Tuesday, December 8, 2015


We're told to be afraid almost everyday. Muslim terrorists, you know.

The problem is your odds of dying in a terrorist related attack in the United States is about 1 in 20 million. So, why is it that we're being told to be afraid daily, as if death by terrorism is just around the corner? This is especially the case when you consider the following ...

You stand a far greater chance of winning the lottery, dying in a storm, getting hit by lightening, or falling and dying while getting out of bed than you do of dying in a terrorist related attack in America.

You're actually 2,000 times more likely to commit suicide than to die at the hands of a terrorist.

You're also 55 times more likely to be killed by a police officer in the United States (higher if you're a person of color, or live in Kern County) than dying from the handiwork of a terrorist.

There's something else you want to know and share with all the Chicken Little's who want you to be afraid of Muslim terrorists lurking behind every corner. According to the FBI the vast majority of terrorist acts in America (make that well over 90%) are carried out by non-Muslims.

There's much more, but you get the point. You're cowering friends and whiny colleagues are more paranoid than they need to be.

At the end of the day your chances of dying in a terrorist related act are about as good as Marty and Doc, who escaped death at the hands of Libyan terrorists, in Back to the Future.

Yeah, I know, Back to the Future wasn't real.

Well, guess what? Statistically speaking, neither are your fears of dying at the hands of Muslim terrorists in America.

The paranoia we see among many Americans are the product of several factors that - intentional or not - play on our worst fears and ugly biases.

CABLE TV: We have the insatiable 24 hour news cycle. You are not going to get sucked in to watch a channel unless you you have a reason. Learning more of your imminent death at the hands of a Muslim terrorist is a good reason to watch. Cue the panic music ...

RACISM/FEAR OF OTHERS: Adding to paranoia in America is a fear of people of color that we've always had in America, and a surging fear of Muslims. A fear of others has always been used to rile up the masses. Focusing on Muslims turns our traditional fears into a race-baiting bargain, a twofer of sorts.

Donald Trump understands how this works, and thinks he'll ride these fears into the White House. And, yes, this is the low hanging fruit of the cable news cycle too. It creates an air of suspicion and intolerance, and mixes well with the prospect of imminent death.

THE MILITARY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX: There are a good number of industries who benefit financially from a state of perpetual war and a paranoid domestic environment. Both allow these industries to get rich selling more weapons and security products. Indeed, a group of military contractors were recently caught bragging about the profits the war on ISIS will bring - as if they were some kind of capitalist gods. President Eisenhower warned us about this more than 50 years ago when he told us about the military industrial complex. These people have no interest in calming the domestic flames of paranoia in America.

I'm not going to address these issues, for now. But one thing is clear: We are constantly and unnecessarily being told to be afraid, and it's distracting us from larger real problems here and abroad.

So, what's the real problem, you ask? I'll make this as simple as possible, and let you read the links.

Simply put, our global and national economies are in trouble, again. Stock markets are falling, productivity is weak in spite of record borrowing, and there is simply too much debt that can't and will not be serviced when interest rates begin to rise.

BUBBLE ECONOMY: Think about it. The Federal Reserve and central banks around the world learned nothing from 2008 and have created the biggest financial bubble in world history. Yes, it's even bigger than the pre-2008 bubble. You can read about it herehere and here.

DEBT BINGE: Then we have a world economy and global stock markets that are dependent on artificially cheap money. The problem is that while companies have taken out trillions in low interest loans, they have used it for paper profits and not for investments that will spur productivity and growth. Today, U.S. companies have borrowed so much they now owe more than they did before the market crashed in 2008. You can read about it here and here.

GLOBAL STOCK MARKETS FALLING: Finally, in spite of unprecedented amounts of money being pushed into the system, dozens of stock markets from around the world are in a semi free fall from peaks that were set earlier this year. You can read about it here.

The fact that the vast majority of Americans have no clue or understanding about how artificially inflated and weak our economies are is troubling. The fact that we have no clue so soon after the market collapse of 2008 is simply mind numbing.

For this we can thank the cowards and Chicken Little's of our world who simply want to bang the drums of war. And they do this in spite of the fact that the ISIS-Terrorist threat in America is over dramatized and, quite frankly, overblown.

- Mark

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