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Let's cut to the chase: the searches we are undergoing at airports at the hands of the TSA are not necessary.  And they are most certainly a violation of our civil liberties.  This is the "Great War Against Terror", exposed for what it really is.

Of course, you may not agree.  Conventional wisdom is that there is a serious terrorist threat, and some level of security is necessary to combat it.

(continued after the break)

Here is a Daily Kos member commenting just yesterday to that effect:

Most of this security thing has just been; better mouse trap=smarter mouse.

But now the Prez is in a box. A very small box with real little windows.

If he lets up on procedures and there is another attack (successful or not), "He's weak!!"

If he leaves them in place ...attack.. "He's been a tyrant and we're still unsafe!!"

One of those two things will happen, because there will eventually be another attack. [snip]

- Geez 53

"…because there will eventually be another attack."

What sort of attack are we talking about?  Another 9/11 attack, with thousands dead in the smoking ruins?Obviously not--there has been no such thing in this country from September 12, 2001 to the present.  Here is what one writer has to say about it:

If Al Qaeda was anything like the organization that the US government claims, it would not be focused on trivial targets such as passenger airliners. The organization, if it exists, would be focused on its real enemies. Try to imagine the propaganda value of terrorists wiping out the neoconservatives in one fell swoop, followed by an announcement that every member of the federal government down to the lowest GS, every member of the House and Senate, and every governor was next in line to be bumped off.

This would be real terrorism instead of the make-belief stuff associated with shoe bombs that don't work, underwear bombs that independent experts say could not work, and bottled water and shampoo bombs that experts say cannot possibly be put together in airliner lavatories.

- Paul Craig Roberts - "TSA Gestapo Empire" (Op Ed News)

Provocative title aside, Roberts has a point.  I would add to his examples the "Times Square bomber" from last summer.  According to one expert account, this "bomb" had no real detonator, and no hope of actually exploding:

Evan F. Kohlmann: In this case, we already have some idea about why this attack was not as successful as planned. Quite obviously, the person or persons who put this device together lacked proper knowledge or experience in deploying explosives. Attempting to ignite fuel tanks or propane canisters is much more difficult than the impression one gets from Hollywood movies. Anyone who doubts that should speak with Dr. Bilal Abdullah, the Iraqi-born doctor who attempted (and failed) to use a similar device against a nightclub in London in 2007. The culprits here in Times Square were not even skilled enough to come up with a remote detonator -- they were just relying on simple timers.

- Washington Post, May 3, 2010

In another account I saw at the time, a bomb expert referred to the Times Square bomb as a Rube Goldberg type device that had no hope of working.

We may not have been seeing any real terrorist attacks in the U.S., but we have been seeing a lot of security theater.  Paul Craig Roberts, again:

Subsequent domestic terrorist events have turned out to be FBI sting operations in which FBI agents organize not-so-bright disaffected members of society and lead them into displaying interest in participating in a terrorist act. Once the FBI agent, pretending to be a terrorist, succeeds in prompting all the right words to be said and captured on his hidden recorder, the "terrorists" are arrested and the "plot" exposed.

The very fact that the FBI has to orchestrate fake terrorism proves the absence of real terrorists.

If Americans were more thoughtful and less gullible, they might wonder why all the emphasis on transportation when there are so many soft targets. Shopping centers, for example. If there were enough terrorists in America to justify the existence of Homeland Security, bombs would be going off round the clock in shopping malls in every state. The effect would be far more terrifying than blowing up an airliner.

Indeed, if terrorists want to attack air travelers, they never need to board an airplane. All they need to do is to join the throngs of passengers waiting to go through the TSA scanners and set off their bombs. The TSA has conveniently assembled the targets.

"The TSA has conveniently assembled the targets."  Talk about a fundamental violation of the rules of security--let's assemble a large crowd of people in a known, exposed area and keep them waiting around.  Yes, that would be really safe.

Then there is the fact that, once you have entered the TSA checkpoint, if you decide to refuse to be searched (irradiated, groped, whatever…) and choose instead to leave the airport, you can be fined $10,000 and possibly be arrested and charged as a terrorist suspect!  

