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DOJ Threatens to Turn Texas Into a “No Fly Zone”

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In a development which may be the first constitutional crisis to come out of the growing state sovereignty movement, the federal Department of Justice has threatened to shut down air travel in Texas if the Texas legislature follows through with passage of a popular bill limiting the power of the Transportation Security Administration within the state.

HB1937 is one of two bills authored by Rep. David Simpson (RLC-Tyler) designed to prevent the TSA from implementing unpopular security measures within the state of Texas. It would make it a felony for TSA agents to engage in certain forms of intimate touching during the course of an “enhanced pat down” of an airline passenger. If a complaint were made against TSA personnel they could be arrested and charged by local law enforcement.

Simpson’s other bill (HB1938) addressed high-intensity scanners and stalled in the Texas House of Representatives, but the anti-groping bill passed the House unanimously, was approved unanimously by a Senate committee and was expected to pass with strong support in the Texas Senate Tuesday or Wednesday.

This is the point at which the federal government intervened. Reports began circulating on Tuesday of TSA bureaucrats descending on the state capitol to lobby legislators against the bill and then John E. Murphy, US Attorney for the Western District of Texas issued an official letter (PDF) on behalf of the Department of Justice to state legislators which threatened an injunction against the bill if it passed as well as stating that if an injunction were not granted the “TSA would likely be required to cancel any flight or flights for which it could not ensure the safety of passengers and crew.”

The Department of Justice makes the argument in the letter that “under the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution, Texas has no authority to regulate federal agents and employees in the performance of their federal duties or to pass a statute that conflicts with federal law.”

This argument is weakened by the fact that it is not clear that the TSA has legitimate federal jurisdiction over airports which are operated by local or regional airport authorities or private companies. Several major airports in other parts of the country have been able to opt out of TSA services and employ private security instead, and Texas airports could certainly provide adequate security as they did before the TSA takeover.

Another powerful argument against the DOJ position is that the proposed legislation specifically protects the Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, a protection which supporters argue the TSA regularly violates. If the TSA is behaving unconstitutionally can the federal government legitimately defend their actions?

In an unprecedented development on Tuesday as the bill was being debated, Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst took to the floor of the Senate, organizing opposition to the bill and generating support mostly from Democrat lawmakers to pressure Senator Patrick to withdraw the bill.

In response to the federal threats and weakening support from intimidated lawmakers, Senator Dan Patrick (R-Houston) withdrew the bill from consideration on Tuesday, though it is hoped that it will be put back on the docket for Wednesday.

Defending the bill on the Senate floor, Senator Patrick declared “There was a time in the history of the state where we did not cower to rules and policies that invade the privacy of Texans. This was a ‘come and take it’ moment…The federal government came in and bullied the state of Texas today. They said ‘If you dare pass a bill that makes us change our policy, then we threaten to close down your airports.'”

Local citizens groups which have backed the bill are working hard to lo generate calls and emails to legislators and other officials in support of the bill, including Support Dignity, Stop Austin Scanners and the Republican Liberty Caucus of Texas. Similar legislation is being considered in New Hampshire, Utah, Alaska, Florida, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

The fate of the Texas bill will likely determine how this sort of legislation fares in other states. With public sentiment overwhelmingly against the TSA after numerous reports of inappropriate searches, federal authorities may be touching a match to a powder keg with their intimidation tactics.

If you want to contact Texas legislators to express your support for this legislation, use the links at Stop Austin Scanners.

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About Dave Nalle

  • Dave Mundy

    Sure is nice of the DOJ and TSA to help push more Texans into the Texas Nationalist Movement.

  • charles goodwin

    welcome to the real united states folks. its about time that the federal government learned that they and just a very limited entity constituted by the States which are sovereign. live with it. get used to it because much more restriction of your power is coming.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Dave –

    This argument is weakened by the fact that it is not clear that the TSA has legitimate federal jurisdiction over airports which are operated by local or regional airport authorities or private companies. Several major airports in other parts of the country have been able to opt out of TSA services and employ private security instead, and Texas airports could certainly provide adequate security as they did before the TSA takeover.

    First of all, it is the duty of the federal government to regulate interstate business, is it not?

    That, and those airports which ‘opted out’ of TSA services all signed an agreement to provide the same services as the TSA does, at the same level as the TSA does…including scanners and pat-downs. So if Texas is refusing to provide security at the same level as the rest of the nation, then the federal government’s well within its authority, and it is Texas that is overreaching.

    It would be nice, I must admit, if Texas were to go ahead and secede – I think most of America would be in favor of that! Most of America, that is, except for the rest of the red states who’d lose their biggest source of political support and capital.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And btw – you do look a lot better with the beard. Good choice!

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Because any flight originating in Texas and landing somewhere else needs to be considered safe/secure in both places, it seems unlikely that this law, if passed, would stand up in court.

    Does Dave really support this? Slow news day?

  • RealDeal

    While Glen Contrarian does make a point regarding the regulation of interstate commerce, he fails to mention the fact that the fourth amendment protects against unreasonable search and seizure. So which part of the Constitution are we going to pick today to promote more progressivism? Applying your logic, the states don’t have any rights. Therefore any argument, action or legislation passed or carried out by the omnipotent federal government must therefore be right and just. You can’t just pick pieces to suit your needs. Show me where the constitution says that it is permissible for the federal government to mandate the full body search of its citizens. Better yet, show me where it says that it has the right to force a sovereign state to do so.

    You will probably cite the supremacy clause next, or perhaps cite some made up regulation that permits the TSA to perform such searches. I will show you the fourth amendment which specifically protects against unlawful search. Just because some unlawful federal agency says they are entitled to search you for “your protection”, does not make it a legal search. You may be well served to actually READ the commerce clause and maybe do a little RESEARCH, might I recommend Federalist # 22, #42, #44, and #46. This may shed some light on what the the commerce clause actually means.

    Have Texas secede, that is the solution? I am not surprised. I would think the the predominantly center/right America would rather the progressives formed their own country and stop ruining ours. By the way, I am from a BLUE state. I am not a republican either. I am an American, and a self-proclaimed constitutional conservative. I am also a tax PAYER (where they take it and the don’t give it back). I have no allegiance to any party or group, I think for myself and have my own opinions.

    I hope Texas goes through with it and passes it. A no-fly-zone over the state of Texas will not sit well with the majority of the country. Political suicide. By the way, you think our no-fly-zone be like the one over in Libya? Do you think the U.S. military would be asked to enforce it? If I were Texas, I might consider that an act of war. After all, the states are sovereign entities. You may need to look that up too.

  • Clavos

    handy asks if Dave really supports Texas’ viewpoint.

    Based on the entirety of Dave’s writng on this site, I’d say it’s fairly obvious that he does.

    So do I.

    The feds are on a roll toward ever more control of our individual opportunities for choice.

    They must be stopped.

    This is a good start.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    any flight originating in Texas and landing somewhere else needs to be considered safe/secure in both places

    Indeed. Seceding wouldn’t do Texas any good at all on this score, because (as is the case now with every inbound international flight) any departing flight with a destination in what remained of the US wouldn’t be allowed to land there if the boarding screening didn’t meet US standards.

