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:

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The long twilight struggle

Sometime late next year, a young man or woman who was not yet born on September 11, 2001, will raise their right hand and join the U.S. armed forces.  Given the tempo at which those forces have operated the past 17 years, that young person likely will be sent quickly to the Middle East in some capacity.

There, they will form part of the second consecutive generation to fight this “war.”  Unlike my uniformed cohort, they will have no memory of the events that led to them being there.  Nor will they have a concept of a time when the TSA didn’t exist, and the government didn’t conduct constant surveillance.  For them, America has always been at war.

The same will hold true of their contemporaries who stay in civilian life.

So what have we accomplished thus far, at the expense of nearly 7,000 dead and almost $3 trillion?  Very little, it would seem:

…Al Qaeda may be stronger than ever. Far from vanquishing the extremist group and its associated “franchises,” critics say, U.S. policies in the Mideast appear to have encouraged its spread.

What U.S. officials didn’t grasp, said Rita Katz, director of the SITE Intelligence Group, in a recent phone interview, is that Al Qaeda is more than a group of individuals. “It’s an idea, and an idea cannot be destroyed using sophisticated weapons and killing leaders and bombing training camps,” she said.

In fact, a good case can be made that the resilience of jihadi groups in the face of the most technologically sophisticated military force on the planet only underscores the righteousness of their ideas.  In swatting bees with sledgehammers, we’ve only increased the size of the swarm, with no vision of how this is supposed to end:

There is a stunning lack of strategic vision in America today. The range of foreign policy activities, beyond so-called “traditional diplomacy,” extend across military power and include everything from financial aid to information to exchanges of all kinds. These instruments are, however, seemingly applied without synchronization or thoughts about end states. The different bureaucracies often work together only on an ad hoc basis and rarely share collaborative requirements and communications with their respective oversight committees in the Congress.

Our few and feeble attempts to articulate vision have been badly flawed, and rarely considered the cultural and political realities of where we were fighting.  I was in Baghdad when the Bush administration declared our objectives there were a stable, unified, democratic Iraq.  A quick wit in our section soon had those diagrammed with a triangle on a marker board with the caption “pick any two.”

While pursuing this quixotic endeavor abroad, we have also failed to secure our own borders or effectively increase scrutiny of those entering our country.  The 9/11 hijackers covertly but legally entered the United States.  Now we have a veritable open fifth column of Islamists spreading the influence within the country.  Since many young Americans have been conditioned to believe their nation to be a blight on history, it’s difficult to mount an effective ideological defense.

Our continued thrashing about in the world only underscores our nation’s diminishment.  One measure of “just war” — a pillar of Western thought rarely referenced in the general public these days — is whether a conflict results in improved circumstances.  Can anyone say that Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Yemen… or the United States are better off after a generation of warfare?  Is this likely to change when the sons and daughters of the original military force are the ones doing the fighting?

Seal the borders.  Deport the disloyal.  Bring our troops home.  That’s a coherent proposal, and at least has the benefit of not yet having been seriously tried.  Anything short of that is insanity — defined as doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.  That’s no way to honor the memory of those who died 17 years ago… or the tens of thousands of American servicemen dead or disabled since then.

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Never forget September 11, 2001

Sixteen years.  That’s how long it’s been since the worst terrorist attack in American history.  A total of 2,996 people dead or never accounted for.  Symbols of American power struck without warning: both World Trade center towers and the Pentagon.  The actions of informed passengers on a fourth plane likely averted a strike on the White House or Congress.

An entire generation had horrifying visions of previously unimaginable events happening in their own nation, with memories firmly etched into their minds.

