Datadog Investor Q&A

Here are the insights you need to know from the Q&A session with David Obstler, CFO, and Olivier Pomel CEO.

R&D Investment

Datadog’s efficient sales model, focused on low friction trials, purchases and land & expand sales motion, enables the company to make outsized investments in R&D. According to Pomel, “We are hiring as many engineers, as quickly as we can.”

Datadog Non-Gaap R&D Expense. Source: Datadog
Datadog Non-Gaap R&D Expense. Source: Datadog

Slowdown in spending

Datadog is not worried (yet) about a slowdown in customer spending. According to Obstler, “We have lived within our means, not boom or bust.”

Gross retention is a metric closely watched by Datadog, and customers need to have a monitoring platform in place. Either Datadog, or something like it. Of course Datadog is more than infrastructure monitoring, but you get the idea. Datadog provides must have capabilities so that an organization can develop, test and run applications.

Pomel and Obstler both talked about the efficiencies of Datadog, to consolidate spend and provide Automation. By a sustained focus on Developer productivity, Datadog helps company IT budgets reduce spend in their largest area: engineers.

Target Addressable Market

Datadog’s Target Addressable Market is far in excess of $100 Billion.

Spending in observability, the core value proposition of Datadog, is expected to grow to $62 billion in 2026, according to Gartner Research.

Observability Spend Forecast. Source: Gartner Research
Observability Spend Forecast. Source: Gartner Research

Overall spending in security will rise to $188.3 Billion in 2023, with cloud application security growing the fastest at 26.8%. Datadog has been investing in could application security, beginning with its Sqreen acquisition in 2021.

It is still early innings with respect to the Digital Transformation and Cloud Migration. Datadog is core to both long term trends, as the legacy solutions companies are using today simply do not work in the Cloud. Datadog is the natural, cloud-native solution that will be considered for every project.

Cloud spend forecast, trend line depicts cloud spend as a total of IT spend.
Cloud spend forecast, trend line depicts cloud spend as a total of IT spend.

Platform approach continues to resonate with customers

Percentage of customers using 2, 4 or 6+ more Datadog products
Percentage of customers using 2, 4 or 6+ more Datadog products

Datadog’s fast paced innovation is paying off with customer purchases, and sets up a multi-year acceleration of revenue. The number of Datadog customers using two or more products has increased to almost 80%, those using four more products has increased to 37%, and those using 6 or more products has increased to 14%. For a company that had only one product five years ago, this is remarkable.

Pomel noted that the same sales team can sell all solutions to buyers – meaning that Salesperson productivity at Datadog is increasing.

The reason for this uptake is related to Datadog’s platform strategy. All products need to add context and value to the data being collected and solve use cases for engineers. Datadog does not have standalone products – all products are well integrated with the Platform.

You can see this in Datadog’s acquisition strategy, which historically has targeted smaller, earlier stage companies that boast strong talent and entrepreneurial leaders. The teams are brought into Datadog to integrate their code with the Datadog platform, and the leadership runs the product team to grow the business. This has resulted in great success, beginning with Logmatic (log management team that is putting Splunk out of business), Sqreen (application security monitoring), and others.

The future is bright for Datadog as it fixes its gaze resolutely on the horizon, and continues to do what it does best:

  • Maintain high customer retention (130%+)
  • Grow revenues through its low friction, land and expand model
  • Invest heavily in R&D
  • Make strategic acquisitions
  • Stay profitable and cash flow positive

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Datadog Investor Day – First Impressions

Datadog held its Investor Day in conjunction with the annual DASH conference. Here are our first impressions about the Product announcements.

Datadog continues to innovate at a rapid pace. Each new product offering or new is designed to save time, prevent downtime and solve problems. Datadog is tapping into new budgets and expanding their TAM (Target Addressable Market). For example, cloud application security, workflow management and cloud cost management.

There are whole companies dedicated to these areas, some of them public, such as Lacework, Asana,, or Harness. This is in addition to log management and security offerings that take market share from Splunk and others. Datadog’s ability to take marketshare from customers and send them to the trash heap is remarkable. Examples are:

  • AppDynamics: Purchased by Cisco Systems, and rarely heard of in competitive deals
  • Splunk: Recently identified as a takeover target. Starboard Value LP acquired a 5% stake in the company, announced on Monday.

Datadog’s continued focus on engineer efficiency, time-savings, and preventing application downtime delivers a solid ROI (Return on Investment) and ensures that the budget for Datadog is prioritized over spending in other areas. Datadog’s rapid product deliver roadmap and integrated platform enables the company to attract spend that might go to other vendors.

Datadog continues to add value to its customers by presenting data with context. The Datadog platform For example, being able to show cloud costs alongside cloud utilization for developers and engineers to see, is a brilliant way to “guilt” people into saving money.

Datadog is well-positioned for continued growth as its contracts allow for customers to start small, with one or two products, and then grow organically. New products can be tried for little or no cost, and at the end of the trial period, customers can choose to continue to use the products at an agreed price. This is the key behind Datadog’s low friction approach.

According to Alexis Lê-Quôc, Datadog customers collect trillions of datapoints today, a staggering volume. With all of this data, Datadog has the opportunity to freeze out other vendors. For example, if Datadog’s security offering meets or exceeds the minimum standard, why use a separate vendor for security? Datadog has the opportunity to capture budget across Dev, Ops, Security

For example:

  • Open Telemetry Support: Makes it easier for teams that have adopted the Open Telemetry standard to adopt Datadog.
  • Service Catalog: Makes it easier and faster for teams to identify the team that owns each service, contact them or fix the problem in Datadog by rolling back code. All automatically updated.
Service Catalog Demo, Datadog Investor Day
Datadog Service Catalog
  • Powerpacks: Create a best practices Datadog dashboard in seconds.
Example of a Powerpack
Datadog Powerpacks
  • Data Steams monitoring: Identify services in the queue causing bottlenecks, and prevent downtime.
Data Stream Monitoring, Datadog Investor Day
Data Stream Monitoring
  • Cloud cost management: Unifies cost and observability data. Engineers are guilted into saving money by being presented with cost data alongside Utilization data.
  • Intelligent Test Runner: Reduces time that a developer needs to wait for testing to seconds from minutes, saving days in developer productivity.
  • Continuous Testing
  • Dynamic Instrumentation: Instrument code on the fly. Support for Java, Python and .Net.
  • Cloud application security: competes with vendors in this space such as Lacework. By creating features that put smaller vendors out of business, Datadog continues to create value for its shareholders and customers.
  • Application Security Management: Deepens Datadog’s footprint in cloud application security. Since legacy vendors offerings are irrelevant in the cloud, Datadog is taking advantage of greenfield opportunities to grow revenues and attract new customers.
  • AI/ML: Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to alert humans to unknown unknowns, troubleshoot issues faster and identify root causes.
  • Workflow automation: Helps customers to streamline monitoring and remediate issues faster. Datadog continues to help customers complete their tasks faster, and enables employees to increase productivity.

In a period of time when a potential recession looms, Datadog is well positioned to help its customer to do more with less. If layoffs increase and unemployment grows, Datadog will have more opportunities to help its customers. While a high technology platform like Datadog is not “recession proof”, Datadog is better positioned than most to grab spend from other IT budgets to maintain and grow usage of Datadog.

By consolidating spend to one vendor, instead of many, corporate purchasing officers can negotiate better terms with Datadog, which benefits the customer.

We will be updating our audience with additional insights tomorrow, after we have been able to digest more of the investor day presentations.

Update: Nord Stream Pipeline Investigation Suspects

  • Swedish and Danish authorities are currently conducting investigations to determine the culprit of the Nord Stream Pipeline sabotage.
  • Investigators have recovered evidence, and it is being analyzed. The area has been reopened to maritime traffic.
  • The Swedish Security Service confirmed that the evidence indicated several hundred pounds of explosives were used.
  • Russia is protesting the investigation, which is being conducted without them.
  • Scroll down to see the top suspects and the relative probability of guilt assigned to each.

The Russian Foreign Ministry protested the investigation. Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman for the Russian foreign ministry, said on October 6th, “(To) Not to allow the owner (of the pipelines) to witness the investigation means there is something to hide.”

Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova
Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova

Pipeline owner, Gazprom may be interviewed as a witness. Gazprom, however, does not have authority in Sweden or Denmark, where the crimes occurred. Gazprom is free to conduct its investigation, but Sweden and Denmark are prudently preventing foreign powers from accessing the crime scene.

This is completely normal protocol for an investigation. For example, if a factory or plant is consumed by fire, the factory owner does not help to conduct the investigation. They are a suspect until proven otherwise. Interference from external parties does not help the investigators.

Statement by Swedish Defense Minsitry

Swedish Defense Minister Peter Hultqvis, stated that foreign powers are not usually invited to participate in a criminal investigation.

Include the Russians in an investigation would bring few benefits, other than the opportunity for interference. Russia should let the investigation to continue and await the results. Of course if Russia, and/or its allies, are responsible, then the need to interfere with the investigation becomes critical. Russia also needs to be able to claim that the investigation was illegitimate with their guilt becomes public,

Peter Hultqvis, Swedish Defense minister at a U.N. Security Council meeting in 2017
Peter Hultqvis, Swedish Defense minister at a U.N. Security Council meeting in 2017

Why does Russia want to be involved Nord Stream investigation?