    And it’s unlikely any prospective terrorist would consider the enhanced opportunity to bomb Flight 99999 from DFW to Lubbock in a 15-seater turboprop much of a publicity coup.

  • Dave Nalle

    Only after getting some sleep and having time to think did it really sink in how troubling and unprecedented the situation with the anti-TSA groping bill here in Texas really is.  The idea that federal officials believe they can intimidate state legislators to kill a bill which is overwhelmingly supported by the citizens is more than disturbing.  It’s symptomatic of how completely off the rails our government is.

  • Scott

    Stand up Texas! Arrest the TSA agents right away. Evict them from the state. You have the might and you have the right. Issue arrest warrants for Obozo and Napolitano for violating the Constitution. If push comes to shove, declare independence. Me and everyone I know would swan dive accross your border to take up arms and defend you!

  • America for Americans

    Texas, you maintain a pretty awesome state military (State guard and a well equipped Texas Air Guard) not to mention the well armed militias, DPS, Texas Rangers, et.el. It may time for you to call out this force in defense of yourself. If you give in to this first test of your resolve, you will be pushed further and further into submission. Show your strength. Want some help? Sound the alarm and a call to arms! 300 million Americans support you and want to see Obozo and Napolitano thrown in prison or worse. Stand up to these thugs Texas! We the People are watching and a lot of us are eager to come to your aid!

  • http://statesmansentinel.com TSA Opt Out

    “The Department of Justice makes the argument in the letter that “under the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution, Texas has no authority to regulate federal agents and employees in the performance of their federal duties or to pass a statute that conflicts with federal law.”

    This argument is weakened by the fact that it is not clear that the TSA has legitimate federal jurisdiction over airports”

    It’s pretty clear that the Feds have absolutely no constitutional authority to establish a TSA.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    It’s pretty clear that the Feds have absolutely no constitutional authority to establish a TSA.

    It’s pretty clear that extremists can’t tell when their loony states-rights chest-beating becomes ridiculous and reckless.

    If one asshole succeeds in blowing up a plane with material that could have been found via ‘enhanced’ security methods, this argument crumbles. Although I bet the louder of mouth and more numb of nuts among the commenters here will then find a way to blame that on Obama too.

    Pass the popcorn.

  • Clavos

    If one asshole succeeds in blowing up a plane with material that could have been found via ‘enhanced’ security methods, this argument crumbles.

    The thing is, handy, that even with all the groping and prodding, the likelihood of an aircraft being bombed is relatively high, because the TSA noobs really don’t have a clue.

    I’m flying in about a week. I think if I get groped (I haven’t been yet) I’m going to start to moan and pant sexually while he is doing it — louder if it’s a woman “Ooooh yeah — don’t stop –harder.” A la Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    “all the groping and prodding” is just more internet hype/myth. if you get groped and prodded you be sure to tell us about it. the extra patdowns are for people who refuse to go through the “MRI” type scanners. which are not at nearly every airport anyway.

    This has nothing to do with a real problem. It is more libertarian hot air. It is laughable. I’m glad Texas doesn’t have any real problems, like, say, underfunded schools and the lowest rate of people with health insurance in the country.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Handy #15 –

    Absolutely true!

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    I’ve watched my son go through an MRI and a frisking in the same screening episode. I was wondering what was taking so long, and I looked back and saw what was going on.

    Do you have a link, handyguy to prove that this has changed since Christmas 2010?

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Handy, you show exactly the craven mentality which has gotten us where we are today. One terrorist incident or dozens are not sufficient justification for taking away peoples civil liberties. You make the same argument that racists make when they say that because crime rates are higher among certain ethnic groups they should be kicked out of the country or put in camps.

    Dave

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Dave –

    Do you know what happens whenever a terrorist blows up a plane? Ridership goes WAY down…and our airline industry suffers a real hit because of it. I love my personal freedoms, too – but I can set those aside for a couple embarrassing minutes in order to make sure there’s a better chance that my family and I will make it to our destination alive.

    Besides, wasn’t it you that said a week or so ago that the real problem with the economy was civil rights?

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    But Glenn, what we’re talking about here is not real security, it’s security theater. The TSA has yet to prevent a single terrorist attack. Other common sense measures have done that job much more effectively, most notably reinforcing cockpit doors and putting armed air marshals on more flights.

    The TSA’s role is purely to intimidate and that intimidation seems directed more at passengers than at anyone else.

    Dave

  • Robin White

    While the Hamiltonians tout their Commerce Clause for giving them a foot in the door to trump the rights of the individual, and the forever-frozen-in-hysteria bemoan the possibility of terrorists blowing up planes and disrupting commerce (?!?), the fact is that TSA agents have stopped not one terrorist. All the recent thwarted wannabe terrorists (e.g, shoe bomber, underwear bomber) were stopped by private citizens exercising their individual rights.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Bingo, Robin. Security theatre for the ignorant masses.

    Dave

  • Clavos

    …the extra patdowns are for people who refuse to go through the “MRI” type scanners…

    Not always. They can’t legally admit it, but they are profiling.

    The world’s best (in terms of effectiveness) airport screening process is, and always has been, (since the 1967 war) El-Al’s operation in Israel. Not being as squeamish as the US about it, profiling is the linchpin of their system, and it is widely recognized within the airline industry as the world’s most effective.

    Interestingly, their security operations at the US airports they serve are far less effective because they are restricted by the FAA’s squeamishness, and in fact, at LAX they have had more than one breach.

    Perhaps it’s because it’s located in notoriously flaky southern California, but LAX does seem to report more breaches overall among US airports.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    There was a lot of hype about this before Christmas, so much so that I got nervous about it myself…just seemed like more hassle.

    But at NYC’s LaGuardia, 5 days before Christmas, there were no body scanner machines yet, and security was the same as previous times: about 15 minutes to stand in line for metal detectors and x-raying carry-ons. It was, literally, nothing.

    Cable news was going apeshit about the expected complaints from travelers…which never materialized.

    If you added up all the genuine complaints about truly invasive searches and compared it to the number of people flying, I’m sure it would be a tiny fraction of 1%. This is a symbolic issue, not a real issue. And as a ‘states=rights’ test case it is bogus and doomed to failure.

    Find something meaningful to bloviate about.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Dave –

    The TSA has yet to prevent a single terrorist attack.

    And you base that claim on…what? Talk about logical errors…Dave, do you not know enough about government to know that they will never – never! – tell us about every threat they know about, or every threat they’ve stopped?

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Glenn, I know a great deal about government, and one of the fundamental realities is that if bureaucrats prevent a crime they go out of their way to make sure they get all the praise and credit they possibly can for it.

    Dave

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Dave –

    You do know from first-hand experience a great deal about the bureaucratic ins and outs of government, particularly on the political end. I’d never argue otherwise.

    But what you do NOT know about – and I don’t think you have much firsthand experience with – are the threats received and dealt with by the agencies whose primary taskings have to do with national security – the DOD, the NSA, the CIA, the FBI, Homeland Security…and the TSA. When there is a threat, the ones who need to know about it will be briefed…and the ones who don’t need to know about it, won’t. And I do have some firsthand experience with this.

