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The Daily Planet's Opinion: August 2019
Tuesday, 06 August 2019 22:33

Could ‘Storm Area 51’ joke be a trap by aliens to engorge on 1M conspiracy theorists?

It would be the ultimate irony if the “Storm Area 51” Facebook joke gone awry turns out to be the story of the century with an actual storming of Area 51 — with who knows what consequences — by hordes of conspiracy theorists.

Indeed, “more than 1 million people have RSVP’d to ambush Nevada’s famed Area 51 this September, an affair whose jokey premise is so deadpan, it has gained some serious mainstream attention,” reported July 15.

“Per the event description,” continued, “attendees are invited to fly out to Lincoln Country, Nevada, and ‘all meet up at the Area 51 Alien Center tourist attraction and coordinate our entry’ at 3 a.m. Pacific on Sept. 20. The goal is supposedly to break into the highly secretive and secure military compound, which has often been characterized in fiction as a place where the U.S. government houses and researches alien technology. The thinking goes that if a bunch of people head toward the high-security base at once, the military won’t stand a chance of stopping them.“

For added measure, the event description notes, ‘If we naruto run’ — a reference to a highly particular, frequently meme’d style of running from the long-running anime ‘Naruto’ — ‘we can move faster than their bullets. Lets see them aliens.’“

The ‘Storm Area 51’ event has gained traction online for its absurdity, drawing reactions across multiple social media platforms. On Twitter, for example, one post that omitted the creators’ names — which make it clear that the event is just a high-concept gag — led people who were unfamiliar with its origins to take the idea quite seriously.”

As noted, “the posting ends with a plea to any government officials following along: ‘Hello U.S. government, this is a joke, and I do not actually intend to go ahead with this plan. I just thought it would be funny and get me some thumbsy uppies on the internet,” it reads. “I’m not responsible if people decide to actually storm Area 51.’”

Meanwhile, television’s CNN reported on July 29 that people are seriously planning to go to Area 51 on Sept. 20, but that the meeting destination, Rachel, Nevada, already is booked up and has no hotel rooms available. “The small town was shocked when it realized people were coming, as satirically suggested by a Facebook page titled ‘Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us.’ The Air Force Base in the desert has spurred conspiracy theories as a UFO and alien holding site for decades,” CNN noted.

In speaking with CNN, Lincoln County Sheriff Kerry Lee said, “I cannot believe it’s gotten this much attention. We deal with this on a weekly basis, but nothing to this scale...“

To make matters worse, Rachel’s only gas station closed in 2006, so visitors will have to fill their tanks 50 miles away in Alamo, Nevada,” CNN stated. “The next closest town to get lodging is also Alamo, and most of the hotels are already booked or have very low availability....“

Lee, along with the Air Force, urges people not to storm the facility. He encourages people to come ‘see the stars’ or take in the terrain, but not to try and get into Area 51. If they do, they may be meeting Lee and his officers because they could be called to help with trespass,” CNN reported.

From our distant vantage in Asheville, we wonder if “them aliens,” who the conspiracy theorists are certain are being kept hidden at Area 51, have — in a clever twist — turned the tables on them by conspiring to plant the Facebook invitation, so that they can entice the tinfoil hat crowd into a place where they can enjoy eating them for a late-night snack.

This could be a case of the truth being stranger than fiction. Should be interesting....
A man whose soul was tried by Trumpism
Tuesday, 06 August 2019 22:31
Special to the Daily Planet

Republican congressman from Michigan made news recently when he said President Trump should be impeached and then later resigned from the GOP.  

His name is Justin Amash — son of Palestinian-Syrian immigrants and, in Congress, a bona fide son of the Tea Party and Freedom Caucus. He is now also recipient of President Trump’s standard “loser” tweet for those who prove unfaithful to him.

The congressman’s district, Michigan’s Third, and the city of Grand Rapids have long been known as deep conservative country. This was Gerald Ford’s home district in Congress. And Grand Rapids has always been famous as a bastion of conservative Christianity. 

Amash is a good fit to the historic conservatism of the district. He believes in fiscal responsibility, economic freedom, low taxes — and most of all, he believes in America and America’s Constitution. It’s clear from his Independence Day resignation notice that he’s had it up to here with his spineless colleagues. He wrote:

“The founders envisioned Congress as a deliberative body in which outcomes are discovered. We are fast approaching the point, however, where Congress exists as little more than a formality to legitimize outcomes dictated by the president, the speaker of the House and the Senate majority leader.”

What he’s talking about, of course, is Trumpism.

Ah, Trumpism. Any Republican who hopes for a political future must deposit their beliefs and principles at the door, enter meekly and kneel before the Leader. They aren’t to worry about trillions in deficit spending, or blatant corruption in the Trump administration, or disrespect for the rule of law, or the favored status of the rich and powerful, or the Constitution’s checks and balances, or a threat from Russia.    

Amash, a Greek Orthodox Christian, maintains a conservative world view that is endangered in the Republican Party, if it’s not already dead. When he was first elected in 2010, though, it was a living creed. Romney and Ryan, the GOP ticket in 2012, were consistent in their conservative principles.   

Amash’s 3rd Congressional District was once represented by Paul Brentwood Henry, son of conservative icon Carl F.H. Henry, founder of Fuller Theological Seminary and founding editor of Christianity Today (and  a fellow alumnus of mine from Wheaton College). Paul Henry was a political science professor at conservative Calvin College in Grand Rapids when he felt a call to serve as a conservative Christian in politics and government. He served four terms and was elected to a fifth term when he died.

A quote of his came to my attention in a PR video from the college:

“The Christian who enters politics must do so with the aim of achieving political justice. He does this by subjecting his own personal ambition and desires to the scrutiny of God’s revelation in the Scriptures. And as God gives the grace to do so, he learns to make the needs of his neighbor his own. In so doing, his search for justice becomes an act of sacrificial love.”

How magnificent! A politician “subjecting his own personal ambition” and making “the needs of his neighbor his own.”  Trumpism (and I would add, Limbaughism) have bumped aside this wonderful outlook on service.  

Paul Henry was at home in Grand Rapids. I’m glad he’s not here to see how things have changed. Trumpism is noticeably rampant in his old district.  

Back in March, President Trump staged one of his first reelection rallies in Grand Rapids. The arena was packed with over 13,000 whoop-it-up fans. It’s startling to see thousands of upheld hands holding cameras.  You almost expect to hear “Heil!”   

Trump knows susceptible territory.  Grand Rapids hosted his final rally of the 2016 campaign, and he started there this time. 

And whataya know, the first guy to announce for the Republican nomination, to oppose Amash (now an Independent) in the general election, stated his platform as “pro-Trump…and pro-family values.” 

Trump and family values. I don’t know whether to laugh or throw up.
Lee Ballard, who lives in Mars Hill, has a website at



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