California Conservatism on the Eve of 2011

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Made it back to New York from California on this eve of 2011, and it was a rewarding journey all around. The highlight: nine airports all over the western United States in as many days, and not a single body scan, not a single pat-down. I’d like to think it’s because my little clan exudes a don’t-tread-on-me vibe, but I don’t think so. Let’s just say I thank the TSA for profiling, and I thank them for treating us with dignity.

I was equally pleased throughout my journey from the results of my completely non-scientific survey of bumper stickers observed on the many freeways I traversed throughout the state of California, north to south and back again. Though I spent time in the San Francisco Bay Area, I saw only one Obama sticker. One. And that one was the only liberal-leaning message I would see on those West Coast cars throughout those nine days.

Indeed even more stunning than the lack of Obama/Pelosi/leftist accolades in my completely unscientific survey, was the overwhelming avalanche of conservative-minded comments people had slapped on their cars.  Many of those cars were big, gas-guzzling SUVs, including the one sporting a “Capitalist” sticker, the answer to the politically correct “Coexist” message liberals like to paste to their tiny, tinny, death-trappy “smart” cars.

Yes, throughout those California freeways, from north to south and back again, I found drivers proclaiming proudly their belief in Tea Party patriotism; the hope of Election Day, November 2012; the radicalism of our nation’s founders; the Don’t-Tread-on-Me mindset; and anything and everything to do with gun rights; as well as the command that this administration “Change it Back!” And not a single one of these vehicles appeared to have been keyed or vandalized in any way.

Now I realize California disappointed us mightily back on Election Day 2010 – though I still believe part of that blame rests with the “mainstream” republican party that was, and perhaps still is, trying to play nice-nice with the left. Nevertheless, on this eve of 2011, my own completely unscientific survey left me feeling pretty hopeful that perhaps California – and that misguided republican party – will change its course in the next couple of years.

Don’t let us down next time, California (and misguided mainstream republican party). As your economy plummets toward bankruptcy, thanks to the liberal policies and the greedy politicians that guide them, take note of those little signs on your freeways. I, in the meantime, will be thinking positively for our country as a whole on this eve of 2011, hoping and believing that what we witnessed during the bloodbath that was Election Day 2010, was only the spark for what lies ahead in the next two years.  Happy 2011, everyone. Keep the faith.

Airport Security, Aunt Bee and Me

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Ever since my lengthy coverage (aka, justified meltdown) of the Napolitano/Obama airport screening mandates for the TSA back before Thanksgiving, I have wondered how my own holiday travels would transpire once it was time for my family to fly across the country from New York to California for Christmas.  Well, yesterday marked the first leg of the journey, and I am happy, though somewhat perplexed, to report that I have no out-of-our-ordinary travel experiences to report.

We arrived nice and early at the airport, expecting a longer wait thanks to holiday travels and heightened security procedures.  We approached the security checkpoint.  We saw the scanners.  We saw travelers that looked like they could have been regulars on “The Andy Griffith Show,” their arms outstretched, being scanned.  We saw travelers ushered aside for pat-downs.  My kids asked if they would be patted down.  My kids asked if they would be strip searched.  My kids knew that if I was patted down, I would hope for something entirely inappropriate to occur.

We approached the podium for preliminary TSA vetting of our paperwork.   We were deemed fit for boarding. We walked to the familiar conveyor belt and began the procedure we have done a thousand times before like a well-oiled machine: removing shoes and jackets; taking computers out of carry-ons; throwing belts, watches and small containers of liquids into the gray bins.  We were ushered one by one through the metal detector…..and…..that was it.  “Thanks very much,” said the burly TSA agent standing at the finish line as he directed us back to our long line of belongings waiting for us on the conveyor belt.  Okay then. No scanning, no pat-downs, no strip searches for us.

It was not so pleasant an experience for everyone in our line, however. As we were reassembling our carry-ons and pulling on boots, we watched the progress of an elderly woman – a grandma-type who could have easily played Aunt Bee on the old “Andy Griffith Show” – as she traversed the security gauntlet.  She was ushered through the metal detector, then scanned in the scanner (which just a few days ago failed to reveal a gun a Pakistani man had on his person), then patted down physically, then sent through the metal detector again. Apparently Aunt Bee has been targeted by Obama and minion Napolitano as a serious threat to the national security of the United States.