    Why is that? If we heard about every threat, about every foiled plot, chances are we’d never want to get on another plane. When do you hear about it? Almost without exception, it’s after a takedown of the suspect(s) in a public place that couldn’t help but attract the notice of the media. Do you really think that the public is notified of every single threat that the TSA receives or is briefed on? Do you really? And if they do receive such threats and briefings, do you really think they simply sit on their hands and do nothing about it?

    And what is the proof that there are threats against airlines that we never hear about? Well, we never heard about the threats to use hijacked airliners to fly in to the World Trade Center, did we? But George W. Bush did, and blew it off! If only our security agencies hadn’t been pooh-poohed by Bush, maybe a whole lot of tragedy could have been averted…and we’d likely never have heard about it.

    Our security agencies – including the TSA – know about threats that the general public – including YOU – do not. That, Dave, is a fact of life in America. Always has been, always will be.

  • zingzing

    actually, the tsa won’t say if they’ve made an arrest or not. why would you expect they would?

    your rhetoric betrays you.

  • zingzing

    generally. guhhh. crap.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    zing –

    actually, the tsa won’t say if they’ve made an arrest or not. why would you expect they would?

    Is that for Dave or for me? I’m asking because that’s pretty much sums up my point.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Sorry, Glenn. The evidence doesn’t bear out your theory. Your claim that we don’t hear about things only applies to threats which have not been acted on. Genuine acts of terrorism or anything which comes even vaguely close gets promoted widely, often out of proportion to its real dangerousness. We’ve seen that over and over again in the last decade.

    Dave

  • zingzing

    it’s for dave. dave seems to assume they do nothing. maybe they don’t. but i ask him to think on that for a moment.

  • zingzing

    so dave believes the media now. gotcha.

  • zingzing

    to be fair, i’d have doubted that this shit was cool a few years ago. dave would have been defending it. we’re all political bitches. i hope you know that. if you think you’re not, you are. you’re a little sucker. i hope you suck that sock right, rich.

    politics are stupid. we really need to get beyond this childish bullshit.

    STAND UP IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN, you fuckin idiots.

  • Clavos

    I travel a lot. Many of the TSA screeners I’ve had opportunity to study while standing in their interminable lines talk like functional illiterates. They look like they’ve been scraped off the bottom of the labor pool barrel.

    The whole operation looks like a government make-work project along the lines of the WPA.

    Not to worry, though, the TSA has very strict requirements for employment as a screener. You absolutely, no exceptions, must have a pulse.

  • http://www.wicasta.com Wicasta Lovelace

    I hate to break it to ya’ll, but “state sovereignty” pretty much ended with the Civil War. As much as we all may hate the TSA, none of the states have the authority to regulate a Federal agency, especially with issues where the Feds will talk about “national security”. But I definitely agree that this could have been handled better. All the TSA did here was inflame Texans, and that’s never a good idea.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Dave –

    Did you hear anything in the media about the threat the USS Abraham Lincoln received three weeks before we deployed in 2000? No, you haven’t. But I’ve posted here many times about the threat, and about what happened afterward.

    There ARE threats you never hear about, okay? Politicians, government executives, and government officials get threats all the time – you know this! So do celebrities. So do private citizens who have the temerity to speak out against idiotic politicians (like the girl who challenged Michelle Bachmann to a debate on the Constitution).

    And do you hear about all the threats to government officials and executives? No, you generally don’t, because all the media exposure would do is to encourage more threats.

    So get off the frankly ludicrous idea that you hear about all the threats. You do NOT.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    And what were the TSA screeners you were seeing? The FOOT SOLDIERS, the rank-and-file, the lowest of the low in the organization (in addition to the occasional front-line supervisor)…and you KNOW this. Are they going to know everything the supervisors know? No, they won’t. And you know this, too.

    You and Dave are SO eager to claim that the government is SO terrible and SO worthless…I really do wonder why it is you two stay in America if you despise the government so much.

  • Clavos

    And what were the TSA screeners you were seeing? The FOOT SOLDIERS, the rank-and-file, the lowest of the low in the organization (in addition to the occasional front-line supervisor)…and you KNOW this. Are they going to know everything the supervisors know? No, they won’t. And you know this, too.

    Completely misses my point:

    Foot soldiers or not, they are the screeners. Foot soldiers or not, it’s their job to identify and stop anyone bent on boarding an aircraft to blow it up or highjack it, and most of them don’t look smart enough to pour water out of a bucket with the instructions printed on the bottom.

    I really do wonder why it is you two stay in America if you despise the government so much.

    My job doesn’t exist, to the degree it does here in South Florida, anywhere else in the world. I will leave when I retire, as so many Americans do.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    The current debate was about threats that come from outside their jobs, not about what they see in front of their faces.

    And where will you leave to? You know where I’m going…but I wonder if we’re leaving for the same reason?

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Glenn, you’re like reading-disabled or something, right?

    Dave

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    the fact is that TSA agents have stopped not one terrorist. All the recent thwarted wannabe terrorists (e.g, shoe bomber, underwear bomber) were stopped by private citizens exercising their individual rights.

    It’s not surprising that the TSA had nothing to do with these takedowns, not only because the idiots trying to blow those planes up boarded them outside the United States but also because TSA agents do not fly. Their remit is to stop said idiots boarding in the first place.

    You can’t possibly support your claims that the TSA hasn’t prevented any terror attacks. As Glenn pointed out, there may have been preventive operations or arrests that haven’t been publicized. But more importantly, there is absolutely no way to quantify the number of potential plots that have been stopped before they ever got started, simply because of the security infrastructure that is in place.

    I speak as a regular air traveller who is no fan of all these ever more excessive and IMO largely unnecessary security measures. But your argument against the TSA is feeble.

  • Cannonshop

    The mouth-breathers they hire for TSA (according to a former Airline pilot I worked for in 2008 doing the mod programme on the freighter) are the wannabe-cops who not only couldn’t pass the tests to be cops, but couldn’t pass the tests to be Prison guards. “Prison Guard” is, in the LE community, barely a half-step above “Shopping Mall Security”.

    Dave’s right, they largely ARE functionally illiterate-which, Glenn, you do NOT want in your “Foot-Soldiers” pulling security detail, because such mouth-breathers usually don’t guard anything with any effectiveness. We’re talking “People whom the Army won’t hire” here.

    As for effectiveness… NO domestic arrests by TSA have occurred since the agency opened its doors almost ten years ago. Which in turn means they ain’t stopped shit for terrorist attacks. All the arrests have been from inbound-international-flights. This is actually an IMPORTANT piece of data, because you’d think, (wouldn’t you?) that they’d have busted SOMEONE, even someone trying to smuggle drugs, in all that time, given the intrusive nature of their search methods and shotgun-pattern rules of engagement.

    Agencies will ALWAYS trumpet “Successes”, esp. when their existence is based on appearances. No arrests announced means no arrests, not none announced, but none. Period. Instead we get to hear about them being sued for groping and ogling sixteen year old girls with big boobs, and strip searching six year olds, and harassing grandmas and Medal of Honor winners.

    and, of course, it’s fruitless to go into the costs this agency has generated, the un-necessary budget items, the delay of commerce domestically, etc. etc.

    Fact is, 9/11 happened because aircrew were trained NOT to resist hijacking attempts. The hijackers used BOX KNIVES. You know, stanley knives, the ones that have the two inch blade that snaps if it’s loaded sideways, weapons less dangerous than a stout coffee cup or beer bottle.

