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Will the TSA Crash the Security State?

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Watching the massive expansion of the state security apparatus in the United States since 9/11, I have found myself wondering when the people of this once-free nation would finally shout “enough.” We have put up with massive spending on new security agencies, monitoring of our phones and email, unconstitutional confiscation of property, suspension of habeas corpus, blood and urine checks, restrictions on free speech, illegal imprisonment, massive invasions of our privacy and the virtual shredding of the Constitution. 

It’s hard to believe.  The descendants of the men who wrote the Declaration of Independence seem to have decided that there is no abuse of government power which they are not willing to accept in the name of safety from a marginal threat which has killed substantially fewer people in the last decade than appendicitis.  Are we declaring war on appendicitis?  Are we asking people to submit to mandatory periodic ultrasounds to check the status of their internal organs?  Would you expect anyone to give up their basic rights to curb a menace which kills about 1 person in a million per year?

It’s hard to put a firm price on liberty, but there is no question that the price we are paying in our loss of rights is ridiculously out of proportion to any benefit we could possibly gain from the expansion of the security state.  It is not hyperbole when I say that day by day I see more and more similarity between contemporary America and what I experienced living in the Soviet Union in the 1970s.  Even a national ID card and random police identity checks have come under serious consideration or been proposed as legislation within the last few years.

For anyone who is so behind the times that they still believe in individual liberty and has the awareness to see the current state of our nation, the question has been when do the  sheep look up and see the reality around them and demand change?  When do the people who are in the streets now protesting insane economic policies realize that the policies of our government on issues of individual liberty have been equally outrageous?

It has taken a long time, but we may have finally reached the tipping point on the erosion of our individual rights.  Clearly people will put up with an awful lot, especially when it’s mostly happening to others, but apparently they aren’t so fond of having their children viewed naked or their own genitalia fondled by government agents while on their ways to Christmas at Grandma’s house.

It seems to just be starting to get the attention of the government-allied media, but popular reaction to new policies set by the Transportation Security Agency for screening passengers at airports is so negative that it may be the spark it takes to ignite an overdue rebellion against all of the excesses of the security state since 9/11.

The new TSA procedures include offering randomly selected passengers a choice between a full body, backscatter x-ray scan and an intrusive, hands-on body search.  The image produced by the new scanners involves a higher level of radiation exposure and produces an image which effectively reveals the  naked contours of the subject’s body.  The new pat-down procedures include manipulation of the subject’s genitals.  Refusal to submit to either the scan or the search will at least result in missing your flight, lengthy questioning and removal from the airport.  It may also result in being put on a “do not fly” list and a possible civil suit and penalty of up to $10,000.  Or at least this is what TSA employees told John Tyner, a recent traveller who recorded the events surrounding his refusal to let TSA employees “touch his junk.”

More and more individuals are refusing to cooperate with the new TSA procedures and it’s not just regular passengers who are outraged.  Both the pilots union and flight attendants union have advised their members not to submit to scans and to insist that pat-downs be done in private, but they also raise the further objection that all of these crewmembers have already gone through security background checks, so why do they need to be subjected to this level of scrutiny?

For that matter, why does anyone have to undergo this indignity within the United States? There has not been a notable increase in terrorist attacks since 9/11. Statistically we had substantially more acts of terrorism in the 1960s and 1970s than we have in the last decade. Almost no identifiable acts of terror have been stopped by heightened scrutiny of passengers, and no potential terrorists slipped through past, more reasonable levels of screening on domestic flights. There’s no legitimate need for these additional security measures which will humiliate and inconvenience millions while doing nothing significant to improve passenger safety.

So why is the TSA increasing security? Why is the Department of Homeland Security asking for more and more authority to violate our rights? Why do clearly unnecessary and unconstitutional acts like the PATRIOT Act and FISA continue to have the support of our government and leaders? Why are they looking for new ways to classify harmless people as potential terrorists? Perhaps it is not for our security, but for theirs. Perhaps they don’t fear terrorists as much as they fear the citizens to whom they are ultimately responsible. Perhaps they fear the day when we demand our autonomy back and demand a reckoning for their abuse of power.

It could be that we’ll reach that tipping point very soon. The heightened TSA screening protocols have gone into effect just in time for the holidays at a time when more people have become politically aware than at almost any time in our history. The people are fed up, and when families go to the airport and encounter government agents who have arrogantly assumed the right to look at their children naked or fondle their childrens’ bodies in the name of an utterly mythical need for greater security, they may find that the sheeplike masses are not as passive as they had assumed.

Protests are already planned around the nation, including rallies and boycotts of air travel. And the protests are coming from both the political right and left. This is a transpartisan source of outrage. Like the need to reign in excess government spending, protecting the basic rights of the citizens is something which most sensible people can agree on.

The only people who seem to support these policies are those whose livelihood depends on government power and government growth. This highlights the increasingly significant divide in our country, which is not between rich or poor or black and white or young and old, but between the people and their interests and the interests of an arrogant elite of bureaucrats and career politicians and their allies in the private sector. They have lost touch with the people and have decided they are best served by gathering power at our expense, believing themselves immune to any accountability.