Our spirits daunted a bit by what we had just witnessed, we reached our gate and learned from the cable news being broadcast there that the lame-duck session of the 111th record-low-approval-rating Congress had finally called it quits for the year after furiously setting a record in the lame-duck passage of bills. “Thank God!” I exclaimed. Looking back, I guess it’s fortunate I didn’t hear that news before going through security, or I would no doubt have found myself receiving the Aunt-Bee security treatment, as well.

Airport Groping Continues – As Does the Rage

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Just when you think it’s safe to talk about something other than Obama/Napolitano/TSA groping and naked radioactive photography at America’s airports, the situation continues to escalate as America refuses to let it go.  I would expect no less from the people of our great nation, the majority of whom recognize tyranny when they see it.

As we know, air travelers have been given the choice to submit either to naked photography sessions powered by invasive radiation, or to full-body pat-downs (“groping sessions”) performed by TSA officials.  The outcry, the fallout, the backlash have been deafening – and all in time for Thanksgiving, one of the busiest travel times of the year.

In recent weeks we have seen our nation transformed (Obama’s word) into a tyrant’s dream.  Now, there is no one more rabidly concerned about airport security – and national security – than I am, but what we are witnessing right now is pure insanity.  As Americans coast to coast are submitting to newly institutionalized humiliations and assaults, we all know full well that these procedures prevent nothing, and in no way target those who actually do wish to see our nation brought to her knees.

There is an answer, and we all know what that is.  Hint: Israel’s El Al Airlines.  But in a current post-9/11 culture that has inexplicably elevated political correctness to a sacrament, we find instead this (and all within the last couple of weeks):

  • A flight attendant – a 32-year veteran and breast-cancer survivor – claims she was groped manually, aggressively, and far too intimately; then was forced to show the gropers her prosthetic breast.
  • A woman in St. Louis was forced to submit to a groping session because of the metal in her artificial knees. I would rather not describe here what she alleges she endured at the hands of the two TSA interrogators, but I will say again that it harkens back to those dreadful women’s prison movies of decades past. If her story is true, I wholeheartedly agree with her that it was in every way a “sexual assault.”
  • Still no clear statement on how Muslim women in burqas will be interrogated/groped, yet we have all now surely seen the Catholic nuns and non-Muslim 3-year-olds being fondled in the name of national security.
  • Elected officials, including Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX) are shouting that these procedures violate our 4th-Amendment Constitutional protection from “illegal search and seizure.”
  • New York City Council members are supporting legislation to ban full-body scanners in the Big Apple.
  • Various airports are contemplating replacing the TSA with private security services.
  • Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) has described the airport groping procedures as nothing but “love pats,” which we should all be willing to enjoy.
  • This hot topic has become prime grist for the comedy writer’s mill and YouTube, the latter of which currently hosts a video of a man who calls the TSA to inquire about job opportunities that he understands would permit him to act out all his sexual proclivities.  Chilling are the TSA representative’s very matter-of-fact responses to his questions.
  • Despite the widespread revolt, TSA Chief John Pistole has announced: “I’m not going to change those policies.” Keep in mind that he may say only what Obama and Napolitano mandate (“just following orders”).
  • Even the brilliant, consummately dignified Dr. Charles Krauthammer, one of the sharpest minds ever to eviscerate the hypocrisy of our culture and our politics, is singing the praises of the American airport traveler’s new rallying cry: “Don’t touch my junk!”

The airlines have for the most part remained mum on this topic.  The exception is Southwest Airlines, whose Senior VP of Operations, Greg Wells, stated when discussing the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday: “With people getting partially molested at checkpoints, all that is going to be a real shock for them.”  Perhaps the other airlines will speak up when they realize that people are choosing not between naked radiation or groping, but choosing not to fly at all as to prevent the government from “molesting” them and their children.

Rather than listen to Janet Napolitano, Barack Obama and Claire “love pat” McCaskill, I will listen instead to former El Al Security Chief Marvin Badler, who calls the pat-down “a waste of time.”  We would be wise to follow instead El Al’s procedure, which involves at its core…yep, we’re going to say it…profiling.  While TSA officials, mandated by Obama and Napolitano to fondle 3-year-old Tiffany and wheelchair-bound grandma, El Al officials are interviewing would-be travelers, conducting computer background checks on them, and evaluating where would-be travelers were born, where they live, why they are traveling, and why they have traveled in the past. And bring on the dogs. The canine nose trumps the human hand and radiation any day.