    TSA is an out-growth of the same poisoned mindset that let the 9/11 hijackers take four aircraft using the most pathetic implements possible.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    42: as usual, Doc is one of the few reasonable voices as the pitch of the rhetoric rises.

    I’m no fan of airport security procedures [who is, really? flying used to be more fun]. But like most travelers I’d rather have security screening than not have it. And the insults Clavos and Cannon belched and growled out about the screeners are just hateful and offensive and based more on prejudice than fact.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    NO domestic arrests by TSA have occurred since the agency opened its doors almost ten years ago. Which in turn means they ain’t stopped shit for terrorist attacks. All the arrests have been from inbound-international-flights. This is actually an IMPORTANT piece of data

    Yes, it is, but I think you draw the wrong inference from the data.

    If the TSA was such a bunch of incompetents as you characterize them to be, there ought to be planes departing from US airports and then blowing up all the time.

    Yet, since the inception of the TSA, there has not been even one such incident.

    What does that tell you? That no-one in America wants to blow up big shiny flying objects? Or that it’s really, really difficult for them to blow up big shiny flying objects even if they wanted to?

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    This is just a personal opinion/conjecture, but I believe there is a ‘been there/done that’ element to the paucity of air terrorism attempts. The 9/11 attacks were a unique operation, intended to shock and incapacitate the US using relatively low-cost methods. The most publicized failed attempts since then — two pitiful idiots trying to set off their sneakers and underpants — pale in comparison.

    The securing of cockpit doors and the presence of marshals on planes may have done more to discourage attempts than any ground screening. And because of those incompetent terrorists, everyone’s shoes and underwear are now suspect and subject to screening. [Along with carry-on liquids, because of another failed terrorist attack.]

    I have my doubts that another 9/11-scale attack will ever happen. But two US governments in a row now have been reluctant to relax any of the security apparatus that has been so expensively established, because if there is another attack, there will be political consequences. [Although, come to think of it, while Bush failed to foresee or prevent 9/11, he capitalized on it politically in a big way.]

    This may almost sound like I’m agreeing with Dave [who paradoxically is strongly disagreeing with his own opinions of say 5 years ago]. But relating this to state ‘sovereignty’ [I roll my eyes as I type it] is off-base and smacks of desperate opportunism.

  • zingzing

    don’t appeal to logic, doc. there is no need for such a thing when one has invective and hyperbole and ignorance.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Handy (46), you may be right about that. Even the traditional types of hijacking (“I have a bomb/gun/knife/really terrible temper: fly me to Cuba/Lybia/Uganda/Jordan/Cleveland”) are few and far between these days.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    C-shop –

    So the screeners are all mouth-breathers – accuse with a broad brush much?

    But instead of just trying to infer that the TSA is a useless waste of taxpayer money, why not keep what the TSA does that works, and fix what the TSA does that doesn’t work?

    Oh – never mind, I forgot – in Republican World, if there’s something wrong with a system, one must not try to fix the system, one must get rid of it altogether and reinvent the wheel! After all, isn’t that your argument with Medicare? And with Social Security? And with Medicaid? And with public schools? And with [put your favorite Republican strawman here]?

  • zingzing

    in the end, if i were the feds, i’d let texas do whatever they please. but then i wouldn’t allow flights that take off from texas (at any point in their trip,) to land at any american airport outside of texas because they’re a security risk. imagine what would come of that… ugh.

  • Wiseburn

    @Glenn C.

    the word “regulate” in Article 1 Section 8 means “to make regular”

    Shutting down Texas Air Travel without due cause would also interfere with our Rights to freely travel among the states.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Wiseburn –

    Wrong. Here’s the definition that applies to the context in which it was used: “To control or direct according to rule, principle, or law.”

  • Clavos

    And the insults Clavos…belched and growled out about the screeners are just hateful and offensive and based more on prejudice than fact.

    “prejudice?” What, are you alleging racism? Are TSA “workers” a race now?

    based more on prejudice than fact

    And where are your “facts” refuting that?

    It’s a low-end job. Filled by low-end people.

    Unfortunately, they are infringing on our rights — without results.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    It’s a low-end job. Filled by low-end people.

    Riiiiiiiight. Just like when McDonald’s decided to hire 50K people nationwide…and over a million people showed up to apply. According to your ‘logic’, all of these people are “low-end people”. I guess you’ve never heard of college-educated people having to take low-end jobs just so they can have a paycheck – but wait, let me guess! The people deciding who to hire for TSA automatically decided to take the WORST of the applicants, and not the best, right? And SURELY only the worst of the worst during the Great Recession decided to get hired on for a federal job with federal benefits, right?

    Clavos, did you not learn anything in Mexico? Did you not learn that just because someone has a low-paying job does NOT mean the person isn’t educated, isn’t a good and trustworthy person? When you (and C-shop) look down your nose at such people, it’s saying a lot more about you than it is about them.

    This is where your cynicism comes back to bite you, Clavos.

  • Jordan Richardson

    It’s a low-end job. Filled by low-end people.

    So fucking what?

  • zingzing

    “Unfortunately, they are infringing on our rights — without results.”

    the first part may be correct. but what do you base the second part on? the hijackings originating from american airports in the past 10 years?

    frankly, i’ve gotten more intrusive patdowns at certain music venues. why is that ok? is it? i dunno. seems like it should bring up the same problems, but it just doesn’t.

    on the other hand, i’d think that mass transit systems like the nyc subway would be better targets for terrorism, yet you can just walk on and off those without the slightest bit of security.

    has the security on the london tube gone up since the 2005 bombing?

    anyway, airport security is a pain, but it’s just a part of flying now. you can get all worked up about it and claim it’s fascism and infringing on your rights, or you can get on with your life. it might change your mood, but you won’t die of it.

  • zingzing

    “It’s a low-end job. Filled by low-end people.”

    oi, clavos… they’re just people, doing a job. they don’t have any control over what they’re told to do.

    really, what do you think their reaction to the new rules was? “oh goody, i get to touch dick,” or “goddamn it, i’m not paid well enough for this.” i’d wager on the latter, and since you’re a smart man, i’d bet you would as well. but this is politics, not reality, and you get to say stupid shit that has no basis in fact.

    i have no idea why you’d want to call them all “low” people. do you know them? maybe they have families to feed or rents to pay. or maybe everyone involved in the airlines are “low” people. everyone.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    they’re just people, doing a job. they don’t have any control over what they’re told to do

    Quoted for truth. And most of them do a perfectly fine job, under stress and for low pay.

    My use of the term ‘prejudice’ was not racial in intent. The prejudice is ideological, toward government workers. Making such gross, ugly-spirited generalizations about TSA employees as a group serves no reputable purpose. It’s just gratuitous trash talk.

  • Clavos

    Making such gross, ugly-spirited generalizations about TSA employees as a group serves no reputable purpose. It’s just gratuitous trash talk.

    And I stand by it.

    Low is low.

    or maybe everyone involved in the airlines are “low” people

    TSA is a government agency; its people are in no way “involved in the airlines.” In fact, airport security was a far less unpleasant experience (and much more efficient) when the airlines were handling it, and the personnel were much higher types.

