Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
February 04, 2023

Blinken's Travel Canceling Adds To China Hate

In 1964 Richard Hofstadter wrote about The Paranoid Style in American Politics:

Events since 1939 have given the contemporary right-wing paranoid a vast theatre for his imagination, full of rich and proliferating detail, replete with realistic cues and undeniable proofs of the validity of his suspicions. The theatre of action is now the entire world, and he can draw not only on the events of World War II, but also on those of the Korean War and the Cold War. Any historian of warfare knows it is in good part a comedy of errors and a museum of incompetence; but if for every error and every act of incompetence one can substitute an act of treason, many points of fascinating interpretation are open to the paranoid imagination. In the end, the real mystery, for one who reads the primary works of paranoid scholarship, is not how the United States has been brought to its present dangerous position but how it has managed to survive at all.

The paranoid style is not only used on the right-wing side of policies. Adam Schiff's action during 'Russiagate' applied plenty of it. The paranoid style applies to internal U.S. politics as well as to foreign policies against this or that favorite enemy of that time.

It makes the story below, which otherwise just laughable, somewhat dangerous.

Furor Over Chinese Spy Balloon Leads to a Diplomatic Crisis
The Pentagon called the object, which has flown from Montana to Kansas, an “intelligence gathering” balloon. Beijing said it was used mainly for weather research and had strayed off course.

As some 80+% of all Pentagon intelligence comes from open sources the 'intelligence gathering' statement may well include a weather research system. Weather research and weather prediction are important for all kinds of military operations. But they are also important for many civil operations from agriculture, food availability prediction to drainage planning in cities.

The story's opener:

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken on Friday canceled a weekend trip to Beijing after a Chinese spy balloon was sighted above the Rocky Mountain state of Montana, igniting a frenzy of media coverage and political commentary over a machine that the Pentagon said posed no threat to the United States.

Mr. Blinken called the Chinese surveillance an “irresponsible act” and a “clear violation of U.S. sovereignty and international law.”

China’s “decision to take this action on the eve of my planned visit is detrimental to the substantive discussions that we were prepared to have,” he said at a news conference on Friday afternoon.

Blinken is of course wrong. Balloon drift planning is difficult if not impossible. There was likely no Chinese intent behind this.

The NYT also writes that this is not the first time that such a balloon is passing over the United States. The difference now the addition of paranoid panic. Balloon similar to those one sighted over the U.S. have been seen over Japan and India in 2020, 2021 and 2022.


Both flew in directions from China that are different than the current balloon drifting from China over to the United States. That is because the direction of the wind decides where a balloon flies to.

These balloon have cross like arms hanging below them with the two horizontal arms carrying solar panels. There are three gondolas at the ends of the horizontal and vertical structure. The gondolas could carry instruments, motors or both.


An estimate said that the diameter of the balloon is equivalent to the length of three school buses. It means that the air resistance and wind sensitivity of the balloon is huge. Winds in the upper atmosphere, like the Atlantic jet stream, are strong:

For instance, flying from London to New York takes just over eight hours, while the reverse journey is often under seven.

A few electrical motors depending on solar power are unlikely to be for propulsion propellers that would make this balloon steerable. But a Google company once used a machine learning system that found out how to tack a balloon like a sail ship which enabled it to follow its planned course faster than previously predicted. But it did not make it steerable. The Goggle balloon were 'steering' by changing their flight levels just like low fling hot air balloon do:

A solar-powered pump adds or subtracts air from the balloon. That air makes the balloon heavier or lighter, allowing it to ascend or descend in altitude. Rather than fight against the wind at one altitude, the balloon moves up or down until it finds a favorable wind current. By repeating this thousands of times over the lifespan of a balloon, we can drift on the winds to get to locations around the world.

It is likely that the Chinese balloon can use similar technics. But it will inevitable still depend on the ever changing and often unpredictable prevalent direction of the wind.

Blinken is also wrong with regards to international law. The space between the highest level jet fighters can fly (18 kilometer or 60,000 feet) and outer space were satellites fly is legally somewhat undefined. There are no treaties, international laws or even rules for that mostly unused space.

In the 1950s the U.S. flew 'weather balloon' over the Soviet Union for surveillance. But satellites has since replaced balloon surveillance as they can get more data with way more precision. China has satellites. It does not need balloon to check U.S. air fields or missile sites.

To use the balloon as an excuse for canceling the China visit shows that U.S. claims of wanting to lower tensions with China are not serious.

Brian Tycangco 鄭彥渊 @BrianTycangco - 9:09 UTC · Feb 4, 2023

If a wayward balloon is enough to make the US Secretary of State cancel a potentially crucial meeting with China to resolve standing differences & avoid potential armed conflict, it speaks very poorly of how serious he is about doing his job.

Some republicans have used the balloon and the paranoid style to attack the Biden administration. The Biden administration should have staid course by calling the overflight a non-event. Blinken's reaction only adds to the anti-China hate.

Posted by b on February 4, 2023 at 18:11 UTC | Permalink

next page »

I gather the central banks are concerned about this case of elevated inflation...

Posted by: West of England Andy | Feb 4 2023 18:19 utc | 1

US Sovereignity Cruelly Violated. Said with a straight face. Ah, the irony. But wholly in keeping with Us 'leadership.' Do as I say, not as I do.

Posted by: Dilnir | Feb 4 2023 18:22 utc | 2

A trial balloon ? War with China is forced upon us. Or farced, as the case may be. Zelensky so outraged he dies of shock. The 7.62 x 39 mm ball didn't help.