Those who would be our servants in a just society have become our masters and they have piled up outrage after outrage against our rights as individuals and citizens. These scans and searches may finally be the point where they have reached beyond what a weary people will tolerate. If this is that point and if we cannot take any more, then we must not stop when Janet Napolitano and the TSA back down. These new policies are symptomatic of the creeping growth of the entire government security industry and it really went beyond acceptable limits long ago. We must bring it all crashing down.

We must to restore sanity to our government and make it a responsible servant of the people once again. We must tear down the TSA and we can’t stop there. Liberty demands an end to the DEA and their mindless war on drugs. It demands an end to domestic surveillance and a restoration of the Bill of Rights through the repeal of the PATRIOT Act. We need government out of our wallets, our phone lines, our ISPs, our banks, our bedrooms and apparently we now need them out of our private parts as well.

The values which define America are incompatible with the dictates of a security state. Give us back our liberties. We’re willing to accept the tiny risk of death that comes with them. It’s worth it.

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About Dave Nalle

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    One of your Article Tags is “sexual assault.” Isn’t that over the top, Dave? Disagreeable as it is, I’m not sure a pat-down by a trained security agent in a public place qualifies as sexual assault.

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

    Many people would disagree, Alan. I could have included several links to people who are saying exactly that, but I stuck to more factual sources.

    Plus it’s always fun to include a few provocative tags.

    Dave

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    There are laws against sexual assault. If a TSA screener has sexually assaulted an airline passenger, that agent should be arrested and prosecuted, and of course suspended from work until acquitted of criminal charges. It doesn’t enhance your argument, Dave, to exaggerate the most lurid and, so far as I know, entirely imaginary aspect of this situation. A provocative tag is one thing; prurient appeal is something else.

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

    It’s a tag, Alan. It’s not the content of the article. Get a grip.

    Dave

  • zingzing

    welcome to kurtz-era blogcritics, dave. hope he gives you a handjob.

  • zingzing

    that said, the tsa was rolling back some of their more ridiculous shit for a while, but now they jack it up by ridiculous degrees. is this just technology gone bad? i’m sure we could have done this for years. meh. this shit won’t last for long. mass protests are the answer. of course, then everyone is going to miss their flight…

    i’m showing up early for thanksgiving, i tell you that. and i’m gonna make a puddle.

  • pablo

    Another blue moon moment for me. Dave has written an article that I actually agree with! One minor bit of criticism here though Nalle. You might have mentioned (assuming that your informed enough to know) that former head of Homeland Gestapo Michael Chertoff is and has been for some time financially tied to the implimentation of these virtual strip machines.

    9/11 was an inside job!
    Alex Jones is one of my heroes

    Good job Dave.

  • pablo

    Allan,

    Under California law, and I cite that jurisdiction because the viral video that Nalle cites in his article was made at the San Diego airport, sexual assault occurs when the genitalia is touched in a non consensual manner. This touching does not have to be for the purposes of arousal. Since the guy in the video clearly told the gestapo that if his privates were touched he would have that person arrested, he was not consenting to be touched there. So Nalle is not over the mark here, your just un-educated plain wrong as usual.

    Not to mention a nitpicker as well.

  • Doug Hunter

    I can’t wait till we have the shoved-a-bomb-up-my-ass-bomber, I look forward to seeing what the screening will turn into then. And you thought taking off your shoes or letting someone fondle you and take naked pictures was bad?

    Bend over and spread em! What have you got to hide? Total submission and subservience is the goal. and it’s ‘mission accomplished’. Once the fervor dies down and we resign ourselves to being the government’s bitch once again they’ll add this technology at sporting events and public gatherings and your kids elementary school play. Sad.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pages/Boycott-Flying/126801010710392 Mark

    Don’t just “opt out” of naked scanners only to be sexually molested, instead. Boycott Flying COMPLETELY, until sanity returns! Please join us

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

    A lot of folks are now going to their local airports and handing out flyers in opposition to the TSA policies. Some are getting arrested and I imagine video of these incidents should start surfacing today.

    Dave

  • http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/author/danmiller/ Dan(Miller)

    According to this article, The Transportation Security Administration has opened an investigation targeting John Tyner, the Oceanside man who left Lindbergh Field under duress on Saturday morning after refusing to undertake a full body scan.

    Mr. Tyner is the gentleman mentioned in Dave’s article as having recorded and reported events leading to his current difficulties. Sometimes, the TSA just doesn’t know when to stop its foolishness.

    Dan(Miller)

  • Joey

    Dan(Miller): They will target Mr. Tyner as a warning to the rest of us, what we can expect. It is not foolishness, but by design. People must be ready for this, and to decide ‘many’ things, not just whether they will submit to a body search.

  • http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/author/danmiller/ Dan(Miller)

    Despite all the very reasonable upset over the new TSA “strip and grope” procedures, there has been very little about the Fourth Amendment prohibitions. For the reasons stated here, I think they plainly violate the Fourth Amendment prohibition against “unreasonable searches” of our persons.

  • http://taste4travel.blogspot.com/ Ron Hendricks

    I think it’s about money, not power. Contractors have discovered a new income stream in the Homeland Security game. We’re upset over scanning technologies in our airports? I have news for you. It’s on the streets already. Read up on Z backscatter vans. From now on I am flying naked!