I don't know about you, but at this point I am far more afraid of the TSA than I am of any terrorists.  I am not likely to meet up with a terrorist in my lifetime.  I have already met the TSA and will doubtless have many more encounters.  So far, I have stayed out of trouble (a tiny knife that was part of my manicure set was confiscated once a couple of years ago, but the agent didn't make a big deal about it), but I do not know how I would react to being groped, and I do not care to be virtual strip-searched by the new body scanners.  We are right up against a line where ordinary, law-abiding people can be turned into criminals unless they submit to degrading treatment.

This is a serious matter, and it is time to give the Obama administration hell for being so tone deaf about it.  Because, if we do not, we are facing more of the same, and worse. John Pistole, the TSA head, told USA Today shortly after he was appointed last June, that protecting trains and subways from terrorist attacks is as high a priority for him as air travel.

It is difficult to imagine New Yorkers being porno-screened and sexually groped on crowed subway platforms or showing up an hour or two in advance for clearance for a 15-minute subway ride. It is even more difficult to imagine open air bus stops turned into security zones with screeners and gropers inspecting passengers before they board.  But then, not so long ago you could get on an airplane without taking off your shoes.  

Now, thanks to bad politics, bureaucratic interests, and who knows what else, we face a situation far worse than any likely terrorist attack--the complete evisceration of the right of ordinary people to go about their business without being harassed and criminalized.  This is not the country I was raised in.  This is not the country I want to live in.  It is time to fight back against this bullshit.

Originally posted to out of left field on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 09:36 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

    •  I'd just like to know ... (0+ / 0-)

      what PROOF you have that Al Qaeda will never attempt to attack the U.S. again?  Especially given that there is EVERY indication to the contrary; i.e., the underwear bomber attempt, etc.

      Do you realize that, if you get your way (do you even fly?) and an attack is successful, it will be partially your fault that people die, it will be partially your fault that the stock market tanks for years?

      That's an awful lot of blame to assume blithely for someone who's at no personal risk.

      •  What PROOF do you have (0+ / 0-)

        that all San Franciscans will not die in an earthquake tomorrow?  That we will not be hit by an asteroid in the next ten years?  That a major sports stadium will not collapse due to shoddy construction, killing thousands?

        What?  These things are possible, yet you do not advocate immediate action against them?  They would then be partially your fault, you know.  Right.

        Get real.  You are far more likely to die in a car crash (or any one of dozens of other common events) than to EVER be killed in a terrorist attack.  Your argument is the bogie man that Dick Cheney and other nice people have been shoving down our throats for years now to justify the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and the removal of our civil liberties.  It's time we woke up and started acting like adults.

      •  ???it will be partially your fault??? (0+ / 0-)

        Can you imagine HOW many ways there are to put stuff on an airliner that DO NOT involve passengers? Here is a short list of 100% unscreened folks:

        The trucks and people stocking the airport stores (they can bring anything into the stores unchecked, and no, these are not the folks with 2 cases of soda you see in the security lines).

        The luggage handlers have full access to the airport unscanned, and then they get to access your luggage.

        The food service staff that load the carts of snaks and soda onto the planes.

        The cleaning crews who clean up between flights. OK, between some of the flights these days.

        The maintainence crews have unscreened access to the plains and they get to carry toolboxes.

        Why would you think the passengers are the most likely source of troubble? The TSA's procedures are a joke. Beonde magnometers and carry-on x-rays, nonof it makes a differiance once you get to the airport.

        I supported Pres. Obama, and I am questioning that choice.

        by mlandman on Thu Nov 25, 2010 at 09:48:51 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Here is what our liberal press (7+ / 0-)

    is writing these days, proving that they don't have any respect for the Constitution, themselves, or any basic principles.  

    Let's also leave aside any questions of constitutionality or fundamental fairness about terrorist profiling and simply consider whether it could be done effectively.

    Remember this is the same crew that was willing to assassinate American citizens, and throw Muslims under the bus to make themselves feel better.

    When do we get to start a new party?  When I am dependent on insane Republicans to have any sense, we are utterly screwed.


    "Senator McCain offered up the oldest Washington stunt in the book - you pass the buck to a commission to study the problem." - Senator Obama, 9-16-2008

    by justmy2 on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 09:47:15 PM PST

    •  So, arguing that racial profiling isn't effective (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      now is a conservative position?


      •  Hah! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Make them stick to that position! That would be a long-term victory for us!

        I saw a comment last night where someone was thinking all our outrage at egregious violations of our personal boundaries, civil liberties and human rights has been cooked up by Karl Rove to just to embarrass Obama.

        No, the outrage is genuine and it is human -- not partisan-political.

