Thursday, February 14, 2008

Where have the leaders gone?

This is an excerpt from Lee Iacocca's book "Where Have All The Leaders Gone" published in April 2007. Even tho the excerpt is a little long it is well worth the read. It expresses what I have felt since the early 2000's in a much better way than I ever could. Hope this activates you as much as it did me!!!! Who would you say matches his criteria, and why?

Lee Iaccoca
Remember Lee Iacocca, the man who rescued Chrysler Corporation from it's death throes?
He has a new book, and here are some excerpts. Put it on my Christmas list!

Had Enough?

Am I the only guy in this country who's fed up with what's happening? Where the hell is our outrage? We should be screaming bloody murder. We've got a gang of clueless bozos steering our ship of state right over a cliff, we've got corporate gangsters stealing us blind, and we can't even clean up after a hurricane much less build a hybrid car. But instead of getting mad, everyone sits around and nods their heads when the politicians say, "Stay the course."

Stay the course? You've got to be kidding. This is America, not the damned Titanic. I'll give you a sound bite: Throw the bums out!

You might think I'm getting senile, that I've gone off my rocker, and maybe I have. But someone has to speak up. I hardly recognize this country anymore. The President of the United States is given a free pass to ignore the Constitution, tap our phones, and lead us to war on a pack of lies.

Congress responds to record deficits by passing a huge tax cut for the wealthy (thanks, but I don't need it). The most famous business leaders are not the innovators but the guys in handcuffs. While we're fiddling in Iraq, the Middle East is burning and nobody seems to know what to do. And the press is waving pom-poms instead of asking hard questions. That's not the promise of America my parents and yours traveled across the ocean for. I've had enough. How about you?

I'll go a step further. You can't call yourself a patriot if you're not outraged. This is a fight I'm ready and willing to have.

My friends tell me to calm down. They say, "Lee, you're eighty-two years old. Leave the rage to the young people." I'd love to — as soon as I can pry them away from their iPods for five seconds and get them to pay attention. I'm going to speak up because it's my patriotic duty. I think people will listen to me. They say I have a reputation as a straight shooter. So I'll tell you how I see it, and it's not pretty, but at least it's real. I'm hoping to strike a nerve in those young folks who say they don't vote because they don't trust politicians to represent their interests. Hey, America, wake up. These guys work for us.

Who Are These Guys, Anyway?

Why are we in this mess? How did we end up with this crowd in Washington? Well, we voted for them — or at least some of us did. But I'll tell you what we didn't do. We didn't agree to suspend the Constitution. We didn't agree to stop asking questions or demanding answers. Some of us are sick and tired of people who call free speech treason. Where I come from that's a dictatorship, not a democracy.

And don't tell me it's all the fault of right-wing Republicans or liberal Democrats. That's an intellectually lazy argument, and it's part of the reason we're in this stew. We're not just a nation of factions. We're a people. We share common principles and ideals. And we rise and fall together.

Where are the voices of leaders who can inspire us to action and make us stand taller? What happened to the strong and resolute party of Lincoln? What happened to the courageous, populist party of FDR and Truman? There was a time in this country when the voices of great leaders lifted us up and made us want to do better. Where have all the leaders gone?

The Test of a Leader

I've never been Commander in Chief, but I've been a CEO. I understand a few things about leadership at the top. I've figured out nine points — not ten (I don't want people accusing me of thinking I'm Moses). I call them the "Nine Cs of Leadership." They're not fancy or complicated. Just clear, obvious qualities that every true leader should have. We should look at how the current administration stacks up. Like it or not, this crew is going to be around until January 2009. Maybe we can learn something before we go to the polls in 2008. Then let's be sure we use the leadership test to screen the candidates who say they want to run the country. It's up to us to choose wisely.

