Friday, August 07, 2015

We're Three Weeks Into Operation Jade Helm 15 — When Will The Black Helicopters Appear?

Charlie P. offers the following solace about domestic terrorist violence from "deep in the tangled underbrush of fear, hate, and profitable ignorance, where it's all funny until somebody builds a bomb." The sad thing is that — in these days of rage and hatred — we must fear multiplex cinemas, strip mall military recruiting offices, and Bible study rooms in black churches. Unfortunately, the danger isn't limited to camo-wearing crazies, but also wackos in law enforcement uniforms. If this is a (fair & balanced) existential cry for help in a perilous time, so be it.

[x Esquire]
Breaking Down The Jade Helm Clusterf*ck
By Charlie P. (Charles Pierce)

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We all had a good laugh at the folks down in Texas (and elsewhere) who got their camo longjohns in a knot over Operation Jade Helm, the military exercise that was interpreted by those with severe cases of the prion disease as a covert op aimed at the subjugation of American liberty, which was going to be hustled down through secret tunnels and into the basements of several abandoned Wal Mart outlets. I am only exaggerating this a little.

The governor of Texas actually took action to keep his state safe from the encroaching jackboots. Senator Ted Cruz, who is running for president and who will be part of the Main Event on Thursday night here in Cleveland, leaped forward to demonstrate his concern. And to make sure that people knew the president was to blame for the fact that a goodly chunk of his constituents are dangerous paranoids.

"We are assured it is a military training exercise. I have no reason to doubt those assurances, but I understand the reason for concern and uncertainty, because when the federal government has not demonstrated itself to be trustworthy in this administration, the natural consequence is that many citizens don't trust what it is saying."

Not to be left behind, brogressive hero Senator Aqua Buddha [Randall (Rand) Paul, R-KY] joined in and then bravely ran away when he realized that he sounded like a crazy person.

But in an interview this weekend, Mr. Paul said he had no idea what the training exercise — known as Jade Helm — was when he was first asked about it last month on an Iowa radio program. "Someone on a radio program asked me what it was. I didn't know," Mr. Paul said after he christened a new work space for his presidential campaign in the Bay Area. He expressed befuddlement at how his comments about "that ridiculous Jade something" had been blown out of proportion. "I said sure, I'll ask my staff to look into it because I didn't know what it was," he said. The comments that drew ridicule by people like Bill Maher, who accused Mr. Paul of pandering to the right-wing fringe, occurred on the Jan Mickelson program. Mr. Mickelson brought up the exercise, telling the senator, "I'd like to know what the rest of the story is on that." Mr. Paul replied, "We'll look at that also."

Naturally, this whole delusion was fanned on the scurvier precincts of the airwaves and the skeevier frontiers of the Intertoobz by the usual suspects. And it was all pretty funny, until the last couple of days. First, a couple of local gomers decided to take potshots at an army base in Mississippi. And then, down in the newly insane state of North Carolina, shit really got real in a hurry.

Walter Eugene Litteral, 50, Christopher James Barker, 41, and Christopher Todd Campbell, 30, are accused of stockpiling guns and ammunition, as well as attempting to manufacture pipe bombs and live grenades from military surplus "dummy" grenades, according unsealed criminal complaints released Monday. The close to 60 pages of information compiled by federal authorities since July include allegations Litteral planned to makes explosives out of tennis balls covered in nails and coffee cans filled with ball bearings. According to the documents, both Litteral and Campbell spoke openly about their opposition to Jade Helm 15, a series of ongoing special forces training missions in several Southwestern states that has drawn suspicion from residents who fear it is part of a planned military takeover.

There is a real wildness at the edge of our politics, and the far frontier of political respectability is not as distant as it once was. It would have been politically perilous for Abbott, Cruz, and Paul simply to have dismissed the Jade Helm truther theories as the unfortunate product of sad and angry minds. For all the talk about how Donald Trump has tapped into some general dissatisfaction with government and some ill-defined populist moment, the energy behind his campaign comes mainly from these sad and angry places, deep in the tangled underbrush of fear, hate, and profitable ignorance, where it's all funny until somebody builds a bomb. Ω

[Charles P. "Charlie" Pierce is a sportswriter, political blogger, author, and game show panelist. Pierce is the lead political blogger for Esquire, a position he has held since September 2011. He has written for Grantland, The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Boston Globe Sunday Magazine, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Sports Illustrated, The National Sports Daily, GQ, and Slate. Pierce makes appearances on radio as a regular contributor to a pair of NPR programs: "Only A Game" and "Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!" He graduated from Marquette University (BA, Journalism).]

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