Dogma Alert

Monday, January 30, 2006

Bridge Over Troubled Waters

I was spending some leisure time cruising the internet. I came across this very poignant and beautifully written post that not only sums up the horrors of living on the planet earth at this point in history, but also offers realizable solutions for those of us, like myself, who sometimes feel helpless faced with a world of seeming unending cruelty and despair.

Read on if you dare...


Smoking Mirrors: And Down Will Come Baby, Cradle and All.

By Laura Knight Jadczyk

Reading the above linked blog nearly made me cry. Why? Well, because I have heard the same frustration and despair expressed by other sincere activists for World Peace in the past couple of weeks. The despair of the front line is setting in. Yes, it looks like COINTELPRO is winning. The depression is spreading among those who have been keeping up the good fight for so long; we are succumbing to the disease. But is that really true?

Perhaps with understanding we can find a remedy, a Bridge Over Troubled Water.

When you're weary, feeling small,
when tears are in your eyes, I’ll dry them all.
I'm on your side, oh, when times get rough
and friends just can't be found,
like a bridge over troubled water, I will lay me down.
Like a bridge over troubled water, I will lay me down.

When you're down and out, when you're on the street,
when evening falls so hard, I’ll comfort you.
I'll take your part, oh, when darkness comes and pain is all around,
like a bridge over troubled water, I will lay me down.
Like a bridge over troubled water, I will lay me down.

Sail on silver girl, sail on by.
Your time has come to shine, All your dreams are on their way.
See how they shine, oh and when you need a friend,
I'm sailing right behind
Like a bridge over troubled water, I will ease your mind.
Like a bridge over troubled water, I will ease your mind.
[© 1969 Paul Simon]

First of all, I think that Lobaczewski has produced about the most valuable document for our times (or any times) that I have ever encountered. Every activist needs to read this material and read it carefully. You can't go into battle without studying the opposition, knowing their strengths, weaknesses, strategies, and so on. Lobaczewski and those other activists and resistance fighters have already been through this. They studied it and mapped it. And the fact is, if you don't study what you are up against, you will make stupid mistakes, you will think you are winning when you are losing, and conversely, you will think you are losing when the opponent is just bluffing.

This information is crucial. A good activist can NOT ignore it. He or she does so only at his or her own peril. Yeah, sure, it seems like a huge burden to have to deal with accusations and counter-accusations in the COINTELPRO world, but if we don't, we are toast. As Lobaczewski tells us:

"If physicians behaved like ethicists, i.e. left in the shadow of their personal experience of relatively un-esthetic disease phenomena because they were primarily interested in studying questions of physical and mental hygiene, there would be no such thing as modern medicine. Even the roots of this health-maintenance science would be hidden in similar shadows. In spite of the fact that the theory of hygiene has been linked to medicine since its ancient beginnings, physicians were correct in their emphasis upon studying disease above all. They risked their own health and suffered sacrifices in order to discover the causes and biological properties of illnesses and, afterwards, to understand the patho-dynamics of the courses of these illnesses. A comprehension of the nature of a disease, and the course it runs, after all, enables the proper curative means to be elaborated. "[Political Ponerology]

Just now, activists are the physicians of society. We can't do a thing if we don't know the nature of the disease and that is what Lobaczewski lays out for us in all its horrible detail. We don't want to give up in despair thinking we have incurable cancer when it is just the measles or something that must run its course and can lead to full recovery if proper nursing is applied.

The questions about COINTELPRO backed groups and individuals MUST be asked, but it must be asked in the proper context. The question is: Are such groups and individuals just "victims" of the social disease, or are they a vectors? Are they innocently manipulated by the special psychological knowledge of those with serious psychological pathologies, or are they carriers?

Either way, COINTELPRO is deliberate and planned at some level, whether the individual or group is privy to that planning or merely it's dupe. The REAL "enemies" are those individuals pulling his strings. The bottom line is, if the individual cannot be cured, if their egos are so big they cannot admit that they have been or are being manipulated, then those who seek "health" need to contain them like Typhoid Mary.

Modern COINTELPRO has been developed to an all new level of complexity and sophistication even if they still use many of the old tried and true methods of defamation and slander. After all, they have had access to some excellent talent to figure out how the human mind works and to know how to get to people and even to "trigger" them at a distance. I'm not talking about mysterious "mind control" experiments here, but simple psychological knowledge, though I won't discount the direct experimentation. After all, if you have some control over what kind of psychological "diet" is being fed to a society, you can pretty well set them up to do what you want right there in front of God and everybody. Education, religion, television, video games, control of the media for "ideological vectoring," etc. It's a pretty formidable array.

But again, most of it is "terror tactics." We need to study it and find the curative means and employ them.

For example, John Kaminski and Kurt Nimmo have come under COINTELPRO fire quite a bit lately. They are accused of being on the CIA payroll, of being "ex-Navy intell" and so on. How do you tell the difference? If they say they are not, that's what everybody expects them to say if they ARE. It's also what they would say if they aren't. People tend to forget that. It's like Bush pointing the finger at Iraq saying "You have WMD and because you say you don't, you are obviously lying." Then, of course, the truth came out that Iraq was telling the truth. But for a considerable period of time, lots of people bought into the "plausible lie" argument. You might want to reread all the COINTELPRO posts here, especially the one about the above mentioned "Plausible lies," and try to remember that when two people are each saying something completely opposite, it is NOT usually a case of the truth being somewhere in the middle: one of them may very well be lying and the other telling the truth and nothing but the truth. I wrote there:

The truth - when twisted by good liars, can always make an innocent person look bad - especially if he is honest and admits that he has faults. If someone is telling the simple truth, and the other side is lying through their teeth, the basic assumption that the truth lies between the testimony of the two sides always shifts the advantage to the lying side and away from the side telling the truth. Under most circumstances, this shift put together with the fact that the truth is going to also be twisted in such a way as to bring detriment to the innocent person, results in the advantage always resting in the hands of liars.

Also, when you read the post about Plausible lies, you will read something else: how to evaluate the two sides:

Proof is a familiar concept to those used to conventional logical thinking. However what passes for proof in cultural, social, and even legal terms often bears only a superficial resemblance to what would be considered proof by those who really use their minds to think.

For example: in formal mathematics, proof rules are established - postulates are set out and a structure is built based on the postulates and the theorem. Mathematical proof is pretty much inarguable: once a proof is accepted as true it is added to the pool of known truths.

In legal proof there is a set of rules and a theory which the prosecution presents, and attempts to prove the theory by clever argumentation rather than facts. Truth is not the objective. Getting other people to believe the theory IS the objective. However, the prosecution's theory is whatever the prosecutor believes that he can get away with based on what is known about the case, or what he can PREVENT from being known. What legal 'proof' does is serve as a structure for convincing a group of people of the guilt of a person, about whom they know nothing.

There is another significant difference: Mathematical proofs are judged by experts in the particular case who are free to study any and all information about the case. Legal 'proof' is judged by people who are guaranteed to be ignorant of the case, who are only allowed to study the information presented during the formal trial, and who are not even allowed to consult the texts for what the rules say.

Our culture is so permeated with this “legal argument” system that it extends into our daily experience: the one who is the slickest at using the structure for convincing a group of people of something, is the one who is believed. Very few people take the time to obtain hard facts by carefully studying any and all information about a situation.

How do I know John Kaminski and Kurt Nimmo are NOT disinformation artists or in the pay of the CIA or Navy intelligence? I have done due diligence. Not only do they use their real names, they also have a real history of their public life and deeds that is written in an open book for anyone who cares to read it. I also know from personal information that if the CIA has them on their payroll, they haven't ever sent any checks and both of them struggle to survive every day just like the rest of us. They need help and they aren't getting it.

Speaking of which: We (Ark and I and our research group) are portrayed as either beneficiaries of funds from George Soros, French Intell, CIA, or we are thieves who take people in, fleece them by scaring them to death, and then cast them aside like used kleenex. Here is one of the latest posted to a public BB:

Anonymous Coward
User ID: 67366
1/28/2006 6:01 AMRe: Ok, enough about Nancy and the Zetas. What do you all know about Laura and the Cassiopaeans?

Is LKJ the same as Il_Bagattel on STA?

'ill bagman' is not laura

he is a retired used car salesman and health food drink peddler from
newport beach CA, in his early sixties he means well but is a total C
dupe, fanatical, obsessed

he sold his property in CA for over half a mil and followed the cult to
france he read some C crapola about CA falling into the ocean, and he was
genuinely afraid! laura reinforced the conviction and invited him intor her
spider's web

he moved in to the castleopia dungeons but was within days, due to his
rather cloying used car salesman personality, made unwelcome by the cult -
some of the cultists said he was making unwelcome sexual advances and
remarks to younger female C dupes he was banished to a local village
nearby, where he still remains the village idiot

what happened to his money?

LOL, take a guess

but even though he was ostracised he still is so mind controlled that he
suffers from stockholm syndrome and thus constantly writes (at STA mainly)
about apoclayptic and other paranoid crapola but always referencing the
larks and Cs and always in a good 'light'

he is a very sad man and he has no idea how his life has been ruined by
these archons - no idea

that story can be repeated in many other cases, and i hesitate to guess
quite how many, and quite how much money and property has been stolen by
these 2 hucksterfrauds, not to mention minds and lives and shattered
relationships and marriages

i wonder if the larks understand the concept of karma?

roll on interpol
please DO YOUR JOB

How to deal with nonsense like that? And believe me, this is a mild example. You ain't been COINTELPROd professionally until there are websites set up for the express purpose of destroying your reputation and thusly your ability to do anything positive for others in this battle against Fascism we face today! I reckon we are about the most attacked people on the net, and we were being attacked when it wasn't fashionable. Maybe we're onto something?

Now, you want the truth? Can't you handle the earth-shaking revelation?

First of all, the individual referred to above is not a "used car salesman" or "health food drink peddler" except in the mind of the writer who denigrates him, and seeks to dirty everything he touches, especially us. The man's father was a Car dealer in the American Midwest. The individual in question owned several nightclubs in large cities there; he also was a musician and played drums in a couple of well-known 60s and 70s rock bands. Later, he joined a large vitamin manufacturer as marketing director. Normal life story. But somehow his life was cheapened and vulgarized in a few, short, sentences constructed by a psychopath.

