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.

Taking Us for Fools Yet Again in the Wake of a Would-Be Attack

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Update (May 10):  Attorney General, Eric Holder, perhaps realizing that the American people weren’t buying the party line, has acknowledged that previous claims about the would-be Times Square bomber acting alone, reacting to his inability to reach the American Dream, yada, yada, yada, were apparently off base.  The United States, he now says, has “developed evidence that shows the Pakistani Taliban was behind the attack.” No surprise there, Eric. Maybe next time you’ll listen to us.

Original Post (May 8):  Lots of polls – scientific and otherwise — making the rounds almost hourly these days. Let’s conduct our own completely unscientific poll here, and measure what might be labeled the most humorous aspects of Faisal Shahzad’s attempted bombing of Times Square on May 1st, and the administration’s and their lapdog media’s response to that would-be attack.

*  Lapdog media hacks presuming the alleged perpetrator, before and after he was identified and apprehended, to be an obvious member of the Tea Party. See how violent those right-wingers are? (They fell short of calling him a teabagger.)

*  The lapdogs’ anguish upon learning that the alleged perpetrator was a Muslim named Shahzad rather than a Christian named Billy Bob, Jeff, Bubba or Sarah Palin.

*  Shahzad painted as a disgruntled family man, just trying to make ends meet and facing mortgage foreclosure in the unfair, cutthroat, racist world that is America.

*  Shahzad proclaimed an obvious amateur (thus no real threat), who had no idea what he was doing, despite his knowledge of explosives, his possession of explosives, and his knowledge of airline/airport operations and vehicular identification practices.

*  Media and administration alike proclaiming the White House victorious in stopping this attack — at the same time claiming there was no threat because of the alleged perpetrator’s amateur status.

*  Shahzad’s being granted American citizenship one year ago, despite his many trips back and forth to Pakistan and documented meetings with known suspicious individuals.

*  Shahzad’s ability to board a plane for the Middle East without that pesky “no-fly list” from which he was removed a year ago to stop him, despite his many trips back and forth to Pakistan and documented meetings with known suspicious individuals.

*  White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs’ now-familiar stuttering and stammering, finally resorting to that now-familiar standby: “Blame Fox News. It’s their fault.”

*  Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s now-familiar channeling of the deer in the headlights as she is once again asked to explain this administration’s actions (or lack thereof) and the safety of our America.

*  Shahzad hated George Bush, so what do you expect?

*  He acted alone.

Hmm. Come to think of it, none of these are funny. We the people end up the losers once more, our country at risk, our families in danger. No, not funny at all.

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