  • Ruvy

    Nice to see you finally admit IN WRITING, Dave, that you live in a Fascist state. As I’ve told you all many times, Fascism doesn’t have to come with blackshirts goosestepping and thugs beating up reporters (though the New Black Panthers harassing vote monitors at elections comes close enough to thugs with black shirts).

    And it has arrived. Take the train or the bus. Why let these fascists humiliate you?

    Hi, Pablo.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    Dave, I apologize. After reading today’s update to the John Tyner story, I’m convinced that you were prescient in tagging your blog with “sexual assault.” Indeed, far from being tangential to this issue, sexual assault is at the very heart of it. Why else would all the other commenters in this thread be so irate? It’s not the principle of unreasonable search, which only one commenter mentions. It’s the fear of being “sexually molested,” in the words of commenter #10.

    Interesting, though, that all the commenters on this thread are male. I believe women have far more experience as victims of sexual assault. They could tell us what that crime really involves. And it wouldn’t be just a harmless pat-down.

    It’s a typical male conceit that strangers want to “touch my junk,” as Tyner told the TSA agent. This case is not about over-applied technology or over-aggressive search procedures. It’s about sexual vanity run amok.

  • pablo

    And of course Alex Jones being the cool dude that he is had John Tyler the guy who was harrassed, and now threatened with legal action by the homeland gestapo on his show today. :)

  • pablo

    Hi Ruvy, I have enjoyed your posts of late. :=)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    Cool remark, Alan. It’s indeed an eye-opener to hear this outrage from a red-bloodied American male once the shoe is on the other foot.

    Cindy will love you.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    Cindy will never love me.

  • Ruvy

    I’m waiting for some of you Americans to finally admit that we Israelis have you beat hands down when it comes to airport security. I’m waiting for some of you to finally admit that profiling – RACIAL, ETHNIC AND PSYCHOLOGICAL PROFILING – is the way to go. Now that the the TSA thugs are groping your genitals, you’ve actually figured out that these scum are just thugs. When are you going to figure out that real security requires several layers, and a sophisticated understanding of what you are actually looking for?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    TSA thugs are groping your genitals.

    Ruvy, some of us real Americans would have it no other way. It sure beats riding the bus.

  • pablo

    Oh I almost forgot Nalle. You know drudgereport.com right? It is one of the largest websites bar none in the world. Well today’s main link on the top of their site is about the TSA, and is an inforwars.com (Alex Jones) link! How bout them apples bubba?

  • Clavos

    All that has to be done to resolve the whole airport/aircraft security issue is to follow the lead of El-Al airlines and Israeli security in allowing profiling.

    Though there have been several shooting incidents at El-Al ticket counters outside of Israel, most recently in 2002 at Los Angeles’ LAX, no one has successfully hijacked or bombed an El-Al aircraft since 1969. Industry authorities rate El-Al as the world’s safest airline.

    Too bad America is too “progressive” to follow their example — Americans (the vast majority of them, anyway) would be better served if we did allow profiling, and far fewer Americans would be having their rights trampled on.

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

    Ruvy, while I agree with you (at least as to the value of psychological screening – racial/ethnic profiling is worse than useless), a note of caution if I may.

    Haven’t all of the foiled air terror attacks perpetrated since 9/11 taken place on board planes flying into the US?

    Although admittedly the sample size is too small to draw any meaningful conclusions, it does suggest to the casual observer that Terry Wrist doesn’t much fancy trying to sneak his exploding colon through TSA security.

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

    Dr. D., you’re correct that terrorists aren’t getting caught boarding planes inside the US, but I have to point out that this was also the case before the TSA increased the intensity of its screening. In fact, the security protocols put in place right after 9/11 which lasted unchanged for several years after that seemed entirely effective.

    Dave

  • Ruvy

    Can’t bite the bullet of reality, can you Dr. D? Racial, ethnic and psychological profiling is not all that is needed. You need several layers of careful observation of individuals as they enter the premises of an airport/bus station/train station. Those several layers combined with the profiling of obvious threats are what allow for safety AND protect the rights of passenger to their privacy.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    The notion of discriminating – meaning to use one’s better judgment – got a bad rap in in liberal doublespeak. “Profiling” is bad; “psychological screening” is good.

    It’s just one example of modern-day liberalism gone wild.

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

    @ #28: No shit, Ruvy…
    @ #29: Oh, I’m terribly sorry, Roger. I had no idea that using a synonym was an expression of dogma. If I say I’m posting to a discussion board right now instead of commenting on a thread, is that “modern-day liberalism gone wild” too?

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

    We probably won’t see the same extravagant level of security screening for other modes of public transport any time soon. From the point of view of both terrorists and the people tasked with stopping them, planes are a favourite target because they are fast and glamorous and emit gratifyingly spectacular amounts of flames and smoke when they blow up, thereby making for good TV. (The former fashion of merely hijacking them and demanding to go to Cuba showed a lack of imagination and wasn’t nearly as exciting. Plus, there was always the danger that the Israeli Army would show up and inconsiderately shoot you.)