Posted by: DIilnir | Feb 4 2023 18:26 utc | 3

It's a load of ballooney; NYT full of hot air as usual...

Posted by: Browser | Feb 4 2023 18:29 utc | 4

"Shoot it Down!" is the new "Lock her up!"

The Spy Balloon is straight out of Mad Magazine.

Posted by: gottlieb | Feb 4 2023 18:31 utc | 5

Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you.

Posted by: Monos | Feb 4 2023 18:37 utc | 6

IOW Blinkey was afraid the China visit would be the climax of embarrassment after a consistently embarrassing world tour, so he was glad to have an excuse to cancel.

The pretext also gives another occasion for the imperial propaganda machine (including its Republican fake-"opposition") to demonize China.

Meanwhile the balloon itself is either a meaningless mcguffin or else was a Chinese provocation daring the US to shoot it down. If the US had bit that would've then given the China and Russia the pretext to retaliate by opening fire on US satellites at a time of their choosing, since spy balloons exist in a diplomatic gray area between the existing consensus on fixed-wing spy planes (can be shot down) and satellites (are tolerated).

Posted by: Flying Dutchman | Feb 4 2023 18:37 utc | 7

This over reaction smells of serious desperation

Blinken was about to have his ass handed to him again by China and this Wag The Dog event is a combination of kicking the China meeting can down the road and massaging the anti-China fervor in the West.

I read some headline in the past 24 hours that says that the West has at least 7 similar like balloons currently over other countries...and then there are the satellites that show the Hollywood nature of this geopolitical ruse.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Feb 4 2023 18:42 utc | 9

Perfectly said, no one is saying how this thing would definitely be found out and Chinese r not stupid enough to use this that will generate more hatred when a better systems like satellites to gather Intel.

Posted by: A.z | Feb 4 2023 18:46 utc | 10

Given the uselessness of US missiles against them, I suspect part of the panic is the fear that people will discover the incompetence of the US air defense system.

Posted by: Colin | Feb 4 2023 18:48 utc | 11

headlines I wouldn't be surprised to see

"Biden announces 'we'll take that sucker out like the Nordstream Pipeline'"

followed by "aides say President Biden misspoke and regrets that".

Posted by: pretzelattack | Feb 4 2023 18:52 utc | 12

Blinken should be fired for revealing the location of the top-secret base in Montana that the Chinese were spying on!

Posted by: Brendan | Feb 4 2023 18:52 utc | 13

Not enough information yet to determine if any of this was intentional but seems to be being used to stoke the war fires in a case of improvising something from nothing.

Tempest in a teapot.

If China wants to confront the US it needs to defeat the US in East Asia militarily. A balloon doesn't seem like a Chinese way to show their power.

Posted by: Neofeudalfuture | Feb 4 2023 18:53 utc | 14

Posted by: Monos | Feb 4 2023 18:37 utc | 6

using a weather balloon?

Posted by: pretzelattack | Feb 4 2023 18:55 utc | 15

Balloongate brought to you courtesy of the Bouncy Castle (formerly Pentagon) :)

Are we absolutely sure it isn't someone who floated out of US congress by mistake? It's hard to tell by looking at the pictures :P (Yes, sarcasm is dead).

Btw anyone can buy a weather balloon and have a go at it but do inform and cooperate with your local ATF etc.

I believe this free (creative commons) magazine details at least some of it (maybe not with weather balloons, I haven't read it yet). Entirely free PDF download of HackSpace "maker" magazine issue 63 "Make Flight". The link goes directly to the download page, it is the most recent issue, I believe all their issues are downloadable for free if one looks around at their site (they are the publisher). As long as this issue is the most recent one can see a picture of the cover and the above link on the main page of HackSpace magazine. The reason it's free is because they want to popularize and sell RaspberryPi's etc. and expand the community around it (it's already quite popular).

Weather balloons remind me of snowberries but I didn't expect the balloons to also gain similar laxative properties :P

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Feb 4 2023 18:58 utc | 16

Lol, thanks b.

Right the most militarized and “strongest” country composed of the “brave” is worried about a balloon. If u ever needed a point to start measuring how incredibly fucking stupid most in the us are. Voila.

In Canada we have a somewhat similar situation where most are willing to see their lives degraded socially, economically, and in almost every other metric. Just so Freeland can have her “win”.

Posted by: Tannenhouser | Feb 4 2023 19:03 utc | 17

The saddest aspect of this is Blinken and the rest of the War Party have no idea what laughing stocks they are making of themselves.

Posted by: Exile | Feb 4 2023 19:05 utc | 18

Report of Abrams Tank transported in Eastern Bulgaria- heading north

Posted by: Paul | Feb 4 2023 19:06 utc | 19

I meant ATC not ATF, and by ATC I mean Air Traffic Controller (your local one be it in the US, China, Siberia, Antarctic, anywhere). Plenty of rules and regulations that need to be followed for good reasons of safety and so on-

"I messed with balloons" is a stupid thing to go to jail for and risks hurting other inmates by way of excessive laughter.

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Feb 4 2023 19:10 utc | 20

40 US 'balloons' encircling China.

Posted by: Arfur Mo | Feb 4 2023 19:14 utc | 21

The paranoia exhibited by Blinken will not be lost on RoW along with his gross hypocrisy. I'm sure Assad got a hearty laugh.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 4 2023 19:15 utc | 22

Odd that no one confused the weather balloon for a UFO.

