Lone Star Lunatics

Okay–I really wanted to ignore this whole thing.

I mean, what can you say about people who are freaked out because the Department of Defense is mounting  a  military training exercise (with the admittedly bizarre name Operation Jade Helm)–because they think it’s all a plot to declare martial law and “take over” Texas?

Obama’s bringing in the U.N. or ISIS (depending on which loony you believe), and will round up Texans and put them in camps which are (inexplicably) located in abandoned Walmarts that are connected by underground tunnels that were somehow constructed without anyone noticing (and without, evidently, generating any large deposits of dirt to attract anyone’s attention).

And aliens have landed in Lubbock and are having sex with antelopes….

I suppose I should be over letting weird stuff that happens in Texas surprise me. After all, Texans keep electing Louis Gohmert, and the Texas legislature recently passed a bill to
“protect” churches from having to officiate at gay weddings, communicating to one and all that none of them had ever read the First Amendment, which already does that.

And it’s not even like Texas lunacy is new. I still remember Molly Ivins’ explanation of how members of the Texas “lege” had handled reports  that more Texans died annually from gunshots than on state highways. They raised the speed limit.


It’s bad enough when paranoia grips ordinary Texans (I started to say “ordinary citizens,” but ordinary, sane folks evidently live elsewhere. Like Utah, for example, where the menacing Jade Helm is also taking place, and everyone’s ignoring it), but Governor Greg Abbott has called up the Texas Guard (a group of interesting folks who probably shouldn’t be armed and shouldn’t be confused with the National Guard) to ensure that Obama won’t impose martial law. Then reliable nut job Ted Cruz promised to “look into it.” Because, if there were some plot, DOD would surely share that information with Ted Cruz if he asked nicely.

The utter insanity of all this boggles the mind.

News flash, Texas! You’ve already been assimilated by the Borg…er, U.S. (though I personally would like to reconsider the decision to make you a state–I wonder if Mexico would take you back?), so we have no reason to “conquer” you. And if for some reason the Army did roll in, do you really think your ragtag Guard could stop tanks and missiles?

I’d ask what you could possibly be thinking, if I thought you could think.

On the Daily Show, Jon Stewart noted that similar military exercises seven or eight years ago had generated absolutely no reaction, saying “I wonder what’s different?”

A picture of President Obama flashed on the screen, and he said “Ah, yes.”

Racism explains a lot of crazy.


  1. Some of us in Texas are becoming convinced that Governor Greg Abbott and Senator Ted Cruz are shooting off their mouths in order to make former-Governor Rick Perry look sane and thoughtful.

    All kidding aside, I think the Governor and the Senator spoke a few words to calm down the lunatics in Bastrop County [about 35 miles southeast of Austin], where the exercises are taking place. The Texas State Guard observers may learn a little about logistics and tactics: otherwise it is no big deal.

    We rather like our lunatics in Texas. It is a very Southern family thing.

  2. It’s certainly not just Texas. Remember a few years ago when there was that big flap over the Amtrak facility in Beech Grove (called the Beech Grove Shops) was being converted into a FEMA camp?

    When ignorant people become afraid…

  3. I really miss Molly’s Ivins. At least the humor made it seem less threatening.

    For many years I traveled to Texas for an organization that accredited NFP call centers. I remember the chilling comment of a DHHS person who told me they had an unspoken rule that minority staff could not be in certain Texas counties after dark.

    I also remember asking at one call center why they had never logged any non-English language calls. (All call centers receive calls from non-English speakers, and most contract with a language interpreter line.) I was told, “This is the United States of America. We speak English here.” That explained it all!

  4. What we’re observing out of Texas is the re-creating of the extreme racism of the Old South.

    And what they’re doing now in Texas is the attempted “castration” of President Obama. They’re taking away his power to EFFECTIVELY use the Offices of the Attorney General as well as the military to intervene in the case of civil unrest as was the case during the 60’s by President Kennedy.

    I would strongly suggest that this was the real reason behind JFK’s assassination.

  5. I wish this were unique to Texas. Upon my father-in-law’s death, my mother-in-law mentioned that she had a significant bit of cash from some CDs that she had cashed in a few years before that she didn’t know what do with – she said she wasn’t sure if she should put it in the bank. Other relatives took her cash (and I’m not making this up) and buried it in their back yard to protect it from the government and IRS. These are educated people. The fact that my mother-in-law had already paid taxes on the earned interest and probably had a copy of the 1099 made no difference to them. Their minds have become so twisted that facts that don’t align with their paranoid view of the world no longer compute; this paranoia is deeply ingrained in a lot of people and there are some politicians who are happy to exploit it.

