On the Other Hand….

Yesterday’s blog bemoaned the skepticism–and the sound reasons for that skepticism– with which so many of us have come to view media reports.  A couple of commenters noted what we might call “the flip side” of that phenomenon–people  distrustful of both government and the media who are anything but skeptical when it comes to wild and crazy conspiracy theories.

One of my regular reads is Juanita Jean’s: The World’s Most Dangerous Beauty Salon, Inc., written by a Molly Ivins-like Texan. A recent post began

If you haven’t heard, there’s going to be a large military exercise around the country from July 15th to September 15th. It’s called Jade Helm 15 because all military trainings have names and that one wasn’t taken, I suppose. Texas has five counties involved and the rightwing is damn sure that it means Obama is taking over and gonna put all them in a concentration camp Just! Like! Hitler!

The post included a local newspaper’s report of a public meeting in Bastrop County, where the exercise was to take place.

Lt. Col. Mark Lastoria answered questions for two hours from a crowd of more than 150 people at a special meeting of the Bastrop County Commissioners, hoping to allay locals’ concerns that the training operation is a way for the federal government to take over Texas and much of the Southwest. Instead, Lastoria was told that he couldn’t be trusted and was asked whether Jade Helm 15 will involve bringing foreign fighters from the Islamic State to Texas, whether U.S. troops will confiscate Texans’ guns and whether the Army intends to implement martial law through the exercise. (The answer for all three was no.)

As Juanita Jean noted,

Cowboy! Think about it. If the military wanted to take over, they would not ask your permission first. They would just do it because I do not care a hill of beans how many guns you have, they have tanks. And bombers. And stuff you have never even heard of.

How lost and terrified must people be in order to believe things like this? How paranoid?

And how much do they have to hate having an African-American President?


  1. Ha ha ha…it’s Texas. Competing to be the laughing stock of the states along with Indiana.

  2. I have relatives like that. They just spend too much time alone with the radio blasting Limbaugh, Hannity, et.al. A steady diet of that BS will make you paranoid, but for all the wrong reasons.

  3. I live one block from the Raytheon facility; a few years ago I was suddenly terrified by an indescribable level of noise from the sky which caused the ground and my entire house to shake. I went outside, along with all neighbors who were at home, to find 6-7 monstrous military helicopters overhead heading for Ratheon. When I E-mailed a Star reporter asking what was going on I receive a respnse that Ballard had publically announced the impending “war games” in my area. I did finally find the tiny Star article, easy to miss and with little information other than bombing would be included. A few days later the primary “war games” were held, during severe thunder storms with tornado warnings they came again; none of the scheduled bombs but they did use ground explosions which added to the shaking of ground and houses – during tornado warnings.

    Moving on to the front page article in the Star this morning; Stephanie Wang’s column “Justices Cautious and Deeply Divided”, I take issue with a reported comment she included from I.U. Law Professor Robert Katz. He referred to the “uncertain protection” regarding what some cities can do when the state civil rights law doesn’t include sexual orientation or gender identity. He states, “Nobody’s really sure how these are supposed to work, with the tension between the right to be free from discrimination and the religious sensibilities of store owners.” I take issue with his term “religious sensibilities”; this issue is their “religious sensitivities”; what is “sensible” about businesses turning away business for any personal reason. I will now step down from that soapbox regarding this media report.

    Back to the issue of those “war games”; this area around Raytheon is heavily populated with private homes and many businesses and is heavily trafficked. We all deserved a highly public announcement and warning about the almost unknown frightening attack on our neighborhood. Apparently the scheduled time wasn’t changed due to the sudden severe weather contitions for financial reasons. Whether financial conditions of the military, Raytheon or some unknown city schedule is still unknown…at least to me. Was it the media’s failure, the military’s or Ballards?

  4. I agree there is a flip side. Perhaps at one time we did trust the Government. Sure there were corrupt politicians, but I think the general feeling was when the rubber hit the road you could trust the Government. As Baby Boomer you felt you could trust Ike. This all changed for me when I was drafted and sent to Vietnam as a Combat Infantryman and I learned about the real story of the Gulf of Tonkin Incident and the Pentagon Papers were published.

    Throughout the 1970’s a steady series of revelations emerged about our Government – Operation Mockingbird ( A CIA Operation to use the News Media to spin the News in favor of the USA.) Operation Northwoods ( A false flag operation to commit acts of terrorism against America and blame it on Castro to justify an invasion of Cuba.) There were also numerous attempts on Castro’s life. Fast forward to GWB and his Gulf War 2. Gulf War 2 was justified as a necessity to destroy WMDs in Iraq.

    People do not trust the Government. Do you trust Mayor Ballard to protect the interests of the people or the Crony Capitalists?? All across the country we have a series of Police Action Shootings and the Garner case where a man was strangled by the Police. The Police investigate themselves and they seem to be always justified in using deadly force.

    I read an interesting article today Jack Ely, the singer known for Louie Louie died. The FBI actually conducted an investigation on Ely and the song as it was supposedly obscene. According to Guardian Newspaper the FBI produced a 455 page report. The conclusion the FBI found the Song Louie Louie by the Kingsman “unintelligible at any speed”. Just imagine the size of the FBI File on Country Joe and the Fish.