    Glenn,

    Did you not learn that just because someone has a low-paying job does NOT mean the person isn’t educated, isn’t a good and trustworthy person?

    Where did I say they weren’t “good” (a meaningless word in this context) and “trustworthy?” I was discussing their apparent lack of ability to perform the job well, which is based on both my direct personal observation and the relatively large number of reports which have been published indicating serious breaches in security procedures at US airports. Here’s just one article discussing such incidents, a couple of quick Googles will turn up a plethora of similar ones, some of which are as serious as firearms making it through security.

    Low is low. In labor as in anything else, you get what you pay for.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    If the TSA was such a bunch of incompetents as you characterize them to be, there ought to be planes departing from US airports and then blowing up all the time.

    No. That’s a false assumption. There are other mechanisms which actually prevent terrorism rather than harassing innocent people which is all the TSA does.

    I mentioned them earlier. They are – federal air marshalls, reinforced cockpit doors and the no-fly list.

    Dave

  • Clavos

    It’s a low-end job. Filled by low-end people.

    So fucking what?

    So nothing I suppose, if you don’t care whether or not the people guarding your security are competent.

    Ours (the USA’s I mean; I have no idea, nor do I care what you do north of the border) are not.

  • stm

    The sad truth is that the worlde changed 10 years ago when a pack of lunatics whose favoured headdress was the chequered tea-towel thought they’d get 72 virgins in paradise if they flew jets into buildings.

    Orgnisations like the TSA are bureaucratic nightmares with idiots implementing instructions to the letter of the law because they aren’t given any leeway and aren’t expected to be able to exercise any common sense (which is never that common),

    However, no matter how much they piss us off, at least they are there … and they weren’t on 9/11.

    I left Sydney for Manila on Monday and was frisk searched twice at Kingsford Smith after going through immigration before boarding. They were veery thorough and very annoying and the second frisk and bag search was invasive. They were checking me at random for explsives and traces pof explosives.

    I have blue eyes and white hair and look like a retired surfer. I don’t look like az terrorist and probably don’t even fit any profuile for one.

    So what’s a terrorist look like? A: How long’s a piece of string.

    I don’t mind the idea of increased vigiliance even if it’s invavsive. That’s ther trade-off for added security, unfortunately.

    No matter how badly they are doiing this stuff, they are at least doing it and we should be thankful. Governments NEVER do anything that well, but I’m a firm believer in another take on an old adage: If something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing badly.

    Frisk searches and baggage checks at Kingsford Smith or DFW or Heathrow are a fact of life and can you imagine the howls if a nutcase DID slip through.

    In this case, the price of freedom (even if we’ve lost a bit of it) really is eternal vigilance.

    BTW Glenn, I’m very high up in the Cordillera Central at the moment in a little town, and looking like I’m going to be rained in. I don’t fancy going back down the mountain road at the moment so I don’t know when I’ll get back to Manila or make it to Baguio. Any break in the weather caused by the cyclone hitting the Philippines will be a welcome opportunity to get the fuck out.

    Manila has been underwater, and steamy hot, while here it’s wet and cold.

    Cheers

  • Jordan Richardson

    if you don’t care whether or not the people guarding your security are competent…

    Well in all honesty, no I don’t care. There’s only so much you can do in the name of security and entry-level airport cops aren’t exactly the last line of defence.

    More to the point, though, your statements are judgment calls on a class of people. They aren’t exactly pronouncements on the inefficacy of the system; they’re pronouncements on how “low-level” certain people are.

    I’m absolutely heartbroken, too, to hear that you don’t care about what we do north of the border. I’ll try to get some sleep tonight, but it’ll be tough.

  • Jordan Richardson

    the personnel were much higher types.

    Meaning what?

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Manila? Say hi to Pablo for us, Stan.

    Dave

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Stan –

    I wish I were there – I’d happily treat you to a home-cooked meal, because my wife’s one of the best cooks you’ll ever meet…and I’m not exaggerating.

    I’m still here in Washington – my wife and sons are there. I never imagined how complex a matter it would be to move overseas while still trying to maintain a business stateside. I’d love to be there right now – my wife video-called me on her sister’s iPhone from a beach down in Bohol, and I was quite jealous…warm beaches aren’t to be found north of California. But to me it was still amazing that we could have a videocall halfway ’round the planet on hand-held cell phones. Science fiction, indeed!

    My youngest son made the mistake about telling me about the sunburn on the back of his neck, so I asked my wife to do something for me. She called him over and asked him to turn around so she could scratch his back. He did so, and all the way here in Washington I heard the smack and the following OWW!!! as my wife slapped the back of his neck. I didn’t stop laughing for several minutes, but my son promised dire vengeance!

    Eighteen months more of this business and I should be there…and I’ll happily bring you home to meet me and mine. See you then, Stan!

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    On ‘low-end people’, I refer you to the first paragraph of comment #54…and you and C-shop ARE looking down your noses at these people.

    That, and any senior military man will tell you that if most of the lower ranks aren’t doing their job properly, it’s NOT the fault of the rank-and-file, but a supervisory problem…and if it’s happening throughout the agency, then it is the fault of the head of the agency…and so on up the chain of command. This is when Obama should inform the Secretary of Transportation (or is it DHS?) that the head of the TSA needs to shape up or ship out. I wonder if he has done so (for we would probably not be privy to such criticism), or if he’s trying to avoid becoming a micromanager.

    I would have thought that you and C-shop would have understood all this right away since you are both military veterans. But what both of you are doing is blaming the foot soldiers instead of holding their supervisors accountable.

  • zingzing

    oh, god damn it, clavos and dave. you’re looking like dicks.

    why do you class a bunch of people you don’t know as “low?”

    they’re doing a job for which they get paid, and they’re just people.

    as for you, clavos, if you want to say that gov’t workers are lower than airline workers, i think the american public would like to have a word with you.

    i know they’re doing their jobs, but god damn it. airlines are shitty.

  • Clavos

    if you want to say that gov’t workers are lower than airline workers…

    Why not? Some people are fat, others are thin. Some are smart others stupid. Blond/brunette, etc. — ad infinitum.

    Despite the founders’ aphorism, all people are NOT created equal.

    i think the american public would like to have a word with you.

    Call my secretary and make an appointment.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Some people are fat, others are thin. Some are smart others stupid. Blond/brunette, etc. — ad infinitum.

    Some people are low, others are high. Yep. So what you’re saying is that you want airport security done by the high people?

  • Clavos

    More to the point, though, your statements are judgment calls on a class of people.

    Yes they are. That, and what a bad ideas it is to put such people in jobs affecting national security.

  • Clavos

    So what you’re saying is that you want airport security done by the high people?

    Absolutely. And what’s more, I don’t even care what they ingest to get high.

  • Jordan Richardson

    You still haven’t really defined who “such people” are or who “low” people are, so maybe I’ll take it in this direction:

    Are you “low” or “high,” Clavos?

  • Clavos

    I’m low, Jordan.

  • Clavos

    My ancestors on my mother’s side were low class Irish peasants, drunks for the most part, and on my father’s side Swedish thieves.

  • Jordan Richardson

    So…

    Do you want a job feeling up old ladies and four-year-olds at the airport?

