Review of Above Top Secret by Timothy Good

Above Top Secret by Timothy Good

Above Top Secret by Timothy Good

Above Top Secret:
The Worldwide UFO Cover-Up
by Timothy Good
Quill/Wm. Morrow, 1988, 8th imprint
592pp, includes Appendix, Notes, Index
Appendix includes facsimile documents and illustrations
2 b&w photo inserts
Trade Paperback edition

A Review by Gene Stewart

Fat book. It’s a compendium, presented in chronological order, of systematic cover-up by military and government officials in Britain, around the world, and stateside of UFO sightings, details, evidence, and even crash recoveries.

Immediately some will turn away, if the title of this review alone did not repel them. Their loss. This is a fascinating, seemingly endless series of demonstrations, proofs, and glimpses of how a policy to downplay and deny UFO sightings has led, perversely, to public belief in and acceptance of UFOs as extraterrestrial space craft, as well as feeding the warranted deep distrust of official sources that pervades our society.

Denying the reality of what ever those things are is a policy based on fear of admitting the various militaries and their governments have no control whatsoever of their sovereign airspace. Denial does nothing to keep these things off radar, both airborne and ground-based, nor does it prevent UFOs from near-hits on airliners, sometimes collisions, and other dire physical effects.

Turning a blind eye on the documented sightings involving not only ground observers but also ground and air radars and pilots, all seeing a solid something they cannot explain doing things no craft or material we know can withstand is willful ignorance, the position of a child pulling bedcovers over its head to “protect” it from the shadowy intruder.

Timothy Good begins in pre-WW II era first with the ghost rockets, then with Foo Fighters and other sightings, moving forward toward present times in all categories. He also covers historical sightings such as those in Renaissance Art and even carved on cave walls, as well as delving into DIA, CIA, and NASA. He hits on collisions, discusses landings, and the physical effects ranging from radiation to burns to deaths.

In his chapter Down To Earth he presents accounts of, and documentation for, fallen debris and crashed discs and in Above Top Secret, the titular chapter, he sums things by demonstrating the probably reality of the Majestic-12 group as well as classifications that are indeed above top secret, with need-to-know and read-only applications.

Compartmentalization and disinformation are the twin keys to keeping lids on and eyes off.

This book may not convince you but if it fails it means you refuse to grasp the preponderance of evidence concept in order to cling to comforting false certainties. Timothy Good is a solid reporter who digs deep and presents things clearly and concisely. The reason this book is so fat is simply that there is so much concisely to report.

A forward was provided by Admiral of the Fleet, Lord Hill-Norton, G.C.B. This was not a lightweight recommendation of Good’s book. It was an informed, open-minded endorsement by an old soldier who knew some things did not make sense. Fascinating enigma, he called UFOs, remaining open to what ever conclusion the evidence might warrant.

Opening one’s mind to these possibilities, realizing the most rational conclusion is, alas, the extraterrestrial hypothesis, leaves one stranded in doubt. It’s not a state most can stand for long, and so the denials and cover-ups go on.

Meanwhile, what is really happening? Don’t look. You might see something you’re not prepared to allow into your thinking. Worse, you might find your way through the doubt to a degree of certainty, unpalatable thought it is, that intruders from elsewhere are indeed here among us, and there is nothing we can do about it.

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Review of The Man Who Would Be Jack (the Ripper) by David Bullock

The Man Who Would Be Jack by David Bullock

The Man Who Would Be Jack:
The Hunt for the Real Ripper
by David Bullock
The Robson Press, 2012
294pp, 1 illustration, 3 appendices, no index
ISBN: 9781849543408

A Review by Gene Stewart

In the prologue we witness an inmate of the Lambeth Infirmary’s Lunatic Ward escape on the night of 5 March 1891. It’s Thomas Hayne Cutbush, and the book will go on to detail why he might well have been Jack the Ripper.

Initially, Inspector William Race began suspecting Cutbush of the Ripper murders when he was assigned to capture the escaped lunatic, who had a fixation on knives, a penchant for cutting women, and a taste for general mayhem. He was young enough to be acrobatic and quick, nimble over fences, able to climb walls, and sly at evading pursuit.

Race gathered information on Cutbush, learning that he liked drawing mutilated women and studied anatomy on his own, hearing hair-raising stories of her nephew’s violence and moods from the aunt with whom Cutbush lived, and discovering that he was periodically sent to a small coastal town to “recuperate” after his worst outbursts.

Inspector Race duly catches Cutbush and a trial occurs on 14 April 1891, attended by some of the major players in the Ripper murders, even though Cutbush was not charged with any of those. His own crimes sufficed, and, in a move that surprised Race and other onlookers, the trial was brought to a swift close without hearing evidence when a Dr. Gilbert pronounced Cutbush hopelessly insane and unable to understand the proceedings.

