Guidelines for Living in a Secure United States of America

Dear Citizens,

The Homeland Security Database Project (HSDP) has been setup to protect your safety, your property, your morality and a lot more. We will monitor every living soul in the United States and collect information on them, every bit of information that we can get our hands on including but not limited to the eating, reading, playing, shopping, viewing, traveling, surfing, dating and mating habits. And our computers, programmed by our highly intelligent analysts, will evaluate the collected data on a daily basis and assign Points to every citizen based on the way they exercise their habits. The collected Points in each citizen's account will then be used by our computers to classify them as either Patriot or Unpatriot, that is: With us or Against us!

This simple white or black classification will be very easy for our dear citizens to understand and it will also eliminate accounting headaches associated with using shades of gray.

The way our innovative point system works is very similar to the frequent flyer programs. Citizens will earn Patriotic Points (PPs) for their good deeds and Unpatriotic Points (UPs) for their evil deeds. Internally, we refer to these Points as Poindexter Points and UnPoindexter Points, since Admiral Poindexter is the one who came up with this novel idea in the first place, and in any case Poindexter and Patriot are really synonyms and this will hopefully be reflected in the next edition of Webster.

Citizens who collect high number PPs will be recognized and generously rewarded, while the ones collecting UPs will be handsomely punished, with the highest earners detained indefinitely. It is highly recommended that citizens follow the guidelines below if they are interested to live happily and peacefully in the Secure United States of America (SUSA). Further guidelines will be issued as we devise more innovative restrictions to make our citizens feel even more at home and secure!

1. Citizens are encouraged to visit their local libraries. But only to see what others are reading! We are interested to know. Terrorists have become smart and are reading the books in the libraries instead of checking them out as we want them to do. So we are counting on you to report all suspicious readings in the libraries. Anyone looking at books about Islam, Middle Eastern countries, Chernobyl, China, Russia, Cuba, Germany (as long as Schroeder refuses to support our war), Canada (how dare they question our racial profiling!), ... is a suspect. Actually anyone reading a book in the library is a suspect. If they don't have anything to hide, they can check out the book and read it in the comfort of their home while we update our database with their reading habits! So go ahead and report them all and we'll give you 10 PPs for every person turned in. You'll earn 1000 additional PPs for every person reported by you who confesses to his crimes. Our professional interrogators have been trained to avoid all illegal forms of torture except those allowed by law! No unpatriotic individual will pass their questioning. Guaranteed!

2. Citizens may surf the web, but they should stay within the sanitized sites. ABC, CBS, MSNBC and CNN have all been sanitized and will earn lots of PPs for visiting them. Citizens should specially look for icons such as CNN's "America at War." Every click on these icons adds PPs to your account. Most Canadian sites including BBC will earn you no PPs. Some will even get you UPs. Guardian is high-UP rated. Same is true for any GREEN site and any site that is anti us (anti-war, anti-pollution, pro-peace, pro-choice, etc.). You are a click away from eternal damnation! The choice is yours. We will handle the accounting.

3. We are counting on responsible citizens to attach appropriate flags and bumper stickers to their vehicles. We will soon tie our computers into the traffic control video systems around the country and record all vehicular displays into our database. Big and ragged flags earn big PPs. Canadian, Mexican, and German flags earn UPs. Only British and Israeli flags are tolerated for now, thanks to Tony and Ariel's good behavior.

4. Citizens should not watch movies such as "Fidel," "Ali" or "Bowling for Columbine." These movies are traps for the terrorists and their sympathizers. Ordinary and innocent citizens should refrain from even touching these kinds of videos as their fingerprints may end up in the wrong places! Citizens will earn UPs for renting out hostile videos including those from Robert Redford, Martin Sheen, Sean Penn and Barbra Streisand.

5. Citizens are highly encouraged to view movies like "Black Hawk Down" regularly and frequently. Citizens will earn PPs each time they check out these videos. Movies that show our military superiority and are of the kick-ass type will earn the highest PPs. Rambo, Die Hard and movies featuring a lot of dead terrorists will also earn high PPs.

6. As children are the future of this country, citizens should start training them for the new America. Teach your kids to tell you everything they hear from their classmates and their teachers. You can rely on children to repeat what they hear in their homes and classes, unfiltered! Use them. And we'll know all that's happening in every American home (gay and lesbian households excluded for now but will be addressed soon). Think security for yourself and your children. Think PPs!

7. When speaking in private, in public, on the phone or to their spouses, citizens should emphasize and overemphasize that they have been feeling very secure since HSDP was erected. You never know who is listening to your conversations! Every word uttered by citizens are recorded by our computers, and every letter in those words is analyzed for political correctness. You could earn more PPs instead of UPs. Make the right choice!

8. Citizens should be vigilant both at home and at work. Do not neglect your colleagues. Keep your eyes and ears open. That phone call your colleague is making could be the key to unraveling a terror cell. Don't rely on us to trace every phone call and conversation. Get involved. Earn PPs!

9. Permanent residents earn half as many PPs and twice as many UPs compared to citizens. This is to encourage them to work harder and prove that they are worthy of our citizenship. Similarly, those on student visas earn one quarter as many PPs and four times as many UPs. We feel it's important that we educate these foreign students about patriotism so that they can go back to their countries and be good citizens who do not dare to mess with us


How the Patriotic Points Work

Once citizens have accumulated sufficient PPs in their NSDB account, they will be awarded Patriot of the Month and Patriot of the Year bumper stickers, Patriotic Flags (Chinese made) and Patriotic Pins (collectors item, Taiwanese made). Frequent Patriots of the Month will in addition become honorary members of NSDB and will be invited to dine with the staff.

Similarly, citizens classified as unpatriotic will be disgraced by publishing their names on the internet. If approved by congress, we will also require these citizens to wear distinctive pins (North Korean made) that will identify them as unpatriotic. We also envision sending these offenders to exile in places like San Francisco, Portland or some other foreign land.

We are also going to tie citizens' HSDP accounts to college admissions, loan approvals, employee background checks, drivers and marriage license issuances, etc. Needless to say, citizens with high PPs in their accounts will receive red-carpet treatment while those with high UPs will receive red-charcoal one!

We are also working on plans to allow redemption of PPs for college tuition. Also, to stimulate economy, there are talks under way to allow using PPs to pay for airline tickets, car rentals and hotel rooms.

Many more benefits and features are being planned that once they have been finalized we will share them with our responsible citizens. Please stay tuned, and don't neglect your daily dosage of PPs while you are at it!

Ali Moayedian is an Iranian-American who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. He can be reached at ads@best.com.

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