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A Cutting Edge Idea: Slash TSA Knife Policy!

If the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) could compete for an Emmy, it would definitely be a winner.  Its “Security Theatre” has become a cutting-edge soap opera, replete with comedy, drama and ultimately, tragedy.

And the latest episode is making the biggest headlines yet.

The TSA has sliced and diced a prior position, and is now permitting passengers to carry knives onto planes.

Yes. Knives. Those sharp, pointy things that can puncture a pilot’s jugular in a heartbeat, make flight attendants talk like Stephen Hawking, and create total pandemonium at 35,000 feet.

If so many people’s lives, not to mention the entire economy, were not jeopardized by this warped decision, it would be funny.  But this is definitely no joke.

However, you can take solace.  The TSA has shown great sensitivity to the 9/11 attacks by keeping box-cutters banned, despite the steely fact that their blades are but a fraction of those on the permissible knives. Another oxymoron we call “TSA Consistency.”

Even more comical is the TSA’s criteria for the knives. If the blade is no more than 2.36” long and a half-inch wide, it will fly the (un)friendly skies. The blade must also be one that folds away, which is, presumably, because the TSA thinks a 2.36” folded blade (which is locked when opened) can’t kill someone. More reassuring, the knife cannot have a molded handle, which should be a huge relief to everyone — except those who actually fly.

Why the monumental shift in TSA policy? In addition to wanting to be more in-line with Europe (honest to God, that’s no joke), it says security lines are congested because TSA screeners are confiscating thousands of such knives, and these items don’t pose a 9/11-type threat anyway.

Oh. So because druggies and shoplifters create logjams in our courts, we should just give in and make their actions legal?

And how exactly will lines be shortened with TSA screeners now using tape measures to ensure that 2.37” knives don’t slip by? Although, truth be told, they could all just emulate the Philadelphia Airport, where everything seems to get through.

The TSA is convinced that a 9/11 hijacking can never occur again because so much has changed: steel cockpit doors, a vigilant flying public, air marshals and better intelligence.  And there you have it: TSA’s  “risk-based” security plan. Which is really great, except the parts about the steel cockpit doors, a vigilant flying public, air marshals and better intelligence.

Let’s review:

1) Yes, cockpit doors are strengthened, but since there aren’t self-contained bathrooms in the cockpit, pilots are absolutely vulnerable every time nature calls.

2) Is the TSA expecting passengers to work “fight-the-knife-freak” duty? And how many people are the TSA willing to sacrifice? It’s not just the doped up or drunk passenger who stabs the flight attendant because he hated the in-flight movie. It’s a handful of Mohammed Attas coordinating a vicious attack, each wielding several legal weapons. Sound familiar? It should, since box-cutters were legal on 9/11.  Once the attack commences, then what? Maybe they gain entrance to the cockpit, and maybe not. But when you’re dealing with fanatics who can’t wait to meet Allah and all those supposed virgins, it’s going to be a bloodbath. And since sophisticated terrorists always utilize surprise, they will gain the upper hand immediately.

Can’t wait for the TSA press conference after an aircraft lands with 300 dead passengers and crew. “Yeah, they all got stabbed to death. But hey! We didn’t lose the plane!”

And guess what? The economy would collapse anyway.

3) Air marshals? Sorry, they’ve been sequestrationed, and only fly on a small percentage of flights anyway. For the record, they vehemently oppose the TSA knife policy. Next.

4) Better intelligence. Really? Where? Like in New York in 2010, when the Muslim fundamentalist Times Square bomber was caught by Lady Luck? You may remember him. After fleeing Manhattan, he went to the airport, bought a one-way ticket to the Middle East — in cash —, boarded the plane, and almost almost took off. And best of all, he was on the No-Fly List!

Or the 2009 Christmas Day underwear bomber who, only through sheer ineptness, didn’t bring down a jumbo jet over the U.S. He was also on our watch lists, and his own father repeatedly warned our intelligence communities of his son’s intentions, yet he too almost succeeded.

Out of curiosity, does that “better intelligence” include the countless alphabet-soup agencies that still wage turf wars with each other and don’t share information? Just wondering.

*****

Of course, there is a much better solution. It’s called profiling, and it works really, really well.  Just ask the Israelis, who know a thing or two about terrorists. (El Al has only been hijacked once).