Thomas Hayne Cutbush was sent to Broadmoor Asylum for the Criminally Insane and there this would have ended had it not been for Inspector William Race’s suspicions and research. These findings gnawed at him; he became convinced Cutbush had been Jack the Ripper and after a year’s investigation presented in 1892 his case to his superiors, including Chief Constable McNaughten, whose name figured prominently in the hunt for the Ripper. Without explanation, Race’s conclusions were rejected.

This unsettled him and in 1893 he did something remarkable, especially for those times: He approached the press. Walking into the Fleet Street offices of The Sun, Race discussed his case and caught the interest of the paper’s chief editor, T. P. O’Connor, who immediately assigned one of his top reporters, Kennedy Jones, or KJ, and seconded Louis Tracy.

It would be these young men who pursued the case in minute detail, compiling a file on Thomas Cutbush that was used by David Bullock to produce this book.

He makes a compelling case. Unlike other favorite suspects such as Aaron Kosminski, Cutbush was neither incapable of taking care of himself, nor impoverished. He was apparently available for all the crimes, knew East End London and the Whitechapel area, and moved about freely on foot. He was the type even a frightened prostitute would trust, clean-cut and with enough cash to entice them. He was a young man, strong and agile, fast and controlled despite his obvious insanity.

Even more interesting, he not only fit the aggregate descriptions of the Ripper, and there were several, but was seen a few times smeared with blood and striding along at a rapid clip with a savage scowl, fists clenched, carrying a small Gladstone bag or package.

He even, on the night he escaped from Lambeth Infirmary’s Lunatic Ward, stated, “I have only been cutting up girls and laying them out,” when asked what he’d been up to. He’d been brought in after a bout of mania and had, at first, lain motionless and incommunicative for hours, apparently awaiting the exact moment to pounce and flee, which he did, effectively, some time after he spoke to the examining doctor.

No one book will prove conclusively the identity of the killer we know as Jack the Ripper. A cottage industry exists on never knowing, for one thing. For another, proof is elusive; a recent claim that DNA had solved the case ended up debatable both on grounds of flawed provenance and the ambiguity of mitochondrial DNA. Close but no bloody knife.

David Bullock writes clearly but tosses dramatizing into the reporting of the facts. Many scenes read like fiction, including extrapolated dialogue and actions. While this makes it engaging, it tends to undermine the tone of factual reporting one expects from Ripper books. It should be emphasized that this is a small flaw; the book is worth reading and Bullock does a good job of keeping his facts straight and presenting them in a coherent way.

He editorializes only a little, making his case more by a preponderance of evidence than persuasion.

In the first of three appendices he covers some of the other Ripper suspects, demonstrating why they were not as good a fit as Cutbush.

In appendix two he gives brief biographical sketches of the victims, lest we forget those poor women who died so appallingly.

In the third appendix he tells us what happened to KJ and Tracy, the Sun reporters who brought the details of this story to light. While their series about Cutbush was published to much interest, other newspapers scoffed, not the least because O’Connor decided not to use Cutbush’s name, an error on the side of caution. Worse, on the day the last installment was published, bringing it all to a conclusion, a terrorist bombing at Greenwich Royal Observatory gardens swiped everything else off the front pages and seized the public’s attention.

The story of why Thomas Hayne Cutbush was probably Jack the Ripper languished and its reporters went on to other successes interesting in themselves but not germane to this discussion.

An interesting aside: When Thomas Hayne Cutbush was summarily declared criminally insane and sent to Broadmoor, short-circuiting what surely would have been a sensational trial, it turned out one of the people who would possibly have been called to testify was none other than his uncle, Police Executive Superintendent Charles Henry Cutbush, the guy in charge of policing Whitechapel’s lodging houses in 1888 and actively involved in the hunt for Jack the Ripper in 1888.

Charles Henry Cutbush’s boss, Macnaughten, defended Thomas Hayne Cutbush, even using his blood relation to one of his chief officers as a reason to exclude him. Add this to the swiftness of Thomas Cutbush’s commitment to Broadmoor, where he would be safely out of circulation and we are forced to wonder if this was a cover-up to prevent the public from knowing for certain, or even from suspecting, that the nephew of one of the highest police officials was Jack the Ripper.

Scandal that intense could have destroyed the London Metropolitan Police, already under such pressure due to the Ripper murders. Whether they were sure of Thomas Cutbush as a suspect or not, it behooved them to have him tucked away in a lunatic asylum, the most-heavily guarded in Britain where the worst of the most dangerous were kept.

Hint, wink, and innuendo shading circumstantial evidence and a fog of suspicion does not a solid case make but this is certainly a worthy book to add to your Ripperology mental file. You may come away from it, as you perhaps have from so many others, sure you now know the name hidden by the nickname Jack the Ripper.

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Review of The Uninvited by Nick Pope

Uninvited, Pope

The Uninvited: An Exposé of the Alien Abduction Phenomenon
by Nick Pope
Dell pb, 1999,
Appendices, Bibliography, Index

A Review by
Gene Stewart

An oldie but a goodie. The first half of this book is as clear-headed, concise, and rational as anything you’ll read on this topic. He defines his terms, discusses specific cases in detail, and keeps it all grounded in context of a broader set of questions.