Russia has two primary reasons for wanting to be involved:

  • Possibility #1:

    Russia, or its allies, were responsible for the pipelines blast. The Russian commandos responsible would have taken every precaution to not leave any evidence behind linking the explosion back to Russia. There is still a high chance that a mistake or misstep was made. The Swedish and Danish teams will likely use advanced forensic techniques and technology. They are likely to turn up strong evidence linking someone to the sabotage. It is very possible that the CIA are working with their Swedish and Danish counterparts to enable the use of advanced capabilities, teams, labs and equipment.

    The U.S. has an extremely good track record of investigating terrorism, identifying the perpetrators and either bringing them to justice, or eliminating those responsible through strikes or special forces missions. Due to this fact, Russian agents would very much like to intercept and destroy evidence to hide their crime.

    Another strong possibility is that Russia wishes to plant evidence to incriminate the U.S. or its allies.
  • Possibility #2:

    Russia wishes to monitor the investigation to make sure that no one tampers with evidence and that the investigation is conducted thoroughly. This is the least likely possibility of the two.
Russian Vympel forces
Russia’s elite Vympel forces

The most likely reason why Russia insists on being part of the investigation is to interfere, tamper with and plant evidence. Russia is not known for conducting unbiased investigations or an independent legal system. In fact, Russia is widely recognized for a lack of accountability and a legal system that operates on behalf of the Kremlin to persecute the political enemies of Vladimir Putin.

Who are the leading suspects in the Nord Stream Pipeline sabotage?

Here are the leading suspects in the Nord Stream Pipeline sabotage case, and the probability of guilt:

RUSSIA or AlliesGain support at home
Raise nat. gas prices
Special Operations Forces (SOF)Russia has naval bases at Kaliningrad, St. Petersburg80%
U.S. or AlliesGain support at home and abroad to supply more arms to UkraineMany special forces teams under Special Operations Command (SOCOM)The U.S. has ships, aircraft and special ops teams that can be quickly deployed to the Baltic12%
UKRAINEStrike a blow against the enemySpecial forces inherited from Soviet eraThe Crimea bridge attack, Daria Dugina assassination
NORTH KOREAGain attentionSpecial forces, including maritime unitsNavy operates mainly within 50 km of North Korea1%
CHINAWeaken the West, support RussiaWorld Class special forces, including the Water DragonsChinese Navy has operations in the Baltic Sea1%
IRANStrike a blow against the WestQuds force, has been active in U.S., South America and Middle EastNavy limited to Persian Gulf, Sea of Oman and Indian Ocean1%
UNKOWN ACTORUnknownUnknownUnknown1%
Main suspects of Nord Stream Pipeline sabotage and probability of having committed the crime of blowing up three pipe lines.

Russia: Suspect number 1

In recent days, the probability that Russia was behind the Nord Steam pipeline sabotage has increased as additional incriminating circumstantial evidence has emerged:

  • One Nord Stream 2 string remains intact (each pipeline has two strings). Russia has the greatest interest in preserving a way to deliver natural gas to Europe. While destroying subsea infrastructure is a costly method to galvanize support at home, it is a wise insurance policy to leave one pipeline string intact.
  • Russia benefits from higher natural gas prices. Since the pipelines were not in use due to suspicious Russian maintenance claims, destroying three mothballed pipeline strings would be valuable to create fear in the energy markets, and spike prices.
  • Russia insists that any investigation which takes place without Gazprom, or Russian officials, cannot be trusted. This is false. Many crime scene investigations are carried out independently of facility owners and foreign government officials. Russia’s protests merely implicate the country further.

U.S.: Suspect number 2

The U.S. is the second most likely perpetrator of the Nord Stream pipelines sabotage, due to its capability, opportunity and long history of covert action. However, if the U.S. decided to take the reckless action of detonating charges under the Baltic, why wouldn’t they target all four strings? If this were a U.S. operation, we are confident that the job would have been completed.

The pipelines were not in use, and thus its loss was minimal. The most useful motive for the U.S. would be to further bolster support at home for more spending. But support in the U.S. is already high. Ukrainian flags flying over suburban homes all over the country indicate solidarity with President Biden’s policy.

The U.S. and its allies have a greater incentive to leave the pipelines intact as negotiating leverage for Russia. A potential cease-fire agreement could include the eventual reopening of the pipeline. Russia would then resume sales of natural gas to Europe – which is badly needed by the manufacturing sector.


Ukrainian forces have accomplished many operations behind enemy lines including: the Crimea bridge blast, the assassination of Daria Dugina, daughter of a prominent Russian nationalist and the destruction of a fuel depot in Belgorod,

Ukraine, however, is blockaded by the Russian Black Sea fleet, and the airspace is pretty much closed down by Russia.

Given that Ukraine is busy fighting Russia within its own borders and lack the ability to sail or fly to the Baltic Sea, it would be easy to assume that Ukraine is not capable to pull off such an operation. But it is possible, just not as likely. A Ukrainian mission, supported by CIA assets, teams, and equipment is certainly a possibility

Map showing the airspace over Ukraine.
Airspace over Ukraine, October 14, 2022


China has invested in its special forces significantly in recent years, and likely has the capability to pull off a mission in the Baltic Sea. The Chinese navy has operated in the Baltic in the past. However, I believe the Chinese are not brash enough to take on the Nord Stream Sabotage, and have little to gain. But little is more than zero, which is why I give China a 1% chance of having blown up the Nord Stream pipelines.

Chinese special forces in training


The Quds force of Iran has carried out international acts of terrorism, in the U.S. (attempted), South America and in the Middle East. The Iranian navy, however, operates mainly in the Persian Gulf, the Gulf of Oman and the Indian Ocean. Iran has ambitions of operating its Navy in the Atlantic Ocean, but that is a wistful dream currently for the Islamic Republic.

Iran Quds Forces land in Venezuela
Iran Quds Forces land in Venezuela

North Korea

North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, is focused on launching missiles to terrify his neighbors. The North Korean navy mainly operates within 50 kilometers of its exclusive economic zone.

This has been the North Korean playbook: to fire off a few missiles, intimidate their neighbors and gain world attention.

North Korean Commandos
North Korean Commandos

In conclusion

The Swedes currently have evidence and are analyzing it. The Danes are conducting their own investigation in their territorial waters. Until the analysis of the evidence is released, we can only speculate based on facts. Currently, the fingers pointed at Russia are warranted, but we eagerly anticipate more information.

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Nato’s response to a nuclear attack by Putin in Ukraine

What would Nato’s response to a nuclear attack by Putin in Ukraine look like?

Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly reminded the international community of his stockpile of nuclear weapons and made threats . “Russia remains one of the most powerful nuclear states. Moreover, it has a certain advantage in several cutting-edge weapons. In this context, there should be no doubt for anyone that any potential aggressor will face defeat and ominous consequences should it directly attack our country.”

What if Putin actually launched a nuke in Ukraine? What is Nato’s likely response?

Why would Vladimir Putin use nuclear weapons?

Vladimir Putin has become increasingly frustrated by the lack of value of Russia’s nuclear stockpile. Under the theory of mutually assured destruction, the only way to win a nuclear exchange is to not get into one. Therefore his expensive weapons are just sitting and collecting dust.

Finding this unacceptable, Mr. Putin has used the threat of nuclear attacks to prevent Nato allies from directly entering the Ukraine war, and to prevent attacks on Russia itself. For its part, Nato does not want the war in Ukraine to spill over member countries. This has not prevented the US from supplying a record amount of ever increasingly effective modern arms.

Conventional weapons such as Javelins, Himars, Switchblade drones and Stingers have shifted the balance of power towards Ukraine and sent the Russians on retreat. Putin holds no illusions about the West’s leadership in technology and admits, “…they have considerable financial, scientific, technological, and military capabilities.” Putin has been scrambling to counter the West’s technological advantages on the battlefield.

We must not assume that Putin will be pushed back to the pre-2022 or pre-2014 boundaries before attempting some new form of brutal, inhumane response.

Among the most dangerous and feared of these is the use of tactical, or battlefield, nuclear bombs. Tactical nuclear warheads vary in strength from 0.1 to the 50 kiloton range. By comparison, the nuclear bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki packed a walloping 15 and 21 kilotons respectively.

Russia has about 2,000 of these tactical nuclear weapons. You can bet that these are burning a hole in his pocket. And the temptation to use them must be increasing proportionally as Ukraine advances.

Russia's stockpile of nuclear warheads.

How would nuclear warheads be delivered?

Russia has strategic nuclear weapons deployed on submarines, aircraft missiles and those that can be launched from fixed sites (ICBMs). Low yield, or tactical, nuclear warheads could be launched from aircraft either loaded on air to surface missiles, or on gravity bombs. They can also be launched by conventional land based missile systems.

Tactical nuclear warheads need to be moved from storage facilities to the front and onto delivery mechanisms. These storage areas are inside of Russia, and some are within 25 miles of Ukraine.

The most likely choice for delivery would be the Iskander missile system. The Iskander is capable of delivering both conventional and nuclear weapons, and has been used in the war to deadly effect.

Iskander M missile system
Iskander M missile system

The US and its allies would have advance warning by satellite imagery if these weapons were to betransported to the front.

Why hasn’t Putin used nuclear weapons already?

If and when Putin uses nuclear weapons in Ukraine, he will no longer have the leverage of his threats. Following a nuclear attack, he will be out of control. Nato will most certainly strike back.

