The 6 Most Over-Hyped Threats to America (And What Should Scare You Instead)


Some say that the government and the media are partners in a vast conspiracy, with a goal of making you so afraid that you'll submit to their every desire. And, well-that sounds about right. Whether it's the threat of a terrorist attack, a shady foreign dictator, or men putting their genitals into other men, the powers that be want to keep you afraid of things you simply shouldn't be afraid of. Here are the six most unwarranted sources of fear the Man uses to keep you dumb"¦ and Himself in power.

#1. AL QAEDA IN IRAQ

The Hype

The various clowns helming the Bush administration have touted the importance of confronting an Iraqi Al Qaeda group since the run-up to the war (when Al Qaeda had less to do with Iraq than John Goodman does with the Tour de France). The uber-feminine Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC), for example, claimed in a recent press release that US forces are "making great progress in crushing Al Qaeda in Iraq," and that "The defeat of Al Qaeda in Iraq should be our No. 1 priority."

Why You Should Blow It Off

Underground newsletter TIME magazine reports that Al Qaeda in Iraq "comprises no more than five percent of the insurgency, according to US intelligence estimates." No wonder things are going so laughably bad-if "Girl Name" Graham is right, our No. 1 priority comprises only five percent of the bad guys. That'd be like the A-Team fighting a group of 20 kidnappers (they always do), but they all just beat the shit out of one dude.

What You Should Actually Be Pissing Your Pants About

Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army, Ivan Drago to Al Qaeda in Iraq's Danny LaRusso.

#2. GAY MARRIAGE

The Hype

If gays are allowed to marry, society will self-destruct Mission Impossible-style, and people will start sodomizing dogs in the street and marrying two orangutans at a clip. In 2006, Bush and his fellow gay marriage foes tried to pass a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, with officials like then-senator Rick Santorum infamously comparing man-on-man relationships to "man-on-child" and "man-on-dog" relationships. Woof.

Why You Should Blow It Off

As of 2005, the Census Bureau estimated the number of significant same-sex relationships (presumably, couples that would want to get married) at around 780,000. With the US population hovering just over 301 million, that would put the number of married gay people at a whopping 0.5 percent of the population if gay marriage was legalized. Why worry about such a small fragment of our citizenry when over 4 percent of us have bought a Nickelback CD? Now that's a serious problem.

What You Should Actually Be Pissing Your Pants About

Judging by the track record of outed child-stroker Mark Foley and outed male prostitute-stroker Ted Haggard, the foes of gay marriage are the ones who are far more likely to try to sodomize your dog.

#3. KILLER GAS PRICES

The Hype

With the average price of gas at roughly three bucks per gallon, more than half of the US population will be forced into prostitution to pay for their minivan fuel. (And you know some of those people are probably ugly.) The main culprit here is the media-how many reports like this one have you seen that focus on near-suicidal drivers filling up? Lots, that's how many.

Why You Should Blow It Off

Once again, the fat, whiney American consumer has it made compared to the rest of the world. In major cities like London, Paris, Berlin, Oslo and Hong Kong, gas tops six bucks a gallon-twice the cost of gas Stateside. When we bitch and moan about high gas prices, it's roughly the same as bitching about how the Starbucks barista girl forgot to give you soy milk in your mochafrappulattechino. Just be thankful you don't have to pay an arm and a leg for it. Literally.

What You Should Actually Be Pissing Your Pants About

There's plenty of oil-related non-bullshit to be scared about; just don't let the media get you fired up about the price of gas. How about the fact that carbon emissions are about to turn the 677,676-square-mile Greenland Ice Sheet into a giant, extinction-flavored Slurpee?

#4. IRANIAN PRESIDENT MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD

The Hype

The face of anti-Western sentiment in the Middle East, this charismatic leader has jumped on the "America eats babies" bandwagon and has teamed with other rogue countries, like Venezuela, to oppose US "imperialism." His outrageous public denials of the Holocaust have prompted strong condemnations from US leaders like Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), who rightfully called Ahmadinejad's stance, "ludicrous, outrageous and repugnant."