This individual has been a long time reader of our website, a discussion group member, an activist, (he led a movement to stop the building of an airport in CA that would have destroyed an ecologically sensitive environment), and supporter. When he reached retirement age, he saw what was coming in the US - POLITICALLY and economically - and decided he wanted to retire to Europe. Yes, he was scared - nobody in their right mind wouldn't be - , and yes, he thought earthquakes in California were likely at some point in the future (as do many experts), but that isn't what was driving him: his main fear was Bush and the Neocons. Rightly so.

So, he wanted to get out. Since we were the only people he knew in Europe, and since we could sponsor him to come here, it was only natural that we do so. Yes, he sold his house before moving; that's natural. Yes, he stayed with us for 6 months while looking for his "ideal house," and then moved in there. I have no idea how much money he has or how much he made on the sale of his house. He helped out with groceries while he was here, made a loan to us when we needed additional funds to try to get a mortgage to buy a house (that fell through - loans get repaid) but that was it. We helped him, he helped us and that is pretty simple and ordinary stuff in anyone's life. But see what has been made of it? See the filthy allusions and insinuations? See how it has been twisted to contribute "proof" to the claim that we are just con-artists and run a doomsday cult?

Well, obviously, anyone who reads the work on our website knows better. That is why we take note of the sites that do and do not link to us. That is why it was so interesting to observe the reactions to the Pentagon Strike video which I have written about earlier. After the Washington Post made the mistake of publishing a link to our website, all of the damage control machine went to work and the ONE thing they wanted to avoid at ALL costs was publishing a link to our website.

We must scare them to death.

And I should note that the writer of the above nastiness is very likely Vincent Bridges, best buddy and co-author with Jay Weidner, who is best buddy of Jeff Rense. You know, you can follow these links around and with a little digging, figure out who is who... (hint)

Meanwhile, of course, Jeff Rense got listed on a government website as a major source of disinformation. As Robin Ramsay, Editor of Lobster, writes in February's issue of Fortean Times:

Recently, the US State Department has begun trying to rebut some of the current conspiracy theories about America. Their first targets were a couple of websites - and Conspiracy Planet - and the late Joe Vialls, an Australian. What a boost for the named sites! Attacked by the State Department![...]

[Y]ou don't have to be a PR genius to see that what you simply mustn't do is launch official attacks: all they do is amplify and legitimise the theories by announcing that they are deemed to be worth attacking. [Fortean Times 206, February 2006, p. 19]

Even though, as I noted in an earlier post here, Carol Morello of the Washington Post asserted that our Pentagon Strike video was single-handedly responsible for re-awakening the public interest in the "No-Boeing at the Pentagon" theory first put forward by Thierry Meyssan, never, EVER, have we been frontally attacked by any government agency. Nor will we be. As Ramsay notes above: "[Y]ou don't have to be a PR genius to see that what you simply mustn't do is launch official attacks: all they do is amplify and legitimise the theories by announcing that they are deemed to be worth attacking."

So certainly, we would expect real COINTELPRO operations to be attacked "officially" in order to legitimize them, (and that's what they did for Jeff Rense), but those who have figured out the real answers will not be martyred - at least not by the official government. It's way too dangerous. Rather, they will be crucified by "Third Party Agents" of COINTELPRO such as Vincent Bridges and his gang of cyber-psychos. And certainly, it is effective.

The problem is, because so few people really think, and most people are really programmed by the "Cult of the Plausible Lie," when folks like Vinnie and his buddy Storm Bear repeat this nonsense over and over again (and it started back in 2001), the average person tends to think "where there's smoke, there's fire." They don't know that it's ALL smoke and somebody else is blowing it!

The word "cult" has been deliberately made so pejorative that people actually cringe when they hear it. It was used with effective results in relation to the Jonestown people, the Branch Davidians at Waco, the Solar Temple, Heaven's Gate, etc. I certainly thought that those situations were as they were presented by the media myself at the time they happened. It was only later when WE were painted with the same brush that I started to wonder if there wasn't some psy-ops going on there: a deliberate manipulation of people's minds. I started looking into it and it sure looks that way. Do your own research, don't take my word for it.

What matters now is that 90 % or more of the US population still believe the lies about those people. (And I'm not defending their beliefs, whatever they might have been, just their right to have them and live peacefully which they were NOT permitted to do. They were hounded and flamed and infiltrated and lied about until they became so paranoid that they began to act erratically which then led to their destruction. Pure psychological manipulation.) I should mention here that the chief ranter of "cult, cult, cult!" in the case of the Waco tragedy, was Rick Ross, good buddy of Vinnie Bridges and Jay Weidner and probably, by extension, though it is hidden, Jeff Rense. (It is known that Rense has some decided Zionist connections so it strikes me that he could be a tar baby to collect all the anti-Zionist folks together, get info on them, and then subject them to later attacks by seemingly disconnected sources. There are also Zionist connections to Weidner and Bridges, by the way, and most definitely to Rick Ross.) By the way, has anybody but me noticed Jeff's ostensible "Christian Cult" bias?

Are we a cult? Hell no. If anything, we are anti-religion and anti-belief in anything. We prefer to collect data and assign probabilities based on scientific analysis. The REAL cults are protected by the so-called "anti-cult" people. They pretend to be "anti-cult" all the while they are subtly promoting a quite different agenda. Take a look at the website, the ostensible source of the libelous post I quoted above. This is supposed to stand for "Malevolent Alien Abduction Research." Now, get this: Colleen Johnston is saying that aliens are malevolent. WE are saying that, if aliens really exist as a great deal of evidence suggests they do, then they are malevolent because that is what the evidence points to. So what's Colleen's problem? Why does she have a beef with me?

Easy. And I'll tell you how I know. There are two people on her private discussion group who got curious about me because she wrote so vicious an article about me. (I don't think she wrote it, I think that Vinnie Bridges wrote it in her name - part of the COINTELPRO Greek Chorus strategy). So, these people came to our site to examine the evidence by reading the material we publish. Apparently, they were so disgusted with Colleen's obvious agenda, that they decided to forward to me all the exchanges she has with her group, her "teachings," so to say. It's quite a collection.

Reading this material was truly saddening:the blind leading the blind, but more than that, it was worrisome. You see, Colleen Johnston tells her followers that faith in Jesus is what is going to save them from Malevolent aliens.

Yup. Not a joke. And if they keep getting raped and abused (and how they glory in their descriptions of the "disgusting" sexual encounters with their reptoid tormenters!), then it is obviously because they haven't gotten the exact shade of feeling of faith to ward them off. Either that or it's "god's will" that they suffer.

Now, how can you be angry at something that ignorant and pathetic? (And by the way, if you want to listen in on a real exorcism where I never ONCE mention the name "Jesus," and do the job quite effectively anyway, go to our podcasts and listen to the one on "Channeling and Exorcism")

In any event, the "anti-cult" ranters have done a pretty effective job of making people afraid of the word to the point that it's like the Kitty Genovese case... a person can be being murdered - psychically, psychologically, and even literally - by these thugs and nobody will help because they are afraid of getting tarred with the same brush.

And THAT is the point. That's what COINTELPRO is set up to do. To divide and conquer the TRUE patriots and activists by slime propagated by the Third Party Attack Protocol.

Those who are really working for truth and peace will be attacked and marginalized. And then, if somebody starts to notice anything strange about this, they will set up "fake" attacks on each other to allay suspicion. No sooner had I made a public comment about the fact that Jeff Rense seemed to be curiously untouched by all of this than, lo and behold, within a few days he started publishing articles about how nasty letters were written to him from Zionists and his guests were being "threatened." However, he has never published an article about how *I*, as his guest, was certainly flamed and threatened by his pals Jay Weidner and Vincent Bridges and HE published it himself.

And then along comes Daryl Bradford Smith with his "diet coke COINTELRPO" attack on Rense - you know, the flame with just one calorie?

The other day I saw another piece on about how the nasty Zionists were making anonymous phone calls to one of his guests and how upset that guest was. Well, gee whiz, I wish I ONLY got nasty anonymous phone calls! After many, MANY death threats, our names and address were published on the internet with invitations for some right thinking Neocon Zionists in our area to "take care" of us. Not long after, two of my children were nearly killed, (the car was totaled when an anonymous vehicle attacker deliberately ran my daughter off the road and if it hadn't been a Volvo, she would have been killed), our dog was poisoned, and we had enough. And then, of course, the "Greek Chorus" starts chanting: "oh, they are pretending to be activists but they really ran away because they are a cult and fleece people."

Yeah, right.

The problem is, the other side has no limits on what they can and WILL do. Every unethical option is open to them. It is NOT open to those who seek truth. For them, the end justifies the means. For us, the end IS the means: truth, as much as we can figure out, shouted as loudly as we can shout it. (Within safe limits, of course.)

But that doesn't mean that we can't take pages from their playbook.

We notice that their main weapon is something like a combination of a Greek Chorus and "clappers" planted in the audience, while the spellbinding actor weaves his illusion "onstage." It is a kind of psychological "herding" and "corraling."

I don't see anything wrong at all with utilizing a similar tactic.

But to do something like that, you have to have a network and that has to be created very carefully in order to weed out the "agents." That's where studying the phenomenon and doing due diligence comes in.

IF such a thing could be done, if such a group would come out in force whenever they see the stalker attacking a "Kitty Genovese", (i.e. any one of the members of said network), the network would come out in force and make it clear that they are NOT going to tolerate attacks on people who have proved themselves by their bona fides, and by their work.

The problem with forming such a unified network is Ego. So many people are invested in their beliefs and they have to hang on to them and if somebody over there doesn't believe the same way they do, they don't feel that they ought to support them. What we have to understand from the start is that most of these beliefs are PART OF THE PROGRAM. One has to be completely ruthless in examining the self and what one believes in order to get free of this stuff. Effectively that means that anyone who is attached to a "savior" scenarios is probably part of the program whether he or she is conscious of it or not. There aren't any saviors! No Jesus, no Avatar, no Aliens are gonna help haul our buns out of the fire. It's all up to us! That's it. And we can only do it with knowledge and awareness! But the kind of knowledge and awareness we need cannot be gotten alone!

