The End Game

Referring to what the TSA euphemistically styles “enhanced screenings,” the wonderfully compliant news outlets in their soft-as-a-baby’s-behind reporting (also, here and here) are now regurgitating the TSA-generated meme that “less than 3%” of the flying public is subjected to the heightened screening techniques.

Wow, that’s a relief! A measly 3% of airline passengers are ceding [unwillingly, for the most part] their Fourth Amendment “right to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures ..!” I mean, it’s not as if the TSA is trampling on the rights of every American, right? You can still take a train, ride a bus and freely travel without fear of government intrusion, right?

Hmm. This video might change your mind about that notion.

Okay, so maybe this video producer is a crackpot. Consider then USA-Today‘s July 2010 article wherein the head of TSA admits rail and subways are his next priority? Commuters riding PATCO between New Jersey and Philadelphia have been subjected (compliments of the TSA) to random searches and pat-downs since at least September. The resulting contraband netted? One crack pipe. Further, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention bus stations now under TSA scrutiny.

In fact, TSA’s John Pistole views “flying as a privilege …” Therein lies the problem, I think.

Like many Americans, I’ve been wondering what’s behind this insanity. In a recent interview, Pistole defends TSA’s extreme measures by claiming two Russian planes were brought down by explosives hidden in brassieres. Really? (CBS has a report of two Russian planes going down in 2004, but no mention of a bra laced with explosives. Rather, the explosives may have been hidden in a belt.)

Again, I posit the question:  what’s up? The usual answer has something to do with money or power, and in this case (while some may be lining their pockets from the brisk sales of scanning equipment), I tend to think power is the explanation.

First of all, the airlines may be the next industry the feds intend to nationalize. If the feds can deal another body blow (the last being 9/11) to the airlines, some of these companies are inevitably going to suffer a loss of business. If things get bad enough, it won’t be long before they beg for government intervention (like the auto industry did).

What better way to control the citizenry than to control movement around the country? I’m just saying.

Secondly, as airline travel becomes more and more intolerable, travelers themselves will beg for government easing … and how would that happen? Well, I’m no prophet, but let’s think for a moment — I have an idea:  how about a new and improved government ID (say, a microchip embedded in your forehead or hand)? What a perfect solution! A special issue government ID that certifies you as trustworthy for the “privilege” (Pistole’s word) of flying … and maybe buying … and selling.

Never thought I’d feel such cynicism about my country. I hope I’m wrong.

Renée