SYNDICATED COLUMN: Rape My Brain But Don’t Touch My Junk

Why TSA Molesters Are Striking a Nerve

“Don’t touch my junk!” Will this be the battle cry of the next American Revolution?

If you think about it, it’s amazing. Why this? But thinking doesn’t have anything to do with it.

There’s a good reason. Which we’ll get to.

“This,” of course, is the intrusive new security-screening regimen at 68 major U.S. airports. You can walk through one of the new “backscatter” body-image X-ray scanners, suck up 2.4 microrems of radiation, and live with the knowledge that a high-res version of your nude flabby body is being stored on some government database so that the Palin Administration will be able to kill you for food and use your cyborg doppelganger as a slave laborer in the living hell that will be the year 2015.

Or you can choose the pat-down. But think twice. By all accounts, the pat-down procedure is thorough. Extremely thorough.

“I didn’t really expect her to touch my vagina through my pants,” schoolteacher Kaya McLaren, an elementary schoolteacher from Washington state told The New York Times about her experience at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport. What prompted this feel-up? “The body scanner detected a tissue and a hair band in her pocket,” reported The Times.

Verily, the end times draw nigh. The New York Times is talking dirty.

A visit to the TSA’s official blog (blog.tsa.gov) furthers the impression that the Obama Administration has jumped the security shark. One citizen asks: “Is touching the genitals a mandatory or discretionary part of the pat-down? Will the screener give notice and ask for consent prior to touching the breasts, vagina, penis or scrotum?” Another asks: “Can they spread the buttocks to feel if something is concealed between them? Can they move the penis or testicles aside to see if something is strapped to a man’s leg? Can they lift up breasts to feel underneath them?”

There’s something terribly wrong when a federal government website gets too racy for online parental control software.

CNN’s Rosemary Fitzpatrick reported that an airport screener “ran her hands around her breasts, over her stomach, buttocks and her inner thighs, and briefly touched her crotch.” In Charlotte a flight attendant was ordered to remove and display her prosthetic breast.

It’s happening to guys too. Men wearing baggy pants report TSA personnel, some of whom are convicted rapists and child molesters, sticking their hands down their trousers and ferreting out their naughty bits. In a bit of surrealism recalling my “Al Kidda” cartoon (in which terrorists take advantage of the fact that children aren’t required to show ID to board a plane) there are now YouTube videos showing little kids getting felt up by the TSA.

TSA workers at Miami Airport got caught passing around printed scans of a man they deemed to fall short in the male endowment department. A 61-year-old cancer survivor from Michigan wound up “humiliated, crying and covered with his own urine after an enhanced pat-down by TSA officers” at the Detroit Airport. The oafs broke the seal on his urostomy bag.

There was, naturally, no apology.

Remember the good old days of the early 2000s, when the only thing the TSA did was announce their favorite color of the day?

Of all the indignities inflicted upon the flying public since 9/11, the radiation/molestation combo strikes me as relatively minor. I’m still scarred by the sight of the young Iraq War vet in front of me at Kansas City airport security. Both of his legs had been lost in an IED blast in the Middle East. Instead of respect or a free pass at the metal detector, TSA goons repeatedly grilled and humiliated him about the titanium in his body.

Contrast this with Iran. Yes, Iran. As at security checkpoints throughout the country, I was waved past the checkpoint at Tehran’s Ayatollah Kholmeni International Airport in August as soon as I presented my U.S. passport. As guests, foreigners are not subject to most bag searches. Not even citizens of the Great Satan.

Don’t touch our special parts, but feel free to poke around our frontal lobes.

If Richard Nixon had been accused of listening to every American’s phone calls and reading their mail, there would have been riots. But that’s exactly what the National Security Agency has been doing since 9/11. Bush started it; Obama made it official. They’re reading your email and listening to your phone calls and tracking your bank statements. It’s a fact. And no one cares.

Personally, I’d rather have the government touch my junk than rape my brain.

Now that they’re feeling up our privates at the airport—with, truth be told, considerably more justification than the NSA has for reading your Facebook status updates—the American people are freaking out.

Which should come as little surprise to Obama’s pet louts at the TSA.

The United States, after all, was founded by Puritans. The folks we’re celebrating this week were religious fanatics, prudes, crazy repressed and so far off the charts that they were too uptight to get along with the British. Immigration has helped loosen us up, but that’s still our national culture.

I had hoped that when the revolution came, it would be about economic injustice or torture or racism. But, to paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld, you don’t revolt with the revolutionaries you wish you had. If this is the beginning of the end, so be it.

Say it all together: Don’t touch my junk!

(Ted Rall is the author of “The Anti-American Manifesto.” His website is tedrall.com.)

COPYRIGHT 2010 TED RALL

12 thoughts on “SYNDICATED COLUMN: Rape My Brain But Don’t Touch My Junk

  1. Angelo,

    I’m satisfied if you’re not glib when actually agreeing with me, for example, when mourning the passing of freedom in the US, and civil when not.

    We seem to agree that citizenship in a country of Western Europe or a Nordic Country has the greatest chance of coinciding with basic luxuries for the individual citizen (eg, heath, wage minimums, equality, happiness, mandatory paid leave, maternity leave, culture, etc.)

