Skip to main content

airplane in the sky
Objectively anti-hijack
People just don't like the Transportation Security Administration. That's an understandable thing. As someone who flies with some frequency, complying with the security protocols at airports can be time-consuming and seemingly invasive, even as so many of us, I have mastered the routine of taking my shoes and belt off and placing my shampoo and contact lens solution into small bottles specifically designed for the three-ounce limit that TSA imposes upon me. Much of it feels like unnecessary security theater: being required to take an overabundance of precaution in an effort to ensure that everything possible is being done.

But while an average passenger may view the TSA as an inconvenience—perhaps even a worthwhile one—there is a movement afoot among some conservatives and libertarian opponents of the security state to abolish the TSA completely and treat boarding an airplane like boarding a train or a bus. And these arguments could be respected, if they had the remotest degree of sanity.

The most recent editorialist to make an argument for abolishing the TSA was Dylan Matthews of Vox. Now, one would expect arguments against the existence of the TSA to center around to basic concepts: either the TSA is ineffective at preventing attacks, or that the amount of security that TSA requires us to undergo is ineffective. The former might be an argument for abolition, the latter an argument at least for reform. But Matthews' argument is neither:

A literature review by George Mason's Cynthia Lum and Rutgers' Leslie Kennedy and Alison Sherley shows that studies testing the effectiveness of airport security — specifically, of metal detectors and security screenings — found, on average, that the measures in question prevented about 6.3 hijackings over the years examined. If that were all they found, that'd be a pretty solid case for the TSA.

But the attacks weren't simply being prevented; they were being displaced. While there were 6.3 fewer hijackings, there were 6.8 more "miscellaneous bombings, armed attacks, hostage taking, and events which included death or wounded individuals (as opposed to non-casualty incidents) in both the short and long run." Making hijackings harder, in other words, didn't reduce attacks, but encouraged would-be hijackers to attack through other means.

More below the fold.

Matthews isn't arguing that the TSA isn't effective in preventing attacks on airplanes; he concedes, after all, that security protocols prevent hijackings. Instead he's arguing that we shouldn't be in the business of preventing attacks on airplanes at all. After all, if we prevent attacks on airplanes, terrorists will simply attack elsewhere, so why bother? Matthews makes no mention of the fact that bringing down an airliner is a horrific event with certain mass casualties and is not simply an "event that includes death or wounded individuals" like the armed attacks and hostage taking he is including as part of his argument against security protocols. Even more dishonestly, Matthews uses these numbers—a lack of reduction in overall attacks—as evidence that the TSA "isn't doing its job," even though its job is to prevent attacks on transportation targets and the very numbers Matthews cites seem to confirm that it is doing exactly that. By the same argument, Matthews should make sure to leave his front door wide open at night. After all, what's the good in preventing burglary if that burglar is just going to strike elsewhere?

But as crazy as Dillon's argument for abolishing the TSA is, his argument for what should replace it is even worse: a privatized model where each individual airline is responsible for its own security protocols.

What to do, then? Simple: just abolish the agency. This is hardly an extreme proposal; members of Congress, including influential figures like Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) and Congressman John Mica (R-Florida), have endorsed it. The Cato Institute's Chris Edwards wants to privatize the TSA and devolve its responsibilities to airports, but that preserves far too much of the status quo. Better would be to make security the responsibility of individual airlines, so as to allow competition on that dimension.
Let's game this scenario out a little bit. Matthews envisions a scenario where more carefree travelers like himself who have less regard for their own personal safety will have airlines that choose to offer no security screenings so people like him can show up to a flight 20 minutes beforehand and walk right onto the plane. Will it actually turn out that way? Probably not. Because safety is paramount, the far likelier result is a scenario where this hypothetical free-market system actually results in airlines competing against each other to outdo each other on security protocols. So the likelihood is that the free-market-competition scenario wouldn't result in less security anyway, especially in a litigious society where low-level security protocols would likely result in very high-priced lawsuits.

But let's say, for the sake of argument, that there were an airline out there that specifically chose to appeal to customers who believed that the security theater of the TSA is all hogwash and were desperate for a security-free experience. Theoretically, there might be an economic opportunity there—until the first incident of hijacking or terrorism aboard a low-security airline. When that happens, airlines would once again start falling all over themselves to offer even more stringent security procedures to appeal to a very scared public. And perhaps, after a decade or more, when the memory of the most recent devastating tragedy fades away, the cycle would begin again.

The bottom line is that Matthews' suggestion for how we should run security at airports would not create the paradise he desires. Instead, it would leave us with a privatized hellscape where mass casualty incidents cyclically alter the free-market selling points that airlines use to attract customers.

Perhaps that's an ideal libertarian paradise. But given the choice between that and the scanner? I take the scanner.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Rand Paul endorsing something clearly doesn't (25+ / 0-)

    make it "not extreme". I might think the opposite.

    This is hardly an extreme proposal; members of Congress, including influential figures like Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) and Congressman John Mica (R-Florida), have endorsed it.

    The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy;the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness

    by CTMET on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 03:05:02 PM PDT

  •  What a complete load of fucking bollocks! (25+ / 15-)

    When democrats support fascist kabuki theatre bullshit we all lose.

    Just like Obama endorsing the illegal surveillance state of the Bush administration, Democrats endorsing the TSA police state that fails to actually keep us safe, but gets us conditioned to Big Brother alá 1984, does nothing to increase security but gets us ready for the further elimination of our rights.

