Our World has Changed Forever and It’s Not Coming Back

On September 1, 2001 a gaggle of terrorists – at least one of whom spent his last night on Earth drinking demon run while ogling strippers – caught the early flight out of Portland , ME. The rest, as they say, is history.

When the dust settled George W. Bush grabbed a megaphone, climbed atop some rubble, threw his arm around a fireman, and gave a fiery speech about truth, justice, and the American way. The good ol’ boy fireman hug was a bit over-the-top, but otherwise it was the perfect thing to rally a country on edge and staring into a bottomless pit of C4.

It also marked the last time I agreed with just about anything he said and the last time there was any semblance of civility in the political process.

At the time, every pundit and politician talked about how the attacks were game-changers. The most oft-heard phrase was, “Our world has changed forever.”

That sure turned out a gross understatement.

Wobble-Kneed Don Knottses
Since the skeevy bastards drove the planes into the World Trade Center, Pentagon, and a Pennsylvania field, America became – not the Greatest Generation of heroes and fidelity to high-minded principles – but a country of wobble-kneed Don Knotts impersonators grasping at any straw, enhanced interrogation technique, or abridged law to feel “safe”.

When the most unterrifying terrorist imaginable set his lap on fire, we cried out for the protection afforded by 3 oz. shampoo bottles and forbidden nail clippers – “watch out, I’ll clip you to within an inch of your pinkie finger’s quick”. And for good measure, we meekly stripped naked and suddenly thought it was perfectly reasonable to allow government agents to stick rectal probes up our asses to verify those things in our throats were tonsils and not miniature thermonuclear bombs…no doubt built in Iraq.

Our latter day lunatic fringe is terrified at the tyranny of affordable health care, yet makes not a peep over unrestricted wiretaps, error-prone no-fly lists, and a host of other insults to the Constitution.

The small government champeens somehow see a conglomeration of 380 million individual decision makers as an effective form of government. But, what about the biggest government behemoth of them all – the Department of Homeland Insecurity? For some, it and the Department of Defense are the only two allowable functions of a tyranny-free government, except for the Bureau of Who You Can’t Marry and the Anti-Abortion Administration.

Our twin 30-day cum 10-year wars grind up bodies and trillions of dollars that we aren’t really losing because they’re financed off-budget. Plus anyone the President chooses can be outsourced to some incredibly evil off shored prison to be beaten and waterboarded with impunity. Actually, you’d think they’d be all for affordable health care after all that.

America: The North American Banana Republic
Our current government is as stable as a South American Banana Republic that can’t agree on which sash and medals the President can wear with his faux flight suit and codpiece.

And, your average American Chicken Little believes the President is a Communist Kenyan, the moon landings took place in a Houston TV studio, and Bush personally killed bin Laden with the pearl-handled six-shooters confiscated from Saddam … or the Pentagon attack was staged… or bin Laden’s whereabouts have been known for years and Obama just saved the killshot for political points… or, well, you get the point.

Whether you vehemently oppose abortion, protest every capital death sentence, believe in euthanasia, or think Obamacare consists entirely of a Death Panel and hypodermic needle, chances are you see bin Laden’s killing as a richly deserved punishment for a cowardly, suburban-dwelling bully dressed in funny clothes and unable to get more than 10 feet from a dialysis machine. And, you’d be right.

Resolved: the man was a worthless piece of shit who didn’t deserve to live. Now, America can chant “USA… USA… USA!”and unite around something again. It’s a good thing that a brave team of our best warriors killed the man in cold blood – there is no question. However, the unity started to fray as the chants fell quiet. People are already arguing over every scrap of information or cockamamie fantasy they harbor. Pundits are pontificating and politicians are preening. In short, the nation is quickly reclaiming its false bravado and Don Knotts tremor.

Those folks were right nearly 11 years ago. The world will never be the same again because we’ve handed the terrorists a victory of continuous self-induced terror, exactly what terrorists want.

And, killing Osama doesn’t change that a whit.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

TSA Goes Gay for Fourth Amendment Smackdown

Today was one of those rare days when I heard a Republican speak some sense. But as usually happens at these snowball in Hell moments, someone comes along and takes things right over the top.

Forgive me if I come off the rails here, but I’m so giddy with this case’s heady aroma of bipartisanship it just gives me hope for change or maybe change for hope. Since neither happened, I guess it doesn’t matter.

This morning, The Hill reported that Rep. Ted Poe – from Texas of all places (who knew?) – speechified that the new TSAtouch my junk” rules are a violation of the Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures.

Watch Out for the Boehner Boys

Huzzah Rep. Ted! Props to you for such a forward-thinking position! But word to the wise, watch out for the long knives in the House cloakroom. The Boehner Boys may not be so understanding of a chap who actually thinks once in a awhile.

In my mind this is as clear as a case gets, notwithstanding the 4 out 0f 5 fear-crazed, jelly-legged, Americans who think it’s just fine to throw away perfectly good civil rights because a terrorist might set his lap on fire while sitting next to them on the 3:15 to Dallas. These are some of the same people who believe wiretapping is A-OK and domestic spying is just okey-dokey-artichokey if they hold the Islamoterrorists at bay.

Yet many complain that taxing them or maintaining the separation of church and state, or promoting non-discrimination is some overarching plot to get the Government so far down their knickers a TSA agent, even a gay one, couldn’t detect it.

Oh, TSA agents. That reminds me of Part 2 of this story.

Peter LaBarbera over at Americans For Truth About Homosexuality (AFTAH) is not only God fearing, but also terrorist fearing and homosexual fearing – the fear trifecta, by golly! He maintains homos are on the loose at your neighborhood airport and they’re a greater threat than terrorists, except for him coming out of his own closet.

