Call me unpatriotic. I dare you.
Sep 11th, 2011 by scaredpoet


Yesterday morning, I saw something I hadn’t seen in almost 10 years.  It was a military convoy; a column of drab olive green army vehicles , the type you’d think are commonplace in areas like Iraq, or Afghanistan.  Only it wasn’t.  This convoy was on the New Jersey Turnpike, which granted has a few military installations off a couple of the exits, but the timing and size of the particular movement was interesting to say the least.

That isn’t the only thing going on though.  With the 10 anniversary of the September 11 attacks upon us, and while people are going all out to “remember and reflect,” the public and the government are busy working themselves up into a tizzy, with news outlets chattering away about a “credible but unconfirmed” threat of a new attack occurring today.

Nevermind that “credible” and “unconfirmed” seem to be completely contradictory.  For the past 10 years, we’ve been living in contradictory times.

For the past 10 years, we’ve accepted a paradox in which we find it acceptable to “protect” our way of life by blindly sacrificing the constitutional rights that are central to that way of life.  Somewhere along the line, the attacks were used as an excuse to make safety and privacy mutually exclusive constructs.

We perpetuate a farce in which some of us harrumph around that religion is being marginalized.  But in saying “religion,” what’s really meant is “White conservative protestants.”  When certain other religions are mentioned, well, it’s okay to marginalize those savages. And don’t dare try to justify the positions of atheists, secularists and agnostics.  ”Religious freedom” for the last 10 years has been predicated on having very little freedom of religion, at all.

And most of all, patriotism has been distorted.  It’s no longer having pride in our country, but in harboring anger and a desire for revenge, and encapsulating it in hyper-populist propaganda and images.  You’re not a patriot unless you lace your speech with hate for “the terrorists.”

Most importantly, there’s something even more insidious.  It’s not that terror threat levels, being groped in airports by government employees, and a sharper, harsher ultra-demagoguous political rhetoric has permeated our discourse.  What irks me the most is that people are no longer viewed as patriotic if they choose not to “remember” 9-11 in an “acceptable” way.  And by “acceptable” I mean: staring at replayed images and videos, reliving the moments over and over.  Continuing to be victims.  Choosing to remain stuck in the past.  Refusing to heal. And punctuating the decor of websites, blog posts and even storefronts and walls with meaningless tug-at-your-heartstrings artwork like this little gem…

I can respect the pain of families of victims of the 9-11 attacks.  But I must also point out a view that, while unpopular and possibly even deemed “unpatriotic,” is very simply a basic tenet of psychological therapy: dwelling in the past is unhealthy.  Remembering isn’t a good thing, if you refuse to move on.  I honestly think that all the discourse, all the malaise, all the economic problems and the political strife in our country today is based on a refusal to move past this… to continue to wave 9-11 in everyone’s faces, over and over.

We must move on.  We must stop being afraid.  We must decide, collectively, to resume living our life instead of endlessly grieving.  We must reclaim our rights again, and re-learn to accept a basic tenet that we used to live by, but have chosen since late 2001 to ignore: “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

As long as we continue to have memorial services to mourn the dead and reflect on what the terrorists did to “us,” we should also hold equally solemn memorial services for the additional, even more serious injuries we’ve inflicted upon ourselves.

Until that happens, we simply will not heal.  The way to beat terrorism isn’t by living in fear, and by systematically dismantling our freedoms and converting our way of life into a police state.  The way to beat terrorism is by refusing to be terrorized.

What saddens me is there appear to be those who don’t want to heal.  And to me, that is the most unpatriotic thing to do of all.

How to fight a revolution badly (and lose nearly all control of your regime)
Feb 23rd, 2011 by scaredpoet

Hey, when did Bob Dylan take over Libya?!

Dear Despots, Dictators, Autocrats, and other overlord-style rulers of the world,

It appears that we live in interesting times.  In case you’ve been living under a rock (or an underground bunker or heavily-armored government compound) and haven’t heard the news recently, there’s a lot of social unrest going on in certain parts of the world.  Some of your friends have even been toppled from power, or are very close to being so.  Although you may think it impossible, you could be next!

Interestingly, all of your brethren so far, having had to face a comeuppance from the citizens that they formerly regarded as trash and cannon fodder, all seemed to follow a very specific and identical game plan for clinging desperately to power.

So far this action plan has failed miserably in pretty much all cases, but that’s beside the point! Clearly, you despots have some sort of Dictator’s Bible or something that you follow religiously.

What’s that, you say?  In your desperation to batten down the hatches and prepare for the revolution, you left your copy in your other safe house?  Well fear not!  For your pals at are going to document the steps to (un-)successful counterinsurgency, so that you too can doggedly follow a uniform procedure that will hasten your hopefully-swift demise!

Step 1: Pull the plug on communications networks


Let’s face it.  Your enemies looooove to express their thoughts.  Whenever they find some dirt to dish, they’ll be sure to blog, or tweet, or facebook their anger, clearly thumbing their nose at your byzantine speech-stifling policies.  Who knew that a silly website created by a smarmy American with Asperger’s syndrome would be the catalyst to foment your political downfall by your own subjects?