    This is one instance of the latter, for example. These “basic luxuries” (entitlements, actually) are achieved through a hefty dose of taxation on the common Scandinavian man, and the whole deal seems to work sort of well only in these small, somewhat homogeneous societies. Like I said before, the Nordic welfare state works fine in Norway (an oil rich government, to help) and a little less so in Sweden. A lot worse in Germany (still coping with the absorption of the one fully “safety-netted” Easterners) and not at all in the US. It wouldn’t work at all in Brazil, India or China, not the less because these countries still have to grow their economies significantly to have achieve prosperity (the only way to afford your beloved welfare state).

  2. “by now I’m pretty sure you’d disagree with me if I said honey is sweet or roses beautiful, because my opinion wouldn’t spring from an ideologically correct source.”

    Far from it. It’s time to stop caricaturing each other. We are both in favor of a minimum of State power, and a maximum of economic freedom. We have yet to really discuss what that would look like. For instance, what do we do with guarantees of limited liability, and enforcement of the law? The only things we don’t agree on are price-setting and division of labor. I think we also have some reconciling to do on development (A while back I asked for examples of development occurring absent state sponsorship.) We seem to agree that citizenship in a country of Western Europe or a Nordic Country has the greatest chance of coinciding with basic luxuries for the individual citizen (eg, heath, wage minimums, equality, happiness, mandatory paid leave, maternity leave, culture, etc.) No surprise, its evident that these regimes are less restrictive of an individual’s freedom that that of, say, the US or Brazil.

  3. Billy,

    Perhaps it’s because the PTB use “informants” like this or that to get their information. My take on it, either they goaded the sucker into trying to do his thing, or they “overlooked” intelligence that might have warned of what he was up to. Either way, in between his father phoning the US embassy, his association with a one the guys on Obama’s hit list I would assume he would be on the no-fly list. It was left to the passengers (no US marshalls on the flight, unlike on the TV!) to take care of him. Pardon me if I’m a little skeptic.
    Angelo, by now I’m pretty sure you’d disagree with me if I said honey is sweet or roses beautiful, because my opinion wouldn’t spring from an ideologically correct source. Is there something we can agree on, without you implying that I’m just defending the fat cats and so on? In your ideal world, where John Travolta and Kelly Preston are groped by government thugs before boarding their own jet on the private runway of the gated community they live in, this would still go on. But I guess you don’t object to your dear leaders getting a pass, right?
    As odious as Mike Huckabee is, he is right when he challenges the Emperor, who would never submit His family to the ordeals mundanes must suffer for the Greater Good (TM).
    See? I can farm links with the best of you!

  4. @bucephalus

    I can’t rule out that possibility, but I kind of feel that it was just gross incompetence more then anything. The underpants bomber’s father called in to warn about him. If it was a false flag operation the CIA, NSA, and whatever XXX (fill in the X’s) agency probably wouldn’t have made up the calling in part of the story. My take on the whole thing was after it happened the agents who should have been responsible checked the voice mail with the father’s warning and had a response along the lines of “OH, right, sometimes threats come from abroad. I’ll get right on that… after I finish listening to these warrantless wiretapped recordings of phone-sex… again… fifty more times. You know what, lets just up privacy invasion again and call the problem solved.”

  5. bucephalus

    Why do you think it was a false flag operation? Al Qaeda openly stated that their objective wasn’t to do damage themselves, but to force an overzealous response from western security that would inconvenience travelers, fray nerves, and cost money. This would be a logical strategy for an organization that wants to make American involvement in the Middle East more unpopular with the public than it already is. They may succeed. What would the government, which apparently wants to maintain a perpetual war in the middle east gain by doing this?

    Anyway, I suppose loyal American citizens being fondled against their will by high school dropouts could be considered poetic justice for Abu Garab in some quarters.

  6. Are you reading LRC? Being glib about it is just stupid: no matter how sexually sophisticated you are (or pretend to be) nobody wants to be pawed by blue-shirt goons who are probably not going to be nice to your junk, nor will pause to change gloves before “patting down” the next customer of this fine government “service.” And no, it’s not more justifiable than the NSA snooping around your private life, it is equally loathsome.
    The wonderful thing, of course, is that these policies have worsened or gotten completely out of control since the last phony regime change, but supposedly “civil-rights” loving, supposedly liberals haven’t said a peep about it until now, and even then, reluctantly.

  7. “Rape My Brain But Don’t Touch My Junk” Calls to mind a Woody Allen quote. In his movie “Sleeper” he was accidentally frozen and wakes up in a distopian police state future. When told that by helping the resistance he would probably be punished by having his brain altered his response: “My brain? But that is my second favorite organ!”

    Here is an interesting TSA story from a colleague who was trying to make it to a job interview (and missed it do to what follows) early last week. He gets to the security line, it is stopped dead, and remains this way for at least half an hour. He is starting to worry about missing his 6:45 am flight when a TSA lady announces that everyone on his flight can be fast tracked through security just follow her. A number of people get out of the security line and she basically leads them to an adjacent room where they are all detained. Instantly the security line starts flowing again. They are left detained in their side room until boarding for their flight closes and then put back into the regular line (though closer to the front), causing them all to miss their flight.

    As it turns out the flight was overbooked by about 25 people. If everyone including the 25 extra had made it to their gate on time delta would have owed 25 people $400 vouchers for travel, had to find seats for free on the next possible flight to their destination, and put them up in a hotel for the night if necessary. This little security incident conveniently saved Delta as much as tens of thousands of dollars. Given how little TSA workers make how little do you think one would have to pay them to pull something like this? I am guessing not too much.

  8. when patting down someone at the airport, while behind he passenger, if a TSA employee gets a blast of gas in the face, would that be considered assault?

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