ALEC is planning for a busy year...

The American Legislative Exchange Council has one heck of an agenda for 2014, and it all centers around one idea – profit over people. ALEC will meet this week in Washington, DC, for its “States and Nation Policy Summit.” The event is a closed-door conference headlined by Ted Cruz, Paul Ryan, and Ron Johnson, where ALEC will push their “model legislation” for 2014. And, all of these “model bills” focus on putting corporate profits and power ahead of the American people.

For example, ALEC will push the so-called “Public Employee Choice Act” - which is just a clever name for legislation that is effectively a “right to work FOR LESS” bill for public employees. When they're done attacking workers, ALEC will move on to students, and push for the continued destruction of our public schools. The council is offering a number of different model education bills for next year, but they all focus on funneling money out of our public school system and into for-profit charter schools and online universities.

Of course, no ALEC conference would be complete without proposing huge cuts to our social safety net – like a Medicaid block grant program that would cut as much as 75 percent from low-income healthcare programs. And, just to round out the entire pro-corporate, anti-American event – ALEC will offer up a few ways to weaken environmental protections so that corporations can drill and pollute and dump without restriction.

This is just a portion of the so-called “model legislation” that ALEC will offer this week, but it's more than enough to figure out who they really represent. The American Legislative Exchange Council gives corporate lobbyists unfettered access to our elected leaders, so that lawmakers know just what their corporate masters want. As long as politicians are bought and paid for, organizations like ALEC will continue to have dangerous influence over the legislation that effects us all. It's time to remind our lawmakers who it is that they work for, and put an end to the corporate control of Congress once and for all.


Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 10 years 29 weeks ago

We have to keep REMINDING lawmakers who they're working for?! Wow is that a sad commentary. It seems Obama forgot that basic premise awhile ago, given his efforts to fast-track the TPP. These toadies can't bring on the next level of corporate fascism fast enough, can they?! Oink.

Mark Saulys's picture
Mark Saulys 10 years 29 weeks ago

Well, you know, they, by the gospel of Ayn Rand, are free - even obligated - to put their personal gain ahead of the well being of society.

To a topic discussed on today's program, Jesus may've been a carpenter by trade (which makes him a blue collar worker or proletariat not a petty bourgeouis business owner) but he and his disciples lived by begging (and that tradition is continued as churches sustain themselves by donations and pass the plate every service). In fact, it's impossible to fully understand Jesus or Christianity if you don't recognize it as the teachings of a homeless man.

stecoop01's picture
stecoop01 10 years 29 weeks ago

A thought occurred to me today: a capitalist and a christian are diametrically opposed entities - a person can't be a TRUE christian and a TRUE capitalist at the same time. When I look at who's running our country and our churches, I feel like I'm in the Twilight Zone!

Anyway, why can't these ALEC people be charged as traitors and enemies of freedom and the constitution? I just seems obvious to me that they are trying to destroy the United States.

johnbest's picture
johnbest 10 years 29 weeks ago

I am sick of these fascist pigs ryan, johnson, cruz and all members of this fascist organization. They need to be tried for treason and hanged on the Capitol steps in D.C. Otherwise the American people are going to become fed up, rise up and do it themselves.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 10 years 29 weeks ago
Quote stecoop01:A thought occurred to me today: a capitalist and a christian are diametrically opposed entities - a person can't be a TRUE christian and a TRUE capitalist at the same time. When I look at who's running our country and our churches, I feel like I'm in the Twilight Zone!

stecoop01 ~ Submitted for your approval... Everything in moderation is good. Too much of anything is bad. It is possible to be a good person and be a Christian and a Capitalist. Each in moderation, each placing the foundation of Christian teachings above everything else. Unfortunately, not everyone is practicing either moderation or Christianity. What I am seeing mostly is almost a biblical fulfilment of the prophecies of Carl Marx. Blind Christians in name only being motivated by blind greed. When the blind lead the blind both fall into the ditch. (Mat 15:14)(Luke 6:39)

Quote stecoop01:Anyway, why can't these ALEC people be charged as traitors and enemies of freedom and the constitution? I just seems obvious to me that they are trying to destroy the United States.

stecoop01 ~ There is nothing illegal with what ALEC is doing. Just because it is wrong doesn't always make it illegal. The underlying problem here is that our system allows this activity to be legal. All the problems being caused by ALEC are a direct result of the lack of Campaign Finance Reform law and the manner with which we run our political processes. We don't need to blame ALEC for doing what the law allows them to do. We need to focus on changing the law.

stecoop01's picture
stecoop01 10 years 29 weeks ago
Quote DAnneMarc:Blind Christians in name only being motivated by blind greed.