The only thing preventing Putin from using nuclear weapons is that he does not yet believe it will be to his advantage to do so. Considerations he might well be mulling over are:

  • Ukraine’s forces are dispersed along a long battle line. It’s questionable as to the effectiveness of a nuclear missile strike, unless a city center were to be targeted.
  • Radioactivity would be released onto the land that he plans to occupy, which might be more than inconvenient.
  • China, India and Pakistan might waver in their support of Russia.
  • Nato will respond in a devastating manner, making the costs high.
  • It will make it easier for the U.S. and its allies to establish secondary sanctions. Secondary sanctions can be imposed on foreign banks, corporations, individuals and nations that do business with Russia. For example, China, India and Pakistan and their banks.

When might Putin use nuclear weapons?

Putin has been clear that if Russia is attacked directly, or an existential threat to Russia is made, he will respond with all manner of weapons, including nuclear warheads.

Now that Russia has announced the illegal annexation of four Ukrainian regions, any Ukrainian advance into those areas can be interpreted as an attack on Russia itself. This is a thin justification that Putin has engineered by brutally shipping out millions of Ukrainian families to Russia, and conducting sham referendums.

This justification, however, would be well received in Russia.

Ukrainian forces advance southward

With reports of the Russian army in retreat, the time is getting closer to when Putin may be desperate enough to use tactical nuclear weapons. What happens when or if he launches them?

The U.S.’s response to the use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine

The U.S.’s current policy is deliberate ambiguity. This means that we will make clear that our response to the use of nuclear weapons will be devastating and swift. However, the U.S. will not state what the response actually will be.

The U.S. response will be dependent on many factors, including:

  • How many nuclear weapons were used, and what was the yield?
  • How many casualties resulted?
  • What were the targets? Civilian or military?
  • Where and how were the weapons launched?

The minimum expectations of Russia will be that the U.S. and its allies will:

  • Eliminate the delivery system(s) (aircraft, naval vessel, truck mounted) and those like it near the theater of war. This would be designed to prevent further strikes.
  • Strike all or a portion of Russian military targets supporting nuclear delivery systems in and around Ukraine. This would include naval targets in the Black Sea, in Ukraine itself and possibly within Russia (if the strike came from within Russia).
  • An in kind response, matching the yield of the nuclear weapon in kilotons of conventional weaponry.

In addition to the above steps, the U.S. and its allies may decide to all or part of the following with conventional weapon attacks:

  • Destroy all or part of Russia’s black sea fleet, especially those vessels capable of transporting or delivering nuclear weapons.
  • Strike all or a portion of Russian personnel on the ground in Ukraine.
  • Close the airspace over Ukraine. Eliminate Russian anti-aircraft weapons including those on Russian soil.
  • Destroy the nuclear weapons storage areas where tactical, low yield warheads are kept in Russia.
  • Enact secondary sanctions which would punish countries that do business with Russia and close them off from the global economy. That would include China, India, Pakistan and others.


I believe that the U.S. response to the use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine would be proportional, devastating and specifically designed to *not* climb up the nuclear escalation ladder.

According to experts quoted in a recent article in the Atlantic, war games conducted in 2019 that begin with Russia invading Ukraine, do not result in a happy ending.


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Kahn's nuclear escalation ladder
Kahn’s Escalation Ladder

Putin’s beef against the West

Today, we parse out Putin’s beef against the West, and how seriously we should take his threats. Mr. Putin has stated numerous times, that he will use all means available, including nuclear weapons, should Russia’s existential integrity come under attack. But what are his beefs?

List of Putin’s beefs against the west

In his September 30, 2022 speech, Vladimir Putin highlighted his grievances against the West for the Russian people. He did this on the day that his sham referendums concerning the annexation of Donetsk and Lugansk. These are:

#1. The West wants to destroy Russia

#2. Neo-colonalism

#3. The West’s destruction of states

#4. Assassination of Russian philosophy

#5. Nato agreements to not expand have been violated

#6 The destruction of the family

Russian President, Vladimir Putin, giving a speech on September 30, 2022
Russian President, Vladimir Putin, giving a speech on September 30, 2022

#1. The West wants to destroy Russia

“The West continued and continues looking for another chance to strike a blow at us, to weaken and break up Russia, which they have always dreamed about, to divide our state and set our peoples against each other, and to condemn them to poverty and extinction.”

The reality is that the West has no desire to do any of the things Putin states in his speech. In fact, the West was entirely happy to do business with and inside of Russia. For example the ill conceived Nord Stream Pipeline, which delivered natural gas to Europe, was done in partnership with Gazprom with billions of dollars in investment. Many US and western business had to abandon restaurants, plants and wells in Russia in 2022, when Russia invaded Ukraine.

Putin believes that the world suffers from Russophobia and racism against Russians. Certainly, the world fears Putin. However, this is based upon the threats that Putin himself makes, images of naked brutality distributed by the free press, descriptions of rape and torture by witnesses and the indiscriminate shelling of civilians, to name a few horrors.

Vladimir Putin, dictator of Russia, shaking hands with Syrian dictator, Bashar al-Assad
Putin and Bashar al-Assad

#2. Neo-colonalism

Putin alleges that the dollar’s use as a global reserve currency, and US technology leadership is evidence of the US’s hegemony. Putin also claims that the West treated Russia as a colony in the late 20th Century. Perhaps Mr. Putin can educate us on this point, as we cannot seem to recall this occurring.

As to the first point, it’s true that most commodities, including oil and heating gas are priced in dollars. This means that as the dollar strengthens, foreign countries need to use more of their local currency, such as euros or pounds sterling, to purchase the same commodity.

However, there is no one mandate that commodities are to be priced in dollars. It’s simply the system that has worked for the last century or so. This is not a result of neo-colonialism, but is easy pickings for Putin to turn Russian sentiment against the West.

Putin speaks about US technology leadership in terms of allowing the US to “plunder” the world, and collect tribute. In reality, many of the world’s best and brightest minds flock to America to study in the hopes of eventually working in high tech. It’s true that America is the tech leader of the world. This is due to thriving tech hubs like Silicon Valley, New York, Boston, Salt Lake City, Austin and others.

America benefits from a strong network of investors: from angel investors, crucial for start ups, and larger firms that pool billions of dollars for use to support early stage companies. The combination of ambitious entrepreneurs, investors and skilled workers, results in a conveyor belt of innovation.

Putin is simply envious of Western leadership, and accuses the capitalistic system of neo-colonialism to create animosity in his people for US tech leadership. He must be reading Kendi.

Putin heaps a deplorable list of historical crimes at the feet of the West, such as slavery, genocide, the plunder of India and Africa, as well as the opium wars waged against China. Putin uses these facts to point out how the West has done many evil things for his home audience. This enables Putin to contrast Russia and how righteous it is is in its anti-colonial movement. What Russia’s anti-colonial movement is not discussed in this speech, but perhaps Putin is referring to the likes Syrian Dictator Bashar al-Assad, who dropped barrels of chemical weapons on his own people, from helicopters.

US invasion of Iraq
US invasion of Iraq

#3. The West’s destruction of states

Putin accuses the West of bullying states to become ‘vassals” of the US. Those who do not agree are “destroyed.” He mocks the very idea of international law as “rules” that no one agreed to, and certainly not Russia.

We assume that Putin is referring to the many US led mis-adventures, such as in Iraq, Afghanistan, Panama, Grenada, Vietnam, Nicaragua, to name a few. Putin is correct that the US has invaded, bombed and disrupted many countries. In contrast to Russia, however, the United States holds itself accountable to international law, Congress and to the international community.

Mistakes have been made, mistakes that have cost thousands if not hundreds of thousands of lives. This does not justify Putin’s war in Ukraine. Putin’s logic seems to be, “if my enemy has done something wrong, then this justifies Russian evil actions.”

Putin also points to US military bases in Germany, Korea, Japan and other countries as evidence of neo-colonialism. These military bases Putin describes are in place to defend US allies either against Russia, or North Korea (which itself is allied to Chinese interests).

The imperial bird with two heads simultaneously facing East and West has been Russia’s official coat of arms for centuries, with only a break during the Soviet era. The emblem, however, is far older than the country, with roots dating to ancient civilizations.
Double headed eagle – Russia’s coat of arms

#4. Assassination of Russian philosophy

Mr. Putin will have to explain this one. I am not aware of Russian philosophy, let alone that which the West is assassinating. According to the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Russian Philosophers in the Soviet era were either banished or fled. What remained were Marxists who were appointed to Universities by the state.

No Russian philosophers have emerged over the last hundred years who have exerted influence either within Russia, or other countries. With all due respect to Mr. Putin, it does not seem as though there was much philosophy to assassinate.

Flags of Nato members, including: Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Montenegro, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Türkiye, United Kingdom, United States
Flags representing the members of Nato

#5. Nato agreements to not expand to the east have been violated

There are no such agreements by Nato. The Baltic states (Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia) pursued Nato membership in response to the brutal Russian war in Chechnya and Russian involvement in the breakaway republic of Abkhazia in the Caucuses.

In 1993, then Russian leader Boris Yeltsin wrote to US President Bill Clinton, “Any possible integration of east European countries into Nato will not automatically lead to the alliance somehow turning against Russia.”

The current expansion of Nato is a direct result of Putin’s aggressiveness, including the invasion of Crimea and the Donbas regions of Ukraine, before finally attempting to invade the remainder of Ukraine and takeover Kyiv.

