Tag Archives: TSA

Is the NFL Becoming the No Fan League?

just spoke my first wordThe result of NFL’s experiment in negative market dynamics has just come in and the news is not good for Commissioner Roger Goodell. Last September the NFL greatly increased the irritation factor of attending games when the league banned women’s purses that were larger than a pack of cigarettes for ‘security’ reasons. (Complete details here.)

This development was added to the existing $10 hotdog, $10 beer, $40 parking place, pauses in the action for commercials you mercifully can’t see, wildly expensive ticket prices and the owner prancing around on the sidelines.

It’s enough to make you want to dedicate your life to eradicating ‘income inequality.’

I wondered how long it would take the descending curve of a fan’s desire to attend an increasingly expensive NFL game to cross the rising nuisance curve of pettifogging NFL rules. Well now we know: It took four months.

As this is written three of the four first–round NFL playoff games have failed to sell out even though the deadlines for all three have been extended. Even in Green Bay — home of put the baby on the waiting list for season tickets — still has seats available. The important point about a playoff game failing to sell out for the fan base is not the dent in the owner’s bottom line. It’s the fact the game will be blacked out in the local viewing area.

This has not happened since 2002 when the Dolphins – Ravens game in Miami failed to sell out.

So why does the unrest surface now? Because this is the first time season ticket holders have been asked to make an additional ticket purchase since the new ‘security’ rules took effect. Up until now season tickets were already paid for and not using them would be like throwing money away. Or buying a Redskin’s ticket.

Many are finding the extraordinary cost of attending the game when added to the degrading, increasingly TSA–like experience of entering the stadium is simply too much. It’s easier, warmer and the seats are better when one watches the game at home. Assuming the rest of the sheep in your locale continue buying enough tickets to fill the stadium.

I realize the TV commentary can be annoying, but so are the observations of nearby drunks in the stadium and there’s always the off chance they may hurl on you. (Something that never happens at home. Although I’ve been known to get a touch of indigestion following Pam Oliver’s inane sideline commentary.)

Since I’m part owner of the Packers, lets look at that situation in detail. It may be as cold as 4 below at game time Sunday, but that’s not keeping the fans away. In 1967 the Ice Bowl between the Packers and the Cowboys was even more frigid, yet the stadium was full. The difference? In 1967 fans weren’t strip searched before they were seated. Now I can only imagine the lines of parka–clad fans extending outside Lambeau Field waiting for their carefully selected layering to be explored in detail by suspicious ‘security’ fingers.

And how exactly does the ‘no purse large than a pack of Marlboros’ work when both of the pockets on my parka are the size of dinner plates? I’ve seen kangaroos with smaller pouches. Are you required to stuff large pockets with cardboard to reduce carrying capacity? Or is it one of the dreaded case–by–case safety decisions?

And how about the fan that uses battery-powered gloves and boots to keep warm? He’s going to be treated like a suicide bomber when guards get a load of his power pack and the jumble of wires connecting. At the Ice Bowl you could have brought a Duraflame log into the stadium, today they confiscate your matches.

As a result there were 8,500 seats still unsold on Wednesday. This represents almost 12 percent of stadium capacity in Green Bay. In Cincinnati there were 5,000 to 6,000 unsold tickets and in Indianapolis the number was 3,000.

If these tickets were unsold in the summer for an exhibition game no one would notice. But playoff games are for all the marbles and should be of peak interest to fans. The Packers have sold out EVERY regular season game since 1959, a string of 55 years, and for part of that time the team played in two different cities. Alienating 12 percent of the base is a significant insult that does not bode well for the future.

(UPDATE: Green Bay has sold out and so have the other sites. But this does not negate my conclusion. In the Packer’s case the tickets were purchased in bulk by civic–minded businesses so the game would be televised. This only encourages long-term erosion in stadium attendance. In addition, the seats will now be given away, which means the cost portion of cost/annoyance ratio is significantly reduced, so the fans will probably attend. But the market had already spoken beforehand when 12 percent were unsold.)

Most of the commentary regarding the unsold seats focuses on the cost of attending games, which is high. But I think the straw that crippled this camel is the arrogance of the NFL owners and the constant annoyance of ‘security theatre’ drama before you get to your seat.

For fat cats like the Redskins’ Dan Snyder, fans are slightly overweight ATM machines that need to be milked regularly. If people object to being treated like cattle then let them buy their own football team. But the cattle are getting restless and the beginning of a slow motion stampede for the exits may have begun this year.

House GOP Has Nothing to Offer Conservatives

GOP surrenders principlesHere’s the situation: You’re in a high–stakes negotiation with an untrustworthy opponent. The opposition has violated every agreement the two of you have made in the past. Enforcement mechanisms are weak or non–existent.

In other areas of mutual interest your opponent regularly violates the law and dares you to do something about the violation. Your weak and vacillating leadership can’t be counted on in a pinch. And finally, the opposition lies shamelessly to the state media, doing its best to paint you as a fanatic and pathological liar.

So what do you do?

Bomb Iran is a good answer, but it’s not the answer for this question, because I’m talking about negotiating a budget deal with Democrats.

The Republican House leadership decision in this case was to sell out their conservative base in a brazen attempt to insure their own re–election at the expense of the nation’s fiscal future.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R–WI) and Sen. Patty Murray (D–Sneakers) have presented us with a plan that shatters the spending ceiling that was the main result of the bruising sequester fight, dilutes the small budget cuts from the sequester and raises taxes (Ryan calls it a “fee” but if the feds get more money and it comes from our pockets it’s the same as a tax).

Ryan even has the gall to say the deal will balance the budget in ten years and sidestep the threat of government shutdowns in January and October 2014.

And those dates are what are really important for craven House negotiators. In fact, the real motivation for the deal is Ryan’s shutdown statement. House Republicans still think they suffered a near–death experience in the recent government shutdown. But instead of seeing Jesus and a bright light, they saw a Mayflower moving van and a bright white resume. For them if it’s a choice between selling out to the Democrats and losing their cushy Congressional job, sellout is just another word for job security.

The risk of a potential shutdown in January and October of an election year was simply too much uncertainty for these stalwarts to bear. So instead of simply passing a continuing resolution as has been done for the past few years and keeping the sequester savings, Ryan decided to remove all uncertainly and cave in this year.

Ryan and Speaker Boehner (R–Risible) think they can get away with this lie to conservatives because the result of increased federal spending and budget busting won’t have the personal impact on voters that Obama’s insurance lie had. You don’t get a letter from the government cancelling your future. You get a Chinaman repossessing the Washington monument.

The rationalization for this total surrender is threefold according to our betters: The agreement restores some defense spending reduced by the sequester, cuts the budget and brings the entire budget into balance in ten years.

Let’s start at the top. Ace negotiator Ryan was able to restore $2 billion in Pentagon spending next year in return for letting Democrats increase wasteful social spending by $ 22 BILLION! That’s a ratio of 11 to one in welfare to warfare spending.

The sequester was bad enough — defense took half the cuts, while social spending took the other half spread over countless pointless programs — but this disaster in multiplication makes that deal look positively prudent.

Second the budget cut. I admire Ryan’s poker face as he announced $26 billion in cuts over ten years. This means the federal government will be cutting $2.6 billion a year out of a budget that’s over $1 trillion! For comparison purposes, the city of Washington, DC spends more than $2.6 billion in four months. In 2012 the IRS issued $11 billion in fraudulent income tax refunds. In the same year the government wasted $95 billion in programs identified by the Government Accounting Office that duplicated other wasteful government programs.

In federal terms, Ryan’s $2.6 billion is pocket change.

Finally, the budget balances in ten years. This is not because spending will finally be brought in line with revenue, which is how individuals balance budgets. No, Ryan is hoping that federal tax revenues will grow enough through a recovering economy to finally match the spending right now. In the other nine years the deficit continues to pile up.

This is like a drunk driver careening the wrong way down the interstate hoping his blood will absorb enough of the booze for him to regain control before the car hits the bridge abutment.

David Stockman, Reagan’s budget director who saw firsthand how Republicans agreed to increase taxes for Democrat spending cuts that never came, says, “First, let’s be clear—it’s a joke and betrayal. It’s the final surrender of the House Republican leadership to Beltway politics and kicking the can and ignoring the budget monster that’s hurtling down the road.”

Earlier this week reporter Paul Kane of The Washington Post seemed confused that TEA party members were mounting challenges to incumbent Republican senators. The answer is simple; conservatives have no reason to support big government incumbentcrats, regardless of whether they are Senators or Congressmen. Keeping the likes of Boehner or Ryan or Orrin Hatch in office is not the be all and end all of our existence. If nothing else even an unsuccessful primary can be a wakeup call for these whited sepulchers.

Why fight for them if they won’t fight for us? Why waste the gas necessary to drive to the polls to vote for these weaklings?

The only difference between these Republicans and Nancy Pelosi is we go broke slower and there’s a slim chance we won’t have to attend a same–sex marriage ceremony to qualify for Social Security benefits.

Retreating to a compound in Idaho is looking better and better. And since Janet Reno is no longer attorney general, we might even survive until the Chinese foreclose.

TSA and the City of Sacramento try to protect the public from a hero

semperfidelis_NomadicLass

semperfidelis_NomadicLass
California in general is often the source of jokes for conservatives, as is the TSA. If this story didn’t involve a highly decorated, disabled Marine veteran, there is no doubt there would be scores of conservatives rolling in the aisles laughing at the stupidity that was on display. But, this is not remotely close to amusing – it is tragic, irresponsible, reprehensible, and inexcusable.

Cpl. Nathan Kemnitz was traveling to Sacramento to be honored for his service, and rightfully so. Unfortunately, on the way there, he was treated like a terrorist, not once, but twice. First, was at the hands of TSA. The second incident was particularly disturbing, since security for the building where he was supposed to be the guest of honor were the ones to mistreat him. I say that because the thin excuse that his uniform had too much metal, and therefore set off the alarms, was utterly unacceptable. After being subjected to a handheld metal detector being waved around me when I happen to set off an alarm at a government building countless times, I know very well that it is not necessary to require that a decorated Marine remove his uniform to verify that his medals are the cause of the alarms sounding off.

Special arrangements can be made for disabled veterans wishing to travel, so that they can be treated with the respect that they deserve when making their way through our airports and public buildings. That is not acceptable either. It is a ludicrous concept, that the Veterans’ Administration and the various security agencies – local, state and federal – cannot come up with a reasonable way to automatically treat our veterans with respect, and not force them to be insulted by invasive searches. These people are fingerprinted, photographed, and tracked completely while they are in the service, and given the government’s penchant for keeping tabs on citizens, it is not believable that all that information is removed from the system when a member of the service leaves. Beyond that, the fact is that the TSA and building security officers in Sacramento proved one simple point in this little exercise – they obviously do not have the intelligence to have the jobs they currently hold, and should be fired.

Another thing that should happen is that Cpl. Kemnitz should receive a written apology from the TSA and Sacramento security officers involved. He should receive the same from every lawmaker in the State of California, and the Governor. That won’t happen, of course, because that is the proper, and honorable thing to do. Perhaps their defense for not doing that will be as shameful as what they did in the first place – they will probably say Cpl. Kemnitz didn’t ask for an apology, so they didn’t give one. There is a reason why it is said “once a Marine, always a Marine.” And they obviously do not understand that either.

There is video footage of how they mistreated Cpl. Kemnitz. Instead of featuring that, since it’s available at the Daily Mail, here is something that honors Cpl. Kemnitz for his heroic service, and explains what the TSA and the City of Sacramento obviously do not understand.

Confederate Corner with George Neat June 11th – Islam, Liberals, National Security and Guns, oh my!

confedcornercdnlogo

confedcornercdnlogo

When: Tuesday, June 11th, 10pm Eastern/7pm Pacific

Where: Confederate Corner with George Neat on Blog Talk Radio

What: Yes there are Confederates north of the Mason-Dixon line, and George Neat is one of them. And we’re happy to bring his views to you in the “Confederate Corner” radio show.

For more information on George and his political views, please drop by the Confederate Corner at GoldwaterGal.com. (http://goldwatergal.com/goldwater-gal-media/confederate-corner/)

Tonight: George will be talking about Islam, National Security, Star Wars, TSA, NSA, and the liberals keeping up their war on guns. Of course there will also be a Soldier Salute, and a “nearly-infamous” Crack Pipe Moment.

Listen to internet radio with CDNews Radio on BlogTalkRadio

TSA still blocking small knives on planes

Public Domain Photos (CC)

Public Domain Photos (CC)

Public Domain Photos (CC)

The Transportation Safety Administration is apparently walking back plans to allow passengers to carry small penknives on planes. USA Today reports that TSA administrator John Pistole does not intend to allow the knives on planes later this week, as planned.

“This timing will enable TSA to incorporate the feedback about the changes to the Prohibited Items List and continue workforce training,” the TSA said in a statement.

The TSA had planned to let the knives, with blades up to 2.36 inches, on flights starting Thursday. It would have been the first time they would have been back on passenger planes since Sept. 11, 2001, when terrorists armed with box cutters hijacked four jetliners.

The decision to allow small knives on planes had been under protest by flight attendant unions, and wasn’t well-received by air marshals either. Whether or not the decision is directly related to the recent bombing apparently wasn’t stated officially. However, it was a consideration for at least one person in the industry.

“In the wake of the terrorist bombing in Boston last week … now is not the time to weaken transportation security,” said Sara Nelson, international vice president of the Association of Flight Attendants. “Flight attendants are breathing a sigh of relief that the weapons that led to the deadliest attack on U.S. soil in our nation’s history will not be allowed in the aircraft cabin this week.”

Pistole made the policy change on March 5th. Whether or not it will be reinstated remains to be seen.

We Were Sequestered Before It Was Cool

Sequester pruningThe Ministry of Truth for the Obama administration has been experiencing some traction problems in the DC area. The scare stories regarding the collapse of the air travel system in the event of sequester are simply not motivating people in spite of the fact the Mainstream Media (MSM) has dutifully spread the word.

We are warned that in the event of sequester, massive TSA layoffs will result in airline passengers waiting up to three hours before they can be groped by a highly–trained government sex harasser. Slashing the budget by two cents on every dollar will also mean TSA guards won’t be changing rubber gloves between touchy–feely sessions.

Female passengers, who undergo nearly nude full–body scans, will be relieved to learn this drastic reduction torpedoes the ink budget. TSA can no longer afford to print particularly comely images for posting in the lunchroom. And since it’s too costly to store the pictures on government hard drives, TSA will ask remaining employees to work overtime and upload the images to their Facebook accounts for safekeeping.

According to the White House, you aren’t even safe on board the aircraft. Air traffic controllers will be awakened from their control tower naps and told to go sleep at home. The few remaining will be grumpy and sleepy, with a consequent slowdown in takeoffs and landings.

Assuming one gets in the air, passengers will be shocked to learn airlines will no longer offer free in–flight meals and instead expect passengers to pay handsomely for sandwiches wrapped and catered by 7/11. Wait, that’s already happened. Sorry, false alarm.

All in all it’s a horrible foretaste of privation and delay, yet not a single Republican Congressman is hanging from a lamppost. In fact there is so much indifference here that Obama has taken his nationwide Hyperventilation Tour on the road.

The reason for our calm in the face of the impending storm is that Metro, our local DC subway system, has essentially been sequestered for the past two years and life has continued. It’s more inconvenient, spontaneous and ad hoc — at least when it comes to arriving on time — but it is life.