You have hit that nail so squarely on the head!

Quote DAnneMarc:There is nothing illegal with what ALEC is doing.

Their methods may be legal, but their goal isn't: overthrowing the constitution, even by legal means, is still a crime. But, I do agree, we need to fix the laws, <strong>and in such a way that the fixes can't be undone by future generations</strong> - for their own protection. I wonder if I will live long enough to see this happen.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 10 years 29 weeks ago

Kay Hagan for US Senate. Sign her petition to help repeal Citizen's United:

Here is another one by Representatives Braley and Peters:

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 10 years 29 weeks ago

The private powers not only sit on all of the ALEC task forces, they also vote with the legislators to approve the so called "model Bills." In other words the big money private powers both craft and vote on the "model bills." These same bills eventually get passed into law by our unrepresentatives.

As Thom clearly points out, these laws are of great financial benefit to the private for profit powers while at the same time being extremely anti-American and causing monstrous harm to the rest of us 99.9 %.

Once again......."The first truth is that liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power where it becomes stronger than the Democratic State itself. That, in its essence, is Fascism- ownership of government by a group, or any other controlling power."

Franklin D. Roosevelt ...... 1930 message to congress.

Today Thom mentioned something about computer users being tracked both by the NSA and marketing groups. I'm fully aware that this happens, but there's one big problem here. Unless the NSA or marketing group has a picture for positive identity of the user at the very moment that user is at said location on the computer, how can they positively be sure of, or prove, the identity of the user? Not only is it very possible to hack passwords, it's pretty easy to sign in and share usage with family, friends, or anybody. It would seem to me the NSA and marketing groups can only speculate on who the user is. Related to my point, I have a sister in law who recently retired from a pretty sensitive position with Air Force intelligence, she always has the camera eye taped over on her computer......just saying!

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 10 years 29 weeks ago

2950-10k: Very good idea!...put tape over the lens. Or, if you are using home (SOHO) PC computer don't even have a camera or microphone connected. I built my own computer without including a camera and microphone. But if you have a laptop or other mobile device you probably have them built it up if you want to keep prying eyes from seeing your visual image. But then, if you have your photos stored on your device then they can see what you look like anyway.

Here's some pretty informative (and scary) information that shows you just how insecure we all are. It is a 46 page pdf with color diagrams and explains how our super-sleuth agencies spy on us. This was written by someone in the UK and they refer to the BT Broadband network there..but it is applicable, with other networks, here in the US as well.

Quote cryptome article:
"When the DSL connection is established a covert DHCP request is sent to a secret military network owned by the U.S. Government D.O.D. You are then part of that U.S. D.O.D. military network, this happens even before you have been assigned your public IP address from your actual ISP."

"This spy network is hidden from the LAN/switch using firewall rules and traffic is hidden using VLANs in the case of BT et al, it uses VLAN 301, but other vendors modems may well use different VLANs. The original slide has a strange number 242 with grey background, we think this represents the VLAN number/Vendor number so BT would be 301."

"This hidden network is not visible from your "Modem's Web Interface" and not subject to your firewall rules, also not subject to any limitations as far as the switch portion of your modem is concerned and the hidden network also has all ports open for the attacker."

"These tools allow the attacker to control 100% of the modem functionality from the Internet and in an undetectable manner. e.g., the attacker can forward all your DNS requests to their private network, they can selectively route specific protocols, ports or networks or everything to their network and by default they do."

"It should be noted that even before your Point-to-Point over Ethernet (PPPOE) request is issued, this hidden network is already fully operational. So much so, that your LAN can be directly accessed even when you think your modem is off-line."