Trans rights activists
Trans rights activists

#6 The destruction of the family

Mr. Putin blames Western elites for creating additional genders, and that mothers and fathers will be replaced with “parent number one, parent number two and so on.” He stokes the fires of fear that children will be groomed in school to believe in gender ideology. This, frankly, must scare most Russians about their children’s future.

Mr. Putin views this as a Satanic religion in reverse, designed to destroy Russian traditions. He paints the West as a depraved and crazed society seeking to destroy peace loving Russians. This is the standard playbook for dictators, and usually works.

Want more information about the Nord Stream pipelines sabotage? Click here

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$2 Billion Worth of Gas Lost – Nord Stream Pipeline

Here’s the latest developlments regarding the Nord Stream pipeline:

Latest Developments

  • Almost $2 Billion in lost natural gas will be lost due to the Nord Stream pipelines sabotage
  • Estimates based upon the Danish Energy Agency. The agency expects 779 million cubic meters will be released into the atmosphere by Sunday (10/9) , when all gas pressure is expected to be lost through leak.
  • Sweden has sent coast guard aircraft to monitor the gas leaks. The larger leak is no longer visible.
  • The Swedish vessel, KBV 003 Amfitrite, is on site to monitor the leaks and steer maritime traffic away from danger. The Amfitrite is a search and rescue vessel, capable of supporting dive teams.
  • Russia requested that the pipeline sabotage be discussed by the U.N. security council this Friday, October 7th.
  • According to Gazprom, part of the Nord Stream 2 (String B) can be made operational. This twist, if true, implicates Russia. What nation would sabotage some, but not all, pipeline strings to eventually resume gas supply?
  • No hard evidence has emerged. Neither the U.S., or allies, have formally pointed the finger at Russia.

What is the value of the leaked gas?

  • $1,992,146,800 USD, based upon today’s price of $70.04 per million BTU’s.
  • Why would Russia deliberately waste almost $2 billion worth of its own gas? The news media is speculating that Putin’s motive was to demonstrate that the world’s critical infrastructure is at risk.
    • Destroying this vast amount of natural gas is far more advantageous to Ukraine, which seeks to reduce Russia’s gas and oil revenues.
Swedish Coast Guard Vessel KBV 003 Amfitrite on the scene of Nord Stream pipelines Sabotage. Almost $2 Billion dollars worth of gas has been lost.
Swedish Coast Guard Vessel KBV 003 Amfitrite

How were the pipelines constructed?

  • The pipe sections are 48″ diameter and made of high yield strength steel. The individual pipe sections are welded together and coated in concrete.
  • The pipelines were built by Gazprom and European partners. The costs of the project ran into the billions.
  • The pipe sections are shipped to pipeline laying ships (the largest ships in the world) where the pipelines are lowered to the sea floor.
  • The weight of the pipes and concrete coatings are enough to keep the pipelines embedded on the sea floor. This does not seem like a mistake that the U.S. would make.
Typical pipelsection of Nord Stream pipeline. Almost $2 Billion worth of has will be lost by Sunday, 10/9/2022.
Typical pipe section of Nord Stream

What would it take to rupture the Nord Stream pipelines?

  • Due to the scale of the blasts and distance of the leaks British military sources have stated that mines or other explosives could have dealt the damage. The blasts were well coordinated and could have been detonated remotely.
  • Both the U.S. and Russia have the ability to plan and execute such a mission.

A Nord Stream Pipeline Whodunit

The world woke up to find four suspicious leaks in Nord Stream and Nord Stream pipelines. This has kicked off a Whodunit as strategist rush to determine who did this, and why. As of this writing, no evidence has been made publicly available.

NATO has formally blamed sabotage for the pipeline damage, and stated that it would defer and defend against attack on NATO members’ infrastructure. You can read the statement here.

NATO also noted the impact that the leaking gas is having on shipping and the environment. According to Penn State, Natural gas contains some of the worst greenhouse gases, including methane, ethane, propane and butane.

The question is, what actor undertook this reckless act, and why. Join me in my game of whodunit as we analyze the situation in The Paul Kristoffer Show approach, which is to use logic.

I will use the following criteria to identify the main suspects in this whodunit mind game:

  • What nation(s) stand to benefit, and how?
  • What nation(s) have the means to carry out such sabotage, and have a high likelihood of success
  • What nation(s) have the opportunity to commit an act?

Below is a table of the possible suspects and our analysis:

United States– Gain support to continue to fund Ukraine Defense
– Justify no fly zone over Ukraine
– Justify attacks on Russian infrastructure
Russia– Galvanize support at home for war
– Gain more eager conscripts
– Consolidate power
Ukraine– Deal a blow to Russian economic lifelineNoNo
Iran– Support Russia, a strategic allyNoNo
North Korea– Gain publicityNoNo
China– Support Russian AllianceNoNo
Which nations benefit most from an attack on Nord Stream Pipeline

As you can see from the above table, it is the U.S. and Russia that have the most to gain by sabotaging the Nord Stream pipelines, the means and the opportunity. Arguably, the U.S. special forces, including the SEAL teams, train to specifically detonate underwater targets.

I included other nations that have demonstrated a willingness to commit acts of terrorism, most notably Iran. But Iran does not have the capability to pull off such an operation, so far from home. Same goes for North Korea.

China has not demonstrated state acts of terrorism, and I would be very surprised if China were behind this. China also has not demonstrated any type of special force capable of underwater sabotage.

There is also the evidence of President Biden himself:

The international whodunit will continue until convincing evidence emerges about what actor committed this reckless act. My analysis concludes that it is either the U.S. or Russia that committed the sabotage. But as in any murder mystery, there could be a stunning wildcard at the end of the story that shows that it was the butler.

100 Years of Failed Policy: The Jones Act


The Jones Act was a US protectionist policy fashioned after The Navigation Acts passed by British Parliament in the colonial era. The Act  passed in June, 1920 as Part of the Merchant Marine Act of the same year. Although it has been revised a number times, it remains law to this day.

Named after Washington Senator Wesley Jones, its goal was to develop and sustain one of the greatest merchant marine fleets in the world. 

There was surprisingly little public debate on the matter. 

The Merchant Marine Act was passed by a Republican controlled Congress and signed by President Woodrow Wilson, a Democrat.

Surely after 100 years, the effect of this act will have been to have created the strongest merchant marine fleet on the planet, with a robust ship building economy and vast armies oif merchant marine crews.

Unfortunately, that has not been the case. The US merchant marine fleet has grown weaker year after year. In 1960 the US Merchant Marine had 2,926 vessels, making up 16.9 percent of the world’s fleet, but today our fleet has been reduced to 182 vessels, which is 0.4 percent of the world’s vessels. Out of those 182, only 95 are “Jones Act Compliant”.

Listen here:

The Jones Act has been criticized as a protectionist policy, cloaked as necessary for strategic defense. However the Biden administration has been consistent it’s support of the Jones Act, stating, “Biden has been a consistent and strong advocate for the Jones Act and its mandate that only U.S.-flag vessels carry cargo between U.S. ports.”

How successful has the Jones Act been in attaining its goals?

How successful has the Jones Act been in achieving its goals of: strengthening America’s Merchant Marine, Shipyards and Ship repair capacity?

Due to such low demand, most US ship building has been reduced to the construction of barges and tug boats. The annihilation of the US Merchant Marine and US Shipbiulding has been the result. 

Your questions are how, what and why. How did this happen, what impact does the Jones Act have on our merchant marine and shipping and why does this disastrous piece of legislation continue its life?

Who was Wesley Jones?

Let’s start off with the Act’s main proponent, Wesley Jones.Wesley Jones was born in 1863 in Illinois. He grew up working on farms. His father was killed in the Civil War. Wesley went on to study at Southern Illinois College for his Bachelor’s Degree, and passed the bar after studying law in Chicago.

Wesley Lively Jones
Source: U.S. House of Representatives

In 1883 he moved to North Yakima, Washington to work as a lawyer. He was also involved in Real Estate. Jones served five terms in the House of Representatives from 1898 to 1909. He then served in the US Senate from 1909 until 1932, the year of his death.

Jones frequently accused anyone opposing his initiatives of supporting foriegn enemies. For example, he:

  • Believed that those that were against the Jones Act were in league with foreign powers looking to profit from American Commerce, at a cost to America’s security.
  • Charged that beer brewers were secretly financing newspapers in the interest of liquor and accused them of being pro-German.
  • Complained that loans by brewers to Arthur Brisbane for the purpose to buy The Washington Times demonstrated Brisbane’s pro-German agenda. Arthur Brisbane was a highly successful newspaper editor and journalist. Brisbane worked for William Randolph Hearst and was a close associate.

Why was the Jones Act made into law?

The Jones Act was positioned as necessary to build and maintain a strong US Merchant Marine after the shortcomings of the US fleet was apparent when the US engaged in, and eventually joined, war against Germany in 1917.

Prior to World War I, the US had about 1,000,000 gross tonnage across its merchant fleet. 

However, there were only three commissioned Navy vessels capable of transporting troops: the transports Hancock and Henderson, and the seized German auxiliary cruiser SMS Prinz Eitel Friedrich, renamed the DeKalb after the Revolutionary War hero.

The US was so short of transport vessels to transport men and cargo, that the British Empire offered use of their ships but demanded in exchange that US servicemen be placed under British control.

