by Sam Rolley
For years, conservative media outlets have been chronicling the abuses of the Transportation Security Administration only to be derided as conspiracy theorists by TSA and other government officials. But an article published in POLITICO Friday by former TSA screener Jason Harrington reveals that TSA critics have been right all along.
Harrington began working for the TSA in 2007 while pursuing a degree in creative writing. By 2010, Harrington had come to hate his work, which had him “patting down the crotches of children, the elderly and even infants as part of the post-9/11 airport security show.”
“I confiscated jars of homemade apple butter on the pretense that they could pose threats to national security. I was even required to confiscate nail clippers from airline pilots–the implied logic being that pilots could use the nail clippers to hijack the very planes they were flying,” he wrote for POLITICO.
“Once, in 2008, I had to confiscate a bottle of alcohol from a group of Marines coming home from Afghanistan. It was celebration champagne intended for one of the men in the group–a young, decorated soldier,” Harrington continued. “He was in a wheelchair, both legs lost to an I.E.D., and it fell to me to tell this kid who would never walk again that his homecoming champagne had to be taken away in the name of national security.”
Acting on his frustrations, Harrington sent a letter to the editor to The New York Times titled “To Stop A Terrorist: No Lack of Ideas” in 2010 criticizing the national security bureaucracy. The letter got him in trouble with his superiors, but Harrington was not fired.
Harrington also started a blog called Taking Sense Away to chronicle the TSA’s abuses.
Four years later, Harrington has opened up completely about his time as a TSA employee in his POLITICO piece. And, in doing so, he has backed up many of the criticisms lobbed against the agency.
Here are some key revelations from the former TSA agent’s new piece, “Dear America, I Saw You Naked”:
TSA agents know the full-body scanners don’t work:
Officers discovered that the machines were good at detecting just about everything besides cleverly hidden explosives and guns. The only thing more absurd than how poorly the full-body scanners performed was the incredible amount of time the machines wasted for everyone.
Many TSA agents find humor in looking at naked body scans of air travelers:
Many of the images we gawked at were of overweight people, their every fold and dimple on full awful display. Piercings of every kind were visible. Women who’d had mastectomies were easy to discern–their chests showed up on our screens as dull, pixelated regions. Hernias appeared as bulging, blistery growths in the crotch area. …
All the old, crass stereotypes about race and genitalia size thrived on our secure government radio channels.
TSA agents often go out of their way to target attractive travelers:
Then there was the infamous “guyspeak” in my “Insider’s TSA Dictionary.” One of the first terms I learned from fellow male TSA officers at O’Hare was “Hotel Papa,” code language for an attractive female passenger–“Hotel” standing for “hot,” and “Papa” for, well, use your imagination.
TSA agents know that the body scanning machines are unhealthy:
But the only people who hated the body-scanners more than the public were TSA employees themselves. Many of my co-workers felt uncomfortable even standing next to the radiation-emitting machines we were forcing members of the public to stand inside. Several told me they submitted formal requests for dosimeters, to measure their exposure to radiation. The agency’s stance was that dosimeters were not necessary–the radiation doses from the machines were perfectly acceptable, they told us. We would just have to take their word for it. When concerned passengers–usually pregnant women–asked how much radiation the machines emitted and whether they were safe, we were instructed by our superiors to assure them everything was fine.
by Walter E. Williams
There is no material poverty in the U.S. Here are a few facts about people whom the Census Bureau labels as poor. Dr. Robert Rector and Rachel Sheffield, in their study “Understanding Poverty in the United States: Surprising Facts About America’s Poor” (http://tinyurl.com/448flj8), report that 80 percent of poor households have air conditioning; nearly three-quarters have a car or truck, and 31 percent have two or more. Two-thirds have cable or satellite TV. Half have one or more computers. Forty-two percent own their homes. Poor Americans have more living space than the typical non-poor person in Sweden, France or the U.K. What we have in our nation are dependency and poverty of the spirit, with people making unwise choices and leading pathological lives aided and abetted by the welfare state.