Well, heck, then just power it down or disconnect the RJ11 telephone plug to your modem. And unless you have a dedicated IP and you use DHCP to assign a new public IP each time you power up your modem then this should work fine.

The article goes on to show how you can defend yourself against such privacy violations...(for home computers) ..but has delayed suggesting how to protect yourself from mobile devices.

I suspect that one of the reasons why AT&T is pushing so hard to sucker people into signing up for Uverse is because once you do so you are stuck with using only their residential gateways (comparable to the DSL modem/router). You cannot use any other ones...the firmware must be what AT&T provides. You may as well junk that ADSL2 plus modem you went out and bought.

By the way, I got my letter from AT&T Uverse on Sept 3, 2013 saying that they will be upgrading my internet to fiber optics on AT&T Uverse in 45 days and that I have to sign up with them in order to have internet over the phone lines. I refused to sign and told them I didn't want AT&T Uverse. I didn't want it then because I considered their marketing tactics to be suspect. For one thing they say they are upgrading to fiber optics but it doesn't go all the way to the home (FTTH-fiber to the home) like they do only for newly built homes. We are still stuck with old noisy copper pair lines coming into the home.

I'm still going strong on my DSL phone lines with my original ISP. Nothing has changed yet.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 10 years 29 weeks ago

OOOOhhh...there's those 111s my last message time. Happens all the time...if not 1:11 or 11:11 it's 2:22 or 3:33, etc.

sound n light's picture
sound n light 10 years 28 weeks ago

Dear lost people of Earth your problems are not what you are focusing on, you are being fed crap. All of our history is whitewashed and tooled to give false paths of self induced deception. This is then used to harvest your fears which are an energy wave of frequency. This fear is used to power the world we are described to as real. This is done through our keyboards, iphones,t.v.,even toys, anything which is a cube. These devices send energy to Saturn which is the god you pray to, you call him Jesus.

YET...we all seek love, we love to give it, we love to get it. Love is also a frequency of being, 528. So stare at the sun in the morning and at sunset to increase your understanding that we are the fallen angels written about in the Bible. You are a star who is trapped in words which are magic spells. Don't believe me, seek out Superluminous1 on twitter.

douglas m 10 years 28 weeks ago

Politicians know who they work for. Its whoever pays them the most because they have to constantly get relected and in todays world its about advertising! Its our system and now next to impossible to save a system that will probably just keep eating itself until its gone.

Its too bad big corporations never did a study to understand when you have a strong middle class they actually spend alot more and alot more often. Thus making corporations strong through strong arm contribution campaign funds the ropes are so tight nothing moves and everyone suffers.

Fear and greed hurts everyone.

We have turned public servants into public obstructiouness that pass nothing and get paid quite well for it.

IvonneGar's picture
IvonneGar 10 years 28 weeks ago

The issue here is what are we going to do about these attacks against our country. These thugs so called "politicians" are nothing but gangsters. We need to fight them and the people who have domain in the progressive media should come up with a plan to fight back. I remember Frank Church, Howard Zinn among others. There should be a legislation demanding that everyone read Common Sense so that we are all in the same page. What are we going to do to get rid of these "black robes" Supreme Court? The black guy Clarence should be ashamed of himself for he is on the other side against the people of the USA, and the other Scaglia, his name tells me he is descendant of Italians who happen to be Latinos.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 10 years 28 weeks ago

The problem is unregulated capitalism, plain and simple!

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 10 years 28 weeks ago

Palidromedary: I'm not a lawyer, but it would seem that the act of tracking a persons web usage for whatever reason is a baseless pursuit if the D.O.D. employee, "attacker," needs definitive ID, which they would, of the targeted user. Say I want info on how to cultivate weed or maybe I'm curious about the history of Karl Marx, without an image of me going to and using those websites, it's still just speculation that it was in fact me.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 10 years 28 weeks ago

2950-10k: Of course, your ISP keeps logs of your IP numbers and your MAC address. (every NIC-Network Interface Card) has a unique MAC address. If you ever need to destroy your hard drive or other storage media in a should also think about destroying your NIC. If you have more can use something like Derik's Boot and Nuke (DBAN). Which is what you should use if you ever want to completely erase all the data on a hard drive before you sell it or give it away. But don't do this if you have 4 million pounds of bitcoin stored on your drive...don't throw it away either. ;-0

Yes, you could use TOR, Proxies, or other ways in an attempt to avoid detections...but it has recently been discovered that these methods are not as secure as was once thought. So, the computer, or mobile device you use can be identified. You can spoof your IP and MAC address, true. But, not many people are going to take those precautions.