While it was clearly a mistake to dismiss social media as a passing fad instead of squelching it from the start, you can still do something about it.  Being the awesome autocrat you are, it should be fairly easy for you to just pull the plug on your backward country’s already-slow internet connection.  While you’re at it, take an axe to the telephone networks too, especially cell phones.

Nothing pisses off an angry mob more than taking away their favorite chit-chat sites.  You know the ones that, although used to organize your overthrow now, probably also served to keep the revolution in check for a while by giving the public an outlet to vent their frustrations.  Now, without quick access to their prized twitter hashtags, you’ll quickly turn a relatively organized group of peaceful activists with formal demands into an angry, rebellious mob of malcontents who won’t stop until you’re dead or gone.


Step 2: Blame it on the Foreigners

So, after removing your peoples’ connection to the rest of the world, you find that they still manage to muster up the initiative to hold pesky rallies, and protests, and just plain being nasty ne’er-do-wells in the middle of your monumental squares and such.  Damn!

Not to worry.  Your next step is to begin using traditional media – which you obviously control –  to rouse up your supporters.  Yeah, all five of them.  The message that’s currently in vogue is that this whole revolution business is the crazy idea of a bunch of foreigners influencing the young and naive.  Surely, after you’ve cut off their access, those foreign people have a found a way to instill hateful, murderous thoughts of silly, lofty things like, you know, freedom and democracy and peace, and all that fluffy stuff.  Disgusting, right?!

I mean, you can even say the protestors out there don’t even look like they’re from your country, at all…

Such childish whimsy must be stopped, and the fictitious foreign agents who are feeding your people this trash eliminated.  Making rambling speeches about this is the way to go!   This will also make sure that any actual foreigners who were dumb enough to be on your police-state country do end up fleeing, taking with them any economic investment possibilities.

If the foreigner angle doesn’t quite work out, you can also mix in allegations that the rabble-rousers are just a bunch of youths.  You can even accuse them of being on hallucinogenic drugs.

The whole foreign angle is particularly important, to defray any attention that people might bring to your next step…

Step 3: Hire a bunch of foreign mercenaries.

So, everyone in your cabinet has decided you’re crazy.  You can’t trust your military to back you up because they’ve been drummed with that hogwash about “protecting the citizens,” and the special police forces and battalions that you thought were loyal to you balk when you order them to shoot at and bomb unarmed civilians. Cowards!

What’s worse, even your ambassdors in other countries won’t represent you.  So, now what do you do?  Simple!  Do what American business have been doing for almost two decades now: outsource!  Just farm out the nasty deeds to cheap, desperate, ruthless foreign mercenaries.  Problem solved!

Think about it: there’s plenty of washed-up soldiers from lawless African countries who have seen enough death and destruction in their lifetimes that mowing down a few hundred more innocent civilians isn’t going to be any sweat off their back.  All they’ll care about is getting their paycheck and a steady supply of weapons and ammo.  It’s a win-win!


Step 4: Deny, Deny, Deny!

“There is no revolution here!  None!”

So, after blindly following the above steps, it’s come down to this.  Your hold on power is tenuous at best.  The international community has seen what you’ve done to your people and have condemned you.  It’s only a matter of time before the end of your regime will come… or has it already?

When all else fails, you can keep everyone confused and guessing by merely denying reality.  Make up your own rendition of the facts.  Deny that anything is wrong. Insist that your grip on power is solid.  And keep telling yourself these things, even if you must repeat them over and over… you need to convince yourself that it’s true, at least as much as you need to try and convince everyone else.

It might also help if you have a pattern of eccentricity established beforehand… like insisting your autocratic regime is a perfect democracy already.

And there you have it.  By stiffly following a few simple steps, you too can see your power base crumble before your eyes at the speed of a tweet.  Remember: giving in to your citizens demands is for weaklings!  Only the truly stupid and heartless have the most spectular, cable-news-ratings-garnering falls from power.  Make it a good show!


...and, to all of those people out there who are fighting for freedom, democracy, and quality of life: seriously, keep doing what you’re doing!  Your life is what you make of it, and true democracies are never handed to the people… they fight for it. I applaud all activists of freedom, because we need to continue to fight for it, both abroad and closer to home.

Legislative grandstanding makes for “Sh*tty” TV
Apr 27th, 2010 by scaredpoet

A while back I ranted about the complete and utter usefulness of senate and congressional hearings, and how they just end up being a dog & pony show for polticians to try and look good to the public as they grill the Bad Guys in testimony, while in fact doing absolutely nothing of real use.

Well, they’re still grandstanding. As if we haven’t figured it out by now, after 2+ years of a crappy economy, the Senate is just now “getting to the bottom of” that Big Bad Financial Scandal. In particular, the Goldman Sachs thing.

