Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Obama Agenda for Change: Truth about the UFO?

"It is time for the government to declassify records that are more than 25 years old and to provide scientists with data that will assist in determining the real nature of this phenomenon," ex-Clinton aide John Podesta said Tuesday.

A Pentagon spokesperson could not be reached for comment regarding the requests for information.

- From CNN, October 22, 2002

John Podesta is the chief of President Obama's transition team. Could this mean that President Obama will finally insist the government come clean with the American people about the decades-old coverup of its relationship with our space brothers?

What does President-Elect Obama think? Is he itching to get into the Oval Office so he can demand the CIA or the Pentagon or the Majestic-12 to come give him "The Briefing"? Has he already gotten "The Briefing"? I would tend to doubt it - something could happen before he is sworn in and I doubt the MJ-12 (who knew they had a web site!) would want to take that chance.

But Podesta was the Chief of Staff before - does the President's own Chief of Staff not qualify for the "Majestic" clearance??

During the Reagan administration, it would seem that the President's senior advisors (which would seem to include then-Chief-of-Staff Jim Baker) were included on "The Briefing":

Transcript of classified tape recording made at Camp David, Maryland during a presidential briefing regarding the subject of UNIDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECTS and EXTRATERRESTRIAL VISITATION of EARTH. President RONALD REAGAN was present. The recording was made between March 6 and 8, 1981.

WILLIAM CASEY: Mr President, good morning. As we discussed in February, this briefing contains some very sensational and some very, very classified information. I am not sure, oh, well, I'm not going to make a decision on who you want in the room. That will be your decision, Mr President...

PRESIDENT: Well, it will be entirely up to you, Bill. I guess everyone must be cleared for this briefing of information, is that not correct?

WM CASEY: Well, it appears everyone is, but as you will see Mr President, this stuff is pretty high up on the food chain. We call it ATS or "Above Top Secret." This stuff has its own classification and markings. We have a special container, special printers and copiers for this stuff. Every word of this material is printed on special paper then placed inside special covers. The caretakers have taken special efforts to protect all of this stuff from being released inadvertently or copied by some unauthorized person.

PRESIDENT: OK, Bill, I guess we need ADVISER #1, you, ADVISER #3 and Caspar here. I think ADVISER #2 and Michael can leave.

According to the Serpo web site, the little grey space aliens have been among us at least since Roswell, and more interestingly, we sent our own exchange officer-astronauts back to their planet in Zeta Reticuli in 1965. That would make for quite an interesting briefing, don't you think?

But John Podesta was the White House Chief of Staff for 3 years and he hasn't heard it? Or he has heard it and he thinks the American people should be told, but can't say that exactly? It's an interesting logical conundrum. Either he really knows the truth that the extraterrestrials are among us, in which case he would probably be obligated not to tell (or talk about it), or he really doesn't know, which, since he was in a position where he probably would know, probably means that ET is not among us.

If President Obama tells the American people all about the captured alien spaceships, I'll vote for his re-election.

If the government really knew about something as Big and Important as space aliens living underground in rural Nevada, landing (or crashing) their spaceships all over the place, abducting all sorts of otherwise normal people (and livestock), and perpetrating some kind of truly unfathomable galactic conspiracy on us poor dumb sheeple, however, I really think it would leak.

But - there is the problem of all the reasonable, educated, seemingly lucid people (and Jimmy Carter) who claim to have had firsthand experiences with The UFO. (or maybe a rogue Tesla wave) *

Perhaps the question is whether Obama's selection of Podesta as his transition chief a signal to the space brothers that change is coming?

Unfortunately I hear Barack Obama is not a fan of outer space, which could be worse for NASA (and their efforts to return to the moon) than for the space brothers. (Although later he reportedly flip-flopped - somewhat mysteriously.)

Reportedly candidate Obama was offered an unofficial version of "The Briefing" because UFOlogists don't think the keepers of the secrets will read him in even when he is the President. That's an interesting scenario: the Secret Government decides President Obama is not a good risk and decides not to "read him in". The legend goes that happened with Jimmy Carter.

Few remember this history, but Jimmy Carter came into office promising to declassify all US government information related to UFOs. Fewer may know that he did, in fact, get quite a bit of UFO information declassified, but none of it revealed any concrete evidence about the space brothers' notoriously poor airmanship (constantly pranging their saucers into the New Mexico desert), or any other solid information of anything else extraterrestrial.

The election of Barack Obama would seem to have a lot of parallels to that of Jimmy Carter - the country is in a period of economic turmoil and like Carter, Obama campaigned on a platform of radical change. Unlike Carter (and unlike some of the other recent Presidential candidates), Obama seems disinterested in the subject of The UFO.

Almost every new Presidential administration (although maybe not G.W. Bush) brings hope from the believers that there will be new revelations about our space visitors. Subsequently there is always disappointment that no such revelations are forthcoming. The logical explanation for this disappointing outcome is that the government just doesn't have any juicy secrets to reveal (about the space brothers, anyway) - which might be because either (a) it really doesn't know what's going on, (b) there really are no alien space brothers plowing their saucers into the scrub-brush in New Mexico, or (c) (my bet) both.

So although John Podesta may really be a rabid X-files fan, my expectations are low.

The truth is out there! But my money is on it staying way out there.


Eric said...

Are you aware of any claims made by Carter that he saw an "alien spaceship"?

Obviously, Wikipedia should be taken with a grain of salt, but their entry on the Carter incident says:

While puzzled by the object and its origins Carter, himself, later said that while had considered the object to be a UFO—on the grounds it was unexplained—his knowledge of physics had meant he had not believed himself to be witnessing an alien spacecraft.

(cited to an article in GQ)

And, indeed, the "Carter UFO Report" you link to doesn't appear to have any irrational claims.

You seem to be making the same mistake the UFO-wackos make: confusing the term "unidentified flying object" with "alien spacecraft" or some similar term. In fact, lots of rational, lucid people see UFOs every day--most of which are subsequently identified, few of which are likely to be unknown, and none of which are likely to be extraterrestrial craft or anything else as exotic.

President Carter saw something flying. It appeared to be an "object" (which may be a mistake--it certainly could have been an optical illusion), and it was unidentified. Nothing more, nothing less.

As for the future of space exploration: I have no idea whether President Obama will fund the kinds of scientific projects I'd like to see funded. But reasonable minds might differ on what those projects would be in any case: personally, I'm a serious proponent of publicly-funded unmanned space exploration and lukewarm at best towards publicly-funded manned exploration (the funding distinction is important--I certainly appreciate entrepreneurs like Branson and inventors like Rutan keeping the dream of manned spaceflight alive). One doesn't have to be opposed to space exploration to see the Space Shuttle program as a boondoggle--historically, the Shuttle is an orphan of the abandoned Nixon-era space station design in search of missions, and the real question is whether its repurposing as a general launch vehicle has paid off (some think it has, I tend to think it hasn't, notwithstanding the astounding results of the Hubble program). For similar reasons, it's not farfetched to worry that the Constellation program (the focus of one of the Obama pieces you linked to) will prove to be Shuttle redux, an ambitious long-term program that gets scaled back to a single component that then has to scrounge around for things to do while worthier scientific projects are scaled back or eliminated from the budget (if I had to choose between Constellation or the canceled Kuiper Express, I would have happily preferred the latter, even if New Horizons is expected to make up for some of the missed opportunities we lost when we gave KE the axe).

Obama may disappoint me (perhaps any President dealing with our fiscal crisis would), but he's not going to break my heart if he decides that Constellation, and President Bush's half-baked manned-Mars agenda that goes with it, aren't worth the money. If he replaces them with nothing, then that will disappoint me. But I'm skeptical about risking a man's life to do a machine's job.

CW said...

Eric: I'm _kidding_. I thought it was time for some levity in the old blog.

I read Jimmy Carter's report and understand (probably better than most) the difference between unidentified phenomena and the space brothers cruising the ionosphere in Bob Lazar's sports model.

Sometime before long, however, I thought I might talk more about Constellation. It's an amazing re-creation of the Apollo program, with the addition of Earth-Orbit Rendezvous (EOR).

EOR had been an option on the original Apollo. The unused plans for EOR led to the Apollo Applications Program, the most obvious result of which was Skylab.