The Census Bureau pegs the poverty rate among blacks at 35 percent and among whites at 13 percent. The illegitimacy rate among blacks is 72 percent, and among whites it’s 30 percent. A statistic that one doesn’t hear much about is that the poverty rate among black married families has been in the single digits for more than two decades, currently at 8 percent. For married white families, it’s 5 percent. Now the politically incorrect questions: Whose fault is it to have children without the benefit of marriage and risk a life of dependency? Do people have free will, or are they governed by instincts?
There may be some pinhead sociologists who blame the weak black family structure on racial discrimination. But why was the black illegitimacy rate only 14 percent in 1940, and why, as Dr. Thomas Sowell reports, do we find that census data “going back a hundred years, when blacks were just one generation out of slavery … showed that a slightly higher percentage of black adults had married than white adults. This fact remained true in every census from 1890 to 1940”? Is anyone willing to advance the argument that the reason the illegitimacy rate among blacks was lower and marriage rates higher in earlier periods was there was less racial discrimination and greater opportunity?
Read More HERE.
by Wayne Allyn Root
I’m very clear on what’s killing America. First, it’s Barack Obama and his socialist cabal. Even worse than socialist, most of them are Marxist. Second, it’s the lying politicians of both parties. They lie to cover up their true agenda, and they lie to cover up their incompetence. Third, it’s the lying media, up to their necks in a cover-up to support Obama and his destruction of the middle class and small business. Lastly, it’s the moderate GOP establishment in Washington, D.C. They are fraternizing with the enemy. They don’t care about us. They’re all good buddies in D.C. (BFFs, “best friends forever”), in bed together with a common cause: getting re-elected, guaranteeing their own golden parachute and setting their kids up for life, all at the expense of the rest of us.
Lies are killing America. Everyone in D.C. lies to trick us, distract us and confuse us. Pretty soon, no one even knows what the truth is anymore. The biggest lie comes from Obama, moderate Republicans and the media elite, who are all in bed together, trying to convince us that only “moderation, cooperation and compromise” can save the GOP… and America. This is one of the greatest lies ever told.
First of all, moderation won’t save the GOP. Nothing could be further from the truth. The fact is the GOP has had a long list of moderate “saviors”:
Gerald Ford: loser
Bob Dole: loser
George H.W. Bush: loser (to Bill Clinton)
John McCain: loser
Mitt Romney: loser
So much for “moderation” winning elections for the GOP. The reality is the Republican Party has elected only one true conservative as President. Ever. His name was Ronald Reagan. I was there when my liberal friends at Columbia University called Reagan “loony,” “nutty,” “extreme,” “radical, right-wing nutcase” and “out of touch with average Americans.” Well, that “radical, right-wing nutcase” won in two massive Presidential landslides. And how about the results? This one true conservative President brought America back from the brink of total economic collapse, decline, malaise and misery. Reagan turned the worst economy since 1929 into the greatest economic expansion in world history. Reagan created 20 million jobs in just a few years. Then the 20 uninterrupted years of economic expansion that Reagan started created 40 million jobs and trillions in wealth. The mainstream media is desperate to make us forget all that.
You know what else the media doesn’t want us to remember? That Reagan wanted massive cuts to spending, but in the end he listened to the media and “compromised.” He agreed to increase spending to get his tax cuts that saved the U.S. economy. Now, Democrats and the media use that “compromise” to destroy Reagan’s legacy by claiming “Reagan raised spending and built huge deficits.” Well then, I guess “compromise” is bad for Republicans, isn’t it?
You know what else the media don’t want us to remember? Reagan cut income taxes from 70 percent to 28 percent, but then once again he listened to the media and “compromised.” He allowed a few small tax increases in order to get Democrats to agree to future spending cuts. Now, the media accuses Reagan of “raising taxes multiple times.” And, of course, the Democrats lied and never cut any of the spending they agreed to. So I guess “compromise” is bad for Republicans, isn’t it?
You know what else the media don’t want us to remember? That George H.W. Bush compromised on his promise: “Read my lips, no new taxes.” Once again, in order to get Democrats to rein in spending, Bush compromised. Once again, Democrats lied and cheated. No spending was cut, but Bush got the blame for raising taxes. So I guess “compromise” is bad for Republicans, isn’t it?