But out of deference to possible hurt feelings, we refuse. In fact, because of our affinity for political correctness, we do the opposite. The TSA actually announces who doesn’t have to take off their shoes (all children under 12), and who won’t be subject to pat-downs (children, the wheelchair-bound, and pretty much anyone who complains). Which is all well and good except that the Brotherhood of Mohammed Atta has no problem sacrificing their kids, so guess on whom they will hide their explosives?

*****

In 2007, the then-TSA chief lifted the ban on lighters and matches, admitting that policy was “security theatre.” Nothing has changed, as the TSA continues with policies that not only aren’t keeping the skies safe, but actually make them more dangerous.

Unfortunately, Security Theatre has become an all-too-true reality show, playing out every day at thousands of airports. And it’s only a matter of time before it crashes and burns.

 

But in the meantime, in the hope that Security Theatre can jump to the big screen, the least we could do is suggest some appropriate movie titles. Not sure if the copyrights have expired on these, but here’s taking a stab at it:

Jagged Edge, Blade Runner, Con Air, Fight Club, Skyfall, Airport ’13, and, in honor of when TSA officials fly, Snakes On A Plane.

 

Chris Freind is an independent commentator who operates his own news bureau, www.FreindlyFireZone.com  His self-syndicated model has earned him the largest cumulative media voice in Pennsylvania. He can be reached at CF@FreindlyFireZone.com

 

 

 

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March 12, 2013 at 12:19 pm Comments (0)

The Political Correctness Of “Merry Christmas” Has Dangerous Consequences

“This is the way the world ends …Not with a bang but a whimper.”

Does that famous quote aptly describe America’s future? Time will tell, but indications are that this nation, the most powerful, benevolent and fair in the world, is crumbling before our very eyes. Like Rome, it isn’t falling from outside invasion, but within. 

 And one of the biggest culprits is political correctness.

It’s all around us, but especially this time of year, as the assault on “Merry Christmas” accelerates.

It used to be a standard greeting, and people would reciprocate with a smile. Your religious denomination didn’t matter, or whether you even had one.  It was simply a friendly expression in a nation where the vast majority celebrated Christmas. And for those who didn’t, most returned the sentiment anyway because it was just a nice thing to do during the jovial season.

But all that changed as Americans’ sense of entitlement exploded. And yes, that included being entitled not to feel “offended” because something may not be to your exact liking.

“Merry Christmas? Well, I celebrate Hannukah or Kwanza or am an atheist, so how dare you presume to wish me your holiday? How offensive and rude!”

But it doesn’t stop there.  Hypocritical retail stores woo Christmas shoppers — you know, the 95 percent who do celebrate Christmas and spend a half-trillion dollars doing so  — but won’t put the word “Christmas” in their ads or on their displays.

It’s the Nativity scenes that are increasingly barred from public places. It’s residents who call the ACLU because a development hangs simple white lights on its trees. It’s office Christmas parties becoming a relic, replaced by generic “holiday” events. And yes, it’s Mayors like Michael Nutter who last year deliberately removed the word “Christmas” from the holiday retail complex near City Hall (but subsequently was forced to replace it).

All of it a brazen attempt to make America a more secular society through political correctness, and those who dare question it are labeled “bigots.” 

Several important points need to be addressed:

1) The push to make all things politically correct has been successful, as it is now entrenched in all aspects of society. Everyone gets a trophy in most youth sports leagues, we don’t keep accurate score when one team is winning over another, and all things must be racially, culturally and ethnically homogenous.

The problem is that’s not how the real world works. And it’s the basic principle that the Occupy movement doesn’t understand. You have to work hard and fight for things you want, but when they are bestowed upon us — without merit — from those who worship at the altar of political correctness, things go downhill fast.  Need proof? Just look at those who engage in PC the most —Europe and the United States. Enough said.

2) This is a not call for “Thought Police” to mandate that everyone say “Merry Christmas.”  Quite the opposite. It’s a call for the silent majority to wake up and shove it right back at the small but extremely loud minority who shout “I’m offended” at every single thing. Saying Merry Christmas behind closed doors doesn’t take guts.  Saying it because you truly believe it and not worrying that such an innocuous greeting will offend does — insane as that is.