        But if the Rovians are clever, they are supporting the meme that specifically racial profiling is the ONLY alternative to pornos-canners and groping. This could nicely divide liberals and progressives as to which is the worst of the two evils.

        It's like calling it a "choice" whether to be shot or hanged. I'm not buying it.

      •  Missed the point... (0+ / 0-)

        that is progressive saying let's leave aside a question of constitutionality.

        "Senator McCain offered up the oldest Washington stunt in the book - you pass the buck to a commission to study the problem." - Senator Obama, 9-16-2008

        by justmy2 on Wed Nov 24, 2010 at 08:05:46 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  sex (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sandino, debedb, MKDAWUSS

    I just wonder how many teabaggers are going to start booking flights now because TSA screenings are the closest they will ever get to getting laid?

  •  Another view (7+ / 0-)

    All of this underscores the ambivalence I've had in watching the TSA controversy unfold.  In one sense, this has all the ingredients of the last decade's worth of Terrorism exploitation: fear-based increases in pointless though invasive government power, surveillance and privacy infringements; further training the citizenry to mindlessly and meekly submit to directives from government functionaries; and, most of all, sleazy Washington influence-peddlers who spend time in Government ratcheting up fear levels and then return to the private sector to profit from that fear (Michael McConnell is the poster child for that behavior, but in this case, it's Michael Chertoff).  

    As a result, my first reaction was that the public backlash could be productive in finally drawing a line the citizenry will not permit the Government to cross with these manipulative tactics.

    But I now believe that optimism was unwarranted.  That's because there's no real principle being vindicated here: with a few noble exceptions, it's all just deceitful posturing.

    Glenn Greenwald

    strong economies have strong currencies, weak economies have weak currencies

    by truong son traveler on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 10:00:05 PM PST

    •  Yeah, Digby. (11+ / 0-)

      She's always had a good quotient of sense. I'll quote a bit of her post here:

      It's certainly possible that one day an Islamic terrorist is going to kill a lot of people in America again. But it's almost certain they will do it somewhere other than a passenger airplane. If it's in a shopping center, will they then make us all go through scanners at the mall if we want to buy a pair of shoes? If they blow up an office building will every worker in America be subject to frisking?

      That's why this is security theater. We are chasing phantoms by pretending that if we stop people from carrying a bottle of shampoo on an airplane that we are safe. If you are so scared of terrorism that you're willing to throw logic out the window and subject yourself to ever more irrational safety procedures for no good reason, you'd better think twice about ever leaving your house. That, of course, is exactly the point of terrorism. And authoritarian police states.

      (My emphasis.)

  •  My biggest concern is... (9+ / 0-) these TSA wonks have any medical training to be able to recognize implants of various types? or perhaps proper management of colostomy or catheter?

    I know people who wear insulin pumps, lap bands, pacemakers, epileptic implants, breast augmentation, stomach stimulators, cochlear implants, penis pumps, butt pads, glass eyes and hearing aids.

    Those are just the things INSIDE the body!

    Heaven forbid they see a prosthetic!

    Are any of these crack teams even qualified to properly recognize these items for what they are if they do find them?

    Until this bullshit stops, I am boycotting flying altogether. Work can just pay for the rental.

    I am happy to be alive and trying to do my best to help out.

    by ToKnowWhy on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 10:30:20 PM PST

    •  Uh, no (9+ / 0-)

      It's beyond concern. The biggest story this week was the TSA agent demanding a passenger remove his medical apparatus, which resulted in the passenger being covered in urine with no choice but to just fly like that.

      Proud supporter of nuclear power!

      by zegota on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 10:38:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  What about simple changing of gloves? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kitsap River, ToKnowWhy

      You can't go around groping 300 people a day with one pair of gloves.  Or can you?

      You have exactly 10 seconds to change that look of disgusting pity into one of enormous respect!

      by Cartoon Peril on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 11:46:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Bets? (5+ / 0-)

        Millions for irradiation devices that won't do any good--and not anything for basic sanitation.

        Every new contact should mandate hand washing and new gloves, to protect both the screener and the gropee.

        "Be just and good." John Adams to Thomas Jefferson

        by ogre on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 11:56:17 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  No new gloves = no touch. No one can (5+ / 0-)

          claim the right to touch you without clean gloves.  Of course, they won't want to change gloves, because that extra 10 seconds adds up when you're gate raping 300 people a day.