Posted by: GS | Feb 4 2023 19:17 utc | 23

Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean that the pizza delivery boy on your doorstep isn’t a hired assassin.

But seriously, the problem with paranoia is that it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy when you become a threat to those around you. If you believe that your neighbour is your enemy and treat him accordingly he will most certainly become so.

Posted by: Philip Garber | Feb 4 2023 19:20 utc | 24

This incident demonstrates that there's a significant balloon gap between the US and Communist China! Unless congress immediately allocates an additional trillion dollars to the pentagon for balloon research and development, the next CPC balloon won't just be carrying surveillance equipment, but also a biological or nuclear payload. Clearly, we're witnessing a watershed moment in armaments history. Hypersonic missiles were clearly just a short-lived fad -- whoever achieves balloon superiority, controls the battlefield of the future.

Posted by: Skiffer | Feb 4 2023 19:23 utc | 25

Report of Abrams Tank transported in Eastern Bulgaria- heading north
Posted by: Paul | Feb 4 2023 19:06 utc | 19

Could be nothing. But rumors say Moldova will open a second front in Transnistria. They've changed some laws too, last week I think. And Lavrov or someone else talked about Moldova being a puppet recently. I don't see any reason for nato not to open another war in a non-nato country run by a fake president. Georgia has also received a large weapons gift from US a few days ago. List of weapons is not public.

Posted by: rk | Feb 4 2023 19:23 utc | 26

Hofstadter is employing 'paranoid' in an ironic sense not as a pejorative

Posted by: buchananbrigade | Feb 4 2023 19:30 utc | 27

Indeed, this probably is just a weather balloon and we should all just relax. But:

One notes that while balloons cannot control the direction of travel, they very much can control their altitude. They can change direction by changing to an altitude with a different wind speed. If that's not possible, they can always be commanded to land. Unless the Chinese are really incompetent, the balloon should have had the ability to be commanded to descend to ground level. When it first appeared to veer off course, why didn't the Chinese just stop it? I mean, even if it is just a weather balloon, it is certainly a potential navigation hazard and it was China's responsibility to stop this.

On the other hand - just because the American establishment is a crazed bunch of paranoid anti-labor nut jobs, doesn't mean that some faction of the Chinese government didn't do something stupid. Balloons are large but have basically zero radar cross section. This one seems to have a large boom that SHOULD have shown up on radar (unless it was made of wood?) well before it got to Montana - why the heck wasn't the United States tracking this thing thousands of miles away?

No idea what's going on, but at best, this is gross incompetence on both sides.

Posted by: TG | Feb 4 2023 19:35 utc | 28

@ psychohistorian | Feb 4 2023 18:42 utc | 9

Do you have any links for these sightings? My efforts with Google only provide the current paranoid narrative. I fear this is the death of the Internet, as things are not findable anymore.

For me this story is more about how the news is manufactured and controlled by the MOU. The Narrative seems to have gotten incredibly stupid. I really doubt this species can last.

Posted by: Michael.j | Feb 4 2023 19:40 utc | 29

In honor of all the American National Security Snowflakes who are getting massively triggered over this Chinese balloon, I present a video tribute:

NENA's pop classic, 99 Luftballons

Posted by: ak74 | Feb 4 2023 19:43 utc | 30

Reading this news about the Chinese weather balloon spotted over Montana and the over-reaction by the Biden govt and the US media reminds me of accounts I've read about Japan's use of hot-air balloon bombs to try to create panic in the US during the latter years of World War II.

Over period from June 1944 to some time in early 1945,the Japanese released 10,000 balloon bombs into the upper atmosphere to ride the winds that would take them over North America. 9,000 of these balloons ended up lost. Of the rest, most came down near Canada and the US West Coast. A couple drifted as far east as Texas and Michigan. The ones that came down in the Rocky Mountains region sometimes caused small forest fires. Some of these bombs were still washing ashore in Canada decades later.

The US govt at the time knew about these balloon bombs but told all major media outlets not to mention them to avoid causing panic. The media kept mum until an incident in Oregon in June 1945, when some children and a pregnant woman found a balloon bomb after Sunday church and were all killed after touching the bomb. The US govt then went public about its knowledge of the balloon bomb campaign.

The US media silence did have one unexpected positive effect: the Japanese themselves, finding no mention of any incidents in the US related to these bombs in their scouring of US media, concluded that the balloon bomb campaign was a failure and discontinued it.

The restraint of the US govt and media over Japan's balloon bomb campaign is a huge contrast with the current hysteria shown by Anthony Blinken. He ends up looking like an idiot clown.

Incidentally the chaplain who was married to the pregnant woman who died in 1945, also met with a tragic end. He was captured by Viet Cong soldiers in Vietnam in the late 1960s and was never seen again.

Posted by: Jen | Feb 4 2023 19:44 utc | 31

Obviously the Chinese stole this advanced balloon technology from the Japanese.

Posted by: Skiffer | Feb 4 2023 19:49 utc | 32

Posted by: Skiffer | Feb 4 2023 19:23 utc | 25

This incident demonstrates that there's a significant balloon gap between the US and Communist China! Unless congress immediately allocates an additional trillion dollars to the pentagon for balloon research and development, the next CPC balloon won't just be carrying surveillance equipment, but also a biological or nuclear payload. Clearly, we're witnessing a watershed moment in armaments history. Hypersonic missiles were clearly just a short-lived fad -- whoever achieves balloon superiority, controls the battlefield of the future.

