It's a BIG universe but we need to share it with others who are not from Earth.
When the people of Denver, Colorado, go to the polling booths for the upcoming general election, they will be presented with the following ballot question:
"Shall the voters for the city and county of Denver adopt an initiated ordinance to require the creation of an extraterrestrial affairs commission to help ensure the health, safety, and cultural awareness of Denver residents and visitors in relation to potential encounters or interactions with extraterrestrial intelligent beings or their vehicles, and fund such commission from grants, gifts and donations?"
But this will be November 2, not April 1. This is no practical joke, and no celebrity will leap out from behind the booth and proclaim, "You just got punk'd!"
This is the proposal for the City and County of Denver Ballot Question Initiated Ordinance 300. Known as the Welcome to Earth campaign or Initiative 300, the campaign proposes to establish an Extraterrestrial Affairs (ETA) Commission. Chosen by the Denver mayor, the Commission would consist of seven members who would investigate alleged government cover-ups of alien abductions and encounters, explore extraterrestrial energy sources and cancer-curing technology, and provide their findings on the city's website. This would also be a refuge for citizens to report their own sightings and personal experiences.
This proposal received the 4,000 signatures required to appear on the ballot, but almost 6,000 additional signatures were deemed invalid. One wonders if any of the proposal's signatories were of the same mindset as those who jokingly listed "Jedi" as their religion on census forms.
The proposal is the brainchild of "UFO disclosure activist" Jeff Peckman. He says of the alleged extraterrestrials, "We need to figure out if there are possible business opportunities or medical treatments that could come from them."1
Peckman is the "Denver UFO Examiner" columnist for Examiner.com, a practitioner and teacher of Transcendental Meditation, and a former student of the Maharishi International University (for one year). He is also a promoter of Metatron Technology, a device that "reduces stress from electropollution" and "transforms harmful electromagnetic fields into healthy energy fields."2
This is not the first time Peckman has attempted to bring pseudoscience and the paranormal into politics. In 1998 he ran for senator as a member of the Natural Law Party, and in 2003 he presented the "Safety through Peace" initiative. The failed proposal aimed to reduce crime in Denver by reducing stress, forcing residents to "Have a nice day" by piping New Age music through public transportation and providing meditation and yoga classes for residents.3
If Peckman's paranormal pedigree isn't reason enough to veto the frivolous proposal, the allegations certainly require skepticism. He claims there have been 4,000 UFO landings on Earth, and that aliens are among us already. Apparently, scientists have identified some 57 species of extraterrestrials. (Swift reader Joe Anderson muses that Heinz must be behind the conspiracy...)
Taking his "evidence" from the Disclosure Project4, Peckman further claims that "over 400 government, military, and intelligence community witnesses have testified to their direct, personal, first-hand experience with UFOs, ETs, ET technology, and the cover-up that keeps this information secret."
The Initiative 300 site squeals, "All people have a right to know about suppressed extraterrestrial technologies for: curing life-threatening diseases, cleaner energy, environmental cleanup, and creating jobs."5 But, "Are you ready for the truth?"
A list of factoids reads like an issue of the National Enquirer.
- Elvis Presley had more UFO sightings and meetings with ETs than any other celebrity.
- Muhammad Ali saw at least twenty-two UFOs and was fascinated by them.
- Michael Jackson wanted to welcome extraterrestrials to Earth and film the landing.
- Jimmy Carter saw a UFO and promised to disclose government UFO files if elected president.
- Hillary Clinton helped draft a comprehensive disclosure policy on UFOs and ETs.
- Ronald Reagan followed a UFO by plane for several minutes but was afraid to report it.
Clearly, Peckman's biggest supporters are deceased celebrities...
The whole story begins with Stan Romanek. Once upon a time, Romanek claimed he filmed an alien "Peeping Tom" on his property in Nebraska. This event occurred in 2003, but suspiciously, this incredible footage was not released until 2008. In a publicity stunt reminiscent of the Clonaid press conference, Peckman publicly screened the footage at Metropolitan State College in Denver and would not allow photographs to be taken. Peckman has adopted Romanek's cause ever since.