Of course, It doesn't identify WHO is actually doing the typing. But now they have found ways of identifying people and tracking them across the internet...not by using cookies anymore...but by which sites you what ideas you your repeated typing your repeated use of various words. They can "fingerprint" your internet activity.

They still may not have a photo of you unless your photo has once been put on the internet. If they DOX you, they can associate your old long-forgotten photo. And if it is the authorities we are talking about, then they have all kinds of photos of you already...DMV...passports.

They even break into your house, while you're not home, and install pin-hole cameras and microphones to watch you. I even suspect that they can, or one day will, use the recently installed Smart electric meters that broadcast the electrical usage, to send covert monitoring data of what you typed on your computer when you had disconnected the residential interface (DSL modem/router).

Of course, they have, most likely, already installed a keystroke logger using rootkit technology so that your anti-virus will never detect it. And they may even be able to identify you by how you type..your keystroke rhythm..your frequent mistyping and corrections. They certainly can get everything you type..including passwords.

They can get your finger prints off the keyboard and collect the skin cells from your fingers out from between the keys (re: the movie GATTACA), if they confiscate your computer. If no other person's skin cells or fingerprints are detected then they have evidence that it is YOU that had "sole possession". As the owner of the computer, they consider you guilty, anyway, no matter if someone else secretly planted stuff on your computer. "Sole possession"...that's just about right...they own your "sole"...or something at the other end of the physical being that starts with A and ends in SS. (obviously, I don't believe there is such a thing as a sole...let us just say...they own us all). Of course, you can wipe the keyboard down and vacuum after every time you use it and try to claim that other devious people snuck in and used your equipment. But I don't think that will fly very well.

Your cable or satellite TV network could be phoning home and telling them what you like to watch on TV. I disconnect my phone line connection to my DishTV box and it works just fine. Although, occasionally when I have problems have to reconnect or to do an update. Most likely, they still get a dump of all the programs I watch. ;-{

"Is your TV spying on YOU? It sounds like science fiction but many new TVs can watch you - telling advertisers your favorite shows or even filming you on the sofa. And there's no off switch!" --

Those photos you view could contain a code, hidden by Steganography, that is using the pixels modulated in a manner in which the reflected standing waves from your face can then be demodulated and sent to a remote hacker. --ok, I just made this last paragraph up! ;-}

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 10 years 28 weeks ago

2950-10k: They've thrown people into Gitmo Gulags and tortured or killed them on a lot less speculation. And, I'm not a lawyer either but who cares about lawyers when the real criminals are running the show. Those Corporate Fascist Pigs let us exist at their pleasure. They are the real terrorists. Who cares about laws? They sure don't.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 10 years 28 weeks ago
Quote 2950-10k: I have a sister in law who recently retired from a pretty sensitive position with Air Force intelligence...

"The Department of Homeland Security is conducting massive spying on Internet users through a program called "Avatar Identity." The existence of the program was disclosed to WMR by a source who stated that the development of avatars for every user of the Internet had its beginnings with the U.S. Air Force.."

"The Avatar Identity Program appears to coincide with another Air Force project to solicit "persona management software" to create virtual users on the Internet in order to conduct perception management campaigns to inundate chat rooms, letter to the editor, and on-line polls to sway public opinion on key issues."

"...Homeland Security's Avatar Identity program involves the creation of an avatar for every Internet user that pulls information from the actual user's Google searches, Twitter messages, Facebook postings, on-line commerce activities, and other web interactions and feeds the transactions to the avatar program. Intelligence analysts then query the avatar for details of the user's activities."

