Saturday, November 20, 2010

Liberals and Tea Partiers Should Agree, but...

The United States Constitution - Amendment 4 - Search and Seizure.
Ratified 12/15/1791.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Today a friend of mine made mention that if we're going on vacation next year we should probably start looking. I informed her that it's going to have to be somewhere without the full body scanners because I am not going into those nor am I going to allow an enhanced pat down to take place. Then a discussion ensued. She takes the simple approach that our government loves; "anything to keep us safe." I let her know that she was more likely to win the lottery than be killed by a terrorist and I wanted to know how much we should readily give up in the so-called "land of the free?" Polls show that I'm in the minority in this position, but I feel very strongly about it.

Ever since September 11, 2001 our government has not missed an opportunity to play the fear card. We had George W. Bush illegally wire-tapping and reading private emails and our public said, "anything to keep us safe." So he managed to pass the Patriot Act (which Obama reauthorized in February) with many Democrats enthusiastically signing on. This law is anything but patriotic since it essentially lets the government pry into anybody's business without needing a warrant. What did we hear? "Anything to keep us safe." Then some yutz tried to start his shoelaces on fire because he had bomb materials in them so now we all get to remove our shoes while going through airport security...all together now, "anything to keep us safe." Next was a plot that 10 airliners would be targeted to detonate liquid explosives which led to the 3-1-1 rule. That means you can have three containers with up to 3 ounces of a liquid in a 1 quart bag. Obviously sun tan lotion, shampoo and mouthwash are a threat to "the homeland." Yet our passive electorate said, "anything to keep us safe." Last Christmas, some terrorist dropout decided that he was going to take a Detroit bound plane down by blowing up his "junk." So now there are procedures as invasive as something your physician might do in place. Yet the chickenhawks chant "anything to keep us safe." This rule is where I am drawing a line in the sand. The new full body airport scanners are in place at many of the busiest airports and as of November 1st, the new "enhanced pat down" technique has been put into motion. The horror stories, all ones I knew would become reality are hitting the newswires rapidly.

This week amongst TSA claims that all images are erased immediately after a person has passed through was proven to false. A technology website has published 100 images they said were taken by body scanner machines at the Florida Federal courthouse. They were images that weren't supposed to be saved. According to the report in Gizmodo, U.S. Marshals saved 35,000 images on their scanner.

Cancer survivor Cathy Bossi, a 32 year flight attendent who had a masectomy was forced to remove her prosthetic right breast in Charlotte after passing through the full body scanner. The 3-year cancer survivor said it was against her better judgement to even go through these high radiation contraptions in the first place since she didn't want the added radiation through her body, but she reluctantly agreed. She said two female Charlotte TSA agents took her to a private room and began what she called an aggressive pat down. She says they stopped when they got around to feeling her right breast, the one where she'd had surgery. "She put her full hand on my breast and said, 'What is this?'. And I said, 'It's my prosthesis because I've had breast cancer.' And she said, 'Well, you'll need to show me that'." Ms. Bossi should sue the TSA's asses off!

Evidently menustrating women will have another reason be also be on edge. When the question was asked if sanitary products would be visible, the answer was yes. The Feminest Peace Network asked about tampons; "And what about tampons? They look kind of like sticks of dynamite. Are they going to ask us to pull them out and show them just to be sure?" Sarcastic and on target. TSA agents will have to use their own discretion with this topic! This is simply outrageous and unacceptable.

What is next? Let's say 250 people are on board a typical airliner. That is a fair amount of people, but if we're going to be paranoid, let's think big. What if a "terrorist" decides to strike the Super Bowl, the Daytona 500, Disney World, The Mall of America or even a Bruce Springsteen concert. How many people will be in those venues? Should we basically be strip searched to enjoy our "freedoms" as Americans? At what point do we say enough?

What will it take for us to stop ceding our rights to the government just for the mere appearance of safety or the right to travel? If Israel, the country with missiles hurling in daily thinks these devices don't work, why aren't we listening to them? I know the counter argument; "so don't fly." I won't. As far as air travel within the U.S., yes one can still drive, but with such a large country, that is not really practical for many. This will have an impact on the airline and tourism sectors of the economy if others feel as strongly as I do. Maybe they'll be the ones who will get this meant to humiliate and/or intimidate people into going into the pornorama removed. As far as I can see, you're damned if you do, damned if you don't. What about rape victims? Can you blame them for not wanting strangers seeing them naked or groping their genitals? Is it OK that they are left crying just so they can travel? What about an elderly person with a colostomy bag? Is it ok to decimate their dignity for appearance sake?

I entitled this article "Liberals and Tea Partiers Should Agree, but..." because the two shall never embrace in this divided plutocracy. Jon Stewart did get this mostly correct at his rally. This issue is the resulting consequence of which liberals have always understood. We could see what the eventual outcome of government intrusions and influences (ex. The Patriot Act) in our day to day lives would become. While I have an issue with the social conservatives in their movement, if they're true to their "less government interference," they should join us in fighting this utopian invasion of privacy. Never forget, once rights are given away or taken, you won't get them back. If people accept this disgusting intrusion that treats law abiding travelers like criminals, more intrusions will follow. Do you think it's far fetched that the government will start showing up at people's private residences unannounced and demanding to fully search the premises? I don't, they're doing everything else. I can even see passports on a state-to-state basis at some point. The U.S. efforts to combat terrorism have done us far greater harm than terrorists could ever have done themselves. That’s why they call it “terrorism.” They have us on the run. They have changed how we live. And we're allowing the government to rule by fear. We are not the Land of the free, because of the brave anymore and we should stop pretending that we are.
Native Americans would argue that we never were, and they'd have a point.
Maybe it's time to read 1984 again.

Try to overlook the fact that the female CNN anchor is an idiot. This is the "Don't touch my junk" clip. I was waiting for the TSA screener to ask him to cough. I wish good luck to John Tyner in this battle!

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