So, here's my C list:

A leader has to show CURIOSITY. He has to listen to people outside of the "Yes, sir" crowd in his inner circle. He has to read voraciously, because the world is a big, complicated place. George W. Bush brags about never reading a newspaper. "I just scan the headlines," he says. Am I hearing this right? He's the President of the United States and he never reads a newspaper? Thomas Jefferson once said, "Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate for a moment to prefer the latter." Bush disagrees. As long as he gets his daily hour in the gym, with Fox News piped through the sound system, he's ready to go.

If a leader never steps outside his comfort zone to hear different ideas, he grows stale. If he doesn't put his beliefs to the test, how does he know he's right? The inability to listen is a form of arrogance. It means either you think you already know it all, or you just don't care. Before the 2006 election, George Bush made a big point of saying he didn't listen to the polls. Yeah, that's what they all say when the polls stink. But maybe he should have listened, because 70 percent of the people were saying he was on the wrong track. It took a "thumping" on election day to wake him up, but even then you got the feeling he wasn't listening so much as he was calculating how to do a better job of convincing everyone he was right.

A leader has to be CREATIVE, go out on a limb, be willing to try something different. You know, think outside the box. George Bush prides himself on never changing, even as the world around him is spinning out of control. God forbid someone should accuse him of flip-flopping. There's a disturbingly messianic fervor to his certainty. Senator Joe Biden recalled a conversation he had with Bush a few months after our troops marched into Baghdad. Joe was in the Oval Office outlining his concerns to the President — the explosive mix of Shiite and Sunni, the disbanded Iraqi army, the problems securing the oil fields. "The President was serene," Joe recalled. "He told me he was sure that we were on the right course and that all would be well. 'Mr. President,' I finally said, 'how can you be so sure when you don't yet know all the facts?'" Bush then reached over and put a steadying hand on Joe's shoulder. "My instincts," he said. "My instincts." Joe was flabbergasted. He told Bush, "Mr. President, your instincts aren't good enough." Joe Biden sure didn't think the matter was settled. And, as we all know now, it wasn't.

Leadership is all about managing change — whether you're leading a company or leading a country. Things change, and you get creative. You adapt. Maybe Bush was absent the day they covered that at Harvard Business School.

A leader has to COMMUNICATE. I'm not talking about running off at the mouth or spouting sound bites. I'm talking about facing reality and telling the truth. Nobody in the current administration seems to know how to talk straight anymore. Instead, they spend most of their time trying to convince us that things are not really as bad as they seem. I don't know if it's denial or dishonesty, but it can start to drive you crazy after a while. Communication has to start with telling the truth, even when it's painful. The war in Iraq has been, among other things, a grand failure of communication. Bush is like the boy who didn't cry wolf when the wolf was at the door. After years of being told that all is well, even as the casualties and chaos mount, we've stopped listening to him.

A leader has to be a person of CHARACTER. That means knowing the difference between right and wrong and having the guts to do the right thing. Abraham Lincoln once said, "If you want to test a man's character, give him power." George Bush has a lot of power. What does it say about his character? Bush has shown a willingness to take bold action on the world stage because he has the power, but he shows little regard for the grievous consequences. He has sent our troops (not to mention hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi citizens) to their deaths — for what? To build our oil reserves? To avenge his daddy because Saddam Hussein once tried to have him killed? To show his daddy he's tougher? The motivations behind the war in Iraq are questionable, and the execution of the war has been a disaster. A man of character does not ask a single soldier to die for a failed policy.

A leader must have COURAGE. I'm talking about balls. (That even goes for female leaders.) Swagger isn't courage. Tough talk isn't courage. George Bush comes from a blue-blooded Connecticut family, but he likes to talk like a cowboy. You know, My gun is bigger than your gun. Courage in the twenty-first century doesn't mean posturing and bravado. Courage is a commitment to sit down at the negotiating table and talk.

If you're a politician, courage means taking a position even when you know it will cost you votes. Bush can't even make a public appearance unless the audience has been handpicked and sanitized. He did a series of so-called town hall meetings last year, in auditoriums packed with his most devoted fans. The questions were all softballs.