    Trains, the next favourite, have a certain appeal in the numbers of people available to be turned to instant goo, but they’re slower and more boring from a kaboomatization perspective. There are also far more of them, rendering the overzealously comprehensive policing of them Prohibitively Expensive.

    And buses are just too easy and obvious.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    You’re the one who made the distinction between psychological screening and profiling, so don’t put it on me.

  • Jordan Richardson

    “modern-day liberalism gone wild”

    Look out, Joe Francis.

  • http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/author/danmiller/ Dan(Miller)

    Since the new procedures are obviously lawful, unobjectionable and highly successful, they should be implemented immediately at all federal offices. Those places are very dangerous and some have been attacked.

    The fine civil servants working long hours daily to help all of us deserve at least as much protection from harm as do silly vacationers off on holiday frolics and business people out grubbing for money. No cost is too high to pay, and no inconvenience is too great, to provide the protection they so badly need but obviously are not being provided.

    In fact, it would be prudent immediately to eliminate the procedures at all US airports and to use the scarce resources they wastefully consume for this far better purpose.

    Our selfless public servants may not be enthusiastic about this idea, but they will just have to get over their altruistic notions of self-sacrifice toward the rest of us; it’s for their own good.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    Hello, Jordan. Just trying to have fun.

  • zingzing

    “You’re the one who made the distinction between psychological screening and profiling, so don’t put it on me.”

    to be fair, it was psychological screening and “racial/ethnic profiling.”

    also to be fair, i have no idea what “psychological screening” is supposed to entail. they going to sit us down and ask us questions, or are they just going to scare us straight?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    Ask Dreadful. The onus is on him.

  • zingzing

    ah, it’s just that they’re looking for odd behavior. they ask you innocuous questions (the same few for everybody) and judge you based on how you answer them. it’s the “did you pack your own bag?” “at any time did you lose sight of your bag?” line of questioning we get at the ticket counter.

    so yeah. different from racial/ethnic profiling.

  • zingzing

    the israelis take it to a whole other level, but it seems to be fair, and it seems to be working. and there are less delays over there as well. and no one’s grabbing your penis. at least not unless you want them to. in the “family” restroom. ah, detroit.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    Still, one has got to start somewhere, and in the absence of quirk behavior, what else is there to go by? The only other alternative is random sampling.

    My point really was that for practical purposes, dealing with situations such as airport screening, Dreadful’s distinction falls by the wayside in favor of expediency.

    Of course, the whole idea of war on terror is insane, but that’s another question.

  • Clavos

    We should profile whatever way is effective, and if it includes racial profiling, fine.

    And we should hire the Israelis to train those idiots at TSA…if they’re trainable.

  • zingzing

    random sampling, if it truly is random, would be the next step, yes. they include that at the israeli airport. it’s a pretty good system, it seems. 6 layers of security, only a few that take more than a few seconds, getting you from the parking lot to the gate in less than 25 minutes.

    the last time i flew, it took me an hour and thirty minutes from subway to gate. admittedly, that was out of new york and on a holiday weekend, but still.

    “My point really was that for practical purposes, dealing with situations such as airport screening, Dreadful’s distinction falls by the wayside in favor of expediency.”

    not quite sure what you’re saying here. are you saying psychological screening turns into racial/ethnic profiling?

  • zingzing

    “We should profile whatever way is effective, and if it includes racial profiling, fine.”

    says the man who would never be victimized by it.

  • Clavos

    Oh, and more thing:

    Obama should fire that incompetent dork Napolitano and put a trained law enforcement person with security experience in her place. Give Napolitano the requisite $150K gummint employee annual pension and put her out to pasture — in Guam.

  • Clavos

    says the man who would never be victimized by it.

    So Mexicans aren’t terrorists — am I supposed to feel guilty about that?

    A typical touchy-feely, bleeding heart “progressive” response — and irrelevant — better to victimize people who fit a known terrorist profile than everyone who travels. Israeli travelers are secure because their security people know how to do the job right — and have the balls to do so.

  • zingzing

    “So Mexicans aren’t terrorists — am I supposed to feel guilty about that?”

    you look about as mexican as i do. you know that’s not what i was saying. my fellow cracka, you won’t ever be racially profiled because you so pale, you a bucket.

    “A typical touchy-feely, bleeding heart “progressive” response — and irrelevant — better to victimize people who fit a known terrorist profile than everyone who travels.”

    says the man who will never be victimized by it. it’s not touchy-feely. it’s recognizing that i’m no more important than any other person. tell me how you feel about affirmative action, man who will never benefit from it.

    “Israeli travelers are secure because their security people know how to do the job right — and have the balls to do so.”

    well, they also claim not to racially profile. or so says rafi sela, the president of AR Challenges, a global transportation security consultancy:”The word ‘profiling’ is a political invention by people who don’t want to do security,” he said. “To us, it doesn’t matter if he’s black, white, young or old. It’s just his behaviour. So what kind of privacy am I really stepping on when I’m doing this?”

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    Simply saying that psychological screening takes time and is at its most useful throughout extended investigations – e.g. into a serial killer, etc. Even the Ft. Hood incident comes to mind. But for the purpose of processing thousands of people through the airport terminal, the full-fledged idea of psychological screening can’t even get off the ground.

