TSA Shutdown? Yes, please

Regular readers of this blog know that I absolutely loathe the Transportation Security Administration. It’s a monstrous, unconstitutional abomination that should not exist in any society that considers itself “free.” What’s more, it is demonstratively unable to meet its primary purpose: detecting and intercepting potential threats to travelers.  Perhaps the ongoing “shutdown” of the Feral Government will give Americans — and the TSA Employees themselves — a chance to rethink how ‘essential’ this function really is:.

Nobody wants to work for an employer who holds off on cutting paychecks until a more convenient moment, and that’s just what the federal government is doing during its “shutdown”—a spectacle that almost seems crafted to demonstrate how easy it is to live without the leviathan in Washington, D.C.

Understandably, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employees are no more enthusiastic about working when their paychecks are delayed than is anybody else on the planet. That’s why they’ve been calling-in sick in increased numbers—some to seek temporary work elsewhere in order to pay their bills—as the more-theater-than-reality “government shutdown” drags on.

Not that there’s any point to all of that [TSA] groping beyond the purely recreational aspect. Undercover investigators were able to smuggle weapons and explosives past TSA agents 95 percent of the time, according to a 2015 Homeland Security Investigator General report. Maybe that’s because agents are relying on dowsing rods or Spidey sense—they’re certainly not depending on the expensive equipment they make travelers and baggage file through.

“Because TSA does not adequately oversee equipment maintenance, it cannot be assured that routine preventive maintenance is performed or that equipment is repaired and ready for operational use,” The Inspector General office also noted.

“Security theater” is what security expert Bruce Schneier, a lecturer at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of government, calls most of what the TSA does. They’re “measures that make us feel safer without improving security… I’ve repeatedly said that the two things that have made flying safer since 9/11 are reinforcing the cockpit doors and persuading passengers that they need to fight back. Everything beyond that isn’t worth it.”

But, isn’t this an opportunity for us all? Given that the world is a better place when TSA employees and other government minions don’t do their jobs, and some are already seeking alternative employment, what a great opportunity to shut down their agencies, shrink the government, and make everybody’s lives a little better!

If it isn’t worth it, why pay for it?

Especially when the cost is measured in civil liberty as much as it is in dollars. It’s long past time we reevaluate just how “essential” large parts of the Feral Government really are. We pay for more government than we should want, and yet get less return on those payments than we need.  As for the “shutdown,” let’s keep a little perspective:

shutddown

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Are answers finally forthcoming?

The Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz will release today his long-anticipated review of the FBI’s investigation of Hillary Clinton’s unauthorized use of personal email and likely mishandling of classified information.  Some observers are concerned the original report, which has been under internal review for some time now, has been modified, watered down and redacted so as to protect some of the partisans thought to be involved.  Which makes this post from Q interesting:

Q on IG report

[RR] refers to Rod Rosenstein, the number 2 at the Department of Justice.  This is not the first time Q has hinted the plan is to allow the Swamp to try another coverup, only to have the President declassify the whole sordid affair.  As someone who used to deal with media relations, I have found Q’s occasional reference to “optics” interesting.  He/she/they seem to indicate much thought has gone into how to reveal the results of what seems an extensive investigation.  Appearances are, indeed, important, and if the Swamp can be completely discredited even as their crimes are brought to light, so much the better.

The post above is one of Q’s less cryptic missives, so it will serve as a good benchmark of the source’s credibility.  This isn’t the first time those who are paying attention to Q have had reason to believe “the trigger’s about to be pulled,” but previous signals have been much more mixed.  There is no doubt about the report’s release today — it’s release has been confirmed by DOJ in recent days.  The question now is “to what effect,” and whether it will withstand withering partisan scrutiny.  So it will be interesting to see just how much is redacted and left to interpretation, and how much is later declassified as a result of the Swamp’s yapping.

So I’ll say what I said a few weeks ago when referencing this source:

The only proper response to Q’s Bible quote is to pray. Pray hard for our nation. Pray for those in authority. Pray for those patriots working to restore good governance. And pray our people have discernment, to tell truth from falsehood.

Remember, any attempt to “Drain the Swamp” is at its heart a spiritual battle.  Evil does not yield ground willingly or easily, and there is much evil at the center of our nation today.

Pray hard, patriots!

Is this the week?

There are loud whisperings from various quarters that this is the week the Department of Justice’s Inspector General releases his report on various alleged shenanigans within our government during the last election cycle.  If so, it’s been a long time coming, and without much fanfare until recent weeks.  I hope that’s an indication of a professionally run, thorough investigation that produces airtight evidence and leads to justice and accountability — not just for small-fry scapegoats, but also for heavy hitters who knowingly put their thumbs on the scales.

