Yesterday, an incendiary device went off in the London Underground. The media went wall-to-wall. ISIS took credit. And Trump tweeted some nonsense before any facts were known. Londoners, on the other hand, were singularly unimpressed.

Yes, 30 people were hurt, but most not seriously. And no one suffered any life-threatening injuries. But, as usual, terrorists will be delighted with the overreaction. Fox News, for one, reported that London was ‘gripped by fear’. Which would be news to Londoners.

As someone who grew up in London, I can safely say that the English are phlegmatic. Neither self-congratulatory nor prone to the sort of bedwetting Fox promotes in its viewers. But so many of us (I am an American) fall for the official ‘sky is falling’ rhetoric of politicians.

ISIS, and the like, know that they can’t win a shooting war with the US. But they can hope to disrupt American lives and get us to waste a whole lot of money. And waste money we have done — more than terrorists could have dreamed of.

After 9/11, attacking Afghanistan seemed reasonable — but terrorists struck the motherlode when we invaded Iraq. It wasn’t just the money we spent; It was that we also toppled the region’s strongest bulwark against terrorism. Iraq was the one Muslim country where terrorism had no foothold. And unlike Iran, no record of underwriting terrorist organizations.

At home, we now stand in ever longer security lines. While police departments — in towns no one has ever heard of — are showered with federal anti-terrorist largesse. And this despite how many Muslim terrorist attacks on American soil?

Which raises the question why can’t Americans be more like the British? Why can’t we “keep calm and carry on”? Why are we so scared? I don’t know. But generations of weak-kneed, pusillanimous politicians haven’t helped.

I am sure that there are cynical politicians using Orwellian language and imaginary enemies to keep their jobs. But I suspect that the majority of fear-mongering in Washington and state capitols is from dyed-in-the-wool Chicken Littles clinging to the ‘be afraid, very afraid’ bandwagon.

And icing that cake are the purveyors of commercial paranoia, the aforementioned Fox and its comrades in cowardice — i.e., the rest of the media.

And if that isn’t enough we can worry about a crazy man, with dodgy hair, and a finger on the nuclear trigger. Because if ISIS isn’t keeping its end up Kim Jong-un has emerged as a handy repository for all our night-terrors and amorphous, existential fears.



It’s Not Just Terrorism: How Americans Die.

May 25, 2017

Nobody can watch the video of the bombing of Ariana Grande’s in Manchester – a concert attended by innocent youth – and not be shocked at the carnage. No reasonable person can fathom the thinking that convinces a man to strap on an explosive – designed to inflict the maximum suffering – and blow himself up in […]

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Donald Trump Campaigns To Be Sadist In Chief.

March 30, 2016

“The healthy man does not torture others – generally it is the tortured who turn into torturers.’ – Carl Jung Donald Trump’s campaign has taken a turn for the worse – and who knew there was a worse? He is now threatening to ban all abortions and punish women who get one. It is a frightening […]

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Republicans React Badly to the Brussels Attacks.

March 24, 2016

“The object of terrorism is terrorism. The object of oppression is oppression. The object of torture is torture. The object of murder is murder. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?” ― George Orwell, 1984 (Update: There have been American fatalities. But the essence of the story doesn’t change) […]

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You Won’t Die in a Terrorist Attack. Americans Don’t Understand Odds.

December 12, 2015

More Republicans (50% vs. 45%) are worried about dying in a terrorist attack than they are about dying from gun violence. Statistically, that’s absurd. Even in 2001, the number of Americans killed by terrorism didn’t come close to the number of Americans murdered by guns. The terror attacks of 9/11 killed 2,689 Americans (excluded are non-citizens); homicide by gun […]

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The GOP Actively Recruits for ISIS.

December 6, 2015

“God has no religion.” ― Mahatma Gandhi Republicans have ISIS derangement syndrome. They obsess about death by terrorist – despite the incredibly remote possibility of that. Yet they go out of their way to increase the possibility. If there were a list of the best practices to promote terrorism, the GOP checks every box. Let’s […]

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The Politics of Paranoia. How Conservatives Use Fear to Win Votes.

November 17, 2015

“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” ― Plato The hysterical right is all over the media, warning us of the apocalyptic danger of ISIS. Obama holds the door open to Islamofascists. Liberals molly-coddle Satan’s stormtroopers. We […]

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ISIS Strikes Paris. Conservatives Pile On.

November 14, 2015

The ISIS attacks on Paris have brought predictable reactions. The rabid right has used yet another tragedy to excoriate the President, promote promiscuous gun ownership and lobby for more, direct, American involvement in the Middle East. Let’s dismiss the criticism of the President. It is hackneyed, partisan and boring. Altogether unhelpful. Then there the ‘more […]

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Really? – 2.17.15. – Ignorance shouldn’t be contagious; Is money drowning politics?; Heroin’s new geography; Dr. Strangelove resurfaces in Arkansas.

February 16, 2015

Ignorance is a celebration. Anti-intellectualism is a badge worn by conservatives with pride. How many politicos do we need to hear say “I’m not a scientist” without consulting a scientist, before we suspect that ignorance is their shield? Kanye West has added his voice. I do not know West’s politics, but he is a soul mate […]

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