  • Clavos

    No thanks, I’m retired. When I want to feel up four year olds, I go to the playground (I don’t like old ladies).

    And anyway, I’m not smart enough for the TSA job.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Aaaaand that’s game. :)

  • Clavos

    G’night, Jordan…

  • Jordan Richardson

    *tips hat*

  • Cannonshop

    Low Intelligence with a desire to humiliate other people, you can’t get a job as a cop?

    Join TSA. Last time I was in an airport, I stood back and watched Ridge’s Retards at work. It was enough to put me off flying…anywhere, if I have to board the plane in the United States.

    Inattentive, rude, crass, arrogant, and visibly absent any reason FOR arrogance. It is the sacrifice of REAL liberties for the ILLUSION of a security apparatus, kind of like theatre, but where the actors don’t understand their lines and the director’s high.

    I’ve literally observed MALL COPS that were more professional in their conduct, appearance, behaviour, and job execution.

    Mall-Cops, only Mall-cops don’t get to carry a gun, and these retards do.

  • Cindy

    The liberal left is the defender of authority and hierarchy as usual. Defending the status quo and excusing things because that’s the way they are.

  • pablo

    Excellent point Cindy.

  • pablo

    65 Nalle

    Awww thanks Dave! Actually I cant stand Manila, however other than that the Philippines are great. :)

  • Clavos

    Cannonshop # 81:

    Props, dude.

    Cindy #82:

    Dead on. Well put.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Cindy, didn’t you read the sign?

    “Please Don’t Feed the Libertarians”

    You’ll only encourage them. =)

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    I think what zing and I were defending were working class folks getting slimed by several posters on here for almost entirely ideological reasons. With whom I doubt Cindy actually agrees. She just likes to tweak the noses of “liberals,” a group she used to be part of and I suspect still is on most issues. It’s just not as cool a label as Anarchist.

  • Clavos

    Blah, blah, blah, handy.

    Don’t whine, it’s unseemly — oh, wait; it’s what liberals do…

    :-)

  • Cannonshop

    #87 Handy, you apparently don’t understand the “Working” in Working Class. Baggage Handlers are working-class, mechanics, janitorial, those people desperately working the ticket-counter and trying to satisfy irate customers are working class. The gal(s) or guys at Starbucks pulling shitty part time shifts for crap wages and tips are working class.

    They WORK, you see? They provide an intrinsic value to the customers in exchange for money, much of which gets taken from them by tax-fattened hyenas. (in the case of the restaraunt girl, she gets taxed on tips whether or not she actually gets tipped, it is, iirc, called the “alternate minimum tax”…)

    Only you would think someone who’s paid to treat random citizens like criminals is ‘working class’.

  • zingzing

    clavos, you know it’s true. you really don’t know a single one of those people and you’re making judgments on their worth. why? because of politics, nothing more.

    i don’t particularly like the tsa (and have stated my preference for an israeli-like security system). if you think that saying you need to back off of the PEOPLE involved in the system that you don’t like is a defense of the system itself, you’re taking it a bit far.

    cindy, too, is making blanket statements that just goes to show she hasn’t read the thread (again). i know she’s busy, but it’s annoying.

    “Don’t whine, it’s unseemly — oh, wait; it’s what liberals do…”

    if you really can say that with a straight face at this point, you aren’t paying much attention.

  • zingzing

    cannonshop: “Only you would think someone who’s paid to treat random citizens like criminals is ‘working class’.”

    tell you what, next time you go flying, ask the tsa agent what time their shift starts.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    And neither Cannonshop nor Clavos would get on a plane if there were no TSA, and neither would I. This is all rhetoric, fellas, as usual. Yawn.

  • Clavos

    And neither Cannonshop nor Clavos would get on a plane if there were no TSA…

    I haven’t advocated eliminating TSA; I am in favor of turning its responsibilities back to the airlines (as El-Al does in Israel, with the best results worldwide, and as the US airlines used to do here); or, if the airlines are no longer interested (and they might not be), contract the job out to a top notch security firm which can do the job without TSA’s mistakes. How it should be done, whether by the airlines or by a security firm, can be spelled out in their contract in as great detail as necessary to obtain the level of security needed while providing better treatment of passengers.

  • zingzing

    well, the airlines are not going to be interested in doing it. and handing it out to a for-profit security firm will mean all the other corner-cutting things for-profit firms employ.

    leave it to the tsa, get better training for tsa agents, get rid of these latest additions to the their security measures, and add in more stuff like the israelis are using… psychological, not physical security that doesn’t impede the passengers. security based on behavior rather than totally enveloping everyone in a police state atmosphere.

    also, i hear that in mexico city, although this could just be some nonsense i heard, after passengers pass through the metal detectors, they press a button. if that button comes up red, they are given a random pat down and baggage search. if not, they walk on through. it truly makes it random. when people know that searches aren’t random, but based on choices made by people, that’s both bad for certain people, and good for criminals who could use the system against itself.

    that seems like a good system. and one that can’t be accused of racial profiling.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    El Al is held up as the gold standard to be sure, so I read up on it a little bit…and there is absolutely no way we could implement its model here.

    It’s a small airline – it has 38 aircraft now, but even in 2001 it was already spending $90M/year in security costs. They do racial profiling (which in this case I’m not necessarily offended by in THEIR situation):

    Americans also might balk at El Al-style ethnic profiling. Staff scrutinize the passengers’ names, dividing them into low-risk (Israeli or foreign Jews), medium-risk (non-Jewish foreigners) and extremely high-risk travelers (anyone with an Arabic name). These people automatically are taken into a room for body and baggage checks and lengthy interrogation. Single women also are considered high-risk, for fear they might be used by Palestinian lovers to carry bombs.

    But such a system would be problematic at best in America. Furthermore, the article makes plain that those who are even medium-risk are interviewed for up to ten minutes (and it implies that high risk much longer)…and can you imagine what would happen here stateside if up to half the passengers of a flight had to be interviewed for so long?

    They also change their flight schedules regularly with little notice in order to foil terrorists’ plans – but can you imagine what would happen to the nation’s air traffic control system if the airlines were to do this? Especially when there’s, what, 14,000 flights over American soil every single day?

    The one thing I see where we can emulate them is that they have up to five (plainsclothed) armed agents strategically placed on every flight…and I’d love to see that here.

    But the problem we face is basically this: air travel is no longer anything really special – it’s mass transit now, and it would be almost as hard to implement the draconian (and eminently effective) security measures on our airlines as it would be to do the same for, say, the New York subway.

    A small airline like El Al can get away with all these security measures…but it’s obvious that the measures are not scalable for airlines that are a hundred times or more larger than El Al.

  • Clavos

    Americans also might balk at El Al-style ethnic profiling. Staff scrutinize the passengers’ names, dividing them into low-risk (Israeli or foreign Jews), medium-risk (non-Jewish foreigners) and extremely high-risk travelers (anyone with an Arabic name). These people automatically are taken into a room for body and baggage checks and lengthy interrogation. Single women also are considered high-risk, for fear they might be used by Palestinian lovers to carry bombs.

    But it’s effective.

    You might be surprised by Americans’ reactions to that — thousands of them travel on El-Al every year — many by preference, precisely because of the stringent security — they are safer than US or Euro carriers. Likely, the only people here who would object are those with Arabic backgrounds — and of course, you touchy-feely liberals.