  6. daleb I agree. But the Important fact to remember is that Texas is the COG (Center of Gravity). Consequently, it exerts more influence.

  7. When my husband was looking for jobs (when his Indy position was eliminated) the house rule was strictly, no job searches for positions in Texas. Ever. I wasn’t going to move there. I have relatives there. I know better. Those people are freaking crazy.

  8. Let’s not be too hard on our friends down in Texas. It wasn’t all *that* long ago they were sane enough to elect Ann Richards as their governor. And, um…well, I can think of at least two people I know in Texas who vote Democratic. (I once jokingly said to one of them, who is a Texas native, that the US lost the Mexican American War. I thought she was going to slap me.)

    I think we make a mistake in attributing everything of this insane meme to racism, however. There has always been a lunatic fringe (Dan Burton shooting a melon in his back yard, anyone?). During the Clinton administration we heard about the mysterious black helicopters. For decades we’ve had the group who believes that there is no obligation to pay income taxes based on some cockamamie legal theory.

    One thing that’s different today is that social media on the Internet has given each person in the lunatic fringe a big microphone. In addition, radio station owners have figured out that there’s money to be made off of the wacky radio hosts that used to be relegated to the 2:00 a.m. slot. We also have the lack of real journalism to blame: today’s news reporters are pressured to tell “both sides” of the story, even though one side is objectively incorrect.

    It is true, though, that racism plays a role in all of this. The fact the nation elected an African American president spurred some of the lunatic fringe into action alongside those who were veterans of the movement. The dilemma, as always, is how do we (both the sane left and the sane right) connect with these folks to persuade them to come down off of the ledge?

  9. It’s not so much that the people are crazy in Texas. It’s the Movement they adhere to. The brains behind the Movement, financed by the Koch Brothers, was insane. His name was Gordon McLendon. Among other things, McLendon was the Co-Founder of the C.I.A. (Central Intelligence Agency) Alumni Society.

    When Jack Ruby was arrested, the first person he asked permission to speak to was McLendon. McLendon committed suicide in the 80’s. The suicide was covered-up.

    I was the IN-HOUSE General Counsel of the McLendon Corporation from 1969 to 1971. I know the problem we’re all facing first hand. I wasn’t terminated, I left after seeing how crazy things were.

  10. What ever happened to Texas seceding from the Union? That was all the talk a few years ago. I was going to take my truck down there and help them move.

  11. I hear that the military has identified each of the people espousing the takeover insanity. They have plans for Chinese black helicopters to fly out of Canada and spray a mist of psychiatric medications over their homes.

  12. Sheila, your argument is a rambling straw man with the sole goal of insulating Jade Helm from all criticism.

    Americans should never see the U.S. Military conducting military exercises in civilian places or conducting operations designed to control civilian populations. That’s why such operations occur behind closed doors, on military bases. Alex Jones’ position is merely and totally that Jade Helm is designed to desensitize Americans to increasing military control over civilian life. If you wish to argue against a position, argue against the empirics of that claim.

    I can’t think of a single military scenario on a foreign land that requires controlling civilian populations with the United States across an area reaching from Louisiana to Oregon. Indeed, as foreign countries do not have American roads, strip malls, fast-food restaurants, it becomes difficult to see how the civilian United States is an acceptable training ground for any foreign country.

    Your support of Jade Helm reads as a rather reflexive bit, long on canned insults, but absent the polemic effort you put into topics that matter more to you.

  13. I’m trying to figure out if Texas can be explained by football concussions but I don’t think the numbers quite work out unless there are as many cheer leading concussions. Possibly.

    Culture is certainly the overall explanation. People from Texas get over exposed (back to cheerleaders again?) to people in Texas who believe themselves unique because they were brought up by people who thought themselves unique etc. And to Willie Nelson. Viral nuttiness.

    Stir in rampant racism and the Koch culture creating machine and the only independant thinking life form down there are the coyotes.

    And Katherine Hayhoe.

    Here is she in a short video designed for even those who design cows with killer horns for people to ride for pleasure (more concussions) and are Southern Baptist.


  14. Bill,

    I believe the only way to connect with “these folks” is to convince them that it’s beneficial to change direction. For example, it would be beneficial not to fall off the “ledge.” They need a clear PICTURE. A simple narrative would never work.