Our Quantum Future Group has made a huge difference. Yeah, Vinnie and gang like to rant "cult" about the fact that we have a private, members-only group, and it's hard as hell to get in, but I can guaran-damn-tee that this is only because the PTB are afraid of people actually learning how to work together without egos. It's all about relationships and networking to do real research with all biases removed.

QFG is a blessing to me for a lot of reasons and one of these is that it is the members of this group that keep me fighting. Because many of them are there, in the U.S., even though I am here in France and COULD just relax and retire and let the world go to hell or let somebody else do the work,. Heck, I'm 54 this year, I don't have a lot of years left so why am I wearing myself out? I could shuck the whole nonsense, free myself of the grief that I suffer when I am unjustly attacked, the suffering my family has gone through because of those psychopaths, quit working 16 hour days, and just read and watch movies and prune roses. But I can't do that. There are too many people that I love. I will fight for them until I am cut down and I believe that they will do the same for me. I could be wrong, but I don't think so - they are very special people, every one of them!

Yes, there has been a period of "weeding out" COINTELPRO - that's a necessary stage for any group that hopes to remain cohesive and work toward a common goal. Those who have the seeds of selfishness have fallen away under various trials. In this sense, people like Vinnie and Jay are useful. Those who have the instinct for truth can see through them and their lies, and those who prefer lies because it makes things simple and keeps people from being mad at them for bucking the PTB, get taken in. Lobaczewski calls it "transpersonification." It's really that simple. We interact with people daily, monthly, year after year, and because of this they know us on a consistent, personal basis. Most of our group members have been to visit us and have visited each other. This group works together, researches together, and that means that each of them give of themselves daily just like in a family.

When you get to know people personally in such an exchange, you begin to care about them in a deep way. Our group is our real family and families help each other. The neighbors would not have ignored Kitty Genovese's cries for help if they had known her and interacted with her daily, or if they had been family, even "extended" family.

That's what is missing in the Anti-war and 9-11 truth movement. People working together, knowing each other well and personally, leaving their egos and prejudices at the door, doing good research with protocols, sharing and supporting each other for the sake of the goal and not personal fame and glory. The network needs to grow.

The members of the Quantum Future Group are our "Bridge Over Troubled Water." They work tirelessly alongside us on the "frontline," even if we do try to shield them from the flak and take the direct hits from the COINTELPRO gangs ourselves. We are able to stand up and do that because they are behind us, passing the ammunition, food and water, necessary intell, providing distractions and cover fire, and all kinds of things that can be expressed in battle metaphors. The cavalry may make the charge and attract the fire, but it cannot be successful without a kitchen, without an infirmary, without covering artillery fire, and without reconnaissance and foot soldiers.

So, the bottom line is, as long as the Quantum Future Group exists, as long as children who need a future exist, I'm not ready to give up yet. There is way too much at stake. Maybe I am clinging to hope because I am a mother and I want a future for my children and my extended family and their children. Maybe that hope is self-deception, just as a mother might cling to hope that her child will survive some terminal illness. I'll admit that up front. But even so, if my "child" dies, it won't be because I didn't do everything I could, right up to the last instant. And believe me, a desperate mother can be pretty creative when her child's life is at stake. There are all kinds of stories about mothers who did NOT take the diagnosis as the last word, who did their own research, who found new remedies, and who, in the end, healed their children by virtue of stubbornness, refusal to give up, and just plain cussedness. They can call me crazy, they can laugh at me, accuse me of whatever slime their filthy brains can come up with, gossip about me, flame and abuse me; it has nothing to do with me, and I ain't quittin'. I'll be your Bridge Over Troubled Water.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The life and suicide of an Iraq veteran who could take no more

By Andrew Buncombe in Washington and Oliver Duff
25 January 2006

By his own admission Douglas Barber, a former army reservist, was struggling. For two years since returning from the chaos and violence of Iraq, the 35-year-old had battled with his memories and his demons, the things he had seen and the fear he had experienced. Recently, it seemed he had turned a corner, securing medical help and counselling.

But last week, at his home in south-eastern Alabama, the National Guardsman e-mailed some friends and then changed the message on his answering machine. His new message told callers: "If you're looking for Doug, I'm checking out of this world. I'll see you on the other side." Mr Barber dialled the police, stepped on to the porch with his shotgun and - after a brief stand-off with officers - shot himself in the head. He was pronounced dead at the scene. [...]

Comment from Signs of the Times
: While we can certainly understand why this young man felt that he had no option but to take his own life, we do not support suicide. We know that there are exceptional cases of terminal illness and individuals who suffer chronic and intractable pain. In those cases, we bow our heads and acknowledge that the individual has the right to make their own decision without judgment from others.

What we see in this case, of course, is a case of chronic and intractable emotional pain. This is a common malady of our world, due primarily to the patologizing of our society. Again we must point out the work of Andrew Lobaczewski who has so thorougly described this process and its effects on normal human beings. The most tragic thing about all of it is that a very small segment of the population is responsible for the sufferings of the majority.

One of the reasons for the existence of this website is so that those who do begin to see, or who have struggled all their lives trying to make sense of a society that has been shaped by The Cult of the Plausible Lie. The primary problem that I see humanity struggling with today is precisely delineated by Lobaczewski: it is an almost total lack of adequate psychological knowledge on the part of the masses of humanity - the population of ordinary, normal people.

Plausible lies are monstrous things propagated by evil people for the express purpose of deceiving good people into doing the will of those who do not have their best interests at heart. It's that simple. The most powerful of these lies are so plausible that nobody even dreams about questioning their validity.

Learning about evil in our society, how it operates on the macro-social scale, is considered by many to be "unpleasant." They don't want to go there. It is too disturbing and even frightening. More than that, talking about these things as we do here at SOTT is not familiar. To talk about evil as though it were a REAL concept is something we have been programmed to NOT do!

We clearly need to study this problem of macro-social evil in our world in a systematic and scientific way. And we need to get over the idea that thinking only good thoughts, thinking about happy and "nice" things is the way to good psychological health.

It's clear that trying to think "happy thoughts" did no good for Douglas Barber; his observations and experience were in conflict with this plausible lie. But it is so plausible that millions upon millions of people are taken in by it.

Who knows? If Douglas Barber had known about SOTT, if he had known about our work with the Quantum Future Group, if he had known about our studies in psychopathy and Ponerology, perhaps he would have been able to come to a resolution about the fact that Evil does exist, that it rules this world and has done for millennia, and then he would have been able to convert his suffering into positive work for the promotion of that which is good, decent, and normal.

But of course, there is no possibility of a world that is ruled by normal people to come into being until they begin to wake up from the spell of the Evil Magician, the Ponerological union of pathological elements in our society. And it is for this purpose, waking people up, that SOTT exists.

The Poisoning of the Well

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Of Paradoxes and Manna from Heaven

The rise of Christian fundamentalism in the United States is a profound paradox, a reality that in the natural evolution of human endeavor should not exist, an anathema to the inevitable progression of humanity and civilization, a manifestation that is at odds with what we would expect to exist in the wealthiest, most open and some would say the most learned nation the world has ever seen. Yet, not only does this variant of extremist religion exist in the land of plenty, it thrives, becoming a growing threat to the continued vitality of the nation.

Indeed, a movement already clandestinely growing and attracting more souls before 9/11 was given a gift from the heavens, quite literally, on that fateful day, creating images and emotions that transformed the way millions of Americans saw the world. Suddenly, and unexpectedly, terror fell from the sky like the vengeance-filled thunderbolts of Zeus, spawning a fear and insecurity never before seen inside a nation that had never been attacked on its continental soil. The world was transformed, along with the psyches of millions of people whose beliefs ratified in their minds that the destruction of the World Trade Center was a religious manifestation conjured up by God himself. Paranoid, afraid, uncertain and insecure, thinking themselves living in a troubled world on the verge of its last throes, millions traumatized by the events of 9/11 turned to fundamentalist religion for the salvation reserved for the end of days, answers to most troubling questions and the false comfort that religion offers in times of cataclysm and need.

The profound psychological shift in the minds of tens of millions in the aftermath of 9/11 cannot be underestimated, and must be seen as a monumental trigger that has unleashed the myriad of problems now afflicting America. The trauma, stress, fear and hatred engendered transformed America and its people in ways that have yet to be fully understood.

Comment from Signs of the Times: Much of Valenzeula's critique is spot on. Yes, religion is a control system for keeping the flock in step, cowed with fear over God's potential wrath, or spaced out on wishful thinking in hopes that the Savior will return and save the true believers before things get too bad for the heathen and the heretic. Jesus as the original space brother. We think, however, that Valenzeula has his own ideological blind spots, for he preaches the very same materialism that he is denouncing, he has accepted the materialist notion of progress, he does not mention the in-fighting among scientific circles over the anthropological and genetic squabbles over man's evolution, dismisses the Middle Ages as a backwater of Church-dominated thought when in fact there were very progressive societies that were crushed by this same Church, among other shortcomings. Indeed, the situation of fundamentalist religion in the US is dire for those who wish to bring reason and fact to the debate on our future as opposed to belief and fairy tales masquerading as science. But there is no understanding in this piece of the nature of psychopathy and pathocracy, so he falls back onto the common sense notion of human nature, as if we were all nothing more than animals with a grain of rational thought struggling to keep our beastial depths in check. Furthermore, his analysis of just how bad the situation really is stops short. He appears to still accept the idea that it was a small gang of Islamic fundamentalists, guided by Osama Underthebed, who pulled off 9/11. Is this a case of his own rational side being stifled by his beliefs and preconceptions? Freeing oneself from the programming of society is no easy task. Reason alone will not do it for we are more than reason. The entire personality must be brought into play. But that, too, is not enough because we are blind to ourselves in countless ways. It takes the viewpoint of an objective observer to help us see ourselves. That objective observer can be a network of like-minded people. By that, we mean people who have made the commitment to do the work, not that they think and believe the same things. It is our BEing that must be transformed. True progress is the progress of the soul, not in the terms dictated by the milk doctrine of religion designed to keep us beholden to our psychopathic leaders, but in our work to become that which we have today only in potential, masters of ourselves.

Teaching anti-terrorism

IIT class is among growing field of homeland security study

By Patrice M. Jones
Tribune staff reporter
Published January 25, 2006

The assignment was daunting -- to protect Chicagoans in the wake of a terrorist attack on the infamous downtown Block 37 project with its proposed office tower, retail space and subterranean subway station.

