Longshot Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee didn’t get much attention during CNBC’s big debate on Wednesday but he did manage to get off a killer line nonetheless. The Huck delivered a great analogy on the gargantuan federal government and the huge military surveillance blimp that went rogue earlier this week. The blimp, a JLENS (Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System) broke free from moorings and the dragging tether downed power lines resulting in a loss of electrical power for tens of thousands.
Huckabee referred to the blimp as a “bag of gas that cut loose, destroyed everything in its path, left thousands of people without power, but they couldn’t get rid of it because we had too much money invested, so we had to keep it —that is out government today”. Granted it didn’t match Ted Cruz’s blistering criticism of the CNBC moderators – a propaganda network that has peddled the big lie of the Obama economic recovery for years – but it was great commentary nonetheless.
The blimp incident was reported by the Washington Post in the story “The military lost control of a giant, unmanned surveillance blimp”:
The U.S. military has two giant, unmanned surveillance blimps it uses to watch the East Coast from a base in Maryland. And one of them escaped its tethers Wednesday and floated aimlessly over Pennsylvania, downing power lines and cutting off electricity for tens of thousands of residents.
The incident started shortly after noon, when the blimp became detached from its anchor, NORAD said. Two F-16 fighter jets were scrambled to ensure it didn’t collide with other aircraft. By late afternoon, the dirigible had come down to the ground near Moreland Township in Pennsylvania — after drifting more than 100 miles — but not before leaving a trail of damage in its wake.
The blimp wreaked plenty of havoc. Frederick Hunsinger, the public safety director for Columbia County, Pa., said in an interview that the blimp’s heavy tether dragged for 20 miles across his county. There were no injuries within county borders, but the damage caused 35,000 to lose electricity, he said. Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania canceled classes as a result; 911 phone lines were overwhelmed.
“It was a lot of chaos, initially,” Hunsinger said. “It pulled down power lines and utility poles.”
That the JLENS was a great example of government bloat and wasted money is only a secondary story, what largely went unreported is that it has served as Obama’s eye in the sky. The $3 billion blimps are another offshoot of the profiteering off of 9/11 and the cash cow war on terror. Not only were the attacks exploited by opportunists looking to get rich by pimping fear to fleece the taxpayers but the government itself used the excuse to exponentially expand the mass surveillance of millions of law-abiding citizens that has been expanded by Obama.
The website The Intercept has details on the JLENS blimps that should send a cold chill up the spines of those who dare to criticize the government – there were going to be 36 of them:
The giant airship — 80 yards long and about the size of three Goodyear blimps — was one of a pair that represented the last gasp of an 18-year, $2.7 billion program called JLENS or “Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System.”
There were once supposed to be 36 of them, their high-resolution 360-degree radar coverage up to 340 miles in any direction protecting the nation from cruise missiles.
But costs inflated, doubts about their utility mounted, and the program was scaled back and almost killed.
Blimps, it turns out, have had mixed success in purely military terms. When equipped with cameras, they are highly effective at conducting surveillance — but the Army promised there were no cameras on the JLENS blimps.
What blimps are best at is having a psychological effect: making people feel like they’re being watched.
You won’t read much in the corrupt media linking the blimps to the ongoing war on privacy but why would the government be using such aerial surveillance vehicles in the first place?