3) Most important, Americans need to remember that actions have consequences. And until we connect the dots and see the error of being so PC, those consequences can, and will, have devastating results.

When good folks start looking over their shoulders before saying Merry Christmas for fear of “offending,” it all begins to unravel. 
 
Think the PC stops at that?  Well, think about the fact that the next time you step foot on an airplane, it may be your last day on Earth because your government — we the people — absolutely refuse to non-invasively profile the very folks who openly state their intentions to blow up said aircraft.  And it gets better, as the Transportation Security Administration just announced that children under 12 don’t have to take off their shoes for screening, and will not be subject to routine pat-downs like everyone else

Here’s the $64,000 question. What do we think al-Qaeda will do now? Here’s a wild guess. Start flying a lot more with children? What’s next? Not screening foreign children at all?
  
So when your wife gets incinerated two minutes after takeoff, and the wreckage of a jumbo jet falls on your child’s school because a terrorist put the bomb in his 11 year old’s shoe, courtesy of the red carpet we provided, perhaps we shouldn’t wonder why it happened. 

Or when your son gets his skull sliced in half by a bullet that emanates from a Mosque in Afghanistan which is “off limits” for retaliation for fear of offending the very people who don’t like us anyway, maybe we should think about where it all started coming apart.
Did it start from the reluctance to say Merry Christmas or the refusal to put a Christmas tree on a courthouse plaza? Did it originate from the refusal to acknowledge Christmas on a public school calendar while other religions’ holidays are clearly labeled as such?  It’s impossible to pinpoint, but it really doesn’t matter.  That mentality is here, and has in large part led to the Great Decline.
 
So when the inevitable tragedy happens again — one that could have been prevented — and dumbfounded Americans stand around asking “How and why did this happen?”, well, you’ll know why.  The 40′s and 50′s were certainly not perfect, but people spoke their minds, were respectful, and America was a powerhouse. That attitude put a man on the moon a mere 60 years after the Wright brothers took flight but is now a fleeting memory.  Which is what happens when you bow to the wrong principles.
 
When Rome was at its zenith, it adhered to the simple principle that the well-being of its citizens was paramount. All of them.  In fact, so fervent was that belief that the Romans would literally go to the ends of the Earth to hunt down any thug that violated the rights of just a single Roman. They didn’t let political correctness rule the day, and the Republic thrived.  But when it abandoned that principle, it all came crashing down.
 
They said Rome would never fall, but it did.  Many say the same about America.   Yet the whimper is at our door.

So if we are to ever return to our former glory, perhaps that path could begin by good folks jettisoning political correctness and saying two small but incredibly joyous words without reservation:

Merry Christmas!
 

Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television/radio commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, www.FreindlyFireZone.com  His self-syndicated model has earned him the largest cumulative media voice in Pennsylvania. He can be reached at CF@FreindlyFireZone.com

 

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December 23, 2011 at 11:29 am Comments (2)

Ten Years After 9/11, Ground Zero Shows America’s Weakness

Do we really think that if the attacks had hit China, they wouldn’t have erected bigger and better buildings — in a year?

“We Remember.” “Never Forget.”

These phrases have been bantered about endlessly in the weeks leading up to the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

If only they held the true meaning that so many ascribe to them.

But to quote a line recently overheard: There’s what people want to hear; there’s what people want to believe; there’s everything else; then there’s the truth.

It’s time to cut through the emotion and get to the heart of where America really stands a decade later. Be warned: it’s not a pretty picture.  And through it all, no leader has appeared who can steer the nation back on track and take the bull by the horns to avoid another major attack — and, God forbid, if there is one, lead the nation through it.

*****

The Economy

After spending hundreds of billions on homeland security, and over a trillion more on two wars, is America in a stronger position than it was in 2001? Not even close.  In fact, despite the blood and treasure expended, this nation is in perhaps its most precarious state ever.

Manufacturing jobs have been hemorrhaging at an unprecedented rate, the economy is in shambles with absolutely no recovery in sight, the real rate of inflation is significantly higher than the government admits, and the incomprehensibly large debt has America on the brink of insolvency.  

And most of this can be attributed to one thing: the lack of an energy policy.  Or, more accurately, the abject refusal to institute an energy policy that utilizes America’s vast resources.