Indeed, apparently the balloon is now self-identifying as a $900 billion dollar defence budget. It’s preferred pronouns are /porkbarrel/corruption/waste/ ...

Posted by: West of England Andy | Feb 4 2023 19:50 utc | 33

Arfur mo no. 21

That's a great one. 😂🤣😂🤣

Posted by: ThusspakeZarathustra | Feb 4 2023 19:54 utc | 34

Arfur mo no.21

That's a great one. 😂🤣😂🤣

Posted by: ThusspakeZarathustra | Feb 4 2023 19:57 utc | 35

So they shot it down.

The balloon strikes back...

Posted by: Opport Knocks | Feb 4 2023 20:00 utc | 36

Am I mistaken, but seems as if the "us of a" had proper defenses, the balloon, for the sake of discussion only has harmful intent, that it would have been shot down prior to going over the country and per the report I was just given flying directly overhead of me before apparently it has been shot down?
What a bad joke DC is upon all of humanity.

Posted by: Buffalo_Ken | Feb 4 2023 20:06 utc | 37

It was shot down off the coast of NC 30 minutes ago and the attempts to secure the electronics are under way.

I hope they contain a full year's worth of Tik Tok videos.

Posted by: Opport Knocks | Feb 4 2023 20:07 utc | 38

Yes it did fly over Canada first but didn’t make the headlines.

“When asked about why the public was never informed about the balloon until after it had entered U.S. airspace, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino cited the sensitivity of the timing of the information. "We have to strike that balance and make sure that we are not in any way compromising our operations and the techniques that we use to protect Canadians…”

“Sources had told Global News the surveillance balloon spent time in Canadian airspace, but the details of when and for how long have not been made clear by Canadian authorities.

But a series of NOTAMs (Notice to Air Mission) sent by NAV Canada and reviewed by Global News warned pilots flying into and out of airports in Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Thunder Bay, Toronto, Montreal and Quebec City to exercise “vigilance” over the object.”

“A Canadian government source with direct knowledge of the situation told CBC the balloon did travel over Canada on its way to Montana. The source said the balloon was first noticed this past weekend over Alaska, that Canadian and American defence officials spoke with each other at that point, and that Biden and Trudeau have not spoken with each other about the situation.”

Posted by: Bruised Northerner | Feb 4 2023 20:09 utc | 39

I gather the central banks are concerned about this case of elevated inflation...

Posted by: West of England Andy | Feb 4 2023 18:19 utc | 1

Unlike the other inflation, this one was accurately described by authorities as "transitory" ;-)

Posted by: Opport Knocks | Feb 4 2023 20:10 utc | 40

the most important question still is unanswered in regards to this balloon

did the Chinese name it the "Xi-ndenberg"

Posted by: Oldcutlas | Feb 4 2023 20:13 utc | 41

When a very young child, my parents bought me a balloon at the fair. When I let go of the string, the balloon flew away, over the neighbors' house. Does this mean I was trespassing?

Posted by: Passerby | Feb 4 2023 20:17 utc | 42

The Spiegel (in Germany) is just reporting that the US shot it down over the sea and is now collecting the debris... I guess they will find a gas tank with a biological weapon including the passport of Xi Jinping...

Posted by: Zet | Feb 4 2023 20:18 utc | 43

In response to Oldcutlas @20:13
An educated guess would be the balloon was held aloft with hydrogen gas versus helium - how else could it have gotten into the stratosphere, and most likely it was a harmless balloon pulled off-course by winds unexpected, but we all know winds change on a dime these days especially given......
Regardless, seems like a serious propaganda loss for the pathetic us of a losers out of DC - dimwits sometimes make poor choices ought be evident nowadays.
Sad that the balloon - got so close to me I could almost feel it in the wind, got shot down for no reason but apparent stupidity? Dimwits out of DC, clueless diplomats from the effing State Department, gracious me, they need some help I reckon, but who wants to help somebody lied one time too many? Not I and I suspect many are tiring of the lies and trickery.
Ignominy, the drain of it, it pulls with force.

Posted by: Buffalo_Ken | Feb 4 2023 20:18 utc | 44

balloon-based threats are no deterrent to US hypersonic b.s.

what are these jesus gobblers gonna do when the greatest unidentified object of them all returns? they sit around singing these songs about getting soon before we run out of Depends(tm)?

from the billy graham apocalyptic film festival, the original "left behind", take it away larry norman:

Posted by: rjb1.5 | Feb 4 2023 20:23 utc | 45

It doesn't matter whether Blinken canceled his visit, because based on all the previous interactions with China the US was merely going to bullshit the Chinese some more, then do the opposite of what they said would do, especially with regard to Taiwan.

So the whole visit might as well never happened.

The US wants a war with China. It's that simple. And China will give it to them, eventually. And the US will lose. Hopefully, as with Ukraine, it won't escalate to WWIII.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Feb 4 2023 20:23 utc | 46

I hope they contain a full year's worth of Tik Tok videos.

Posted by: Opport Knocks | Feb 4 2023 20:07 utc | 37

Or a full backup of a certain laptop...

Posted by: West of England Andy | Feb 4 2023 20:23 utc | 47

As noted, the Pentagon description of an “information gathering” object is technically correct. It is the legacy media (at editorial level) who assign the “spy” moniker.
Where was NORAD? Not asked. Infantile response led by the State Dept.