    A small airline like El Al can get away with all these security measures…but it’s obvious that the measures are not scalable for airlines that are a hundred times or more larger than El Al.

    I spent thirty years in airline management. You’re wrong. All it would take is enough money, and TSA is already spending a fortune — shift that money to pay the airlines to do it — it will become a new revenue stream for them and likely, a new profit center.

    Airlines routinely change their schedules. Modern scheduling software makes it easy. I’ve been booked for about a month on flights to Italy for June, the carrier has made four schedule changes already during that time, and each time they’ve informed me after the fact, and after having rescheduled me. the law also requires them to offer further changes free of fees if I don’t like what they’ve done.

    It’s not rocket surgery, Glenn.

    If El-Al can do it, any well-run carrier can.

  • Clavos

    Oh, and I forgot to mention I’m flying the world’s largest carrier next month — the one that’s making all those schedule changes on a complicated, multi-destination itinerary.

  • Jordan Richardson

    If only you could get paid for that kind of promotion, eh?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    Don’t get me wrong – I’d be happy to fly El Al, and I wouldn’t mind the interview at all. It’s just that I don’t think their measures are truly scalable. If I’m wrong about that, then I’m happy to be wrong.

    That said, I’m also not averse to giving El-Al-style security a try nationwide – I’d vote for it. I think that at best, once it is first implemented it would be the epic mother of all fusterclucks…but perhaps we would adapt.

    But I can just imagine how the airlines and Big Business and joe everyman would howl about how it’s ‘destroying business’ and ‘destroying our rights’. But then, people do adapt, learn that what they’re having to do really ain’t that bad, and then continue to prosper – anyone who spent enough time in the military knows that.

    So sure – I’m not nearly as confident as you that it would work, but I’d be willing to give it a try.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And Clavos –

    Enjoy Italy – I’m jealous, not having been there (yet). I just had a long talk with one of the nurses of our medically-fragile kids, and she was telling me how rude the French were, and how welcoming and personable the Italians were. ‘Sokay, I’ll get there someday….

  • zingzing

    “Likely, the only people here who would object are those with Arabic backgrounds — and of course, you touchy-feely liberals.”

    well, you know, when you care about other people’s freedom and liberty as much as you care about your own, you do get upset about such things.

  • Cannonshop

    #92 oh Bullshit, there. We had seven DECADES without a TSA in the aviation world. Maybe you can’t imagine flying without the complimentary strip-and-body-cavity-search-at-random, but I can, and I would.

  • Clavos

    well, you know, when you care about other people’s freedom and liberty as much as you care about your own, you do get upset about such things.

    No, actually I wouldn’t know, zing.

  • Cannonshop

    #101 so, what’s your beef, it’s not like you care about your own*…after all, if you did, you might actually have some issues with TSA, renewing PATRIOT ACT, and the individual mandate in the Obamacare legislation. (*This was not meant seriously.)

  • zingzing

    “if you did, you might actually have some issues with TSA, renewing PATRIOT ACT, and the individual mandate in the Obamacare legislation.”

    my issues with the tsa and patriot act have been noted over the last few days. my issues with “obamacare” might not please you.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    PS The individual mandate was, of course a conservative Republican idea originally, proposed as an alternative to the last Democratic health plan, charmingly nicknamed Hillarycare.

    It was supposed to embody the conservative doctrine of Individual Responsibility — i.e., not expecting others to pick up the tab when your uninsured ass winds up in the emergency room.

    It only became a symbol of Evil Socialism when Tea Party loudmouth know-nothings began to associate it with Barack Obama.

  • Clavos

    It only became a symbol of Evil Socialism when Tea Party loudmouth know-nothings began to associate it with Barack Obama.

    No, it became Evil Socialism when it became a mandate enforced by the government at gunpoint, thereby blowing the whole concept of “Individual Responsibility” out of the water.

  • zingzing

    metaphorical gunpoint, of course. like my metaphorical ass.

  • Cannonshop

    #106 Handy, a mandatory purchase system is the opposite of Conservative principles, even before Clinton’s term.

    A conservative approach would have been to make Health-Insurance 100% tax-deductible as a purchase-thus giving an incentive (or incentivising) the purchase and paying-for of health benefits by employers and private individuals, without the intrusive and abusive enforcement mechanisms necessary to make the Mandate stick.

    Of course, that divorces the government from the well of new powers it can obtain in enforcing that individual mandate, and it’s not the sort of authoritarian solution that fascists and socialists cream their pants when it is proposed-as it would limit yet another source of money to borrow ten-times against.

  • Clavos

    No, zing, NOT metaphorical, more like de facto. If you refuse to buy the insurance, you’re fined; if you refuse to pay the fine, and stand fast on that refusal, the government will certainly escalate its enforcement, and at some point in the enforcement process you will be arrested. The police who come to arrest you will be wearing guns; they may even have them drawn when they arrive.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    As usual, all rhetoric and bombast, facts be damned.

    Most people will still be insured through their employers. A considerable number of others will want to buy insurance, and will be glad insurers can’t refuse them as customers, as they do now. People who genuinely can’t afford it can get subsidies for insurance, or Medicaid.

    A tiny percentage will refuse to buy coverage, and may be assessed a tax penalty as a result. [And these selfish people — I bet Clavos and Cannonshop would not themselves be among that group — would expect to be cared for, at others’ expense, in an emergency room, should they be in an auto accident or have other urgent needs.]

    And this tiny percentage of selfish pigheads…these are your bastions of democracy. People whom you yourself, if you are being honest, would call irresponsible.

    Just like the ridiculous notion that a state should and will be able to opt out of air safety requirements, these arguments are about blowhards shouting slogans just to hear their heads rattle. They are only secondarily concerned [if even that] with the actual reality of day-to-day living.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    The clause in the health care bill about enforcement was explicitly toned down — it’s a civil issue with no ‘arrests’ involved. Cool your jets.

    The facts are that
    [a] most people want health insurance; and
    [b] most people want to comply with the law.

    …Even most of the people who are shouting themselves silly on this issue.

    That said, I support letting people opt out of the mandate — if they sign an agreement not to seek government healthcare assistance for a given term, say 5 years. This would undercut most of the hot air in your ‘argument.’

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    One last thing, the requirement was further watered down so that people who make too much for Medicaid, but would still have a hard time affording insurance even with subsidies, would be exempt from the mandate.

    I actually think this is a flaw, a wrong-headed compromise. But it helped get the bill passed.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Just ’cause it’s interesting: I found a list of Republicans who publicly supported an individual mandate [before it became a political hot potato]:

    [In addition to Orrin Hatch,] it was championed by the Heritage Foundation. It was part of Bob Dole’s 1996 presidential campaign platform. Nixon embraced it in the 1970s, and George H.W. Bush kept it going in the 1980s.

    For years, it was touted by the likes of John McCain, Mitt Romney, Scott Brown, Chuck Grassley, Bob Bennett, Tommy Thompson, Lamar Alexander, Lindsey Graham, John Thune, Judd Gregg, and many others…

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    In a column a year ago, the excellent Ezra Klein outlined step by step the facts about the mandate.