Permit me also to clarify that to date, I have had nothing but positive experiences with the TSA, finding them polite, respectful and professional. But as history has shown, a bit of authority, particularly when coupled with a license for physical force and groping, can be transformative for those of weak spirit (Nazi Germany, anyone?). With a dangerously authoritarian administration currently holding the reins, resistance is the key to our survival.

In the meantime, as long as the current policies remain, and as long as those making the decisions choose impotence and insanity over El-Al-style muscle, I have a suggestion.  Men, women, children, all of you: Just wear a burqa to the airport, and Obama, Napolitano and the TSA will leave you alone.

Airport Insanity Update

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After reading my post of November 13, a friend of mine commented that perhaps I am being a bit extreme in suggesting that TSA airport security might be the dream job for a pedophile.  Surely children would be exempt from new procedures that involve naked photography and the full-body fondling of airline passengers.

What a coincidence, then, that less than 24 hours later, I would stumble upon the story of a 3-year-old who had a meltdown when she was subjected to a full-body patdown by a TSA agent in San Diego.  The toddler’s dad happens to be a local San Diego news broadcaster, who made sure his daughter’s experience would not be forgotten or denied.

So, dear friend of mine, no, children are not exempt.  But you have to assume they are confused.  Parents, schools and pediatricians expend much time and effort teaching children how to guard against strangers and improper touches.  Consider then those children who are properly schooled in the fine art of self-protection, only to find themselves fondled by strangers in TSA uniforms at the airport.

Of course common sense has no place in the America of Barack Obama and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano – at least in those areas of government where they still have some authority.  As if to thumb their noses (yet again) at an America that refuses to cooperate with a wholesale leftwing transformation of the United States, they tweak their policies daily, almost as though they are trying to see just how severely they can punish and humiliate the American people.

For example, today we learned that if you intend to wear sweatpants, pajamas or similarly loose-fitting leggings on your flight, you will literally find TSA hands down your pants.  And in the wake of the Muslim community’s demands that their women be exempted from full-body patdowns, Napolitano has stated that “adjustments” will be made, and “with respect to that particular issue, I think there will be more to come.”  I don’t think Janet herself even knows what she means (or what she’s doing), but I certainly hope it doesn’t mean what I think it means.  If it does, the response will not be pretty.

The irony at the root of this madness is that most would-be terrorists on planes since 9/11 have been foiled, not by TSA prevention policies, but by passengers on those planes who did not hesitate to jump in.  Even on the day of 9/11 itself, the heroic passengers of Flight 93, knowing the fate of the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, and knowing what awaited them, refused to go down without a fight.

Since that terrible day, the majority of us have become more vigilant, more observant, and more willing to take necessary action.  Despite what one might glean from the behavior of far too many of our elected and administrative officials, the vast majority of us have become far less politically correct, as well.  In other words, we know that traumatizing 3-year-olds and naked pictures of Grandma are not the answer.

Journalist Hacks Sink to a New Low with the First Lady’s Vacation

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Back in the day when the Clintons were in office, friends and I (those who had put the Clintons in office included), would joke about the deal this couple must have cut with the devil. As the scandals kept piling on at breakneck speed – and as Teflon Bill and his wife continually deflected whatever came their way – we could only imagine the monarch of the underworld scrambling around trying to figure out just how the he** he was going to make this one go away. He must have concluded pretty early on that he really wasn’t getting his money’s worth with this one.

For some reason, the lapdog media’s response to Her Royal Highness Michelle’s recent five-star sojourn to Europe has reminded me of those halcyon days that had Beezlebub scrambling to cover for the Clintons. With few, admittedly big-gun exceptions, they have desperately tried to paint this picture in a positive light. And they have ended up looking like even bigger fools for it.

Since the moment of the big announcement that HRH Michelle would be traveling to Spain with a massive, budget-busting entourage, destined to tolerate only the finest Spain could offer, the royal couple’s loyal media hacks have regaled those few who would listen with fanciful Camelotesque tales of how this woman has taken Europe by storm, while simultaneously inspiring the peasants back home. But despite the valiant spin, the lapdogs know full well that those peasants back home (the core of their ever-dwindling audiences) aren’t buying this pathetic story arc. Indeed Michelle’s opulence, coupled with the failing economy and job losses on the homefront, are the classic definition of “disconnect.”

The Clintonesque last straw occurred when one media outlet grasped in a last gasp for a message that would resonate. This particular media outlet (never mind the name, as they are all interchangeable) sputtered that Michelle Obama is only now beginning to approach the extravagance of….and it’s embarrassing for me even to write the name….Laura Bush.