They say time heals all wounds. And for the families of those lost that day I hope there is some measure of truth in it. But there is a flip side: such events fade in the public consciousness, such that they no longer inform or shape how the nation acts. To quote the opening of the movie “The Fellowship of the Ring,”

“…some things that should not have been forgotten were lost. History became legend, legend became myth…” (click “continue reading” below to continue)

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Reason #427,508

…to homeschool your children, rather than handing them over to the State:

A newly filed federal lawsuit claims that police officers groped 900 students at Worth County High School in Georgia during a warrantless drug sweep that yielded no results.  The human rights group, Southern Center for Human Rights, filed the lawsuit on behalf of the students against the Worth County sheriff over an April 14 incident when 40 officers came into the school with no advance notice, KTLA-TV reported.  …

The lawsuit mentions one girl in particular, using only her initials K.A., who was searched by Deputy Brandi Whiddon. The lawsuit goes into disturbing detail about how in-depth Whiddon’s search of K.A. was. KTLA’s report stated:

“Sheriff Hobby entered K.A.’s classroom and ordered the students to line up in the hallway with their hands on the wall,” the suit said. “Deputy Whiddon took one of K.A.’s arms, placed it higher up on the wall, and kicked her legs to open them wider. Whiddon pulled the front of K.A.’s bra away from her body by the underwire and flipped it up.

“Whiddon also looked down the back and front of K.A.’s dress. Whiddon slid her hands from one of K.A.’s ankles up to her pelvic area. Whiddon’s hands went underneath K.A.’s dress as Whiddon felt up K.A.’s leg. Whiddon’s hands stopped on and cupped K.A.’s vaginal area and buttocks. Whiddon then slid her hands down to the other ankle. Whiddon was wearing gloves, but did not change them before or after her search of K.A.”

The story concludes noting the interim superintendent of schools claims the system did not approve “of touching any students,” but it’s pretty clear the school system also took no action to stop what was going on .

Well, at least some education occurred.  Nine hundred students now know first hand that the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution is dead… and has been for a long time now.  Once they graduate high school they can move on to the adult version of that education: the Transportation Security Administration.

On fakery, official and non

Apparently, traditional Americans are so evil that their enemies have to do some of the dirty work for them:

Mississippi authorities have made an arrest in the burning of an African-American church spray-painted with the words, “Vote Trump.”

Mississippi Department of Public Safety spokesman Warren Strain says Andrew McClinton of Leland, Mississippi, who is African-American, is charged with first-degree arson of a place of worship.

Meanwhile:

(Adam) Saleh’s video of the incident went viral Wednesday, along with his claim that he was kicked (off a Delta flight) “because I spoke Arabic to my mom on the phone.” Shortly afterwards, however, others pointed out that Saleh had a history of making videos about fake anti-Muslim racial profiling incidents and prank videos about planes in particular…

There sure seem to be a lot of these self-inflicted incidents.  One could conclude these people suffer from serious mental derangement in their efforts to paint certain other people as allegedly dangerous.  When you have to burn your own church or spray paint threatening messages on your own buildings, or inflict injuries on yourself in order to accuse others of misconduct, it’s time to reassess your view of the world.  That would require rational behavior, though.

Speaking of rational behavior, it seems it also is sorely lacking in some of the various Western governments’ security departments:

A string of security blunders left a failed Tunisian asylum seeker free to carry out the Berlin Christmas market massacre, it is feared.

German security services face difficult questions after it emerged that Amris, a lifelong criminal, should have been deported months ago

He had been arrested three times this year and his asylum application was rejected, but deportation papers were never served and he disappeared.

The Tunisian radical was known to be a supporter of Islamic State and to have received weapons training.

If you read the full article, you’ll find a tale of massive bureaucratic inertia that resulted in more deaths from jihad.  Hint to the German authorities: when people begin comparing your competence to the fakery and security theater that is the U.S. Transportation Security Agency or ‘border control,’ you’re not being complimented!

So our enemies pretend we’re more hateful than we actually are, and we keep pretending we’re doing something effective to meet their threat.   Sounds like everyone needs a reality check.  These are not the right times for security agencies to be acting like Keystone Cops.

Where to draw the line

Last week I had the unhappy chore of taking a flight (those familiar with my opinions of the TSA will understand the phrasing).  As I once again stood in the queue to have my privacy and dignity compromised in the name of ‘security’ by a government that refuses to secure its own borders, I had to marvel at the target they’ve created.  Were I intent on doing harm to many people (which, for the record, I am not), I no longer need to get inside the ‘secure area’ of a terminal.  I only need to become part of the crowd bottled up waiting to get inside.