"...In the case of the avatar, every Internet user has a virtual "snitch" that reports their every action and movement on the web to the government."

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 10 years 28 weeks ago

Quote Palindromedary: "Sole possession"...that's just about right...they own your "sole"...or something at the other end of the physical being that starts with A and ends in SS. (obviously, I don't believe there is such a thing as a sole...let us just say...they own us all).

Palindromedary ~ I'm terribly sorry that you don't believe in the human "sole". I thought you had feet. I guess not. It must be terribly hard to get around. Unless you meant "soul." I believe strongly in soul--the spirit and the music. Not that there is a difference between the two. I guess you could say I believe in sole and soul. You kind of need both to stand up for what you believe in.

Quote Palindromedary:They even break into your house, while you're not home, and install pin-hole cameras and microphones to watch you. I even suspect that they can, or one day will, use the recently installed Smart electric meters that broadcast the electrical usage, to send covert monitoring data of what you typed on your computer when you had disconnected the residential interface (DSL modem/router).

Palindromedary ~ Really?! My High School yearbook voted me the least likely student to be of interest to anybody. No, seriously though, my mother prepared me for such a world by telling me as a child when I spoke up that I should always pretend that the walls had ears. Never assume that anything you say isn't being heard by everybody. A very healthy piece of advice. For everything else, take a walk in the woods and pass crib notes. Then burn them in a fire. So much for intelligence gathering. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Help yourself DOD.

By the way, not to change the topic, but, did you get a chance to read post # 12 by Sound n Light. What do you think about that concept?

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 10 years 28 weeks ago

Just in case those fascists are listening in, I've got a nice little message for them:


Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 10 years 28 weeks ago

DAnnemarc: I've been away, not to Saturn or Venus, so sorry about not responding sooner. Anyway, thanks for that spelling correction. You're right, I meant "soul" and not "sole".

But the "soul" may as well be a "sole" as far as I'm concerned. I believe that once a person dies...nothing "lives" on except the memories of that person by others who knew him/her. No magical ghostly image wafts up into space. Dead is dead! I don't believe in re-incarnation either.

But anyway, in reference to your asking me what I thought about #12....I think that "staring into the sun from sun up to sun down is a very bad thing to do"...blindness would surely be the result.

Some people might think that I am "blind", metaphorically, for not believing in all that hocus-pocus-jesus-is-magic stuff or any of those other religious ideas. But then, that's ok because I think the same of them as well. It is my opinion that THEY are "blind" for not seeing that their beliefs are no better than the ancient myth believers or even from children's beliefs in Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. And, most all of the ideas that religions have adopted, are just organized superstitions based largely on the fear of dying and a way of self-deception that your loyalty to some mythical all-powerful being will protect you from your enemies...whether that be other human beings or some illness. Those beliefs are no different than carrying a lucky rabbit's foot or sticking pins in voodoo dolls.

I see little difference between organized religions and those who try to distance themselves from organized religions yet still believe in all the hocus pocus myths except that organized religions tend to hold a tighter reign on their adherents.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 10 years 28 weeks ago
Quote Palindromedary:DAnnemarc: I've been away, not to Saturn or Venus, so sorry about not responding sooner. Anyway, thanks for that spelling correction. You're right, I meant "soul" and not "sole".

But the "soul" may as well be a "sole" as far as I'm concerned. I believe that once a person dies...nothing "lives" on except the memories of that person by others who knew him/her. No magical ghostly image wafts up into space. Dead is dead! I don't believe in re-incarnation either.

Palindromedary ~ Strangely enough, I agree with almost everything you said; except, not believing in reincarnation. This is why. You can not be conscious of being unconscious. When you are dead it is as if you never existed. Like you said, you only exist in the minds of people who remember you. Well, lets extend that. Let's say that while you were alive you wrote an elaborate autobiography. Into it, you poured your life's actions, your thoughts, your believes, and your dreams.