    But anyway, I’m not going to try to second-guess Dreadful. It’s his baby and I’m more than willing to drop it on his lap.

  • Clavos

    …it’s recognizing that i’m no more important than any other person…

    You lost me right there. No point even talking about it.

    well, they also claim not to racially profile…

    Yep, that’s what Sela says, alright.

    Of course, in today’s world he’d be a fool to say anything else…

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    It’s Orwellian doublespeak to make sense of today’s totalitarian, excuse me, liberal regime.

  • zingzing

    clavos: “You lost me right there. No point even talking about it.”

    how convenient. although i’ll keep an eye out for your thoughts on policies that could do you harm. i just hope that you don’t want them removed even if they do the rest of us some good. the individual is king!

    “Yep, that’s what Sela says, alright.”

    that’s why i phrased it that way. it can be done. you don’t have to be a racist if you don’t want to. (i’m not saying that you are, although your love of racial profiling is no feather in your non-racist cap.)

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

    Of course, the obvious solution to this entire problem is to disband the TSA and put security in the hands of the airlines. They have a vested interest in secure flights because they care more about their multi-million dollar planes and potential hundred million dollar lawsuits than anyone cares about the lives of passengers. Let them handle their own security by whatever means they think work best.

    Dave

  • zingzing

    roger: “It’s Orwellian doublespeak to make sense of today’s totalitarian, excuse me, liberal regime.”

    and yet you say that without fear. wonder why.

  • zingzing

    dave: “Of course, the obvious solution to this entire problem is to disband the TSA and put security in the hands of the airlines.”

    do you think they want to cover the cost? or assume the liability?

  • zingzing

    i’ve flown a lot since 9/11, especially between 2003 and 2008, when i was flying a good 10 or 12 times a year, and i’ve been pulled over for special questioning and a bag search all of once. they were very friendly and we joked about marijuana.

    my friend, who has an arabic name and looks arabic, even though his family is methodist and moved here in the 50s or 60s, has been pulled over on more than a quarter of the flights he’s taken in the same time. he’s had to pull off his socks and had his underwear patted down in a locked room at least twice, and has missed his flight due to a rather intense questioning session once. he’s a history professor at some college in atlanta now.

    his wife, who is from pakistan, didn’t want to talk about it. i assume that’s either because she hasn’t experienced much of a problem, or because it hasn’t been pretty. she doesn’t like flying, she says.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/joseph-cotto/ Joseph Cotto

    Dave,

    While I respect and admire the work you have done with the Republican Liberty Caucus in terms of building a viable centrist coalition regarding social issues, it is on matters such as those pertaining to our national security that you all so unfortunately tend to board the proverbial black helicopter and fly off into Tin-Foil-Hatworld at an alarming speed. While the inconveniences of which you write at airport security checkpoints may very well be enough to drive an otherwise rational man or woman insane, they are nothing short of vital to deterring possible acts of terrorism. As with the Patriot Act, a piece of legislation of which I am one of the staunchest supporters likely to be found anywhere, sometimes we must surrender some of our perceived freedoms for the sake of our own safety, although not to the point of barbarianism. Nonetheless, I am confident that we can manage to agree to disagree on this one, as a moderate police state is an idea on which libertarians such as yourself and Rockefellerites such as myself are highly unlikely to find even the slightest amount of common ground on.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    Just got a sneak peek at some upcoming viral videos on this topic, and they’re fabulous.

    First, a 13-year-old computer nerd in Omaha, Nebraska, hacks into TSA’s network and downloads X-ray scans of several dozen gay teenagers who actually enjoy getting their “junk handled” by male TSA screeners. He transfers the scans to video, uploads the clip to YouTube, and within hours it goes viral.

    Second, several of the gay teenagers (none of whom has yet come out to family and friends) see the video and are convinced they can be personally identified by–how shall I put this?–certain anatomical details. They are mortified. One after another, over a fortnight, each commits suicide. A mutual acquaintance puts together a video using the decedents’ home movies, sensitively underscored by Elton John’s “Candle in the Wind,” uploads it to YouTube, and within hours it goes viral.

    Third, a city councilman in Ft. Worth, Texas, who himself once had his “junk handled” by male TSA screeners, makes a tearful video pleading with other gay teenagers who’ve had their junk handled. He promises them that things will get better. They are not alone. Thousands of teens have likewise had their junk handled and, with help from loved ones and treatment by professional therapists, nevertheless survived to become respected and productive members of society. Someone uploads this video to YouTube, and within hours it goes viral.

    At this point I had to leave the screening to attend to personal matters. But based on the three clips I saw, there’s no doubt in my mind that the route to political reform in this country now goes directly through YouTube. It’s an amazing phenomenon, proving that the democratic process has at long last become entertaining. In fact, the democratic process in 21st-century America is entertainment, nothing more and nothing less. I for one applaud this long overdue development.

  • Jordan Richardson

    sometimes we must surrender some of our freedoms for the sake of our own perceived safety

    Fixed that for you, Mr. Cotto.

  • zingzing

    ah, alan. always there with the gay joke.