Posted by: jayc | Feb 4 2023 20:24 utc | 48

So I take it this balloon came down on the polar vortex? (It’s finally only -30 with wind chill in Montréal, warmest temp in the past 24 hours or so, forecast for a high of 0 degrees on Sunday.) Why not shoot it down over Alaska? If there was no cause for hysteria in Alaska, why is there in Montana?

Posted by: Bruised Northerner | Feb 4 2023 20:32 utc | 49

In response to Michael.j | Feb 4 2023 19:40 utc | 29 who asked me about my claim to there being other balloons in the world

I couldn't find the specific link but go read the following for context on the use of the technology

I am now reading it has been shot down and a 60 ton crane on a ship is being sent to retrieve it.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Feb 4 2023 20:35 utc | 50

This reminded me of those experiments where scientists would put an object in an animals cage and watch what they do with it. It's a test where there isn't a right or wrong answer. Just pure stimulus-response and observation.

Posted by: ian | Feb 4 2023 20:37 utc | 51

Could it have been "Lawnchair Larry" up to his old tricks again?

Posted by: Joe Sobe | Feb 4 2023 20:44 utc | 52

perhaps this is an instance of the Thomas Friedman-Donald Rumsfeld school of diplomacy, which consists of leaving no doubt just who is the craziest player at the international roulette wheel.

stupid is as stupid does. maybe NORAD watched Stephen King's "It" and decided to leave the balloon alone? or maybe things just happen when NORAD doesn't respond? planes crash, ballons fly...? or maybe 5 eyes was too busy ogling Mexico and BAM! "Red Dawn" started, for which we can blame Canada. But thank God we've caught wind of the Mongol hordes before they spied on our pig farms and gmo corn fields with their advanced balloon-based technology.

better stock up on smelling salts before the Pentagon brass starts stockpiling.

who doesn't envy the wind, sometimes?

"i met a girl in a bordertown..." not in god's amerikkka you didn't, eddy.

Posted by: rjb1.5 | Feb 4 2023 20:46 utc | 53

I brought the evil Chinese balloon up yesterday in the O/T and David Levin suggested the following:

Thing is, I have no idea who the "White Hats" are as the article never defines the term. Seems a little kooky to me.

Posted by: Tom_Q_Collins | Feb 4 2023 20:47 utc | 54

Sorry if this has been addressed by an implication or buried in one of the links in the thread, but does anyone have a graphic depicting the trajectory of this Chinese balloon? Seems to be conspicuously missing from every story I've seen.

Posted by: Tom_Q_Collins | Feb 4 2023 20:50 utc | 55

And word is, when they shot it down it blew around randomly like a released birthday balloon - only the size of three busses!!

Posted by: Dee Plorable | Feb 4 2023 20:57 utc | 56

Note to self: bring no balloons to Blinken's birthday bash.

hurray, Santa Claus really does conquer the Martians!

Posted by: rjb1.5 | Feb 4 2023 21:00 utc | 57

Myrtle Beach, the New Pearl Harbor. Where are David Frum, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, etc., in their nation's hour of need?

Posted by: Opport Knocks | Feb 4 2023 21:02 utc | 58

BREAKING: Supposedly the balloon was shot down.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States on Saturday downed a suspected Chinese spy balloon off the Carolina coast on orders from President Joe Biden after it traversed sensitive military sites across North America, becoming the latest flashpoint in tensions between Washington and Beijing.

Biden said he wanted the balloon downed on Wednesday, but was advised that the best time for the operation would be when it was over water. Military officials determined that the bringing it down over land from an altitude of 60,000 feet would pose an undue risk to people on the ground.

The balloon was spotted Saturday morning over the Carolinas as it approached the Atlantic coast. At about 2:40 p.m. EST, an F-22 fighter jet fired a missile at the balloon, puncturing it while it was about 6 nautical miles off the coast near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Pentagon officials said.

Officials said the debris landed in 47 feet of water, shallowed than they had expected. It was not immediately clear how long the recovery would take. The Navy is taking the lead, supported by the Coast Guard.

“They successfully took it down and I want to compliment our aviators who did it,” Biden said after getting off Air Force One en route to Camp David.

I ASSUME (?) this is the same balloon that's been in the news?

Posted by: Tom_Q_Collins | Feb 4 2023 21:02 utc | 59

I know it’s Yahoo! News but here’s a bit of info from Jan. 29, when the balloon was allegedly in or near Alaska on the polar vortex. It leads directly to Montana more or less.

Since the topic is paranoia - do they think China and Canada are ganging up on them, with Putin directing the whole orchestra undoubtedly? Or is this a political opportunity that’s too golden to miss, OR something the opposition will create another kind of vortex over if it’s not allowed to capture the spotlight?

Posted by: Bruised Northerner | Feb 4 2023 21:04 utc | 60

How many balloons did Google launch into the the stratosphere for Project Loon?

Posted by: Tel | Feb 4 2023 21:04 utc | 61

Sorry if this has been addressed by an implication or buried in one of the links in the thread, but does anyone have a graphic depicting the trajectory of this Chinese balloon? Seems to be conspicuously missing from every story I've seen.

Posted by: Tom_Q_Collins | Feb 4 2023 20:50 utc | 54

BBC has a decent globe view map of the path...