The result is complete reliance on foreign oil, especially from hostile Middle Eastern oil nations whose regard for America’s interests resides somewhere between zero and nonexistent. 

Mammoth spikes in gasoline, diesel and jet fuel prices continue to drive up costs, which puts companies out of business, citizens on the unemployment rolls, and keeps bank foreclosure executives very, very busy.

Perhaps most tragic of all, American’s immutable sense of pride and nationalism has taken a hit. 

Once, we possessed a “can-do” pioneering spirit that pervaded all aspects of American life, where “impossible” was not in the American lexicon.  That resolve is what vanquished the Axis Powers in World War II.  It’s what opened up the western United States, ultimately making California alone one of the largest economies in the world.  It’s how we put a man on the moon a mere 66 years after the Wright brothers’ famous 120-foot, 12-second flight. And yes, it’s how, under the leadership of Ronald Wilson Reagan, America won the Cold War — and provided freedom for millions.

Failure to achieve success was the exception.  Now it’s become the norm.

The best example of our malaise of mediocrity? Ground Zero.

The most startling aspect of that hallowed ground isn’t that the Twin Towers, once the sentinels of American free enterprise, are gone, but that NOTHING stands there. Sure, there are reflecting pools and trees, and a shell of a building.  But that’s it.

It’s been ten years!

How is that possible? How can a decade have passed with no real progress? How could we have let the enemy win that important part of the battle?

As a comparison, if the Empire State Building had been attacked during World War II, it would have been rebuilt immediately.  No questions asked, and no moral victories for the enemy.

And to those who naysayers who would argue “it’s a different time,” think again. If the September 11 attacks had felled China’s buildings instead of ours, you can bet the ranch that they would have been resurrected — bigger, better, and bolder — in less than a year. Guaranteed.

Why? Because the Chinese took a chapter out of America’s playbook, and are mastering it to perfection. You know — the same playbook that we seem to have relegated to the dustbin.

Are We Safer?

Given the hundreds of billions allocated for our security, are we really safer?

Despite some advances in communications, intelligence and specific security measures, the ultimate answer is no, for there are two gaping holes in our defenses: the borders are wide open and we refuse to profile.  Both are easily rectifiable, but because political correctness wins the day, Americans are living with a false sense of security.

Borders: What good does securing airports do if al Queda can simply walk across the border from Mexico — with a suitcase nuclear weapon? Incompetent as that organization has proven to be, especially now that bin Laden is dead, they’re not dumb.  If they haven’t already smuggled weapons and terrorist cell members into America via our porous borders (fat chance of that, as intelligence experts concede cells are in place), they soon will.

Despite ample funds to build a wall — a clear deterrent to both illegal invaders and terrorists — neither Party chooses to do so for purely political reasons.  So much for real Homeland Security.

Profiling: Grandmothers continue to receive prisoner-like exams at our nation’s airports, while olive-complexioned individuals from the Middle East stroll by, unquestioned, with smirks on their faces.  Why the free pass? Precisely because they look like Arabs.

America’s lawmakers have caved in to a small element that shouts “racist” anytime profiling is employed, especially in, God forbid, airports. Such practice, they claim, singles out individuals just because they appear “Muslim” or “Arab” and, as a result, these flyers feel offended.  

Get over it.

Profiling is simply a tool for law enforcement to determine who and what may be a threat, based on an ever-increasing array of data. Certain packages may be the hallmark container for a bomb – and they should be checked. A specific type of shoe may be the favored choice of shoe-bombers – so that footwear, and the owner, should be closely examined.

And yes, certain Arab and/or Muslim individuals, based on historical events, and along with appearance characteristics, mannerisms, suspect financial transactions and other patterns of behavior, should be singled out for closer inspection.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with profiling in security sensitive areas. Yes, it’s a form of discrimination. So what? All nineteen highjackers on September 11 were Muslim Arabs. And so was the twentieth, Zacharias Moussaoui. The 1993 World Trade Center bombings were also carried out by people of this ethnic group.  As was the trans-Atlantic shoe bomber, the bombers of the U.S.S. Cole, the Madrid train bombers, and the London subway attackers.