    First year in effect: 2016

    Applies to: People whose incomes are above the poverty line for whom insurance would cost no more than 8% of their earnings, and who still refuse to buy insurance

    Amount: $695 or 2.5% of income, whichever is greater

    Consequence of not paying penalty: Not much – there is no enforcement provision; no criminal action or liens can be imposed for non-compliance.

    But definitely, let’s jump up and down and scream some more about it, ‘cause we hate the damn government and it’s fun to make noise on the internet.

  • Clavos

    Most people will still be insured through their employers.

    Not necessarily. Since the bill was passed, there has been a steady stream of employers backing out of doing so.

    And it continues.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Correction: a small stream of employers have been threatening to back out, some of whom have been granted temporary exemptions from some provisions. Most companies who offer insurance know that it is a selling point for potential employees, and a reason for current employees to stay.

    And small businesses, like individuals, are eligible for government incentives/subsidies to enable them to offer insurance, many for the first time. Small business owners who tow the Republican line may be adding to the noise level now, but that doesn’t mean they will follow through later.

  • Clavos

    You are right insofar as large employers are concerned; so far, it’s mostly announcements that they will drop employee health insurance, but have not yet done so. However, the list of those who have announced is truly impressive, and involves hundreds of thousands (possibly millions) of employees. meanwhile, the administration is feverishly granting one year waivers to all and sundry. So much for universal coverage.

    According to HHS’ Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS):

    As of the end of April 2011, a total of 1372 one-year waivers have been granted. This update includes 221 new approvals.

    Impressive. These waivers mean that a exempt a total of 3.1 million employees have had their medical plans downgraded (or are being continued as) so-called “mini-med” plans, which “do not provide security in the event of serious illness or accident…”

    Here’s a list (from the CMS source) oif ther actual numbers of employers, listed by type, who have been granted waivers already:

    Self-Insured Employers (528)
    Health Reimbursement Arrangements (457)
    Multi-Employer Plans (315)
    Non-Taft Hartley Union Plans (27)
    Health Insurance Issuers (39)
    State-Mandated Policies (4)
    Association Plans (2)

    Notice these include unions and state governments — even health insurance issuers!

    And in the small business world, we do find an impressive trend of insurance coverage being curtailed, although, obviously fewer total employees are involved. This of course, is not good for small businesses hiring abilities; and let us not forget that small business has always been the strength of America’s economy in terms of revenue generation.

    And the beat goes on…

  • zingzing

    “No, zing, NOT metaphorical, more like de facto…”

    that’s a long line, but i suppose if you’re silly and stubborn enough, you always end up with a gun in your face. get rid of the guns.

  • zingzing

    and then there’s handy’s lack of a enforcement provision. so you have about as much chance of having a gun in your face (for this reason, at least,) as you do my ass, but at least i make the rules concerning my ass.

  • Clavos

    and then there’s handy’s lack of a enforcement provision.

    When did lack of authority ever stop the government from taking action — including going to war?

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    The waivers are not equivalent to a permission not to provide coverage. They allow less comprehensive coverage temporarily, or a delay in the effective dates of requirements. The ‘mini-med’ coverage mostly applies to fast food chains and the like.

    The administration’s position, right or wrong, is that many of the people wringing their hands or complaining are doing so hypothetically, and that the cost to companies will actually go down as the market settles. Remember this is still a few years in the future; the mandates haven’t kicked in yet for employers or individuals.

    Whenever there are new rules, it’s natural for companies to jockey for advantage.

  • Clavos

    @#122:

    Oh, well that makes it all hunky-dory then.

    Your reflexive excusing/justifying of nearly anything Obama does is as Pavlovian as you claim my (and others’) accusations to be.

    And often much more far-fetched.

  • Cannonshop

    #114 Handy, remember something, please:

    Republican =/= conservative. that is, Conservative and Republican don’t necessarily equate, any more than Democrat and Socialist necessarily equate. They’re different things. There are plenty of people in the GOP who, aside from ephemeral social issues such as abortion, would be to the left of many democrats. Likewise, there are Dems who would be Republicans if not for specific issues in the GOP platform that they disagree with on a gut level.

    The urge for nanny-state tyranny in both parties is strong, and strongest in the asses that have sat in elected office longest-where and how that tyranny is expressed becomes the only difference when you look at the parties themselves.

    It is fundamentally conservative to want to protect liberty and limit government, sometimes this is expressed by actions like Palin refusing to sign a bill that would deny same-sex couples benefits in the state of Alaska (this was in opposition to her own views, I might add-but as a conservative, she couldn’t insert state power to that extent.) Sometimes it is expressed in other ways, and there are certainly examples to be had of Democrats stepping up to preserve individual liberties (The only “no” vote on the Patriot Act when it was passed the first time was Jim McDermott of Seattle, a die-hard Liberal, but an honourable man nonetheless.)

    it is HARD to be free. it is EASY to turn to a higher power and let them do the driving. The eternal vigilance Jefferson spoke of did not necessarily require violence, it merely required the willingness to endure the difficulties of being at liberty, and the awareness to not accept ‘helpful’ things that constrain your freedom for a temporary gain.

    The individual mandate infringes on the freedom to choose whether or not to participate, a fundamental choice, and it grants powers (in order to be enforceable) that tread heavily on OTHER freedoms at the individual level. beyond that, since the bill does not end the exemption of the insurance industry from antitrust law, it creates a permanent profit centre disconnected from actual services, and enforced with the gun of government.

    It creates a system that BEGS for abuse and corruption, well beyond what we already have to endure.
    It also harms (by way of what it does) the people it purports to aid, while aiding the predators it purports to restrain.

    This is why it is wrong.

  • Cannonshop

    #115 The lack of an explicit, Legislative enforcement doesn’t stop the Executive from inventing or interpreting a mandate to WRITE REGULATIONS for enforcement, Handy. This is similar to the Parks Service writing in fees (a commonplace occurrance) or the BLM charging fees to cross federally managed lands-neither of which has explicit Legislative numbers attached-there are other examples at the Federal Level, and most of those regs come with both fines, and/or jail time. (EPA’s famous for it.)

    And, of course, there’s TSA…the original subject of this article? and Dept. of Homeland Security, the latter agency has such a broad legal mandate that it can determine anyone it wishes to be a “Terror suspect”, subject to suspension of Habeas Corpus and jail-time-without-charges, as well as asset seizure/forfieture, and other forms of harassment without first obtaining a conviction in a court of law, following due process.

    TSA’s search parameters barely squeak by, because you don’t have to fly, otherwise they would be a violation of the 4th Amendment on the face of them, since the procedures TSA uses do not rely on even the very loose doctrines of “Probable Cause” or “Reasonable Suspicion”, much less the obtaining of a SEARCH WARRANT.

  • S.T..M

    Dave: “Manila? Say hi to Pablo for us, Stan”.

    As soon as I get his address and phone number from the Philippines internal security service, which is bound to have it :)

    Sorry Pab, just joshing. I’m back home today … happy about it too.

  • Liberty234

    It is funny how efficacy is not on the government radar. The most important thing is to ‘appear’ to be doing something and to appear to be doing that something in a ‘politically correct’ manner, hence the feel up of someone’s poor grandmother because “she was selected by the computer”