That, of course, is what the bombers did in Belgium last week, while I was traveling.  As Mark Steyn points out, it seems the best our officials can do in response to bombers exploiting the system we’ve created is to further expand said system… which doesn’t eliminate the vulnerable bottleneck of travelers, it merely moves it elsewhere:

Security scanners could be installed at the entrances to airports, under proposals to be discussed next week in the wake of the Brussels terrorist attack, the Telegraph understands.

The case for installing a security perimeter outside of airport arrival halls will “definitely” be examined at an emergency meeting of experts that has been called for March 31, according to EU sources.

As Steyn says, if we’re going to keep moving the perimeter, why not move it to where it belongs: our national borders?  This would mean getting serious about preventing unauthorized crossings, as well as stopping the suicidal admission of hundreds of thousands of people–and their social trappings–from the very culture that incubates the international violence whose continued increase seems to have taught our leaders absolutely nothing (except that they can actively plot to replace their constituency with a foreign polyglot more to their liking and the people will let them get away with it).

The West continues to be subjected to the largest invasion of migrants in human history — a historic development that is destroying our civilization.  We are constantly lectured about the “strengths” in diversity, but where are these to be found?  In the sectarian strife we’re importing?  In the dilution of commitment to the values that once made the West the most successful civilization on the planet?  In the toleration of barbaric practices more suited to the 11th Century than the 21st?  The science fetishists seem to overlook the fact that sociology shows diversity weakens social bonds, it doesn’t strengthen them.  Rather than stop the invasion, we have been given security theater to condition us to relinquish the hard-won rights that have been the very hallmark of our civilization. And in the meantime, our leaders continue to import more of the peoples at the heart of violence around the world, despite the expressed concerns of their own nations (whom they arrogantly dismiss as ignorant, bigoted, or some other slight).

At what point do we say “enough?”  Not just at the ballot box, but in the streets and in person?  Our current president once recommended his followers “get in their faces and punch back twice as hard.”  The ongoing loss of our very patrimony would seem a just cause for putting that advice into action.  Sure, we’ll be called ugly names.  But remember – it’s a function of projection.  The real bigoted racists are the ones in power who have decided on their own that the Western peoples and way of life have no value worth protecting.  They have forfeited their legitimacy as leaders.

It’s well past time we find some others to take their place.  Otherwise, New York, Boston, Paris and Brussels were just warm up acts to the chaos that’s to come.

“Mother, should I trust the government?”

I think the answer to Pink Floyd’s question should be obvious by now.

Exhibit A:

Police and prosecutors fight aggressively to retain ‘civil asset forfeiture.’  Focus on this sentence from the article if you want to understand the issue:
“Efforts to limit seizures of money, homes and other property from people who may never be convicted of a crime are stalling out amid a wave of pressure from prosecutors and police.”

Exhibit B:

Like Obamacare, apparently we have to ‘pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership to find out what’s in it.’  (Note to Congresscritters: if you can’t be bothered to read proposed legislation, particularly before opining on it, why do we have you there?)

Exhibit C:

The IRS had plenty of interest in ‘investigating’ groups advocating limited government, but when Congress asks it to look into the actions of the Clinton Foundation during Her Hillariness’ tenure as Secretary of State, apparently this only warrants an unsigned form letter response.

Exhibit D:

The TSA.  (Note: even with a 95% failure rate, nobody was fired — the acting head of TSA was reassigned — which, as a ‘mangement action’ under Civil Service “save pay” rules means he didn’t even take a pay cut.  Makes you wonder just what you’d have to do in the Federal government to actually find yourself unemployed.)

Exhibit E:

How many American citizens (and thus, legally eligible voters) are there?  Nobody knows.

Exhibit F:

House cuts DEA funding after ‘sex parties’ revelation   (the Secret Service has its share in this as well)

Exhibit G:

NOAA tampers with data to erase the 15-year global warming hiatus

Exhibit H:

Hackers make off with data on 4 million Federal employees (the easier to pressure or blackmail you, my dear…)

 

Ad naseum, ad infinitum