I’ve long contended Metro is the only mass trans system run by an improv group, but now the passengers are joining in the fun. Take this week for instance: Tuesday morning on the Silver Line (this is DC, so everything has to do with money) crack Metro crews were testing equipment. As the WaPost reports, one of the brakes began to lock up. Like the spinster on the way to church who assumes a flat tire will heal itself, the crew continued operating the train trying to get off the track before rush hour or looming obsolescence caught up with them.

They didn’t make it. The wheel wore down to a nub, a pantoodler fell off and sliced through 60 cables and the system ground to a halt. The only thing left to do was call AAA and wait for the tow truck.

Metro officialdom predicted repairs would be complete by noon, but it took a total of nine hours. Metro sent alerts to passengers twice and then their thumbs got tired. So between 7 AM and 2 PM Metro passengers were on their own, which is a not uncommon condition. Then a train malfunctioned on the Yellow Line. There was a track problem on the Blue line. And another train shot craps on the Green Line.

And those are just the unplanned shutdowns.

The system regularly closes entire stations on the weekend and as a matter of fact the Reagan Airport station will be shut for three days beginning March 1st. (I guess they figured what with the sequester and all, no one will be flying anyway.)

Metro limits the number of trains on holidays and shuts escalators for months at a time forcing passengers to trudge upward toward daylight from the bowels of the system. Recently on a single day Metro passengers suffered seven electronic thefts and every last one of them was during daylight hours! Thieves evidently rest during the night so they can read the manuals and learn how to download apps.

The reason Metro ‘service’ is such a gamble is management didn’t bother with routine maintenance for the past 15 or so years. I’m guessing the thinking was: We’re the government, what could go wrong? So current passengers pay for the mistakes of past incompetent management, a situation young people are soon to encounter with regard to Social Security taxes.

Frankly, I’m hoping the full effect of the sequester hits when the majority of members of Congress are out of town. That way if they can’t get back, they can’t resume spending.

The US Needs to Learn About Fighting Terrorism From Norway

Beverly & Pack (CC)

Sure, that probably sounds insane. How in the world could Norway know anything about fighting terrorism, right?

Maybe not. With the recent shooting in Colorado, there has been some mention of the terrorist in Norway that rocked that nation about a year ago. Unlike the U.S., Norway did not pass sweeping legislation, and radically increase security. Their solution was increased transparency and democracy.

While I am not in the least bit interested in, or impressed with the “love in”, warm and fuzzy attitude of Norway’s leaders, I am intrigued with the concept of the full-frontal assault on terrorism without raising a weapon. They recognized something that we didn’t, at least not immediately, after 9/11. Maybe Norway wouldn’t have taken the route they did if it wasn’t for our losses, but I digress.

Beverly & Pack (CC)


Instead of acting on fear, Norway chose to stick to its principles, and refuse to give in to that base emotion. And that is, from a psychological point of view, arguably the best response to a terrorist attack. Acts of terror are perpetrated to instill fear. If the target doesn’t respond in a fearful manner, the terrorist does not truly succeed, regardless of what physical damage was caused.

Al Qaeda’s real victory over the U.S. wasn’t on the day of the attacks. It was when our Congress passed the Patriot Act, and when we stopped living our lives the way we had before 9/11. We lost part of our identity as a nation because of that, and we may never be able to retrieve that. But, that doesn’t mean that we can’t learn from Norway now.

There have been many complaints and investigations over the past several months about the incompetency and overreaching of the TSA, for example. Is the screening that we subject ourselves to really necessary? I know there are plenty out there that would argue that it is. But there are those on the other side that say the screenings really do not do much to protect us.

While I’m not saying that the U.S. could ever approach terrorism exactly the way Norway has, I do think that we need to examine the psychology behind their choices. We need to re-examine our priorities when it comes to national security, and terrorism. With an administration that hasn’t been very good at plugging intelligence leaks, ironically enough we are presented with a unique opportunity. We can look at least a few of our choices when it comes to “making America safe from terrorism”, and weigh their real value. Are they really worth surrendering certain freedoms? Or would dispensing with those measures be the better choice?

The big question for us is the same one Norway faced. Is just feeling safer worth surrendering even an ounce of freedom as we have for past decade? Are we really any safer, and is our “increased security” hurting us more than it is helping us? This is not about threat assessment. That is another issue. This is about weighing our current (false?) sense of security versus giving terrorists the satisfaction that they have made us change our way of life because of them. Is walking through airport security barefoot worth it anymore? Are the intrusive groping sessions making us safer, or just disgusted and humiliated? Are we daily giving terrorists their jollies by jumping through insane hoops? And, perhaps even more important than all of that, are we surrendering too many personal liberties, and too much privacy to allow the government to investigate “potential terror threats”? Norway has shown it is possible to move on after suffering a terrorist attack without surrendering freedoms. If they can do it, why can’t we?

Why Repealing Obamacare Is Not Enough

Repeal Now

A recent step in the right direction happened on July the 11th. The house of representatives voted for a full repeal of Obamacare, 244 yeas to 185 nays. Of course the liberal media cried foul, they thought even taking a vote on repealing Obamacare was a giant waste of taxpayer money. Bob Schieffer, of CBS’ Face the Nation, lamented how the house was wasting so much money on a repeal vote. This concern he showed is interesting, because the house has been sending legislation to the senate since the Tea Party takeover of the house in 2010. So far, there has not even been so much as a preliminary vote in committee on any of those bills, however I haven’t seen or heard any news coverage of the senate doing nothing, or wasting taxpayer money. There’s not been any lamenting or hand wringing of any sort over a do nothing senate.