Laura Bush?!

Did I hear that correctly? Yes, I did. Laura Bush. Nancy Reagan has been out of the spotlight for too long for such comparisons, they wouldn’t dare utter the name Barbara Bush, and Hillary…well, she’s one of them and has that pact in place, so the only option is Laura Bush, one of the gentlest, most gracious and elegant First Ladies ever to occupy the White House (gosh, I miss her). Say what you wish about George W., and indeed many have, using such terms as “assassinate,” “Nazi” and “idiot.” But Laura? Extravagance? Even the lapdogs couldn’t sink so low, could they?

Obviously they did, and in making this ridiculous, bogus connection, they reveal the shameful level of pathetic desperation to which they have sunk. Must be tougher than ever to look themselves in the mirror at night. How can they can face their non-journalist friends? How they can face their children? Struggle as they must to remain true to their loyalty to the First Family, they are learning, as certain presumed masters of the underworld must have in the nineties, how dangerous – and embarrassing – it is to pledge your allegiance to parties who make an artform of thumbing their collective noses in your face.

College Students, Wake Up!

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January 21, 2010 | Comments

The results of Tuesday’s election in Massachusetts have left me thinking about a conversation I overheard this last Christmas.

Our family was flying west to California for the holidays as we do every year, this time with stopovers in both Las Vegas and Reno. On the flight between those two cities, I was seated in front of an older woman and a young female college student. As we took off over the glittering lights of the Las Vegas strip, the older woman introduced herself to her younger seatmate (and, by extension, to me) as a medical-school professor, a recent transplant to Nevada from the East Coast.

Sounding almost like a young schoolgirl herself, this mature professional woman chirped with abandon about her love for her new state. Compared to her life spent entirely in the east, Nevada was in every way living up to its reputation as “the wild west,” she said, a genuine “frontier.” Her enthusiasm for her new home was so infectious, I wanted to jump off the plane and enroll in her medical school.

Anyway, the young woman next to her, a native of Reno, she said, was in her first year at a small Massachusetts college – an International Relations major (whatever that is). The physician spoke to her about her own years training, practicing and teaching in Boston, and they chatted a bit about living in the Bay State. Then the doctor popped the big question: “So how does it feel moving from a state that has no income tax [Nevada], to a state that has one of the highest tax rates in the country [Massachusetts]?”

“Well,” said the girl, “I’m in college, so it doesn’t really affect me.”

I grinned, imagining the wise smirk the International-Relations major’s comment must have inspired on the face of her seatmate. “Oh, it will affect you,” said the doctor. “And I’m sure it’s affecting your parents, and the new federal taxes coming are going to affect them, too.” (As a parent myself, I would not be very happy to think my daughter considered punishing tax burdens as something that “doesn’t really affect me.”)

The girl’s ensuing silence indicated that she didn’t want to talk about this anymore (not a good sign for someone who wants to relate internationally). I’d like to think that once she got home, she made a similar comment to her parents, who in turn decided to look in to the education they were financing for their beloved daughter. If nothing else, I hope the physician’s statement at least gave the girl some food for thought.

It certainly gave me food for thought, as I now think back and wonder if Tuesday’s election in this young student’s adopted state has in any way “affected” her. How has it been presented and discussed, I wonder, in her probably elitist, liberal, kumbaya International Relations classes? I have my assumptions, of course, but do she and so many others like her now realize the gravity of what is at stake for her and for all of us in this country? Do they realize that this election “affected” the state in which this girl now resides, but also in her home state? And my home state. And yours. And every other state in the union.

Perhaps before this girl embarks on her career in International Relations (whatever that is), she should learn about the dangers her own country is facing at the moment – including the tax burden that will await her once she graduates and embarks on that career. I’ll wager she is learning nothing like that in those International Relations classes of hers. We can guess what she is probably learning: the Blame-America curriculum embraced by the President and his advisers and colleagues during their formative years.

As someone more in line with the American-Exceptionalism curriculum, I ask you college students out there to start thinking beyond the walls of those classes. Before you agree to packing your university auditoriums to cheer on the President and provide him with a backdrop for his latest photo-op, as happened last Sunday in Boston (and will surely happen when he campaigns for Harry Reid next month in Nevada), think about the effect this man, this Congress and their agenda could have on your long-term goals, your long-term hopes and dreams. Battles are being waged right now in all of our own backyards that you think “affect” only your parents at the moment, but if this President gets his way, the outcomes of these skirmishes will profoundly affect your future – and not in a positive manner.

