Monday, November 29, 2010

TSA: "Eureka, I found it!" NOT!

By now, the whole world has heard the stories out of America about the mishandling by the TSA of airport security. Videos are all over the internet of little children screaming as TSA 'agents' execute their not so efficient frisks of these would-be terrorists. We have seen passengers insist 'don't touch my junk,' and retired special education teachers being publicly humiliated as TSA thugs ignore said passenger's requests to be mindful of his colostomy bag. The TSA employees continued on and refused to even acknowledge their disrespectful clumsiness as they left the man covered in his own urine because they had broken the seal.

We have all read the stories of sexual assault by these (probably minimum wage) employees determined to keep America safe, even to the point of insisting that a flight attendant (cancer survivor) remove her breast prosthesis. Did anyone miss the story of a TSA employee masturbating as he watched the screen of unsuspecting passengers who believed that the x-ray screening was less invasive than the probing gloved hands of these eager employees? The list goes on and on... and on, of the abuse, and yes, ignorance by these TSA 'screeners' as they intimidate, humiliate, ignore commonsense as potential passengers, from grandmothers to babies in snugglies, have to prove they are not terrorists, nor a threat to American national security.

What we have NOT heard is ANY employee declaring "Eureka, I've found it" as they triumphantly expose any kind of bomb material, or other terrorist equipment hidden on (or in) the bodies of the American traveling public.

Of course, Janet Whositwhatsit, head of Department of Homeland Security, will claim that this is because the 'system' works. But just this week, a male prospective terrorist was arrested in Oregon before he could detonate a bomb at a Christmas tree lighting ceremony. Guess what the name was? Yep, Mohammed, and no surprise that just about every single failed or almost successful bomber aimed at America since 9/11 has either the name Mohommed (or variations thereof) OR is shown to have links to terrorist cells. I am not going to rehash that here, but go over to Michelle Malkin who summarises the real threat to America here. Hint: none of them are white, and yes, call me racist if you will, for stating the obvious.

In an administration that refuses to call terrorism what it is - or profile those that empirical evidence tells us are the most likely terrorists - and instead subjects innocent Americans to degrading and unnecessary invasions of their bodies, many are asking why America is not looking at countries who are successful at thwarting terrorist attacks on their airlines: Israel, for example, who have not had a terrorist airplane attack since Entebbe. Even as the politicians manage to excuse themselves from the same degradation as regular folks, a couple of questions MUST be asked:

1) Who ARE these TSA agents, and what - if any - pre-employment criminal record checks do they go through? As one who has worked with children for many years, I have had to undergo many criminal record background checks to prove I am not a child molester or worse. I have also participated in workshops with groups of very young school kids who are being taught that "it's my body, nobody's body but mine" as we reinforce for them that NOBODY has the right to put their hands on a child's body. Yet, the TSA is undermining every parents' lessons to their children - and the children are screaming, as they should. Mixed messages much? Again, who are these people we are supposed to allow to molest our children if we intend to get on a plane? [This article makes my case for me.]

2) WHY does DHS not hire (retired?) police or military to guard the airports? It seems to me, especially today, that we have more than a few veterans who could do the job far better than these TSA thugs. Today's veterans have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, and are well trained in assessing crowds of civilians and making split second decisions as to any 'suspicious' person. Let's face it, where they have been, their lives depended on their ability to read a crowd, without putting their hands on anybody's private parts. Those skills would be really useful in our airports, train stations etc. Commonsense? Naaaaah!

Other countries use their military and/or police forces to guard the airports.

In Denmark (according to one of my sources):

Our airport security is about the same as the US system, xcept it's provided by our Police/Politi, we use a lot of dogs to sniff all the passengers, even inter border & pretty sure they do some profile type but don't admit it. We've been xraying & patting down for a coupla years & haven't heard too many complaints. We've been xperimenting with a Blue Tag system to register frequent business travelers that seems to be working pretty good & eliminates the need for additional screening when you get to the airport. They vary the levels during the day just to keep people on their toes & never make public which times & Int'l airports they're targeting for xtra security. Trains & public transportation follow the same procedures as airplanes...