While voting to repeal Obamacare is a commendable and noble thing to do, this is merely not enough. Read more

Dear TSA

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Last week I was on vacation. We were traveling as a family which included my obviously handicapped son. At the first checkpoint we had to show our proof of identification and flight information. The agent barely looked at us. We reached a further security checkpoint where the TSA agent barked orders at us. “Take off your shoes. Take off your belts. Take everything out of your pockets. Put everything on the belt.” If you’ve traveled you’ve heard him.

Fortunately, my son and I were allowed to choose whether to pass through the older, but more familiar metal detector. The agent scowled and snapped on gloves watching my son walk through. “He won’t take off his hat,” he growled to the adjacent agent and then confiscating the hat for further inspection.

My twenty-year-old college daughter passed through the back scatter machine but was then subject to a pat down anyway.  This review of our person and our belongings took at least six agents.

Contrast this to our reentry to the US at the border crossing in Canada. The agent took our identification and matched them to each of us. He asked several pointed questions in rapid-fire succession. (Nothing hard: Where do you live? Where have you been? How long have you been there? Did you buy anything?, etc.) He looked at all of us while talking. It did not take long before we were allowed to pass. One agent.

No doubt the number of travelers crossing the border is miniscule to those flying by plane. And my family puts the safety of our flight at top priority. But perhaps a little less acting like a government employee working the cattle line and a little more profiling would accomplish the same thing.

Since The War On Terror Is Over…

Marines_securing_the_city_of_Marjeh_Feb_22_2010

Wikipedia Image

Just two days ago, a senior State Department official announced that the War on Terror is over. It was only a matter of time for this announcement to be made, since the Daily Beast called for its end almost a year ago to the day of the announcement. On May 1, 2011, Peter Beinart wrote an article proclaiming:

Bin Laden’s death gives the U.S. a golden opportunity to bury the war on terror—a distraction…that distorted America’s foreign policy for too long.

With this announcement from the Obama Administration making it official,  a new question arises:

When will the TSA be officially disbanded?

The purpose of the TSA is to keep us safe, correct? So if there is no more war on terror…. it makes perfect sense that the TSA will be shut down very soon, right?

Today, Kip Hawley, the former TSA chief says that airport security is broken and should be fixed. Mr. Hawley was the TSA chief from 2005 to 2009, and said that  after it was created, TSA “became too rigid” and airline passengers now have too many “unnecessary screenings”. He continued, saying that, “the agency should focus more on high-risk threats that could cause a catastrophe.”

On the other side of TSA security, today the Feds admitted that a TSA drug smuggling case in the Los Angeles International Airport is ‘significant’ security breach. So, the agency in charged of keeping airline passengers “safe” has a “significant security breach”. Surprise, surprise!

All the while, TSA defends pat-down of 4-year-old at a Kansas airport.

This is just the TSA news for one day! There are hundreds of other horror stories concerning the TSA. We’ve all heard them. In the “effort” to keep us “safe”, even Congressmen are assaulted by the TSA agents. Then there’s the little girl that was had her stuffed animal removed by TSA. There’s many videos that have gone viral of TSA assaults……… err, pat-downs. But no worries, it’s all for our safety, remember?

However, now that the War on Terror is “officially” over, it’s time for the official end of the TSA. There’s no need for the pat-downs to continue. If there is no longer any threat of terror, there’s nothing we need to be protected from- right?

 

 

TSA as air travel mafia

“You pay me a little, young lady, and I’ll make sure those nasty security guards keep their paws off you.” Ok, so the Transportation Safety Administration isn’t running around like one of Tony Soprano’s crew collecting protection fees, but they may as well be. Stumbled across this one at Moonbattery, and just couldn’t let it go.

TSA Fast Pass - Zappatrust

Zappatrust


Selected travelers will soon be able to avoid the more invasive portions of the airport screenings by ponying up $100 for the privilege. While the concept of offering a way for frequent flyers to avoid the annoyances of enhanced screening procedures at airports might seem like a good idea, the way it’s being executed isn’t. First, there’s the obvious – if these people will mostly be skirting around the more annoying portions of screening, won’t they be costing the government less money? I mean they won’t be taking up the valuable time of the TSA screeners, after all. Perhaps the argument that they are paying for convenience could be swallowed if the fees weren’t going to the government – as it is, the situation leaves one with a terrible case of indigestion.

It wouldn’t be so objectionable if TSA was showing even a modicum of respect for some of least likely terror suspects. I mean really, did that inspector really think there was a weapon of mass destruction hidden under that handicapped child? Sure, they’re starting to lift some of the nonsense from seniors 75 and older by not making them take off their shoes, but don’t forget, this is the agency that was considering easing restrictions for Muslims not so long ago.

And of course, we mustn’t forget, this is a governmental agency and program that we’re talking about here. We can’t be silly and expect efficiency or logic. First, it’s only available at a limited number of airports. As for how it works, here’s a short explanation offered by the TSA:

If TSA determines a passenger is eligible for expedited screening, information is embedded in the barcode of the passenger’s boarding pass. TSA reads the barcode at designated checkpoints and the passenger may be referred to a lane where they will undergo expedited screening, which could include no longer removing the following items:

Shoes
3-1-1 compliant bag from carry-on
Laptop from bag
Light outerwear/jacket
Belt
TSA will always incorporate random and unpredictable security measures throughout the airport and no individual will be guaranteed expedited screening.