One by one, the Illinois Institute of Technology graduate students came to the front of the classroom, pointing out the site's vulnerabilities.

What was presented as a final class project was a chilling laundry list of dangers but also possible solutions: from designing barriers to protect the completed complex from potential explosives-laden vehicles, to providing human and electronic surveillance, to even using special glass in construction that would prove less deadly if buildings were attacked. [...]

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Freedom - The Cold, Hard Facts

By Nancy Levant
January 24, 2006

There are a thousand critically important issues to deal with in todayís world, but American citizens need to be very careful. The creation of social chaos is the fundamental tool used by Constitutional destroyers to divide and conquer the ability to focus on the big prize, which is freedom. Our focus should not be upon partisan details, but upon Constitutional dismantling. Our political opinions and leanings will be non-issues if there is no Constitutional Republic.

As each day passes, and we continue to see our ìrepresentativesî refusing to represent American freedom, and as we continue to see our voting powers eliminated by the non-elected partnership-stakeholding system of global leadership, one wonders if there will ever be another election. Specifically, one wonders if Martial Law will be implemented before another election date rolls around. Due to the fact that our nation has been totally and very skillfully bankrupted by highly educated economic experts, one wonders if we have been set up to purposefully crash, whereby giving Martial Law its jurisdiction.

It should be very clear to every American citizen that 1) something is terribly wrong with our ìrepresentative government,î and 2) our representatives and their corporate partners are recreating public law. Our rights as American citizens are being systematically, purposefully eliminated. Therefore, our opinions about this social condition and that cultural trend are pointless. In the very near future, changes could occur in America that will make all partisanship null and void. Martial Law knows no partisanship and cares not for opinion. It knows only military-style dictatorship.

At this point in time, I strongly suggest that American people prepare for the worst. All indicators lead to renegade politicians who are overthrowing the American government and its Constitution. No one can deny this fact. Equally, a Martial Law system is totally, completely in place thanks to three or more decades of powers amassed through presidential Executive Orders and many, many Acts.

Consider the following:

EXECUTIVE ORDER 10990 allows the government to take over all modes of transportation and control of highways and seaports.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 10995 allows the government to seize and control the communication media.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 10997 allows the government to take over all electrical power, gas, petroleum, fuels and minerals.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 10998 allows the government to take over all food resources and farms.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 11000 allows the government to mobilize civilians into work brigades under government supervision.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 11001 allows the government to take over all health, education and welfare functions.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 11002 designates the Postmaster General to operate a national registration of all persons.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 11003 allows the government to take over all airports and aircraft, including commercial aircraft.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 11004 allows the Housing and Finance Authority to relocate communities, build new housing with public funds, designate areas to be abandoned, and establish new locations for populations.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 11005 allows the government to take over railroads, inland waterways and public storage facilities.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 11051 specifies the responsibility of the Office of Emergency Planning and gives authorization to put all Executive Orders in to effect in times of increased international tensions and economic or financial crisis.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 11310 grants authority to the Department of Justice to enforce the plans set out in Executive Orders, to institute industrial support, to establish judicial and legislative liaison, to control all aliens, to operate penal and correctional institutions, and to advise and assist the President.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 11049 assigns emergency preparedness function to federal departments and agencies, consolidating 21 operative Executive Orders issued over a fifteen-year period.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 11921 allows the Federal Emergency Preparedness Agency to develop plans to establish control over the mechanisms of production and distribution of energy sources, wages, salaries, credit, and the flow of money in U.S. financial institutions in any undefined national emergency. It also provides that when the President declares a state of emergency, Congress cannot review the action for six months.

Add to these Executive Orders the Model State Emergency Health Powers Act, which would give state governors and public health officials the power to:

∑ Force individuals suspected of harboring an "infectious disease" to undergo medical examinations.

∑ Track and share an individual's personal health information, including genetic information.

∑ Force persons to be vaccinated, treated, or quarantined for infectious diseases.

∑ Mandate that all health care providers report all cases of persons who harbor any illness or health condition that may be caused by an epidemic or an infectious agent and might pose a "substantial risk" to a "significant number of people or cause a long-term disability." (Note: Neither "substantial risk" nor "significant number" are defined in the draft.)

∑ Force pharmacists to report any unusual or any increased prescription rates that may be caused by epidemic diseases.

∑ Preempt existing state laws, rules and regulations, including those relating to privacy, medical licensure, and--this is key--property rights.

∑ Control public and private property during a public health emergency, including pharmaceutical manufacturing plants, nursing homes, other health care facilities, and communications devices.

∑ Mobilize all or any part of the "organized militia into service to the state to help enforce the state's orders."

∑ Ration firearms, explosives, food, fuel and alcoholic beverages, among other commodities.

∑ Impose fines and penalties to enforce their orders.

Then, consider the following:

∑ Super viruses are manufactured.

∑ Borders are open to illegals of all shapes and kinds.

∑ NAFTA-CAFTA-FTAA enforces internationalized economics.

∑ Imported nuclear devices are known to be in the United States.

∑ Our nation was bureaucratically bankrupted by the Federal Reserve Corporation.

∑ The Partnership-stakeholding bureaucracy eliminates voting.

∑ The elected representatives of the American people are rapidly eliminating constitutional rights.

∑ The American military is completely dedicated to foreign theaters, while a secondary military system has been established on the homeland with new and unimaginable powers over the citizenry.

Let us consider the powers of the Patriot Act II:

SECTION 501 (Expatriation of Terrorists) expands the definition of "enemy combatant" to all American citizens who "may" have violated any provision of Section 802 of the first Patriot Act. (Section 802 is the new definition of domestic terrorism, and the definition is "any action that endangers human life that is a violation of any Federal or State law.") Section 501 of the second Patriot Act directly connects to Section 125 of the same act. The Justice Department boldly claims that the incredibly broad Section 802 of the First USA Patriot Act isn't broad enough and that a new, unlimited definition of terrorism is needed.

Under Section 501 a US citizen engaging in lawful activities can be grabbed off the street and thrown into a van never to be seen again. The Justice Department states that they can do this because the person "had inferred from conduct" that they were not US citizens. Remember Section 802 of the First USA Patriot Act states that any violation of Federal or State law can result in the "enemy combatant" terrorist designation.

SECTION 201 of the second Patriot Act makes it a criminal act for any member of the government or any citizen to release any information concerning the incarceration or whereabouts of detainees. It also states that law enforcement does not have to tell the press who they have arrested, and they never have to release the names.

SECTION 301 and 306 (Terrorist Identification Database) set up a national database of "suspected terrorists" and radically expand the database to include anyone associated with suspected terrorist groups and anyone involved in crimes or having supported any group designated as "terrorist." These sections also set up a national DNA database for anyone on probation or who has been on probation for any crime, and orders State governments to collect the DNA for the Federal government.

SECTION 312 gives immunity to law enforcement engaging in spying operations against the American people and would place substantial restrictions on court injunctions against Federal violations of civil rights across the board.

SECTION 101 will designate individual terrorists as foreign powers and again strip them of all rights under the "enemy combatant" designation.

SECTION 102 states clearly that any information gathering, regardless of whether or not those activities are illegal, can be considered to be clandestine intelligence activities for a foreign power. This makes newsgathering illegal.

SECTION 103 allows the Federal government to use wartime martial law powers domestically and internationally without Congress declaring that a state of war exists.

SECTION 106 is bone chilling in its straightforwardness. It states that broad general warrants by the secret FSIA court (a panel of secret judges set up in a star chamber system that convenes in an undisclosed location) granted under the first Patriot Act are not good enough. It states that government agents must be given immunity for carrying out searches with no prior court approval. This section throws out the entire Fourth Amendment against unreasonable searches and seizures.

SECTION 109 allows secret star-chamber courts to issue contempt charges against any individual or corporation who refuses to incriminate themselves or others. This section annihilates the last vestiges of the Fifth Amendment.

SECTION 110 restates that key police state clauses in the first Patriot Act were not sunsetted and removes the five-year sunset clause from other subsections of the first Patriot Act. After all, the media has told us: "This is the New America. Get used to it. This is forever."

SECTION 111 expands the definition of the "enemy combatant" designation.

SECTION 122 restates the government's newly announced power of "surveillance without a court order."

SECTION 123 restates that the government no longer needs warrants and that the investigations can be a giant dragnet-style sweep described in press reports about the Total Information Awareness Network. One passage reads, "thus the focus of domestic surveillance may be less precise than that directed against more conventional types of crime."

*Note: Over and over again, in subsection after subsection, the second Patriot Act states that its new Soviet-type powers will be used to fight international terrorism, domestic terrorism and other types of crimes. Of course the government has already announced in Section 802 of the first USA Patriot act that any crime is considered domestic terrorism.

SECTION 126 grants the government the right to mine the entire spectrum of public and private sector information from bank records to educational and medical records. This is the enacting law to allow ECHELON and the Total Information Awareness Network to break down any and all walls of privacy. The government states that they must look at everything to "determine" if individuals or groups might have a connection to terrorist groups. As you can now see, you are guilty until proven innocent.

SECTION 127 allows the government to takeover coroners' and medical examiners' operations whenever they see fit.

SECTION 128 allows the Federal government to place gag orders on Federal and State Grand Juries and to take over the proceedings. It also disallows individuals or organizations to even try to quash a Federal subpoena. So now defending yourself will be a terrorist action.

SECTION 129 destroys any remaining whistle blower protection for Federal agents.

SECTION 202 allows corporations to keep secret their activities with toxic biological, chemical or radiological materials.

SECTION 205 allows top Federal officials to keep all financial dealings secret, and anyone investigating them can be considered a terrorist.

SECTION 303 sets up national DNA database of suspected terrorists. The database will also be used to "stop other unlawful activities." It will share the information with state, local and foreign agencies for the same purposes.

SECTION 311 federalizes your local police department in the area of information sharing.

SECTION 313 provides liability protection for businesses, especially big businesses, that spy on their customers for Homeland Security, violating their privacy agreements. It goes on to say that these are all preventative measures - has anyone seen Minority Report? This is the access hub for the Total Information Awareness Network.

SECTION 321 authorizes foreign governments to spy on the American people and to share information with foreign governments.