Romanek maintains that NASA cannot explain his film. NASA wouldn't even bother to explain the film, but the Rocky Mountain Paranormal Research Society (RMPRS) did.6 Suspecting a hoax, this local skeptical group recreated the film with a camera and an alien prop.7
The RMPRS brought Peckman to the attention of skeptics, and they have been following his stunts for years. Members Bryan Bonner and Matthew Baxternb1 formed the Mission for Inhibiting Bureaucracy (MIB), a registered political committee against Peckman's ETA Commission.8
Aside from personal anecdotes and a blurry homemade video, Peckman's evidence consists of blurry photographs. For example, in his lectures he cites photographic "proof" from a Billy Meier who claims that he time traveled with alien guides and took photographs of what he saw. The MIB's thorough research revealed that this "evidence" comes from a picture book, not another planet. Additional images of "alien women" really did go back in time ... to a 1960s performance on the TV program The Dean Martin Variety Show.
But Peckman has avoided debates and interviews with the opposition. Instead of tackling criticisms, Peckman and his supporters attack his opponents. Following the publication of my article "A Close Encounter with Jeff Peckman"9, Peckman published a rejoinder that questioned my qualifications and ignored the issues. My remark, "Peckman's scheme plans to "prove" the existence of spaceships and little green men—and take them to our leader" was interpreted as a "racial slur".10
Peckman hasn't provided clear objectives or addressed the concerns of the public, such as how the project will legitimately "help ensure the health, safety, and cultural awareness of Denver residents and visitors"; who will provide the "gifts, grants and donations", and who will finance the $23,000 per annum project if these promised funds don't materialize. (The money will come from general city funds, i.e., taxpayers).
Instead, we have Peckman's Pascal's Wager. He promises that the committee can be easily abolished; that there is:
No Risk—Denver's City Council can repeal the ETA Commission ordinance after six months.
The ETA Commission is not intended to be a scholarly pursuit or research organization like the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). Instead of aiming to "explore, understand and explain the origin, nature and prevalence of life in the universe"11, Peckman's proposal presupposes that aliens exist. As the opening sections of the "Legislative intent" states:
The People of the City and County of Denver hereby declare that:
The presence of extraterrestrial intelligent beings and extraterrestrial vehicles on Earth, and within Earth's atmosphere, has been confirmed by credible evidence, official government documents, and whistleblowers formerly working for the U.S. Government and government contractors.
If this proposal passes, it is tacit that the people of Denver believe in the existence of aliens and extraterrestrial UFOs, and that the United States government is involved in a massive conspiracy against Denver, the country, and the world.
Fortunately, a recent poll in one district has shown that 92 percent of voters are opposed to establishing a Denver commission for extraterrestrial affairs.12 However, the proposal could pass by default if skeptical voters are too apathetic to vote.
On the bright side, if aliens exist they may abduct Peckman. As Matthew Baxter says, "the only thing we can truly hope for is the day that the aliens come and take Peckman away".
1. AOL News. "Denver Voters Will Decide on Proposed E.T. Affairs Office." Available at www.aolnews.com/weird-news-elections/article/denver-voters-debating-proposed-et-affairs-office/19626333. Accessed October 14, 2010.
2. Metatron Technology. Available at www.reduce-emf-stress.com/Home_Page.html. Accessed May 2, 2010.
3. CNN.com Transcripts. Available at http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0308/13/ltm.06.html. Accessed May 2, 2010.
4. The Disclosure Project. Available at www.disclosureproject.org. Accessed October 14, 2010.
5. Welcome to Earth Campaign. Available at www.extracampaign.org/. Accessed May 2, 2010.
6. Rocky Mountain Paranormal Research Society. http://rockymountainparanormal.com/ Accessed October 26, 2010.
7. "Stan Romanek/Jeff Peckman Reenactment." Available at www.youtube.com/user/Warningradio#p/u/17/1ema9Stirsc. Accessed October 14, 2010.
8. Denver E.T. Commission.org http://denveretcommission.org/ Accessed October 26, 2010.
9. "A Close Encounter with Jeff Peckman". The Naked Skeptic. Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. http://www.csicop.org/specialarticles/show/a_close_encounter_with_jeff_peckman Accessed October 26, 2010.
10. Skeptics bungle attack on Initiative 300 ET Affairs Commission. Denver UFO Examiner.
http://www.examiner.com/ufo-in-denver/skeptics-bungle-attack-on-initiative-300-et-affairs-commission Accessed October 26, 2010.
11. Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence. http://www.seti.org/ Accessed October 26, 2010
12. M.I.B. Denver ET Commission. Available at www.denveretcommission.org/. Accessed October 14, 2010.
N.B. Matthew Baxter is my fiancé, but this fact is incidental. I acknowledge him and Bryan Bonner for drawing my attention to this issue, and for their invaluable research assistance in the preparation of this article.