Overweening Generalist

Friday, May 27, 2016

On Hillary Clinton's UFOlogy

Since last December I've noted that Hillary Rodham Clinton (henceforth: HRC) has been openly talking about how she'd like to "get to the bottom" of what the Unistat gummint knows about UFOs/aliens.

Call me cynical (What? In this election cycle? Golly!), but I immediately thought of the neo-Machiavellian political theories of guys like Alastair Smith and Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, and their Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior Is Almost Always Good Politics from 2012: even in a democracy you need enough coalitions of support from the "selectorate" in order to win; you may be yanking other coalition's chains, but you need as many voting blocs of special interests as possible. The ones with money who helped you get elected matter most to you, and if you yank their chains the wrong way, you're cooked.

I thought, "Well, she's going for the X-Files-obsessed vote here." Cynical! (Of me and/or HRC.)

Then I continued to follow HRC and her UFO talk, and I went back and researched a bit to see how phony HRC might be on this subject. It gets complicated. Which is how I like it.

While Donald Trump trots out around one conspiracy theory per day lately: Vincent Foster was killed by the Clintons; Obama may still be a secret Muslim; Scalia was murdered and it was covered up; vaccines cause autism; many thousands of muslims were seen celebrating in New Jersey on 9/11/01; Ted Cruz's father had a hand in the JFK hit; Bill Clinton has sexually "assaulted" several women, etc...he's clearly going for the Nutjob vote, which I think he already had sewn up a long time ago.

I'd say, "Maybe time to dial it back a bit, Donny," but he'd probably have his goons haul me out of the room, telling said goons to "Knock the crap out of him. I'll pay your legal fees." (Ladies and germs: the future President of Unistat!)

I figured HRC needed to tap into the quasi-religious and conspiracist idea that the Unistat gov still has classified files about aliens. That's probably a sizable voting bloc, eh? (The voters, not the aliens.)

It turns out she seems to have been genuinely interested in UFOs (she corrected Jimmy Kimmel on his show earlier this year: the scientific, evidence-based community prefer UAPs [Unidentified Aerial Phenomena]), which greatly - apparently? - impressed the ardent UFO-philes out there. HRC met with Laurence Rockefeller  in 1995, at his Wyoming ranch. She was photographed with serious physicist Paul Davies's book Are We Alone?

(Coincidentally, Davies very recently wrote an article for Scientific American that posits maybe life in the universe is exceedingly rare, afterall...assumptions that there must be life seeded all over this universe - the one you're probably in right now - seem unwarranted...is Davies trying to distance himself from HRC? Wheels within wheels...)

Longtime Clinton operative John Podesta is an X-Files aficionado and has talked about getting the files declassified, asserting recently that "There are still classified files that could be declassified." (Maybe it depends on what the term "are" means?)

Kimmel told HRC that he'd asked her husband and Obama about the UFOs and they didn't find anything. Hillary: "Well I'm going to do it again." Great, because it's not like the economy needs fixing or anything. Go for it, Hills-y baby! (Obama has treated questions about UFOs as a joke.)

So, while Bill was Prez 1993-2000, they weren't able to "get to the bottom of it"? Why? Maybe lots of stuff has happened since then? Who knows...Let's try to keep an open mind here. Let's keep digging...

I stumbled on to an article about former Prez Gerald Ford, who, as a Michigan Congressman in 1966, responded to UFO sightings over Michigan by calling for a Congressional Hearing. He didn't get the hearing, and seems to have taken his constituents' fears seriously (this was only five years after the Cuban Missile Crisis, Cold War in full swing, UFOs not the humorous Thing they are now), but Ford did get a long report on UFO sightings from the U. of Colorado and Project Blue Book, which ran from 1947-1969. This report considered 12,618 UFO sightings, all explained as weather balloons, atmospheric phenomena, or classified test flights, and a few other things. 701 sightings were still inconclusive.

The conspiracy-minded will want me to mention that Ford was on the Warren Commission. Done. Anyway...

Oh yea: Project Blue Book? Recently, the CIA tweeted that all those UFO sightings in the 1950s and '60s? It was them! I mean...not THEM-them, but the CIA. Which is "them" enough for me. Yea, verily the CIA asserts they were covering up their very high-flying U-2 Program, 1954-74. So, a branch of the Unistat government withheld evidence from a future US President and anyone else who might be interested in what the hell was going on with odd things in the sky. The cads! Those...bounders have done it again!

'Cuz, "national security," of course. If you read the article, professional "skeptic" and debunker Robert Sheaffer is calling bullshit on the CIA here. O! sooo rich! So meaty! Sheaffer once accused Robert Anton Wilson of "malicious, misguided fanaticism." (Personally, I prefer the properly "guided" fanaticism, but that's just me.) Sheaffer is long-suffering. In 1990, he charged the novelist Wilson as one who "attacks language and thought" the way a "terrorist attacks"...and to add insult, Wilson seems to have enjoyed a hearty belly-laugh over what he did as a writer of satire. Horrible!

