Last week we brought you a story that would be barely believable were it not for the fact that A) it involved far-right tea party types, and B) it came out of Texas. It was last Tuesday that Texas’s governor, Republican Greg Abbott, announced that he would be activating the state guard to monitor U.S. Special Forces during a series of upcoming military exercises in Bastrop County, right outside of Austin. The move came as a response to hundreds of locals who’d gathered a couple of days previously to hammer a U.S. Army commander with demands for him to come clean about what the military is really up to in Texas. See, there are people in Texas who are their own fathers — but that’s not really germane to the subject. What is germane is that there are people in Texas who believe that the exercises, which will take place over a period of eight weeks across several states, are nothing more than cover for a government military takeover of the Lone Star state, during which guns will be taken away and martial law will be declared.
So what you have here is one of two things, neither of which is exactly reassuring. Either the governor of the state of Texas — the governor of the state — believes that an internet conspiracy theory bandied about by paranoid fucking lunatics with a collective IQ of 43 is actually true, or he’s simply pandering to those paranoid fucking lunatics with the collective IQ of 43, indulging their conspiratorial fever dreams in the name of playing to his base. Regardless, the reputation of Texas as America’s giant, embarrassing lobotomy scar is kept intact.
As the lead-up to what’s being called “Jade Helm 15” continues, we’re going to see more and more of these tin-foil-hatted idiots, assured in their arrogant certitude and completely oblivious to their ignorance, ranting about U.N. troops and FEMA camps in Wal-Marts (for real) and Obama ushering in Sharia law and so on. It’ll be a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing, but it’ll be inescapable considering how entertaining a spectacle it is when crazy people figuratively take hostages. Already we’ve seen former kitschy internet meme Chuck Norris pen an article warning everyone not to trust the government when it says that, no, it’s not planning a military takeover of Texas. “The U.S. government says, ‘It’s just a training exercise.’ But I’m not sure the term ‘just’ has any reference to reality when the government uses it,” Norris writes. “Whatever Jade Helm 15 actually is, I think it is more than coincidental that the FBI director just confessed in February that the presence of ISIS can be felt in all 50 states of the U.S. and that the Pentagon is suddenly running its biggest military training exercise with every branch of the military across seven Southwestern states.”
If nothing else, Norris should be praised for inadvertently pointing out exactly why conspiracy theories are horseshit: because a “coincidence” is not evidence. And the more outlandish the claim you make, the more evidence you need to back up that claim and the more the burden of proof is on you as the person making the outlandish claim. Demand to see evidence that might prove any of the 1,000 or so ridiculous claims that Alex Jones and his ilk projectile vomit into the empty space between the ears of their acolytes and you’ll get a lot of “well-how-do-you-explains” and “Google-its” — as well as the usual smug dismissals and accusations of being a “shill” — but really not much else. Besides, claiming that the U.S. military is going to take the state of Texas by force, or that the natural contrails created by jet planes are actually nefarious “chemtrails,” is self-evidently nonsense.
Still, we all deserve to take a few minutes out of our day and just behold the kind of beaver-shit crazy that led to Governor Abbott’s decision. Video is now available from the town hall meeting that led Abbott to call out the state guard to keep watch over, let me remind you again, U.S. Navy SEALS and Army Rangers — and it’s everything you could’ve imagined. It was one thing to tell you that 200 dumb-shit yokels packed a courthouse in Bastrop County, Texas — all clad in their red-white-and-blue Lone Star button-downs, camo hats and t-shirts with 2nd Amendment slogans plastered across them — and pelted poor Lt. Colonel Mark Lastoria with an endless succession of bizarre conspiracy theories and even more bizarre personal grievances. But, really, you need to see it to appreciate just how absurd this entire thing is.
You’ve got the guy who casually states that these exercises are “martial law” and that he doesn’t believe anything Lastoria says — and receives thunderous applause for it. You’ve got the guy holding up a sign that says, “Dissent is not a conspiracy theory” and the guy who actually brings a dictionary and asks Lastoria an incomprehensible question that involves looking for another term for, you guessed it, martial law. You’ve got all kinds of people who think that because they have the 5th grade reading level required to decipher an article from the internet, they’re suddenly Henry Kissinger in their knowledge of politics and government. And over and over, at the center of it, you’ve got a guy who says he’s served in the U.S. Army under five presidents, patiently dealing with people who seem to have stepped right off a bus from the local mental hospital. It’s somewhat shocking in what it reveals about the subculture of stupidity that runs beneath the United States and is flourishing largely because social media has connected the dots between panic rooms and moms’ basements all across the country.
Again, this would appear to be relatively harmless stuff were it not for the fact that conservative politicians — people like Greg Abbott — are actually making the choice to pander to these clowns. Their hatred of Barack Obama and their pants-pissing fear that the big, bad government gives a whole truckload of fucks about them — enough to make it want to subjugate them — has been given sanction by people who matter.
The inmates now genuinely run the asylum. At least in Texas.
Update: The Pentagon is now officially denying that it’s planning a military takeover of Texas. Because we are the fucking dumbest nation on earth.
(h/t If You Only News)
Chez Pazienza was the beating heart of The Daily Banter, sadly passing away on February 25, 2017. His voice remains ever present at the Banter, and his influence as powerful as ever.