That last sentence is the catch, of course. Now, I am not suggesting that the TSA should exempt anyone from random searches simply because that individual payed a simple $100 fee. However, the value of that investment goes down dramatically when one considers it doesn’t guarantee a thing. Of course it is up to the travelers out there to decide. Personally? I say take the train!

Artwork by Zappatrust.

A Grope A Day Keeps Osama Away

Sen. Rand Paul (R–KY) made the news Monday when he declined to get up close and personal with TSA guards at the Nashville, TN airport. Paul entered the security line; dumped his belt, glasses, wallet, shoes, cell phone and pocket change in the attractive plastic bin and walked passively through the full–body scanner.

Unfortunately while his chromosomes were enjoying this brief radiation bath, the scanner set off a “random” alarm that sent the crack TSA Grope Group into action. In Paul’s words, “TSA also wanted my dignity” and he refused their demand that he submit to a full–body latex massage.

Channeling years of innocent flyers before him, Paul showed them his leg (evidently something about this limb aroused, no pun intended, the suspicions of the Guardians of the Airways), said he was a frequent flyer and asked to be rescanned.

TSA replied no grope, no hope.

When Paul again refused, he was detained in a holding area. Laboring under the mistaken belief he still had a few rights, the senator called the office to say he would not make his scheduled speech.

This angered the TSA drone that informed Paul he should not have used his phone to call for help. There the situation remained until the TSA director appeared and allowed him to re–enter the scanner and take a later flight.

The difference here is that for the rest of us the director would not have appeared to save the day and most likely we would have been arrested for refusing the scan and trying to leave, as Mr. Don’t Touch My Junk learned.

Now Paul knows what the rest of the flying public has learned: TSA is a law unto itself and is designed to intimidate the public and insulate its employees from outside accountability.

When I buy BVDs and open the package I learn that “Inspector #38” has approved my drawers. But when I get home after a trip and discover some TSA minion has been rummaging through the unmentionables, all I have is a standardized notification with no indication of who actually did the inspection.

Consequently I’ve discovered surprises while unpacking. A TSA guard, who was too stupid to squeeze the plastic catch, cut through a luggage strap and deposited the unusable remains inside my bag. I’ve had thirsty TSA personnel open a sealed liquor bottle and sample the contents. In each instance I called the number on the form (1–800–Don’tHoldYourBreath), left a message and had the complaint ignored.

Compare this with a traffic stop. A motorist has the name and badge number of the officer and local number to call if there’s a complaint. If worse comes to worst, often you have the video from the dashboard camera to review.

TSA has none of this.

TSA employees have assumed the trappings of law enforcement without any of the training or responsibility. Consider the evolution of TSA uniforms. From the original white shirt with no badge we now have a blue uniform with a shiny gold badge, indistinguishable from that of a real police officer. Yet TSA guards lack the training of even a rural policeman.

For his part, Paul did not demand special treatment; although he got it shortly after the TSA figured out it was a member of the US Senate they were detaining. I’m sure Paul’s photo will be posted in the Nashville TSA break room with a ‘Do Not Grope’ order attached and he will have no future problems there.

The simple, obvious and wrong solution would be to exempt federal elected officials from TSA screening. If I had my way they would have to be screened twice just to show them what the rest of us put up with on a daily basis.

One of the many problems with the porcine, pervasive government we enjoy today is that elected officials who pass the laws and the bureaucrats that implement the laws don’t have to suffer the effects of the laws.

If more elected officials were forced to undergo the same red tape and petty harassments the people who pay their salaries do, there would be one of two outcomes. Less government interference with individual liberty or — what I’m afraid would happen — more exemptions for our betters, since everyone knows they aren’t a terrorist, bank robber, embezzler or fill–in–the–blank. Either way, voters would know and be able to adjust voting behavior accordingly.

You may know you’re not a terrorist either, but try telling that to the TSA when you want to take 5 ounces of shampoo on your next flight.

Senator Rand Paul detained by TSA

Tweet from Rand Paul's Press Secretary

Senator Rand Paul has been detained by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at the Nashville, TN airport.  Senator Paul was on his way to Washington DC to speak at a March For Life event.

 

Paul’s father – presidential candidate Ron Paul informed many Americans of the situation via his Facebook page by posting: “My son Rand is currently being detained by the TSA at the Nashville Airport. I’ll share more details as the situation unfolds”

 

UPDATES BELOW THE VIDEO

Keep in mind that Senator Paul has been a vocal opponent of TSA pat-down procedures:

We will keep you updated as further details are known.

 UPDATE 1:

Fox News’ Chad Pergram tweets that reports are “untrue” that Senator Paul is being detained, tweeting: “Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) indicates that TSA “detained” his son Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) in Nashville. Law enforcement says it is not true.”

UPDATE 2:

Rand Paul’s father, Ron Paul tells Facebook that this is due to Senator Paul refusing a full body pat-down after an “anomaly” with the full body scanner:

“More info – there was an “anomaly” in Rand’s initial body scan, so my son requested to be scanned a second time. TSA demanded a full body pat down and Rand refused.”