  5. Wow…the paranoia is remarkable. But once people feel they can’t trust the government (hell, I am skeptical at times) they find it hard to divorce themselves from that belief structure.

    In many ways I blame President Reagan—when he referred to government as the “problem,” he gave legitimacy to ideas that had existed pretty much solely inside libertarian think tanks. We would have been better off if he had said simply that there may be some things for which the government isn’t the best solution. Democrats didn’t help by going along (Mr. Clinton, j’accuse!) with the meme. They should have pointed out that plenty of parts of the government work just fine (CDC, our military dealt with Iraq handily, I can put 48 cents on an envelope and mail it to my brother and it’ll get there more often than not, Social Security checks show up like clockwork).

    The real problem, of course, is that you can’t un-brainwash the brainwashed, and their kids will grow up with those same beliefs—all nicely reinforced by the right wing echo chamber. There are times when free speech seems like it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

  6. What all of this is proof of, as if it was required, is that brainwashing has been perfected. Not that it hasn’t had a long history, both politically and commercially, but we’ve armed it with mega weapons, today’s media, and invited it into our lives 24/7/365.

    ISIS uses those weapons. Putin and Kim Jong Un are masters of it. Fascism was built from it. And today the biggest local practitioner of it are the Koch Bros et al.

    The only ones for which this is a revalation are the victims of it. Those living a Jonestown existence different from the real world but home. Comfortable. Informed of stuff though it be mostly what the purveyors want to be believed rather than reality.

    While many would like to blame Republicans as the cause, they are among the victims too. They are behaving as though they are concerned politicians even though many of us plainly see the puppet strings. They are reacting to the fog of misinformation that all the brainwashed exist in.

    Can we save the victims, and ourselves, and the world from a future of only puppets beat up by the reality that we’ve been taught is not real? Can we all return to the reality so that we can effectively deal with it?

    We have to wait to see. But we can afford nothing less than never giving up on maximum effort like we’re sure of success.

  7. Pete; I have friends, peope I know and love and spend time with discussing what is going on in this city, state and country. Their income levels are poverty level, some are below. They watch the news and see who is doing what and where. They know which politicians are causing the problems; the very ones who took away their Medicaid assistance with Medicare, stopped their food stamps, closed senior centers, stopped assistance to Planned Parenthood clinics who provided medical testing and care for all women. Comes election day; they always go to the polls and they ALWAYS vote straight Republican ticket. After the election they return to their whining, crying, pissing and moaning about their lot in life which they themselves just perpetuated.

  8. JoAnn. Professional brainwashers have upper middle income citizens believing that they are Mercedes or BMW people. They are entitled to them.

    Those employing the same tools have convinced even more people that they are Republicans by nature. Aloof, informed, in control, smart.

    Many vote Republican for the same reason that they either want or have a Mercedes or BMW. Not because they off more value as transportation but because they confer higher status.

    Nobody outside the victims of it are surprised by this behavior.

  9. Pete, Jo wasn’t referring to BMW drivers, she was talking about those whose lights and water are turned off three timers a year. Whose farms have been sold down to three acres and the money, split ten ways,is gone. Whose Dad supervised at Naval Avionics and had it made. Whose Mom worked at RCA under IBEW and made a good living. Fools who should know better.

  10. Dear Louie: as to “Louie, Louie”, it turns out, this was an old Jamaican folk song sung in a slurred manner by the Kingsmen, perhaps to imply ambiguous meanings to some of the lyrics. I have the correct lyrics, which are not dirty at all. I do recall Governor Branigin having his shorts in a twist over it when his daughter played it in the Governor’s mansion. We students thought this was hilarious, just as funny as the current paranoia. Have you heard that President Obama has a secret training facility at the Amtrack facility in Beech Grove, teaching black Muslims to be guerrilla fighters when he leads them in their take-over of the U.S.? Come to think of it, that latter matter is not funny at all.

  11. What is “the government”? From city, county, state, federal, and all the bureaucratic entities encompassing every branch at every stage… what part are we to trust or not to trust?

  12. The question Earl, is why those that you’re thinking of vote Republican? I know that a lot of the ex middle class vote democrat and that’s why the GOP is so busy redistricting, but JoAnn was referring to those that bear the brunt of GOP policy still voting for them.

    Beemer envy was my thought.

  13. I want to correct my last thought Earl. I said “Beemer envy” but what’s closer to the truth is that susceptibility to induced culture is based on personal predilection not circumstances. People can be led to think of themselves in elitist terms whether or not they can afford elitist stuff.

  14. The craziness over Exercise Jade Helm 15 gets even better. The following is from The Washington Post:

    Two months after news surfaced that U.S. Special Operations troops will launch a broad training operation in several southwestern states this summer, the Texas state government is registering new concerns: Gov. Greg Abbott called Tuesday for the Texas State Guard to monitor the mission.