SECTION 322 removes Congress from the extradition process and allows officers of the Homeland Security complex to extradite American citizens anywhere they wish. It also allows Homeland Security to secretly take individuals out of foreign countries.

SECTION 402 is titled "Providing Material Support to Terrorism." The section reads that there is no requirement to show that the individual even had the intent to aid terrorists.

SECTION 403 expands the definition of weapons of mass destruction to include any activity that affects interstate or foreign commerce.

SECTION 404 makes it a crime for a terrorist or "other criminals" to use encryption in the commission of a crime.

SECTION 408 creates "lifetime parole" (basically, slavery) for a whole host of crimes.

SECTION 410 creates no statute of limitations for anyone that engages in terrorist actions or supports terrorists. Remember: any crime is now considered terrorism under the first Patriot Act.

SECTION 411 expands crimes that are punishable by death. Again, they point to Section 802 of the first Patriot Act and state that any terrorist act or support of terrorist act can result in the death penalty.

SECTION 421 increases penalties for terrorist financing. This section states that any type of financial activity connected to terrorism will result to time in prison and $10-50,000 fines per violation.

SECTIONS 427 sets up asset forfeiture provisions for anyone engaging in terrorist activities. There are many other sections that I did not cover in the interest of time. The American people were shocked by the despotic nature of the first Patriot Act. The second Patriot Act dwarfs all police state legislation in modern world history. (Many thanks to Alex Jones for this important list and research).

The only remaining question for American people is whether Executive Orders, and acts such as the Model State Emergency Health Powers Act and the Patriot Act II are imposed ìin case of crisis,î or whether they are created as part of a pre-determined decision to dismantle Constitutional America. And either way, is this how we want to live?

Carefully consider all the above. Carefully consider the fact that the American military has been out of the country for nearly 100 years, fighting foreign battles. And carefully consider that most of the Executive Orders were written prior to 9-11, and that the first Patriot Act was immediately passed following 9-11 without Congress having access to the contents of the Act. Something is terribly wrong, and my greatest fear is that American people will never have another opportunity for a national vote. It would appear that other plans are in the making.

Websites for Wisdoms:

The Gospel According to Jimmy Carter

Wil S. Hylton
Gentelmen's Quarterly

Twenty-five years after leaving the White House, Jimmy Carter breaks it down on faith, UFOs, greedy Republicans, and that pain in the ass known as Ted Kennedy

You call yourself a born-again evangelical Christian, but you draw the line at the word fundamentalist. Can you define those terms?

I define fundamentalism as a group of invariably male leaders who consider themselves superior to other believers. The fundamentalists believe they have a special relationship with God. Therefore their beliefs are inherently correct, being those of God, and anyone who disagrees with them are first of all wrong, and second inferior, and in extreme cases even subhuman. Also, fundamentalists don’t relish any challenge to their positions. They believe any deviation from their own God-ordained truth is a derogation of their own responsibility. So compromise or negotiating with others, or considering the opinion of others that might be different, is a violation of their faith. It makes a great exhibition of rigidity and superiority and exclusion.

It seems that the more devout a person becomes in their faith and their Bible and their church, the more difficult it would be not to feel that way.

Paul established three little churches in Galatia on a supple but profound belief that we are saved by the grace of God through our faith in Jesus Christ. That was his basic message, and Peter and other disciples did the same thing. What Paul condemned in the strongest letters is that believers in the little churches began to embellish that fundamental with other requirements, saying that you had to become a Jew first, you had to be circumcised to be a Christian, you can’t eat the meat that’s been sacrificed to idols and be a Christian, you have to worship on a particular holy day to be a Christian, you have to accept a certain apostle as the best representative of Christ to be a Christian. So they began to embellish the basic foundation of Christian faith by human-created additional requirements. And that was the origin of fundamentalism.

So you would define fundamentalists as embellishers.

Absolutely—and creating definitions of Christianity: If you don’t agree with my embellishment, then you can’t be one of us.

What about things that do seem to be in the fundamentals? For example, I know you’ve grappled with abortion.

I’ve never believed that if Jesus was confronted with the question, that he would approve abortion. There are millions of people who disagree with me on both sides. They believe that abortion begins when the male sperm is ejaculated. Others believe that abortion is okay up until the end of the first three months of the pregnancy. Others believe that a woman should have full rights to control her own body. I presume that those who believe in the different nuances concerning abortion can all be faithful and devout Christians. I don’t have any objection to that. But my own belief is that Christ would not approve abortion unless the woman’s life was in danger.

If the problem with fundamentalists is that they impose their rules on others, you might also ask yourself, What rules do I impose? For example, you opposed federal funding of abortion.

I did everything I possibly could to minimize abortion and to discourage abortion while still complying with the law as ordained by the Supreme Court.

But it seems like this is one of those areas where it’s difficult to draw the line. You believe you know the will of God.

If I were a purist in my faith, I couldn’t hold public office and preside over a nation that honored abortion. But when I went into politics and I ran for office, I was willing as a state senator and as a governor and as a president to take an oath before God that I would uphold the laws of the districts that I served. There were times when I was able to change the laws. But until they were changed, I had to comply with them. So when people have asked me about this, I always tell them that this was the most difficult issue I had to face, because I was inherently against abortion, but I was required to impose the law.

If you had the power to change that law, would you?

I can live with Roe v. Wade. Late-term abortion is something I would have vetoed. I don’t believe that late-term abortion is appropriate. That’s obnoxious to me.

If abortion is against the will of God as you understand it, shouldn’t you oppose it at the most the elementary stage of development?

Well, I have my personal beliefs, and in fact my own personal belief is to do away with the death penalty as well. But our Constitution so far permits the states to be autonomous in imposing the death penalty, and the Supreme Court has gone back and forward on it. My wife and I interceded through the court as strong as we could a year ago, with public statements and letters to human rights organizations, to do away with the ruling that permitted the execution of juveniles. So we have tried to intervene that way.

But not on abortion.

That’s correct.

You’ve also been able to blend your scientific background with your spiritual beliefs. Has it ever been difficult to reconcile the training of science, which demands evidence, with faith, which is in many ways the opposite?

No. Faith is believing in something that cannot be proven. You can’t prove the existence of God. You can’t prove that Jesus Christ is the son of God. You can’t prove many things in the Bible, so for someone to have confidence in that, you have to have faith.

Do you think that if you had been raised in an Islamic culture, you would been comfortable in that faith?

I would surmise that I would.

But based on what you believe now, you would have been wrong.

That may be true. But Jesus said, “Judge not, that you be not judged.” It’s not for me to say that an ignorant Ethiopian who lives around a lake at the origin of the Blue Nile, where I was four days ago, and has never heard of Christ is condemned. I can’t believe that. And I can’t say that a child as you just described, that grew up with Islamic teachings and that believes in Mohammed and Allah, would be condemned. It’s not my role to condemn people. That’s a role to be played by God almighty.

But this would be about a sense of loss on your own part.

There would be. To know what I know now, I would be aggrieved if I had never known about Jesus Christ, because I have tried to apply, in a faltering way, the teachings of Jesus Christ. It’s been an inspiration to me, it’s been a guide to me, it’s been a stabilizing factor in my life. It has permeated my consciousness.

This will sound like the same question, but if you had been raised by atheists, do you think you would have had an inner feeling of faith?

I think so.

Wouldn’t it be hard without the guidance of others?

I believe that when I approached adulthood, I would have been exploring the authenticity or the veracity or the applicability of the Christian faith. If I had been raised as an atheist and I had gone into the outside world and all of a sudden I realized that I was living in a nation where the majority of people profess faith in Christ, I would have wanted to explore the beliefs of others to see if it was applicable to me.

It seems difficult to imagine someone coming into the vast realm of religious offerings and having any idea where to begin. With so many options, they could very well all be wrong.

I accept the fact that some of my beliefs could be wrong. There may be some fallibilities in my own personal beliefs, sure. I can’t change my mind just because I think I might be wrong. My present beliefs have been evolved over seventy-five years of thought and study, analysis, teaching.

One of the other aspects of your life that struck me as a conflict between your experience and your scientific training was that you saw a UFO.

I saw an unidentified flying object. I’ve never believed that it came from Mars. I know enough physics to know that you can’t have vehicles that are tangible in nature flying from Mars, looking around, and then flying back. But I saw an object one night when I was preparing to give a speech to a Lions Club. There were about twenty-five of us men standing around. It was almost time for the Lions Club supper to start, which I would eat and then I would give a speech. I was in charge of fifty-six Lions Clubs in southwest Georgia back in the late ’60s. And all of a sudden, one of the men looked up and said, “Look, over in the west!” And there was a bright light in the sky. We all saw it. And then the light, it got closer and closer to us. And then it stopped, I don’t know how far away, but it stopped beyond the pine trees. And all of a sudden it changed color to blue, and then it changed to red, then back to white. And we were trying to figure out what in the world it could be, and then it receded into the distance. I had a tape recorder—because as I met with members of Lions Clubs, I would dictate their names on the tapes so I could remember them—and I dictated my observations. And when I got home, I wrote them down. So that’s an accurate description of what I saw. It was a flying object that was unidentified. But I have never thought that it was from outer space.

One of the promises you made in 1976 was that if you were elected, you would look into the reports from Roswell and see if there had been any cover-ups. Did you look into that?

Well, in a way. I became more aware of what our intelligence services were doing. There was only one instance that I’ll talk about now. We had a plane go down in the Central African Republic—a twin-engine plane, small plane. And we couldn’t find it. And so we oriented satellites that were going around the earth every ninety minutes to fly over that spot where we thought it might be and take photographs. We couldn’t find it. So the director of the CIA came and told me that he had contacted a woman in California that claimed to have supernatural capabilities. And she went in a trance, and she wrote down latitudes and longitudes, and we sent our satellite over that latitude and longitude, and there was the plane.

That must have been surreal for you. You’re the president of the United States, and you’re getting intelligence information from a woman in a trance in California.

That’s exactly right.

How did your scientific mind process that?

With skepticism. Whether it was just a gross coincidence or…I don’t know. But that’s one thing that I couldn’t explain. As far as covering up possible flights from distant satellites or distant heavenly bodies, I don’t believe in that, and there’s no evidence that it was ever covered up. Or extraterrestrial people coming to earth, I don’t think that’s ever happened.