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

    Roger, for fuck’s sake. I’m not talking about taking every passenger aside and sitting down with him for 45 minutes of therapy or philosophical navel-gazing. Read the damn interview zing linked to.

    That’s psychological screening (Sela’s at pains to point out that it’s not racial or ethnic profiling, despite what Ruvy claims): a series of trained observers watching passengers’ behaviour for “tells”. Everyone has ‘em, no matter how well they think they suppress them, and in high-stress situations – such as attempting to sneak past Israeli airport security with a bomb and blow yourself up – they’re even harder to conceal.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    Yet, Mr. Cotto is one of the most sensible of our conservatives in residence.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    Sorry, Dreadful for not reading the thread with the kind of religiousity you expect. Should I have therefore assumed that your use of “psychological screening” was so context-laden that the phrase would be totally unintelligible in the absence of said context? I should hope not. So what’s your fucking problem that you’ve got to appeal to “fuck’s sake” rather then simply direct me to the prerequisite context. That would have been far simpler and more productive that us having to engage in this useless back and forth,

  • Jordan Richardson

    Roger, these back and forths are becoming increasingly common with you and other posters here (including myself) because you don’t seem to respect anyone enough to thoroughly consider their points before responding.

    It doesn’t take any sort of “religiosity” to see what Dr. Dreadful was saying and you know it. Whether it’s true or not, it appears that your “tactics” here of late have been to wander into a thread and throw about all sorts of stereotypes to see who’ll bite. When somebody does, you tangle with them in all sorts of semantic traps until you tire yourself out an excuse yourself from the “conversation.”

    Over the last while, you’ve pretty much pissed off or alienated every single person here with this crap. I know, I know…as a “radical” you’ll wear that as a badge of honour.

    But sooner or later people get tired of hearing you inaccurately and clumsily describe their personal motivations and character traits “for effect,” Roger. Your latest villain appears to be “liberalism,” but I bet if we wait around long enough you’ll shift back to whatever’s not popular to play up to your persona.

    It’s honestly really tiring, even for me.

  • Rwolf

    The Nazis used national emergency as a premise to repeatedly target and detain, search and question Germans boarding or taking trains considered political dissidents or morally unworthy; targeted Citizens were intentionally delayed by police/military so they would be late or miss work. Of course many lost there jobs and could not survive.

    Does the lawsuit by The Transportation Security Administration against John Tyne for refusing the X-ray body scan mean; that we don’t dare buy a plane ticket unless we are prepared to submit to a body scan or be sued for $11,000? Pretty soon most persons showing up to fly will be those that will submit to X-ray scans, erroneously giving the impression the public has accepted being repeatedly radiated/scanned before flying. I would not want to own airline stock.

    If not stopped, Airports are just the beginning of Citizens being X-rayed / Stripped Naked by Government, having their Private Body Parts Touched, Squeezed and Patted-Down by Government Employees. It is problematic Americans (next) will be X-Ray Scanned and Physically Molested boarding trains, cruse ships, buses; when entering sports events and office buildings. Continued Low Radiation Exposure is Accumulative and believed to cause Cancer.

    Americans should boycott airlines; that would get TSA’s attention and stockholders of airlines. Meanwhile Not just pilots and flight attendants, “ordinary air passengers” should also be afforded privacy, when felt up, searched at public airports.

    Talk about government in your face. Recently the Obama government purchased hundreds’ of X-Ray Vans that will travel our streets without warrants, x-raying Americans, seeing Citizens naked when walking, standing, riding their bike. Government/police will use the x-ray vans to peer though Citizens’ homes and vehicles, exposing Americans and their families to radiation. X-ray vans are an affront to privacy, allowing government to view Citizens in their bedrooms. Americans need to ask Obama if independent studies were conducted to determine if Citizens could develop Cancer, if (repeatedly exposed) to police X-rays. It is easy to imagine government/police with or without a warrant every night X-raying a person of interest in his or her home. It is foreseeable some Citizens might install similar to smoke detectors, sensors that will set off an alarm, if their home or vehicle is being bombarded with X-rays.

    Obama’s X-Ray Vans can ALSO be used by the military or police to secure perimeters to control civil unrest and instances of revolt, to screen and stop Citizens carrying guns, cameras; any item. Does Obama expect Americans to revolt?

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

    do you think they want to cover the cost? or assume the liability?

    They would just pass it on to the customers which is certainly better than paying for it with tax money.

    Dave

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    [edited] Dreadful can surely speak for himself, and since he’d chosen to appeal to “fuck’s sake,” then I certainly don’t need you to interpret it for me either. So [edited] save your vitriol for a worthier project because as far as I’m concerned, you’re just pissing in my ear.

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

    Alan, that last post needed to come with links.

    Dave

  • zingzing

    roger: “So what’s your fucking problem that you’ve got to appeal to “fuck’s sake” rather then simply direct me to the prerequisite context.”

    must your hand be held? we are not here to teach, son. we are far too busy for that. hold on, let me pack me pipe… ok, we (oh, so royal, your majesty,) only throw out words for you fucking peasants to gobble. words such as “psychological screening,” which are not hundreds of books away, but by a mere google search revealed. have you no feet? do your legs not function? to inquire, to educate oneself, oh, these are simple things. why so lazy? dare you not take the radical step of googling?

    do you not think you deserve this? very sorry, but we (hail!) think you do. cough. oh, me. mine pipe has gone out. i think i’ll tamp the ash with mine penis. ahhh, bubbles.

