Wednesday, February 25, 2009


When Barack Obama spoke of creating jobs for a vision of a resurgent future America last night, he was trying to inspire hope in the face of the mass firings of at least a quarter of a million in January.

The President probably didn't mean lots of jobs in which you've been trained to handcuff a daily parade of others -- usually non-criminals, preferably smaller and weaker than us.

But, nevertheless, that's where the Depression-proofing is in the American job market. It's not a coincidence Yahoo was running an employment ad right next to the AP story on how many of us are going through mass dismissal.

Every week on ABC's Detention Cell Homeland Security USA, it's as clear as the nose on your face. In terms of seeing terrorists apprehended, this show is an unmitigated pail of fail. But if you want to see the bleak need for personnel to fill jobs in which an ocean of humanity is herded, questioned, searched, handcuffed, fined, detained, imprisoned or deported, it's a raging success. The sheer numbers of people being inspected, combined with the officious and merciless way our security protectors prosecute books of regulations and rules, ensures there will always be more work.

Last night's episode was mostly about fines, denying someone who was supposed to go on Larry King entry into the US (a coup for ABC!), and close-searching an old person on crutches.

First, the fines. The most spectacular was a soccer mom coming back over the Mexican border in her van, two children, and an illegal alien. Whack! Banged up for illegal smuggling. The homeland security worker explains this happens when some Americans who run short on cash come in contact with border-crossers flush with pay.

"I needed the money," the woman cries. Sorry, we have a fix for that in Handcuff-country. You get fined for $5,000. There's your personal bailout.

Didn't she get a break for immediately coming clean, whimpered the woman. After all, she had no criminal record. The break is you're not going to jail this time, it was said. She could have been transporting a terrorist. Oh, snap!

Also on was the twentysomething man who'd forgotten his mother had packed him a lunch. It was in his bag. The lunch had an orange in it. No smuggling an orange through the border. And when you go through customs, you sign a paper saying you've declared all your fruit and food. So, if you've forgotten something, and the homeland security person asks you if you've any undeclared food and you say, "No," that's fraud. Three hundred dollars, bud. Pay it on the spot, or it gets more expensive or they put you in jail, or something equally bad. Whack! Another scofflaw deterred in Handcuff-land. He'll never forget about a lunch in his bag again. It's as bad as drugs.

Also caught on camera, the Dutch man in from Amsterdam, who failed to disclose he'd been convicted of drug possession in Holland twenty years ago. He was supposed to be on Larry King for something, but homeland security hung him out to dry at the airport while they went through some giant criminal database to see if he was actually telling the truth, that he'd served his time and been clean for two decades. Yes, he was telling the truth. No, he was refused entry because he did fraud when he filled out the paperwork. Go back to Holland and get an entry visa, he was told. "I just want to go home," the man said. But they wouldn't let him go until all the fingers had been printed and the paperwork processed. The show's producers added the man applied for a visa to come back to the US once home in Amsterdam. His visa application was denied, an artful touch.

There was also the search of the old white man on crutches and his prosthetic leg. Might have a bomb in that, you never know.

Then there was the Mexican-looking young man who spoke like a Mexican walking across the border crossing in San Ysidro without identification. He said he was an American and that's what he was. But because he looked Mexican -- and absolutely no Americans look or sound like Mexicans in southern California (that's sarcasm) -- he was detained until it could be confirmed who he was. Don't ever visit family again without your papers! We'll detain you even longer.

There you have it. A future of rock solid depression-proof employment. You need no expensive college education. You just need a disposition which enjoys, or is at least mostly indifferent to, locking up, handcuffing, searching and fining a lot of people who usually aren't criminals. Whatever quality of mercy your character might possess should be very strained.


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