Monday, February 20, 2012

Our Father Who Art In Space

Let's talk about religion and ETs – or advanced beings (ABs) if you will.

Author Paul Von Ward is apparently a member of the exopolitics crowd. In his book, We’ve Never Been Alone: A History of Extraterrestrial Intervention, he takes the exopolitical stance that otherwordly beings are here, no argument about it, so we better start thinking about mankind’s relationship with those visitors.

Von Ward accepts evidence of AB reality through the works of such writers as Zecharia Sitchin, the whole ancient astronauts were the basis for the gods/God shtick.

Yup, YHVH was only an alien with superior technology that he used to control his faction of humans. Apparently in ancient times advanced beings showed up and each one had his own share of the mankind market. They fought among themselves and then left, leaving behind the structure of what Von Ward calls “god-cults.”

The reason why many nations and religious groups are fighting among themselves, says Von Ward, is because of the ABs’ meddling in our affairs in the dim past.

I wouldn’t mind it if he presented his argument mainly as speculation. The trouble I have with the exopolitics crowd is their evidence is dubious. Yes, there are strange things in this world, UFOs in the sense of unidentified phenomena, but to take a leap of faith and say it’s all part of a grand scheme by aliens/ABs as Von Ward and others lay out – sorry, I don’t buy it.

Just because someone claims he was contacted by otherwordly beings, receiving messages warning mankind to avoid great disasters – that’s at best an anecdote without any hard evidence to back it up.

Saying something doesn’t make it so.

By the way, I’m a genius.

Yeah, That'll Work

Anyone in favor of skeptocracy, government by skeptics?

That concept popped into my head the other day. After all, skeptics are supposed to stress rationality over emotion. Dealing with facts, not opinion, should lead to better government.

In the previous issue I talked about Elevatorgate, an incident from last year that proved how skeptics are all on the same page when it comes to The Truth. Rebecca Watson, of, was at a conference where she spoke about sexism and skepticism. She claimed a male conference attendee hit on her in an elevator when she was returning to her room. She hated being regarded as a sex object – even though she appeared semi-nude in a couple of Skepchick calendars.

Her take on the incident whipped up a storm of controversy among the skeptical community. Atheist Richard Dawkins wrote a satirical piece involving a letter to a fictional Muslim woman, a victim of severe oppression in another country, telling her that her problems were nothing compared to poor Rebecca’s.

Rebecca responded by saying that she would never again endorse any of Dawkins’ books. So there!

Another skeptical blogger thought Rebecca was blowing the elevator incident way out of proportion, adding the letter “T” to her last name when referring to her. How rational.

Skeptics are supposed to deal with facts, looking beyond ad hominem attacks and cheap shots. Rebecca in an YouTube video advised that instead of hitting on her, lonely men should invest in inflatable love dolls.

I wonder if Rebecca was in power if she would set up a Junior Anti-Sex League like in George Orwell’s novel 1984.

Anyone in favor of skeptocracy?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Another Year On Paper

February 2012 marks 18 years I’ve been zining about offbeat topiX. I can’t remember the eXact date of that freezing winter night when I sat down at a computer and roughed out a short four page issue, Ray X X-Rayer #1.

It was a way to get through the drudgery of the long winters around here. But as time has passed neither winter nor zining has become easier.

Back in those early years I was reviewed in Factsheet 5, the leading publication for zine reviews. That exposure did generate a few readers but nothing like the hundreds I have with my blog.

I think print zines suffer from the Poet Syndrome: for every 100 people who write poetry, only one reads poems by others on a regular basis.

So as another winter drags on − despite its relative mildness – I’m still putting out a zine, albeit in a much shorter form, one double-sided sheet, two pages total, for those who prefer paper over photons.

All four of them.

Stromy Relationships

A girl has finally joined the boys club.

The Liberty Net is a long-existing group of amateur radio operators who meet weekly to discuss “current events” from the perspective of angry white men who think the New World Order / The Illuminati is taking over mankind.

Sometimes it sounds like the guys are falling all over themselves because Nissa wants to be in their treehouse. Of course, one woman in the group reflects on how most voices in the areas of both ham radio and conspiracy theory are male.

I’ve only heard Nissa a few times but from what she says I don’t detect that streak of racism evinced by others in the net.

The other night a new commenter said he hoped the mainstays of the group weren’t engaging in racism when talking about President Obama. The commenter said he didn’t like the policies of the president but there was no reason to attack the POTUS based on just his race.

A LibNetter replied that Obama could be as white as a ghost and they would still criticize him for destroying the great nation of the United States of America. But as usual a couple of others came on later with sharp comments about illegal immigrants and poor minorities, their prejudice thinly disguised.

But this isn’t surprising when you consider that Kevin Alfred Strom has been involved with the Liberty Net. He runs the group’s Website,, and has been instrumental in setting up the live online audio stream with phone patches for the group when they’re on the air.

It’s not that hard to find unflattering articles about him on the Web.

Kevin Strom

Strom once belonged to a neo-Nazi group called the National Alliance. He created a radio program called “American Dissident Voices” to help the NA spread its messages promoting racism and anti-Semitism.

In 1990 Strom married Kirsten Kaiser who eventually left him. She has spoken out about her troubled marriage. They had three children. When the middle one was diagnosed with autism, Strom blamed his wife for the disorder. He took the two “worthy ones” with him, leaving Kaiser with the child that “violated,” if you will, the Nazi eugenics code.

Strom ended up marrying a second time in 2000 but that marriage fell apart after she caught him with digital child porn. In January 2008 during a plea hearing Strom pled guilty to having child pornography images on his computer. He spent 23 months in jail and was released in September 2008 with time served.

Strom maintains that his second wife set him up, that’s he’s really the victim of a politically motivated plot. He says he only pled guilty so that he would spend less time in jail and be re-united with his children sooner. Strom now says he wants to spend time with all of his children, including the severely autistic one.

I wonder what Nissa, the Liberty Net’s only female member, thinks about this. She must have some sort of maternal instinct that would lead her to question why Kevin turned against his autistic child in the first place.

Kevin Strom’s estranged second wife, Elisha Strom, has also generated her share of articles online. Like Kevin she’s ended up spending some time sitting in jail over images on her computer but of cops, not kids.

Elisha Strom

On her blog, I HeArTE JADE (I Love/Hate JADE), she had been sharing images and addresses of members of the Jefferson Area Drug Enforcement task force.

Elisha lives in Virginia and it’s forbidden under that state’s code to publish images and addresses of law-enforcement officers with the intent to harass or intimidate. In July 2009 she was arrested and charged with violating that law in regards to an ATF officer who was also a JADE member.

But she was found not guilty in court, the judge saying there was no evidence that Elisha reasonably knew her actions had put the officer in danger. Elisha had stated that the addresses of the officers were public knowledge, easy to find on the Web.

So she was able to continue her blog, publishing photos of JADE men with cute nicknames like “Longhead,” “Pringle” and “Porn Star.”

When found innocent of the charge, Elisha was quoted by a local newspaper as saying: “Oh, my God, I’m not a stalker.” An interesting statement from someone who follows cops around and photographs them as a “hobby.” Some people in bloggerdom consider her court case a victory for free speech.

So how did JADE attract Elisha’s eye? One of its officers was involved into the child porn investigation of her husband Kevin.

Elisha still shares some of Kevin’s ideals, saying that she is a white separatist.

As for Kevin, on his Website he has referred to her as a “perjurer,” blaming her for his “unjust” jailing.