What are we missing? Why are we so scared to profile? What will it take for America to demand policies that actually protect, not appease?

Sadly, probably only another terrorist attack.

This is because our elected leaders are, for the most part, too scared to tackle the issue, even though the majority of Americans support such measures. They are counseled to stay away from “hot-button” topics, instead focusing on 30-second soundbites on irrelevant issues.

To be clear, I am not advocating that random people on the street be detained and interrogated, with no probable cause, just because they “look Arab.” This kind of harassment is contrary to the freedoms our country provides.

But it’s time we stop worrying about people’s feelings and reintroduce some common sense into our security measures.

One thing is for sure: al Queda will not stop. And if we continue to give them openings, they will gladly take them. While it’s not possible to guarantee another attack won’t occur, it will be unconscionable if it does — and if it was preventable.

If we truly want to honor the memory of the 3,000 soul who perished on 9/11, we need to jettison political correctness, enter the real world, and combat threats in a meaningful way.

God help us if we don’t.

 

An accredited member of the media, Chris Friend is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, www.FreindlyFireZone.com

Readers of his column, “Freindly Fire,” hail from six continents, thirty countries and all fifty states. His work has been referenced in numerous publications including The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, foreign newspapers, and in Dick Morris’ recent bestseller “Catastrophe.”

Freind, whose column appears regularly in Philadelphia Magazine and nationally in Newsmax, also serves as a frequent guest commentator on talk radio and state/national television, most notably on FOX Philadelphia. He can be reached at CF@FreindlyFireZone.com

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September 13, 2011 at 2:17 pm Comment (1)

Bin Laden’s Death And Waterboarding: Hand In Hand

 To say the killing of Osama bin Laden created a patriotic euphoria in the United States  would be a gross understatement, as the sense that justice had been served was downright palpable.  Spontaneous celebrations broke out across the nation, and the image of thousands chanting “U-S-A” from Ground Zero was simply awe-inspiring.  It was a great day for America.

Having said that, it is clear that U.S. still is not wholly committed to winning the War on Terror. The very fact that we are still debating whether waterboarding and other “enhanced interrogation techniques” should be used on terrorists hell-bent on destroying us projects weakness.

There are now conflicting reports as to whether the waterboarding of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed provided information about an al-Queda courier, who ultimately led the U.S. to bin Laden’s Pakistani hideout.

One question: who cares?  Common sense tells us that waterboarding works, and has no doubt saved lives by obtaining intelligence that would have otherwise not been uncovered.  Whether that method was responsible for extracting the courier information will probably never be known, but debating that point misses the big picture entirely.

We are at war.  And when at war, you pull out all stops until victory is achieved — Vietnam was supposed to teach us that. When you fight not to lose, the enemy becomes emboldened. 

Where we are right now is a perfect example of the adage “we have met the enemy, and it is us.” We have allowed our security to be unnecessarily compromised, and, despite bin Laden’s death, the threat against the Western world remains high.

And it’s all done in the name of political correctness.

The blame cannot be directed just at President Obama, who officially discontinued waterboarding in 2009.  Under the Bush Administration, both the CIA and the military had effectively ended the practice years earlier.  And it was Republican John McCain who offered an Amendment prohibiting the U.S. from engaging in humiliating or degrading treatment of captured terrorists.

By way of explanation, waterboarding is when water is poured over the face of an enemy combatant, simulating the feeling of drowning.  If you’re waiting for the rest of the description, you’ll be sorely disappointed, because that’s it.  Don’t misunderstand—it’s very effective, but derives its success due to psychological stress rather than physical harm.  No one gets hurt, and no one dies. 

But somehow that’s degrading, so much of a no-no that we stopped it outright. So maybe if we just politely ask our detainees for sensitive information, like their financial network, comrades’ whereabouts, and the battle-plans to kill Americans, they will just tell us.

If the goal is to ensure that terrorists feel comfortable, then we were right to ban waterboarding.  However, if we want to be seriously engaged in a global war against those who aggressively advocate our destruction, maybe we should reconsider how we handle detainees, since Al-Queda prisoners are also afforded fantastic medical care, food reflective of their ethnicity, and prayer time.