While I’ve not discussed Q much on this site (only mentioning the source recently for the first time), it will be interesting to see where this week goes.  You see, Q (which appears to be a group working together) put down a marker for Wednesday, May 23, as being a good day to watch the news.  Q has hinted quite strongly that recent statements by the administration were preparatory to the report coming out… and that many of the targets of that report are already spinning madly to try to get in front of it.  I did not realize until recently that the draft IG report was circulated not just within the department but also to those it targets.  If so, it would explain a lot of the heated rhetoric over the weekend from people like John Brennan.

Something else about Q’s recent posts drew my interest.  Here are a couple from Thursday, May 17th:

Q recent

As someone who has professional experience in media relations, I can say that driving news cycles is a key part of controlling the national discussion.  If something bad is about to break, industry practice is to time it for a Friday afternoon, so that if anyone bothers pays attention after the weekend it’s dismissed as “old news.”  Another is to time the release so a more prominent event draws off the focus.  Such is the sad commentary on our short-attention-span society.  There were hints the past couple weeks the Trump administration was ready to let some shoes drop.  So what happened the next day after the posts above (Friday the 18th)?

Santa Fe high school

This is not the first time Q has implied some of these events are deliberately designed, either to further an agenda or to suck the media oxygen out of the room and suffocate potentially damaging news about the shadow government (or Deep State as some refer to it).  One of Q’s constant remarks is “this is not a game.”  Sadly, as I’ve already confessed, such an accusation seems increasingly plausible to me.  Here’s were it gets more interesting (note the dates):

Thought wrong

“Follow the pen” refers to a posted photo that seemed to show a signed Executive Order about to drop.  The implication was that Trump was about to order up some answers.  Notably, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Sunday ordered the DOJ to look into the allegations highlighted by Trump.  The “NowC@mesTheP@ain—23!!!” line was an exposure of Q’s password before changing it and the passcode ID that verifies who’s posting.  Q claimed this to be a deliberate move.  It had been some time since Q’s last passcode change, so the implication is Q knew/knows something about May 23rd.  By Wednesday, not only will the initial furor over the school shooting be (sadly) past, so will the hoopla over the weekend’s royal wedding.

In other words, no distractions for dropping shoes.  Finally, Q did something unusual Sunday, worth noting here:

Q Armor of God

Q posts have alluded in the past to a spiritual battle going on, but this is the first direct Bible quote I’ve seen.  Such a post seems to indicate whatever maneuvering has been going on behind the scenes is about to break into the spotlight.  As frustrating as it’s been to see people like Her Hillariness seem to avoid consequences, there’s reason to believe justice has only been delayed, not denied.

The only proper response to Q’s Bible quote is to pray.  Pray hard for our nation.  Pray for those in authority.  Pray for those patriots working to restore good governance.  And pray our people have discernment, to tell truth from falsehood.

With that accomplished, let justice be served.  May this be a week for the history books.

Scattered thoughts and today’s read

Posting has been light lately, but I’ve been doing what I can to keep up with events.  Some observations:

  • If the current trajectory in Korea sticks (i.e. move to denuclearize and formal end to the Korean War), it can be considered the most important foreign policy development since the immediate aftermath of 9/11.  But don’t hold your breath waiting for the same people who screamed the nukes were falling four months ago to come to their senses and hand out a Nobel Peace Prize to the administration.
  • With scores of migrants now attempting to climb the border barriers in our Southwest, it’s time to move past policing and start firing beanbags, pepper spray and other nasty items to dissuade the would-be housecrashers.  Either we have a border and sovereignty, or we don’t.  Which is it?
  • The treatment of Sarah Huckabee Sanders by a “comedian” at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner shows the wisdom of Trump foregoing attendance again this year.  These people are losing their relevancy and their power… and they sense it.
  • Question: why have we heard nothing new about the Las Vegas shooting since right after it happened?  Is it plausible to believe our vast intelligence and law enforcement resources cannot put a picture together for the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history?  Or is everybody too busy looking for Russian collusion under the beds?
  • The much-anticipated report from Inspector General Horowitz is due soon.  It will be informative to see how many already revealed dots that report connects.  To that end, this is a great review:

There are three scary but crucial factors underlying the rapidly growing FBI scandal that most people miss, even though these factors are hidden in plain sight.