My prediction: Next week, the Senate will open hearings on indecency and profane language on cable news networks. Because today during that Goldman Sachs Senate hearing, this went out over the airwaves, uttered by a senator. Into people’s homes, into workplaces and offices, in waiting rooms and airports, and certainly within earshot of children…


No, I’m no prude. The profanities spill out of my mouth so often that sailors blush. But these lawmakers are the same people who get all in a huff over indecency in the media now and then. Shouldn’t they practice what they preach? We certainly could’ve gotten the gist of the message without the “s” bomb landing on TV at least 5 times in less than two minutes.

That was a shitty thing for Carl Levin to do, if you ask me.

Just sayin’...

The terrorists might not win, but we’ve still lost.
Jan 10th, 2010 by scaredpoet

It’s over folks.  The age of civilian air travel is coming to an abrupt end.  It’s time to mothball our jets, shut the airlines, and go back to trains and ocean liners as our primary means of long distance travel.  The United States as a country simply cannot fly anymore.

Why? Because of terrorism you ask?  No, not because of terrorism.  It’s because we’ve become a nation of panicky pussies.  That’s why.

To be sure, on Christmas day 2009, a terrorist did try – we think – to blow up a plane.  Hiding a syringe with chemicals and incendiary devices in his underwear, he ignited his payload as the flight he was one prepared to land in Detroit.  The only immediate casualties, fortunately, were his crotch and – we hope – his ability to procreate. In this case, Darwin may have prevailed.

Shortly thereafter though, I realized that one other casualty resulted from this incident: our common sense.  It started right away with Republicans and politicians in Washington.  Rather than actually caring about the safety of the public and working towards learning from this experience to see how we can adapt reasonably and safely to this threat, if it IS a threat, they chose to pounce on this as a media stunt and politcal scare tactic.  That’s right, because some silly Nigerian chose to roast his crotch on a flight, to them this clearly meant that Obama failed us.

So, while Washington was busy wrestling with that idea and preferring to focus on the potential political fallout of whether “the system” was working or not, the people who are allegedly tasked with protecting the public good and safety basically stopped focusing on protecting the public’s good and safety.  Inevitably, this means “the system” that everyone was so busy arguing about has pretty much begun to break down all on its own anyway. That left the general public with the impression that they must now pretty much fend for themselves on the matter.

The result?  Now we must get molested before we board an airplane, even though it probably won’t help the situation anyway.  We now also have to deal with air travel being more erratic and unpredictable than before, ranging from the cut off of internet access and other in-flight amenities, to denying passengers the use of bathroom facilities.  Because we all know that terrorists won’t possibly consider blowing up the plane if they will be denied those last couple minutes of facebook-time, or are unable to take a leak before the big moment, right?

Of course, none of these measures really add to the security of the flights.  The hope, everyone agrees, is that maybe it’ll just help people feel a little safer, even though we’ve already told them, through the powers of twitter, cable TV news and the iReport, that these measures are fruitless and ineffective.

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It’s only a plane! Get over it!
Apr 27th, 2009 by scaredpoet


I am absolutely gobsmacked over how many people have decided that they still need to wear their self-made 9/11 scars like a victim badge. A ton of people got butthurt today all because a silly plane flew over manhattan with F16s in tow:

NEW YORK (CNN)—A White House official apologized Monday after a low-flying Boeing 747 spotted above the Manhattan skyline frightened workers and residents into evacuating buildings.

The aircraft was a White House plane taking part in a classified, government-sanctioned photo shoot, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

Just listen to these self-important idiots try to make a nothing-story all about them:

The incident outraged many New Yorkers, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

“First thing is, I’m annoyed—furious is a better word—that I wasn’t told,” he said, calling the aviation administration’s decision to withhold details about the flight “ridiculous” and “poor judgment.”

Awww, I’m sooo sorry, Mikey! I’m sure the FAA will be sure to tell you from now on about every military or government flight that goes over your precious city, ‘kay? And how bout next time when you decide to push term limits and get the public to think they have a voice in politics, you tell us that you’re only foolin’ before you yank it all away, hah?

But while the mayor was throwing a temper tantrum, some Ph.D. decided this would be an excellent money making opportunity. 9/11 bailout, anyone?

Linda Garcia-Rose, who works with nearly two dozen post-traumatic stress disorder patients ages 15 to 47, said she was inundated with phone calls from patients Monday morning.

“They’re traumatized. They’re asking ‘How could this happen?’ They’re nervous. Their anxiety levels are high,” she said.

Garcia-Rose is considering filing a class-action suit against the government for sanctioning the plane’s unannounced flight. “I believe the government has done something really wrong,” she said.

No dear, you’re the one doing something wrong. It’s been seven and a half years, and your patients still wet their knickers when a plane flies overhead? Your patients should be suing you!

People, I’m sorry to tell you this, but there are limits to being coddled and made to feel all fuzzy by the government. We need to quit acting like children, frightened over the boogeyman whenever a jet happens to roar overhead. We have truly become a nation of sniveling weaklings, and if we haven’t gotten over this nearly a decade after it happened, then in that regard the terrorists truly have won.

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