To be a leader you've got to have CONVICTION — a fire in your belly. You've got to have passion. You've got to really want to get something done. How do you measure fire in the belly? Bush has set the all-time record for number of vacation days taken by a U.S. President — four hundred and counting. He'd rather clear brush on his ranch than immerse himself in the business of governing. He even told an interviewer that the high point of his presidency so far was catching a seven-and-a-half-pound perch in his hand-stocked lake.

It's no better on Capitol Hill. Congress was in session only ninety-seven days in 2006. That's eleven days less than the record set in 1948, when President Harry Truman coined the term do-nothing Congress. Most people would expect to be fired if they worked so little and had nothing to show for it. But Congress managed to find the time to vote itself a raise. Now, that's not leadership.

A leader should have CHARISMA. I'm not talking about being flashy. Charisma is the quality that makes people want to follow you. It's the ability to inspire. People follow a leader because they trust him. That's my definition of charisma. Maybe George Bush is a great guy to hang out with at a barbecue or a ball game. But put him at a global summit where the future of our planet is at stake, and he doesn't look very presidential. Those frat-boy pranks and the kidding around he enjoys so much don't go over that well with world leaders. Just ask German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who received an unwelcome shoulder massage from our President at a G-8 Summit. When he came up behind her and started squeezing, I thought she was going to go right through the roof.

A leader has to be COMPETENT. That seems obvious, doesn't it? You've got to know what you're doing. More important than that, you've got to surround yourself with people who know what they're doing. Bush brags about being our first MBA President. Does that make him competent? Well, let's see. Thanks to our first MBA President, we've got the largest deficit in history, Social Security is on life support, and we've run up a half-a-trillion-dollar price tag (so far) in Iraq. And that's just for starters. A leader has to be a problem solver, and the biggest problems we face as a nation seem to be on the back burner.

You can't be a leader if you don't have COMMON SENSE. I call this Charlie Beacham's rule. When I was a young guy just starting out in the car business, one of my first jobs was as Ford's zone manager in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. My boss was a guy named Charlie Beacham, who was the East Coast regional manager. Charlie was a big Southerner, with a warm drawl, a huge smile, and a core of steel. Charlie used to tell me, "Remember, Lee, the only thing you've got going for you as a human being is your ability to reason and your common sense. If you don't know a dip of horseshit from a dip of vanilla ice cream, you'll never make it." George Bush doesn't have common sense. He just has a lot of sound bites. You know — Mr. they'll welcome us as liberators no child left behind heck of a job Brownie mission accomplished Bush.

Former President Bill Clinton once said, "I grew up in an alcoholic home. I spent half my childhood trying to get into the reality-based world — and I like it here."

I think our current President should visit the real world once in a while.

The Biggest C is Crisis

Leaders are made, not born. Leadership is forged in times of crisis. It's easy to sit there with your feet up on the desk and talk theory. Or send someone else's kids off to war when you've never seen a battlefield yourself. It's another thing to lead when your world comes tumbling down.

On September 11, 2001, we needed a strong leader more than any other time in our history. We needed a steady hand to guide us out of the ashes. Where was George Bush? He was reading a story about a pet goat to kids in Florida when he heard about the attacks. He kept sitting there for twenty minutes with a baffled look on his face. It's all on tape. You can see it for yourself. Then, instead of taking the quickest route back to Washington and immediately going on the air to reassure the panicked people of this country, he decided it wasn't safe to return to the White House. He basically went into hiding for the day—and he told Vice President Dick Cheney to stay put in his bunker. We were all frozen in front of our TVs, scared out of our wits, waiting for our leaders to tell us that we were going to be okay, and there was nobody home. It took Bush a couple of days to get his bearings and devise the right photo op at Ground Zero.

