With each day the drama around TSA body scans takes on new twists and turns. Earlier this week I penned an article pointing out the hypocrisy displayed by many who are seemingly up in arms about their ‘junk being touched‘ during pat downs or pictures of their privates from the scans being posted on the internet. It was just two or three months ago many of these same people were insisting that Muslims be searched from head to toe. They wanted religious garb removed and searched. They wanted people profiled. They wanted no stone unturned in the pursuit of safety and our fight against terror.
I found the whole thing laughable and those who were complaining a bit self centered. We’re looking at folks, both men and women who are sagging in all the wrong places shouting on local newscasts that TSA agents better not post their private parts on the Internet. Your looking and saying..Are you kidding me? Yeah right? Maybe if the machines actually kept and stored pictures. They don’t. But seriously folks.. please just stop. This is not about grandma and grandpa having their body parts on youtube. And trust, nobody’s trying to sexualize you on a pat down. That’s the distraction from a much deeper story.
To see this nationwide turn around where everyone is willing to forgo safety concerns to maintain their vanity had a foul stench that was hard to pin down. Something about this ‘outraged’ reeked of an orchestrated campaign, similar to the ones we saw last summer when folks were up in arms about healthcare. Y’all remember those days when this new crop of activists would show up at townhalls and disrupt them. At first it seemed genuine and spontaneous but after seeing them for a while you came to realize there was a pattern to them. For starters it wasnt as many as you’d thought. Folks would spread themselves out in a room to create the illusion of having large numbers. Second many of the folks were actually pretty well off and not in any sort of financial jeopardy as they suggested. I know one of the protests I went to in nearby Danville, organizer oblivious to the fact I’m a journalist, handed me their cards. Two of the loudest people there were executives at healthcare facilities. They had a financial interest in keeping the drama kicking.
Not to digress, But I bring all this up because I recall how so many of us were initially taken back and fooled. Many of us got caught up and believed that some sort of large-scale mass revolt against healthcare was occurring. It wasnt. What we witnessed was a well-funded highly organized stealth campaign. This current call to action against the TSA (transportation security agency) seems to be the same thing.
What really underscored this for me was hearing something said in passing on one of the local newscasts. It’s too bad there was no follow-up, but it was revealed that there’s a push to Fire the TSA and replace them with ‘professional’ private security firms..Say what you will, but this is another step at corporate dominance. It’s a push to privatize everything. Just like the so-called healthcare protestors. They wanted to get rid of the pubic option. Here we have the government-run TSA and a push to put the operation under private, corporate control.
The one leading this charge is Republican Congressman John Mica out of Florida. For those who don’t know Mica is a ranking member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. He will head that committee when the new congress convenes in January and the Republicans take charge.
Mica has made the usual GOP talking points. He asserts the TSA is a bloated bureaucracy and needs to be streamlined. Sounds kind of funny when you take into account that Mica was one the chief co-sponsors of the Airport Security Federalization Act of 2001 that help put the TSA on the map in the aftermath of 9-11.
When then President George Bush was insisting that we give him blank checks to fight the war on terror, Mica was right there supporting him. If folks recall it was seen as being ‘unpatriotic’ to not support any and all moves to make our airports safe. The TSA which is under the jurisdiction of Homeland Security was pointed out to be a key frontline agency to help combat the war on terror. Mica was a supporter.
When it was time to cut budgets and pare down so called bloated agencies, Mica introduced bills that cut welfare and student loans etc. he was up in arms about the TSA. But nowadays he’s running around saying we need to get rid of the TSA because the lines are too long??? Weren’t people like Mca telling us from day one after 9-11 to show up for our flights 2 hours a head of time so we could be safetly checked in??
Also folks should keep in mind there’s call for travelers to opt out of getting full body scans this Wednesday. The plan as stated is to slow down the lines and make folks call for sweeping changes with the TSA.
So now we have high ranking congressman smashing on a government agency that he help star and generously fund complaining the lines are too long and we would be better off with private security guards. Mica has already written letters to 100 airport heads urging them to get rid of the TSA.. He’s already gotten the Orlando airport which is in his district to get rid of the TSA.
Really? What private firms would that be you ask? Well according to a recent ABC news article, over the past 13 years, Mica has received almost $81,000 in campaign donations from political action committees and executives connected to some of the private contractors already at 16 U.S. airports. Once again its all about the money, the shadiness of a corporatist congressman and the manipulation of a public thats getting wall to wall coverage on the evening news about Price William getting married and not some simple investigative reporting about why we’re having protests against a screening process we all insisted we needed
Finally lets take this to its final conclusion. Why else are people like Congressman Mica pushing to fire the TSA? Because the TSA like most first responders including police and firemen had been fighting to unionize. It was something President Obama said he would help them do back in 2008. It was something vigorously opposed by South Carolina Senator Jim Demint who said that if the TSA were to join a union it would increase terrorism.
So what this boils down to is union busting and political kickbacks and favors. What folks also don’t know is that any private security firm would have to follow the same exact procedures as the TSA except they would get paid less. Its not like the TSA employers are making tons of money. They’re our fellow citizens doing a job thats important . They’re our neighbors, family and friends who upon getting their pay check probably show up at your local coffee shop and grocery store and contribute to the local economy.
Mica is one of those breeds of Congressman who is on the haterism tip on behalf of corporate security firms. Him and his croonies yearn for the days when we are the oppressive beck and call of a handful of corporate barons who want to work you for long hours and pay you substantially less. This means you as a worker will forever be economically beholden to the whims of your employer. In other words you may wind up with a dead end job that you have to keep because you can barely get buy.
We can’t end this off without talking about former Department of Homeland Security head Michael Chertoff, remember him? Well during his reign under george Bush, he’s the one who pushed for these full body scanners that we are supposed to be objecting to. When he was advocating, very few pointed out that Chertoff had a business relationship with the manufacture Rapiscan Systems. Even now as folks are being critical, few people are calling Chertoff to the carpet for subjecting us to this invasive machine.
So Chertoff got paid and now Mica wants to get paid.. and they say the music industry is shady
Something to ponder