Now for the physical factor. Genetic combinations tend to be finite in nature. Combinations eventually reoccur astonishingly frequently in nature... Identical twins for example. Here such a combination occurs twice instantaneously. Let us say that some time in the future, someone with a similar genetic combination as you stumbles across your autobiography believing that they resemble you in physical form and psychological construct. It is human nature for people to what to believe that their lifetime extends beyond this one. What difference does it make whether or not that extension is forward or backward in time. It becomes life beyond life. Your life's actions, your thoughts, your believes, and your dreams live on in another consciousness. Once again the major aspects of your consciousness that make you, you--live on again.

Sure, it isn't the original you; however, you don't know that, you're dead. You don 't know anything. However, this new living conscious is real enough. That is the only conscious that matters now; and, now it knows everything you used to know. Of course, it only knows the things that you want it to know. Here is the opportunity for you to forever erase all the things that you wish you could forget. The things you wish you didn't know. When you write your autobiography you can selectively edit your life to suite the happiness that you can only achieve by erasing certain aspects of your life and your memories. Things you wish you never did. Things you wish you never knew. Permanent reprogramming is possible. You can even pass on things that took you a lifetime to learn. Isn't it worth the effort my friend?

Whether or not you believe that the new consciousness will in any way embody yourself, can you really afford to not make the effort now after I have explained how easy and reasonable the possibility really is? Imagine the rewards of practicing this technique over the period of several generations. Eventually, someone like you will be born into a world where they have earned the respect and admiration of generations of efforts and achievement the moment they exit the womb. Wouldn't you like to be that baby? Wouldn't you like to have contributed that to that world? Even if it turns out to be a fools errand, isn't it a magnificent legacy to leave behind you; and, to some lucky future human being who happens to be born like you? Wouldn't you have loved to have had a genetic familiar from the past to have made the effort for you to absorb such a bounty of intellect and experience in the present during your current lifetime?

Isn't that close enough to reincarnation for you to accept the possibility?

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 10 years 28 weeks ago

Many physical traits are passed on, genetically, to one's offspring, of course; but, I don't know if there is such a thing as "knowledge" genetic traits. But still, that would be strictly lineal inheritance from parents to their children. We all "inherit" knowledge from other people through the books we read and other sources of knowledge. And, in a sense, one could believe that, in that manner, we are all "reincarnated"...some more so than others depending upon how many books, or other sources, they are exposed to.

But, I take issue with the idea of a mystical, other-worldly manifestation of some long dead person living once more, or even as a doppleganger in the present, as if he/she had never died..jumping time, space, and genetics.

I know some people get a very strong feeling that they have been reincarnated from someone whose diaries or journals they've read. A feeling that those printed words are so eerily familiar as to impress upon themselves that they just have to have been their very own in a past life. And many people have been duped by charlatans claiming they have been reincarnated...Was Madame Tchaikowsky really the reincarnation of Anastasia?

Many people experience what they call deja vu. So what does that mean? I know, it's kinda creepy. Matthew Alper wrote a book called "The God Part of the Brain" and suggests that our brain is "hardwired" to believe in a God..that it is an "evolutionary mechanism that allows us to cope with our greatest terror - death." That part of the brain, or other parts, can be coaxed, using various methods... drugs... meditation... insanity (chemical imbalance of the brain)... to produce hallucinations, sometimes euphoric, sometimes horrific that can often be misconstrued as something real when it is not.

I may get frequent feelings of deja vu or feelings of synchronicity...or frequently seeing numbers like 111 when I glance at clock, etc, but what is that really? Maybe, since I am an atheist, and I find the notion of "God" so ridiculous, that "God" part of my brain is not quite the same as many others who do believe in God.

Maybe, if I used certain drugs...instead of "seeing God", I'd see all 1s or 2s, etc.or recursive Mobius strips floating through my head or forever climbing some MC Escher stairs. Of course, if I committed the same fallacious mistake that some people do by believing those things were real then I'd probably be committed to an insane asylum...if they still exist. People can get away with it, however, when they say they have seen God, perhaps.
"An example statement that begs the question is “god exists because the bible says so”. If we ask for elaboration on the validity of the bible “How do we know the bible is right”? Then we really get the logical fallacy in its entirety “The bible is right because it is the word of god”.

ie: “god exists because the bible says so and I know the bible is right cause it is the word of god”. This statement seeks to validate the conclusion with a premise that assumes the conclusion.
New movie coming Dec 25...The Secret Life of Walter Mitty...