Why You Should Blow It Off

He's not actually the dude in charge. Getting uppity about this delusional loudmouth is like giving lip to the kid at the register when he won't give you a Liter Cola-the guy you really want to talk to is the manager, and the manager of Iran, so to speak, is Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. He (not Ahmadinejad) is the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, controls military intelligence and has sole power to declare war. And what about Ahmadinejad's rap-battle tough-talk about developing nuclear weapons? At most, Iran has a couple of RC Cola-quality duds, compared to our 10,000 Coke Classics.

What You Should Actually Be Pissing Your Pants About

The man who approves the "Guardian Council," which, in turn, approves presidential candidates. You guessed it: Grand Ayatollah Ali "Badass Motherfucker" Khamenei.

#5. VENEZUELAN PRESIDENT HUGO CHAVEZ

The Hype

With the Castro-esque strongman Hugo Chavez at the helm, and with oil revenues out the ass, Venezuela is poised to become America's biggest headache (except, of course, for the rising cost of Xbox 360 games). Staunchly anti-American, the ruthless leader referred to George W. Bush as "the Devil" in a 2006 speech at the UN General Assembly.

Why You Should Blow It Off

Venezuela's military ranks 36th in the world, behind non-powers like Thailand, Poland and Norway. Plus, the nation's newly minted 100,000-member "Armed Reserve" is little more than a loose militia of coffee farmers with pitchforks, although, if you've ever been pelted with a handful of coffee beans for making unwanted advances at that Starbucks barista, you know it can be pretty painful. So, much like Ahmadinejad, Chavez can go right ahead and blow us. We'll just double our oil order from Algeria, get the ethanol thing straightened out and forget we ever heard of him.

What You Should Actually Be Pissing Your Pants About

North Korea's Kim Jong Il-he's just as adorably mockable, but commands the fourth-largest army in the world.

#6. BULLSHIT DISEASES LIKE SARS & BIRD FLU

The Hype

In 2004 and 2005, the government and the media made you believe that SARS was about to break into your house and rape you. The St. Petersburg Times , for one, referred to SARS as a "mysterious fever [that] bolted out of south China and spread illness and death across the globe," and the Rolling Stones headlined a SARS benefit show that drew a crowd of nearly a half a million (which is ironically also the combined age of the Stones). More recently, Bird Flu has spurred fears across America, with one CNN reporter claiming that "No act of modern warfare, with the possible exception of a nuclear exchange between major world powers, has the potential to threaten as many lives and cause as much disruption to the global economy as [Bird Flu]." To be fair, this man slept through 9/11 and nobody remembered to tell him about it.

Why You Should Blow It Off

The one major outbreak of SARS resulted in 774 deaths, while the Bird Flu has killed only 191 people worldwide since 2003. The point is, every few years, a new pandemic du jour comes along to scare the ass off of the American public, and turns out to be a flop. The only reason people pay so much attention is because Outbreak is replayed on cable all the time and looks scary as shit, however unlikely it may be. (Not the part where Dustin Hoffman saves America by catching a monkey-that really happens.)

What You Should Actually Be Pissing Your Pants About

How about some good ol' fashioned tuberculosis? In a head-to-head deadly-off, it trumps these new-fish ailments with its 1.6 million annual worldwide fatalities. A Stones concert for TB just doesn't sound very sexy, though.

SOURCES

"In Iraq, Operation Last Chance" (TIME)
"Graham Meets with President Bush to Discuss Iraq" (Lindsey Graham)
"Atlas: Where to Gas Up Around the Globe (Or Take the Bus)" (Wired.com)
"Gas goes up again" (Lake County News-Sun)
"Same Sex Couples and the Population" (The Williams Institute)
"World Fact Book: The United States of America" (Central Intelligence Agency)
"World Military Strength Ranking" (GlobalFirepower.com)
"Cumulative Number of Confirmed Human Cases of Avian Influenza" (World Health Organization)

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