Maybe we should ask the survivors and victims’ families of the 9/11 massacre, the Madrid train attacks, the London subway bombings, and a host of other atrocities if they care whether a prisoner, with possible knowledge of an impending attack (potentially nuclear, chemical or biological), has some water poured on his face, or feels humiliated.

Cutting through the PC, does the average American, or European for that matter, really believe such interrogation methods should be banned, putting the prisoner’s well-being ahead of their own?  Are they really willing to jeopardize their children’s future because a combatant’s “dignity” is affected?

When Americans are captured, the enemy doesn’t feel compelled to reciprocate that dignity. Need a quick refresher?  Just look at the videos of Americans — civilians and military — being decapitated, dragged through the streets, burned, dismembered and hung from bridges.

Because we coddle prisoners, refuse to profile, won’t construct a border wall and tie our troops’ hands behind their backs because of PC politics, we have become a paper tiger.  And the sigh of despair you hear?  That’s the silent majority of Europeans who live on the front lines, too scared to publicly support anti-PC measures because their cultures have become the embodiment of appeasement.  They used to nod in admiration that at least one country still had the guts to take it to the enemy. Sadly, that is no longer the case.

The President should use every means necessary to extract information that could save lives, and waterboarding is clearly one of them.  Just as Americans call for domestic drilling only after gas hits $4 per gallon, there will undoubtedly be loud calls to bring back enhanced interrogation techniques — after the next attack.

But by then, it will be too late.

 

Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, www.FreindlyFireZone.com

Readers of his column, “Freindly Fire,” hail from six continents, thirty countries and all fifty states. His work has been referenced in numerous publications including The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, foreign newspapers, and in Dick Morris’ recent bestseller “Catastrophe.”

Freind, whose column appears regularly in Philadelphia Magazine and nationally in Newsmax, also serves as a frequent guest commentator on talk radio and state/national television, most notably on FOX Philadelphia.  He can be reached at CF@FreindlyFireZone.com

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May 3, 2011 at 5:50 pm Comment (1)

When Will We Have Real Airline Security? Let’s PROFILE!

A look at solutions for America’s impotent policies

Three…two…one…takeoff.  The F-16 fighter jet piloted by Lt. Col. Kevin Kelly of the New Jersey Air National Guard’s 177th Fighter Wing — with me aboard — accelerates vertically immediately after going airborne.  After rocketing two and a-half miles straight up — in ten seconds — Colonel Kelly demonstrates a number of combat maneuvers that are part of the “Jersey Devils’” mission role.  (Except from August 2009 “Freindly Fire” article).

Included in that mission is protecting the airspace of the United States eastern seaboard from all threats.

That makes the 177th the real deal, as they were first-on-scene over the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.  So it’s not a stretch to think that they were somehow involved in protecting our national interests last week when a number of inbound cargo and passenger aircraft, thought to be carrying terrorists’ explosives, were forced to the ground.

While the American people can sleep easier knowing the “wall” they live behind is protected by units like the 177th, it’s incomprehensible that some of our leaders view using them as our primary strategy to combat terrorism. 

In fact, they are the last line of defense when all else fails — which, due to our continued ineptitude in formulating a meaningful, proactive strategy, is all too common.

The focus of this election is clearly about the economy, but voters should also consider who will make the greatest strides in developing a sound national security policy, because more than anything else, a major terrorist attack now can and will immediately throw the United States into a depression.

*****

Rather than employ a strategy that takes the fight to the enemy, we continue with one based on two losing tenets:  reaction and reliance on Lady Luck. By definition, since reacting to the enemy means we’re always a step behind, and luck inevitably runs out, it’s time we stop bowing to the altar of political correctness and get serious.

Based on the events of last week, here are four immediate steps the government should take:

1)      Profile, profile, profile.  This cannot be stressed enough.  How is it possible that we profile packages, like the ones thought to contain explosives, but not people?  That absurdity is blatantly obvious to all except those making the policy.  And this is only an Obama Administration problem because he is President.  We did the exact same thing under Bush.

It is an inarguable fact that profiling works.  Just ask the Israelis, who profile better than anyone and, as a direct result,    hijacking on their airline, El Al.  The critical difference between us and them is that they don’t care if someone feels “offended” when they are singled out for additional screening and questions. 