    Fuck you and fuck all Democrats & Republicans that support the TSA.

    A corporate duopoly indeed.

    by gendjinn on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 03:05:49 PM PDT

  •  scanners work, but they still use human operators (12+ / 0-)

    which is often where the weak link might be. OTOH, there are just so many yahoos trying to sneak just enough stupid crap into their luggage.

    FRIDAY, MAY 30, 2014 TSA Week in Review – Grenade Discovered in Carry-on Bag at LAX

    Grenade at LAX - A Mk 2 hand grenade was discovered in a carry-on bag at the Los Angeles (LAX) International Airport. The Terminal 1 checkpoint was closed while the Explosive Ordnance Disposal team transported the grenade to an offsite location to be disrupted. Five flights were delayed 2 hours, 19 minutes, affecting 800 passengers. The individual was arrested and is facing felony charges in Los Angeles County.

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "If we appear to seek the unattainable, then let it be known that we do so to avoid the unimaginable." (@eState4Column5)

    by annieli on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 03:09:17 PM PDT

  •  Oh, yes (6+ / 0-)

    Patronize the airline that allows you to drive right up onto the runway 5 minutes before the plane leaves, and run up the stairs, just like the old days.

    Or allow passengers to carry their own firearms on board, to stop any bad guys with guns.

    Maybe there will be an airline that makes everyone fly naked, to simplify the pre-boarding searches.

    Another airline would only accept elderly white anglo-saxon protestants, who hijack at very low rates.

    Let a thousand business plans bloom!

    “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

    by 6412093 on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 03:10:45 PM PDT

  •  I"m not a fan of the TSA either (16+ / 0-)

    Seems like there could be lots more efficient ways of getting people through the process. I've seen much better in other countries and they don't have tons of hijackings.

    I always figured it was part of the Bush Bullshit on Terror.

    “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

    by ban nock on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 03:11:27 PM PDT

    •  We don't take off our shoes in Europe. (8+ / 0-)

      And the liquids ban might change, if it hasn't already. We also use metal detectors instead of those x-ray machines.

      Some airports are better staffed than others, but other than the above, the procedure seems the same everywhere I've been.

      Obama: Pro-Pentagon, pro-Wall Street, pro-drilling, pro-fracking, pro-KXL, pro-surveillance. And the only person he prosecuted for the U.S. torture program is the man who revealed it. Clinton: More of the same.

      by expatjourno on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 03:26:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  mostly I go through Bangkok, Taipei, and Singapore (5+ / 0-)

        there never seem to be such long delays and hassles. Carry on bags through a conveyor and walk through a metal detector with keys etc in basket. Might have to wait for five other people.

        In times of heightened alert like when Bush started a war or just after 9/11 they had a middle aged plain clothes cop looking at everyone going through. The big 747 out of Indonesia when it got to Taipei had everyone get off and line up to have their passport leafed through and one long look in the eye from a federal policeman. Indonesia is the largest Muslim country.

        I think experienced policemen are one of the best detectors going.

        “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

        by ban nock on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 04:26:56 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The Israeli's have this down to a science and are (0+ / 0-)

          very serious about security.  We fly mainly to Europe, and specifically to Frankfurt, Germany.  I do not fly as much as I did for business anymore (retired from that line of work) as traveling every week (but for a few for vacation with the family), a minimum of four flights a week for over 7 years got to be a bit of a hassle.  Yes, one does rack up the frequent flier miles and is at the top of the "food chain" in terms of flying programs, and always flying in First, or Business Class with the airlines, but there is a trade off.

          “My soul is from elsewhere, I'm sure of that, and I intend to end up there." - Rumi

          by LamontCranston on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 06:36:17 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  thought you criticized anyone who flew (0+ / 0-)

          oh, that's only others

      •  It varies somewhat (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ban nock, Bush Bites, sethtriggs

        My understanding is that the US has basically required that for flights to the US, the originating airport has to use TSA equivalent screening (except the shoes thing).

        I boarded this morning in Slovenia, bound for Germany, and we had to go through the same rigamarole (except no taking off shoes) but it was pretty relaxed.

        OTH in Morocco they confiscated the unopened bottle of Coca-cola that I had just bought at the kiosk across from the gate. (They screen twice, once when you enter the airport and again at the gate -- at least they did, maybe six years ago.)

      •  It's the shoe removal and the liquids ban that (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rosetribe, sphealey

        gets to me.  I now fly without toothpaste, or shaving cream, and such and buy it at the destination point, or use hotel amenities which are free.  They will also provide you with toothpaste as well at some of the better hotels I stay at (H****n).  I was even given complementary deodorant AND shaving cream at one of the hotel chains that I am enrolled in from their hotel store.  I doesn't happen often, but I ask anyways.  

        For the record:  I won't sit at home filling little bottles, either.

        I think that the shoe bomber event pretty much proved just how stupid the entire plot was, and Jane's Defense Weekly did a story many years ago about just what it would take to make a liquid bomb while in flight:  It wasn't feasible either.  

        So, what do I think of the TSA?  

        "Thousands, Standing, Around."

