One of the more amazing sights in these modern times can be witnessed by taking a walk through any of America’s reasonably sized airports.
Long lines of people removing belts, shoes and other articles of clothing and jewelry, preparing to be scanned by a large radiation emitting machine before they board a deregulated aircraft with a questionable maintenance schedule, flown by a possibly inebriated or at least hung over pilot, to attend a gathering of their dysfunctional family for the holidays.
This is a vision that Norman Rockwell missed and I wish that he were still alive to paint it for Hallmark. It would be my first choice as a Christmas or holiday card. I haven’t sent cards for the holidays for thirty years or so but if I could get hold of a pile of Norman Rockwell Holiday Airport Screening cards, I’d change my ways and get in the spirit of the season, such as it is.
I’m vastly amused by the fact that most of this nonsense is unnecessary, ineffective, and protects no one from the terror monsters. It achieves nothing but to further line the pockets of people who don’t have to stand naked in these lines and have their genitalia massaged by rent a cops because they fly in private jets and live in yachts in the country.
I’ve read up on the issues involved, from health concerns about the radiation emitted by the equipment to the conflicts of interest and outright corruption involved in awarding the contracts to purchase these devices. At $183 mil for the thousand ordered using federal stimulus dollars, I would say that the purpose of the program is the sale of the equipment. Period.
Like cruise missiles, drones, private security forces for diplomats and executives this is just another manifestation of the ever widening security culture we are developing. It’s as if we were building a prison in a bottle for ourselves, constructing it from the inside and being taxed to pay for the privilege of remaining safe within.
Of course we have a choice to fly or not fly and if we choose to board the winged Greyhound we have a choice between melanoma, birth defects or special welcoming attention to our collective crotches. Ah, the free market at work.
Recent polls say that 81% of our citizens welcome these programs if they “keep us safe” as if they have been fenced in the yard by doting parents.
I’m a member, of the 18% who believe that we are being taken for a ride by the airlines, the security companies, the TSA and the national security apparatchiks, literally and figuratively.
The odds against dying in an act of airborne terrorism are far greater than those against dying from a lightning strike. Amazing isn’t it that a small number of people in this world have created such turmoil and fear and incredible financial costs.
I doubt that they could have accomplished this without the valuable assistance of the lovely corporations and institutions that work so tirelessly to keep us safe.
A couple of days ago the Goebbelian maniacs of the corporate far right exploded onto the airwaves with the ridiculous claim that Obama’s trip to India was going to cost $200 million a day, a figure so obviously exaggerated that if I heard it from someone next to me at the local tavern I would grab my beer and move down a few stools.
Most stories that emanate from the tinfoil lined cesspool of right wing propaganda are easy to fact check, you need no internet, no Google, just sniff them. If they smell like bullshit, well then… .
I find it amazing that people listen to Limbaugh, Savage, Bachman and the rest of the Goebbelian crowd that the corporate world has loosed on the public, however, anyone who wants to sit down and absorb the feast of lying filth that they spew onto the airwaves is entitled. I find it sad, and sometimes infuriating but that’s what they give me these little pills for.
Remember though, “garbage in, garbage out,” be wary of what you eat because that’s what you’ll become.
It’s also annoying that the so called MSM emphasizes these incendiary lies as a way of showcasing their own responsibility and journalistic integrity. What they are actually doing is driving ratings with repetition after repetition of nonsense in these mini debates over obviously idiotic claims made by people who are well paid professional liars.
A simple refutation should be all that is necessary, along with a statement of the facts as far as they can be known and then move on.
I change the channel to avoid these stupid debates as quickly as I skip past the original purveyors of the trash in question. I really don’t want to be known or ever referred to as a member of their audience.
|Another Day, Another Dollar|
The election postmortems are rolling in as fast as the appeals to vote and donate in the days before the election. Between the flaccid faced politicians strutting their new born power and celebrity, the usual sad collection from TV’s endless supply of political experts and the vast stock of internet pundits, this carcass will be sliced, diced and inspected ad nauseum in the weeks to come.
Although it was expected, I’m disappointed in the outcome, but I am glad that it’s over even if it’s only a matter of hours before the next interminable election season begins. Our elections have become the only known human activity that continues longer than a professional basketball season.
I walked into the polls at 8:30 Tuesday morning, approached a table staffed with seriously geriatric poll workers, identified myself, received a ballot, marked it in a straight democratic fashion, turned it in and was out the door in under fifteen minutes.
I knew we had lost. There were no lines, I saw no one under thirty and I saw no faces that were racially different than my own. I knew we would lose.
Bob Cesca at Huff Post describes the “Flailing Rage Factor,” which is as good an explanation as I’m likely to get for this debacle. I see it everywhere I go. By May of ’09 Obama and the Dems were taking a beating from nearly everyone I ran into, family, friends, even some of the most respectable people I know at the local tavern had taken up the republican mantra of “cut taxes and spending.”
Barnum’s line about suckers born every minute is still operative, the only change is that the birth rate has accelerated, there are a lot more of them, the business of fleecing them is booming and will be fully subsidized by our new congress.
The video accompanying this post may seem disconnected from my point, If I have one but I was impressed with what is being accomplished in our workplaces in both the private sector and government while the empire burns.
I enjoyed it, but I noticed that my laughter is beginning to sound somewhat insane. I’m afraid it’s spreading.
By the time I left the house to cast a ballot this today I’d received a couple dozen reminders to vote. Even if I were inclined otherwise the sheer weight of my morning email would have driven me to the polls. When I returned home there were a dozen more and they just keep coming.
I appreciate the get out the vote effort and hope that everyone, at least of the democratic persuasion, is similarly prodded and gets out and votes a straight ticket today. I’m not making predictions or holding out delusional hopes but I’ve got my fingers crossed because I believe that given more time the dems are the only hope to knock down the demons that currently beset us.
Republicans are equipped only to massage the wealthy and continue their class warfare against the working class.
Republicans since Nixon have proven to me that they are unable to govern effectively. The major reason for their inability looms large and is front and center with nearly every breath they take and nearly every sentence they utter. Republicans have no respect for government and they are not bashful in telling us of the fact.
I take them at their word and based on what they say and my personal experience with the results of their attempts to steer the ship I work as hard as I can to keep them away from the helm.
Go vote for Democrats. Go now!