In response the US resorted to confiscating enemy flagged ships in US ports, which included 91 German vessels. The army  hitched rides with allies or payed foreigners for transit to Europe. 

Germany then unleashed its U-Boats, inflicting great damage to the US Merchant Fleet, in order to prevent as much of  the Army and matériel from reaching Europe. During the period before and during the war, the US Merchant Fleet lost 339,0691 gross tonnage across all vessels. By comparison, the British empire lost over 7,662,0001 gross tonnage, making the losses of the US Merchant Fleet trivial by comparison. Today, the British Merchant Fleet numbers over 30 million gross weight tonnage.

World War I demonstrated the vulnerability of not having sufficient merchant marine strength. By not being able to move troops and supplies to the theater of war, the US was reliant on Allies and Foreign fleets.

Senator Wesley Jones,  chair of the US Senate Committee on Commerce from 1919 to 1930,. introduced the Bill that would later become known as the Jones Act. The Act itself was part of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920. It’s been revised many times and has been waived in times of emergency to deliver aid.

What were the goals of the Jones Act?

Jone’s stated reasons for the Act were:

  • It was in the strategic interest of the US to support US shipyards and to maintain repair capability
    • Maintain a US merchant marine workforce & US crews
    • Control a  commercial fleet to supplement the military in the event of a conflict2
  • Jones asserted that costs to build ships in the US were comparable to England, and thus was commercially viable

Although the US public was virtually unaware of the Jones Act, there were those opposed to the bill. Among those were:

  • Businessmen and chambers of commerce of all stripes who feared that shipping costs would increase. Turns out that they were right
  • Ports and harbors feared that the Jones Act would drive foreign ships from US ports, and take profits with them.
  • Many Politicians were against the idea of Government getting into the business of owning ships. The Emergency Fleet Corporation, established by the United States Shipping Board, would directly acquire and own US merchant fleet vessels.
  • Foreign fleets, such as Norway, that would lose routes between the West Indies and US Ports, as well as passenger service between US ports and Norway, were also against the Act.

    Jones responded to his detractors by Accusing them to be supporting foreign countries. He claimed that Government ownership of ships was less burdensome than Government ownership and operation of the railroads.. President Wilson had taken over the railroads as part of the Railroad Control Act. The railroads were returned to their owners in March 1920.

    Jones didn’t try to hide his protectionist leanings, however, and even went so far as to state in August 1920, “It is said that this bill will drive foreign ships from our ports. Granted. I want to do it.”

    We see this type of attacks  from Democratic Party leaders in 2022, most notably President Biden who blames “Extreme MAGA activists” for opinions he and the Administration don’t like. He assaults free speech and wants to outlaw it under the guise of “hate speech’. 

Enough of the parallels between 1920 and 2022.

What’s been the impact?

So what has happened since the Jones Act was signed into law over 100 years ago? One would imagine that the US Merchant fleet would be the largest, strongest and best equipped in the world. 

Certainly eclipsing the British Merchant Fleet of 30 million tons. The UK economy has a Gross Domestic Product of $3.3 Trillion against the US’s GDP of 25 Trillion. By simple back of the envelope math, our Merchant Marine should be at least 225 million tons .

Well, unfortunately, this has not been the case. Today, the number of Jones Act ships has declined to a miniscule 95 vessels.

Chart displaying the number and type of Jones Act Complaint Vessels
Number of Jones Act Compiant Vessels – 2022

Intended to give advantage to American ships over US trade with other countries, the share of our Nation’s international trade carried out today on U.S.-flagged ships has been reduced to 2%. According to the Cato Institute, that is a decline from a high of 92.5 percent in 1826

What about US shipbuilding, surely that is still strong? Well, not exactly. Most US shipbuilding is focused on barges and tug boats. This has come about because it costs 8 times more to build a ship in the US than other countries. For example, a coastal ship built in the US can cost a staggering $190 to $250 million. A comparable vessel can be made in a foreign country like China or South Korea for $30 million,.

The effect of the Jones Act has been to make our most dangerous enemy, China, a world leader in shipbuilding, while reducing the US ship industry to a joke.

How about shipping costs? Surely the Jones act has been able to help us with port to port shipping costs, because we can keep low cost foreign competitors out of our markets? (Haha, that was a joke). Well, as you would expect, no. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administration, “Comparison of U.S. and Foreign‐​Flag Operating Costs,” September 2011, US flagged ships cost over $21 thousand per day to operate, as compared to $9,500 per day for a foreign flagged containership. What have our administrations done for the last 100 years to correct this imbalance? Nothing except to make it worse.

As a result of these higher costs, and lack of vessels due to the Jones Act, most cargo today is transported by land across America via rail or truck. The costs and impacts for rail and truck transport are enormous, and higher than by water routes. These costs are born by American consumers and tax payers. Rail and truck traffic cause  majority of wear and tear on our bridges, highways and railways due to their high gross vehicle weight capacity.

Although trucks make up 10% of vehicle traffic, they are responsible for 70% of maintenance and repair costs.  This is in contrast to the cheaper and less polluting way to move freight by water.

  • According to the World Shipping Council, Maritime shipping produces approximately 10–40 grams of carbon dioxide to carry one ton of cargo one kilometer. Rail transport produces 20–150 grams, and trucking produces 60–150 grams.
  • Ready for some more horrendous facts about the Jones Act:
    • Although the US has a vast reservoirs of Natural Gas, we have zero Liquefied Natural Gas tankers to transport LNG from the Gulf of Mexico ports, where the LNG is, to the east or west coasts where LNG is needed. In addition, the Biden Administration shut down all pipeline construction, including the Keystone XL which would have brought plentiful Canadian oil to refineries in the US.
    • Another fact. The US has closed over 300 shipyards since 1980.

Today 1% of ships are made in US. 9 out of 10 of those are barges or tug boats

  • How about transit of troops during war? One of the key lessons coming out of WWI was that we needed a strong Merchant Marine to move  our fighters to the parts of the world where they are needed.

    During operation desert shield and desert storm, foreign flagged vessels carried twice the amount of cargo as did us flagged ships. In fact, US requested the use of two ships from Moscow?

When has the Jones Act been waived?

  • The Jones Act has been Waived in times of emergency, when politicians receive pressure from constituents to solve supply chain disruption caused by diasaster. Here are some examples:
    • 2005 for 18 days the Jones Act was waived following Hurricane Katrina (by then Republican President George Bush.
    • In 2012 the Jones Act was suspended for three weeks in response to Superstorm Sandy. Per Secretary Janet Nepalitano, “Jones Act was suspended immediately to allow additional oil tankers coming from the Gulf of Mexico to enter Northeastern ports, to provide additional fuel resources to the region” This was part of a deal Barack Obama made with Republican NJ Governor Chris Christie, who for some reason, hosted the Democratic President who was running for re-election at the time. This PR campaign helped ensure the re-election of Barack Obama, and defeated Mitt Romney.
    •  The Jones act was waived again 5 years lanter, in 2017 for Puerto Rico by Republican President Donald Trump. This was in response to the need for Hurricane relief to the island.
  • Given the state of affairs in the US in May of 2022, surely the Jones Act should be waived? With the current supply chain woes, inflation, war with Russia and high fuel prices,  pressure would be relieved with the supply of plentiful oil and natural gas from the gulf coast to the refineries on the East and West coasts.
    • Instead, The Biden Adminstration, has doubled down on the Jones Act.
    • The truth is that the Biden Administration have no interest in lowering fuel prices. If they did, they would waive the Jones Act indefinitely, speed approve needed pipelines and encourage oil and gas producers to drill more wells. Instead, the Biden Administration has terminated badly needed pipelines and refused to renew oil leases, and cancelling all new drilling permits.
  • The Biden administration does not care about the environment – if they did, they would support port to port shipping, as it is greener than rail or highway transport. In fact, the US’s bridges and railways would be in far better shape with less reliance on trucking. The reality is that the Biden administration prefers the support of unions and special interests over the needs of everyday AMericans. That’s what they care about. The environment is immaterial to them – simply a useful pawn to gain votes from the green constituency.

Who else benefits from the Jones Act? A very small minority of the population:

  • Maritime workers
  • Unions such as the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association
  • US Shipyards, such as Bollinger Shipyards and Edison Chouest Offshore
  • US tank barge operators such as Kirby Corp.

It’s time for Americans like you, dear listener, to call your congressional representatives and request that the Jones Act be removed from law immediately so that we can rebuild our merchant marine, get needed oil and gas to our refineries and end the daily misery of Americans who are paying too much at the pump.

Or you can ignore this warning, and continue to support Chinese shipbuilding, reduce our capability to move troops and increase fuels costs. Its not as if there is a land war in Europe.

Check out more posts regarding the history of U.S. Government failures here


1 Salter, J. A. Allied Shipping Control, pages 355-359. Oxford (Clarendon Press), 1921.



U.S. Congress. United States Code: Merchant Marine Act, 46 U.S.C. §§ 861-889 1958. 1958. Periodical. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.

World Shipping Council, “Industry Issues, Carbon Emissions,” 2015, http://​www​.world​ship​ping​.org/​i​n​d​u​s​t​r​y​-​i​s​s​u​e​s​/​e​n​v​i​r​o​n​m​e​n​t​/​a​i​r​-​e​m​i​s​s​i​o​n​s​/​c​a​r​b​o​n​-​e​m​i​s​sions.