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 10 years 28 weeks ago

PD, do you mind if I jump into this discussion? For starters, I would like to clarify that I am the least religious of any person you'll ever meet. I do not read the Bible or believe in any theistic concept of "God". I am your ultimate skeptic when it comes to matters pertaining to life after death. However I do like to keep an open mind, and in so doing, I embrace the probability that there exist dimensions to reality we are not aware of, that we can't witness or comprehend from this plane of existence. Therefore, skepticism withstanding, I cannot fully dismiss the idea of reincarnation in some form, or a part of us that survives mortal death.

What I've found the most persuasive are books by psychiatrists (two of them; a man - named Weiss? - and a woman) whose sense of reality was completely transformed by patients of theirs; patients whose past-life regressions they witnessed unexpectedly. These are professionals who come from the "old school" scientific mindset, which rejects anything that cannot be empirically proven with solid evidence. The patients, who were not scholars, were able to describe, in detail, what life was like thousands of years ago, in long-gone civilizations, even speaking the languages from these ancient cultures; otherwise disclosing details of various things they would have no access to in their present circumstances. I wish I could recall the names of these doctors! The lady psychiatrist's book was titled "You Have Been Here Before" (or something very similar).

Anyway, that's all I wanted to share, for what it's worth. Whatever our take on reality, PD, it is always tempting to become rigid and close-minded. It makes life more comfortable in certain ways, whether one is religious or not. Even us athiests are prone to this tendency. But I prefer to keep my mind open and flexible. The discomfort of not knowing is the price we pay for being open minded, but I still think that's the way to go. Just my two cents... - Aliceinwonderland

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 10 years 28 weeks ago

Aliceinwonderland: The author of that book, "You Have Been Here Before", was Dr. Edith Fiore.

Quote csicop:California Revokes Another UFO-Abduction Therapist’s License

Prominent psychotherapist Dr. Edith Fiore of Saratoga, Calif., one of the earliest to embrace the reality of UFO abductions and other far-out ideas, agreed to surrender her license on Aug. 10 after the California State Board of Psychology charged her with “being grossly negligent” in the treatment of a female patient—identified as JH. In 1989, Fiore authored a book “Encounter: A Psychologist Reveals Case Studies of Abductions by Extraterrestrials.” This is the second time that the California Board has revoked the license of a psychotherapist who attempted to convince patients they had suffered UFO abductions. Two years ago, the Board revoked the license of Dr. Richard Boylan of Sacramento, who also specialized in treating patients he believed had been abducted by UFOs [SUN #37/Jan. 1996].

According to an article in the Aug. 20 edition of the Saratoga News, one of the charges against Fiore was that she used an unusual treatment procedure without obtaining patient JH’s consent. According to JH, by means of hypnosis, Fiore claimed to have removed “90 entities, comprised of dead persons,” from JH’s body. Then, JH said that Fiore told her that "they should explore whether JH may have been abducted by Unidentified Flying Objects [UFOs].

I had read some of Edith Fiori's stuff on "alien abductions", many years ago, and thought it was all pretty far out and very questionable.

note: I think Philip J. Klass, although he thinks of himself as a skeptic, often uses the same kind of logical fallacies that he accuses others of.

Dr. Brian Weiss, author of "Many Lives, Many Masters" was not the first psychotherapist to have been duped by cons. There have been many. So his room goes ice cold all of a sudden, and Catherine, under hypnotic regression recalls "things she couldn't possibly have known about Weiss's person life". Gee, she knew that his father died of a heart attack and his young infant son also died of a heart problem years ago. Come on...couldn't possibly have known of these things? Horse manure! It sure didn't hurt Weiss' bank account when he published his book. Icy cold room? Who even could have been such an elaborate hoax that not only did the hoaxers do a thorough investigation into Weiss' background but they also could have sneaked into the office before hand and rigged the air conditioning system.