    I was a trial attorney in Texas for over 25 years, part of it in East Texas. The people can be convinced, but they need to SEE a benefit like being able to “sleep at night.”

  15. Sheila,

    I know why it’s relatively easy to get you worked up over any state response or state oversight of Jade Helm.

    People of your stripe love national supremacy over state authority, so you bristle whenever a state forces the national government to account for its actions within a state’s sovereign boundaries. Your side doesn’t believe states even get to ask those questions.

    It’s truly odd to see the hard Left jump behind the military so energetically, so unanimously and so simultaneously. The Left usually wants to see restraint when the military acts in foreign lands, but the left is cutting the military a blank check for a massive exercise within the United States that is practice for controlling the U.S. civilian population with martial law.

    It’s hard to see a justification for things like this:

    There used to be links, but they got the comment “moderated.”

    In a dirty bomb drill, the U.S. military had actors playing the role of sovereign citizens who refused to accept the orders of military members. The scenario required attacking and bringing into custody the sovereign citizens.

    Of what foreign country can this exercise possibly be relevant? Other countries do not have the Constitution, the Bill of Rights or the shared American views of freedom.

    This exercise is wholly aimed at controlling American populations.

    The mission slogan for Jade Helm is “Master the Human Domain.”

    That’s the problem with Jade Helm. I don’t want my military mastering a human domain. I want my military mastering knocking down ICBMs and cruise missiles.

  16. Gopper, am I right that you supported Bush’s holy wars and yet you “don’t want (your) military mastering a human domain”?

  17. One other thing. Where in the Constitution does it say states are sovereign? (possessing supreme or ultimate power)

    “The Supremacy Clause is the provision in Article Six, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution that establishes the United States Constitution, federal statutes, and treaties as “the supreme law of the land.” It provides that these are the highest form of law in the United States legal system, and mandates that all state judges must follow federal law when a conflict arises between federal law and either a state constitution or state law of any state.”

  18. Oh my; Gopper’s on a roll again. At least this military training exercise, even with the questionable name Jade Helm, is public knowledge which I’m sure it is much appreciated by Texans in the area. The military training exercise here a few years ago at the Raytheon facility remained nameless and warranted only a very brief blurb in the Star. The blurb was missed by many residents, including myself and my neighbors 1 block from Raytheon, who were suddenly terrified to have those huge military helicopters barely above our homes and trees. Then 2-3 days later there were the on-ground bomb exercises carried on during severe thunderstorms with tornado warnings plus the invasion of those pesky military helicopers again. The numerous complaints about the initial invasion did bring about an actual warning of phase 2 of the exercise. Not all idiots live in Texas; the exercise at Raytheon was approved by Ballard, he considered the brief item in the Star as announcement and forewarning.

    I believe we should all spend a moment of silence and give thanks that Louie Gohmert decided not to run for the presidency – we are much safer if he stays in Texas where all those Muslims President Obama is training to invade Texas can find him. Or should we worry that the invading Muslims will join forces with Operation Jade Helm? Is a puzzlement!

  19. A story broke yesterday detailing how the NFL has paid over 5 million to NFL teams over the past few years for those in-stadium military salutes. The NFL and NASCAR are the most overt syncretists of militarism and Americanism.

    The Colts got a bunch of military cash.

    If you’re looking to control a civilian population, you can’t just up and do it. That’s messy. You start a needless foreign war in response to a domestic terrorist attack. You spend that war training your soldiers how to do house-to-house searches and how to replace local civilian government with military government. You’re able to focus exclusively on civilian populations in the farce war, because you chose a country with no military targets.

    You then spend a decade indoctrinating Americans into “supporting the troops” in a tsunami of support that came from out of nowhere with complete media coordination. Before 2003, Americans didn’t run around loudly supporting troops or not supporting troops. The word “troops” wasn’t used much, either. On airplanes, you interrupt everyone’s sleep to make special recognitions of the military members on board.

    You also change the military uniform code to allow fatigues to be worn off-base, in U.S. civilian areas, for the first time in military history. Americans spend the next decade becoming desensitized to seeing the military combat uniform among them.

    With a decade of “supporting the troops” and seeing battle uniforms among them, you run a massive exercise to see just how much Americans obey the military.