        Don't get me wrong as I do believe in security for the flying public, it's just that it has gotten to be ridiculous with the "Simon Says Do This, Simon Says Do That" hassle the public has to do in order to fly.  On top of that, now with less TSA personnel working the lines (thank you Republicans and the sequester), it takes far longer than it really should.  Besides I have flown enough over the past 15 years to have seen to many Grannys and other non threatening folks get pulled off the que for extra pat downs and questioning.  I have a real problem with that.  If you are flying First Class, then you don't get hassled (must be the "Animal Farm" theory in practice) unless you are the first "Jack Rabbit" to jump in line to be the very first to board when they call for First Class passengers to board.  They will get pulled and searched.  But then again, any seasoned business traveler knows to hang back, and not be that "Jack Rabbit"...  I am glad I don't travel as much as I did as my patience for this process has worn out.

        Europe and other countries handle this security process far better than the US, and we should take few lessons from them.  Till then, I will wear easy on and off shoes, wear a certain belt that won't trip the metal detectors, take only my Ipad mini and cell phone, and leave the pocket change in the car before catching a flight.

        “My soul is from elsewhere, I'm sure of that, and I intend to end up there." - Rumi

        by LamontCranston on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 06:28:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Of course, one day hijackers will realize (0+ / 0-)

          that blowing up the security line has the same effect as blowing up a plane. You kill just as many people and you shut down the entire airport. Coordinate such an attack across a number of airports and you shut down the entire system. He fact that this hasn't happened may say a lot more about other parts of the security apparatus that we love to complain about here, and perhaps something about the ignorance of organizations like Al Qaeda. With the death of Osama bin Laden, there isn't a lot of sophistication left. We have killed and incapacitated so manny wannabes.

          Voting is the means by which the public is distracted from the realities of power and its exercise.

          by Anne Elk on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 08:07:21 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Wouldn't that drive up the costs of (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    expatjourno

    airline tickets?

    •  As would hijackers crashing planes into each other (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      on the cusp, hbk, G2geek

      A fully loaded Airbus A-380 from a low-security airline gets hijacked on the runway and crashes into a fully loaded Airbus A-380 from a high-security airline.

      Kaboom.

      1050 to 1706 passengers plus crew dead in an instant. That's gotta leave a mark on the balance sheet. And paying extra for a high-security airline didn't help the victims on the targeted plane.

      Obama: Pro-Pentagon, pro-Wall Street, pro-drilling, pro-fracking, pro-KXL, pro-surveillance. And the only person he prosecuted for the U.S. torture program is the man who revealed it. Clinton: More of the same.

      by expatjourno on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 03:39:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I was thinking about rates increasing (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        expatjourno

        because the costs of privatized security would be passed on to the consumers.  
        Any excuse to jack up the price, doncha know...

      •  Hijacking is no longer a realistic option. (9+ / 0-)

        There have been dramatically fewer successful hijackings since 9/11 since the "correct" behavior during a hijacking changed from "sit quietly and don't make yourself a threat, the plane will get diverted to Cuba and you'll be fine" to "mob and beat up, if not kill, the hijacker immediately".

        The two security changes that have actually helped are locked and reinforced cockpit doors, and passenger behavior.

        •  It is with plastic explosives and automatic... (0+ / 0-)

          ...weapons, which, in theory, there'd be no security to stop.

          Obama: Pro-Pentagon, pro-Wall Street, pro-drilling, pro-fracking, pro-KXL, pro-surveillance. And the only person he prosecuted for the U.S. torture program is the man who revealed it. Clinton: More of the same.

          by expatjourno on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 09:09:25 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Why would there be no security? (0+ / 0-)

            There was airport security sufficient to deter plastic explosives and automatic weapons before the creation of the TSA.

            And I don't think either of those would lead to a successful hijacking. If they take the plane, you're dead either way, so might as well try to stop them.

            •  Because it would be optional. (0+ / 0-)

              Security was much less effective before TSA. You think TSA is bad....

              Obama: Pro-Pentagon, pro-Wall Street, pro-drilling, pro-fracking, pro-KXL, pro-surveillance. And the only person he prosecuted for the U.S. torture program is the man who revealed it. Clinton: More of the same.

              by expatjourno on Wed Jun 04, 2014 at 11:16:05 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  The cost of TSA is already built into ticket price (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mosesfreeman

      Have you noticed how much of what you pay for a ticket is security taxes? I doubt it would be more expensive done privately by the airlines -- but it would be crazy unwieldy. Instead of having security at the airport entrance, you'd have to have it at the gate, or at the entrance to that airline's section of the airport -- and that means going through it again for your connecting flight.

      This is one of those ideas that sounds great until you look at what implementing it would look like.

  •  Somehow, I tend to doubt this (11+ / 0-)

    information:

    A literature review by George Mason's Cynthia Lum and Rutgers' Leslie Kennedy and Alison Sherley shows that studies testing the effectiveness of airport security — specifically, of metal detectors and security screenings — found, on average, that the measures in question prevented about 6.3 hijackings over the years examined. If that were all they found, that'd be a pretty solid case for the TSA.
    I don't recall anything remotely like 6 arrests for attempted hijacking/bombing per year, nor 6 trials for same, or conspiracy or such. Do you? Does anybody here?

    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

    by enhydra lutris on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 03:14:12 PM PDT

    •  No study can judge the deterrent effect. (3+ / 0-)

      It also seems unclear whether it's 6.3 annually or over multiple years.

      Obama: Pro-Pentagon, pro-Wall Street, pro-drilling, pro-fracking, pro-KXL, pro-surveillance. And the only person he prosecuted for the U.S. torture program is the man who revealed it. Clinton: More of the same.

      by expatjourno on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 03:28:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I took it as per year, but either way it (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Australian2

        should like that kind of shit that comes from agency haeds lying testifying to Congress about what a wonderful job they'e doing. "Hey, we stopped hundreds of attacks. Well tens, at any rate. Would you buy 3? No really, there was this old guy with a turban who had a cane ... ."

        That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

        by enhydra lutris on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 04:40:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Like the DHS, the TSA is a vestige of the Bushstag (16+ / 0-)

    and should be obliterated.

    Legal means "good".
    [41984 | Feb 4, 2005]

    by xxdr zombiexx on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 03:14:26 PM PDT

  •  I guess Matthews never heard of using planes as... (8+ / 0-)

    ...weapons.

    Fucking idiot.

    Obama: Pro-Pentagon, pro-Wall Street, pro-drilling, pro-fracking, pro-KXL, pro-surveillance. And the only person he prosecuted for the U.S. torture program is the man who revealed it. Clinton: More of the same.

    by expatjourno on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 03:15:47 PM PDT

  •  Who needs it, when we have the NRA approved, (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annieli, Bush Bites, Gooserock, indres

    'Archie Bunker' method of travel safety;

    "Just because we have the best hammer does not mean that every problem is a nail." - My President

    by Fordmandalay on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 03:20:07 PM PDT

  •  Who's against decent security? (22+ / 0-)

    The TSA on the other hand is a load of inefficient, bureaucratic bollocks.

    Apparently, we're all potential shoe bombers, capable of mixing complex fluids enroute.

    Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man; we shall this day light such a candle by God's grace in England as shall never be put out.

    by Bollox Ref on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 03:23:30 PM PDT

    •  They are a bunch of petty Napoleons (5+ / 0-)

      Forcing women to drink their own breast milk, threatening folks for talking back or wearing the wrong T-shirt, laughing at people's naked silhouettes, pulling off their colostomy bags and stealing their stuff.

      I wouldn't miss 'em!

      … the NSA takes significant care to prevent any abuses and that there is a substantial oversight system in place,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California), said August 23.

      by mosesfreeman on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 04:36:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  yes, you can mix complex fluids onboard. (0+ / 0-)

      Go to the airliner bathroom.

      Pour contents of container A into container B.

      Shake gently for a minute or so.

      Whack it on the counter next to the sink.

      Boom.  Explosive decompression.  300 fatalities.

      We got the future back. Uh-oh.

      by G2geek on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 06:15:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Right.......... (0+ / 0-)

        So, some dodgy looking guy, fumbling around in his carry-on for the important vials, amongst everything going on, is going to stand quietly, with said vials, that need to be held very carefully, in the queue for the lav, without anyone noticing.

        Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man; we shall this day light such a candle by God's grace in England as shall never be put out.

        by Bollox Ref on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 07:00:58 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  they don't have to be held carefully... (0+ / 0-)

          ... until after they're mixed together.

          Separately they're as harmless as shampoo.

          But he won't look dodgy, and he won't look any different to all the other silly geese who fumble with their carry-ons.

          For which reason IMHO it should require having a flight attendant to get one's stuff down from the overhead bin.  "More theater?"  I like it when the play has a happy ending.

          We got the future back. Uh-oh.

          by G2geek on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 08:31:27 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Gotta disagree with you there. (0+ / 0-)

            I'm not a chemist, but Miggles below links to an article describing the chemistry of the dreaded "liquid bomb".

            The ingredients are pure acetone, and two extremely strong acids.

            Not harmless. And not safe to try to smuggle aboard an aircraft in a shampoo bottle - they'll eat straight through.

            IMHO, the two-ingredient liquid bomb is not very feasible. Would make a scary mess, but probably wouldn't take an airliner out of the sky. And trying would result in a fate worse than death for any would-be-terrorist.

      •  Don't think so. I remember analyses at the time (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AaronInSanDiego

        describing how infeasible this was.  You'd need incredibly high concentrations of those liquids A & B to the point where maintaining their stability would become quite involved.  Not going to fit in a carryon bag.

        http://www.theregister.co.uk/...

        •  I remember seeing the chemistry... (2+ / 0-)

          Going from Miggles's link, the explosive in question is TATP, which in theory, could be made from household chemicals.

          In reality, the danger's not there.

          You can't use drug store fingernail polish remover - way too dilute. You need the pure stuff, which is only available from chemistry supply shops, who keep paper trails and report suspicious purchases.

          Aside from that, it takes a couple of acids. And great skill in combining the ingredients without blowing up prematurely, which would result in a weak explosion that would fail to destroy the airplane, and instead spray boiling hot acid solution in your face, making you look like Freddie Kruger.

          It'd cause a scene, but the passengers would survive, the plane would make an emergency landing, and the would-be-terrorist would be doing time - first in a burn ward, then in prison.

          And you're not carrying the ingredients in a Gatorade bottle - they'll eat straight through.

          In short, the liquid bomb's just infeasible.