By the way, it is all too often that religious people or even just people who are fond of mysticism accuse atheists of being closed minded...but I'd say that the former are often very closed minded themselves. They are always attracted to supernatural beliefs that cement themselves in a dogmatic rigidity. A lot of these supernatural beliefs are fancied because the alternative is the reality of death. They seek some way of cushioning that reality so they delve into all manner of religious or mystical ideas.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 10 years 28 weeks ago

DAnneMarc: Seen any "recursive replicants" lately? I wonder if they are anything like "recursive mobius strips"? It's funny but I watched part of a movie this evening that reminded me of what you were saying before. Tom Hanks stars in the 2012 movie "Cloud Atlas". I didn't catch the first 1/2 hour and it jumped around from reality to reality..or maybe time frame to time frame.

Quote IMDb:An exploration of how the actions of individual lives impact one another in the past, present and future, as one soul is shaped from a killer into a hero, and an act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution.

Too deep for me! So I didn't watch the last hour. Maybe I'll give it another try when I can see it from the beginning. Man..look at all those 1s!!!

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 10 years 28 weeks ago

WOW Palin... what a letdown! Back in the '80s or early '90s, I recall watching one or two talk shows featuring multiple guests, all of whom claiming to have been abducted by aliens. I remember how disgusted I was with the hosts of those shows for giving these crackpots the microphone and as it appeared, accepting these outrageous claims at face value. Had I known Dr. Fiore was into that nonsense, I would never have given her so much as a second glance, let alone read her book.

As for Dr. Weiss... it wasn't his father's heart attack or the death of his infant son that grabbed my attention; what had me intrigued was all the other stuff. Oh well... so much for that! Being intrigued does not translate to becoming a convert. Just so you know, I have never had any special affinity for mysticism. Now that you've enlightened me to these con games, I'll be more skeptical from now on. I like being open-minded, but form no attachment to any theory or belief. I can let go quickly and painlessly, once someone's cover is blown.

I agree completely about who is close-minded and rigid, in this particular context. Atheists are no more rigid than anyone else. I've always been acutely aware of an emotional need many (if not most) humans have for assurance, regarding mortality, that would bring some sort of relief from the uncertainty of it. This would definitely compel one to latch onto a religion, or some form of mysticism, as many have. It feeds into my skepticism to perceive a vested interest, or emotional need, behind such beliefs. I'm not totally dismissing the idea of reincarnation, if only because I don't have the answers either. And I'm okay with that.

Anyway Palin, before I go, I'd just like to ask, what is your take on Edgar Casey? Just curious... - AIW

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 10 years 27 weeks ago


I think that before, or even after, anyone views videos or reads books about Edgar Cayce, or any of those other people who have made extraordinary claims, should read a couple of James Randi's books.

Flim-Flam! Psychics, ESP, Unicorns, and Other Delusions by James Randi and Isaac Asimov (Jan 1, 1982)

The Mask of Nostradamus: The Prophecies of the World's Most Famous Seer by James Randi (Mar 1, 1993)

Thom's Blog Is On the Move

Hello All

Thom's blog in this space and moving to a new home.

Please follow us across to - this will be the only place going forward to read Thom's blog posts and articles.

From The Thom Hartmann Reader:
"Thom Hartmann channels the best of the American Founders with voice and pen. His deep attachment to a democratic civil society is just the medicine America needs."
Tom Hayden, author of The Long Sixties and director, Peace and Justice Resource Center.
From The Thom Hartmann Reader:
"Thom Hartmann is a literary descendent of Ben Franklin and Tom Paine. His unflinching observations and deep passion inspire us to explore contemporary culture, politics, and economics; challenge us to face the facts of the societies we are creating; and empower us to demand a better world for our children and grandchildren."
John Perkins, author of the New York Times bestselling book Confessions of an Economic Hit Man
From Cracking the Code:
"No one communicates more thoughtfully or effectively on the radio airwaves than Thom Hartmann. He gets inside the arguments and helps people to think them through—to understand how to respond when they’re talking about public issues with coworkers, neighbors, and friends. This book explores some of the key perspectives behind his approach, teaching us not just how to find the facts, but to talk about what they mean in a way that people will hear."
Paul Loeb, author of Soul of a Citizen