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY)

Furthermore, Fox News’ Chad Pergram again tells us that the “anomaly” was in Senator Paul’s leg, but nothing was found, Tweeting: “My colleague Trish Turner reports that TSA found an “anomoly” around Sen. Paul’s leg after going through body scan machine. Nothing found.”

UPDATE 3:

Due to TSA detention, Senator Rand Paul has missed his flight in Nashville, according to CNN’s Brooke Baldwin, “Sen. Rand Paul missed his flight this morning.. after being stopped by TSA. What he refused to do in the security line…”

 

 UPDATE 4:

TSA makes statement about Senator Paul, saying:  “Passengers who refuse to complete the screening process cannot be granted access to the secure area..”

UPDATE 5:

Senator Rand Paul has rebooked a flight and has passed through the TSA checkpoint without incident, according to Chad Pergram of Fox News: “TSA says on Sen. Rand Paul: The passenger has since rebooked on another flight and was rescreened without incident.”

UPDATE 6:

Rand Paul will be on Fox Business tonight at 8pm to discuss the day’s events, according to Chad Pergram, once again: “My colleagues at Fox Business report that Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) finally made it on board a plane. He’ll be a guest on FBN tonight at 8 pm et”

America: Future of Freedom or Future of Tyranny?

This is an open letter to those in America who still support, and will vote for, Barack Obama and the Democrats in 2012. It is also for those who will blindly support Republicans because they aren’t Democrats. Please take time to read through this and really think about what I say. Don’t read this through the eyes of politics or party line rhetoric, read this as an American citizen.
I remember a Republican president and a Republican controlled Congress giving us the Patriot Act for our “protection”. They also gave us the Department of Homeland Security. The Department of Homeland Security has given us the TSA. Have you been on an airplane lately? To fly these days you have to be either photographed virtually nude or felt up by a guard who fondles people for a living. Now stay with me here, think about this. While they are busy strip searching an 89 year old, wheel chair bound, diaper wearing, woman in an airport, they are allowing millions of people to just walk across our southern border.

There is even less security on the Canadian border and Muslim terrorists have easy access to Canada. So the TSA keeps you safe on an airplane while they allow these same people, terrorists that now can’t get on an airplane, access to your homes, your churches, your shopping malls, your children’s schools. Think about this for a minute before you continue. Terrorists don’t need airplanes any longer. Our government is so focused on air travel that a terrorist can’t get on a plane with a box cutter, but they can walk across the Mexican border like they are out for a Sunday stroll in the park. And what do terrorists bring with them on these strolls? I bet it isn’t bundles of marijuana. Both parties speak of “fearing” a nuclear attack with a suitcase bomb but neither party is willing to close the main source of access for that attack they “fear”. How safe does this information leave you feeling?

Do you know what Homeland Security has “prevented” in the last few years? I know of two much bally-hoed “attacks” prevented by the federal government in recent years. Both were thwarted by alert FBI agents, who just happened to have recruited the bomber, supplied all of the information and access necessary to carry out the attack, AND supplied a dummy bomb to the would-be terrorist. This link is to a story about the Dallas incident. This has happened under both George W. Bush and Barack Obama, no partisanship here. The government arrests these poor morons and trot the “terrorist” out like they have “saved” us. And the “Times Square Bomber”, a legitimate attempt, was thwarted by alert citizens not government officials.

Let’s go back a bit farther now and talk about jobs with all of the unemployed rank and file union workers who paid dues to the union, dues that got funneled back to the Democrat Party. Your jobs were shipped overseas primarily under Democrat presidents and Democrat controlled Congresses. Bill Clinton and a Democrat Congress raised corporate taxes, and gave us NAFTA and GATT; free trade agreements that made it cheaper to build items in Mexico, China, India, and who knows where else. The labor is cheaper, taxes are lower, and they can ship products back here without paying import taxes.

Republicans were all too happy to jump on board with this also. Your elected government and union officials are at fault for this, not the employer. Union hierarchy are living just fine while you sit on unemployment and scratch day to day in the hope you can hold onto the house you bought while times were good. Check into the financial status of James Hoffa and the other top union leaders. How are they doing? Are they living on unemployment? I would be curious to know if they actually pay taxes on their income or if they are exempt, as are Timothy Geithner and Charles Rangel. Who benefitted from the housing bubble and its ultimate bust? Don’t take my word for it; go look at how all of this has affected you and then look at who did what. These people, in either party, are not doing you any favors.

Bill Clinton made a bid for your 401/IRA retirement accounts and barely lost that one because there were enough Republicans opposing it. He wanted to “nationalize”, that means seize, your retirement account and lump it in with Social Security to help those who have less than you do. You work and save for 40 years so the government can give those savings to people too lazy to work, people unwilling to work, and illegal aliens. That little surprise has boiled up again. It’s not on the radar yet but is there just the same. Obama is hatching Phase 2 of this little plot against your future, kind of like Obamacare is Phase 2 of Hillarycare.

Joe Lieberman and Susan Collins came up with the brilliant idea of giving the president complete control of the internet through “kill switch” legislation. Iran and China already have this in place. How is that working out for their citizens? Here we have a “moderate” Democrat, disguised as an Independent, and a “moderate” (RINO) Republican openly plotting to give the president, any president, the right to take away internet access whenever he wants to do so. Drop that in with the mix with “net neutrality”, which is their fall back position from complete control, and you have the makings of tyranny. Democrats are openly supporting the “occupy Wall Street” bunch and some are calling for the suspension of elections, and even the suspension of the Constitution, to solve this mess we are in.