          You have exactly 10 seconds to change that look of disgusting pity into one of enormous respect!

          by Cartoon Peril on Wed Nov 24, 2010 at 12:04:28 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I still have not been asked to help (0+ / 0-)

          I would keep an eye on the 3 seats immediately around me. I would watch for erratic behavior, someone fondling a button, obvious burning smells, etc.

          I now point out that wi-fi and cell phones mess with the plane's electronics, would they please turn it off for all our safety?

          Why can't I be vigilant (or even friendly) with my fellow passengers? If I take the time to deal with the 3 around me and everyone else takes their 3 doesn't that minimize the danger to all?

          If the C-7 guy has a smoking jockstrap, I am going to extinguish it. Just polite and neighborly to assist in keeping us all alive, after all.

          Each measure taken will have a specific counter-measure that neutralizes it effectively. No matter what we do, someone will figure out a way around it.

          It is how humans work. If we try to combat every conceivable vector of attack, we lose out and they effectively win without losing anything.

          They will always attempt to penetrate our defenses. Our best defense is to have a well-trained populace that is aware of risks and dangers associated with the things they intend to do and how they can help.

          Barring that, we need to have the best trained individuals that can adapt to the ever-changing tactics of our enemies.

          Why don't we have something as simple as an EMF detector for all containerized cargo? Bomb timers/triggers are rarely mechanical any more. That makes more sense that these stupid scanners.

          My other thought is to make a gauntlet of trained dogs that everyone funnels through, less dogs needed if utilized at the choke points. Easier to pull 50 folks aside when they sense something and do a more thorough screening in an acceptable random fashion.

          I say choosing what they do today over training more dogs and paying handlers decent wages is way too much of a cost in dignity and civil rights.

          I can forsee that they will make little attempts forever, none the same as the last. IF they can get us to jump at every package that flies (as now) they win again.

          Each counter-measure we put in place costs us more and counts as another victory for their side...and they are keeping count.

          How is the TSA really gonna help me once I am on the plane...ever?

          I am happy to be alive and trying to do my best to help out.

          by ToKnowWhy on Wed Nov 24, 2010 at 11:47:15 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Medical professionals are saying (3+ / 0-)

        that they not only need to change gloves but also wash their hands throughly each time.

        Although that would be just a small health protection in a process that is totally intolerable by its very nature because it profoundly violates  personal boundaries, civil liberties and human rights.

    •  I have resisted flying for the past 3 years (8+ / 0-)

      Ever since some airports put the strip-search scanners in place, I've tried hard to avoid flying, because I had a dialysis catheter. I no longer have the catheter but have learned that respected imaging specialists consider this device hazardous to people who have compromised immune systems, like I do now and will have all the much more after I get a transplant. I know my personal psychology fairly well and know that there are still within me triggers for PTSD due to having been raped, PTSD that wouldn't go away for years if it manifested. I would prefer to drive for days rather than be subjected again to years of screaming nightmares (you know, the kind where you experience the event over and over again and wake up screaming at the top of your lungs in sheer terror).

      I have the choice not to fly. Not everyone does, I recognize this. But this is important enough that we drove to NN10 from Seattle this year, and will be driving from Seattle to Minneapolis and back next year.

      Living kidney donor needed; type B, O, or incompatible (with paired donation). Drop me a note (see profile).

      by Kitsap River on Wed Nov 24, 2010 at 02:18:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  This so terribly hard (3+ / 0-)

        and unfair on people with any kind of disability or unusual physical traits.

        In my opinion, it amounts to discrimination.

        And all this for maybe, a little marginal safety.

        While reportedly, most of the cargo flies unchecked.

      •  Thanks for your personal input. (2+ / 0-)

        I did not list the things inside that do not show up on the scanners that they are also not trained to deal with.

        IMHO, it should have been the first item on my list. My apologies for the omission.

        I wish I had the words that could comfort you...shoot, if any of us had those words there would be no lasting need for these invasive policies and barbaric practices of us and our foe alike.

        Too bad people can't talk or behave like people any more.


        I am happy to be alive and trying to do my best to help out.

        by ToKnowWhy on Wed Nov 24, 2010 at 11:17:40 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  This comment (10+ / 0-)

    from Juan Cole's Informed Comment blog:

    Jim says:
    November 22, 2010 at 10:14 pm
    Did any of the attacked flights originate in the United States?


    That reminds me of an old joke.