To be honest, why are you even reading what some dipshit blogger like the OG thinks about these ideas? Clearly: Robert Sheaffer is the go-to Grand Poo-Bah of all things honest and capital tee Truth. What does Sheaffer think of HRC wanting to get to the bottom of the UFO/aliens thing?

HRC and her UFOlogy Sancho Panza, Podesta, just want transparency, evidence-based science, and the destigmatization of those who are interested in whether or not We Are Not Alone. The UFO/alien cohort (Sorry! Very snarky of me: the UAP/alien cohort) is an estimable one too: Stephen Bassett, who spends his time lobbying Congress on extraterrestrial/UFO issues? His organization has 2.5 million Twitter followers. That could put you over the top. (In November.)

December, 2015: HRC tells a New Hampshire reporter, "We may have been visited already." (Yes, and you may have already won the Publisher's Clearinghouse Sweepstakes of one million dollars cash!)

I like this line from HRC: "There's enough stories out there that I don't think everybody is just sitting in their kitchen making them up." Point well taken. They could be in the bathroom, or out by the swing-set near the wading pool. The possibilities seem well-nigh endless.

In 1996, Bob Woodward's book The Choice made fun of HRC (what a meanie!), seeming to ridicule her for having conversations with dead heroes of hers, like Gandhi and Eleanor Roosevelt.

In delving in some archives (Okay: I read about six short articles published in the last year) and re-visiting the Wm Jefferson Clinton years in Office, I was reminded that, indeed, the X-Files seemed to run alongside his term. And Independence Day did boffo box office. And HRC openly complained about a "vast right wing conspiracy" out to get her and Bill. (I think she had something tangible with that last bit of conspiracy thinking, but this was all pre 9/11/01; it was practically Leave It To Beaver time compared to what we're looking at now.)

And you know what? Even though I confess I'm not a HRC fan - not by a longshot - I do think she has some good points about her UFOlogizing. But it sounds better coming from the mouth of a higher-up who may as well be anonymous to me: a luminary named Christopher Mellon, a former Senate Intelligence Committee guy, former intel at the Dept of Defense: "It shouldn't be a source of embarrassment to discuss it. [UFOs/UAPs/aliens- OG] We should be humble in terms of recognizing the extreme limits of our own understanding of physics and the universe."

Amen to that, Mellon. (Can I borrow a $50-spot?)

So: I've rambled fairly incoherently through this blogspew, and I have no excuse save for I'm stoned on some uber-dank OG Fire and trying to laff my way into November. I've considered my alternatives, and laffing seems the best.

Two more tangential points to make, and then I promise I'll be more sober for the next installment of the OG:

1. Blogger Justin Raimondo thinks Trump is a "false flag" candidate. Or at least as of last July Raimondo thought this. He says that just before Trump got into the Republican race he was trying to help his friend, Hillary Rodham Clinton. How else do you describe the sheer INSANITY of Trump's gambits so far? (Note the date Raimondo wrote this. What does he think now? No seriously: what does he think? Anyone know? I'm too stoned to Bing it.) And what do YOU think of this idea? I mean: consider the implications. Have you read Baudrillard on the Simulacrum? Is it time to resume your studies of the deep structure in The Matrix films?

Which leads me to Noam Chomsky, who recently said a Trump Prez is basically a "death warrant" for humanity and the planet. Noam the Subtle. (I confess I'd rather he was wrong on this one, if for no other reason than my overweening bias towards humanity not dying on a burned-up, uninhabitable planet.) So yea...

2. In Chomsky's 2007 book, What We Say Goes: Conversations on US Power in a Changing World: Interviews With David Barsamian, Noam says this:

A couple of years ago I came across a Pentagon document that was about declassification procedures. Among other things, it proposed that the government should periodically declassify information about the Kennedy assassination. Let people trace whether Kennedy was killed by the mafia, so activists will go off on a wild goose chase instead of pursuing real problems or getting organized. It wouldn't shock me if thirty years from now we discover in a declassified record that the 9/11 industry was also being fed by the administration. -pp.39-40

So, I end with epistemology down the rabbit hole: Chomsky bristles when you say he's a "conspiracy theorist." He does "institutional analysis." (He does it really well, methinks.) BUT: If the JFK hit is the great conspiracy - or at least in your Top Five - Chomsky seems to be saying here that the government has been engaged in a conspiracy to mislead people into thinking that the government conspires to mislead people.

Let this sink in.

Or not.

Does Chomsky make a valid point here? A sound one?

