Perhaps you heard the news that the Transportation Security Agency, under the leadership of John Kelly, is planning to add new abusive screening procedures before Americans can board flights – including banning altogether the carrying on of laptop computers aboard international flights.

He is also planning to adopt a policy currently being tested in Sacramento to examine the books you bring aboard the plane to read.

Ironically, the announcement came just shy of Independence Day, the 240th observation of the signing of what is, without a doubt, the greatest declaration of human liberty in the history of the world.

I’m really beginning to wonder about the appointment of John Kelly by President Trump. He seems to follow in a list of Department of Homeland Security secretaries more determined to violate the privacy rights of American citizens than to help them travel more safely.

In all the years since 2001, has a laptop computer ever been used to bring down an airliner? Haven’t they all been screened for years to make sure they are just laptop computers? Or was that just a ruse to make us wait in longer lines? How is it that laptops pose a special hazard to international flights and not domestic?

Likewise, in all the years since 2001 and before, has a book ever been used to kill anyone on a flight? Have secret messages been hidden inside books that have caused harm to others on an airliner?

That is actually the excuse TSA is going to use to flip through the contents of your reading material. It’s also going to be examining any food you carry on board. I don’t know what that one is about – maybe the prevention of food fights. So, thanks to the brain trust at TSA, you will now have to place your books, magazines and food in a separate bin at airport screening to ensure none of it is hazardous to the homeland.

Flying commercial airliners is already a hassle. I hate it. I avoid it as much as possible. But it’s about to get worse.

Most of the critics of the new policies have focused on the reading material. Some fear that TSA will be looking at the political content of the books and magazines and may deem you suspicious because of the content.

It’s not likely in the U.S., though I have personally experienced such scrutiny in foreign countries when I travel. While visiting Canada a few years ago to give a speech on Islamic terrorism at a large synagogue, I was interrogated for hours in customs over the nature of my speech, the content of my notes and the resources I had brought with me to make my presentation.

That’s because, unlike the U.S., Canada has no equivalent of the First Amendment to the Constitution. Yes, they’re nice people in Canada, but they don’t value liberty the way we do in the U.S. – or at least as we have for most of the last 240 years.

Yet, John Kelly actually believes the U.S. should move in the direction of Europe in cracking down on “free speech.” Did you know that?

He’s calling for more regulations on the content of the Internet – not just by jihadi terrorists, mind you. Look at what he said to Mike McCaul, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.

“The one constant that I have seen, Mr. Chairman, since I have been in this job, the one constant in all of this has been the Internet. … The one constant is the Internet,” he said. “I’m not blaming the Internet, but I’m just saying that we probably need to step back and, say, maybe [have] stricter rules on what is hung on the Internet.”

To Kelly, the jihad doctrine of Islam is not the problem. The problem is “radicalism” of any kind.

Note these comments: “As far as Ramadan goes, you know, first of all, the uptick in violence and activities [during Ramadan is] done by a very, very small percentage of people who have just corrupted the whole concept of Islam as a religion, but it is what it is.”

There’s nothing unusual about Islam as a religion, Kelly suggested. There’s a need to monitor what Christians and Jews are up to as well, he said: “Whether they are church, synagogues or mosques, [we need] an open line of communication so they know if they see this [belligerence] happening in the home or they see it happening – that is to say, the move toward radicalism – or they see it happening in the churches or mosques, they know to call someone before that person typically crosses the line.”

As I have stated ever so clearly in the past – even as recently as Monday – I consider myself a “radicalized Christian.” That in no way suggests I am a danger to non-Christians, because a major tenet of both Christianity and Judaism is to love one’s neighbor as you love yourself – and even to love one’s enemies. That’s a radical proposition, but it is sound doctrine. Not all radical ideas are dangerous – especially when they come from the Creator of the universe.

Apparently, Kelly hasn’t considered the fact that there has never been an airliner brought down by a Christian or Jewish passenger in the history of flight – no matter what they were reading or what was on their laptops.

But Kelly’s comments get even more dangerous. Stick with me.

He suggested the U.S. should follow the example set by Europe’s new policies against free speech, which this week prompted teams of black-clad German secretive police to raid 60 homes of people accused of illegal speech. Kelly said about the Europeans:

“I think kind of the [Internet] rules and thinking they are operating under – that frankly that our country has been operating under – is probably five or 10 years old. … I know the Europeans are, particularly in the last five months, what they have dealt with – whether it is Paris, Manchester, I mean all of it, running people down on London bridge or Westminster bridge, they have really stepped back from their thinking, as I think we should.” (Emphasis added.)

Follow Europe as the model?

That means speech codes. That means no freedom of speech. That means make everyone’s life more miserable because we live in a world plagued uniquely by jihadist terrorism. Does that make sense to you?

Did Donald Trump actually interview this guy before appointing him to this position?

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