Under pressure from members of the GOP caucus, Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy has signed off on a hearing looking into claims that the U.S. has secret treaties with murderous space monsters and recovered their crashed flying saucers. Rep. Tim Burchett, the 2020 election denier who appeared on Ancient Aliens to claim the Bible is a record of space alien visitation, will lead the hearing. And lest there be any doubt that the embarrassing spectacle is all about space aliens, Burchett told Politico today, “That’s what it is about: aliens.” An anonymous Republican told Politico that some in the GOP understand that the hearing could become a debacle if “people run wild with it,” but thanks to the party’s razor-thin control of the House, members with wacky personal agendas have extraordinary leverage over the Speaker, making it almost impossible to stop a fantastical descent into sci-fi conspiracy theories. The hearing is currently planned for the end of the month.
Late in the day, Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer backed a bipartisan Senate proposal to create a commission to declassify UFO documents, which the New York Times correctly characterized as an effort to combat conspiracy theories and tamp down on UFO fever of the kind seen on the House side.
This morning, the New York Times ran a puff piece in its business section claiming that 1970s-era spoon-bender Uri Geller has “won” the war against his debunkers by monetizing his fraudulent powers and attaining greater celebrity than his detractors. The story, by business reporter David Segal, praises what Segal describes as Geller’s repudiation of conventional standards of truth, substituting entertainment for evidence and using his postmodern attacks on evidence and reason to generate millions in revenue:
Just days after Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) proudly announced that she had secured full funding for the Pentagon’s UFO office and was working on scheduling a hearing at which UFO whistleblower David Grusch would testify, Grusch spoke to a Dutch magazine in which he made additional bizarre claims beyond those he already offered.
Only weeks after so-called UFO whistleblower David Grusch alleged that interdimensional alien beings crashed dozens of flying saucers that the United States has collected since 1944 while hiding a secret treaty between humanity and space aliens from Congress, the United States Senate’s Intelligence Committee passed unanimously legislative language sponsored by senatorial UFO hunter Kirsten Gillibrand and others required all Federal agencies and any contractors who obtained materials from Federal agencies to provide access to all of their space alien artifacts.
Nicolas Binge | Riverhead | 2023 | 352 pages | ISBN: 9780593539583 | $27
British novelist Nicholas Binge’s first American release, Ascension, garnered a large number of reviews because of its irresistible hook: In 1991, a mountain taller than Everest suddenly appears in the Pacific and a mysterious organization assembles a crack team of explorers to uncover a cosmic secret lurking upon its icy summit. Told in flashback as a series of increasingly bizarre letters from a possibly unreliable narrator, Ascension had all the elements to be an exciting, mind-blowing exploration of the uncanny and the unknown. However, the book ultimately proves itself to be a derivative remix of familiar tropes, married to paper-thin characters that alternate between unpleasant and unbelievable. When one character triumphantly notes that no one had noticed his frequent absences, I shrugged because the writing paid so little attention to the characters none of them was noteworthy a absence.
The frame story involves the discovery that scientist Harold Tunmore is not dead, as his brother had presumed, but has spent three decades locked in a mental hospital. When the brothers reunite, Tunmore promptly dies, leaving behind a series of letters written in the 1990s. The letters form the bulk of the novel, outlining how Tunmore came to be recruited to explore the new mountain alongside a team of forgettable, mostly military, associates, including his ex-wife. As the story progresses, tentacled Lovecraftian monsters pick off the crew one by one as a cosmic mystery involving the mystery of life unfolds and Tunmore reckons with the poor decisions he made in the run-up to and aftermath of the death of his adopted son years earlier and the collapse of his marriage. The story becomes, then, an effort to achieve emotional closure in the face of transmundane horror, paralleling the life of a family and fate of humanity—and it is no spoiler to recall that in the prologue set after these events, Tunmore’s mind is already shattered. The symbolism in the novel is, let’s say, not subtle.
A fair warning: The rest of this review will contain spoilers. If you plan to read Ascension, save the rest of this discussion until you’ve finished the novel.
So-called UFO whistleblower David Grusch appeared on NewsNation last night for an hour-long pre-taped interview with Ross Coulthart, excerpts of which had appeared on the network last week. The results were about what one might have expected even before he spoke: He had no direct evidence of space aliens and could offer no proof of his claims. Everything he alleged was either told to him by unnamed people or was the result of his own speculation, with “documents” that appeared to be hoaxes from UFO lore. And his claims were a rehash of Eric W. Davis’s alleged notes on his meeting with Admiral Wilson in 2002, a regular bit of UFO lore. (Davis says he used to work with Grusch.) Grusch alleged that the U.S. has had captured UFOs since 1944, when the military seized one from Mussolini, with allegations that the Vatican was involved in some sort of conspiracy.
The lawyers representing alleged UFO "whistleblower" David Grusch abruptly parted ways with him yesterday, saying their representation of him had concluded. In a statement, two attorneys from Compass Rose claimed that they represented him only in regard to his complaint to the Intelligence Community Inspector General that he had been retaliated against for attempting to expose information withheld from Congress. The lawyers specifically refused to endorse Grusch's claims about space aliens and asked that the media "correct" misinformation about their involvement with his extraterrestrial claims.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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