Read More HERE.
by Moe Lane
Labor leaders who have spent months lobbying unsuccessfully for special protections under the Affordable Care Act warned that the White House’s continued refusal to help is dampening union support for Democratic candidates in this year’s midterm elections.
Leaders of two major unions, including the first to endorse Obama in 2008, said they have been betrayed by an administration that wooed their support for the 2009 legislation with promises to later address the peculiar needs of union-negotiated insurance plans that cover millions of workers.
No, seriously. If we do nothing, then union leadership will keep on with getting very, very upset at being lied to – and thus not do anything to help the Democrats at the polls in about nine months. But if we mock them too heavily, that might get the union bosses motivated to rev things up, out of sheer spite. Put another way, it’s a delicate situation: I urge private snickering.
VA - Hey guys, welcome to Chicago Politics 101…he’s a lame duck and doesn’t need you any more.
During an appearance on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she has no idea why the Obamacare website isn’t working and that it’s not her “responsibility.” The audience (and the host) reacted with laughter.
Why is it so hard to get a company to execute that competently?” Stewart said.
“I don’t know,” Pelosi said, prompting peals of laughter from Stewart’s audience.
Stewart was incredulous.
“Oh, well, let me get the House minority leader here, I can ask her. Hold on — what do you mean you don’t know? How do you not know?” Stewart asked.
“That’s not my responsibility,” Pelosi said. “But I will say this, we worked very hard to honor our responsibility to pass the bill that honors the vowels of our founders: life, a healthier life, liberty to pursue your happiness.”
She added that the health care law’s rollout has been “shameful,” but maintained that the policy was good.
[As you may remember] Pelosi was a fierce supporter of the Affordable Care Act during her tenure as House speaker, famously telling reporters once that Congress would have to “pass the bill to find out what’s in it.”
by Mike Piccione
Concealed carry means more than just carrying your gun. Concealed carry also means carrying other self-defense tools. Everyone knows not to bring a knife to a gun fight but when you don’t have a gun there are other means to protect yourself. Here is a list of options you can carry when you can’t carry your gun.
I’m a huge fan of pepper spray. It is inexpensive, light, easy to conceal and immensely effective in disabling an attacker. The active ingredient is usually capsaicin, which causes severe irritation to the eyes and impairs breathing. In plain and simple language, it burns a lot in your most vulnerable place, your eyes. Why I like pepper spray: Because it causes an attacker to immediately cover his face. This leaves the attacker vulnerable to your counter-attack.
How to use it: First of all you have to know how your pepper spray works. Is it a stream or mist? From there you can determine the effective range. So piece of advice number one – spray something to see how your canister discharges.
Second: You need to know how to discharge the spray without looking at it directly. Learn to use it with your weak hand and practice. In a stressful situation you don’t have the luxury of learning how to work it and you can’t fumble around. Fumbling means you have to take your attention to the spray instead of the situation or you may drop it. Both actions embolden an attacker.
Third: Once you know the mechanics of the spray you need the courage to hold your ground until it is to be used. This is much harder than you think. My philosophy is to hide the spray until it is to be used and wait until the ultimate opportunity to strike. Spray as much as you can in one shot and deliver a punch or kick with everything you have inside of you to the attacker. Showing the spray as a show of force enables the attacker to know he has to change his tactics to attack you. He may attack or abandon the conflict but if he chooses to fight you will lose the element of surprise. What he will then do is rush you and take you down and once you are on the ground your focus will not be on trying to spray anyone.
Here is one more thing to consider. Pepper spray comes in very concealable modes. There are canisters that look exactly like lip-stick or ink-pens. I carry a pepper spray pen in my shirt pocket when I travel into Washington DC, although pepper spray is illegal in DC I still want it with me and it doesn’t attract any attention in my shirt pocket. Better to have it and not need is what I figure. Also, pepper spray is not too frowned upon in court because it is usually not considered an offensive weapon and it is nonlethal.
Stun Guns & Tasers
here is a big difference between stun guns and tasers. Stun guns have nodes that are attached to the unit and the electricity travels between the nodes. They do not ‘shoot’ electrical beams or fire lighting bolts (yes, people ask that all the time). Tasers fire two small electrodes up to a range of 15 feet. The nodes attach to the target and the electricity passes into the target.