Posted by: Opport Knocks | Feb 4 2023 21:05 utc | 62

OH NOOOOES! Another Chinese "spy balloon" traversing the skies over high tech military sites in Latin America!

Posted by: Tom_Q_Collins | Feb 4 2023 21:05 utc | 63

Posted by: Opport Knocks | Feb 4 2023 21:05 utc | 61

Thanks. Exactly what I was looking for. Interesting that it made it from Montana to South Carolina in the span of a day or so. As I noted above, they've shot it down.

Posted by: Tom_Q_Collins | Feb 4 2023 21:07 utc | 64

Oh well, it was fun while it lasted. Gotta hand it to the Chinese though, that was some global-scale epic trolling.

One of the many things a psychopathic elite cannot stand is being laughed at; some of the memes were genuinely LOL.

Wonder if the hashtag #BalloonLivesMatter will trend?

Posted by: West of England Andy | Feb 4 2023 21:07 utc | 65

A world run by the CCP is no better than a world run by Davos and the predatory vampires of the Global American Empire. At least the ChiComs aren't confused over what bathroom to use.

Posted by: thedialecticalPlaya | Feb 4 2023 21:10 utc | 66

Reupers: China announced today that they will immediately give up all their weapons. They have learned that their only advertised enemy can be frightened by a weather balloon. The committee announced the age of peace and prosperity with the boogie man in hiding.

Posted by: Tard | Feb 4 2023 21:16 utc | 67

in balloon veritas. ballooning waistlines, ballooning paranoia, ballooning defense budgets...

an aging enemy reveals itself thru its menopausal hot flashes.

this nation is an embarassment, not worthy of the natives we genocided.

Reciprocity, Americans, reciprocity. why should i care if China is spying on the US? omg, they'll see us sitting around watching NASCAR...or waiting sleeplessly to hear if our private-for-profit insurance will cover a flood's property destruction.

China is spying on us thru Tik Tok!!!

And? so they can see what a post-apocalyptic, civilization-in-collapse shithole this nation is?

well, if you ban Tik Tok, you'll have to ban lots of "b" movies, where they didn't have money for sets and such so they just went outside and started filming...

now that's some verismo film making right there...

Posted by: rjb1.5 | Feb 4 2023 21:24 utc | 68

Hofstadter is employing 'paranoid' in an ironic sense not as a pejorative

Posted by: buchananbrigade | Feb 4 2023 19:30 utc | 27

I disagree. He's denigrating those who question the establishment's version of history.

Posted by: David Levin | Feb 4 2023 21:28 utc | 69

Somewhat related to this incident is the bigger picture it resides within as this demonstrated by the words spoken by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov to RIA Novosti as reported by RT today: "US must get over its ‘impunity syndrome’ – Moscow--Washington has lost its ability to use force on the global stage without facing serious pushback, a senior diplomat said."

Washington shouldn't expect the world to forget that it fabricated its justification for the 2003 Iraq invasion, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told RIA Novosti on Saturday.

The Russian diplomat made the remark on the eve of the 20th anniversary of the now-infamous speech by then-US Secretary of State Colin Powell at the United Nations Security Council, during which he presented alleged evidence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, including biological ones....

Powell’s UN stunt “has long become the epitome of hypocrisy and the conviction of the US ruling elite in its own impunity and its unchallenged right to arrogantly teach the rest of the world,” Ryabkov stated. He added that it was also emblematic of Washington’s willingness to “use force against an obviously weaker opponent in order to preserve its own global hegemony.”

However, the diplomat suggested that – unlike in the 2000s and during the 1999 NATO bombing campaign of Yugoslavia – Washington could not get away with “international banditry” under current conditions.

“In the rapidly changing geopolitical landscape, the US is now objectively unable to resort to a use-of-force scenario every time it feels like it, without facing serious consequences,” he noted, pointing to the “humiliating flight” of US troops from Afghanistan in 2021.

However, as Washington’s “meddling” in the Ukraine conflict has shown, this setback has not stopped the US from embracing its old ways, the diplomat continued.

“The Americans will have to adjust to the new rails and get rid of the impunity syndrome that so clearly manifested itself during the [anthrax] vial scandal. The same applies to taking into account Russia and China, as well as other major international players that are shaping a more just multilateral world order,” Ryabkov said.

The US should not cherish any hope that “the memories of what happened 20 years ago would be buried in the shifting sands of modern history,” he concluded.

I looked for the interview between Ryabkov and RIA Novosti but couldn't find it at its website. Ryabkov could also have reminded the Outlaw US Empire that there's no statute of limitations for the actions its undertaken since Vietnam, and none for the genocide it perpetrated in Southeast Asia either. And all this relates to my initial comment on this thread, that the world sees Blinken's protestations as hypocrisy to the nth degree and the comments from various quarters within the Empire as a combination of paranoia and hysteria--all of which serve to further isolate the Outlaw US Empire from the RoW while incentivizing the latter to decouple from the dollar system and remove that boot from their neck.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 4 2023 21:33 utc | 70

A world run by the CCP is no better than a world run by Davos and the predatory vampires of the Global American Empire. At least the ChiComs aren't confused over what bathroom to use.

Posted by: thedialecticalPlaya | Feb 4 2023 21:10 utc | 65

Numerous African countries would already disagree with you there. At least China doesn't invade other countries on the basis of "human rights and democracy" or issue loans with usurious interest rates and demands of austerity for the people. Nobody's saying that China is perfect or that everybody would be happy under true single party rule, but there's nothing worse than the predatory vampires of Western private capital/finance and US militarism/terrorism.