    •  Or, Let's Be Creative (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Australian2

      Why not, if you're an enterprising terrorist with a death wish, have surgery before your flight that replaces one of your kidneys with a brick of C4 wrapped in ceramic ballbearings?  Half a lung, too?  How about shoved up your colon, or in a subcutaneous belly pouch or breast augmentation?

      Or let's say you travel to Africa where ebola's surfacing right now, deliberately infect yourself with the virus, and get on a plane at Heathrow?  They'd never see that one coming.

  •  This is how it was before TSA (15+ / 0-)
    Better would be to make security the responsibility of individual airlines, so as to allow competition on that dimension.
    The airlines did contract checkpoint security pre-TSA, awarding contracts through collective airline agreement at each airport.  And I can say, as a former airline airport manager, that it was a terrible system.

    Because the airlines paid a per-passenger fee to support the security contract it was almost always awarded to the lowest bidder.  Because of this, the turnover rate of security personnel was horrendous - they were paid minimum wage, had generally terrible supervision, and were often either inept or incompetent.

    I often did FAA security tests through the checkpoints using a test object that was a handgun encapsulated in some kind of resin.  I once stuck it in the waist of my skirt and walked through the magnetometer, which correctly beeped.  No one stopped me.  The gun then fell out of my skirt onto the ground right in front of the 'security' personnel, I reached over, picked it up, and kept walking.  No one stopped me.  This is what he wants to go back to.

    I wasn't surprised at the airport security failures on 9/11.  Anyone familiar with the many flaws in the system wouldn't have been.  

    If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich." - John F. Kennedy

    by Dem Beans on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 03:24:26 PM PDT

  •  We've come a long way since 9-11. (6+ / 0-)

    Until the next 9-11, I guess, then people will be begging to be inconvenienced again.

  •  The goal is always ZERO taxes, of course. (9+ / 0-)

    Attack the VA, attack Social Security, privatize all schools, government agencies, Medicare, GI Bill, EVERYTHING. No safety nets.

    William Graham Sumner, an early tea-bagger: "A drunkard lying in the gutter is right where he ought to be."

    No EPA, no TSA.

    Oh, and get rid of the unions that stand in their way.

    Remember this agenda every time the GOP suggests something "even if it sounds good."

    "The soil under the grass is dreaming of a young forest, and under the pavement the soil is dreaming of grass."--Wendell Berry

    by Wildthumb on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 03:28:38 PM PDT

  •  The TSA, for all the billions of dollars spent... (16+ / 0-)

    ...on authoritarian little shits turning our airports into prisons, for all the money that went to Skeletor Michael Chertoff's company to buy those x-ray pornoscanner to give us digital strip searches, for all the bottles poured out, for all the shoes taken off, for the women made to drink their own breast milk, for all the detentions, all the people treated like criminals, has not caught one terrorist.

    Not. One.

    Fuck, yeah, abolish the TSA.

    •  Deterring terroism is just as effective, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      G2geek

      if not more so, than catching terrorists in the act.

      Here's my take on it - the revolution will not be blogged, it has to be slogged. - Deoliver47

      by OIL GUY on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 04:23:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Vaccination, for all the billions of dollars spent (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      red rabbit

      .... on sadistic little nurses who like to stick needles into children, for all the money that went to Big Pharma to buy all those little vials of vaccine, for all the children kept out of school until they could submit to a sadistic nurse sticking them with a needle, has not prevented one case of measles or pertussis.

      Not. One.

      Fuck yeah, abolish vaccinations.

      (if your snark-o-meter isn't reading full-scale, check the batteries)

      We got the future back. Uh-oh.

      by G2geek on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 06:27:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Nice bit of false equivalence. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ApostleOfCarlin

        Vaccination has a scientifically-proven, replicably-demonstrable causal link to preventing illnesses. The science and the medicine both stand up to repeated testing.

        TSA vis-a-vis terrorist attacks? Nothing more than correlation...which, as I'm sure a whiz-kid like you knows, is not causation.

        "Violence never requires translation, but it often causes deafness." - Bareesh the Hutt.

        by Australian2 on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 10:44:54 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  one can't do RCTs with social science hypotheses. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AaronInSanDiego

          Randomized controlled trials work in medicine, but can't be done in the social sciences.  Therefore much of what goes on in the social sciences is/are correlational studies.  

          Did the bailout save the economy?  Does capital punishment deter murder?  Etc., and the reason those kinds of topics are debated forever is that you can't just do a controlled experiment where all the variables are operationalized and extraneous ones are locked down.  Same case for security.  

          And realistically, we don't want to live in a society where everyone is relentlessly profiled just so some of us can get on a plane without taking our shoes & belts off.  It may be vaguely embarrassing to go hopping around in socks whilst one's pants are falling down, but the alternatives are worse.

          We got the future back. Uh-oh.

          by G2geek on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 11:50:30 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Yes but look at what other countries do (17+ / 0-)

    There are countries where the risk of terrorism is much greater than the USA but few of these have followed the TSA model.

    Mostly these countries rely on expert staff profiling passengers rather than minimum wage staff going through a ritual. Yes I said profiling. If profiling is based on blind prejudice it is useless. If, however, it is based on experienced staff judging based on real indicators and accepting that most of the passengers they pick out to ask some more questions are innocent and deserve courtesy, then these seems to be able to make a real difference.

    •  The anti-profiling stuff probably makes TSA.... (5+ / 0-)

      ....to to extremes to show lack of prejudice.