    When they act suspiciously of a mammoth military exercise designed to control civilians, you bring out former CIA Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst to remind Texans that they are supposed to be supporting the troops, and you give him prime space in the Dallas Morning News.


    “This must stop. As a veteran of the Vietnam era, I remember too well a climate where troops who had bravely served were met with insults and derision when they came home. It has taken our country decades to change that, and a small but vocal contingent of Texans who would call themselves patriotic are on the verge of ushering that mindset back into vogue. I am furious at the thought, and every right-minded Texan should be as well.”

    That’s right, David, we should be “supporting the troops” so much we don’t notice what they’re doing. Did they think this would work back at Langley?

    If you next rewind the tape to 9/11/2001 and try to figure out just how WTC 7 fell perfectly into its own footprint at freefall speed, despite not being hit by an airplane, you’re left with some very uncomfortable questions about just what the military might be doing.

    Unquestionably, it’s been a very good decade for the Pentagon.

  20. We get exposed every day by media to the Muslim extremist cultural/religous meme of hatred of America. We know intuitively that our unceasing military presence there protecting our oil supply is one cause of that effect but don’t know the proportions of that versus other causes.

    It’s way more unsettling to me to hear the same hatred of America from extremists here. We are not being bombed daily by us nor forced into positions where becoming collateral damage is a significant risk. So where does it come from. Why?

    The only answer to come to my mind is that instilling that culture is useful to those who want power here just as is true in the middle east. And, as much as I respect those who take great comfort in their Faith it always is accompanied by the risk of becoming an avenue for manipulation. Both here and there but worse there as they didn’t have the sense to separate church and state (which, BTW, is under attack here also).

    Our common avenues for cultural manipulation are religion and entertainment. Theirs heavy on religion and ours heavy on entertainment.

    Both are being used to obtain popular support for those competing for power.

    Both are dangerous by every measure.

  21. There is a reason why when I was offered relocation to either Dallas or Indy, I chose Indy.

    Bill – Your analysis is spot on, but I would make one addition. The John BIrch Society and their ilk were rejected by Barry Goldwater and other conservatives as being too extreme (nobody seems to like the term from political philosophy – “reactionary”). With the election of Reagan, or soon thereafter, these groups were no longer “too extreme”, but rather were relabeled “very conservative”, moving them into the “mainstream”. Anyone with views from the center to the left were labeled as “liberals” and “extreme left wing” (socialist and communist, as well) as kind of the catch-all for “beyond acceptable”. Hence the hysteria and conspiracy mongered that began as soon as Bill Clinton was elected. Although he was actually more “center-right” and engaged in liberal bashing, he was beyond acceptable to the new “conservative” side of the polity.

    Paul – You do realize that you just created the newest conspiracy theory which will soon be making its way throughout cyberspace, don’t you?

    Sheila – another great post – thank you.

  22. Gopper, I agree with your assessment about the NFL and NASCAR, they have to wind the flag around themselves. I was drafted during Vietnam and was sent over there as a combat infantryman. Once in a while the Army would send us to to a rear area for a rest. Live Bands would be booked and the most popular song by far was – We gotta Get out this Place!!!! As a side bar the Professional Athletes of that era were somehow able to avoid the draft. M. Ali stood up and said I will not go. No one asked why all the other Professional Athletes were draft deferred.

    At some point the G.I.s became Warriors. The Warrior Cult was established. The idea was cement an Aggressive Military Policy and Supporting the Troops into one. If you did not approve the Aggressive American Military Machine, you were not Supporting the Troops. Slowly but surely the aggressive Foreign Policy was reintroduced Grenada, Lebanon, Panama, Serbia, Somalia, Iraq 1 and 2, Libya, Syria, Yemen, etc. AmeriKa at war is now the norm.

    People were outraged at the military vehicles in Ferguson, Mo. as they should be. If the Military wants to conduct exercises there are bases to do that.

  23. Louie, I believe that soldiers became warriors when the military subcontracted all other functions. That’s their only role now.

    The modern military is very mission driven. No action until the mission is specific and clear.

    Conspiracy theorists are the opposite, reacting to innuendo. They assume a mission based on their paranoia.

  24. No, Pete.

    If you remember the first night of Desert Storm, Schwarzkopf comes on CNN during a press briefing and says about this: “Two warriors lost their lives, tonight.” I’m sure the phrasing is not exactly correct, but he used the word “warrior” for the first time I ever heard in a military context.

    Desert Storm was long before the KBR contracting.

    I really wish you would do some research before you post anything.