See you on the Other Side of the Looking Glass.

Some Other Reading I Did Before I Bloviated; Lots of the Quoted Material Is Found Here:
"Hillary Clinton Is Serious About UFOs," by AJ Vicens, Mother Jones, 25 March, 2016

"Hillary Clinton Gives UFO Buffs Hope She Will Open the X-Files," by Amy Chozick, New York Times, 10 May 2016

"What Hillary Clinton Says About Aliens Is Totally Misguided," by Natalie Drake, National Geographic, 11 May 2016

"A Guide to the Many Conspiracy Theories Donald Trump Has Embraced," by Brett Neely, NPR, 24 May 2016

"Welsh Government Uses Klingon to Respond to Serious UFO Questions," by Sebastian Anthony, Ars Technica, 12 July 2015

"The Government Tested a Flying Saucer in 1956. Here's the Full Report," by Rebecca Onion, Slate, 11 July 2013

June 1962 issue of Paul Krassner's The Realist: Krassner reported that UFOs were really diaphragms dropped by nuns on their ascent to heaven.

"NASA Preps Real Flying Saucer For Takeoff," by Amanda Kooser, CNET, 19 May 2014

"US Secretly Run by Nazi Space Aliens, Says Iranian News Agency"

"Alien Nation: Have Humans Been Abducted By Extraterrestials?," by Ralph Blumenthal, Vanity Fair, 10 May 2013 (Robert Redford planned a film about heretic Harvard psychologist John Mack)

OG here: Just a thought: why worry about possible Extraterrestrial Intelligence "visiting" us, when we already have yellow slime-mold intelligence, a jellyfish takeover in the making, and thousands of asteroids that can wipe us out?  And nota quite bene I'm not even mentioning the antibiotic apocalypse, runaway global warming, AI singularity Worst Case scenarios, or the Trump Presidency.

Have a fine day!

                                           אמנות על ידי בוב קמפבל


Sue Howard said...

Great and funny read - thanks. I remember Hillary depicted as some kind of witch/monster by Rush Limbaugh and his dittoheads (and probably by much of the USA "right", although I didn't look too closely). It now seems that she's seen that way by everyone but her supporters (and I'm not even sure about them). I quite like the campaign for Cthulu as US Pres, although that almost looks redundant when I consider Trump (who comes across as the kind of parody figure that you'd see in the original Robocop film).

michael said...

Thanks, Ms. Howard. Yea, I remember Limbaugh his Dittoheads and many Limbaugh knock-offs relentlessly making stuff up about Hillary in the 1990s, but now I think she's been in power for so long she's gone a tad daft. Worse: she's a confirmed NeoLiberal, so if she wins, it's more of the same.

I think Cthulhu probably knows more about foreign policy than Trump does, and might handle a crisis with more panache. Trump's campaign so far seems so incredibly nutty that I think guys like Raimondo may stuff have a point, but then I think, "Jeez! What am I SAYING?"

I will make one prediction: the very rich will come out of this election unscathed. The rest of us? Not so much.

Cleveland Okie (Tom Jackson) said...

While insisting that he isn't a Trump supporter, Justin Raimondo has been campaigning relentlessly for Donald Trump on Twitter. His official line is that Trump has changed the conversation about American foreign policy by questioning whether it's always a good idea to get involved in overseas wars.

I really don't like HRC, but your blog post convinces me that this is an actual genuine interest of hers. Maybe for once she's acting like a human being, or am I just gullible?

One reason to vote for her: To look forward to the official White House press releases about UFOs.

Eric Wagner said...

Interesting post. What does the Hebrew at the end mean? In the nineties I read a bunch of Jacques Vallee. Phil Lesh said said that using the Grateful Dead's Wall of Sound sound system in 1974 felt like piloting a flying saucer.

michael said...

@Tom- I feel the same sort of sense that I may be gullible on this one too.

@Eric- It's Hebrew for "art by Bobby Campbell." I just use Google Translate, put in a phrase, and then choose from a drop-down menu of language, copy, paste....my reading on HRC and UFOs reminded of the impact Vallee's _Messengers of Deception_ had on me, back around 1992...Lesh's Dead wall of sound was developed by Owsley, no?

Eric Wagner said...

Thanks for sharing the Hebrew translation. I just found out I won't teach Latin next year. I may decide to really learn another language - perhaps French.

I think Owsley worked more on the Dead's sound equipment in the 1960's. I don't he still worked with them as much in 1974.

Possible blog topic: I recently watched documentaries on the Black Panthers and the Women's Movement. It seems as though racial and gender equality have improved over the past fifty years, but the top one tenth of one percent has gotten even richer. I doubt the wealthiest people supported the changes of the 1960's, but they have certainly weathered the storm.