      But, as i recall, the check in software, which was pretty primitive at the time, did flag a couple of the 9-11 hijackers immediately.

      However, I believe the only suggested course of action for flagged passengers was to pull their bags if they didn't get on the plane.

      (Suicide bombing was still beyond the airlines' comprehension, for the most part, at that time.)

      •  CAPPS flagged Atta... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sethtriggs, G2geek, indres, rosetribe

        and two the hijackers of Flight 175 couldn't understand and answer the routine security questions at check in.

        According to the 9-11 commission, more than half of them were flagged. But, the security procedures of the time would subject their checked bags for extra scrutiny, but not them. According to the book "Unsafe at any Altitude," even if the airport security had picked up the box cutters, they wouldn't have stopped them anyway. It was perfectly to fine carry them on board. To this day, law enforcement still does not know whether the weapons they used were brought by them in their carry on bags or placed on board by airport employees.

        Unfortunately, the Bush administration's negligence was never investigated. Who knows what would have happened all the activity that was being picked wasn't ignored that summer and a warning had been issued to the airlines.

    •  I went through 3 security checks (8+ / 0-)

      in the Nairobi airport last Thursday.  I did not have to remove my shoes, and went through detectors, not a body scanner.
      We were all seated in a confined area under observation for over an hour before boarding.
      TSA protocol, by comparison, is no big deal.
      I would rather be safe than sorry.
      TSA needs improvement, not abolished.

      •  I flew a couple of months ago (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        on the cusp, sethtriggs, red rabbit

        for the 1st time since having a knee replacement.  I found it much easier than that standard security protocol. At 2 different airports I got into a shorter line, didn't have to take off my shoes, the scanner was quick.  At Newark they didn't have a scanner, so I had a pat down, but the agents were very polite and kept apologizing to me for the inconvenience.  In fact the TSA agents were much nicer than the airport personal at Newark.

        I agree that it's mostly security theater, but getting rid of it is not the answer.  

        •  the impression of "theater".... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          red rabbit, AaronInSanDiego

          ... is actually helpful because it gets some potential badguys to let down their guard just a bit.  Hence 1500 guns confiscated last year, and if you assume 99% of the people carrying guns were innocent mistakes, that's still 15 people carrying guns with intent to do harm, who were deprived of their "opportunity."

          We got the future back. Uh-oh.

          by G2geek on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 06:33:50 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  This is important (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      indres, Australian2, Odysseus

      Some here are acting as if the TSA is an all-or-nothing, "you're with us or your against us" kind of deal.  There's a lot of space between having no security, and going the full TSA.

      I am also weary of those who think that because their support for a police state was immediate following 9/11, that everyone else was similarly frightened and willing to relinquish their liberty, only to begin complaining once the attacks had slipped into the past.  That is not the case.

  •  The illusion of security is the very point (5+ / 0-)

    The illusion of security gives two advantages.

    1. It makes people think air travel is more secure.

    2. It deters most of the lone amateur kooks who are acting out a twisted revenge fantasy. Yes, they pick up guns and still kill people. But the jokes that permeate our cultural about the TSA searching little old ladies have an effect. A person will think twice about going through the TSA line with a weapon. Just the few questions they ask as they glance at your ID have a deterrent effect.

    That being said, I resent the whole process. But they do have a deterrent effect. I am certain of that.

    •  deterrence yes, resentment no. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      themank

      I don't object to the routines.  Taking off my belt is mildly annoying when my pants start to slip, but I can live with that.

      The "theater" aspect is also a deliberately cultivated impression, because it causes some of the potential badguys to be just a bit less careful when trying to hide weapons and the like before getting on a plane.

      We got the future back. Uh-oh.

      by G2geek on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 06:36:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Agree. A lot of it is security theater to keep (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      themank

      the Ma and Pa Kettles feeling safe.  The water carnival (liquids ban) is against a threat found in Hollywood movies, not reality.  The shoe carnival doesn't even work, thanks to the similar densities of shoe components and plastic explosives.

  •  Encouraging attacks through other means (0+ / 0-)

    Are we talking about would-be hijackers or are we talking about would-be shooters becoming stabbers if they weren't allowed to buy guns?

  •  As a frequent flyer (6+ / 0-)

    you do know that if you're a frequent flyer or pay for an upgrade in seating, you get the magical "Pre-Sreened" on your boarding pass which allows one to waltz through TSA without taking you shoes off or anything.  Just like the old days.

    Having flown recently on United Airlines I was surprised to see that for only $54 i could get the magical pre-screened and waltz through security.

    If I can buy my way through security, what's the point?

    "When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains, And the women come out to cut up what remains, Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains An' go to your Gawd like a soldier." Rudyard Kipling

    by EdMass on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 03:44:49 PM PDT

  •  i'd rather (7+ / 0-)

    drive for a week than put up with this bullshit.

    If you don't know that evolution is a fact, we have nothing else to talk about.

    by oysterwitch on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 03:45:22 PM PDT

  •  Sorry, Abolish the TSA (and Homeland Security) (12+ / 0-)

    The worst thing about 9/11 is it scared enough people into allowing these agencies to come into being -- agencies that are one step away from "Papers, Please."  If we must have security in lieu of freedom, the let it be smarter security, not a bunch of fry cook kleptomaniacs feeling little kids up or taking nude pictures with the Chertoff Cancer Machines.