That was George Bush's moment of truth, and he was paralyzed. And what did he do when he'd regained his composure? He led us down the road to Iraq — a road his own father had considered disastrous when he was President. But Bush didn't listen to Daddy. He listened to a higher father. He prides himself on being faith based, not reality based. If that doesn't scare the crap out of you, I don't know what will.

A Hell of a Mess

So here's where we stand. We're immersed in a bloody war with no plan for winning and no plan for leaving. We're running the biggest deficit in the history of the country. We're losing the manufacturing edge to Asia, while our once-great companies are getting slaughtered by health care costs. Gas prices are skyrocketing, and nobody in power has a coherent energy policy. Our schools are in trouble. Our borders are like sieves. The middle class is being squeezed every which way. These are times that cry out for leadership.

But when you look around, you've got to ask: "Where have all the leaders gone?" Where are the curious, creative communicators? Where are the people of character, courage, conviction, competence, and common sense? I may be a sucker for alliteration, but I think you get the point.

Name me a leader who has a better idea for homeland security than making us take off our shoes in airports and throw away our shampoo? We've spent billions of dollars building a huge new bureaucracy, and all we know how to do is react to things that have already happened.

Name me one leader who emerged from the crisis of Hurricane Katrina. Congress has yet to spend a single day evaluating the response to the hurricane, or demanding accountability for the decisions that were made in the crucial hours after the storm. Everyone's hunkering down, fingers crossed, hoping it doesn't happen again. Now, that's just crazy. Storms happen. Deal with it. Make a plan. Figure out what you're going to do the next time.

Name me an industry leader who is thinking creatively about how we can restore our competitive edge in manufacturing. Who would have believed that there could ever be a time when "the Big Three" referred to Japanese car companies? How did this happen — and more important, what are we going to do about it?

Name me a government leader who can articulate a plan for paying down the debt, or solving the energy crisis, or managing the health care problem. The silence is deafening. But these are the crises that are eating away at our country and milking the middle class dry.

I have news for the gang in Congress. We didn't elect you to sit on your asses and do nothing and remain silent while our democracy is being hijacked and our greatness is being replaced with mediocrity. What is everybody so afraid of? That some bobblehead on Fox News will call them a name? Give me a break. Why don't you guys show some spine for a change?

Had Enough?

Hey, I'm not trying to be the voice of gloom and doom here. I'm trying to light a fire. I'm speaking out because I have hope. I believe in America. In my lifetime I've had the privilege of living through some of America's greatest moments. I've also experienced some of our worst crises — the Great Depression, World War II, the Korean War, the Kennedy assassination, the Vietnam War, the 1970s oil crisis, and the struggles of recent years culminating with 9/11. If I've learned one thing, it's this: You don't get anywhere by standing on the sidelines waiting for somebody else to take action. Whether it's building a better car or building a better future for our children, we all have a role to play. That's the challenge I'm raising in this book. It's a call to action for people who, like me, believe in America. It's not too late, but it's getting pretty close. So let's shake off the horseshit and go to work. Let's tell 'em all we've had enough.

Start chatting with friends and family now!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

G.W. BUSH resume (up to date)

I could not resist this sent to me by an old friend. It's hard for me to find anything that is "over the top".

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20520

Law Enforcement:
I was arrested in Kennebunkport, Maine, in 1976 for driving under the
influence of alcohol. I pled guilty, paid a fine, and had my driver's
license suspended for 30 days. My Texas driving record has been "lost"
and is not available.

I joined the Texas Air National Guard and went AWOL. I refused to take a
drug test or answer any questions about my drug use. By joining the
Texas Air National Guard, I was able to avoid combat duty in Vietnam.

I graduated from Yale University with a low C average. I was a

I ran for U.S. Congress and lost. I began my career in the oil
business in Midland,Texas, in 1975.

I bought an oil company, but couldn't find any oil in Texas.
The company went bankrupt shortly after I sold all my stock.