    One night I’m walking down a street. Ahead of me I see a man crawling around underneath a streetlight. I stop and ask him what he’s doing. He tells me he’s looking for his wallet. He says he dropped it.

    “Ok,” I said, “but I don’t see a wallet. Are you sure this is where you lost it?”

    “No,” he said and pointed, “I lost it in that dark alley down the street.”

    “So… why are you looking here – instead of the alley?”

    “Why? Because the light’s better.”

  •  There is already a country with... (11+ / 0-)

    a national airline  that is under constant threat of terrorist attack from within and without that has not had a hi-jacking, airport or airplane bombing in over 35 years, that country is Israel. They do not X-Ray passengers, they do scan suspect luggage  and packages, but it is targeted and specific not this wholesale "security theater" that we specialize in. All the passengers on any flight are briefly spoken to and asked to produce travel documents and tickets. Those who are bona fide move quickly through the queue and board the aircraft.
    Those who are questionable are brought into private areas for more extensive questioning, if there are problems they are detained and any baggage and or carry on packages or parcels are removed from the stage of processing they are in and examined.

    This process is done civilly and quietly by professional security people trained to observe, question and act. Rarely are there any mishaps and no bona fide passenger has ever been back scatter X-rayed or "fondled" by El Al security. I have flown into and out of Israel several times and have never experienced any of the levels of rudeness, bureaucratic insanity and ridiculously intrusive insulting behavior typical in American airports.

    Technology created for handling prisoners and criminals in large batches in jails and criminal courts is not going to stop a terror attack. Training, security awareness, intelligence and presence are the necessary components in controlling any security situation. Using machines as substitues for careful training and intimidating the populace your putatively trying to protect is both stupid and ineffective.

    Toughening security is about information and action not sifting sand through a sieve to catch the world's stupidest terrorist. Because only the world's stupidest terrorist wouldn't be able to circumvent the security measures of the TSA.

    Limit access, do thorough background checks on all employees at any airport, security screen all employees who regularly enter and exit before they are at the airport, have biometric identification of all airport, airline and service provider's personnel, have a real and effective terrorist watchlist, clean up the stupid and inefficient "no fly" lists and track frequent flyers so that they can move rapidly through the boarding process. There are so many things we could be doing efficiently and cost effectively that we aren't doing and we are doing too many things that are both expensive and of marginal utility.

    It is time to revamp and redefine the mission and processes of the DHS and TSA, before we spend more billions of dollars to have our shoes examined and "junk" ogled or fondled.  

    "Intelligence is quickness in seeing things as they are..." George Santayana

    by KJG52 on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 10:42:50 PM PST

    •  Excellent comment (7+ / 0-)

      I would add, that I think the reason for the striking difference between the El Al security approach and our TSA has to do with the different needs for the security in the first place:

      - El Al is responding to a genuine threat (caused by Israel's treatment of the Palestinians) and needs measures that are effective against that threat.  The threat is real, and real measures are needed against it.

      - The TSA is responding to the ghost of 9/11, and all the psychological fears that brings up.  Never mind that effective measures against a repeat of 9/11-style airplane takeovers have already been taken: locks on stronger cockpit doors, and passengers who will never again sit passively and allow terrorists to take over an airplane.  

      How do you protect people against psychological fears?  Especially when the government has spent years fanning those fears so as to better pursue foreign wars?  U.S. domestic security policies are not based on logic, but on satisfying the demands of a political establishment that relies on promoting public fear.  Our present situation with the grotesque "security" checks imposed on us by the TSA is the culmination of years spent paddling down this stream.

    •  El Al is a small operation, not comparable (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Roadbed Guy

      You have exactly 10 seconds to change that look of disgusting pity into one of enormous respect!

      by Cartoon Peril on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 11:47:08 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Every airline is a small operation flight... (6+ / 0-)

        by flight, the largest airliners carry on average 300 to 450 people. Three to seven people handle the in-flight service and there is no reason to believe that even a 747 or the newest Airbus heavy couldn't be handled in this manner as El Al does it every day. It's not the size of the departure gate area  its the people on each flight that have to be handled and it could be done if we allocated resources properly to its effective performance.  

        "Intelligence is quickness in seeing things as they are..." George Santayana

        by KJG52 on Wed Nov 24, 2010 at 12:31:14 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Having been deemed "questionable" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pgm 01, JesseCW

      Those who are questionable are brought into private areas for more extensive questioning,

      simply because I didn't recognise the badly pronounced name of a co-worker from a different location who was travelling on the same flight.

