…perennial all-star Jim Jordan, now the esteemed chair of the House Judiciary Committee, also of the highly important and not at all witch-hunty Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of Government, formerly just another MAGA nincompoop with a spotty history of complicity in condoning sexual abuse, awarded for this humdinger:
I know what you’re thinking, you’re thinking what in God’s name is he on about? You might well ask. Well, see, in case you’re not glued to your Twitter feed, and haven’t been keeping up on your news, it’s true, honest, that a very large balloon carrying some sort of instrument package, now determined to be of Chinese origin (Chinese authorities confirm), has been detected drifting over some sensitive military sites in the continental US, including the Minuteman ICBM complex at Malmstrom AFB, Montana. It’s wafting along at extremely high altitude, certainly no less than 60,000 feet, maybe up as high as 90-100,000 feet. We assume it’s on some sort of spy/surveillance mission, though the Chinese claim it’s an errant weather sonde, and this does raise interesting questions about what sort of intelligence it might have been gathering, and why a balloon (as opposed to, say, a spy satellite) was thought the best way to obtain it.
It presents no immediate threat, and presumably electronic counter-measures are being taken to track its signals and, one suspects, jam its transmissions, if any.
So there’s that, O.K?
Switching channels, you may have noticed that for a couple of weeks now, the Republican phoney wedge issue du jour (the latest made-up bullshit of the sort I refer to as “synthetic wedges”) is the supposed government scheme to deprive good, decent Americans of their cherished gas stoves. You haven’t heard? Oh yes, it’s true, ask Tucker Carlson. They want to confiscate your gas stoves, America! Jesus Christ! What’s next, the dishwasher?? We won’t stand for it!! FREEDOM. USA! USA!
This latest hysteria arose from a report tendered a few weeks ago by some agency or other, which by the way is supported by scads and scads of science and testing going back years, that the emissions from gas stoves are actually quite bad for air quality in the home, and give rise to an increased incidence of respiratory diseases like childhood asthma. One day, if sanity ever prevails, they may indeed be regulated, and phased out of new construction over several decades, but of course nothing of the sort is in the works right now, not at the federal level anyway, much less any invasive scheme to send federal agents roaming across the width and breadth of the nation, ripping the things mercilessly out of innocent kitchens. Indeed, I’m willing to bet that the known hazards of operating gas stoves indoors will result in about as much government action as the reports of a couple of years back, likewise scientifically unimpeachable, that eating too much fatty beef is bad for you, and that Americans are, in effect, digging their own graves with their steak knives, which was the MAGA wedge issue du jour at the time. Yup, the Dems were coming for your BBQ’d hamburgers, remember? I guess since that fizzled, they’re now determined to stop you from cooking them the way you like, just because they can.
Anyhoo, being a Republican, and a complete idiot (supposing the two aren’t synonymous), Jimmy here wants to link the two issues by telling you that not only is that Chinese balloon a dire existential threat to US security, but the Biden regime is so afflicted with tunnel vision over its mad scheme to deprive patriotic citizens of their God-given gas ranges that they didn’t even notice the damned thing floating along happily within sovereign US airspace until it was, presumably, too late! Egads!! Christ Toasties!! Whither America?
He’s not alone in this, of course. Of course, Donald has also stuffed himself into the clown car:
I’m not saying that espionage balloons, if that’s really what we’re dealing with here, aren’t some kind of issue. Never said such. The thing is, though, that it’s not really a great big issue in the grand scheme, given that both sides in the present geopolitical struggle invest vast resources in spying upon each other in every which way you can imagine. Listen, if any of the various three-letter agencies determine that the Chinese may be on to something with this balloon idea, we’ll likely be sending a few of our own their way too, if we’re not already. Anyway, now that we’re tracking it, whatever it’s up to can, I’m quite sure, be countered by various techniques, though how, exactly, is a matter to which neither you nor I will ever be privy. They have their ways, let’s just say.
Meanwhile, as to shooting the balloon down, well, that presents a bit of a problem. Even if it’s flying at the low end of the likely range, say 65,000 feet or so, that’s beyond the operational altitude of anything armed, save the F-22 Raptor. Much higher than that, and no armed aircraft can reach it. Moreover, being as it’s a balloon, it probably puts out very small radar and infrared signatures, unless it’s coated in Mylar or something, so shooting at it with a multi-million dollar PAC-3 Patriot or something of that ilk will likewise be dicey. These factors would also make interception by air-launched missiles a bit tricky. Very well then, you might say, but let’s suppose it’s cruising along within reach of a Raptor, and they send an F-22 up to nail it with its internal 20mm cannon, that’d work right? Well, yeah…maybe…but of course the Raptor would likely thus fire a stream of about 300 rounds of mixed explosive and incendiary 20mm ammunition straight through the balloon, thence to travel on a nice ballistic arc earthwards toward an expanding footprint of death and destruction covering a wide swath of the ground far below, maybe tens of miles down range (I haven’t the skill to do the math on the trajectory of a round with a muzzle velocity of about 2,100 MPH fired at an upward angle from an altitude of 12 miles), so best be careful there, flyboy! Anyway, the balloon’s filled with Helium, an inert gas, so it won’t explode, much less pop like something from a birthday party. It’ll just leak. Maybe slowly.
Maybe there’s a way, I don’t know, and maybe it’s even worth the effort, though I wonder. Stay tuned. Trust me, this is all being thought through, and, in one way or another, dealt with.
But hey, that’s not what Jimbo here says! No, Biden is an abject weakling, and panders to China because he won’t destroy this infernal balloon!! And he can’t even turn his mind to it, because he’s so laser-focussed on grabbing your precious gas stove!! You tell ’em Jimmy, and here, have one of these, with our most sincere congratulations:
Looks like a Raptor took it down when it was safely over the water: