Your Daily Two Minutes Fear

In George Orwell’s frighteningly prescient novel Nineteen Eighty-Four members of the Party in Oceania had to participate in a daily Two Minutes Hate. During the Two Minutes Hate the Party members are shown an image of Emmanuel Goldstein and are expected to scream obscenities, make threatening gestures, and perform other acts that demonstrate their hatred of the author of the book The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism.

Here in the United States that theme has been taken a slightly different albeit related direction. Instead of Two Minutes Hate we have a daily routine of Two Minutes Fear. Although the theme is slightly different the purpose is the same: instill loyalty to the State. Where Oceania’s Two Minutes Hate tried to accomplish this by focusing the populace’s anger at an outside source the United States plays on the populace’s fears. By instill a deep fear of pretty much everything the State tries to convince people that it is the only thing keeping them safe.

Halloween was yesterday so today’s Two Minutes Fear is not surprisingly Halloween related:

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) – The Washoe County Sheriff’s Office will offer free Halloween candy X-ray screening at the Washoe County Courthouse and the Mills Lane Justice Center the day after Halloween.

Court security staff will screen candy at the X-ray stations inside the courthouse entrances from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Tuesday, November 1, 2016. The Mills Lane Justice Center is at 1 S. Sierra Street and the Washoe County Courthouse is at 75 Court Street, both in downtown Reno.

Can you remember an incident in your neighborhood where a child ended up getting a piece of candy that had an embedded needle or razor blade in it? I’m guessing you can’t because the number of times that that has actually happened is so low that it is a statistical anomaly. If you’re worried about protecting your children you’d be far better off taking them to swimming lessons to protect them from drowning than getting their Halloween candy x-rayed by the Sheriff’s Office.

There is no value in taking candy to get x-rayed and there’s no conceivable way that the people running the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office are ignorant of that fact. After all, they have access to the number of criminal instances that have happened within the county and therefore know that the number of cases where metal has been embedded into Halloween candy is either zero or damn close to zero. But playing to people’s fears is what the State does. Why throw away a perfectly good opportunity to subtly encourage the people of Washoe County to be slightly more dependent on law enforcers to feel safe?

The Ignorant Stupidity That Is America

They say ignorance makes people fearful. If that’s the case the United States must be one of the most ignorant countries on Earth. People here in the United States like to talk a big game but it seems like most of them are scared of their own shadows. This is made most obvious when people fight against any attempt to defang the State. If you mention cutting military or law enforcement budgets you’ll suddenly find yourself surrounded by people saying, “But then the child molesting hacker terrorists will get us!”

This fear has becoming especially ridiculous amongst airline passengers. 15 years after 9/11 and airline passengers are still seeing terrorists in every seat. Does the person next to you speak a language that sounds Middle Easter? They’re a terrorist! Is the person next to you writing Arabic numerals? They’re also a terrorist:

Menzio said he was flying from Philadelphia to Syracuse on Thursday night and was solving a differential equation related to a speech he was set to give at Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada. He said the woman sitting next to him passed a note to a flight attendant and the plane headed back to the gate. Menzio, who is Italian and has curly, dark hair, said the pilot then asked for a word and he was questioned by an official.

“I thought they were trying to get clues about her illness,” he told The Associated Press in an email. “Instead, they tell me that the woman was concerned that I was a terrorist because I was writing strage things on a pad of paper.”

I guess the should have used Roman numerals. In all seriousness though, the fact that the woman sitting next to him saw a terrorist when she couldn’t make sense of what he was writing shows just how fearful this society has become. It’s even more absurd that the flight attendant who she passed the note to didn’t ignore the concern outright. Without any evidence the flight attendant called the badged men with guns to the plane to harass a passenger. Further adding to the absurdity was the security guards not dismissing the call for lack of evidence. But they were likely afraid of losing their jobs if the reporting passenger or flight attendant told the press that they reported a suspected terrorist and the security team failed to respond. And the media would certainly take the angle of lazy security guards putting passengers at risk of a terrorist attack over the angle of the security team acting in a reasonable manner when no evidence of wrongdoing is presented.

Dial 1-800-ISIS-HLP

The mainstream media has been hard at work trying to make extremely mundane things appear terrifying by pointing out Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) uses them. Take phone-based technical support. It’s something most of us have used at some point in our lives. The only things frightening about it are wait times, trying to explain to the poor sap reading from their script that you’ve already performed the basic trouble shooting steps, and having your call dropped when you miraculously get connected to the one competent support specialist in the entire company. But NBC News decided mundane technical support is something that could be made absolutely terrifying by combining it with ISIS:

NBC News has learned that ISIS is using a web-savvy new tactic to expand its global operational footprint — a 24-hour Jihadi Help Desk to help its foot soldiers spread its message worldwide, recruit followers and launch more attacks on foreign soil.

Counterterrorism analysts affiliated with the U.S. Army tell NBC News that the ISIS help desk, manned by a half-dozen senior operatives around the clock, was established with the express purpose of helping would-be jihadists use encryption and other secure communications in order to evade detection by law enforcement and intelligence authorities.

The relatively new development — which law enforcement and intel officials say has ramped up over the past year — is alarming because it allows potentially thousands of ISIS followers to move about and plan operations without any hint of activity showing up in their massive collection of signals intelligence.

Although I highly doubt the claim that this help desk system is a new development its existence doesn’t change anything. Information on using secure communications technology has been publicly available on the Internet for years. There are numerous well-written step-by-step guides that walk users through setting up and using tools for communicating securely. They’re used by victims of domestic abuse who need to contact help without their abuser knowing, political dissidents in countries ruled by ruthless regimes, buyers and sellers of prohibited goods in countries ruled by regimes willing to storm homes at oh dark thirty and shoot family pets over some plants, and many other at risk individuals.

But technology is amoral and serves both the good and the bad alike. A car can whisk you from home to work but it can also help a bank robber escape after a heist. A gun can allow a frail 80 year-old woman to defend herself against a physically fit 20 year-old rapist but it can also be used by a police officer to murder a cannabis user. Encryption is no different.

Fearing something mundane because an evil person or organization is using it is idiotic. Every technology we have developed has been used by both good and evil people. That will never change.

Law Enforcement To Subjects: Don’t Have Fun On Halloween

Halloween is easily the most fun holiday of the year. For adults it’s an opportunity to don a costume, head to a party, and get blitzed. Unless they have kids, because for kids it’s an opportunity to don a costume, fill bags with candy, and eat until the sugar rush turns into a crash. Since it is the State’s holy mission to turn nations into gigantic no-fun zones it’s no surprise that United States law enforcers are trying to make people fear Halloween.

I thought the economically nonsensical fear mongering over drug dealers handing kids hundreds of dollars worth of ecstasy was as pathetic as it could get but the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) has upped the ante. The agency best known for creating terrorists and then thwarting them is claiming that us evil anarchists are planning to kill cops on Halloween:

The FBI has issued an alert to law enforcement about a possible “Halloween Revolt” by a dangerous anarchist group, an official has confirmed to CBS News.

Federal officials issued a bulletin to local police departments about the potential for attacks against their officers, CBS News has learned.

As first reported by the New York Post, a group known as the National Liberation Militia may be planning to dress in costume, cause a disturbance, and then ambush police who come to help. The Post reports the group has recommended members wear typical holiday masks and bring weapons like bricks and firearms.

Us anarchists have better things to do on Halloween than harass cops (you know, that whole donning a costume and getting blitzed thing). This fear mongering exists solely to feed the nonexistent war on cops. It gives local law enforcement justification to thump skulls, because anything they do is justifiable so long as they can claim they felt their safety was at risk, and the tough-on-crime crowd something to excuse acts of police brutality on.

Don’t let the terrorists win. Go out and enjoy your Halloween.

Halloween Fear Mongering

Every year around this time the police try to scare parents about trick or treating. I’m pretty sure it’s either a ploy by law enforcers to reduce their work load by getting kids off of the street or make themselves look important to the safety of the community. This year police are again claiming that drug dealers are going to be handing out drugs to trick or treaters:

The Jackson, Miss. Police Department issued a warning for pressed Ecstasy pills that could be mistaken for Halloween candy if they ended up in children’s hands.

While stories of kids being given poisoned or tainted Halloween treats are mostly the stuff of urban legend, it’s always a good idea to check your child’s candy before letting them eat it.

Stuff of urban legend is right. Drug dealers aren’t fucking idiots. They’re in a business to make a profit. Ecstasy is a popular illicit drug, which means it commands a pretty penny. What drug dealer is going to hand out thousands of dollars in profit to a bunch of brats in costumes? If your neighborhood drug dealer is handing out anything to trick or treaters it’s going to be the same candy as everybody else.

Whenever the police try to drug up fear by insinuating somebody is going to do bad things to children ask yourself if the claim even makes sense. A drug dealer handing out ecstasy doesn’t make any goddamn sense so any warnings about it happen should be discarded.

Please Remember To Be Afraid This July 4th

The federal government has a very important message for you. This July 4th, instead of enjoying yourselves and having a good time, you should be paralyzed with pants shitting fear! You see, the Islamic State (ISIS) is going to strike the homeland and you’re all going to die!

WASHINGTON – As our nation’s capital gets ready for its massive Fourth of July celebration, there are new warnings about a possible terror attack centered on Independence Day. The warning comes as thousands of people are expected to be on the National Mall this weekend.

The FBI, Homeland Security and the National Counterterrorism Center are all warning local law enforcement about a heightened concern involving possible terror attacks targeting the July 4th holiday. U.S. Park Police officials say they received the bulletin.

“We always take great care, we are constantly monitoring the updated security situation and we have a very robust security plan,” said Lt. Alan Griffith of the U.S. Park Police.

National security analysts say the warning is different and serious this year because of ISIS. They point to U.S.-based extremists who just this year launched attacks in Boston and Dallas and an arrest of a Virginia teenager for helping a friend join ISIS.

If you have any question what this is actually about this video clip explains it perfectly:

Did ISIS actually issue a threat or is this just another one of those “speculations based on unconfirmed reports from credible unspecified sources?” Who knows. It would be to ISIS’s benefit to issue such threats from time to time because they force the United States government to invest a lot of resources into investigating and preparing without actually costing ISIS anything. When you’re the smaller force in a conflict you need to expend as few resources as possible to get your opponent to invest as many resources as possible. If you succeed you wear them down and can ultimately achieve victory. On the other hand the government loves its “credible threats issued by unspecified sources.”

Either way the likelihood of an actual terrorist attack this weekend is basically zero. Don’t let yourself get caught up in the state’s fear mongering. Go out and enjoy yourselves, have a good time, and blow some shit up.

How the State Manipulates Statistics

Any Internet argument that goes on for more than a few comments will inevitably result in all sides throwing statistics at one another. Statistics are the Internet argument equivalent of artillery fire and no form of statistics is as effective as government statistics. Government statistics, for some bizarre reason, are considered the most impartial by most people. However government statistics are usually skewed to favor, well, the government. From removing entire groups of people from unemployment statistics to conveniently ignoring the difference between full-time and part-time employment the state likes to cook the books to make its story sound good.

But governments don’t just manipulate statistics to pain a rosy picture. Sometimes they manipulate statistics to create a crisis. I’m fairly certain that’s what’s going on in Britain as its National Health Service (NHS) redefines female genital mutilation (FGM) to include voluntary vaginal piercings:

The NHS compulsory reporting regulations are intended to protect women and girls from the sometimes fatal practice of intentionally altering or causing injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.

FGM has been illegal in the UK since 1985, though recent studies suggest some 170,000 women and girls have undergone the procedure, while the NSPCC says 70 women a month seek treatment for the crime.

But under a directive which follows the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) definition of FGM, the term also applies to any women who has consented to having her clitoris or labia pierced for fashion or sexual reasons, meaning medical professionals will be obliged to record such adornments as such.

What does this do to the FGM statistic? It makes it appear to be a much larger problem than it is. Mind you FGM is a horrendous practice but manipulating the statistic to make it appear more common than it really is doesn’t help anybody. Except the state, of course. No crisis goes to waste when a government is around and a sudden “increase” (i.e. change in how the statistic is recorded) in FGM makes a good argument for the government to pass legislation that grants it more investigative and enforcement powers.

Keep this story in mind when you’re looking for a statistic to make your point or somebody throws a government statistic at you as a counterargument. If it’s a government statistic that doesn’t automatically make it impartial or accurate. The statistic very well may have been manipulated for any number of reasons. Furthermore any major changes noted in a statistic could be methodology related and have no bearing on a problem actually being discussed.

Terrorists are Crossing Our Borders

We interrupt this blog for another special Fear Day announcement! Extremely reliable sources have obtained footage of actual Islamic State (IS) terrorists crossing the Canadian border:

Holy shit! That’s some scary footage! It not only appears as though these terrorists are capable of infiltrating America but they’ve been training in ninjutsu to improve their chances of entering undetected (obviously this extremely dangerous terrorist failed his ninjutsu training as we can clearly see him)! We may be seeing a repeat of the ninja crime wave that plagued this country during the late ’80s and early ’90s.

But the this video shows why it’s critically important for you to keep an watchful eye out for suspicious individuals (namely anybody whose skin is a bit darker than European or is dressed like a ninja). You never know where they will try to strike.

A Special Fear Day Announcement for Retail Workers

On this most frightful Fear Day the Department of Motherland Fatherland Homeland Security (DHS) has a very special message for those of you working retail:

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said his department will be issuing new guidance to retailers this week giving them pointers on how to spot potential terrorists among their customers by looking at what they’re buying.

While saying the government cannot prohibit sales of some everyday materials, Mr. Johnson said retailers should be trained to look for anyone who buys a lot from what he described as a “long list of materials that could be used as explosive precursors.”

That’s right, those of you working retail our this country’s first line of defense! It is you who can identify terrorists buying supplies to build bombs! It is you who can report all suspicious persons to Big Brother! It is you who can save the lives of your fellow countrymen before some terrorist shitbag has a chance to act! The safety of our entire nation now rests of your ever vigilant shoulders!

So what sorts of things should a vigilant retail employee look for? How about pressure cookers:

“We can’t and we shouldn’t prohibit the sale of a pressure cooker. We can sensitize retail businesses to be on guard for suspicious behavior by those who buy this kind of stuff,” Mr. Johnson said during a question-and-answer session after a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Is that person buying a pressure cooker a chef, person who cans food, or terrorist plotting to bomb the people you know and love? Don’t take chances, if you see somebody attempting to buy a pressure cooker call the police and allow them to interrogate the buyer.

Obviously the fine people at the DHS will have many more guidelines. But the bottom line is this: just because you have absolutely no security or counter-terrorism training doesn’t mean you can’t point the finger at random people and accuse them of wrongdoing. Fear best propagates when we believe everybody is out to get us so do you part by spreading fear of your customers.

Frightful Fear Day


That image should sufficiently piss a bunch of people off. Now that I’ve weeded out the easily offended it’s time for me to put forth a proposal. Every year on September 11th we take time out of our busy schedule to remember those who died during the World Trade Center attack that happened on September 11th, 2001. Shortly after the attacks people talked about the need to continue living our lives as we had been and not giving into the fear. Not too long after that the message changed. We were supposed to continue living our lives as we had been but we were also supposed to be scared of the terrorists. As is common the message of fear was precursor to war and we ended up going into both Afghanistan, a place the played a sizable role in the collapse of the Soviet Union, and Iraq, a place we had been to before and no actual justification for going there again. And that brings to my proposal. I hereby propose that 9/11 be named Fear Day.

My reason for this is simple. Every year on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks our politicians begin talking about the need for Americans to fear somebody. This year it’s the Islamic State (IS), which Obama gave a prime time Two Minutes Hate against last night. And today people all across the country are going to find ways to overtly and tacitly connect the 9/11 attacks and the IS. Every one of those connections will be based on fear of what happened 13 years ago. Meaningless phrases such as “Never again!” and “Never forget!” will be parroted by those who have succumbed to the state’s fear mongering of the IS.

Since we’re subjected to this fear mongering every goddamned year I figured it’s high time to make an official holiday out of it. There’s a lot we could do to celebrate a holiday based on fear. For example, we could have an official Two Minutes Hate:

That would be fun! We could also have play a game where we each try to turn in as many of our neighbors as possible for suspicious activities. Not only would that game help instill fear but it would teach us to be ever vigilant. How about a tradition of going to our local police station and confessing the instances of wrongthink we’ve had over the last year? It would be a great way to help the police identify those who commit the most instances of wrongthink, which would help them keep a more watchful eye on potentially dangerous citizens. And no holiday would be complete without a parade! For the Fear Day parade local police departments could get out their armored personnel carriers, don their riot gear, and load up their rifles for a march the Soviet Union would be envious of:

Of course the police would be expected to load their grenade launchers with candy filled canisters so they can launch much coveted sweets into crowds of children!

Let me close this proposal but wishing you a frightening Fear Day! Now run along and spread the word!