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US Politics: Catch the big crook under the “Big Cone”


Ser Scot A Ellison
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It's 2023.  Why are militaries still using spy balloons?

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Besides cost, another advantage spy balloons have over satellites is they can hover over a specific point longer than the orbital pass of a satellite. Orbital passes can be tracked by adversaries, and the U.S. or another country could schedule around satellite monitoring, Byron Callan, Capital Alpha Partners managing director, said in a client note Friday morning.

Cause for concern

High-altitude balloons can also more easily pose as civilian in nature. For example, if a Chinese military drone was flying over U.S. airspace, it is obvious the government sent the aircraft.

With a spy balloon, foreign governments can claim it is used for a civil purpose, such as monitoring weather patterns. Beijing made that claim on Friday, saying the airship was being used for meteorological pursuits.

 

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2 minutes ago, Fragile Bird said:

Why doesn’t the US just shoot it down? Would China or Russia tolerate a US balloon flying over their territory?

The US has determined that it doesn't pose a particular threat and the cost of shooting it down is higher than it is worth. Per reports the US has said that the balloon poses no extra security risk than satellites do. While it's a clear violation of US airspace it is not particularly dangerous or risky. 

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Word is that Biden wanted to shoot it down, but military people talked him down because

1. You don't know where it will fall and it is big enough that it might land on a person or a home and they want to avoid that.

2. The balloon isn't really that dangerous because it is flying so high that the pictures are basically the same as satellite images anyway.

 

I'm with you that the risk of a balloon falling in Montana seems low, but obviously I don't know too much about it. 

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54 minutes ago, Fragile Bird said:

Why doesn’t the US just shoot it down? Would China or Russia tolerate a US balloon flying over their territory?

We can't be sure there's not a balloon boy in there. 

https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2023/02/03/arizona-republican-party-election-denialism-lae-00080615

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Stepping to the microphone in the sanctuary, a man who introduced himself as a combat Vietnam veteran suggested that the way the party censures politicians — a punishment previously slapped on the late Sen. John McCain, his widow, Cindy, former Gov. Doug Ducey and former Sen. Jeff Flake, among others – was insufficient for the times.

Instead, he said, “We should duct tape people to a tree in a dog park, so the dogs can pee on them. And then, when they’re there for a few hours and they have to crap in their pants, they can wallow in their own shit.”

There's a lot to unpack there, but I especially love that he seems to think people can't go a few hours without shitting themselves. 

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12 minutes ago, RumHam said:

We can't be sure there's not a balloon boy in there. 

https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2023/02/03/arizona-republican-party-election-denialism-lae-00080615

There's a lot to unpack there, but I especially love that he seems to think people can't go a few hours without shitting themselves. 

Old age :dunno: Just assume that guy was wearing a diaper.

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3 hours ago, Tywin et al. said:

So does Empress MZ hide the aliens in the middle of nowhere underground or in plain sight in a major city? The people demand answers!

In plain sight in the middle of nowhere.  People have to work for it, and also people don't like "malfunctions" in major cities.  It's bad for morale.

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CNN said that the determination was made that shooting down the spy balloon would create a debris field that may potentially cause harm to people, so the decision was made not to (I mean, it was probably a more complicated risk-reward scenario than that). Personally, I feel the response to this is overwrought as most so-called national security threats are, for instance, why the eff would Blinken postpone his visit over this trifling matter? Better to go and use tough words in person. 

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57 minutes ago, Mlle. Zabzie said:

In plain sight in the middle of nowhere.  People have to work for it, and also people don't like "malfunctions" in major cities.  It's bad for morale.

So just what the balloon is seeking. Which side are you on exactly? :idea:

 

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19 minutes ago, IheartIheartTesla said:

CNN said that the determination was made that shooting down the spy balloon would create a debris field that may potentially cause harm to people, so the decision was made not to (I mean, it was probably a more complicated risk-reward scenario than that). Personally, I feel the response to this is overwrought as most so-called national security threats are, for instance, why the eff would Blinken postpone his visit over this trifling matter? Better to go and use tough words in person. 

We should have nuked it to show them this is Murika, baby!!!

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Did see a few comments from the far right claiming or speculating that the Chinese balloon was 'spreading Anthrax' or some such.

Also saw mention that the gondola this thing is lugging is bigger than three city busses. That be room for a *lot* of spy gear. Makes me wonder just what kind of surveillance equipment could be that bulky. And if it's heavy as well, then yes, the debris could be an issue.

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5 minutes ago, DMC said:

It's called fiscal responsibility as opposed to your wasteful big government ways.

Listen, sometimes you just have to shoot something out of the sky to prove a point, costs be damned. And if it doesn't kill anyone, party favorability might go up in the state. Probably would regardless. These are the choices leaders must make! 

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1 minute ago, Tywin et al. said:

Listen, sometimes you just have to shoot something out of the sky to prove a point, costs be damned.

....and using archers is a much cheaper way to shoot something out of the sky.  

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1 minute ago, DMC said:

....and using archers is a much cheaper way to shoot something out of the sky.  

Only if you want to be far less impressive looking and risk a giant intact thing falling on a town. Damnit man, are you trying to kill people? Disintegration is the most cost-efficient method.

Plus we can tell the townsfolk they got to witness some fireworks! Everybody wins.   

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