From 1991 to 1994, Nick Pope was in charge of the Britain’s Ministry of Defense’s investigations into UFO sightings, encounters, and retrievals. This book was first published in 1997, a follow-up to his first book, Open Skies, Closed Minds, which is now difficult to find.

Mr. Pope knows his material well and has files to back him up, along with many interviews, surveys of locales, and other investigative data turned up in the years since his stint as MoD’s X-Files chief. He is convinced something is going on but does not automatically buy into the ETH, or Extra-Terrestrial Hypothesis, which opts for off-Earth, outer space origins for these uninvited beings.

Beings and craft they are, Pope concludes; the evidence is overwhelming, despite what literally crazy skeptibunkers continue to howl. Sightings involving people on the ground, pilots in the air, airplane-mounted radar and cameras, other cameras on the ground, and ground radar demonstrate that, no, it was not Venus mistaken by drunks, nor a weather balloon turning right angles at 3000 mph. It was something solid, real, and unknown.

We cannot even begin to approximate such performance envelopes with our most advanced craft, not even the experimental type. For one thing, physics denies us. For another, materiel; our craft would shatter, warp, or otherwise fly apart if we even tried such maneuvers.

Pope states the primary goal of this book is to offer a solid overview of the abduction phenomenon for those unacquainted with it. He also includes other cases which he has investigated subsequent to leaving MoD. It’s two compelling books in one.

In the process of defining his terms, Pope discusses why he chooses to use ‘abduction’ rather than the more trendy ‘visitor’ terminology. He is unconvinced they are benign, essentially, and views the kidnaping of minds and bodies by Other beings an intrusion. They are intruders into our world, as judged by our experiences of them. He suspects many who view these Others as benign or even beneficial may be suffering a kind of otherworldly Stockholm Syndrome.

The alien abduction phenomenon is wide-ranging and varied, with many surprising aspects, such as the possibility of a breeding program between these Others and us Humans. Multi-generational abduction experiences are common, it seems, and it has been claimed that it’s not abduction because these Others got our permission to perform their experiments long ago, either in each person’s childhood or, more sinisterly, from a national governmental agency speaking on our behalf without our knowledge or consent.

Another oddity: Human beings, often in uniform, are reported aboard the craft we call flying saucers, which come in so many shapes and sizes as to boggle the mind. Some conclude this proves military involvement, if not proving the Pentagon is behind it all. This, as mentioned, is so unlikely as to be inconceivable. We just don’t have the right stuff.

As to military involvement, Pope’s investigations, official and subsequent, reveal our troops to be baffled, often alarmed, and officially bound to keep quiet about the fact that they are impotent against these UFO things. Our skies are not ours to control, nor are airbases where nuclear weapons are stored, nor are missile bases, nor rocket launches, nor bio-chemical munition stores.

What percentage of an alien abduction is psychological,what part is physical, if any? Have external observers seen people being, say, levitated in beams of light that fall short of the ground or eased through walls and windows? Amazingly, yes.

Part Two of the book discusses other cases Pope has pursued on his own. Fascinating aspects, such as boosted psychic or ESP abilities resulting from alien abduction, or implants, thought to monitor location and possibly vital health signs, or the likelihood that these Other beings have been with us all along.

It is the thesis that the Other beings are what were once called the Faerie Folk, or the Wee Folk, or the Gentry, or pixies, brownies, sprites, dryads, naiads, gnomes, trolls, and so on in our varied global folklore. Are they, Pope asks, from right here, right now, all along? Is interdimensionality involved?

Much of the observation of both UFOs and the Other beings, ranging by the way from the Grays of Whitley Strieber’s Communion cover to the Nordics, the Insectile, and of course the notorious Reptoids from Zeta-Reticuli, indicate other dimensions, not vast interstellar distances, are linked to the amazing things they seem able to do.

From Neolithic cave paintings to Renaissance portraits and beyond, images of both UFOs and the standard types of Other beings resonate through all cultures. In myth, stories of both sky people and ground people proliferate across the continents. Some of the myths outright specifically claim space beings came to Earth and gave us civilization.

Is this a warped ancestral memory of a comet or asteroid impact that changed us from hunter-gatherer groups, our stable social model for hundreds of thousands of years, to agricultural, urban-centric “civilized” groups, the city-states and eventual nations we know today? Is it metaphor? Or are such claims blunt fact, fact so wild we now choose to see it as myth.

Ancient Egyptian folklore and myth is, all by itself, perfectly up-to-date space alien crazy, and it’s among the oldest. The Nephilim and Anunnaki of Sitchin come to mind, as do the feathered serpent “gods” in Mayan imagery, or flying dragons in Chinese myth, and so on. Even the Oracle of Delphi was a huge serpent, catered to by the famous vestal virgins.

Were all these things simply interpretations of Other beings, perhaps space aliens of different races?