Posted by: Tom_Q_Collins | Feb 4 2023 21:35 utc | 71

Chinese balloon strikes back


Posted by: Norwegian | Feb 4 2023 21:36 utc | 72

Biden and baloons:

West was always good in PR, didn't DC top brass understood how pathertic they looked and made the whole US nation look those days?

Pop the f-g baloon. Or let it fly and get lost. Don't make that tiny spec into top international news for days!

Really, such a cringe...

I kinda feel buffled.

Remember the story? It was a shame that allmighty behemoth USSR couldn't make his mind and decide what to fucking do.
We became the international lolcow then.

I really feel cringe for US rulers now...
I think today was american Rust moment.
Rulers paralysis

USA TV: biden goes ahead with a PLAN to shoot the balloon
The plan, dudes!
The strategic operation, no less!

They should've shoot it in an hour after deyectiom, and do it casually. Or ignore it.

Instead they made the whole world laught at them for days.

Posted by: Arioch | Feb 4 2023 21:38 utc | 73

On Richard Hofstadter: He must be closely and carefully read while paying attention to the contemporary context within which he's writing. He's one where his footnotes must be checked to see if he's used them properly or twisted their meaning to fit his hypothesis. Of course, such investigation ought to be done with every source; I'm merely saying he needs to be checked more closely than most.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 4 2023 21:39 utc | 74

David Levin | Feb 4 2023 21:28 utc | 68
irony and paranoia walked into a bar...

"He's denigrating those who question the establishment's version of history." if history begins in 1939, perhaps.

Posted by: rjb1.5 | Feb 4 2023 21:39 utc | 75

David Levin | Feb 4 2023 21:28 utc | 68
oh, and if history = US history.

Posted by: rjb1.5 | Feb 4 2023 21:40 utc | 76

Another no-nothing @65.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 4 2023 21:40 utc | 77

(not sure if true or not)

The operation of the baloon interception was jointly conducted by an aircarrier(sic!), navy AVACS, a apck of F-22, a flying tanker, some board guards helicopters and some USN support ships.

USA suffered no casualties.

Posted by: Arioch | Feb 4 2023 21:47 utc | 78

Banksy should do a rerun of his girl with the balloon, except this time it should have a panicked Blinken drifting into the air, hanging from the Chinese balloon.

Posted by: Boo | Feb 4 2023 21:50 utc | 79

Posted by: Arioch | Feb 4 2023 21:47 utc | 77

That just confirms US has no capable or assured air defense system to take it down.

Posted by: unimperator | Feb 4 2023 21:51 utc | 80

@ Tom_Q_Collins

Indeed, the balloon is kaput. Seems the US finally found a war it could win.

Posted by: Boo | Feb 4 2023 21:52 utc | 81

"i've been saying it now for a long time, for years even:
the real threat is on our border, and the real threat is not russia. the real threat is china. and mexico."

shorter version of tucker carlson tonight.

we need full spectrum and threat escalation dominance over this wind-driven Arctic menace, but with all our HIMARS in Ukraine, we've left ourselves vulnerable! time to increase the budget.

Posted by: rjb1.5 | Feb 4 2023 22:00 utc | 82

Wingnut take:

Study all the hardware and software on the captured balloon and penalize any American company that provided it.



Posted by: Chaka Khagan | Feb 4 2023 22:01 utc | 83

"Pentagon spokeperson said China has only baloon stocks for 2-3 days of continous operations."

The world is "discussing" the performance of "the sole hyperpower"

Posted by: Arioch | Feb 4 2023 22:01 utc | 84

maybe now's not the most prudent time to send our F16's to Ukraine, what with this mysterious balloon menace.

i'm processing my embarrassment for my homeland. what must the world think of us?

Posted by: rjb1.5 | Feb 4 2023 22:03 utc | 85

Arioch | Feb 4 2023 21:47 utc | 77

"USA suffered no casualties."

At least none yet reported. No word yet on aircraft or ship losses.

Posted by: Flying Dutchman | Feb 4 2023 22:04 utc | 86

Not to worry, Raytheon is finalizing designs for Type-2 Non-Explosive Disruption of Levitating Entity (codename: NEEDLE). Production to begin in 2025 at $1,000,000 per unit.

Posted by: Browser | Feb 4 2023 22:12 utc | 87

Once again USA fear driven authorities put a bullet in the head of science.

F#cking disgraceful.

The media drives the narrative and a standard, beneficial scientific instrument is destroyed. This balloon is one among hundreds, if not thousands, aloft in any day and these are mostly all undirected but cruise the winds gathering data from the ATMOSPHERE not perving on military bases.

The cowardice of the Congress and the Presidency to crave favour from the media bombast. The voodoo diplomacy of the USA is a dangerous and ignorant sight to behold.

A year ago there was a one in a thousand year massive injection of water vapour into the stratosphere and mesosphere from a south pacific volcanic eruption and over the coming years our planetary science community can research and publish and discuss the resultant data and its potential for planetary weather and crop yield and disaster forecast. In this millennia we have the instruments and inherited knowledge to examine the consequences.

This is science of direct benefit to all humans.

Not one sane voice was heard by the political/military complex. They were driven by a media/ideological pack herding them around a pen - just like sheep rounded up by dogs.