So why do we?  Flying is a privilege, not a right.  If one feels slighted by getting singled out, fine.  Take the bus to Europe.  But if we really want to show a “compassionate” side, we could offer a $15 gift card, good in any American airport, to anyone who is actively profiled. Such a move would go a long way towards mitigating any hurt feelings while still accomplishing our security goals, and could be easily afforded by a ten-cent surcharge on airline tickets.

2)      Profile the right way.  It’s not enough to just single people out, but to single out the right ones. This means not harassing 80-year old grandmothers from Missouri, but taking a closer look at those fitting certain age, gender, ethnicity, and country of origin/passage characteristics. Last time we checked, all 19 hijackers from 9/11 were males of roughly the same age, and all of Middle Eastern origin.  Seems like a good place to start.

But to be proactive, we should also be keeping an eye on al-Queda’s next generation of bombers: women and children. As long as people understand that no one is off the table, and active interrogations can be performed at any step along the way, we will make huge gains in bolstering our security.

3)      Discard irrelevant security measures.  Dollar for dollar, shoe-bomber Richard Reid did more damage to us than the 9/11 attacks.  When that bumbling bomber bent over to light his shoe, he cost us billions in useless regulations and lost productivity — even though we can bring lighters, matches and even lighter fluid onto a plane. And keep in mind that virtually nowhere in Europe are shoes screened. 

One hopes this isn’t merely a grandstand play.  Remember the millions of cigarette lighters confiscated because they weren’t permitted aboard planes? And after all that, the policy was discarded, with the then-head of the Transportation Security Administration saying, “Taking lighters away is security theater.”

Which brings us back to profiling.  If we inspected the shoes of just those fitting a high-risk profile (and occasionally at random) rather than every single traveler, we would be in a far better position to actually catch terrorists. And the tedious monotony would be alleviated from security screeners, ensuring a sharpness that would put them at the top of their game.

4)      Require Homeland Security personnel to perform all duties related to screening passengers and cargo on direct flight to the United States. This wouldn’t be necessary at all foreign airports, but those in countries posing the greatest threat to America.  And if the Turks, for example, don’t approve of Americans taking the lead in security for America-bound flights, the answer is simple.  They don’t fly here. 

Why this need? Just think back to the Times Square Bomber. Despite being on the No Fly List, and buying a one-way ticket to the Middle East in cash, he actually boarded a plane…

Read the rest at Philly Mag’s Philly Post:

http://blogs.phillymag.com/the_philly_post/2010/11/02/when-will-we-have-real-airline-security/

Link to FFZ article on F-16 flight:

http://www.freindlyfirezone.com/index.php/component/k2/itemlist/date/2009/8

Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, www.FreindlyFireZone.com

Readers of his column, “Freindly Fire,” hail from six continents, thirty countries and all fifty states. His work has been referenced in numerous publications including The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, foreign newspapers, and in Dick Morris’ recent bestseller “Catastrophe.”

Freind, whose column appears nationally in Newsmax, also serves as a guest commentator on Philadelphia-area talk radio shows, and makes numerous other television and radio appearances, most notably on FOX.  He can be reached at CF@FreindlyFireZone.com

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November 9, 2010 at 3:51 pm Comments (0)

Ground Zero Mosque: A Red-Herring –And Irrelevant- Issue

A frequent, and well-founded, criticism of American journalism is that too many reporters focus more on a good story than telling the truth. 

To be fair, though, that label must also be applied to a large segment of the American people.  Perhaps it’s because we’ve evolved into a quick-fix, instant-oatmeal society, or maybe it’s because tackling tough problems can seem hopelessly daunting. 

But maybe the main reason for the proliferation of red herring issues is that so many American politicians shamelessly take advantage of people’s fears, manipulating issues to their political — and financial — gain.

Whatever the reason, it’s no excuse for citizens to willfully ignore the real problems while blindly jumping on the bandwagon of those screaming about irrelevant matters.

The mosque slated for construction near Ground Zero in New York is a prime example.  And with the anniversary of the September 11 attacks later this week, there is no better time to laser in on the issues that truly need addressing.

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Proponents want to build a $100 million Islamic mosque and cultural center with the stated purpose of promoting interfaith dialogue and peace.  The complex is to be constructed several blocks from where the Twin Towers fell on 9/11.