I bought the Texas Rangers baseball team in a sweetheart deal that took
land using taxpayer money.

With the help of my father and our friends in the oil industry
(including Enron CEO Ken Lay), I was elected governor of Texas.

I changed Texas pollution laws to favor power and oil companies, making
Texas the most polluted state in the Union. During my tenure, Houston
replaced Los Angeles as the most smog-ridden city in America.

I cut taxes and bankrupted the Texas treasury to the tune of billions in
borrowed money.

I set the record for the most executions by any governor in American

With the help of my brother, the governor of Florida, and my father's
appointments to the Supreme Court, I became President after losing by
over 500,000 votes.

I am the first President in U.S. history to enter office with a criminal

I invaded and occupied two countries at a continuing cost of
over one billion dollars per week.

I spent the U.S. surplus and effectively bankrupted the U.S. Treasury.

I shattered the record for the largest annual deficit in U.S. history.

I set an economic record for most private bankruptcies filed in any
12-month period.

I set the all-time record for most foreclosures in a 12-month period.

I set the all-time record for the biggest drop in the history of the
U.S. stock market. In my first year in office, over 2 million Americans
lost their jobs and that trend continues every month.

I'm proud that the members of my cabinet are the richest of any
administration in U.S. history. My "poorest millionaire," Condoleeza
Rice, has a Chevron oil tanker named after her.

I set the record for most campaign fund-raising trips by a U.S. President.

I am the all-time U.S. and world record-holder for receiving the most
corporate campaign donations.

My largest lifetime campaign contributor, and one of my best friends,
Kenneth Lay, presided over the largest corporate bankruptcy fraud in
U.S. History, Enron.

My political party used Enron private jets and corporate attorneys to
assure my success with the U.S. Supreme Court during my election decision.

I have protected my friends at Enron and Halliburton against
investigation or prosecution. More time and money was spent
investigating the Monica Lewinsky affair than has been spent
investigating one of the biggest corporate rip-offs in history.

I presided over the biggest energy crisis in U.S. history and refused to
intervene when corruption involving the oil industry was revealed. I
presided over the highest gasoline prices in U.S. history.

I changed the U.S. policy to allow convicted criminals to be awarded
government contracts.

I appointed more convicted criminals to administration than any
President in U.S. history.

I created the Ministry of Homeland Security, the largest bureaucracy in
the history of the United States government.

I've broken more international treaties than any President in U.S. history.

I am the first President in U.S. history to have the United Nations
remove the U.S. from the Human Rights Commission.

I withdrew the U.S. from the World Court of Law.

I refused to allow inspector's access to U.S. "prisoners of war"
detainees and thereby have refused to abide by the Geneva Convention.

I am the first President in history to refuse United Nations election
inspectors (during the 2002 U.S. election).

I set the record for fewest numbers of press conferences of any
President since the advent of television.

I set the all-time record for most days on vacation in any one year
period. After taking off the entire month of August, I presided over the
worst security failure in U.S. history.

I garnered the most sympathy for the U.S. after the World Trade Center
attacks and less than a year later made the U.S. the most hated country
in the world, the largest failure of diplomacy in world history.

I have set the all-time record for most people worldwide to
simultaneously protest me in public venues (15 million people),
shattering the record for protests against any person in the history of

I am the first President in U.S. history to order an unprovoked,
pre-emptive attack and the military occupation of a sovereign nation. I
did so against the will of the United Nations, the majority of U.S.
citizens, and the world community.

I have cut health care benefits for war veterans and support a cut in
duty benefits for active duty troops and their families -- in wartime.

In my State of the Union Address, I lied about our reasons for attacking
Iraq and then blamed the lies on our British friends.

I am the first President in history to have a majority of Europeans
(71%) view my presidency as the biggest threat to world peace and security.

I am supporting development of a nuclear "Tactical Bunker Buster," a WMD.