Recognizing and understanding this trio goes a long way toward explaining what has happened in the scandal — and where it is likely to go next… (read the whole thing)

Finally, I’ll note my curiosity about the increasingly frequent internet poster “Q” is fairly piqued.  I’m a skeptic of anything that smacks as “Live Action Role Playing” as the kids call it, or “conspiracy theory” as our generation knows it.  But I’ve been keeping an eye on this one for a while.  As the various investigations under way come to their conclusions, it’ll be interesting to see how Q’s posts continue to pan out against the revelations.  There’ve been enough synchronicities to this point that I’m willing to admit my interest now.  If you aren’t familiar with “Q,” start here, then go here, here (for cast of characters and terms) and here (for attempted advance deciphering).  That said, here’s hoping this recent post comes from legitimate high-level insight and points the way to the near future:

Q post next phase JUSTICE

The Senate weighs in

The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs today released an interim report of their ongoing investigation into how the Department of Justice and FBI handled the discovery that Hillary Clinton used an unauthorized personal email server, through which a considerable number of classified emails flowed.  Per the interim report, the committee’s investigation is looking into the following questions:

Whether, and the extent to which, any personal animus and/or political bias influenced the FBI’s investigation;

Whether, and the extent to which, the Obama Department of Justice or White House influenced the FBI’s investigation; and

Whether, and the extent to which, any personal animus and/or political bias influenced the FBI’s actions with respect to President Trump.

Unlike the brief House Committee memorandum released a few days ago, this 25-page report uses extensive footnotes to document the material from which their conclusions are drawn.  As it points out, the release of thousands of text messages between FBI agents Peter Strzok and Lisa Page raise many questions.  The entire report is available here.  While noting the Senate Committee continues to investigate the matter, this interim report concludes (emphasis added):

The information available to the Committee at this time raises serious questions about how the FBI applied the rule of law in its investigation of classified information on Secretary Clinton’s private email server. We know that:

• The FBI did not use a grand jury to compel testimony and obtain the vast majority of evidence, choosing instead to offer immunity deals and allow fact witnesses to join key interviews.

• There were substantial edits to Director Comey’s public statement that served to downplay the severity of Secretary Clinton’s actions, and that the first draft of the memo was distributed for editing two months before key witnesses were interviewed.

• Director Comey stated that he had not consulted with the Justice Department or White House, when text messages suggest otherwise. We have text messages in which two key investigators discuss an “insurance policy” against the “risk” of a Trump presidency,and “OUR task.”

• Messages discuss “unfinished business,” “an investigation leading to impeachment,” and “my gut sense and concern there’s no big there there.”

• Senior FBI officials—likely including Deputy Director McCabe—knew about newly discovered emails on a laptop belonging to Anthony Weiner for almost a month before Director Comey notified Congress.

• Over the period of at least four months, the FBI did not recover five months’ worth of text messages requested by DOJ OIG and two Senate committees; however, when pressed, (The Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General) was able to recover missing texts in less than one week.

It’s a mark of how divided our nation is that what is known so far hasn’t raised a bipartisan cry for major reform of the DOJ and FBI, including greater accountability for the secretive FISA Court process.  When our criminal justice agencies act as they have in this instance, it’s a clear and present danger to the liberties of every citizen, regardless of party affiliation.
The question now is whether accountability will make a comeback as a result of these current investigations.  Stay tuned.

Land of infinite “second” chances

Last month, the Treasury Department’s Inspector General released a report about the Infernal Internal Revenue Agency.  That Agency, as you will recall, has been shown to have discriminated against conservative organizations trying to obtain certain tax statuses.  Nearly five years after the first revelation of this, there has been NO accountability.  Lois Lerner is gone, but was not penalized in any way for the wrongdoing on her watch (she was allowed to take full retirement).

Now the IG reveals the Agency rehired 200 (that’s “two hundred“) former employees who had either been terminated for cause or left while under substantiated investigation of wrongdoing.  That included four who were fired for “willful failure to properly file their Federal tax returns.”

To be fair to the IRS (…yeah, right…), they’re only following the example of the Veteran’s Administration, whose Human Resources department shuffles failing or criminal employees from post to post rather than letting them go.  (Yes, I know the VA now touts having fired 500+ employees recently… but the list shows these are mostly lower-level employees and a handful of physicians, not the highly paid failing leadership.)

THIS is the “swamp” many people elected Trump to “drain.”  THIS is why people have no faith in their government anymore.  Congress is bad enough, but the various Minions of MordorTM are like an infection you can’t cure.  In fact, much like an infection they seem to become more resistant every time there’s an attempt to fight them.

This permeates the whole of government.  As a supervisor I saw this first hand, as it took me over a year to discipline an employee who was unqualified to be in their position in the first place (and who made no effort whatsoever to become so).  There needs to be a wholesale overhaul of the Civil Service; one that ensures government “service” doesn’t become a lifetime gravy train regardless of performance (or misconduct).

I guess the Republican Congress could get around to that after finally fulfilling their pledge of many years to repeal Obamacare.  But that, of course, now has to wait until they’ve raised the debt ceiling (yet again). Oh, and a new fiscal year starts October 1st, but there’s no budget in place yet (status normal).  Then there’s the promise of trying for tax reform…   You get the picture: accountability isn’t very high on the list.

It never is…