      I was pulled aside, placed in a room, interrogated by several different people for about one and a half hours. I was eventually released 10 mins before take off after they had contacted my business partner in Israel ( who ironically was a reserve colonel in Israeli intelligence).

      And interestingly, the co-worker wasn't pulled back for extra questioning!!

      "What has happened down here is the wind have changed. Clouds roll in from the north and it started to rain"

      by senilebiker on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 11:58:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Every system has its drawbacks... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pgm 01

        however, on balance I believe that our system has far more cost and less effectiveness than El Al's. I am sorry that you had such a difficult experience, I personally have never had this situation arise with El Al.

        "Intelligence is quickness in seeing things as they are..." George Santayana

        by KJG52 on Wed Nov 24, 2010 at 12:35:03 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Wasn't difficult - more like amusing. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          pgm 01, JesseCW

          Just not particularly effective - false positive.

          But my name must have gone into their database, because on the way back, I had the pleasure of sitting next to the skymarshall.  He must have been warm in that nice leather jacket.

          "What has happened down here is the wind have changed. Clouds roll in from the north and it started to rain"

          by senilebiker on Wed Nov 24, 2010 at 12:43:10 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Tom Tomorrow on the Security Theater Follies! (7+ / 0-)

    He's right, many Americans are as subservient as sheep.

    Californians: The Courage Campaign is working for changing the 2/3 budget rule and for ending Prop 8. Go!

    by tmo on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 10:48:47 PM PST

  •  2:30 AM (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pgm 01, Clio2

    I'll check in later in the morning--you know, the part that has sunlight in it.  Thanks to those who commented so far.

  •  Now they want to expand to trains, boats, subway, (8+ / 0-)

    and Federal buildings. We need somebody to find out and post what politicans  are getting paid to push the naked scanner or junk grope choice on us. We may not be able to compete with the millions a lobbyist can kick back to politicians, but we can at least let the voters know who is pimping them out, and for how much.

    They should be doing more on air cargo, and less groping.

  •  How about them sky marshalls? (0+ / 0-)

    how many hijackings have these guys prevented since 911?

    I was living for the last year in the Middle East, and check-in to gate in both Bahrain and Dubai were under 10 minutes. Dubai was the worst because of the 400 metre walk from the checkin area to the gate.

    Did I feel less safe? - Not a t all.

    "What has happened down here is the wind have changed. Clouds roll in from the north and it started to rain"

    by senilebiker on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 11:48:45 PM PST

  •  The one thing I notice about... (6+ / 0-)

    other airports around the world is that they have moved the screening point to the gate areas so that screening is more focused just before you get on a flight and is less crazy with a 1000 people on line waiting to get screened.

    Then the screeners can focus more on the individuals and real risks rather then just trying to get people through the line.

    Obama - Change I still believe in

    by dvogel001 on Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 11:51:47 PM PST

  •  The only question I have for those who say... (0+ / 0-)

    that the screens are an unconstitutional violation of their liberties is: where in the constitution are you granted the right to fly on and airplane?

    One view of this is that there is no "right" to fly; therefore, airlines can whatever policies they want to ensure the safety of their crew and equipment, so long as they don't discriminate on race, gender, etc...

    In the current situation, the commercial airlines choose to use municiple airports that have TSA screening before boarding. If an airline doesn't want its passengers to go through that extensive of a screen before boarding, they could find an alternative airport to land and board passengers.

    If a person doesn't want to submit themselves to the screening process, they do have other travel options including trains (and I wish there were better rail systems in the US), buses, and automobiles.

    Personally, I feel that the searches are an unnecessary window dressing that really don't increase the safety of our airplanes, they just make sheeple think they are more safe because something is happening. If a terrorist wanted to bring down a plane, there are plenty of ways that they could get around these screens, they just haven't tested the methods yet.

    There is no way to guarantee 100% safety, and the pursuit of 100% safety will only lead to less than 100% satifaction with whatever process is put in place.

    •  So freedom of the press is only for a printing (7+ / 0-)

      press because TV and the Internet, like airplanes, did not exist when it was written. Nope.

    •  For now, maybe... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Charles CurtisStanley, Clio2

      But as We Won comments above, those pushing these scanners and their government enablers DO desire to see them employed for subways, trains, and buses, so there go all the options except travel by car.

