on Monday, November 22, 2010 by CommonDreams.org
Michael Chertoff, Bend Over, Please…
by Thom Hartmann
During the time you're reading these words, somewhere in the world somebody is getting onto or off an airplane with a few ounces of cocaine, heroin, or diamonds packed into a condom and stuffed up their rear.The cocaine, heroin, or diamonds could just as easily be enough C4 plastic explosive to blow out the side of a plane, easily molded to fit into a condom.
Easily removed in an airplane lavatory and detonated.
Why isn't anybody discussing this?
Not since 2001 when we learned that Taco Bell managers made more than our airport security people - and in most cases were better trained - has this much attention surrounded airport screening procedures.
Procedures that led to one woman - a cancer survivor - being forced to remove her prosthetic breast during a pat down procedure.
Another cancer survivor had his urostomy bag torn during a pat down - causing urine to spill all over his clothes.
And just today - a new video was released showing a young boy - half-naked - being touched by a TSA agent.
Had it been that boy's teacher, he'd be in prison right now.
And the alternative is to get X-rayed.
If you fly several times a year, some suggest there is a higher risk that you could die from contracting skin cancer from one of these x-ray machines than die in a terrorist attack.
And statisticians point out that when people don't fly but drive long distances, they're more likely to die in car accidents than to die in a terrorist attack if there was no security whatsoever.
And these skin-surface X-ray machines - or even the most invasive of pat downs - won't be able to find plastic explosive stuffed into a body cavity.
So, if we really care about being secure, shouldn't we add another layer of security - one including sterile gloves and KY Jelly?
Show your driver's licence and ticket, and bend over?
What we are losing are basic freedoms - the right to privacy, the right to not be irradiated.
But some Americans are waking up.
In increasing numbers, they're saying no to Michael Chertoff's lobbying group that sells the Chertoff Porno Scanners, and to the frightened pundits defending our being groped.
And canceling their airline flights.
As Benjamin Franklin famously wrote on February 17, 1775 in his notes to the Pennsylvania Assembly, "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."
If we are serious about stopping Middle Eastern zealots from attacking us, instead of blowing up our own Fourth Amendment right to be secure in our persons, let's stop blowing up Middle Eastern countries.
When the Obama administration pulls our troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan, and works hard to resolve the Israeli/Palestinian crisis, then I'll believe our government really cares about our safety.
Until then, it's just theatre - with a few millions in profit for Chertoff and his friends.
Come over here and bend over, please.
Thom Hartmann (thom at thomhartmann.com) is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program The Thom Hartmann Show. His most recent book is Rebooting the American Dream: 11 Ways to Rebuild Our Country. Previous books include: Threshold: The Crisis of Western Culture, The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight, Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights, We The People: A Call To Take Back America, What Would Jefferson Do?, Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle Class and What We Can Do About It, and Cracking The Code: The Art and Science of Political Persuasion.