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

    While the inconveniences of which you write at airport security checkpoints may very well be enough to drive an otherwise rational man or woman insane, they are nothing short of vital to deterring possible acts of terrorism.

    There is no evidence to show that the current heightened security does any such thing. It’s quite clear that the original protocols installed after 9/11 were entirely sufficient. And the truth is that it is the background screening done behind the scenes when passengers buy tickets which actually keeps potential terrorists off planes.

    As with the Patriot Act, a piece of legislation of which I am one of the staunchest supporters likely to be found anywhere, sometimes we must surrender some of our perceived freedoms for the sake of our own safety, although not to the point of barbarianism.

    Which is more important to you, the Patriot Act or the Constitution? Which has done more clear good for our nation and our people. For that matter, can you name any benefit we have gained from the Patriot Act?

    Nonetheless, I am confident that we can manage to agree to disagree on this one, as a moderate police state is an idea on which libertarians such as yourself and Rockefellerites such as myself are highly unlikely to find even the slightest amount of common ground on.

    You just used the term “police state” as if it was a positive. Think about it.

    Dave

  • zingzing

    dave: “They would just pass it on to the customers which is certainly better than paying for it with tax money.”

    ah, but tis easier to sue a private company than the gov’t, is it not? if something does happen, and that’s a foregone conclusion, things could get nasty.

    and how much do you think it would raise the average price of a ticket? do you think the american consumer would like that? airlines might fail because of this ridiculous new expense, and prices will go up even further.

    i can see privatized security in some airports that don’t do much business. but trusting corporations who care about a bottom line more than anything else with ensuring the safety of hundreds of thousands of passengers a day is a little less than heartening.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    Was that a personal attack? I referred to Jordan’s occasional behavior, not his person. For Jordan does indeed have a tendency to always support his superiors.

    It’s interesting, Dreadful, that my observation, or exhortation, I should say, was promptly removed while the “dumb Pollack” remark was allowed to stand for almost a week with your blessings.

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

    Zing, their bottom line is the most important thing to them and dead passengers are the worst possible thing for their bottom line. Why not use that motivation in our favor? They will do the job better and cheaper than government ever could.

    Dave

  • zingzing

    “You just used the term “police state” as if it was a positive.”

    ah. what’s a “rockefellerite?” nelson? people really attach themselves to that guy?

  • zingzing

    dave, i understand what you’re getting at with the corporate motivation. but i’ve been in corporate culture long enough to know that they don’t know what the fuck they’re doing half the time. the airlines have been bungling shit for years. the government does as well, this whole debacle being the latest evidence… but do you think they’d really accept that responsibility? why would they? it’s something they don’t have to worry about right now and there’s no reason for them to take on the extra expense and have to end up charging customers more. (they don’t care about tax payers, they care about customers. they’re a corporation.)

    if the government says you have to take care of it…

    they’d just say no.

    then the government would say well, no one can fly then.

    and then the airlines would say, ok, fine, how you getting home? there’s a hotel in the airport, bitch.

  • Jordan Richardson

    For Jordan does indeed have a tendency to always support his superiors.

    In what way is Dr. Dreadful or anybody else on Blogcritics my “superior?”

    You’ve assigned this whole pecking order to the site, Roger, but it’s actually pretty pathetic. You know absolutely NOTHING about how shit works, yet you can’t resist spouting off about it every chance you get like a whining child looking for attention.

    What I said to you in my comment had NOTHING to do with “supporting” anyone, Roger. I didn’t back Dr. Dreadful’s post or “interpret it” at all, but your through-the-lines reading style simply grabs what you want anyway. You’ve proven time and time again that it’s absolutely pointless to try to communicate with you as a reasonable human being.

    You’re nothing but a punk on the internet spoiling for a fight. You think you’re special because you cover your tracks in flowery language, but there’s nothing more going on than some jackass taking potshots at strangers.

    You’ve inaccurately pegged me about a dozen times over the last few days, suggesting that I’m some sort of “liberal” or a “Christian” and now I “always support my superiors.” What a bloody joke this routine is, Roger. Grow up. Get help. And go “vitriol” yourself.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    When you appeal to me to “fuck’s sake,” zingo, you’re going to get a similar response. And no, I wasn’t sufficiently interested in the topic to be doing any exhaustive kind of search, nor am I mow. Nor had I any idea that the bulk of BC published articles should place that kind of demand on the participant. So shoot me for not tending to your link, but the idea is simple enough to be grasped intuitively. If you want to compare this now to our previous encounter, be my guest. Glad you scored a point, but really, I think I’m going to forfeit this match. You’re worse than a woman (Cindy will kill me), and I’m not saying this lightly. At least after a fight you kiss and make up, but see, there are no flying rewards for me here, nothing to look forward to. So excuse me if I just pass.