This is a compelling book full of provocative cases handled concisely in detail, with much to consider. It is meant to start a reader into a complex, sometimes swampy field of inquiry but it is also a straight-forward account by a clear-thinking, ordinary man who began as a full-on skeptic and who, by dint of seeing so much evidence, now understands that there are Other beings we do not understand.

Unless some of us do and aren’t saying, which is another fascinating possibility he touches upon. Grab a copy and read it, it’s worthwhile.

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Review of Grave’s End by Elaine Mercado

Grave's End, Mercado

Grave’s End, A True Ghost Story
by Elaine Mercado, R.N.
Introduction by Hans Holzer

Llewellyn, 2001, 2nd Printing
ISBN: 0 – 73870 – 003 – 7
Trade Paperback

This is a well-written, rational portrait of a family dealing with the effects of a haunting. As is the established pattern with such things, it begins slowly and escalates slowly until it becomes intolerable.

This is less about a haunted house and more about a haunted family.

Mercado makes clear that fear exacerbates tolerance. While she is afraid, due, as she admits, to having had a strict religious upbringing that taught her to fear anything one might fairly label supernatural, or paranormal, her daughters are less afraid. One, the older, in her teens, is interested and curious about the hauntings.

The book takes us into their lives as they deal with first a strained, then a broken marriage. These stresses add to the fraught atmosphere in the house, which also brings to bear glowing balls of light, (she does not use the term orbs, which is refreshing), that bounce along the ceiling or vanish into walls.

There are strange thumps, thuds, and footsteps. We see small lumpish clumps of dusty-looking shadows flit along the floorboards. In Victorian times they’d have been called rats but she has the house checked for vermin and there is no sign.

There are strange voices, too. The family’s names are called, growls raise hackles, and shadows condense and loom over beds. Finally, people are seen, seemingly solid until they fade away. It is oppressive, with much aggression and hostility shown.

All of this is presented matter-of-factly by Mercado, who tends to filter it all through psychology. She also digs into the history of the place, seeking links to possible reasons for the odd things going on. A recurring image is these three women alone in the house huddled in one room, afraid to be in their own beds, trying to get through another night of pestering. It’s an effective image of dread and of coping.

What comes through is determination and strength of character as Mercado and her daughters deal with being stalked by the unknown. When desperation peaks, priests are consulted; the clergy waves the family off, not interested in bothering. Further desperation leads them to agree, finally, to consult with investigators of the paranormal, including, at last, in February of 1995, a medium, Marisa Anderson, and the renowned paranormal investigator, author, and personality Dr. Hans Holzer agree to come check things out.

They say a vortex exists, and the medium goes straight to all the problem areas, and knows where the neutral zones are in the house, without being told a thing. Dr. Holzer in tow, she leads them to the basement, where a crawlspace door has been opened long since by the children in the house.

What follows is a prolonged battle of wills between the entities, spirits, or energies in the house and the medium, who eventually ushers all the wayward spirits “into the light” so they can move on. It is nothing like POLTERGEIST, with no pyrotechnics, no special effects, and no dramatic confrontations. Quiet concentration and application of will, with a few whispered words, are all that happens outwardly, yet, when the medium and Dr. Holzer are finished clearing and cleansing the house, its atmosphere at once lightens and loses its oppression.

Psychological? Did the professionals give them a lengthy ritual performed as theater to allow a psychological readjustment and acceptance of living in the house where a marriage had ended and a new career and three lives had started over? Maybe that’s it.
Or maybe there are things we do not understand completely that can be helped or hindered by people who open themselves to the paranormal and try to discover and play by its rules.

Either way, this is an enjoyable, fascinating book, one of the most influential and important in the literature of the paranormal. Recommended for its level-headed narration of events and commonsense approach to dealing with experiences beyond most people’s lives.

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“Show, Don’t Tell” – a RAT STEW Column

Helen Lester in Sally mode

Helen Lester in Sally mode

Rat Stew
A Column for The Reluctant Famulus
by Gene Stewart

“Show, don’t tell.”

We hear this echoed in English composition classes. We hear it parroted in writing workshops. We hear it cited in reviews and quoted in interviews.

We rarely hear an analysis of what it means and, worse, what it does to writers who accept it unexamined and take it on board their yachts of writing ambition.

To show is to dramatize. Acting out a scent allows action to reveal what is pertinent to the story.

To tell is to narrate. Narration condenses various actions that would be dull to detail, allows discussion of character, and provides context. It is the way depth of field is added to the focus. It is how contrast is introduced. It is how theme and conflict grow.

Leaving aside description, dialogue, and other parts of fiction, we see that drama and discussion of it are the anodynes of not only good storytelling but of meaningful fiction. They are separate considerations, each depending on what function is needed at a given point in the story.

To promote one aspect of writing into dominance is to deform the writing. A given aspect of writing is to be preferred only according to the job it needs to do.

