart disease, kidney disease, ‘toxic bodily waste,’ PMS, leukemia and even AIDS. Oil pulling, it would seem, is truly a life-changing medical miracle.”

Okay, so maybe swishing a few teaspoons of olive oil isn’t a “life-changing medical miracle.” Other claims are more down-to-earth; according to one proponent, “Oil pulling is an age-old remedy that uses natural substances to clean and detoxify teeth and gums. It has the added effect of whitening teeth naturally and evidence even shows that it is beneficial in improving gums and removing harmful bacteria. The basic idea is that oil is swished in the mouth for a short time each day and that this action helps improve oral health… The practice of oil pulling started in India thousands of years ago.”

oil pulling 02
The fact that oil pulling has been used for thousand of years (if indeed it has) is asserted as proof of its efficacy but in fact means nothing. This is an example of a logical fallacy called the “appeal to tradition.” Just because a practice has endured for hundreds or thousands of years does not mean it is valid. For nearly 2,000 years, for example, physicians practiced bloodletting, believing that balancing non-existent bodily humors would restore health to sick patients.

The fact that the premise was completely false and absurd made no difference: the patients who died were assumed to have been too sick (and not killed by the bogus medical treatment), and the ones who recovered (despite, not because of, the bloodletting) were convinced the treatment was a miracle cure. It’s the same reason that people believe superstitions  .  .  .

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TRUE or FALSE: Swishing plant oils in your mouth has been proved to ameliorate a variety of medical ailments? Click here for the answer.

TRUE or FALSE: Swishing plant oils in your mouth has been proved to ameliorate a variety of medical ailments?
Click here for the answer.

Why Are Bankers Killing Themselves in Droves?

Mike Rothschildby Mike Rothschild via Skeptoid

The idea that “mysterious deaths” circle around major events or people is central to the mythology of conspiracy theories. From the Clintons and Barack Obama to the JFK assassination and 9/11 to whistleblowing journalists and UFO researchers, those with their eyes opened believe the Globalist Controllers have the power to kill anyone, anywhere and make it look like an accident or suicide.

A graphic from InfoWars, as subtle and incorrect as always.

A graphic from InfoWars, as subtle and incorrect as always.

So when a cluster of bankers and major players in the financial industry died within a few weeks 2014, it raised eyebrows. Even more bizarre is that many of them worked for JP Morgan, are of similar ages and died by either unknown or self-inflicted causes.

Nine “banksters” all dying mysteriously and all within the same short span of time. What’s going on here? Are loose ends being tied up? Were they about to go public about something terrible? Is another economic crash around the corner or something even worse, like a financial reset, foreign currency scandal or total economic collapse? Did these poor souls know things they weren’t supposed to?

When examining these so called “death lists” it’s important not to mistake coincidence for conspiracy. It’s also important to get past the click-bait headlines and “just asking questions” ethos of websites in need of ad revenue.

Sure, “nine bankers mysteriously dying in a month” sounds weird and creepy. But every death that occurs for reasons other than natural causes is inherently “mysterious” until the reasons for why it happened are determined. So is there something else that explain this string of deaths, other than “they were taken out by the Powers That Be?”

Even Fox Business got in on the panic

Even Fox Business got in on the panic

Let’s take a look at the lists, and then we can go from there. In the last month, three JP Morgan employees died, all with different positions and in different cities. They are:

  • Gabriel Magee, 39, vice president, corporate and investment bank technology, London, January 28, jumped off a building
  • Ryan Henry Crane, 37, executive director, New York, February 3, unknown causes
  • Li Junjie, 33, finance, Hong Kong, February 18, jumped off a building

Other sources then add a number of names to the list, anywhere between six and nine bankers who dies under “mysterious circumstances.” This is the list that’s most commonly being used on sites trying to make a connection between the deaths:

  • David Bird, 55, Wall Street Journal writer covering OPEC, New Jersey, January 11, went missing on walk
  • Tim Dickenson, age unknown, Communications director at Swiss Re AG, London, January 21, unknown causes
  • William Broeksmit, 58, former senior risk manager at Deutsche Bank, London, January 26, suicide by hanging
  • Karl Slym, 51, managing director of Tata Motors, Bangkok, January 27, death by jumping out window
  • Mike Dueker, 50, chief economist at Russell Investments, Washington State, January 31, death by falling
  • Richard Talley, 57, founder of American Title Services, Denver, February 4, shot himself with nail gun
  • James Stuart, Jr., 70, Former National Bank of Commerce CEO, Scottsdale, February 19, unknown causes

Even just a cursory glance at the list turns the “nine dead banksters” narrative into a shambles. Two of the names, Bird and Slym, had nothing to do with banks or banking, working in journalism and the automotive industry. Two of the others, Broeksmit and Stuart, were  .  .  .

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Some Questions About the Fake Snow

Mike Rothschildby Mike Rothschild via Skeptoid

fake snow 834_250pxOn January 30th, as the South and East of the US were shaking off the effects of a monster cold wave (the second major storm that month, in fact) videos starting popping up on YouTube purporting that the snow that had fallen in said storm was not snow at all, but actually a synthetic chemical spray meant to look like snow, but delivered via artificial weather for evil purposes.

The videos, dozens of them in all, had titles like “Georgia Fake Snow!!!” and “FAKE SNOW being Reported all over the U.S. SINCE WHEN DOES SNOW TURN BLACK????” and “Fake Snow that won’t melt is really Nanobots 2014.” Soon, regular conspiracy blogs like Before It’s News ran with it. What these clips showed was, admittedly, pretty strange. People would go outside, grab a handful of snow, ball it up, take it back inside, take a lighter to it…and it didn’t melt. Instead, it turned black. And the video-makers complained of a plastic smell.

The science behind the fake snow (MetaBunk.org)

The science behind the fake snow (MetaBunk.org)

This chemical-laden, non-burning, plastic “snow” could only be nefarious geoengineering at work, a New World Order false flag attempt to control our climate and our minds and our freedom through HAARP and the chemtrails that the globalist controllers and their minions relentlessly spray around the world and around the clock, all designed to keep us docile and slumbering sheeple who won’t question being sickened and fattened and loaded down with toxins and GMOs and vaccines and toxic GMO vaccines and false flags and crisis actors and Agenda 21 and propaganda and aspartame and Monsanto and all of it ending with a guillotine blade and a plastic tub AND A FEMA DEATH CAMP!!!!! AHHGGHHHH!!! RUN!!! OPEN YOUR EYES!!! DO YOUR RESEARCH!!!!

Or, you know, it’s science.

Really, really basic science.

Mick West, the chemtrail skeptic who founded metabunk.org jumped on this nonsense right away, and posted a simple, really sound explanation for why the snow in the videos blackened and didn’t turn into water. I’ll quote it here:

A) The snow is melting, but the very loose fluffy structure of the snow wicks away the water, turning dry snow into wet snow, and eventually turning the snow into slush.

B) The snow is blackened when a lighter is held underneath it because of the soot from the lighter (the products of incomplete combustion). It’s not burning.

C) The smell is fumes from the lighter (also from incomplete combustion) and/or people briefly burning nearby objects like gloves.

So, there you go. Other than being a pretty good example of why basic science education is so important, these videos show nothing even remotely unusual.

But what if they did?

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