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Enter the Reptilians!

While Griffin may be the most far-right pundit to appear in Thrive, he is not the most far-out. That would be David Icke, although it would be impossible to know that from the interviews that appear in Thrive.

Icke's role in the film is to explain the economic theory behind a common banking practice known as fractional reserve lending. He does this in less than two minutes, with the help of South Park–style animations, as though explaining the theory of relativity to an attention-challenged second-grader. And of course, he makes the practice appear sinister.

For a more sympathetic portrayal of the practice, see George Bailey's bank-run speech in It's a Wonderful Life: "You're thinking of this place all wrong, as if I had the money back in a safe. The money's not here. Your money's in Joe's house, that's right next to yours. And in the Kennedy house, and Mrs. Makelin's house, and a hundred others. You're lending them the money to build, and then they're going to pay it back to you as best they can." That's fractional reserve lending.

Point of fact: Without fractional reserve lending, almost nobody reading these words would ever be able to own a house. You would need to raise not only a down payment but the entire value of a home in order to purchase it. (Or be born with a fortune, as was Foster Gamble, whose grandfather founded Procter and Gamble.)

At any rate, Icke's brief explication carries the day for Gamble, who concludes that with this banking ploy, "We inevitably become debt-slaves to a ruling financial elite."

Icke then goes on to explain, in a minute or two, how banks caused the current recession purposely, in a plot to get their hands on all of the nation's real property—a devious plot that has been "going on for centuries." Again, as with many conspiracy theories, there's a pretty big grain of truth to that.

According to the film's website, this is David Icke's area of expertise: "Icke reveals that a common formula—'problem-reaction-solution'—is used by the elite to manipulate the masses and pursue alternative agendas."

But a glance at Icke's own website reveals that this is not his primary area of inquiry. Icke, it seems, is bringing the work of the John Birch Society into the New Age, furthering its study into the Illuminati. Like the Birchers, he swears he is not an anti-Semite, yet his site is rife with attacks against the "Rothschild-Zionists" who have, among other things, surrounded President Obama.

Icke's innovation is that he tells the ancient conspiracy lie in the language of a self-help guru. "The Illuminati are not in my universe, unless I allow them in," he says. "And then, I give them power. They're frightened, frightened entities."

It's telling that Icke uses the word "entities," because Icke believes the Illuminati, the people running the world, are not people at all. David Icke, the man championed in Thrive for his insight to economics, spends most of his intellectual energies showing that the world's leaders, from Queen Elizabeth to Bill and Hillary Clinton to Barack Obama, are not human, but are members of "bloodlines" descended from an interplanetary cadre of evil, godlike human/snake hybrids he calls "Reptilians."

Two minutes into a video on his site titled "Demonic Possessed Reptilian Rulers," Icke explains how these creatures do their black magic. Over images of George Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama moving in super-spooky slo-mo, Icke says: "What [the Reptilians] are doing in effect, through the secret societies they've set up, is manipulating these bodies into power. But in doing so, they put themselves into power, because they're controlling the mental and emotional processes of these vehicles."

To put it another way: He isn't one of those right-wing "Birthers" who believe Obama's an alien. He believes Obama's an alien.

In another video, "The Arrival of the Reptilian Empire," Icke explains that "outside of visible light, [the Reptilians] feed off human energy, off human emotions." And in the three-dimensional world, they feed off people. Literally. The video features an interview with a cohort named Alex Collier, who, in high dudgeon, says: "There were 31,712 children disappeared in the last 25 years in the United States. These children were food."

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