You’ve all heard various conspiracy theories about “the Illuminati”, right? When you love reading conspiracies as much as I do, you see the Illuminati crop up all the time.  But for all the times I’ve heard about them, I never bothered to visit their Wikipedia page and ask: “just who are these guys?”

Well, turns out there was a historical group called ‘the Illuminati“.  They were an offshoot of the Freemasons founded in Bavaria in the 1700s by this guy Adam Weishaupt. But they came into conflict with the Church and were disbanded in 1785.

And just wait till you hear what diabolical schemes these scumbags had in mind! Are you ready to hear what the legendary, mystery-shrouded, secret society wanted? Wikipedia gives the grisly details of their nefarious doctrine:

The society’s goals were to oppose superstition, prejudice, religious influence over public life and abuses of state power, and to support women’s education and gender equality.

So… the famed secret society… the group whose name has formed the basis of all kinds of conspiracy theories… were a bunch of liberaltarians?

It’s a bit underwhelming to go looking for a sinister cabal of super-powerful malevolent cultists, and instead find the blog section at The Daily Beast.

Now, I do want to point out that in the 229 years since the society dissolved, considerable progress has been made towards almost all of the Illuminati’s goals throughout the world, and especially in the United States and Europe.  And, truth be told, I think that’s a good thing.

To a conspiracy theorist, this makes it look as if the Illuminati were secretly controlling events behind the scenes.  After all, how could their goals enjoy such success without the hidden hand that holds the world manipulating things? Pr-etty conve-e-enient, eh?

On the other hand, it could just be that Weishaupt and his friends foresaw that societal trends were going in that direction anyway, and were just ahead of their time.

But I haven’t gotten to the best part yet.  The best part is that in 1799, a guy named Augustin Barruel wrote a book called  Memoirs Illustrating the History of Jacobinism that claimed the Illuminati were behind the French Revolution. And you probably thought the John Birch society was who came up with blaming them for everything. Quoth the Wikipedia synopsis:

Barruel defines the three forms of conspiracy as the “conspiracy of impiety” against God and Christianity, the “conspiracy of rebellion” against kings and monarchs, and “the conspiracy of anarchy” against society in general. He sees the end of the 18th century as “one continuous chain of cunning, art, and seduction” intended to bring about the “overthrow of the altar, the ruin of the throne, and the dissolution of all civil society”

More than anything else, Barruel’s writing reminds me of Peter Hitchens whenever he gets on the subject of what he calls the “cultural revolution” in the 1960s. He too sees cultural change and social upheaval as a conscious effort secretly advanced by important people in society.  And who can say for sure if that’s wrong? Heck, Edmund Burke attested to the existence of a conspiracy as described by Barruel.

Conspiracies or coincidence? They report, you decide. But I’ll leave you with this: maybe the pattern is real, but there are no century-spanning conspiracies–it’s just that the same things keep happening over and over. “Condemned to repeat it”, like the fella said.

Did you hear about this weird rant by the House stenographer right before the vote to re-open the government?  Very strange stuff:

I don’t know if there’s audio, but according to this article, part of what she said was:

“This is not one nation under God. It never was,” she said. “Had it been … the Constitution would not have been written by Freemasons, they go against God.”

Longtime readers know my mantra: I don’t believe in conspiracy theories, but I love thinking about them. This would make a great opening scene for a Dan Brown-esque conspiracy novel.

So, I was reading an article about the late George Romney’s eligibility for the Presidency when I made an interesting discovery. According to the Reuters article:

[T]he Congressional Research Service declared that the practical, legal meaning of “natural born citizen” would “most likely include” not only anyone born on U.S. soil but anyone born overseas of at least one parent who was a U.S. citizen. [Emphasis mine.]

So, I looked into it. Here is the only paper I could find by the Congressional Research Service on the matter. And it quotes from the case United States v. Carlos Jesus Marguet-Pillado, in which a Court said:

No one disputes that Marguet-Pillado’s requested instruction was “an accurate statement of the law,” in that it correctly stated the two circumstances in which an individual born in 1968 is a natural born United States citizen: (1) that the person was born in the United States or (2) born outside the United States to a biologically-related United States citizen parent who met certain residency requirements. [Emphasis mine, again.]

So, let’s review: Obama’s mother was born in Wichita, Kansas. She was therefore a U.S. Citizen. Consequently, by this definition, Obama is a natural born citizen no matter where he was born. So there, conspiracy theorists: even if your “born-in-Kenya” idea proved to be entirely true, it doesn’t automatically make him ineligible.

Incidentally, I would have thought someone in the mainstream press would have pointed this out to Donald Trump and that crowd, instead of merely stringing them along to generate a farcical diversion from serious matters.

In the Marx Brothers movie Duck Soup, there’s a scene where Chico’s character, Chicolini, is on trial. The prosecutor asks, “Chicolini, when were you born?” Chico answers: “I don’t remember. I was just a little baby.”

I’ve though of this line while reading about the latest installment in’s “vetting” of the President. It seems a 1991 pamphlet from his literary agent described him as “born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii.” Almost everyone is saying it’s a simple fact-checking error. Even doesn’t claim it as evidence he actually was born in Kenya; rather, they say:

It is evidence–not of the President’s foreign origin, but that Barack Obama’s public persona has perhaps been presented differently at different times.

First of all, this is almost certainly true, as it is true of every other politician. How often have you seen a Presidential candidate, on a visit to Pittsburgh say “Go Steelers! I’ll fight for you in Washington as hard as Hines Ward blocks.” and then the next day in Wisconsin say “You know, my mother’s best friend’s brother had a cousin from Wisconsin, and I’ve always had a soft spot for those Packers. How ’bout Aaron Rodgers, huh?”

So, it’s kind of a waste of time to say “hey, look; this guy presents himself differently according to the situation! He is unfit to be President!” They all do that. Even if this isn’t a typo–and it probably is–it’s not important.

I hate the phrase “dog-whistle” used in regards to politics. It’s often used as a cheap excuse to say “well you didn’t say [awful, usually racist thing], but it’s what you meant.” That’s dishonest debating. But in this case, it seems almost like is actually saying (aside, to conservatives) “Here’s evidence he was born in Kenya.” (aloud, to world in general) “We’re not saying this means he was born in Kenya; we just think he’s a liar!”

Although, at least the allegation that he was born in Kenya, crazy as it is, would be important if true. (Which it isn’t.) It relates to an actual legal issue of his eligibility to be President. The stated allegation from, in contrast, is a stupid bit of minutiae even if it’s true.

Have you heard about this guy who says he was part of a secret government project that used time travel? I don’t know if this is a hoax or just a guy who’s got a few screws loose. (Would a sonic screwdriver fix that?) In any case, it’s sort of an… interesting story. My favorite part:

“It’s an inexpensive, environmentally friendly means of transportation,” Webre told The Huffington Post. “The Defense Department has had it for 40 years and [former Defense Secretary Donald] Rumsfeld used it to transport troops to battle.”


Used it.

To transport troops.

To battle.

I didn’t think Rumsfeld was a very good Defense Secretary, but somehow I think even he could have managed to win a war if he had access to time machines.

I also love the “environmentally friendly” bit. If they can travel through time; you don’t need to worry about the environment, you can just keep going back in time to when Earth was at its most pristine.

I love conspiracy theories like this. They’re just too funny.