The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

The Balloons Are Coming …

Feb 20, 2023

There are balloons in the sky all over the U.S. What does it mean? Why send up a fighter jet with a missile costing $400,000 to shoot it down?

Senator Ted Cruz joked last week that the missiles might have shot down a hobby club’s $12 balloon. Cruz added, "To be fair, Biden is providing a powerful deterrence for any high school science clubs that might try to invade America…." Who knew Ted Cruz was such a comedian?

The hysterical tone of the U.S. government and some of the media reminds older people of a similar tone in the so-called Cold War from the 1950s and 60s. That time, it was “the Russians are coming.” But in reality, what was shot down? In 1960, a U.S. spy plane was shot down by the Russian Air Defense Force over the Soviet Union.

Maybe the Chinese government just sent over a spy balloon, maybe not. Or maybe, in a few months, there will be a quiet announcement that it was actually a weather balloon. Already Biden went on TV to say three of the four objects shot down were not likely to be spyware. In fact, the government said they could not even recover two of the objects.

Every single year the U.S. National Weather Service launches 60,000 balloons, going up into the area that is now called “near space.” This area in the skies is above where commercial jets fly, about 20 or 30 miles up. According to the World Meteorological Organization, there are many thousands more.

The skies over our heads are quite full of stuff, even without wild conspiracy theories about alien spaceships. A lot is going on up above the earth. Does it get talked about? No, not unless the U.S. government wants the population to start worrying over “foreign” spies. What we really can worry about is taxpayer-funded spying that could provoke the next war!