    Hillary does not have the benefit of a glib tongue.

    by The Dead Man on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 03:46:58 PM PDT

    •  the worst thing about 9/11 is that it... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      red rabbit

      .... made people get all clingy, so they started carrying personal surveillance devices with closed-software-controlled mic, camera, and GPS tracker everywhere they went, and they got on Facebook and other places that scrutinize their every word, gesture, picture, and peep, at a level that NSA could only dream about.  

      And they did it because they were bamboozled into thinking all of this was convenient and fun, even though the underlying psychology goes back to those desperate last phone calls from the Twin Towers and the hijacked planes.

      "What if my loved one is about to die right now?" is a pretty damn good stick to disguise with a carrot of convenience.

      Best of all, those of us who won't play, are mocked as "Luddites."  That is a sign of a brainwashed culture.

      We got the future back. Uh-oh.

      by G2geek on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 07:28:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm with Bruce Scheier (5+ / 0-)

    on how most of what the TSA does is security theater. But putting security in the hands of the individual airlines seems like the worst of all possible worlds. How would it even be organized in the typical large airport? Separate airline-run checkpoints arranged side by side?

    "Turns out I'm really good at killing people." - President Obama

    by jrooth on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 03:48:53 PM PDT

    •  It worked fine before Sept. 2001 (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus
      But putting security in the hands of the individual airlines seems like the worst of all possible world
      Prior to our TSA misadventure, private companies contracted with the airlines or the individual airports. It was more than adequate.

      When I say it worked "fine" prior to 2001, I am dead serious.  Guns and hijackers were not a problem in the U.S.  Considering the Saudi Arabian gang of criminals who committed the hijackings on 9-11 had neither guns, bombs, shampoo or breast milk, it is hard to fault the private security and local law enforcement that protected the airport and passenger screenings. They did their job. The pilots and passengers, however, were not warned, nor were they educated as they are today.

      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      Perhaps if the pilots or the airlines knew that the FBI had already warned the chain of command that these guys were (these same guys) were taking flying lessons - but skipping the landing part -- the Bush admin. might have stepped in and authorized the crime fighting counter-measures at their disposal. The government already had the warnings -- the FBI was hitting the "DANGER" button for chrissakes, -- but . . . . but . . . . 9-11!

      sláinte,
      cl
      -- Religion is like sodomy: both can be harmless when practiced between consenting adults but neither should be imposed upon children.

      by Caoimhin Laochdha on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 04:57:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Is Ezra Klein's Monster just trying to out weird (4+ / 0-)

    "Tom Freidman"

    I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

    by JML9999 on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 03:48:57 PM PDT

  •  His logic is probably backwards. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    on the cusp, Aquarius40, G2geek

    Imagine how many kooky shooters would switch to airplanes if they were easier to hit?

    Be a hell of a way to run up a much larger body count than random shootings.

  •  TSA needs to be run by professionals (5+ / 0-)
    As of January 2012 the salary for a TSO is $25,518 to $38,277[15] per year...
    That's one of the problems right there.

    TSA should be staffed by federal agents who are well trained and paid and should be paid at level that reflects their training.

    Like this:

    Special Agent trainees at the FBI Academy are paid as GS-10, step 1 ($43,441) plus the Quantico, VA locality adjustment (17.50%) during their time at the FBI Academy. This equates to $51,043 on an annualized basis (or $1,963 per each two-week pay period).
    That would go a long way to fixing the problems.
  •  Is this "Vox" thing you speak of the media (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    on the cusp, G2geek

    conglomerate co-founded by this site's owner?  

    If so, just curious about the fairly loose rein editorially . . . .(either here or there!)

  •  End the security theater and deploy many more (4+ / 0-)

    Sky Marshals.

    imho

    Rivers are horses and kayaks are their saddles

    by River Rover on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 04:01:26 PM PDT

  •  Pre-911 security is fine (8+ / 0-)

    Given reinforced cockpit doors and passenger awareness that being quiet and waiting until you land in Cuba is no longer acceptable, airplanes can no longer be used as weapons. Going back to pre-911 screening would catch metal and real dangers (not liquids, or shoes, because who really gives a shit?).

    So yes, abolish the TSA, return to slightly more sane times, and have exactly as much safety as we have today. Without the meaningless theater.

  •  Abolishing it may be a bad idea (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    indres

    but that doesn't mean everything this large agency does is reasonable, effective, or necessary. Anti-terrorism in the U.S. has focused on preventing attacks, generally attacks of a kind that have already happened, not novel attacks an inventive terrorist would think up. And the focus has been on preventing attacks no matter what the cost: in inconvenience, in dollars, or in civil liberties. But the cost matters. There really is a point beyond which more prevention ceases to be sound national policy.

  •  Just once, I would like to be irresponsible! Why (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bush Bites, G2geek

    do the Republicans get to be stark raving mad?

  •  If Dubya had done his job (6+ / 0-)

    in the summer of 2001 and paid attention to the warnings instead of blowing them off, maybe we wouldn't have needed the TSA.

  •  TSA is a boondoggle (7+ / 0-)

    All that was needed was comprehensive metal detection, fortification of cockpits, increasing air marshals and letting it be known that passengers would not be intimidated by a couple goons with box-cutters.  