In BARRY LYNDON, Stanley Kubrick makes each frame a lush painting. He also paces the action slowly, the way things unfolded back then. To emphasize this, he dramatizes coach rides rather than narrating them. To a modern viewer, watching Ryan O’Neil ride along for twenty minutes jostled by pitted dirt roads in a horse-drawn carriage as richly green countryside goes by in the window is boring. Worse, it makes many viewers impatient and takes them out of the story, collapsing their suspension bride of disbelief and dropping them in a river of uncaring.

While true to the times depicted, such intervals of dramatized travel seem to howl for the narrative scene cut.

For stark contrast, see Kubrick’s A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, which is nearly all showing with very little telling, unlike the superb Anthony Burgess novel on which it’s based, where the mix is more balanced.

Then there is the action/adventure genre in movies. TRANSPORTER, TAKEN, and the Daniel Craig CASINO ROYALE strike views as headlong roller-coasters of action. THE BOURNE IDENTITY shoves Matt Damon through the dense action scenes so frenetically, using a mobile, jostled camera to heighten the effect, that it left many viewers nauseated from motion sickness.

These were examples of show, don’t tell translated to the screen. All action, precious little dialogue, plot, or narration. What little exposition exists in such films is delivered obliquely in gruff monosyllables.

Then there are character studies. ROSEMARY’S BABY offers little action, placing the drama psychologically and presenting it in naturalistic narration. We watch a vivacious young bride go through mundane days as slowly a doom shadows her. It is not slam-bang action sequences, it is not acting things out, it is, instead, a thoughtful narration of her circumstance, gradually elaborated until we understand.

Such choices affect the quality of fiction.

Genre fiction is meant first and foremost to entertain. It stands before an audience promising a good time. If the multi-level accomplishment of actual entertainment cannot be reached, momentary diversion suffices. If even that fails, distraction waits in the wings like stooges of old, ready to wake up a nodding audience and shake up a somnolent cast with frantic chaos.

“When in doubt, have a gun go off,” Raymond Chandler advised, contrasting Anton Chekov’s advice that, “If you show a gun in act one, it must go off by the end of act two, or your third act is ruined.” Please note that Chandler, who ad-libbed tough-guy prose poetry, famously failed to keep track of his own plots, not even knowing how many corpses there were or who killed whom or why. He’s famous for tone. For a genius like Chandler, tone was enough.

H. P. Lovecraft is another tone writer, while Arthur Conan Doyle was both a tone and atmosphere writer. Note that such pens work mostly in narration rather than dramatizing much. Sherlock Holmes stories, some of the most perpetually popular ever written, are almost all tell, with little show.

Hemingway wrote in passive voice, past tense narrative almost exclusively and dramatized almost nothing. Trained as a reporter, he simply reported things. He is the most influential writer of his generation and continues to be.

We now begin to see that “Show, don’t tell,” is senseless advice if a writer is paying attention to what function is needed for a given passage. One suspects this advice arose from an attempt to keep neophyte writers on the mark. If a would-be writer does not know what scenes to narrate and which to dramatize, they tend to fall into a flat drone that tramples all interest. They are not storytellers, they are not writers, they are blind to opportunities for acting out genuine clash and conflict. Their sense of drama is muted, if there at all, so their work lacks interest.

Variety is the spike of vampires. Surely Bram Stoker understood drama, having worked as a theater producer most of his life. He knew killing Lucy in the novel Dracula was a scene fraught with intense conflict, deep meaning, and hair-raising horror. Show, don’t tell such a scene by all means, and oh how he did.

In A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, we do not see Scrooge on stage earning his millions. We do see acted out Bob Cratchit freezing on his stool as he works away on Scrooge’s ledger. Dickens has a master’s eye for emphasizing drama, conflict, and context. He knew how to choose show or tell to fit the purpose of each scene.

Dickens never saw a movie. He did see, produce, act in, and greatly enjoy theater, however. He even wrote plays. His awareness of how to use a limited stage to enhance drama is on full display in Oliver Twist when Sikes murders Nancy. It is also turned to an incredible level of sophisticated flourish when the vile lawyer Tulkinghorn is murdered in Bleak House. The scenes are, once read, unforgettable.

To make a scene resonate, know what to show, and what to tell. While separate considerations, they usually occur simultaneously in fiction. Go read a passage from almost any of the Harry Potter books by J. K. Rowling. Pay attention to her sentences. She has an interesting way of showing action in each sentence while also adding in thoughts and feelings, which is telling. She interweaves these things to give depth and add interest.

Her adult works such as The Cuckoo’s Calling are recommended for fine writing and bravura plotting and presentation.

Next time you hear the echo of “Show, don’t tell,” remember that it’s incomplete advice at best, little more than a post-it note to remind you to think through what you’re putting down in words. Pay attention to vocal tone, atmosphere, description, and dialogue, yes, but always for a solid foundation decide whether what you’re writing in that scene needs more acting out, or more explanation for context. It will almost always be a mix but you’ll know which to emphasize.