In a way, just the fact that you promised the American people you would look into it is reflective of how much of an outsider you were to Washington.

That’s true.

Looking back, do you think that you could have been elected if not for the hunger for honesty after Watergate?

No, I don’t think so. I didn’t have any money, and I was almost completely unknown outside of Georgia, and I had never served in Washington. I had only spent a few days there in my entire life. But it was a propitious time for me. Fortune smiled on me. People were looking for some breath of fresh air, some outsider. I told the first ten people who I could get to come and hear me that if I ever made a misleading statement, they shouldn’t vote for me. I said, “I’ll never lie to you.” And that resonated.

Once you got to Washington, even though you had a Democratic Congress, it wasn’t easy.

My main problem was with the liberal Democrats. I was conservative on defense. I had spent eleven years of my life in the navy, and I wanted a strong defense. And I believed in a balanced budget. They thought that was anathema to the basic Democratic faith. After a few months, Ted Kennedy challenged me and told everybody to oppose what I was doing.

It sounds like there was a social component, too, with all the glad-handing that goes on in Washington and the drinks after tennis and things like that. You didn’t like the politicking.

That’s true, and that was a mistake I made. I would have been better off if I had entwined myself into the social life of Washington with the Washington Post leaders and the evening-cocktail-party circuit. I would have made some alliances there that could have been quite valuable to me, but it was anathema to me. It was not my way of life. It was a political mistake.

It must have been a real slap in the face when Kennedy ran against you.

Well, we’ve gotten over it now. He and I are basically compatible on overall political philosophy. So I don’t have any hard feelings. But when I got the nomination at the convention, Kennedy came on the stand and ostentatiously refused to shake hands with me. I went up and stuck out my hand, he stood there for a while and turned around. Wouldn’t shake my hand. In front of 6,000 or whatever it was Democratic delegates. And he never gave me any support.

Have you ever discussed that with Kennedy?

We had one discussion in the White House as we were approaching the general election, but it was not a successful discussion. I tried to get Ted Kennedy to make a public endorsement of me and to urge his supporters to support me, but he was very, very cool. And never did do it. But that’s beside the point. Of course, I hated to be defeated in 1980, but the way it’s turned out, this has been by far the best time of my life.

Someone said that you were the only person in history who used the presidency as a stepping-stone to greatness.

I’ve heard that.

I wanted to talk briefly about the prospects in the Middle East. What are your feelings about the prospects for this Gaza pullout?

Well, at the moment, I’m not hopeful. I have been recently, but I think now the prospects are not good, because Sharon has announced that if any representatives of Hamas run for parliament, he is not going to permit the Palestinians to cross the checkpoints. There are hundreds of checkpoints, in some places every few hundred yards.

This has been one of the big issues with the Bush administration’s policy in the Middle East, too: who to deal with and who not to deal with. I wonder if you could comment on the decision not to deal with Arafat.

I think that was a mistake. They — Sharon and Bush together — castrated Arafat as far as any sort of political effectiveness. And then they condemned Arafat because he couldn’t control the Palestinians. He was confined, as you know, to two or three rooms.

But the Bush administration points to that and says, “We may have lost four years, but we got Abu Mazen.”

Well, at this moment, I don’t see any prospects for progress.

Probably your most famous speech was the “crisis of confidence” speech in 1979, and a critical element was the idea that we have to make sacrifices. Today we have a very different policy espoused, with Dick Cheney saying that conservation is a personal virtue and not a basis for policy. I wonder how you react.

America is not at war. We’re not really at war with terrorists. There is no commitment of the American people to make a sacrifice to deal with the threat of terrorism. We’re not sacrificing our beliefs to accommodate those of France or Russia or others who might have participated in the Iraqi war. And you can’t find an American, except for a half of 1 percent who are in Iraq or who have loved ones in Iraq, who’ve made any sacrifice in the last three or four years. You haven’t. I haven’t. In fact, I make a lot of money, and my taxes have gone down. So there’s been a policy here that is incredible, of enriching people in a time of war and putting the burden on poor people and future generations in order to make sure we don’t make sacrifices in order to meet the exigencies of threats to our country.

And whose failure is that?

The leaders in Washington, from the White House to the majority in the House and Senate.

It’s got to be hard for you as an ex-President, with the customary code of conduct that you’re not supposed to be too critical. Is that a tough balancing act for you?

Yes. Yes. There are some seminal changes that are being made in the basic policy of my country with which I disagree. There are some people that really believe that to remove taxation from the rich is the right way for this country to go. There are people who really believe that preemptive war is the right way for America to exert its foreign-policy influence. There are people who really believe that endangered species ought not to be protected because it might inhibit economic development. There are people who really believe that a minimum wage of half as much as it is in most developed countries is the right way for our country to be. But the American people have not yet decided which direction the country should go.

You feel like you can’t afford, at this point, to be —

Silent. Yes.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


by Sam Harris

Somewhere in the world a man has abducted a little girl. Soon he will rape, torture and kill her. If an atrocity of this kind is not occurring at precisely this moment, it will happen in a few hours, or days at most. Such is the confidence we can draw from the statistical laws that govern the lives of 6 billion human beings. The same statistics also suggest that this girl s parents believe at this very moment that an all-powerful and all-loving God is watching over them and their family. Are they right to believe this? Is it good that they believe this?


The entirety of atheism is contained in this response. Atheism is not a philosophy; it is not even a view of the world; it is simply a refusal to deny the obvious. Unfortunately, we live in a world in which the obvious is overlooked as a matter of principle. The obvious must be observed and re-observed and argued for. This is a thankless job. It carries with it an aura of petulance and insensitivity. It is, moreover, a job that the atheist does not want.

It is worth noting that no one ever needs to identify himself as a non-astrologer or a non-alchemist. Consequently, we do not have words for people who deny the validity of these pseudo-disciplines. Likewise, atheism is a term that should not even exist. Atheism is nothing more than the noises reasonable people make when in the presence of religious dogma. The atheist is merely a person who believes that the 260 million Americans (87% of the population) who claim to never doubt the existence of God should be obliged to present evidence for his existence and, indeed, for his benevolence, given the relentless destruction of innocent human beings we witness in the world each day. Only the atheist appreciates just how uncanny our situation is: Most of us believe in a God that is every bit as specious as the gods of Mount Olympus; no person, whatever his or her qualifications, can seek public office in the United States without pretending to be certain that such a God exists; and much of what passes for public policy in our country conforms to religious taboos and superstitions appropriate to a medieval theocracy. Our circumstance is abject, indefensible and terrifying. It would be hilarious if the stakes were not so high.

We live in a world where all things, good and bad, are finally destroyed by change. Parents lose their children and children their parents. Husbands and wives are separated in an instant, never to meet again. Friends part company in haste, without knowing that it will be for the last time. This life, when surveyed with a broad glance, presents little more than a vast spectacle of loss. Most people in this world, however, imagine that there is a cure for this. If we live rightly—not necessarily ethically, but within the framework of certain ancient beliefs and stereotyped behaviors—we will get everything we want after we die. When our bodies finally fail us, we just shed our corporeal ballast and travel to a land where we are reunited with everyone we loved while alive. Of course, overly rational people and other rabble will be kept out of this happy place, and those who suspended their disbelief while alive will be free to enjoy themselves for all eternity.

We live in a world of unimaginable surprises--from the fusion energy that lights the sun to the genetic and evolutionary consequences of this lights dancing for eons upon the Earth--and yet Paradise conforms to our most superficial concerns with all the fidelity of a Caribbean cruise. This is wondrously strange. If one didn’t know better, one would think that man, in his fear of losing all that he loves, had created heaven, along with its gatekeeper God, in his own image.

Consider the destruction that Hurricane Katrina leveled on New Orleans. More than a thousand people died, tens of thousands lost all their earthly possessions, and nearly a million were displaced. It is safe to say that almost every person living in New Orleans at the moment Katrina struck believed in an omnipotent, omniscient and compassionate God. But what was God doing while a hurricane laid waste to their city? Surely he heard the prayers of those elderly men and women who fled the rising waters for the safety of their attics, only to be slowly drowned there. These were people of faith. These were good men and women who had prayed throughout their lives. Only the atheist has the courage to admit the obvious: These poor people died talking to an imaginary friend.

Of course, there had been ample warning that a storm of biblical proportions would strike New Orleans, and the human response to the ensuing disaster was tragically inept. But it was inept only by the light of science. Advance warning of Katrina’s path was wrested from mute Nature by meteorological calculations and satellite imagery. God told no one of his plans. Had the residents of New Orleans been content to rely on the beneficence of the Lord, they wouldn’t have known that a killer hurricane was bearing down upon them until they felt the first gusts of wind on their faces. Nevertheless, a poll conducted by The Washington Post found that 80% of Katrina’s survivors claim that the event has only strengthened their faith in God.

As Hurricane Katrina was devouring New Orleans, nearly a thousand Shiite pilgrims were trampled to death on a bridge in Iraq. There can be no doubt that these pilgrims believed mightily in the God of the Koran: Their lives were organized around the indisputable fact of his existence; their women walked veiled before him; their men regularly murdered one another over rival interpretations of his word. It would be remarkable if a single survivor of this tragedy lost his faith. More likely, the survivors imagine that they were spared through God’s grace.

Only the atheist recognizes the boundless narcissism and self-deceit of the saved. Only the atheist realizes how morally objectionable it is for survivors of a catastrophe to believe themselves spared by a loving God while this same God drowned infants in their cribs. Because he refuses to cloak the reality of the world’s suffering in a cloying fantasy of eternal life, the atheist feels in his bones just how precious life is--and, indeed, how unfortunate it is that millions of human beings suffer the most harrowing abridgements of their happiness for no good reason at all.

One wonders just how vast and gratuitous a catastrophe would have to be to shake the world’s faith. The Holocaust did not do it. Neither did the genocide in Rwanda, even with machete-wielding priests among the perpetrators. Five hundred million people died of smallpox in the 20th Century, many of them infants. God’s ways are, indeed, inscrutable. It seems that any fact, no matter how infelicitous, can be rendered compatible with religious faith. In matters of faith, we have kicked ourselves loose of the Earth.