I have so far failed to fulfill my pledge to bring Osama Bin Laden [sic]
to justice.

All records of my tenure as governor of Texas are now in my father's
library, sealed and unavailable for public view.

All records of SEC investigations into my insider trading and my
bankrupt companies are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public view.

All records or minutes from meetings that I, or my Vice President,
attended regarding public energy policy are sealed in secrecy and
unavailable for public review.
*----------------------------------------------------------------------- *
"Peace comes not from the absence of conflict, but from the ability to
cope with it."

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Is it Treason?

How well do you know the reasons Bush senior did not order a full invasion of Iraq after he pushed Iraq out of Kuwait? If you knew they were the same reasons we Progressives give for why the Decider Bush should not have invaded Iraq. If you knew that in 1994 that Cheney gave Bush senior's reasons for not invading Iraq, and then in 2003 he made a 180 degree turn and gave arguments diametrically in opposition to his 1994 statements, did he lie in 1994 or in 2003? If he was correct in 1994 he must have lied in 2003. If he lied in 2003 (along with Duba and others) I would certainly think that was grounds for impeachment, but would it not also be grounds for Treason? Treason not only for the deaths and maiming of US citizens based on lies but also hundreds of thousands of Iraqi men , women and children killed, maimed or displaced also based on those lies. If you would like to see what Cheney said in '94 and what he,Rummey, Bush and others said in 2003 click on the following; Treason or Not?

Sunday, July 29, 2007

How to Control The Senate

Recently we saw an attempt by Harry Reid to encourage the GOP Senators to drop their filibustering of any Democratic proposed bills with an all night session. In reviewing years past tactics in the Senate I came across the following as a means of stopping debate and ending any attempt to filibuster.
1) Limit speeches to 2/day on any one subject.
2) Adjourn at the end of each day instead of recessing thereby limiting debate on a bill. (prevents a filibuster)

Any comments on effectiveness?

FDR & The Supreem Court

Is this an approach the Dems will have to take after the 2008 election?

In November 1936, Roosevelt won re-election by carrying all but two states. Although FDR did not make the Supreme Court an issue in his campaign, he nevertheless considered his landslide election as a mandate for federal court reform. He knew he had to act quickly since many New Deal laws passed during his first term were headed for the Supreme Court(& their Conservative Majority).

Working quietly, Attorney General Cummings drafted a bill that, on the surface, appeared to streamline the entire federal court system. But the real target was the Supreme Court. Cummings proposed that Congress pass a law granting the president the power to nominate an additional judge for every federal judge who, having served a minimum of 10 years, did not resign or retire within six months after reaching age 70. In effect, this would enable FDR to add up to six more justices to the Supreme Court as well as nearly 50 more lower-court federal judges. Of course, the Senate would still have to approve his nominations.

The "Court-Packing" Fight

Much to the surprise of President Roosevelt, his court-reform plan came under serious attack. The press soon began to refer to it as FDR's "court-packing" scheme. The president was compared with Hitler (GWB?) in seeking dictatorial powers. Even some liberal New Deal Democrats in Congress voiced their reservations.

Supporters of the bill decided to concentrate their efforts in the Senate. Appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Attorney General Cummings presented the administration's case. "The proposed increase in the number of judges is not for the purpose of enslaving the judiciary," he said. "The purpose is to rejuvenate the judicial machinery, to speed justice, and to give to the courts men of fresh outlook who will refrain from infringing upon the powers of Congress."

But most of those testifying before the Judiciary Committee rejected FDR's plan as little more than a cover to pack the Supreme Court with liberal justices. The plan, they claimed, would make the court more political,(like where we are today?) thus undermining its independence. Critics argued that since there were no age regulations placed on the president or members of Congress, there should be none on federal judges either. Others claimed that it was not the Supreme Court justices who were overturning Roosevelt's New Deal laws, but the Constitution itself.(so today GWB modifys the meaning of the Constitution to fit his desires?)