    Are you decent looking at least or just homely even for a man, because I might consider switch-hitting?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    Jordan, the original remark was on-target, but since it was promptly deleted, I had no choice but to resort to flowery language a la Cohen. So trust me, the image I have in mind is quite picturesque and in vivid colors. Nothing like what I can convey on the computer screen. Trust me on that.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Whatever gets you through the day, pal.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    Now Jordan is committing another mistake. Since BC is a virtual reality, the BC organizational structure is virtual as well. Technorati just doesn’t exist, or rather, it does exist but only in a virtual space. Which is to say, Jordan is free and clear to say what he will, because right or wrong, truth or falsehood, everything is virtual. Even his mistakes are virtual and therefore no mistakes at all.

    Good night, my virtual friend.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    Jordan, I could send you a personal email if you doubt me.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Yeah, that’s exactly what I said. I’d tell you to sleep this one off, Roger, but I think that’d take a few more nights than just one.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    Do you suppose it’s the effect of my anti-flu medication or is it just you that I’m developing an antipathy to? If it’s the latter, Jordan, and I’m strongly beginning to suspect that it is, then I’m afraid I’ve got a chronic disease. Must be allergic to you, Jordan, my virtual friend. Sorry.

  • zingzing

    “And no, I wasn’t sufficiently interested in the topic to be doing any exhaustive kind of search, nor am I mow.”

    we is cat? mow. curiousity led me on a .00054 second search. i’m sure you could do the same. but just yesterday, you demanded i read 100 books to find something you were talking about. and then you deemed me lazy when i asked for some specificity. i’m just saying.

    “So shoot me for not tending to your link, but the idea is simple enough to be grasped intuitively.”

    except you obviously fucked it up. and it’s less than a 5-minute read. and you could have known what you were talking about.

    “I think I’m going to forfeit this match.”

    as usual.

    “You’re worse than a woman (Cindy will kill me), and I’m not saying this lightly.”

    and you’re better? i’m just pointing out your hypocrisy.

    “Are you decent looking at least or just homely even for a man, because I might consider switch-hitting?”

    i got it going on. i’m in brooklyn, baby. i’m a little bit sick with a cold right now though. and i’ve got this unfortunate green ooze thing going on. what is that?

  • El Bicho

    “First, a 13-year-old computer nerd in Omaha, Nebraska, hacks into TSA’s network and downloads X-ray scans of several dozen gay teenagers”

    say wha? how does a 13-year-old tell from an X-ray someone else is gay? That’s some amazing technology. So, I presume in this new world you are imagining scientists will no longer need to rely on Judy Garland records to tell if a young boy is gay.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    Gotta send me a snapshot, baby. Don’t go on blind dates, sorry. But kidding aside, I don’t really care for how you project yourself, and I’m sure the feeling is mutual. So why continue?

  • zingzing

    because we will anyway.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    You (#84) have a extremely limited attention span. Here’s my entire sentence, not just the fragment you excerpted:

    “First, a 13-year-old computer nerd in Omaha, Nebraska, hacks into TSA’s network and downloads X-ray scans of several dozen gay teenagers who actually enjoy getting their ‘junk handled’ by male TSA screeners.”

    It’s not the technology that identifies these teens as gay, it’s their response to having their junk handled.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/an roger nowosielski

    Count me out, then. Play it by yourself.

  • Arch Conservative

    “Yet, Mr. Cotto is one of the most sensible of our conservatives in residence.”

    I wouldn’t say that’s true after his last post.

    The way I look at it, the federal government steals enough money from us already. We don’t need them grabbing our “junk” at the airport as we’re boarding a plane to go see grandma.

    We already give them too much. Find another way to prevent terrorist attacks. “We can’t” is not an acceptible answer. Just shut the fuck up and do it. Get it done.

  • Ruvy

    FIGHT! FIGHT!

    Who’s coat should I hold? Clavos, you wearing a coat? You, I respect. You backed me up. The rest of them – well, the less said the better.

  • zingzing

    eh, ruvy?

  • Ruvy

    I got to the fight late, zing. Shoulda gotten there earlier. Oh, well, time to move on…

  • Thrift

    I love to fly and as a kid I was molested by a neighbor…the thought of someone feeling my junk up his nauseating and disgusting, especially when it’s another guy doing it. If I have to endure the pat downs or the intrusive (and I think waste of time) full body scanners, I would have to chose the scanners, at least I would feel more comfortable then basically being sexually assaulted by a TSA agent.

  • Paul Johnson

    I will not FLY to the United States until this new fear-based and fascist imposition on my personal liberty is removed.

    This article is well written and I can’t for the life of me understand why the citizens of the United States submit to continued fascist policy such as this.

    Stand up for yourselves, see through the propaganda and keep your own fear in perspective!!

    Good luck America and I’ll see you when I know I can enter your country (to spend money in your country) without threat to my personal rights.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    The USA has clearly over-reacted to the threat of terrorism and defeated itself by introducing this excessive level of security. Hopefully some of these excesses will be rolled back by future governments.

    I’m sure the terrorists are delighted at their effect on the USA’s levels of freedom and the expense involved in such an excessive security system that ignores not only cargo planes but also the country’s extensive land borders.