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Bulls & Bears Panel Suggests Privatizing TSA, Making “Aggressive Cultural Profiling” Manditory

Reported by Guest Blogger - December 2, 2010 -

By Aria

When it comes to the TSA security controversy, Fox pundits seem to do one of three things: act like a dangerous fanatic, make lewd comments, or behave like an outright racist. Enter Eric Bolling on Bulls and Bears last weekend (11/27/10). He was solidly in the last camp but he also wanted to privatize TSA, fire everyone already working for them, and then instate “aggressive profiling” of people based on their culture. Translation: The solution is to increase hostility towards Muslims. No one on the panel voiced protest to such appalling actions- in fact, the majority of the panel agreed.

The segment began innocently enough (by FOX standards) with Brenda Buttner discussing a proposed pay raise for TSA employees. Regular panelist Jonas Max Ferris said that he was for the pay raises, given the stigma attached to TSA workers, and that someone stuck doing that sort of work shouldn‘t make less than a park ranger or a postal employee. As he spoke, panelist Tobin Smith growled with disgust.


Tobin Smith spoke next, claiming that we should have a system like Israel’s, because it has supposedly produced no incidents in the last 20 years. Maybe he should have done his homework. Earlier this year, Concord Monitor ran an article saying that Israel’s system is under fire for being “humiliating” and for its discrimination against the nation’s Muslims. And no incidents, Toby? How about you Google Tawfiq Fukra sometime…

Buttner then asked, with obvious disdain, guest Caroline Heldman, “You still think paying TSA agents, government workers more would make this whole system work a lot better?”

Heldman argued that she found the TSA’s methods a violation of civil rights but that while they were in place, the workers should be paid more for the flak they were getting from passengers. Most of the other panelists were smirking or snickering. Buttner even cut off Heldman’s last sentence to bring in Bolling,who, along with Tobin and Gary B. Smith, was laughing at her.

Bolling opened by sneering, “What a surprise - the liberals think we should just pay people more and that will fix the problem.” Then he went on to propose that we privatize the TSA, fire all the workers, let private companies come in and enforce aggressive profiling - based on culture, as well as behavior.

Heldman looked like she was going to throw up. Ferris was likewise less than impressed. But Gary B. Smith was smiling and nodding, while Tobin Smith and Buttner looked like they were seriously considering the idea.

Once again, maybe they should have done their homework - or maybe I missed something with the failure of privatized prisons. I’m sure California and Kentucky could have told them a few of their concerns…

Buttner asked Gary B. Smith if he agreed. She said it a lot more nicely than when she asked Heldman if she supported the pay raise.

Smith not only agreed but with mock crying he made fun of Ferris’ case. (Bolling and Tobin Smith both chuckled at that). After saying that if anything, TSA employees were overpaid, Gary B. falsely claimed that agents can make “up to $175,000 a year. To me, that seems a lot, to pat people down... It doesn’t seem like that difficult a job.”

Ferris had had enough and began trying to refute Smith… only to be shouted down.

Smith continued by agreeing with Bolling’s point, noting that certain cities have already privatized, like San Francisco and Kansas City. Nobody mentioned the potential for corruption, as seen by the fact that one of the Congressmen pushing for privatization has received $81,000 in campaign contributions from the very companies that stand to benefit from such a measure. Ferris was the only one who pointed out that the screening used to be a private sector job until 9/11 happened and the TSA took over in the wake of the private sector’s failure. “I don’t remember you guys being so mad when they made the government take over this job,” Ferris said.

Ferris tried to explain that the $175,000 salary was only for top-level positions and that the TSA agents doing the scans and pat downs earn only $29,000 a year. But he was talked over by Smith, who sneered, “Do you think that’s a difficult job?”

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