  25. “Americans should never see the U.S. Military conducting military exercises in civilian places or conducting operations designed to control civilian populations. That’s why such operations occur behind closed doors, on military bases.” Obviously, Gopper has either never heard of the “GHQ Maneuvers of 1941” or overlooked them where both the U.S. Army and the its sister services conducted the last large scale exercises prior our entry into World War II in the states of Tennessee, Louisiana, North and South Carolina. There is a long list historically of exercises of this type, not so many currently, but Jade Helm 15 does have its precedents.

    Those four states were the geographical focus for these large-scale maneuvers in 1941, and it included such future legends as Brigadier General George S. Patton, Jr., who gained lasting fame for holding up gas stations with his light tanks for steal precious gasoline. As an example, consisting of two phases, the “Carolina Maneuvers” featured a large and traditional infantry-based force: the Blue Army, against a smaller more mechanized force: the Red Army (actually the Army’s IV Corps). When the exercise concluded, the Blue Army claimed victory in phase one while the Red Army successfully defended Camden, SC in phase two.

    These maneuvers were conducted all over the countryside, not behind the gates of army bases, with photographs existing that show Blue Army U.S. troops defending those gas stations, among other things, from attacks by Red Army forces. The locals were largely entertained by soldiers practicing their craft all about them, on the roads, in their fields, and in their communities. There was some disruption to the daily lives of those folks but it also meant added revenue for local communities since all those soldiers spent money while they were there. Given the developing international situation both in Europe and the Far East in the summer of 1941, the attitude regarding the juxtaposition of all these troops and vehicles into civilian areas was largely positive. Consequently, there was no fear that FDR had sent them to these four states in order to seize them or to control their populations. Instead, unlike today in the Lone Star State, they were welcomed.

    I know a little about the Carolina Maneuvers from talking to my Dad, who participated in them as a young draftee Army combat engineer. He definitely wasn’t sent to South Carolina to seize it.

    Granted, the GHQ Maneuvers were conducted in a very different time, but to suggest that the United States Army would willingly participate in a wholesale seizure of Texas for this President, or any other President, is ludicrous. To also suggest that any sitting President would orchestrate such an operation is also ludicrous. If such an operation was proposed, I dare say that you would see a wholesale resignation of the JCS and other high-ranking flag officers who would also go very public in their condemnation of it, regardless of how many “ticket-punchers” are among their ranks.

    I also can’t help but wonder how many of those crazy and misinformed Texans that are so vocal in regard to this exercise also have “Support Our Troops” bumper stickers on their cars that they no doubt drove to community centers where they called Army PR officers trying to explain things to them liars to their faces.

    While I too bemoan the “Warrior” label that’s in vogue and the militarization of this country today in spite of that we have a truly citizen army, always have and that has not changed. Just like their brethren from 74 years ago these Army Special Forces troops are practicing their craft which is aimed at keeping us safe. They have no other agenda. The Texans that think this exercise is part of a vast conspiracy to steal their state need to chill.

  26. Bill Maher had it right when he said for Republicans Crazy has become a constituency!

  27. It’s funny you bring up those maneuvers, Tom.

    In 1941, people were saying that Roosevelt was trying to bait us into a war so he could fight with the Soviet Union and against Germany.

    The wise observers were proven right, just a few months later.

    Those exercises you note were fought solely with the professional Army, as no draft was yet instituted.

    What’s interesting in your post is that you criticize those who worry about Jade Helm, but you don’t cite any valid defense reason for the massive exercise. What enemy is in mind with this exercise?

    Supporting the troops does not mean supporting the mission.

  28. The Selective Service Act was signed into law started in October 1940 and people were being inducted immediately afterward. FDR asked the Congress to extend the 12 month service of those that had already been drafted in the early summer of 1941. That extension was passed with a margin of only one vote.

    While I agree with you that supporting the troops doesn’t necessarily mean supporting the mission, with us all having ample reasons to think that way, to conclude that Barack Obama is going to seize Texas and impose martial law is just silly. To think that the military would follow such an order is also silly.

    I know that will not satisfy you but that’s OK.

  29. “to conclude that Barack Obama is going to seize Texas and impose martial law is just silly. ”

    Who has said that? Why are you employing a Straw Man?

  30. I didn’t realize that I was using “a straw man” as you suggest. If that is what I did, since you called out Dr. Kennedy for doing the same thing, I guess I’m in good company then.

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