The Cato Institute:

Figure 1: Source: BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2017, EIA US DOE, Russian Energy Ministry



Music provided by Zapsplat

Water And The Origins Of Life

Water, water every where,

And all the boards did shrink;

Water, water, every where,

Nor any drop to drink

Words from Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner written in 1798.

Welcome to Episode 2 of Season 2 of the Paul Kristoffer Show. Thank you for joining. To To join the conversation, Please tweet me @Kristoffershow or visit Paul

Listen to the podcast, here:

In this episode, you’ll learn about water and the origins of life, including:

  • What is water?
  • What are the properties that make water so special?
  • Why is water needed for all life on earth?
  • How abundant is water in the Solar System? In the Universe as a whole?
  • How did water get here?
Hurricane season 2022
Source: NASA

Its not an exaggeration to say that water is life! We all know that we need water to survive, and without it, we can die in a matter of days. Water is required for all life processes, but for most of us, we take it for granted.

Specifically, water molecules are formed when two hydrogen atoms bond with one oxygen atom, with the well known chemical formula of H2O. The atoms share electronss in a special bond called a covalent bond.

Water is a relatively lightweight molecule, but is liquid at room temperature. Most lightweight compounds are gasses at room temperature.

Water has the rare property of expanding and becoming lighter, less dense, when it freezes. Most compounds become more compact, and denser, when moving from liquid to a solid state.

Ready for more? Water’s solid, liquid and gaseous states exist within a relatively narrow temperature range that we regularly experience on earth. In fact, water vapor is a major greenhouse gas.

Like distant galaxies amid clouds of interstellar dust, chunks of sea ice drift through graceful swirls of grease ice in the frigid waters of Foxe Basin near Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic. Sea ice often begins as grease ice, a soupy slick of tiny ice crystals on the ocean's surface. As the temperature drops, grease ice thickens and coalesces into slabs of more solid ice.
Ice Stars  – August 4th, 2002 Source: NASA

Solid water, ice, floats on liquid water. This is a relatively rare occurrence among compounds, but brings significant advantages to life. The first being that aquatic life can remain relatively warm under lake or sea ice, and thus flourish under harsh atmospheric conditions.

Another important  property of water is that it absorbs a lot of heat before it warms up. The scientific term for this is specific heat capacity. The concept is expressed as the amount of heat need to raise one gram of substance by 1 degree Celsius. The specific heat of water is higher than many other substances, including metals, sand, rock or the land in general. In fact water has one of the highest specific heat of natural substances.

Water does a lot to help regulate temperatures on earth by smoothing out atmospheric temperature changes. This is a major factor that explains why coastal areas remain cooler in the summer, and warmer in the winter. The ocean absorbs heat during the summer, and releases it over winter.

Water is required all life on Earth. Most scientists agree that living organisms are defined by their common attributes, such as the ability to grow, reproduce, maintain an internal homeostasis, respond to stimuli and carry out metabolic processes. All of these processes require water, whether the organism is a single celled bacterium, fungi or a blue whale.

Why is water so critical to many biological processes? It’s because of another property of water. Known as “the universal solvent”, water dissolves more substances than any other liquid. Solvent is the scientific word for a substance, usually a liquid, that other materials dissolve into. Like when salt or sugar dissolves in water. This is an important property to life, because wherever water goes, important chemicals, nutrients and minerals are brought along with it. The chemistry of life,  the processes in our bodies and almost all biological processes, cannot take place without it. This is true for all life on earth. 

Why does water have all of these unique properties? The answer is simple. Hydrogen bonds. Hydrogen bonds come into play because of the structure of the water molecule. Water has a unique shape and polarity. This is because of the way the Oxygen and two Hydrogen atoms bond together to form the molecule. Oxygen has 6 electrons in its outer shell, but it wants to have 8 to form a complete shell to achieve stability. Hydrogen has one electron, but wants two in its outer shell.

Hydrogen Bonds attracting water molecules

The Hydrogen atoms need to achieve stability by sharing one of its electrons with the oxygen, and recieves one from the Oxygen atom, to achieve two electrons in its outer shell.. The Oxygen atom, achieves stability by sharing two of its electrons with the two Hydrogen atoms. In turn, the Oxygen atom “receives” one electron from each Hydrogen atom, leaving the Oxygen atom with 8 electrons in its outer shell. Now all the atoms are happy with complete electron shells – 2 for each Hydrogen atom, and eight for the Oxygen.

These are very strong bonds, called covalent bonds

Simple right?  That’s where the story ends for most of us, but there is a lot more to water than meets the eye. Understanding how water molecules interact with each other, and other substances can help us to understand this wondrous chemical compound and its properties.

Hydrogen bonds are formed in water because Oxygen  is highly electo-negative. Electronegativity is a scientific word to describe how attractive an atom is to electrons. Oxygen is the second most electronegative element in the Periodic Table. Fluorine is the highest. Oxygen has 8 protons in its nucleus, which attract electrons and causes this high electronegativity.

The Oxygen nucleus attracts the shared electrons from the Hydrogen atoms towards itself. This results in a di-polar molecule, where one end of the molecule, the oxygen “end,” is more negatively charged, and the other “end”, where the Hydrogen atoms are,  is more positively charged. Sort of like a magnet.

Hydrogen bonds are weak bonds, never more than 1/12 the strength of the covalent bond.  These weak bonds continually form and reform in liquid water. when water molecules bond to each other (positive to negative), and to other substances.

In ice, each water molecule  can form four permanent hydrogen bonds. The oxygen atom can attract two Hydrogen atoms from a neighboring molecule. Each hydrogen, likewise, can bond with the oxygen of two neighboring molecules. The molecules form a hexagonal structure.

As ice warms and becomes liquid, meaning that there is enough heat energy to break the hexagonal crystal structures, the hydrogen bonds are continuously broken and reformed.  In liquid water, each water molecule forms at least one Hydrogen bond and there are effectively no free molecules in your glass of water.

This is the reason why liquid water is more dense than solid ice. Ice is made up of a hexagonal structure of molecules, due to the four permanent hydrogen bonds that form. 5 water molecules are bonded together in a repeating hexagonal structure. Molecules in liquid water bond with at least one partner, but the structure is not as rigid and open.  More molecules can fit into a smaller space. This means that there are more water molecules into any given volume – higher density – then the solid form.

Water is actually most dense at 4 degrees C, and then gradually becomes less dense as the water cools into a crystalline solid. This property is very helpful to aquatic life, as the warmest water in winter may be found at the bottom of a pond, where the 4 degree celsius water has settled to the bottom of the pond, and cooler water will rest on top in layers.

Water is such a good solvent because of? Yes, you got it. Hydrogen bonds. The dipolar molecule, water, dissolves many ionic compounds readily, because the positive ions are attracted to the negatively charged, Oxygen, end of the molecule, and the negative ions are likewise attracted to the negative end. This attractive force is stronger than the ionic bond itself. However, this is not universally true. Before you run out and try to dissolve Calcium Carbonate in water, you may be disappointed to learn that there are many ionic compounds that do not dissolve in water. This is because the attractive force of the hydrogen bonds is less than the strength of the compounds ionic bond, or  lattice energy.

How abundant is water in the universe? Is our Earth, largely a water planet, unique,  unusual or rare?

According to NASA, Hydrogen and Oxygen are among the most abundant elements in the Universe. Astronomers can detect water signatures as light, and other EM waves,  pass through interstellar clouds,  protoplanetary disks (the nurseries of new solar systems and planets), and in the atmospheres of giant planets orbiting other stars.

Scientists use radio telescopes to pick up water signals in early galaxies, as far back in time as 11 billion years ago, when the universe was one fifth of its current age.

In our solar system, water is found almost everywhere astronomers look: in three of the rocky inner planets, Mercury, Mars and Earth.  (Venus has lost almost all of its water to space, due to runaway greenhouse gas effects and Venus’ lack of a protective magnetic field). Water is also found in asteroids, comets, moons, and dwarf planets like Ceres. Water is thought to exist in massive quantities within in the gas giants, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.

On a Paul Kristoffer Show side note, Ceres is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Ceres plays a role in the book series, “The Expanse” written by James S. A. Corey (a pseudonym for the two authors, Daniel Abraham and Ty Frank). The Expanse was made into a television series released by SyFy in 2015 and later picked up by Amazon in 2019.  The Paul Kristoffer Show highly recommends.

How did water get on Earth?

Scientists believe that the inner rocky planets would have been too hot for water to condense in the early stages of our solar system’s formation. Temperatures would have been much warmer than the melting and boiling point of water. The earth also did not have an atmosphere – meaning any water droplets in the would have been blown into space by the solar wind. The solar wind is a continuous stream of charged particles cast off from the sun’s corona. The particles are mostly electrons, protons and alpha particles with enough energy to blow our atmosphere, including water vapor,  into space. Our magnetic field deflects these particles around the atmosphere, and ejects them around the magnetic poles, causing the stunning aurora borealis, or northern and southern lights.

The magnetic field extends around 10 earth radii on the dayside of the earth (facing the solar wind) and hundreds of earth radii beyond the earth to the nightside.


Back to our story of the Earth’s formation and how water got here. During the early period, known as the Hadean , many impacts occurred that resulted in surface temperatures hot enough to melt rock. The earth was in the process of clearing its orbit – and there was a lot more matter in the area that eventually cooalesed into the rocky planets and moons. It is thought that a sister planet to ours collided with the earth, discharging about one third the mass of each planet into space, releasing  enormous amounts of energy. The resultant cooling and gravitational forces formed the planet earth and our moon.  As you can imagine, no water could have existed in such an environment, so water had to have been brought here. In huge quantities. But from where?

what are the likely sources?