The police screeners aren't armed but the rest are usually standing pretty close by. We also have a Homeguard which is a quasi branch of the military that also provide security in public buildings & they're armed to the teeth....Armed police are about half a second away in case anyone tries anything & they have armed police/homeguard roaming all over. ...would stress that all airports vary their methods almost daily so anyone casing a specific airport can't figure out the routine...

All makes sense to me, and I hear that since I was last in London, armed guards (military/police?) are also very much in evidence at airports.

From one of my English sources:

[...] it's civvy Police that are armed with MP5K's at Manchester and Heathrow. I don't recall seeing any at Birmingham, but that's not to say they weren't there. I would hazard a guess that all airports over here have armed Police. All baggage is scanned as are people, even on internal flights. Dogs are about too.

Hmm....armed guards, and dogs as a deterrent. How simple is THAT? But that apparently is far too simple for the knee jerk REactive DHS of America. They would rather molest - and yes, humiliate and terrorise - old folks and small children, and demographic in between. In response to the shoe bomber that has us all now removing our shoes, confiscation of expressed mother's breast milk following liquid bombing items, and now molesting children (maybe I missed where a 3 year old carried out a bomb attack? At least in the west. We have all seen the videos of little children being trained in Islamic terrorist camps. That must be why we are seeing so many screaming kids in American airports. ) Breast prostheses being removed - will muslim women be subjected to that kind of indignity? Rhetorical question, of course! And it really might not be too much a stretch of the imagination to forsee women being told to remove IUD's or tampons as a reaction to a burka-clad woman hiding bomb materiel. You think I jest? Just wait.

I actually decided a few weeks back when this all broke that I would strip down, myself, at an airport (just to be really helpful, you know?) No, no! Settle down, I wasn't going to get totally naked - although that would be a way to clear any airport! This was before I heard of the American who did just that and was told to put his clothes back on, so the TSA could give him an official 'patdown.' Would be funny if it wasn't so sad. But in Germany they are way ahead of me:

What really defies logic for me, is how America, and those supposed to keep the traveling public safe, are REacting, rather than being PROactive. The DHS folks seem to have forgotten the ingenuity for which America has always been justifiably famous. Not to worry though, I have come up with a perfect solution. You could call it my own "Eureka!" moment.

Meet who I consider the perfect airport security weapon:

Yes, that is a pig. Bear with me here. Since America refuses to profile, my suggestion is this:

At the perimetre of every airport there should be a ring of piglets and their adult counterparts. Sort of like a pork moat if you will, because after all, by the time a terrorist is in the airport, it is already probably far too late. Really, it would be a win-win situation. Those we are not allowed to profile would stay far, far away from these 'filthy' (but cute) beasts.

The hog industry would be delighted, I am sure, to be the official supplier of pork to the government, since swine flu (and I also found a reference to 'blue ear,' whatever that is) saw a decimation of the pork industry. I did research that industry and found interesting statistics for America. Did you know, according to a Reuters article?:

* Rate of herd decline slowing

By Jerry Bieszk

CHICAGO, March 24 (Reuters) - U.S. hog producers continued to reduce their herds early in 2010, which should put the March 1 hog herd at its lowest level in three years, according to analysts surveyed by Reuters.

Hog producers have reduced herds after losing money for nearly two years. High feed and fuel costs started the losses and later the recession and H1N1 flu hurt as those events slowed pork sales.

"My forecast is the lowest since March 2007," said Ron Plain, livestock economist at the University of Missouri. "This is sixth quarter all hogs were below year ago levels and it's the eight consecutive quarter with the breeding herd down." (here)

Think of the benefits to the US economy! Apparently in the 1950's there were over 3 million pig farms in America. Today? 67,000! (Go read more on the fascinating hog industry at the National Pork Producing Council here) With pig herds working at airports across the country, farmers would be in hog heaven. (I couldn't resist!)