"The Switch in Time"

In the midst of the "court-packing" fight, a series of unexpected events occurred that finally sank FDR's court-reform bill. On March 29, 1937, the Supreme Court reversed itself and upheld a state minimum-wage law very similar to laws that the court had previously struck down. This case was decided by another 5–4 vote. But this time the four conservative justices were in the minority. Shortly afterward, the Supreme Court ruled as constitutional both the Social Security Act and the National Labor Relations Act, two key pieces of New Deal legislation. These cases, too, were decided by slim 5–4 majorities. (It's amazing how the threat changed at least one Justices spine.)

As it turned out in the years that followed, the Supreme Court upheld virtually all of FDR's New Deal reforms. Over the span of his remaining three terms in office, Roosevelt got to name a total of eight new justices to the Supreme Court. In the end, he did get to "pack" the court with men of his choosing. This "Roosevelt Court" took a more liberal direction in interpreting the Constitution, at least for a while. But the question remains, even today, whether the Supreme Court can truly be an independent body completely separated from political influences.

From the CFR: Constitutional Rights Foundation

Bush Family History

Recently Tom Cat of "Politics Plus" posted an excellent article on the Bush family history which was put together by If you have not seen it yet it describes how Grandfather Prescot Bush amassed his fortune through any means necessary. Even playing both sides leading up to WW II. In reading the story I was struck by the continued reference to Nazi ism and all that that conjures up in our current day mind set. To me, the use of that word does not properly describe what was taking place then (and still now). It obscures the deeper concerns of these events by using a term that means many things to many people without clearly enunciating the basic driving force. And what is that driving force you ask? To me it is "Super Nationalistic Capitalism"or in other words FASCISM. As far as I'm concerned Prescot Bush was nothing more than a latent and greedy Fascist who passed his genes down to his megalomaniac grandson George. Review the list of 14 characteristics that describe fascist philosophy for a full understanding. Of course, fascism was also an underpinning of Nazism.
What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

TSA Warnings

U.S. authorities warn of "dry runs" at airport

I'm not quite sure how to react to this report. Is it just another statement to keep the "fear" factor in front of the general public in some perverted manner to gain sympathy for our imperial leader and his "protect the homeland" program? Or is it just another example of overreaction? Have the TSA personnel not been properly trained to look for anything suspicious and they need to be reminded? I assume the TSA itself, if they are doing their job properly, are testing the "system" with their own "dry runs". Is that representative of the 4 items characterized as potential dry runs? Also, why only target the airports? What's your reaction?
WASHINGTON, July 25 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has alerted law enforcement officers across the country to be on the lookout for what could be "dry runs" for a terrorist attacks at airports.
The TSA sent an unclassified advisory on July 20 to law enforcement agencies, after series of suspicious incidents occurred at U.S. airports, raising the possibility that recent activity could be "pre-attack security probes," U.S. media reported Wednesday.
The advisory, which has been widely reported, detailed four incidents from the past 11 months in which screeners found unusual objects with items such as wires, switches, tubes, cell phone components that could mimic bomb components in passengers' checked or carry-on bags.
"The unusual nature and increase in number of these improvised items raise concern and TSA personnel should continue vigilance for groupings of ordinary items that look like IED components," the alert said.
The bulletin warned that terrorists could be conducting repeated operations to desensitize security officials. (this seems like a long reach)
The TSA, however, downplayed on Wednesday the significance of the advisory. (why make a deal out of it then)
"This bulletin is not classified nor does it contain secret material," the TSA said in a statement.
The TSA said the advisory was one of more than 90 unclassified bulletins sent to police during the past six months to provide information to front line officers.
"There is no intelligence that indicates a specific or credible threat to the homeland," the TSA said.

The United States has tightened security at its airports since the Sept. 11 attacks, by manning airports with additional security personnel and installing high-tech devices to screen both passengers and their baggage.