Do you really understand what that means? Do you really understand what these people are calling for? Do you see how the Republican leadership in Congress is dealing with this? Go look at the last 10 years in Venezuela. Look at how Hugo Chavez gained a dictatorship. Look and compare. Don’t take my word for it, go look it up and see for yourself.

Lobbyists, many of whom are former members of Congress or various administrations, are paid big bucks to get legislation passed that is beneficial to their clients. They buy influence with politicians of both parties. For you parents out there, do you punish your child for doing wrong or do you punish the one who put them up to it? One problem with our nation is that we have grown to make excuses for our child and blame others who were also involved. “The ‘instigator’ is at fault not my baby”, or “it isn’t MY senator, MY Congressman, it is the ‘evil corporations’. “ No, it isn’t the “instigator’s” fault; your kid didn’t have to throw the rock he was handed through the window. No, it isn’t the “evil corporation” and your member of Congress could always refuse the bribe money. Now we find out that Congress is immune to insider trading laws. Martha Stewart sat in prison, Nancy Pelosi sits as minority leader of the House of Representatives. How nice!!!!!

Those who are on some form of government assistance are also in danger. What the government gives it can take away. Look at what they have done since the 9/11 attacks. We are finding ever increasing control by one government agency or the other. Senate bill S. 679 (Thomas Congressional Library), introduced in March 2011, will give the president, any president, the right to appoint anyone he wishes to any post he wishes. It takes away any Congressional approval and gives carte blanche rights to the president. The “czars” will be even more omnipotent than they are now. No Congressional oversight, no voice of the people allowed. This is a violation of their oath to the Constitution, and to We the People. Go to the link, read the article, and share it with your family, friends, and Congress Critters. A “bi-partisan” Senate has passed S. 679 and sent it to the House of Representatives.

I just saw an article a couple of days ago that says we owe more than we can produce to pay off the national debt. Both parties have done this. We are on a fast boat to dictatorship and many are either blind to it or in denial. You don’t have to take my word for it. It is easy to see if you will take the time to look behind the campaign rhetoric, the partisan political fighting, and the posturing. Go find the true intent of what is being done; behind the scenes, out of the public eye and by both political parties.

There are more of us in this sinking ship of state than you might think. I am not being politically partisan here, I am being an American. When government takes over the ultra-rich will still be ultra-rich. Why do you think they give so much money to politicians? They are buying the future favor you and I can’t afford. Go check out the financial status of those who have been in Congress a while. See if they have “shared the sacrifice” or if they have become wealthy. Don’t take my word for it, go take a close look at how you are being manipulated into slavery.

There are movements out there who are fighting this, help them. The TEA Party is a grassroots group of citizens working to take their country back for the People. Tim Cox of GOOH is recruiting citizens to become citizen legislators to represent We the People, become a candidate if you can, if not help financially or work on a local campaign. John Dummett is running for the Republican  nomination for president. He is a common man that stands for the Constitution and the People, and he needs our help. He won’t get any help from the party machine or the media.

Take a look at your “class” in life. Take an honest look at your life, your income, the taxes you pay and your overall prognosis for the future. Now look at history. Who suffered in the French Revolution? Lots of rich people lost their heads but where did their wealth go? Did the peasants come out wealthy or did they suffer even more poverty? Go back and take a look at the Russian Revolution in 1917 and see how the poor came out on that one. Study the aftermath of World War I and the poverty that ensued in Germany. Look at how Adolph Hitler got control of Germany and how he went about his evil task. It didn’t start in 1939 with the invasion of Poland and Hitler didn’t do it by himself. He had a willing parliament, complicit media, and a desperate populace. Take a stroll through history, look the information up and find the truth. Then look at what your government has done here, just in the last 10 years. Go look at the last 10 years in the history of Venezuela. See how Hugo Chavez has taken complete control of that nation.

I am a father, a grandfather, a great-grandfather, a veteran, and a patriot. I have seen my freedom and the opportunities for my grandchildren seep away one at a time until a nation that was once crowded with opportunity and freedom has become a very lonely place. If you look at history you can see where we are now and where we are headed.

If you are not willing to learn from history you will repeat it. Many who are trying to stop this slide to tyranny will suffer the same fate as those who can’t or won’t see it for what it is. Once our freedom is totally gone it will take generations to get it back, if that can even be done. Don’t wait until it is too late to get involved; help win the battle for freedom we now face.

Look at how both parties and individual members of Congress have affected your life and the lives of your children and grandchildren. Don’t just listen to their words. Look at how they voted and bills they co-sponsored. Gain a true understanding of world history, understand what is happening and learn what you can do about it. We don’t have to travel this road any longer. We the People have the power to once again have a voice in our nation but we have to speak up. We have to know what we are talking about factually, not with partisan political eyes (rose colored, maybe?) for or against either party. When government has control of everything we are no longer free.

The following link goes to an article I wrote that has a lot in common with this one. In it I go more into the foibles of blindly voting for a political party.

I submit this in the name of the Most Holy Trinity, in faith, with the responsibility given to me by Almighty God to honor His work and not let it die from neglect.

Bob Russell
Claremore, Oklahoma
November 24, 2011

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