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Ideologues On Parades

“To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.”
/ Thomas Paine

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Yet some Crazies are not so easy to spot as Teabaggers and GOP haters. They call their cringe Reason and hide behind brave terms such as Skeptic and Debunker. Those who ridicule, mock, or seek to stop questioning, thought, and investigation are not rationalists protecting the poor helpless idiots of the general public, of whom they hold a low opinion, from the terrifying lamentable sanders of irrationality.

Far from it.

Those are protectors of ideology. They enforce the status quo. They scare away legitimate scientists with the threat that interest shown in the wrong things will cause them to be swarmed by sneering condescending patronizing scoffers who will question their judgment, pour scathing acidic sarcasm on their work, and soon call them crazy.

These intellectual thugs intimidate and claim right of approval when it comes to which topics and what approaches are permitted. Thought police is what they are, if we let them be. If we take seriously their specious claims (swamp gas) and ludicrous standards (extraordinary claims — defined by them of course — require extraordinary evidence — what ever that is) we let them rig the discussion against rationality.

They fear anything they don’t understand and they insist they have all the answers. Know-it-all blow-hard toddlers are often more valid.

Be specific. State facts and name names. Stick to empirical fact and do not let the guardians of the status quo buffalo you, scare you, or bully you. If you think independently they will try first to fool you, seduce and co-opt you, then to bully and ostracize you. They will come disguised as Reason, Rationality, and Skepticism but they are not those things any more than the Dominionist Capitalist Christians are actually Christian.  They are zealots with a missionary zeal to define and contain inquiry and thought.

CSICOP, Kurtz’s Krazy Krusaders, SKEPTICAL INQUIRER, Michael Shermer, Ray Nickell, The Semi-Tumescent Randi, and others carry this mark proudly and loudly.  Know them for the arrogant, empty bullies they are.  When they say, “Most such claims are hoaxes and mistakes and if we had enough evidence we could explain them all,” retort with fact, such as, “Actually, the better the evidence, the less likely an explanation becomes for anomalous events.”  When they try to charge you with a logical fallacy, point out theirs, it is sure to be there.  When they begin getting nasty, and they will, calmly ask for substantive points, evidence, and demonstrations of their claims.  When they try to put words and thoughts into your statements, and when they try to inject absurdities to then mock, point it out and refuse to let them set the debate’s agenda or terminology.

Explain that showing how something could be faked does not mean the initial event was faked.  Explain that anecdotal solutions are no more reliable than anecdotal accounts, often far less so.  Point out the flaws in their math; they love flawed math.  In trying to keep them honest you will find they are not.  This will eventually free you from any impression that they represent logic, rationality, or skepticism.  Far from it.  All they represent is an adamant, fearful world view, closed-minded and infantile, a world view in which they question nothing and have answers for everything because that keeps them feeling safe and smug and superior.

Admitting there are things we do not know and must investigate terrifies them; it is chaos to them.  They have so demonized the term Conspiracy Theory that it is now used as a synomym for Crazy Bullshit, when in fact a theory is merely a testable hypotesis used tentatively to explain an event that is otherwise inexplicable.  As we test, fact arises and we trim our theory to conform to facts, leading to a preponderance of evidence allowing for conclusions.  Please note, conclusions are always tentative, pending further fact arising or better refinement of the analysis of what fact we have.

Ask poor Pluto, once a planet, now a planetesimal.

Ad verus, per ardua.

/ geste

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The picture that got me banned from FB

They allow images of grotesque violence. They allow hate speech, racist speech, and calls for the rape, torture, and murder of women. They allow calls for acid to be thrown in the faces of women who won’t put out. They allow radical right wing whack jobs to say and show anything they wish. They promote gun violence. They promote extreme religious hate, violence, and they promote cop murder, school shootings, and human trafficking. All of that is fine and dandy with FaceBook.

Keep in mind, I did not post this until FB threatened me, stating that I had been reported for posting nudity.  Which I had not.  So I decided, if I was going to be falsely charged yet again by the irregularly-scheduled right wing sweep through of trolls, I would go ahead and post an example of what so offended them.  A nude woman.

This, below, is not. This, below, gets you banned.

image_proxy

No, it’s not art.  It’s not offensive, either.  It’s just a nude woman, a young woman posing to show her body for those who will enjoy it.  The aesthetics are those of fine art, even if the execution is not Helmut Newton.

Check here for Helmut Newton nudes:   Newton Nudes

In any case, know that Facebook operates its right wing fascist platform mostly as a data mining scam.  It’s about theft of intellectual property, siphoning away your information and destroying your privacy, and controlling your every move and thought, not freedom of expression or the free exchange of ideas.  Social medium?  More a social mold they’re forcing you into and most of you don’t even feel the squeeze or the cuts.  They pick and choose the ideas and terms.  They decide what is okay for you to see, say, or think.  If they feel like it, for any reason at all, they can censor and suppress your voice.  They can shut you up and shut you down on their whim.