So, Pete thinks boy agents shouldn’t frisk boys, and girl agents shouldn’t frisk girls, and bisexuals, well they just can’t frisk anybody. Heaven forbid we have a wild outbreak of woodies and wet spots in line at that sanitary napkin-seeing  monument to terrorist exceptionalism, the full body scanner.

BTW, he didn’t mention transsexuals, presumably because the existential question, “I think I have a post-operative penis, so therefore who the hell will I be next week?” just blew his pointy little sex-crazed mind.

Now I’m not sure what Pete’s interpretation of the Fourth Amendment is , but I’ll go out on a limb and guess he frequently mistakes it for the Fourth Commandment. Is that the one where you shouldn’t covet your neighbor’s goat or the one about never getting into cars when creepy old guys offer you candy?

I’m an atheist, so I’m unclear on this religious stuff.

What Does a Terrorist Wear Under His Kilt?
In any case, Ted, Pete, and I all see something that is wrong. Nobody should be frisking anyone, homosexually or otherwise. Nobody should be taking x-ray pictures of your wrinkly old junk. No one should have to remove shoes, belts, or kilts (as has been suggested by recent patees) or forgo fingernail clippers for that nasty hangnail they’ve been nursing.

Also, water is good for you, regardless of the size of the bottle. Hand lotion – even in amounts greater than 3 oz. placed carefully in a clear container in a clear plastic bag – is handy on a long skin-drying flight. Unless you really do fear that Muslim-looking guy in 7E, who is really a suntanned sales rep from Omaha, is going to lube you to within an inch of your pants-wetting life!

I’m with you Ted, good on ya! And Pete, you’re as loony as they come, but you have a point here…even if you did find it by accident under that rock from which you spring. I’d ask you out for a drink, but you’d never tell me, would you?

Good Lord.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

 

 

 

Does discrimination have to play a part in keeping America safe?

From the Restore Fairness blog.

In a response to the December 25th bomb attempt on Northwest flight 253 to Detroit, the Transportation Security Administration announced a new screening policy that requires “enhanced screening” of passengers flying into the United States from 14 countries considered either “state sponsors of terror” or “countries of interest”. With the exception of Cuba, the rule targets passengers, including U.S. citizens, that are traveling from Muslim-majority or Middle Eastern countries. The additional screening procedures including full body searches, pat-downs, scans and luggage inspections, in addition to the normal processes undertaken at the airport.

Many groups have reacted strongly to the directive, which carries on the pattern of profiling and alienating members of certain communities since 9/11. But the discriminatory rule is also considered an ineffective security measure.

In a briefing aptly called Targeting Needles, or Adding More Hay?,

Jumana Musa from the Rights Working Group pointed out that in the 1990s, when law enforcement began monitoring suspicious behavior instead of profiling based on race, arrests of targeted suspects actually increased even though fewer searches were conducted.

The ACLU shares similar concerns.

Electronic strip-searching of innocent people, racial profiling and bloated, poorly managed terrorist watch lists do not stop terrorist attacks, but they do infringe upon Americans’ rights and waste valuable resources…We must invest our security resources in investigations based upon reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing so we can more effectively identify and stop attackers before they get to any airport.

These strategies are not only smarter but save valuable resources. And they avoid racial and ethnic profiling, an unreliable means of identifying criminal behavior. Similar examples have yielded no results, like the one cited in this advocacy letter.

These new procedures parallel the National Security Entry/Exit Registration System (NSEERS), put into effect shortly after 9/11. Despite tracking at least 83,000 individuals from Middle Eastern and Muslim-majority countries, the NSEERS program did not result in a single terrorism conviction. Neither NSEERS nor the new TSA standards, make us safer because they divert attention and resources away from legitimate leads and identifying suspicious behavior.

But there are other consequences besides profiling. According to the ADC,

During the past decade, similar racial, ethnic and religious profiling tactics and practices have time and again misdirected precious counterterrorism resources, damaged foreign relations with key allies, fueled the fires of extremists by giving them an excuse, stigmatized communities, and most importantly did not have any discernible impact on security. Based on precedent, these new directives will be no different than these past practices and their adverse consequences; and while such directives may appear to make us feel safer, the reality is that they discriminate against innocent persons and divert attention from real threats.

An editorial by Farhana Khera of Muslim Advocates sums it up best,

President Obama has admitted that we didn’t connect the dots in the Abdulmutallab case. Federal authorities overlooked such clues as the alleged bomber’s improper attire for the Detroit winter, purchase of a one-way ticket, the United Kingdom’s rejection of his visa request and his own father’s efforts to alert authorities about his son’s recent extremist tendencies…We shouldn’t focus on what a terrorist looks like, but on what a terrorist acts like.

 

Somewhere in America

Senate delay on stimulus 'irresponsible': Obama

copyright © 2009 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

Somewhere in America, a man loses the job he has held for more than thirty years.  Somewhere in America, a woman cleans out the office she had occupied for close to a decade.  Elsewhere in the United States, a teen unsuccessfully tries to find work.  He knows he needs to help his Mom and Dad; each toiled in the factory that closed just down the street.  A young woman searches for a professional position, just as she has for the two years since she graduated form the University.  Each of these individuals is not startled by the headline, Economy Shed 598,000 Jobs in January.   All ask, where have the "experts," Economists, and elected officials been?

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How DeMint was killed

Last week, I discussed the provision in the Senate 9/11 bill (S 4) to restore the collective bargaining rights of TSA baggage screeners, and the amendment to be offered by Brer DeMint to strike the provision.

The amendment was defeated.

But my interest here is in how in was defeated, and the effect on the balance of power in the Senate that it illustrates.

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Diaries

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