This summer there was a flashing wingnut red alert warning that President Obama was plotting to invade Texas with federal troops to enslave the residents, confiscate their guns, and generally wreak havoc on the Lone Staters. In Realityland, Jade Helm 15 was a military training exercise to prepare soldiers for battle in desert environments and it has been conducted many times before. But that didn’t stop the conspiracy freaks (including Texas governor Greg Abbott) from waxing idiotic about the looming tyrannical threat from the Kenyan Muslim occupying the formerly White House.
This week the Pentagon announced that the Jade Helm operation was complete, and despite the deranged ranting of the right-wing Psycho-chicken Littles, not a single “patriot” was hauled off to a FEMA camp and every armed Texan continues to strut around with their surrogate phalluses, except those who offed themselves while defending their pseudo-freedom. However, the absence of this delusional diversion has left the paranoia hoarders one panicky horror story short. Lucky for them that Fox News is here to fill the void.
The Fox News community website, Fox Nation, reached out to the Daily Caller and Fox’s bitch, Tucker Carlson, for a story that contains all of the vital elements for a crackpot conspiracy theory. It begins, of course, with Chairman Obama abusing his power by issuing an executive order (which he has issued fewer of than any of his modern predecessors). But this particular order includes a hint of the sort of mind control that makes conspiracy theorists’ toes tingle. The headline blared “President Obama Orders Behavioral Experiments On American Public,” and warned that…
“President Obama announced a new executive order on Tuesday which authorizes federal agencies to conduct behavioral experiments on U.S. citizens in order to advance government initiatives.”
Oh my. Obama is planning to turn America into a nation of guinea pigs. Now that’s the sort of brain-fried idiocy that hatched Jade Helm (and Obamaphones, and death panels, and Benghazi, etc.). There was nothing in the article to corroborate the wild claim made by these fruitcakes. They just left the charge hanging out there to strike fear into the withering hearts of their dimwitted readers. But if any of them were curious enough to seek out the actual executive order and peruse the contents themselves, they would have found this: Executive Order — Using Behavioral Science Insights to Better Serve the American People.
“Where Federal policies have been designed to reflect behavioral science insights, they have substantially improved outcomes for the individuals, families, communities, and businesses those policies serve. For example, automatic enrollment and automatic escalation in retirement savings plans have made it easier to save for the future, and have helped Americans accumulate billions of dollars in additional retirement savings. Similarly, streamlining the application process for Federal financial aid has made college more financially accessible for millions of students.
To more fully realize the benefits of behavioral insights and deliver better results at a lower cost for the American people, the Federal Government should design its policies and programs to reflect our best understanding of how people engage with, participate in, use, and respond to those policies and programs. By improving the effectiveness and efficiency of Government, behavioral science insights can support a range of national priorities, including helping workers to find better jobs; enabling Americans to lead longer, healthier lives; improving access to educational opportunities and support for success in school; and accelerating the transition to a low-carbon economy.
So it turns out that the order is simply an initiative to better design forms, applications, and processes so that they are easier to understand and navigate. The goals are spelled out in more detail and include “streamlining processes” and “removing administrative hurdles, shortening wait times, and simplifying forms,” as well as to “reduce regulatory burdens.”
What a friggin’ nightmare! Someone has to stop these fiends before they make government so efficient that people come to appreciate it and welcome interactions with its agencies. That, of course, would be a real nightmare for conservatives whose mission is to make everything associated with government fail so that they can argue that it is unnecessary and then propose to cut its budget and fire everybody in Washington. Never mind whether or not it actually helps people and saves money.
Republicans are the party of deliberate failure. They know that if federal services were managed competently, Americans would get used to the benefits and the cost savings and reject the right’s agenda of shrinking government so that only the privileged would benefit. That’s why electing Republicans to run government is like hiring bank robbers as security guards. They both have an incentive to screw everything up.
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It is no coincidence that these screwball conspiracies almost always originate with right-wingers. They thrive on fear and the falsehoods that produce them. Without their alternate realities they wouldn’t be able to sustain their innate anger and animus toward anyone that looks different. And media like the Daily Caller and Fox News are the fuel that ignites their hate and hallucinations, and obviously they intend to continue to do so for the foreseeable future, unfortunately.