Of course, people of faith regularly assure one another that God is not responsible for human suffering. But how else can we understand the claim that God is both omniscient and omnipotent? There is no other way, and it is time for sane human beings to own up to this. This is the age-old problem of theodicy, of course, and we should consider it solved. If God exists, either he can do nothing to stop the most egregious calamities or he does not care to. God, therefore, is either impotent or evil. Pious readers will now execute the following pirouette: God cannot be judged by merely human standards of morality. But, of course, human standards of morality are precisely what the faithful use to establish God’s goodness in the first place. And any God who could concern himself with something as trivial as gay marriage, or the name by which he is addressed in prayer, is not as inscrutable as all that. If he exists, the God of Abraham is not merely unworthy of the immensity of creation; he is unworthy even of man.

There is another possibility, of course, and it is both the most reasonable and least odious: The biblical God is a fiction. As Richard Dawkins has observed, we are all atheists with respect to Zeus and Thor. Only the atheist has realized that the biblical god is no different. Consequently, only the atheist is compassionate enough to take the profundity of the world’s suffering at face value. It is terrible that we all die and lose everything we love; it is doubly terrible that so many human beings suffer needlessly while alive. That so much of this suffering can be directly attributed to religion--to religious hatreds, religious wars, religious delusions and religious diversions of scarce resources--is what makes atheism a moral and intellectual necessity. It is a necessity, however, that places the atheist at the margins of society. The atheist, by merely being in touch with reality, appears shamefully out of touch with the fantasy life of his neighbors.

The Nature of Belief

According to several recent polls, 22% of Americans are certain that Jesus will return to Earth sometime in the next 50 years. Another 22% believe that he will probably do so. This is likely the same 44% who go to church once a week or more, who believe that God literally promised the land of Israel to the Jews and who want to stop teaching our children about the biological fact of evolution. As President Bush is well aware, believers of this sort constitute the most cohesive and motivated segment of the American electorate. Consequently, their views and prejudices now influence almost every decision of national importance. Political liberals seem to have drawn the wrong lesson from these developments and are now thumbing Scripture, wondering how best to ingratiate themselves to the legions of men and women in our country who vote largely on the basis of religious dogma. More than 50% of Americans have a “negative” or “highly negative” view of people who do not believe in God; 70% think it important for presidential candidates to be “strongly religious.” Unreason is now ascendant in the United States--in our schools, in our courts and in each branch of the federal government. Only 28% of Americans believe in evolution; 68% believe in Satan. Ignorance in this degree, concentrated in both the head and belly of a lumbering superpower, is now a problem for the entire world.

Although it is easy enough for smart people to criticize religious fundamentalism, something called “religious moderation” still enjoys immense prestige in our society, even in the ivory tower. This is ironic, as fundamentalists tend to make a more principled use of their brains than “moderates” do. While fundamentalists justify their religious beliefs with extraordinarily poor evidence and arguments, they at least they make an attempt at rational justification. Moderates, on the other hand, generally do nothing more than cite the good consequences of religious belief. Rather than say that they believe in God because certain biblical prophecies have come true, moderates will say that they believe in God because this belief “gives their lives meaning.” When a tsunami killed a few hundred thousand people on the day after Christmas, fundamentalists readily interpreted this cataclysm as evidence of God’s wrath. As it turns out, God was sending humanity another oblique message about the evils of abortion, idolatry and homosexuality. While morally obscene, this interpretation of events is actually reasonable, given certain (ludicrous) assumptions. Moderates, on the other hand, refuse to draw any conclusions whatsoever about God from his works. God remains a perfect mystery, a mere source of consolation that is compatible with the most desolating evil. In the face of disasters like the Asian tsunami, liberal piety is apt to produce the most unctuous and stupefying nonsense imaginable. And yet, men and women of goodwill naturally prefer such vacuities to the odious moralizing and prophesizing of true believers. Between catastrophes, it is surely a virtue of liberal theology that it emphasizes mercy over wrath. It is worth noting, however, that it is human mercy on display--not God’s--when the bloated bodies of the dead are pulled from the sea. On days when thousands of children are simultaneously torn from their mothers’ arms and casually drowned, liberal theology must stand revealed for what it is--the sheerest of mortal pretenses. Even the theology of wrath has more intellectual merit. If God exists, his will is not inscrutable. The only thing inscrutable in these terrible events is that so many neurologically healthy men and women can believe the unbelievable and think this the height of moral wisdom.

It is perfectly absurd for religious moderates to suggest that a rational human being can believe in God simply because this belief makes him happy, relieves his fear of death or gives his life meaning. The absurdity becomes obvious the moment we swap the notion of God for some other consoling proposition: Imagine, for instance, that a man wants to believe that there is a diamond buried somewhere in his yard that is the size of a refrigerator. No doubt it would feel uncommonly good to believe this. Just imagine what would happen if he then followed the example of religious moderates and maintained this belief along pragmatic lines: When asked why he thinks that there is a diamond in his yard that is thousands of times larger than any yet discovered, he says things like, “This belief gives my life meaning,” or “My family and I enjoy digging for it on Sundays,” or “I wouldn’t want to live in a universe where there wasn’t a diamond buried in my backyard that is the size of a refrigerator.” Clearly these responses are inadequate. But they are worse than that. They are the responses of a madman or an idiot.

Here we can see why Pascal’s wager, Kierkegaard’s leap of faith and other epistemological Ponzi schemes won’t do. To believe that God exists is to believe that one stands in some relation to his existence such that his existence is itself the reason for one’s belief. There must be some causal connection, or an appearance thereof, between the fact in question and a person’s acceptance of it. In this way, we can see that religious beliefs, to be beliefs about the way the world is, must be as evidentiary in spirit as any other. For all their sins against reason, religious fundamentalists understand this; moderates--almost by definition--do not.

The incompatibility of reason and faith has been a self-evident feature of human cognition and public discourse for centuries. Either a person has good reasons for what he strongly believes or he does not. People of all creeds naturally recognize the primacy of reasons and resort to reasoning and evidence wherever they possibly can. When rational inquiry supports the creed it is always championed; when it poses a threat, it is derided; sometimes in the same sentence. Only when the evidence for a religious doctrine is thin or nonexistent, or there is compelling evidence against it, do its adherents invoke “faith.” Otherwise, they simply cite the reasons for their beliefs (e.g. “the New Testament confirms Old Testament prophecy,” “I saw the face of Jesus in a window,” “We prayed, and our daughter’s cancer went into remission"). Such reasons are generally inadequate, but they are better than no reasons at all. Faith is nothing more than the license religious people give themselves to keep believing when reasons fail. In a world that has been shattered by mutually incompatible religious beliefs, in a nation that is growing increasingly beholden to Iron Age conceptions of God, the end of history and the immortality of the soul, this lazy partitioning of our discourse into matters of reason and matters of faith is now unconscionable.

Faith and the Good Society

People of faith regularly claim that atheism is responsible for some of the most appalling crimes of the 20th century. Although it is true that the regimes of Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot were irreligious to varying degrees, they were not especially rational. In fact, their public pronouncements were little more than litanies of delusion--delusions about race, economics, national identity, the march of history or the moral dangers of intellectualism. In many respects, religion was directly culpable even here. Consider the Holocaust: The anti-Semitism that built the Nazi crematoria brick by brick was a direct inheritance from medieval Christianity. For centuries, religious Germans had viewed the Jews as the worst species of heretics and attributed every societal ill to their continued presence among the faithful. While the hatred of Jews in Germany expressed itself in a predominately secular way, the religious demonization of the Jews of Europe continued. (The Vatican itself perpetuated the blood libel in its newspapers as late as 1914.)

Auschwitz, the gulag and the killing fields are not examples of what happens when people become too critical of unjustified beliefs; to the contrary, these horrors testify to the dangers of not thinking critically enough about specific secular ideologies. Needless to say, a rational argument against religious faith is not an argument for the blind embrace of atheism as a dogma. The problem that the atheist exposes is none other than the problem of dogma itself--of which every religion has more than its fair share. There is no society in recorded history that ever suffered because its people became too reasonable.

While most Americans believe that getting rid of religion is an impossible goal, much of the developed world has already accomplished it. Any account of a “god gene” that causes the majority of Americans to helplessly organize their lives around ancient works of religious fiction must explain why so many inhabitants of other First World societies apparently lack such a gene. The level of atheism throughout the rest of the developed world refutes any argument that religion is somehow a moral necessity. Countries like Norway, Iceland, Australia, Canada, Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium, Japan, the Netherlands, Denmark and the United Kingdom are among the least religious societies on Earth. According to the United Nations’ Human Development Report (2005) they are also the healthiest, as indicated by measures of life expectancy, adult literacy, per capita income, educational attainment, gender equality, homicide rate and infant mortality. Conversely, the 50 nations now ranked lowest in terms of human development are unwaveringly religious. Other analyses paint the same picture: The United States is unique among wealthy democracies in its level of religious literalism and opposition to evolutionary theory; it is also uniquely beleaguered by high rates of homicide, abortion, teen pregnancy, STD infection and infant mortality. The same comparison holds true within the United States itself: Southern and Midwestern states, characterized by the highest levels of religious superstition and hostility to evolutionary theory, are especially plagued by the above indicators of societal dysfunction, while the comparatively secular states of the Northeast conform to European norms. Of course, correlational data of this sort do not resolve questions of causality--belief in God may lead to societal dysfunction; societal dysfunction may foster a belief in God; each factor may enable the other; or both may spring from some deeper source of mischief. Leaving aside the issue of cause and effect, these facts prove that atheism is perfectly compatible with the basic aspirations of a civil society; they also prove, conclusively, that religious faith does nothing to ensure a society’s health.

Countries with high levels of atheism also are the most charitable in terms of giving foreign aid to the developing world. The dubious link between Christian literalism and Christian values is also belied by other indices of charity. Consider the ratio in salaries between top-tier CEOs and their average employee: in Britain it is 24 to 1; France 15 to 1; Sweden 13 to 1; in the United States, where 83% of the population believes that Jesus literally rose from the dead, it is 475 to 1. Many a camel, it would seem, expects to squeeze easily through the eye of a needle.