We know that Earth has been subjected to many strikes from Asteroids (rock debris left over from the dust that formed the rocky, inner planets) and Comets (snowballs of ice and dirt from the most distant, outermost edges of the Solar System known as the Oort cloud, or closer in from the area known as the Kuiper belt, which is located beyond the orbit of  Neptune. The kuiper belt is where the dwarf planet Pluto is in orbit around the sun).

Its is theorized that asteroids and comets brought water to earth, via impact. Scientists have sent probes to measure the ratio of isotopes in the water on asteroids and comets to compare them to those found on earth. Isotopes naturally occur when atoms, such as Hydrogen, have one or more additional neutrons, but same number of protons and electrons. “heavy water” is water containing deuterium. Deuterium is a Hydrogen atom with a neutron and proton in its nucleus, instead of the most common configuration of Hydrogen, called protium, whose nucleus contains only a proton. 

One of the more infamous naturally occurring isotopes, Uranium 235, can sustain a nuclear chain reaction. Uranium 235 occurs 0.72% of the time. Uranium 238 is the more predominant isotope found in nature. 

Getting back to water, and how it arrived here on earth, When the ratios of isotopes from samples gathered from asteroids and comets are compared to those found in the water of our oceans, lakes and rivers, we find the ratios to be similar, although not always exact.. Scientists generally conclude that this is how water arrived on Earth, through comets and asteroids.

Let’s take off our tin foil hats for a minute. I want to discuss why its important to know that water was brought to earth by bodies such as asteroids and comets. It has to do with how life may have begun. All life on earth started once. The amazing diversity of life we see today, is from that first, ancestral organism.

But there is a problem with the amount of time. There is not enough for the required building blocks of life, as we know it, to have formed and to have become self replicating. We know that our solar system is around 4.6 billion years old. Dating of rocks and minerals on earth is done by measuring the lead isotopes found in the oldest rock formations. Lead is a reliable “clock” for dating rocks because there are two lead isotopes, PB 207 and PB206,  that are the end result of the decay process of U238 and U235

Timeline of life

By knowing the radioactive decay process and half lives, reasonably accurate dating of rock formations can take place. What is radioactive decay? Radioactive decay is what happens when an unstable nucleus loses its energy by emission of radiation or a particle. Material containing an unstable nucleus is considered “radioactive”.

This fact relates to how life may have originated on planet earth, as well as answer the question about life on other worlds (planets, and moons). Life originated once. And from that one spark, the entire diversity of life on earth sprang.

The best theories on how life may have originated has been discussed and promoted by evolutionary Biologists, such as Richard Dawkins. One idea is that comets may have brought the building blocks of life to earth. These would be self-replicating structures that hitchhiked on celestial bodies that crash landed. This could answer the question of how self replicating proteins RNA  could have developed so quickly and evolved onto DNA. I am speaking in geological terms when I say quickly. The earliest known fossils of life on earth are dated to 3.42 Billion years ago. Since scientists estimate that the earth is 4.6 Billion years old, that means life emerged in a time frame of less than 1.18 Billion years. Remember, there was no water on earth at first, and all life here relies on water.  By most scientific models, that is not enough time for self replicating structures to form RNA and then DNA and single celled organisms.

RNA Molecule, the possible pre-cursor to the origins of life, displaying its complexity
An RNA Molecule. Scientists still cannot explain how such a structure to formed in 1.18 Billion years.

These self-replicating structures could, conceivable, have sprung into existence through chance. Given the number of possible habitable worlds in the universe, something that is so unlikely that most of us would say “impossible” actually becomes possible given the age of the universe and the number of habitable worlds with water. 

However, most scientists are not satisfied with such an explanation.

Do you think that this is an outlandish idea? Are there other structures that replicate, but do not have life? We are all familiar with crystals, which replicate a pattern based upon the underlying structure of the material.

There are also self-replicating proteins called prions, that are responsible for Mad Cow Disease and Jacob-Creuzfeld disease in humans. Prions are not alive, but are protein structures that cause the protein structures in our cells to deform, these deformed proteins then cause other normal proteins in our body to deform and so on.,..and that is how the disease progresses with 100% fatality rates. What other self-replicating structures will we discover in the future? I am sure many….

This exciting insight means that life very well can be more common than thought. That life may exist in other worlds, Mars, the moons of Jupiter and Saturn where salty oceans may exist, warmed by the massive tidal forces of those gas giants.

If comets could seed the earth with the building blocks of life, then why not these other worlds?

Of course, these theories need to be validated by evidence.

NASA has several missions underway to attempt to gather evidence, including:

Perseverance Mars Rover, which landed on the red planet on February 18, 2021. Perseverance can drill and collect soil cores that can be returned to earth for analysis in a future mission.

The Europa Clipper Mission, targeted to launch in 2024 will visit Europa, a moon of Jupiter, to determine whether conditions to sustain life exist on the frozen world.

“The Dragonfly mission will deliver a rotorcraft, an aircraft with rotary wings or rotors,  to visit Saturn’s largest and richly organic moon, Titan. Slated for launch in 2027 and arrival in 2034, Dragonfly will sample and examine dozens of promising sites around Saturn’s icy moon and advance our search for the building blocks of life.     This revolutionary mission will explore diverse locations to look for prebiotic chemical processes common on both Titan and Earth. Titan is an analog to the very early Earth, and can provide clues to how prebiotic chemistry under these conditions may have progressed”

I hope that you have enjoyed this episode of The Paul Kristoffer Show podcast. Many of us often take water for granted, me included, and overlook its special qualities, properties and beauty. Next time you take a drink, think about the amazing journey of the water in your glass, and the miracle of hydrogen bonds. Water is the reason why the Earth is known as the Blue Planet, and I hope it stays that way for millennia to come.



The Journal Nature:


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Timothy McVeigh and The Turner Diaries

On April 19, 1995 the Alfred P. Murrah building in downtown Oklahoma City, was rocked by a powerful car bomb, collapsing walls and floors. The blast shattered glass windows in storefronts blocks away.

 It took a while for investigators to realize it, but the day marked the second anniversary of the FBI assault on the Branch Davidian Compound, near Waco Texas.

168 people were killed, including 19 children in the deadliest terrorist attack made on US soil at the time. Many in the media jumped quickly to the conclusion that the bombing contained the hallmarks of middle-eastern terror.

Connie Chung, on the CBS Evening News, said “This is the deadliest terror attack on U.S. soil ever. A U.S. government source has told CBS News that it has Middle East terrorism written all over it.” 

They were completely wrong.

Days later, it emerged that decorated Gulf War Vet Timothy McVeigh, was a lead suspect in the case. Most Americans, me included, could not understand how a military vet could commit such an attack. In addition to McVeigh, Terry Nichols was also a top suspect.

What had caused this madness?

The FBI sieges at Ruby Ridge and Waco, TX had triggered an anger amongst many Americans that leaders in the government simply did not understand. Because they did’nt understand it, they couldn’t prevent this anger from following its terrible course.

Rage was directed at the U.S. Marshals Service, the ATF and FBI. It spurred the formation of militia groups, whose thinking was influenced by “The Turner Diaries” – a progun, anti-government and racist work of fiction. Gun shows were a place where second amendment advocates could share ideas about the federal government, and link current events, such as the talk about gun control, to events described in the Turner Diaries.

For those who aren’t aware, the Turner Diaries was a book written in 1978 by Andrew Macdonald, a Pen name for William Luther Pierce. Pierce founded the National Alliance, an atheist organization with the goal of building a whites only society in America. 

To understand what drove Tim McVeigh to go to war against his own government, its important to understand what the National Alliance is, as well as the themes featured in the Turner Diaries.

The National Alliance counts amongst its beliefs that the white “race” is superior to blacks, due to natural selection. They assert that a hierarchy of races exists.  And that white Europeans are superior to blacks. This happened  because whites had to adapt to harsher environmental circumstances in Europe, like cold winters. This led to the development  of higher intelligence among whites. No scientific proof is offered to back up these assertions, as far as I could tell on the National Alliance web page entitled, “What is the National Alliance”. As discussed in my episode, “Belief”, the brain often makes links where none may exist. Thus, without scientific proof, we must discard the theories of the National Alliance. Their ideas are hurtful and will increase human suffering and misery, therefore the National Alliance is a dangerous and harmful organization.

The National Alliance promotes the concept of “white Living Space”, and calls for neighborhoods, towns and cities to be places where whites only can live. This sounds very similar to Hitler’s “Lebensraum”. In alignment with their intolerance for blacks and jew, there is also no room for gays or bisexuals in this aryan land. 

So, we have established that the author of The Turner Diaries was a very dangerous man. Pierce died in 2002.

Now lets move on to the themes in the book, “The Turner Diaries”. I have only read a few passages, and that was enough.

The Turner Diaries opens by talking about gun control. That the government, called the System, takes steps to remove guns from the population to eliminate resistance towards its aims.  “The Cohen Act”, is a law that makes the private ownership of firearms and ammunition in America illegal. Teams of black people are empowered by the Government to raid and rob the homes of white families, while raping the women. The initial pages of the book immediately speak to the themes of racists – that Jews are going to take your guns away, and then empower the blacks to steal, beat and sexually assault your families. The book also describes the bombing of the F.B.I. headquarters with a homemade truck bomb.