      Luckily for me, they cannot (yet) mandate a remotely-viewed naked scanner to be installed at my home and force me to use it before I get into my car. Yet.

      Living kidney donor needed; type B, O, or incompatible (with paired donation). Drop me a note (see profile).

      by Kitsap River on Wed Nov 24, 2010 at 02:24:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No... (0+ / 0-)

        but the Rapidscan Corporation (whose CEO went to India on Air Force One with the President this month) makes car/truck scanners and sells them to the Gov.

        I supported Pres. Obama, and I am questioning that choice.

        by mlandman on Thu Nov 25, 2010 at 09:26:57 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  FYI: 49 U.S.C. § 40103(a)(2) (6+ / 0-)

      "A citizen of the United States has a public right of transit through the navigable airspace."

      --- Perma-ban or bust. - opendna

      by opendna on Wed Nov 24, 2010 at 04:08:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I am sorry not to have the cite (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Caneel, out of left field

      but have been told by more than one attorney that freedom to travel by air is proteced by the Constitution according to a past SCOTUS decision.

      Many peple have to fly for work reasons. Or for family emergencies. Or because it's the only way to maintain important family and personal relationships, given the small amount of leave most people are allowed to take from their jobs, if they are fortunate enought to have jobs, of course.

      Millions of people, and the economy, have come to depend on air travel. It's a part of normal daily life.

      You can't take a part of normal daily life and suddenly proclaim it an extra-Constitutional area.

    •  It is not the right to fly... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      out of left field

      it is "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

      Let me look that over again...
      Nope, I see no exclution for airports. If you think airports are different since they are attrative targets since airplanes have been attacked, so are trains and subways(Madrid and London) and streets (Iraq to on a daily basis, to say the least).

      In fact...I can't think of any places that has people in it that are unattractive targets.

      I supported Pres. Obama, and I am questioning that choice.

      by mlandman on Thu Nov 25, 2010 at 09:24:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Checkout this link on OperationGrabAss / opt out (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pgm 01
  •  Wow, is this ever a mega stupid quote (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Clio2, FG

    The organization, if it exists, would be focused on its real enemies. Try to imagine the propaganda value of terrorists wiping out the neoconservatives in one fell swoop

    WTF?  The neoconservatives are the most productive allies the terrorists have ever had . . . (with the neoliberals working hard to stay in the running, of course).

    •  You completely missed the snark on that one? (0+ / 0-)

      "The people are at bay, let the bloodhounds of money who have dogged us beware" Mary Ellen Lease

      by JesseCW on Wed Nov 24, 2010 at 06:27:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  If you read the original article (0+ / 0-)

      you will see that Paul Craig Roberts first points out how damaging to Muslims and Arab countries such officials as Donald Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, et al have been.  Therefore, if one accepts Al Qaeda as a serious organization, fighting against the perceived enemies of Arabs by terrorist means, targeting those government officials makes sense.  

      To quote another part of Roberts' article:

      The final proof that there are no terrorists is that not a single neoconservative or government official responsible for the Bush regime's invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan and the Obama regime's slaughters of Pakistanis, Yemenis, and Somalians has been assassinated. None of these Americans who are responsible for lies, deceptions, and invasions that have destroyed the lives of countless numbers of Muslims have any security protection. If Muslims were capable of pulling off 9/11, they are certainly capable of assassinating Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perle, Feith, Libby, Condi Rice, Kristol, Bolton, Goldberg, and scores of others during the same hour of the same day. [snip]

      Think about it. Would a terror organization capable of outwitting all 16 US intelligence agencies, all intelligence agencies of US allies including Israel's Mossad, the National Security Council, NORAD, air traffic control, the Pentagon, and airport security four times in one hour put its unrivaled prestige at risk with improbable shoe bombs, shampoo bombs, and underwear bombs?

      After success in destroying the World Trade Center and blowing up part of the Pentagon, it is an extraordinary comedown to go after a mere airliner. Would a person who gains fame by knocking out the world heavyweight boxing champion make himself a laughing stock by taking lunch money from school boys?

      Roberts' point is that the official picture of Al Qaeda makes no sense, given their supposed subsequent actions after 9/11.  Of course, this calls into question, not just the actions of Al Qaeda after 9/11, but their supposed role in the 9/11 attacks themselves.  Unfortunately, we cannot discuss that particular matter on this blog.