    Abbott, a Republican, said in a letter to Maj. Gen. Gerald “Jake” Betty that he wants monitoring of Operation Jade Helm 15 “to address concerns of Texas citizens and to ensure that Texas communities remain safe, secure and informed occurring in their vicinity.” It marks the first time that a state governor has responded to outrage from those who fear the training exercise isn’t what the military promises.

    “During the training operation, it is important that Texans know their safety, constitutional rights, private property rights and civil liberties will not be infringed,” Abbott wrote. “By monitoring the Operation on a continual basis, the State Guard will facilitate communication between my office and commanders of the Operation to ensure that adequate measures are in place to protect Texans.”

    The State Guard falls under the command of the Texas National Guard and the governor, and is focused on providing support to local authorities in times of crisis. It is considered an organized, legal state militia.


    Twitter is ablaze with whacko commentary in regard to this exercise, most revolving around it being a tune-up for martial law and that the Russians will be involved as well as ISIS fighters, both brought into this country by the military – our military.

    The fact that the Governor of Texas feels that it is necessary to protect his citizens from members of the U.S. armed forces, notably special ops personnel, is just crazy. That he bought into this craziness is even more ludicrous although I’d bet both Rick Perry and Ted Cruz have his back on his decision.

    Oh, and by the way, there is speculation that those four Wal-Mart stores that were closed in Texas will be command posts for illegal covert actions against the people of Texas by, once again, our military.

    Personally, I think LTC Mark Lastoria of the U.S. Army deserves a promotion or at least a pay raise for having to sit and try to explain this exercise to the people that actually believe what they are saying to him and doing so with at least some semblance of a strait face.

  15. I live in an area that seems to be overrun by people that believe all of the crazy propaganda out there. A couple evenings ago I was riding my bicycle when a woman came running out of her house and into the road screaming “STOP STOP” at me. So, I stopped. BIG mistake. She said “Do you know that they are taking our Social Security away from us?” It’s Obama! She received a letter in the mail telling her all about it. I said that isn’t true – it’s just propaganda. She said “NO, it is all true!”. Then she went on about a littany of other terrible things Obama is doing to us. I asked her where she was getting these ideas. She gets “letters” that tell her all about the terrible things Obama is doing. Oh, he is taking Medicare away soon and plans to completely end Medicare. I couldn’t talk any sense into her.

    She then started talking about Obama not being a citizen. By this time (20 minutes into this crap) I had just about reached my limit of tolerance for her stupidity. I kept suggesting that she do some research on her own to find out whether any of this was true, since she didn’t want to believe me. She saw no need for that because what they were saying in the letters she receives is ALL TRUE!

    Finally, I told her that I couldn’t listen to this anymore and continued on with my bike ride, which she had ruined by this time.

    I wondered why she was receiving the letters that she spoke of and could only figure that she has donated money to Limbaugh, Hannity or others and that put her on their “special” list to receive this coveted info. I can almost guarantee that each letter comes with a request for money so they can continue doing their good work to keep Obama from ruining our country. They probably even suggest what amounts should be given.

    Any thoughts from anyone else?

  16. Unfortunately, we can’t give Texas back. The Mexicans are smarter than that.

    We need to cut out a portion of the body politic (East Texas)and put the biopsy under a microscope before the disease becomes a pandemic and not just a US epidemic. It’s been prevalent in Canada for over a decade and is now spreading throughout the globe principally through the internet.

    I know the danger, first hand, having lived in East Texas at Chandler’s Landing and having successfully defended the poor and African-Americans in Raines County where Judge Ramsey was known as the “Klan Judge.” If you’re wondering, I was kept “alive” by the fact that my wife’s great grandfather was the first attorney in the County.

    This is domestic viral warfare. The mind virus has been mutating since the 70’s. And it’s becoming more and more virulent. We’re now seeing its disastrous effect in Ferguson and Baltimore.

  17. Nancy; any way you can learn who she is getting the letters from? I’m sure you are right about the “donation” requests that come with them. Years ago an older lady called the Division of Community Services (part of the Mayor’s Office) because police rerused to help, about a nationally known evangelist she had sent money to but no longer could afford to. She was receiving threatening letters and phone calls about her physical safety and the condition of her soul. No idea what happened as she didn’t call again. I have received messages from Democratic organizations shaming me on line for not contributing. She could have been receiving letters from a religious or political organization who know enough to stay just inside legal limits; no overt threats, but using fear tactics just the same. These letters do not come “out of the blue”; she had to have made initial contact for some reason, however innocent and naive. The fact that she believes every word is typical of too many people these days; sorry you don’t know the source so we who know better could research them. How many of you are familiar with Porter Stansberry? This sounds like his tactics.

  18. JoAnn, I am not willing to put myself through listening to her drone on and on about this stuff just to find out who sent the letters. Even if someone were to provide absolute proof that she has become a target for donations and proof that the info in the letters is completely false, she would refuse to believe it. She has been completely brainwashed.

  19. Marv – I think you pointed out the problem. The National Guard has to be certain that the US government doesn’t violate the rights of Texas citizens. That the job of the state of Texas. They are supposed to violate the rights of their citizens; non-Texans shouldn’t be doing that.

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