These themes apparently captured the attention of Timothy McVeigh, who had become disillusioned with the US Government during his service in the Gulf War. His thinking was further influenced by gun rights advocates he had met at gun shows. 

He had traveled to Waco Texas, to view the siege from a hill about three miles away from the compound. He sold pro-gun and anti-government bumper stickers while there. After the Waco siege, Tim worked the gun show circuit, and traveled to 40 of the 50 states during that time. He became familiar with various conspiracy theories, and became further convinced that action must be taken against the government.

Gun control laws, such as the 1994 federal assault weapons ban, signed by President Bill Clinton, which made certain semi-automatic “assault weapons” illegal. This was the final straw for Timothy McVeigh. His mindset shifted to ‘taking the offensive.’

In late September, 1994, Tim McVeigh and Army buddy, Terry Nichols, began stockpiling materials to make powerful explosives. 

They purchased at least 86 bags of fertilizer, totalling more than 4,000 lbs spreading out their buys across multiple locations to avoid any red flags.

In October, 1994, Tim bough three drums of nitro-methane, race car fuel,, paying $950 per drum. Terry  Nichols had sold gold to raise money for the purchase.

Terry and Tim robbed a firearms dealer in Arkansas on November 5, 1994, to acquire firearms that would be sold to raise money for their plot.

Terry and Tim stole dynamite, blasting gel, det cord and blasting caps from a quarry in Kansas, acquiring over 350 lbs of explosives and 600 blasting caps.

The duo then buy large plastic barrels to make the bombs. They test  the bombs in miniture  by mixing jet fuel with fertilizer in a gatorade bottle, and topping it with a blasting cap. According to witnesses, the test was successful.

With the bomb making recipe complete, selection for the site became McVeigh’s priority.  According to witness testimony, McVeigh chose the Murrah building in Oklahoma City, because that was where the orders for Waco Texas came from.

On April 18, 1995 Terry Nichols and Tim McVeigh mixed their bombs by combining seven 50 pound bags of fertilizer with seven 20lb buckets of nitro-methane per 55 gallon drum. These were loaded into a rented Ryder Truck. Tim had rented the Truck from a body repair shop in Kansas under the alias of Robert Kling. 

Tim then drove from Geary Lake, where the fertilizer and fuel were mixed,  to Oklahoma City, and slept in the rented Ryder Truck overnight.

The next morning, Tim parked the rented truck next to the Murrah building and lit the two-minute fuse. The bombs detonated at 9:02 am, killng 168 people, including 19 children who were in the second floor day care center at the time of the blast.

Tim McVeigh was arrested at approximately 10:20 am by a state trooper on I-35, when driving a vehicle with no plates. Upon making the stop, the trooper noticed the outline of a concealed weapon on Tim’s person. The weapon turned out to be a .45 caliber Glock, and McVeigh was arrested and taken into custody.

Tim sat in jail, until investigators gradually became aware that McVeigh was their lead suspect.

An identifying number on the axle of the Ryder Truck was found, enabling investigators to track down the repair shop where McVeigh made the rental. McVeigh was positively ID’d by the shop’s owner. McVeigh was caught on a McDonald’s security tape while buying a pie, further confirming that he had rented the Ryder truck used in the bombing.

Federal investigators suspected a wider criminal conspiracy. Through investigation, they turned up Michael Fortier, who was friends with Nichols and McVeigh. Fortier provided testimony, in exchange for a deal. The investigators must have been surprised that three men were able to pull off such a devastating act.

Terry Nichols was hundreds of mile away from Oklahoma City at the time of the blast. When he heard that he was a suspect, he turned himself in to local police for questioning. Nichols agreed to a search of his home, where all kinds of evidence was found – blasting caps, detination cord, ammonium nitrate (fertilizer), and plastic barrels similar to fragments found at Oklahoma city. He was held as a material witness, until formally charged on May 10th.

Tim McVeigh and Terry Nichols were tried separately, and found guilty. McVeigh was convicted of his crimes on June 2, 1997, by a jury of seven men and five women in Denver, CO. He was sentenced to receive the death penalty 11 days later.  McViegh waived his right to appeal, and his execution was scheduled for May 16, 2001. However,  on May 11, five days before his scheduled execution, the Justice Department disclosed that the FBI withheld some 4,000 pages of evidence from the defense.  A judge found that the FBI’s behavior was “shocking” but that the evidence would not change McVeigh’s guilt or sentence. 

Nichols was found guilty, and sentenced to 161 consecutive life prison terms.

McVeigh was executed for his crimes on June 11, 2001. He was killed at a federal prison in Terre Haute, IN. by  lethal injection. He had no final words to say, but left the poem, “Invictus” to speak for him. The poem was handed out to the 232 witnesses that viewed the execution.

The poem, “Invictus” speaks to overcoming adversity, being unconquerable by circumstances and to being the master of one’s own fate. This is how McVeigh viewed himself in relation to his war on the Government. In contrast to McVeigh, who brought this war on himself, the poem’s author wrote Invictus from a hospital bed where he was recovering from a leg amputation and surgery on his remaining foot, due to disease. 

McVeigh’s execution was the first non-military execution by the federal government since Victor Feguer in 1963. 

For those who are curious,

Victor Feyguer was executed by hanging for the crime of murder. You might ask why a murder was tried in Federal Court? The reason is that Victor kidnapped a physician in Iowa, and then transported the victim to Illinois where the poor doctor was killed and dumped him in a cornfield. 

On a further Paul Kristoffer Show Side note, You might also ask, why was there a 38 year hiatus in federal executions between 1963 and 2001? You might already know the answer, but for those (like me) who need a refresher, there was a moratorium on executions due to a decision in the case of Furman vs. Georgia. The supreme court ruled that states were inconsistent in the application of the death penalty.  Thus it was cruel and unusual punishment – something prohibited by the Eighth Amendment of the US Constitution.

The death penalty moratorium was ended in 1976 by the case of Gregg v. Georgia.  The case upheld the death penalty punishment of Troy Leon Gregg. Troy Gregg was convicted of murdering two men that had given Gregg, and another man, a ride. 

Georgia, in common with other states including Florida and Texas, had established a bifurcated trial process that the supreme court accepted. 

First, guilt of a capital offense is established. Then a separate trial follows to review aggravating, and mitigating, circumstances in order to establish a death penalty conviction.  This meant that racial bias could be accounted for, before the defendant could receive the sentence of death.

Troy Gregg, however, was not executed by the state of Georgia. He escaped death row along with three other inmates. They escaped by sawing through the bars of their cells, and made their way into a car left by the aunt of one of the inmates. Later that night, Gregg was beaten to death, either by an angry biker at a bar where Gregg was drinking, or by one of his companions. Gregg’s body was found dumped in a river. 

Utah was the first state to execute a person following the Gregg decision. In 1977 Gary Gilmore was executed by firing squad at the Utah State prison in Draper, UT. For those, like me, who want to know how a firing squad in UT works, I’ll explain it here.

The person sentenced to execution is seated in a chair and restrained. He is then hooded. Five volunteer law enforcement officers are selected to be the shooters. They stand behind a curtain with five holes, made for the purpose of aiming at the convict. The distance between the firing squad and the convict is twenty feet.

The rifles are .30 30 bore – meaning that the caliber is larger than the .357 magnum, or .44 magnum bullet. The bullets handed out for Gilmore’s execution were Winchester 150 grain silver tips. Let’s just say that from a distance of twenty feet, the bullets will do their job. Four of the riflemen are given live ammo, and one a blank. 

Allegedly, Gary’s brother Mikal, found five holes in Gary’s shirt after the execution, indicating that the state of Utah was taking no chances. 

Getting back to McVeigh, in conclusion:

Timothy McVeigh was driven by anger at the institution of the U.S. Government. Through his belief that the events in the Turner Diary were coming to pass, McVeigh was driven to take action against those he held responsible for Ruby Ridge and Waco. In this respect, McVeigh was similar to David Koresh. David Koresh believed that he could open the seven seals, as described in the book of Revelation.

McVeigh simplified the act of killing innocent civilians and reduced their deaths to “collateral damage”. He rationalized that innocent deaths were part of a criminal Government. 

McVeigh was wrong to break the law and use violence to kill innocent people. He committed an evil act that was as worse than the ones committed by federal agents who were at the center of McVeigh’s anger.

As discussed in my episode entitled, “David Koresh and The Seven Seals”, Federal agents did not break any laws during the final assault at Waco. They were irresponsible and negligent in their acts which directly led to the burning of the compound by the Branch Davidians, but there are no reports that show that  laws were broken.

At Ruby Ridge, yes, the FBI Rules of Engagement were unconstitutional and resulted in the death of Vickie Weaver. Samuel Weaver was killed in a shootout with U.S. Mahshals – but no one knows who fired the first shot.

Timothy McVeigh will be remembered not as a freedom fighter, who was justified in attacks on the U.S. Government, but as a home grown terrorist driven by a racist piece of trash fiction. He and Terry Nichols callously killed and wounded innocent men, women and children out of a misplaced anger toward the government and belief in a book. He was a mass murderer, driven by rage at a faceless State.


The New York Times

60 Minutes, March 12, 2000: Timothy McVeigh speaks

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