Now I am NOT suggesting profiling (perish the thought!) but I would lay odds that anyone with a name even vaguely resembling Mohammed would avoid airports and other travel centres like the errrrrrr plague.

The children would be squealing in delight, not screaming in terror. No kid I ever knew could resist a cute piglet, or their bigger mums and dads. Imagine the joy abounding in the airports. Happy kids loving the airport adventure.

Crowd control? Noooooo problem! Remember Babe, who was so adept at herding?

We could station the veterinarian soldiers returning from Iraq, Afghanistan and other dangerous places - to ensure the health and well-being of the little porkers - and they could complement the heavily armed military also just returned from the current war zones. The economic boost to the veterans would be a positive side-effect of airport duty. (Have you read the stats on unemployed and homeless vets? Not good.) Deploying them at our airports, train stations and shipyards - along with their pork partners - would do wonders for the American economy, which I hear could do with a boost (not taking into account the pork barrelling still running amok among the politicians with their snouts dug deep in the public trough. The opportunities for punning here are never-ending.)

The economic benefits are endless here, just by employing the pigs. I would NEVER be so cruel as to suggest that any malcontent pig be sent off to become a bacon butty (English expression,)
but think of the subsidiary benefits: feed for the piglets would need to be an ongoing contract, as would the bedding that they need. And no, I don't think we need the human labour unions to get involved here. Butt out, SEIU or whoever. Housing for the troops and pig farmers would be needed around the transportation hubs, and that would mean extra income for the surrounding neighbourhood businesses and stores. Oh, and just THINK of the savings on those gross rubber gloves we see all the TSA workers using on their shifts. I dare to suggest that the pigs would be far more reliable than ANY union worker.

See that cute nose? I am sure a pig's nose could be trained to sniff out any bomb material; you know that the old man in his wheelchair may have stuffed in his artificial leg or something. We have all read stories of our amazing MWD being trained to sniff out just about substance that could cause harm. Why not train the pigs?

Think of the educational possibilities also inherent in my plan. Not only the kids would learn valuable lessons: "You mean, mummy, that pork chops are not just made in those plastic trays in the store? " Urban adults would get a new respect for the oft maligned and under-paid farmers of America.

It occurs to me that Janet Whositwhatsit would have to go, become unemployed. After all, I am pretty sure she doesn't understand, or *gasp* care, about our four footed security guards. She probably doesn't even speak "pig." (Latin or other dialect.) Which brings me to the question of who should lead and oversee such a special unit.

Who else?

(picture of Miss Piggy courtesy of TV Guide here)

If Sesame Street is considered legitimate enough to partner with the DoD for our military families - see one such piece on that here - surely Miss Piggy would prove invaluable as a kind of roving ambassador in America's airports.

Seriously, NOBODY denies that in the world today, every country needs to be super vigilant about defence from potential terrorist attacks. We all 'get' that there must be measures in place to protect our citizens. However, there has to be a more efficient, less offensive/invasive way than the current 'grope and go' that America's administration seems hellbent on enforcing. To me, this whole 'grope and go' meme is yet another example of BHO and his minions insisting that they know what is best for the rest of us. Many other countries have security procedures in place that do not create chaos and mayhem in airports. Yes, we all expect some inconvenience, but surely, when even the Secretary of State Clinton is on the record as saying she would personally avoid such screening, something is very wrong here.

Meanwhile, if Babe is not available, I am ready and willing to offer even more creative solutions. (Pom poms not included.) Be aware, however, my consultation will not come cheap. It will, in the long run, be cheaper than all the lawsuits headed your way.

Come on, America, get with a different programme. Maybe actually consult with, and LISTEN to, those countries who have become experts at protecting their citizens without perniciously browbeating even the most innocent of little children. It really is unacceptable to insist that if any of us want to travel, we must first be subjected to such intimate procedures - from strangers - that only our closest family, or partners, should be permitted.

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