Disgraceful ignorant savages.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Feb 4 2023 22:12 utc | 88

@psychohistorian | Feb 4 2023 20:35 utc | 49

Personally, I find the concept incredibly impractical, due to the lack of steering, and therefore location predictability. I’m just stunned how quickly such a stupid concept could gain any traction. Given my searches, there is very little real information, other than it’s a balloon, and it runs at high altitudes.

What I was looking for was any other precedent of other experiments with long distance balloons. Thanks for the information. It’s a little more for the stack.

What it really demonstrates to me is chattering class narrative control. There are very few rational discussions available. It’s pretty much all fear based, and an obvious excuse to cancel a meeting.


Posted by: Michael.j | Feb 4 2023 22:14 utc | 89

One of the many things a psychopathic elite cannot stand is being laughed at
Posted by: West of England Andy | Feb 4 2023 21:07 utc | 64

augury. signs in the sky.

you could gather how america's doing from some haruspicy as well. read its chicken bones. things look grim. try iridology if not phrenology. hypnosis. check its water or stool, but w/a biohazard suit on.

maybe the pentagon brass are our sacred chickens? we observe which direction they take flight when spooked, or what they peck and cluck at, and...yeah...then what...

Posted by: rjb1.5 | Feb 4 2023 22:24 utc | 90

Norwegian #71

Chinese balloon strikes back


Good one brother :))

I guess there will be an abundance of memes for an abundance of time from this.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Feb 4 2023 22:25 utc | 91

New Chinese anthem:

Posted by: ThusspakeZarathustra | Feb 4 2023 22:29 utc | 92

Shifty Schiff is a lot of things but Left is certainly not one of them…

Posted by: Peter Fenton | Feb 4 2023 22:35 utc | 93

Gonzalo Lira has a good analysis of the hysteria. (I am reposting this from the previous Ukraine thread.)

Ukraine ... losing ... The U.S. knows that Ukraine's army is not able to hold the current defense line in its east. The fear is that it will run away when the line is breached... The Ukrainian death toll in the city must be extremely high... The result is that the battle is believed to have produced horrific troop losses for ... Ukraine ... emergency medical units provide urgent care to battlefield casualties... Russia has increased the intensity of the fight... Russia has no lack of artillery ammunition... Russian artillery is firing several times more shells per day than Ukraine's army can provide... Artillery is the big killer in this war...

Look over there! 👉 A BALLOON!

2023.02.04 About That Chinese Balloon – Gonzalo Lira

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Feb 4 2023 22:36 utc | 94

I wonder how much jet fuel the U.S. wasted shooting down a weather balloon, how much CO2 it added, and how much it cost U.S. taxpayers for this blatant act of stupidity.

Posted by: Dalit | Feb 4 2023 22:44 utc | 95

one great thing about being a global empire with two oceans separating all threats, we always have time to consult the sacred chickens, legions of them in fact.

Not our Roman forebears, who could face a surprise attack and thereby not have time to engage in the divinely prescribed rite of augury. but when possible, they consulted the birds. repeatedly. until the birds got their act together and voted for war. maybe the Roman augurs threatened the birds to get the cluck they were looking for. "you'll wind up at chik-fil-a and get eaten by Lindsay Graham if you don't peck for war."

these generals and state spokespoodles should rejoice. the deuteronomic code of holy war, still pertinent for all jihads and crusades, cuz it's in the bible, commands the faint of heart to stay home,

lest they taint their warrior comrades and followers with their open cowardice.

against an existential threat.

inspiring leadership, America! well done.

Posted by: rjb1.5 | Feb 4 2023 22:44 utc | 96

This could also be the opportunity for a withdrawal from Ukraine after its defeat is certain and Europe (and especially Germany) have been sufficiently dragged into the mess. A "Chinese threat" would distract from Ukraine while justifying keeping weapons in the US. This would allow for a face-saving and smooth U.S. retreat.

Posted by: xblob | Feb 4 2023 22:46 utc | 97

Ok here’s something. From Jan. 30th

“Another serial of Op #NOBLEDEFENDER has just ended! The main 🇨🇦 contingent was deployed in Iqaluit while our 🇺🇸 allies were operating from Thule as part of this joint
@NORADCommand operation.”

Posted by: Bruised Northerner | Feb 4 2023 22:53 utc | 98

Norwegian @71
I hope you don't mind, but I have posted that "meme" at other sites of strategic balloons causing the collapse of a dimwit president walking up the stairs of Air Force 1 I reckon.
I suspect the memes have only just begun. Good - ridicule is what the fools can't compass, but ridicule is what they deserve and this is serious. I mean I can't heed a balloon being shot down after it already traversed the whole country and I consider it a shame and an indication of poor governance, but comes as no surprise to somebody been lied to out of DC since the day I was born - seriously - it has been one lie after another, and those that consider trickery as the way to advance must not understand that there are some laws that are inviolate and some folks who are indomitable even if they are mortal.
Anyhow, I posted that meme elsewhere, and in my opinion, this whole ridiculousness around a balloon, will go down as one of the greatest failures of 5G warfare where propaganda is the tool of choice. Little did they know, that 6G warefare is already off the books and it is brutal and takes no prisoners so to speak and whatnot.
You get what you give I reckon.
Thanks for the meme - I've shared it already.

Posted by: Buffalo_Ken | Feb 4 2023 22:56 utc | 99

According to internet sources, flying an F22 costs in excess of $85,000 per hour.

Posted by: mjh | Feb 4 2023 23:04 utc | 100

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