You have no recourse.  No chance to talk back, to explain, or to counter the charges.  Kafka would shrug and nod, he’d understand, and he’d advise existential despair.  Most would agree, and the chronic depression afflicted on the majority of us by the 1% rich is a vile form of class warfare focused on keeping us enslaved and docile enough to be profitable.

Do you want that?  Would anyone sane want this?

Death to censorship and fascism in all forms.

 

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Entity’s Tickle as by W B Kek

The sun has eyes.
They watch us
In the mirror of the moon.

Evolution

As starlight falls,
Illumination
Draws us into dark.

Our lives are deaths
Responsive
To our terror of the cold.

Those eyes of sun
Upon us
Trace the shape of hidden depths.

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Review of Top Secret/Majic by Stanton T. Friedman

Top Secret:Majic

Top Secret/Majic
by Stanton T. Friedman
Foreward by Whitley Strieber
Marlowe & Company, 1996, Trade pb
ISBN: 1-56924-741-2
4pp b&w photo insert
5 appendices, bibliography, indexed
272 pages

A Book Review and General Discussion
by
Gene Stewart

Although focused on checking the authenticity of the MJ-12 or MAJESTIC-12 papers, which are documents leaked or hoaxed regarding a secret top-level UFO investigation committee of VIPs from the military and various fields supposedly fored under President Truman in 1947 in response to the crash and recovery of at least one flying saucer and perhaps also occupants, this book is really about research methods. It is a thorough lesson on why to withhold judgment.

In it, Dr. Stanton Friedman, a nuclear physicist with a long pedigree of work with top aerospace and nuclear power applications research, demonstrates how tedious, challenging, and long-term it is thoroughly to investigate and confirm a document’s provenance. Tiny details such as typewriter font or acidity of paper, the style of stamps used, and the validity of signatures each branches one’s research into a dozen other vectors. It is difficult to overstate how layered and complex such archive research can be.

To complicate matters, access to papers in archives and libraries may be hampered by poor cross-referencing, a lack of catalogue information, or simply denial. Redaction, whereby black lines block text to hide what ever the redactor chooses, often demolishes apparent success by making access next to useless.

In chasing down the MJ-12 story, Friedman patiently uses a scientific method to come at the problem from as many different angles as possible. As he confirms or rejects a detail he adds to the mosaic. Gradually a picture forms.

One approach he takes is to assess debunker claims and criticisms. He takes each one seriously and checks to see if it holds water. Almost always debunker assertions crumble at the first touch of examination. Explanations and quibbles simply do not withstand scrutiny. An example: Critics say the way a date appears on some of the documents prove it is a hoax because the use of zero in double-digit date codes did not come about until after computers.

This Friedman shows to be nonsense easily refuted by anyone who checks any hand-grab of archived military or government documents. 04/04/47 would be as common as July 4, 1947, or 4 July 1947, etc. There was, turns out, no systematic format used universally. It usually depended on an individual boss’s preferences, and most were not sufficiently OCD to care.

As for the book’s title, this is taken from an apparent security classification on some of the documents. Again, critics scoff while a check of contemporary 1940s usage indicates it’s quite feasible.

For those used to bashing Friedman as a wild-eyed true believer, this book may prove surprising: He demonstrates systematically that, while there are no smoking guns or solid reasons to invalidate these documents, there are also no solid ways, yet, to confirm them as real. They remain in a gray area.

Despite this, the preponderance of evidence, including fascinating checks of various principle VIP schedules for conflicts, indicates they may well be genuine. If so, the implications are enormous for what we thought was our history, especially in the post WW II years.

I read this book as a follow-up to the Friedman/Berliner book Crash At Corona, which examined the downed flying saucer claims we usually refer to as the Roswell Incident. Top Secret/Majic is a good addition to a serious survey of the UFO situation.

These two books followed my reading of Edward J. Ruppelt’s book Report On the Flying Saucers, one of the first and best overviews by the first officer in charge of the USAF’s Project BLUE BOOK. Turned out the book not only held up very well but was far more rational and interesting than the decades of debunker sneering would lead one to think.

The clarity and honesty of early research into UFOs was bent toward finding out what the hell they were and what was going on. Now it seems such straightforward clarity is gone, fogged by conflicting agendas from dozens of power players. Still, one can find a path through the clutter and make a rational assessment by sifting out the rational, honest investigations.

Other books recommended for those interested in the reality behind the howls of the UFO topic are Leslie Kean’s excellent overview, UFOs: Generals, Pilots, and Government Officials Go On the Record.

Another is John Alexander’s book, UFOs: Myths, Conspiracies, and Realities. He is, incidentally, one of the special forces officers featured in Ron Ronson’s excellent book, Men Who Stare At Goats, made into an entertaining George Clooney movie you may have seen.
UFOs and the National Security State by Richard M. Dolan, with a forward by Jacques F. Vallee, is subtitled Chronology of a Cover-Up 1941-1973.