So look to Massachusetts and be grateful for what happened there on Tuesday, despite what your professors may be telling you in class. Time to see the big picture and your place in it. Time to think about long-term consequences and, to paraphrase JFK, what you can do, not for this President and his colleagues, but for your country, your family and your future.

In short, wake up. It does affect you.

Betsy Siino | Comments

Traveling Terrorist Skies

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December 27, 2009 | Comments

Tomorrow with my family I board a flight in San Francisco headed for the East Coast. We are seasoned travelers. We do this all the time, traversing the security checkpoints as a well-oiled machine, yet tomorrow we will face a whole new routine.

We will arrive at the airport three hours early. We understand our carry-ons may be checked twice. We understand we may be patted down, x-rayed, photographed, sniffed by dogs, poked, prodded and interrogated as never before. And we will have to stow everything on the flight an hour before the scheduled landing and sit stone still for that hour with nothing in our hands, nothing on our laps. We will comply obediently, of course, because it’s all part of remaining safe in the sky because yet another terrorist has successfully made an attempt on American lives.

So yes, we will comply. And I suppose this is okay, as long as the young man in the line with a certain type of name who paid cash for his ticket and has no luggage and whose father recently turned him in as a terrorist threat will be subjected to the same rigorous procedures, even though he and his brethren — as well as the President of the United States and the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security — may find such scrutiny of the young man to be humiliating and insulting.

Indeed in the wake of the most recent terrorist attack in U.S. airspace, the President took three days finally to announce in his usual scripted and robotic manner that it is “an isolated incident.” Following his lead, his Secretary of Homeland Security first announced that despite said attack (foiled by couragous passengers who jumped on the guy) “the system worked.” Then, a day later, she backtracked, stuttering and channeling the deer in the headlights as she muttered incoherent statements that made it abundantly clear that she has no idea what to do, what to say, or even who she is. Incompetence, thy name is Janet Napolitano (the same woman who believes the real threat to America comes from NRA members, pro-lifers and returning war veterans).

So do you feel safe? I sure don’t. Yet we are expected to  believe that we will be protected by people who close their eyes and hope that all the scary stuff will just go away. Sorry, we the people see the threat for exactly what it is, and we see this President and his administration for exactly what they are, too. Pray for safe travels, America. And for more lucky breaks and courageous passengers. We’re going to need them.

Betsy Siino | Comments

Schumer Makes It Official

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December 16, 2009 | Comments

We’ve known all along, especially in the days since the November 2008 election, that our so-called “representatives” in Washington, DC, believe themselves to be “better” than the rest of us peons. That they are above the law or any rules whatsoever (including those outlined in the United States Constitution); that they, by benefit of their inherent superiority, are deserving of royal, first-class treatment; that they are entitled to Cadillac health care for life while they saddle the rest of us with blue pills, rationing and death panels; that they have the right to rob us blind and sentence our children to a lifetime of debt…the list just goes on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on…

None of this is what we call a best-kept secret, but this last weekend, as he sat on a plane, waiting to travel home to New York from DC, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) made the arrogance of the United States Congress (and by extraction, the current Presidential administration, for which the majority of said Congress carries water), official. When a flight attendant, just doing her job, asked the Senator to turn off his phone before takeoff – as flight attendants ask every passenger – the miffed Senator failed to comply.

When the Senator finally did obey the flight attendant’s repeated instructions, he rewarded her by describing her to his seatmate, fellow Senator Kirstin Gillibrand (D-NY), as a “bitch.” Nice. At least he didn’t bellow, “Do you know who I am!?” (although I wish he had).

Knowing he couldn’t try to deny his faux pas – too many witnesses – Schumer has issued the typical apologies, blah, blah, blah. Don’t know why he bothered, really. He knows full well that he’ll be re-elected by fatally blue New York. Seatmate Gillibrand has offered her own weak statements of support for Schumer, blah, blah, blah, though her days as a New York Senator, Hillary’s appointed replacement, are probably numbered anyway, especially if “America’s Mayor” Rudy decides to oppose her.

So life goes on, just as we might have predicted. Schumer admits publicly his superiority – and suffers none of the consequences or repercussions that would fall upon us inferior peons should we ever deign to defy a flight attendant’s request. I just have to wonder, though: How might the fair Senator have described the flight attendant if “she” had been a “he” – and a gay “he,” at that? Now that would have been a fallout worth watching.

Betsy Siino | Comments