Did you know that WAL-MART spelled backwards is TRAM-LAW, as in “TRAMple the LAW to help out military take over Texas?” Just ask Chuck Norris, because of course he would know…. (More)

Ahh, for the good old days when all we had to worry about was backward song lyrics. You know, like when you play a country-western song in reverse: you get your dog back, then your truck, then your wife, and finally your job.

Okay, that’s not what the backward masking brouhaha was. In fact, that wasn’t even about backward masking, a perceptual phenomenon where a brief, calm stimulus can go undetected if a strong ‘target stimulus’ follows within 50 milliseconds. No one is quite sure why, but they think the calm stimulus gets chased down and drowned out before the brain can process it.

Regardless, the Religious Reich conspiracy theory was about backmasking, the idea that rock musicians were implanting messages that you could only hear consciously if you played the songs backward. This was part of the larger Rock Music Is Evil. For example, the Religious Reich said the line “Sail on, silver girl” in Paul Simon’s love ballad “Bridge Over Troubled Water” was really about the street nickname for a heroin needle and the whole song was telling kids to use drugs. In fact Simon wrote “Sail on, silver girl” as a special message to his girlfriend Peggy, who was upset about having her first grey hairs.

And like the “silver girl” myth, backmasking is complete rubbish. Yes, “kiss, kiss, kiss” said backward sounds like “sick, sick, sick.” That’s not a conspiracy. It’s a phonetic coincidence, like the fact that “golf” said backward sounds like “flog.” Except if you’ve played golf, that actually makes sense.

Anyway if you play other songs backward, you’ll ‘hear’ familiar patterns in the noise, for the same reason you ‘see’ familiar patterns in clouds. It’s called pareidolia, and unless you think ice crystals in the sky are part of some grand conspiracy – as some people do – you know the animals or faces are mere coincidence.

So, back in 1962 when Sam WALton opened his first discount MARTfrom the Middle Dutch markt, meaning market – he wasn’t planting the first seeds of a military takeover of Texas. And he certainly didn’t name his store TRAM-LAW – for TRAMple the LAW – and then reverse it to WAL-MART.

But wackadoodles do what wackadoodles do – yes, several roosters did look up as I wrote that; why do you ask? – and yesterday Walmart explained to Talking Points Memo that no, they didn’t recently close five southwestern stores so the buildings can be used as feeding stations for the Chinese troops who will invade after the U.S. military disarms Texans during Operation JADE-HELM. Also, no, there are no tunnels connecting those stores so the Chinese can move around secretly.

And no, I didn’t make any of this up. The WAL-MART-to-TRAM-LAW bit came from a clever TPM reader. She’s actually more clever than the conspiracy wackos, who think you reverse the WAL and move it after the MART and you get MARTial LAW. And that nifty bit of nuttitude has been around since 2007.

For the record, you can also rearrange the letters of Walmart and get MALT WAR and TRAWL MA. So if battling beer companies show up to cover your mom with masonry mortar, you’ll know why. (I did that for the Freemasons, who hate to be left out of any conspiracy theory.)

The point is, you should stop laughing and take all of this seriously because Chuck Norris says so:

Last week, I laughed as some progressives in the mainstream media tried to mock Gov. Abbott for telling the Texas State Guard to monitor the Pentagon’s Jade Helm 15 military ops that are occurring this summer in seven states, including California and Texas.

If you haven’t heard about Jade Helm 15, you need to. It is multi-state training mission for special operations soldiers scheduled over an eight-week period in July and August, with most of the activity happening on private property but some public, too. The official website press release from March 24 admits: “While multi-state training exercises such as these are not unique to the military, the size and scope of Jade Helm sets this one apart.”

Gov. Abbot was right in writing Maj. Gen. Gerald Betty, “During the training operation, it is important that Texans know their safety, constitutional rights, private property rights and civil liberties will not be infringed.” Abbott is demanding “regular updates on the progress and safety of the Operation.”

Concerned Texans and Americans are in no way calling into question our brave and courageous men and women in uniform. They are merely following orders. What’s under question are those who are pulling the strings at the top of Jade Helm 15 back in Washington. The U.S. government says, “It’s just a training exercise.” But I’m not sure the term “just” has any reference to reality when the government uses it.

“Well, I’m not trusting what we’re being told,” said Mike Hightower, an affable antique store owner and real-estate agent in the very small town of Smithville, Texas, where some Jade Helm 15 exercises will take place. He added, “I think there’s something a little more involved than what they’re telling us.”

If Washington wants to cool the embers of controversy, then it should quit stoking the fire, as with the posting of a map of Jade Helm 15 “just” exercises that label some areas of the country, including Texas, as “hostile,” according to KHOU 11 News in Houston and verified by the Washington Post.

Never mind that military exercises routinely designate “hostile” regions within the training area. Last year’s Operation BOLD ALLIGATOR – which anagrams to BALLAD LOG RIOT, LORD GOT LABIAL, and ALTAR IDOL BLOG – designated a big chunk of the Southeast as “Garnet,” an enemy country backing terrorist groups in the “Garnet Enclave” area of North Carolina. Of course that didn’t turn into a military take over, probably because they were stopped by those singing log rioters. Or maybe they were stopped by a female deity whose website features an altar with her statue.

If this were just wackadoodles doing what wackadoodles do – what is it with those roosters? – I wouldn’t care. But yesterday Texas Gov. Greg Abbott insisted he had to call out the state guard to monitor the U.S. military because people were frightened. And for the record, his name anagrams to GRAB TOT BEG and TART EGG BOB. So if he tries to get your kids to dunk their heads in a barrel to catch sour eggs with their mouths….

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Good day and good nuts