40 years later we're recreating the same space program? Can't we do better than that? If not, why not? That's the serious story for later.

But today I just felt like having a little fun.

mattw said...

"Space brothers"? Is that your brotha from an intergalatic motha?

How's that for some levity?

I tend to be a skeptic believer when it comes to UFOs. With so many reports and experiences out there, how can there not be at least some nugget of truth to it?

Eric said...

Sorry if I got the wrong vibe, CW, and I apologize.

Matt: the problem isn't whether there's truth, but which truth? Somebody who believes they woke up in the middle of the night experiencing paralysis, a floating sensation, and inspection by shadowy figures may be telling the truth--about a sleep disorder experience they've misinterpreted as an "abduction." Somebody who observes a mysterious light that seems to float in one place and then zip away at a high rate of speed may not be dishonest--but they might also be watching an optical illusion created by refracted lights originating on a highway or in a parking lot.

Occam's Razor tells us that the explanation with the fewest moving parts (so to speak) is probably the correct one. An explanation of mysterious lights in the sky that involves refracted light is an explanation that posits no new elements--we have a pretty good understanding of how light behaves in air that's been built on some four centuries of post-Newtonian labor and observation; meanwhile an explanation that involves an alien spacecraft is an explanation that requires us to assume highly advanced extraterrestrial lifeforms that possess a biochemistry unlike anything we've ever seen and/or possess technology that overcomes what we believe are the limits of biology and/or physics (that we can't even say whether the triumph is one of biology or physics is itself a big, hyperactive widget in Occam's terms)*. So which is more likely? No, we can't absolutely rule out an alien visitor--but we can say it is a negligible possibility, especially when a vastly simpler explanation is available.

And that's without even getting into Fermi's paradox, which I think is hard to get around. If there are extraterrestrials with radio telescopes within 40-100 light years, they ought to know we're here--they've had the opportunity to listen to our news, music, talk shows, and watch out sitcoms and political debates. (Yes, this might be a reason they don't want to talk to us, ha-ha; except--if humanity started getting the ET version of Charles In Charge or Knots Landing, don't you think we'd be rapt, even if the aliens eventually laughed at us for being obsessed with their dreck?) It's hard to accept, though not to imagine, that we haven't had a similar experience, that we haven't picked up even a three-second burst of alien-Limbaugh or alien-Survivor; explanations abound**, but the simplest is that ET isn't within a meaningful range of us.

So, I guess you can call me a skeptical skeptic. :-)

(Sorry for the huge-ass comment, CW and John!)

*Why do I keep saying biology or physics?

The distances between worlds are such, that we commonly think of the obstacle to interstellar travel as being the speed of light. However, interstellar voyages might be possible at sub-luminous speeds for a species whose individuals lived for thousands of years, or that was willing to build multi-generational vessels, or that knew how to put its members in some form of suspended animation for centuries. Unfortunately, each of these posits either a form of life unlike anything we know of or technology that's well beyond us. Does that mean it's impossible? Of course not--the universe, to paraphrase Haldane, is queerer than we can suppose and it's possible we'll eventually have the technical means for multi-gen ships or stasis capsules or what-have-you. But it is a complicated explanation--you would not only be positing that the light was a spaceship, but you'd have to start spinning all sorts of hypotheticals about who is inside it.

**For instance, we could be in a radio dead spot, ET's last EM broadcast before switching to some kind of quantum-communications (or similar EM-"silent" device) having washed over the Earth just before we started listening for such things. What would the odds be?


(Aptly, the captcha is "wadiant"--and here I just finished writing about awien wadio bwoadcasts!)

John the Scientist said...

Actually, Eric, in my experience, Occam's razor is best used for deciding which theory to test first. Because the simplest theory is usually the easiest to test. But in real science, the real answer is usually more complicated than you thought at first. At least, that's been my experience in trying to explain the experiments I've conducted.

The reason Occam is also probably the most correct in this case is that there is no continuum of possible answers slowly stepping up in complexity with this, as there usually is in real life.

There's the mundane, few moving parts answer, and then not much in between before you get to this Rube Goldberg contraption of low likelihood. And that explanation also happens to be flypaper for freaks, which doesn't help any.