Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Don’t Touch My Junk

11/17/2010 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…
In case anyone missed this on Monday, the now famous "Don't touch my junk" exchange seems to have struck a collective nerve across the land of the "Free".  For those of you who missed it, a software engineer was asked to submit to the Transportation Safety Authority's (TSA) new "enhanced security" screening while boarding a plane in San Diego.  The software engineer chose not to submit to the screening on the grounds that he would not be groped in the name of national security.  The software engineer unwittingly but perhaps providentially left his smart phone video recorder on which recorded a good portion of the incident.  You can see the entire clip, all 15 minutes which, if you embrace freedom, are worth hearing (if not watching the airport ceiling):

Now the person solely interested in safety might think that the software engineer seems to be unreasonably obstructing the "right" for everyone to fly "safely" and should be dealt with accordingly.  You may detect that most of the quotations used so far ring of sarcasm.  Your senses do not deceive you.  For a better understanding as to why this incident demands sarcasm and why it is important to see the cost of "security", we need a bit of history on the TSA and its latest screening spree.
The TSA was formed in response to the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York.  It operates under the cabinet level Department of Homeland Security.  All of this was authorized under what is known as the "Patriot Act" which betrays its name as it amounts to one of the most invasive pieces of legislation we have seen on these shores.  It removed any protections that the Citizens of the United States may have against the Government of the United States and has far reaching implications from travel restrictions to financial transaction and communication monitoring.  The TSA's job, apparently, is to make American's feel safe while travelling.  This new enhanced level of screening that our software engineer is currently concerned with was inspired by an alleged attempt by someone to board an airplane with a bomb in their underwear during the last Christmas travel season. 
Does this business of smuggling a bomb onto a plane in one's underwear seem farfetched?  Apparently not to the TSA, who in response dutifully stimulated the economy by ordering X-ray machines by the thousands and instituting "enhanced" screening which amounts to government endorsed voyeurism and groping, all in the name of passenger safety and National Security.  Do you feel safer, fellow taxpayer?  Apparently making millions of travelers walk barefoot and removing their belts before walking through a metal detector is not sufficiently humiliating.  The TSA now is going all the way.
How far will the Government go?  The Boston Tea Party was not inspired because the British were going to raise taxes, it happened because the British attempted to collect a tax at all.  In our day and age, with the Patriot Act, Big Bank Bailouts, Healthcare Reform, Financial Reform, and now "Enhanced Security Measures" threatening the very Freedoms we cherish, are we, as Americans, as principled as those brave souls who founded this nation?  There is no other nation in the world that embodies the ideals of Freedom on a large scale.  If Americans do not take a stand, who will?
So we leave today with a question:  How much Freedom must be sacrificed in the name of Security?  We would do well to understand the words of Benjamin Franklin on the subject:
"Those who desire to give up freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one."
Or as we might sum up today, "Don't touch my junk!"
Stay Fresh!

*See FED Perceived Economic Effect Rate Chart at bottom of blog.  This rate is the FED Target rate with a 39 month lag, representing the time it takes for the FED Target rate changes to affect the real economy.  This is a 39 months head start that the FED member banks have on the rest of us on using the new money that is created.