  •  The $10,000 fine is a bluff. (0+ / 0-)

    The statute calls for this fine for entering the "sanitized area' without going through screening. If you refuse the scan or grope, and leave, you've  never entered what the law defines as the sanitized area.

    Agricultural hemp is "Jobs, Jobs, Jobs."

    by ben masel on Wed Nov 24, 2010 at 03:36:19 AM PST

  •  FBI created plots (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    out of left field, Clio2, JesseCW

    It's generally not actual Agents who instigate these things, rather professional snitches working on commission. If there's no 'plot,' they get only minimal pay for monitoring a scene, so the incentive is to organize a "plot" among folks whose propensity for violence is merely rhetorical, so that you can then bring it down for the big paychesk. This scenario dates at least to the 1960s.

    Agricultural hemp is "Jobs, Jobs, Jobs."

    by ben masel on Wed Nov 24, 2010 at 03:42:39 AM PST

  •  Alternate methods of travel ... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    out of left field, Clio2

    do not exist for residents and tourists between the U.S. mainland and U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, by the way, considered domestic travel.

    I am working on my swimming endurance.

    But, seriously, it has been an eye-opener over the last nine years to watch the size of the security apparatus increase, as well as costs to the taxpayer, the gruffness of small minds granted dictatorial power and the size of the crowds assembled in tight spaces awaiting a security check, a virtual bulls eye, while we do not know what's going into checked baggage or the so-called "food" provisions loaded onto airplanes or who is going in and out of the airport.

    The "discretion" offered to TSA employees varies from airport to airport, individual to individual. These are lower-paid functionaries cowering the traveling public. And it is growing in intensity. From the blaring monotone security messages in airports straight through the flight, we are assaulted by a totalitarian dictatorship every time we fly.

    We are the victims here of a serial fantasies.

    As soon as the TSA was formed, I could see it coming.

    I resent the pundits, columnists and bloggers who are attempting to paint this with red/blue colors of divisive politics. Some of us read the faces of cowered fellow travelers, paying for this experience and losing items out of baggage, having baggage destroyed, wondering for years when we are finally going to stand up to this authoritarian nightmare?

    Well, the pot is boiling over and I for one am glad the message is getting out to the TSA administration. What other way would they possibly listen to their victims? Who? What? They are shocked. Shocked. Why, the polls show blah, blah, blah. Ah, yes, we the traveling public, already demonstrating faith in the pilots, personnel and maintenance by the airlines and airports.

    I don't "choose" to fly. I have to fly to get off this little rock in the sea.

    It is their attitude, their hold on us, their play on fear on such a grand scale to steer us like sheep that is constitutionally questionable and inhumane. Just what am I paying for?

    I am old enough to have had civics courses in school, to have been imbued with New England history as I was growing up. Every cell in my Damn Yankee body stands on alert as I face them. The power of a militarized government is on their side and they have become what they fear.



    In a room where people unanimously maintain a conspiracy of silence, one word of truth sounds like a pistol shot." ~ Czeslaw Milosz

    by Caneel on Wed Nov 24, 2010 at 05:53:53 AM PST

    •  Very eloquent (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      raboof, Caneel, out of left field

      Misunderstandings that I've seen:

      The Tea Baggers are up in arms about the TSA procedures, therefore we should be in favor of them.

      We have two choices: either abandon our personal boundaries, civil liberties and human rights, or else submit to racial profiling. We have no other choices to improve air travel safety.

      Karl Rove has cooked up this whole controversy to hurt President Obama.

      Because persons of color have been abused and humiliated for years by the police [and this is perfectly true-Clio2], therefore it's appropriate that everybody should be abused and humiliated by TSA because it will teach some of the more privileged a lesson.

      There are many other important issues, therefore we should stop bothering about this one.

      We need to go along with this because of the next election.

      "I" don't mind, so nobody else should.

  •  Well ... of course (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    In a room where people unanimously maintain a conspiracy of silence, one word of truth sounds like a pistol shot." ~ Czeslaw Milosz

    by Caneel on Wed Nov 24, 2010 at 06:34:14 AM PST

  •  Meanwhile in Boston ... (0+ / 0-)

    the police are investigating the death of a North Carolina teenager found on a street under a Logan Airport approach route. It is thought the kid stowed away in a plane's landing gear well.

    How he got past security is the thing that no one in the news media is willing to even think about, much less report.

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