Above Top Secret by Timothy Good is a fat compendium of UFO reports, encounters, and investigations, and the subsequent government disavowals and denials, from across the pond in Britain and Europe, as well as around the world.

Preponderance of evidence. Each claim automatically sets up links to other physical facts that can be checked. When enough are traced, one often finds the hoax, the flawed identification, the delusion. Not always is this the case, though.

Debunkers are fond of saying, “If we had enough information we could explain even the small percentage of UFO reports that remain unexplained.” Turns out that’s diametrically incorrect. The more detailed, precise, and authoritative a UFO report, from established, sober pilots and other experienced observers with years experience of aerial objects, the less likely it is to be explained.

Debunkers also love to say, Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. This assertion sounds sage and wise but it violates logic and defies physics. The plain fact is, proof is proof. Evidence is evidence. Empirical is empirical. A claim is a claim. Applying an adjective only reveals the prejudice of certain closed minds.

Isn’t the scientific evidence of gathering empirical evidence and making tentative conclusions based on it the sine qua non?

By science’s very own rationale, a preponderance of evidence suffices to allow a postulate of Probably Real, and no “extraordinary” evidence is required. What exactlly is “extraordinary” evidence? Is it miraculous? Does a god or demon appear to deliver it? Must it have Papal approval?

It is quite obviously well past time for us to ignore the skepdicks and begin thinking for ourselves.

As to physical evidence of UFOs and craft of unknown sources, there is a preponderance of it if one chooses to look. Is a craft seen by ground observers, radar, and cameras sufficiently “real” to admit it exists in a physical way? How about fragments, marks left on ground or trees or plants, scorches, traces of fuel, exotic metals, chemicals, and radioactivity? Where’d all that come from?

If you find your front door or car window smashed in, you do not instantly doubt that something real did it. You do not scoff and call for “extraordinary” evidence before you’ll believe something actually smashed your property. This underscores the absurdity of the so-called skeptic’s stance. It is a cringe of willful blindness to obvious evidence, and it is a shout-down of views that oppose what they choose to approve.

Martinets bullying is not science, nor is it even skeptical. It is ridiculous.

My diversion into disposing of mindless refusal to look at evidence or assess it fairly, which one might call the Swamp Gas approach, demonstrates how fraught with needless controversy and willful blurring the topic of UFOs has become. There really are organized people working hard to make sure you will sneer and ridicule when you hear the terms UFO or flying saucer or unknown craft. “Oh, those saucer nuts,” is one of the approved responses.

J. Allen Hynek, Astronomer and Professor of Astronomy, worked for years as a hired debunker. His job was to dismiss claims and brush away UFO sightings any way he could. Find an excuse and use it, was how he was told to operate. It was he who coined the notoriously patronizing Swamp Gas explanation, for instance. He would blame Venus when it was not visible in the sky. He did this kind of thing for years, but the evidence he kept seeing bothered him. Eventually he could no longer sustain the pretense of debunking and came out as a genuinely puzzled scientist.

That marked his advent into studying UFOs and he made signal contributions to sifting fact from obfuscation, including contributing to the classification of sightings made famous by Spielberg’s film CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND, a film in which he has a cameo even as Fraçoise Truffaut plays Lacome, an analogue of Jacques Vallee.

So we see that intellectual honesty can prevail. Although he is quite old now, Stanton Friedman is one of those who has sustained serious research, approaching the UFO question mostly through research in libraries, document caches, and archives. By years of careful cross-referencing, he has advanced our understanding of what is going on, even as we remain unable to make specific conclusions.

For the record, Dr. Friedman and many other serious, educated, and intelligent people have concluded that UFOs are craft of unknown origin that far exceed the performance envelopes of any human engineering and that the ETH, the Extra-Terrestrial Hypothesis, is the most likely explanation. They come from off planet, who or what ever they are.

Some conclude that craft and beings have been retrieved after crashes, perhaps even captured. Some further conclude there is an agreement in effect between representatives of Humanity and those of at least one, perhaps several, off-Earth species.

Some conclude there are a few of us who know the facts involved in all this.

All the rest of us can do is read the better books, think as clearly as we can, and keep watching the skies.

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Where DID I Put My Code Keys?

Blue Light Waves

Blue Light Waves

http://motherboard.vice.com/read/why-government-researchers-think-we-may-be-living-in-a-2d-hologram

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More science, and increasing numbers of scientists, agree on this every year, and it’s beginning to worry me because I think I’m a glitch.

More seriously: Information system, they postulate. Reminds me of VALIS. Vast Active Living Information System. PKD nailed it.

THE MATRIX was rooted in Buddhist philosophy, by the way. It’s the way they visualized it that we tend to refer to, that cascade of numbers; that was how they analyzed the flow of information underlying all things. More visually conceptual than what The Matrix IS, in any physical way. A worthy successor to the Copenhagen model?

This is real science, folks. Wow. And yes, Michael Talbot’s book The Holographic Universe anticipates much of this and is still an entertaining and engaging book to read.

319014

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