In order to give them a fair test I was hit with a stun gun seven times: bare skin, t-shirts and a winter coat. The range of the voltage was 350,000 to 950,000. On bare skin it will leave a burn mark, and 350,000 volts will easily penetrate a heavy canvas insulated coat. What does it feel like? It hurts a lot and feels like a combination of a wasp sting, cigar burn and a surge of electricity all at once. It will not paralyze you like a taser will. In a fighting situation it will be impractical to hold a stun gun to someone’s body long enough to inflict a level of paralysis.
The most important defense aspect of a stun gun is intimidation. They are loud, especially indoors, and it sounds like a lot of static on steroids. Visually you can see the electrical arc and it is frightening. I offered one to an editor friend of mine at the NRA and he said “Mike, I probably have five guns in my car right now but I’ll tell ya, I’m afraid of that thing.” After showing people stun guns for many years, especially in an enclosed area the natural and immediate reaction is to put your arms close to your body and turn away as if to get away from it quickly.
There are a variety of configurations of stun guns. They come in about every size and shape from something about the size of a cigarette box to a walking cane to a device that looks like a cell phone or flashlight. One unique model is the “Blast Knuckles” and it holds like brass knuckles with finger loops and discharges where your fist would strike. There is little chance of dropping it or having it removed from your hand.
It seems all creatures fear electricity. One use I had not expected is warding off aggressive dogs. While walking my dog in rural areas you are often charged by aggressive dogs. One particular mean beast came at me hard and when he was about ten feet away I pointed the stun gun toward him and gave a quick blast and he tucked his tail, got low to the ground and crawled away. I never hit him but just the fear factor is enough to turn away the meanest of dogs.
Prices range from about $35 to $100 depending on the voltage and configuration. Battery life is long – I’ve had the same batteries in stun guns for years and used them often and never changed the batteries.
Tasers run in the $300+ price range. The upside of a taser is that it will immobilize and assailant as long as you keep the current flowing. The down side is, for the most part, you only have one shot. So if you don’t get a solid hit, or you miss, it won’t do you much good. They are relatively bulky and difficult to conceal. But if you need to put someone down and keep them down taser will do the job.
A baton will easily break a forearm or shatter a knee cap. Most importantly it extends your reach so you can hit an attacker without fear of being hit first. The only way you can block a blow from a baton is with the palm of your hand and there is a good chance you will still have a broken bone.
Batons are very easy to deploy. It only takes a flick of the wrist to extend it from the collapsed position. From the standpoint of intimidation if you walk toward someone and extend the baton it will be frightening – it shows you have a weapon and know how to use it – which is half the battle, and the potential assailant has to think twice about having made you a target.
The cost ranges from $21 for sixteen inch generic baton to $130 for a twenty-six in version from a name brand. I tested the sixteen inch generic and it is impressive. It weighs in, and this is my guess, at about 12 ounces and has enough heft so you feel like you have a piece of steel. The weight is in the front end which increases the striking power. This is one of the smallest batons but it fits nicely in a pocket, or a boot holster or glove compartment.
To close a baton just hit the business on the ground vertically and it will collapse into the handle. Arm yourself with pepper spray in your weak hand and a baton in your strong hand and you have a combination that can take on any assailant that is not armed with a gun with 100% confidence. And you can do this for about $40.
There is a good reason law enforcement carries pepper spray, electrical devices and batons and you should consider adding them to your battery of self-defense products. They are inexpensive and effective on man or beast. A lot of CCW permit holders scoff at carrying something other than a gun but when you can’t carry, it’s a viable alternative for protection. Another aspect is if you have a family member that doesn’t carry at least you can equip them with something for defense. There are approximately 2.8 rapes for each 1,000 people which translates to 840,000 per year in the USA and it is estimated that 60% of rapes go unreported.
Use everything you can to protect yourself, your family and refuse to be a victim. Please use the comment section to provide advice to our community.
Pepper Spray, stun guns/tasers and batons are not legal in every state.