Religion as a Source of Violence

One of the greatest challenges facing civilization in the 21st century is for human beings to learn to speak about their deepest personal concerns--about ethics, spiritual experience and the inevitability of human suffering--in ways that are not flagrantly irrational. Nothing stands in the way of this project more than the respect we accord religious faith. Incompatible religious doctrines have balkanized our world into separate moral communities--Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, etc.--and these divisions have become a continuous source of human conflict. Indeed, religion is as much a living spring of violence today as it was at any time in the past. The recent conflicts in Palestine (Jews versus Muslims), the Balkans (Orthodox Serbians versus Catholic Croatians; Orthodox Serbians versus Bosnian and Albanian Muslims), Northern Ireland (Protestants versus Catholics), Kashmir (Muslims versus Hindus), Sudan (Muslims versus Christians and animists), Nigeria (Muslims versus Christians), Ethiopia and Eritrea (Muslims versus Christians), Sri Lanka (Sinhalese Buddhists versus Tamil Hindus), Indonesia (Muslims versus Timorese Christians), Iran and Iraq (Shiite versus Sunni Muslims), and the Caucasus (Orthodox Russians versus Chechen Muslims; Muslim Azerbaijanis versus Catholic and Orthodox Armenians) are merely a few cases in point. In these places religion has been the explicit cause of literally millions of deaths in the last 10 years.

In a world riven by ignorance, only the atheist refuses to deny the obvious: Religious faith promotes human violence to an astonishing degree. Religion inspires violence in at least two senses: (1) People often kill other human beings because they believe that the creator of the universe wants them to do it (the inevitable psychopathic corollary being that the act will ensure them an eternity of happiness after death). Examples of this sort of behavior are practically innumerable, jihadist suicide bombing being the most prominent. (2) Larger numbers of people are inclined toward religious conflict simply because their religion constitutes the core of their moral identities. One of the enduring pathologies of human culture is the tendency to raise children to fear and demonize other human beings on the basis of religion. Many religious conflicts that seem driven by terrestrial concerns, therefore, are religious in origin. (Just ask the Irish.)

These facts notwithstanding, religious moderates tend to imagine that human conflict is always reducible to a lack of education, to poverty or to political grievances. This is one of the many delusions of liberal piety. To dispel it, we need only reflect on the fact that the Sept. 11 hijackers were college educated and middle class and had no discernable history of political oppression. They did, however, spend an inordinate amount of time at their local mosque talking about the depravity of infidels and about the pleasures that await martyrs in Paradise. How many more architects and mechanical engineers must hit the wall at 400 miles an hour before we admit to ourselves that jihadist violence is not a matter of education, poverty or politics? The truth, astonishingly enough, is this: A person can be so well educated that he can build a nuclear bomb while still believing that he will get 72 virgins in Paradise. Such is the ease with which the human mind can be partitioned by faith, and such is the degree to which our intellectual discourse still patiently accommodates religious delusion. Only the atheist has observed what should now be obvious to every thinking human being: If we want to uproot the causes of religious violence we must uproot the false certainties of religion.

Why is religion such a potent source of human violence?

* Our religions are intrinsically incompatible with one another. Either Jesus rose from the dead and will be returning to Earth like a superhero or not; either the Koran is the infallible word of God or it isn’t. Every religion makes explicit claims about the way the world is, and the sheer profusion of these incompatible claims creates an enduring basis for conflict.

* There is no other sphere of discourse in which human beings so fully articulate their differences from one another, or cast these differences in terms of everlasting rewards and punishments. Religion is the one endeavor in which us-them thinking achieves a transcendent significance. If a person really believes that calling God by the right name can spell the difference between eternal happiness and eternal suffering, then it becomes quite reasonable to treat heretics and unbelievers rather badly. It may even be reasonable to kill them. If a person thinks there is something that another person can say to his children that could put their souls in jeopardy for all eternity, then the heretic next door is actually far more dangerous than the child molester. The stakes of our religious differences are immeasurably higher than those born of mere tribalism, racism or politics.

* Religious faith is a conversation-stopper. Religion is only area of our discourse in which people are systematically protected from the demand to give evidence in defense of their strongly held beliefs. And yet these beliefs often determine what they live for, what they will die for, and--all too often--what they will kill for. This is a problem, because when the stakes are high, human beings have a simple choice between conversation and violence. Only a fundamental willingness to be reasonable--to have our beliefs about the world revised by new evidence and new arguments--can guarantee that we will keep talking to one another. Certainty without evidence is necessarily divisive and dehumanizing. While there is no guarantee that rational people will always agree, the irrational are certain to be divided by their dogmas.

It seems profoundly unlikely that we will heal the divisions in our world simply by multiplying the opportunities for interfaith dialogue. The endgame for civilization cannot be mutual tolerance of patent irrationality. While all parties to liberal religious discourse have agreed to tread lightly over those points where their worldviews would otherwise collide, these very points remain perpetual sources of conflict for their coreligionists. Political correctness, therefore, does not offer an enduring basis for human cooperation. If religious war is ever to become unthinkable for us, in the way that slavery and cannibalism seem poised to, it will be a matter of our having dispensed with the dogma of faith.

When we have reasons for what we believe, we have no need of faith; when we have no reasons, or bad ones, we have lost our connection to the world and to one another. Atheism is nothing more than a commitment to the most basic standard of intellectual honesty: One’s convictions should be proportional to one’s evidence. Pretending to be certain when one isn’t--indeed, pretending to be certain about propositions for which no evidence is even conceivable--is both an intellectual and a moral failing. Only the atheist has realized this. The atheist is simply a person who has perceived the lies of religion and refused to make them his own.

Comment: While we agree with much of what Sam Harris has written above regarding "belief" and religion in general, we take a slightly different view of what to do with these rather astute observations. Because, if we are going to be totally open-minded, we cannot exclude other observations: those events and anomalies that suggest to us strongly that there is something behind our reality, that there is more than what we can perceive with our human senses or analyze with our human brains.

Again and again as the Quantum Future Group has pursued its research into "anomalies" and alleged psychic phenomena, we find evidence of the existence of a hyperdimensional reality in which our own world is “embedded,” and from which our reality takes its form as a shadow cast upon the cave wall described by Plato. We find compelling evidence - both "hard" and circumstantial - that there is a valid reason for "mystical" tendencies.

But mysticism alone is not enough. Without the ability to analyse, criticise, and subject the mystical experience to the tests and verifications of scientific investigation, the mystical experience remains subjective and open to obfuscation. That is how religions are born. The Mystical must be wedded to Reason. This can be done through networking, through the sharing of these experiences, comparing and studying them rationally, and seeing where they lead us with an open-mind. Are we learning to SEE that which is veiled, or are we being waylaid down the Path of psychedelic phenomenon and feel-good chemical excitation of the brain? These are questions that must be asked if we are to avoid the traps of religions: blind belief.

There is another kind of belief, a hypothesis that is tested and proves itself. In this sense, we believe with William Kingdon Clifford, as he spoke in the closing remarks of a public lecture given in 1874:

I dare say, now, that you are rather indignant at being kept so long hearing perfectly obvious remarks that are true of everything. You may think that it is beneath the dignity of human nature to spend all this time in contemplating the size and shape of a piece of wood. Very well; it is written in the fifteenth chapter of the Koran that when Adam was created all the angels were commanded to worship him. But Eblis, the chief of them, refused, saying, "Far be it from me that am a pure spirit, to worship a creature of clay." And for this refusal he was shut out forever from Paradise.

Now the doom of Eblis awaits you if you fail to give due reverence to these little obvious everyday things - things that are true of every stone that lies on the pavement, of every drop of rain that falls from heaven, of every breath of air that fans you. Like him, you will find with astonishment, that the creature of clay that you despise is the Lord of Nature and the Measure of all things, for in every speck of dust that falls lies hid the laws of the universe; and there is not an hour that passes in which you do not hold the Infinite in your hand.

Open mindedness, curiosity, and awe of the fact of existence is fundamental to Ark and Laura and the Quantum Future Group.

Does that make QFG Athiest? In a certain sense, yes. Notice that the Cassiopaean Transmissions are not from any kind of "spirit" or "godlike" source. They are, as they have explicated repeatedly to Laura: "You in the future."

The closest analogy to the view of reality presented by the Cassiopaeans is graphically explicated in the movie, The Matrix, wherein our reality is presented as a computer program/dream that “stores” human beings in “pods” so that they are batteries producing energy for some vast machine dominating the world. Certain programmed life-scenarios of great emotional content were designed in order to produce the most “energy” for this machine. And it seems that pain and suffering are the “richest” in terms of “juice.”

Another major concept presented in The Matrix was that the “real now” was the reality of the control system that produced the “programmed dream of reality” that was being experienced by those “trapped in the Matrix.” The Matrix Dream Reality was based on the way things were in the past, before a terrible thing had occurred to destroy the world-that-was, after which it came under the control of computers which had become sentient and needed to utilize human beings as “power sources,” or “food.”

The difference between the metaphor of The Matrix and the view of the Cassiopaeans is that they propose a para-physical realm as another layer in the structure of space-time from which our own reality is projected, looping over and over again in endless variations. You could say that the hyperdimensional realms are the “future” in a very real sense.

This para-physical reality of hyperdimensional space - the realm of the Matrix programmers - is inhabited, according to the Cassiopaeans, by beings of both positive and negative polarity who have “graduated” from our reality, but not necessarily in the sense of “dying” and going to a strictly ethereal realm. It is, effectively, a world of the future that creates our present by projecting itself into the past. What is important to realize is that if we think about the future in terms of probable futures, or branching universes - ideas that are quite scientific - then what we do now, whether we wake up from the Matrix or not, determines what kind of future we experience, individually and collectively.

While these ideas might seem more suited to science fiction than science proper, in fact, some of the most well-known physicists have proposed models and research programs that in no way contradict this hypothesis. They may one day demonstrate the mathematical proof of such a perspective.

Finally, as to religion itself, the Cassiopaeans have made clear that NO religion or belief is necessary:

Life is religion. Life experiences reflect how one interacts with "God". Those who are asleep are those of little faith in terms of their interaction with the creation. Some people think that the world exists for them to overcome or ignore or shut out. For those individuals, the worlds will cease. They will become exactly what they give to life. They will become merely a dream in the "past." People who pay strict attention to objective reality right and left, become the reality of the "Future."

As for God, the Cassiopaeans say that God is Consciousness. Period. You can't get more scientific than that.