Standing adamantly opposed are those who view the Islamic center,  located so close to hallowed ground, as an in-your-face insult not just to America, but the 3,000 souls who perished that day.

Fair enough, because in all likelihood, it is. 

There are so many other places to build a mosque that to innocently choose that location just doesn’t pass the sniff test.

Americans have a legitimate reason to feel incensed, and are making that view loudly known.  But when calls are made to block the construction through legal means, and when some demand that the owners’ financing be investigated because we don’t happen to like what they stand for, America ceases to be America.

We must be extremely vigilant not to throw our freedoms to the wind just because we find something or someone insulting or offensive.  When cooler heads don’t prevail, the result is almost always catastrophic.

Jailing American citizens in internment camps during World War II comes to mind.

That’s why the Founding Fathers, knowing full-well the dangers of mob mentality, ingeniously created America’s law-making bodies.

The House of Representatives, elected every two years and therefore much more responsive to the people’s whims, is counter-balanced by the staid and deliberative Senate, with its more insulating six-year terms.

And as a final check, the Supreme Court, with its lifetime-appointed Justices free from future job considerations, is designed to provide the ultimate safeguard.

The intensifying mosque debate may be one that tests the system like no other.

Will Congress attempt to pass legislation regulating what can and can’t be built near war memorials? Stranger things have happened.

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One of the most outspoken critics of the mosque has been former House Speaker turned political commentator Newt Gingrich. Like his views or not, Gingrich is universally considered an extremely intelligent analyst with well-thought out positions.

Which makes his pandering on the mosque construction so pathetic.

He’d have been better off just coming clean, saying he’s raising millions on the issue, which could help him prepare for a presidential run.  But while he’s placating the evangelicals, he’s approaching lunatic status with the mainstream.

To say, as Gingrich did, that we shouldn’t build mosques in America until Saudi Arabia has churches and synagogues on its corners is, quite simply, insane.  And Newt knows better.

Since when do we elevate Saudi Arabia — or any other country for that matter — to equal status with the United States of America?

We may despise how Saudi Arabia…..

Read the rest and post a comment at Philadelphia Magazine’s Philly Post:

http://blogs.phillymag.com/the_philly_post/2010/09/07/why-are-we-arguing-about-the-ground-zero-mosque/

Chris Freind is an independent columnist and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, www.FreindlyFireZone.com

Readers of his column, “Freindly Fire,” hail from six continents, thirty countries and all fifty states. His work has been referenced in numerous publications including The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, foreign newspapers, and in Dick Morris’ recent bestseller “Catastrophe.”

Freind also serves as a weekly guest commentator on the Philadelphia-area talk radio show, Political Talk (WCHE 1520), and makes numerous other television and radio appearances, most notably on FOX 29.  He can be reached at CF@FreindlyFireZone.com

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September 7, 2010 at 1:20 pm Comments (0)

Jihad Jane Shows The Need For MORE Profiling!

Jihad Jane Shows The Need For MORE Profiling!

The arrest of “Jihad Jane,” a white American woman accused of plotting with known terrorists, is both good and bad.

Good, of course, because those associating with terrorists should be brought to justice. (Colleen LaRose, Jane’s real name, showed her genius by publicly posting her intention to kill Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks, who had drawn Mohammed in a way she found offensive).

So yes, she’s a freak, and was a threat. Enough said.

But bad, because of all the politically correct morons who have once again come out of the woodwork, ranting that “profiling” is racist and doesn’t work. After all, they tell us, LaRose was one of us, and didn’t fit a terrorist profile, so therefore all profiling should cease.

It’s truly incredible how seemingly intelligent people can be so obtuse.

Take Richard Clarke, the former Counterterrorism Czar to two Presidents.

For our purposes, we’ll just call him “Dick.”

On a news program discussing the Jihad Jane case, Dick stated that, “profiling…has no value.”

Sure, Dick. You bet it doesn’t.

And along that line of thinking, I have only one more thing to add: your proctologist called, Dick.

He found your head.

Read the rest of Freindly Fire’s Jihad Jane column below and please post a comment!

http://www.freindlyfirezone.com/index.php/national-news/item/25-jihad-jane-shows-the-need-for-more-profiling

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March 10, 2010 at 11:00 pm Comments (0)