    We were terrorized into creating the TSA bureaucracy - just like we were terrorized into the Patriot Act and its fallout that has created such a dust-up here on Dkos.

    Orange Alert!

  •  You know what we got when we... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sethtriggs, indres, G2geek

    ...privatized security?

    9-11.

    You can't spell "Dianne Feinstein" without "NSA".

    by varro on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 04:35:00 PM PDT

  •  The threat of another 9-11 is over (9+ / 0-)

    The chance of another 9-11 hijacking attack ended before the 4th plane hit the ground in Pennsylvania. We woke up on September 12 with the safest skies any of us had ever known.

    Despite this reality, we foolishly created an agency that wastes billions of $$ that could go toward a more productive economy AND significantly greater public safety by using the resources where they might have impact.  Instead, we have the TSA. (Totally Surrendered Americans)

    The Saudi Arabian criminals who hijacked those planes in 2001 were the first and last to accomplish this one-time feat.  
    The Saudi Arabian criminals did not have bombs.
    The Saudi Arabian criminals did not have guns
    AND these Saudi Arabian criminals did not have shampoo.

    Rather, this Saudi Arabian gang engaged in (a one-time only) shock theater performance and, literally, talked their way into the cockpit. These criminals did not use grenades or breast milk to hijack three planes, and partially hijack a forth.  Rather they used psychology, and they performed a well rehearsed "act," i.e. they talked their way into the cockpit.

    The private airline security that protected us from hijackers prior to 9-11, was more than adequate then and is more than adequate to resume its duties now.

    sláinte,
    cl
    -- Religion is like sodomy: both can be harmless when practiced between consenting adults but neither should be imposed upon children.

    by Caoimhin Laochdha on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 04:41:07 PM PDT

    •  And the next terrorist attack (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Caoimhin Laochdha, indres, Odysseus

      will be something completely different, exploiting some weakness that nobody had thought of. That's how terrorism works.

      … the NSA takes significant care to prevent any abuses and that there is a substantial oversight system in place,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California), said August 23.

      by mosesfreeman on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 05:06:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  or something that we have thought of (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Bollox Ref, Odysseus

        but have chosen not to address.

        Plenty of reasonable arguments that 9-11 could have been a case of either.

        You are correct.  
        While we are still obsessing on 9-11, the criminals or terrorists left that trick behind before the sun set on NYC on 9-11-2001. They knew it was a one-time chance and they wouldn't get a second chance.  

        Too bad we didn't take that fact into consideration when deciding to throw hundreds of Billions of $$ at what we fear rather than what we face.

        sláinte,
        cl
        -- Religion is like sodomy: both can be harmless when practiced between consenting adults but neither should be imposed upon children.

        by Caoimhin Laochdha on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 05:14:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  all right, I'll take the scanner. But the 3oz (0+ / 0-)

    limit on cosmetics, or not being to take a sealed can of coke through security, is just absurd.

    •  about that Coke. (0+ / 0-)

      Drill tiny hole in bottom of can.

      Shake can vigorously to get the soda out faster.

      Re-fill with something toxic or explosive.

      Seal tiny hole with krazy glue, paint with modelmakers' paint to look like there's no hole there (surprisingly easy to do).

      "Hey, whaddya' mean you have to take this away?  It's an unopened can of Coke, see, n-o-t opened!"

      Sorry, but Coke is free onboard the plane, there's no need to bring cans on the plane.  I prefer Orange Crush but I can live with 7-Up or Sprite for six hours at 30,000 feet.  BTW, the sandwiches are pretty good too.

      We got the future back. Uh-oh.

      by G2geek on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 07:36:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  substitute bottle for can. What can do you (0+ / 0-)

        to a bottle of coke that you can't do to a packaged sandwich or an electric shaver or a vibrator or any of the thousands of things people take in their hand luggage every day?

        Coke is free onboard the plane
        This (besides being like "I have nothing to hide, why should I mind the NSA spying?") is factually incorrect.  Some airlines don't offer Coke, only Pepsi.  All will give you a thimbleful and frown when you ask for a can.  All will serve you only after the plane is cruising at altitude, when can be hours after you board.  And coke is not free in the airport terminal where you may have had to wait for a few more hours.

        When I traveled a lot in the 90s and was always rushing, one thing I looked forward to after boarding was opening my sandwich and my coke and having breakfast or lunch on my own schedule instead of the airline's.

        •  Oh jeebus, you can't drink coke on your own pre... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          G2geek

          Oh jeebus, you can't drink coke on your own precious schedule. Soviet police state!

          •  Know what I like about flying? Traveling long d... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            G2geek

            Know what I like about flying? Traveling long distances in a short time without dying. Getting my favorite sugar-poisoned soda is a distant second at best.

            •  exactly, and also... (0+ / 0-)

              .... all these people who insist on being pampered every minute of every day, are not who you want to be stuck with on a lifeboat or after a major natural disaster.  Pampering is for babies, grownups should have a basic minimum of self-discipline.  

              We got the future back. Uh-oh.

              by G2geek on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 04:49:08 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  substitute bottle for can? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Zumrum13

          Smash a glass bottle on any handy surface.  Now you have an object with a jagged razor edge and a convenient handle, to use as a weapon.  

          Plastic bottle, not an obvious threat, but not necessary either.  One can buy plenty of stuff inside the secure area of the terminal.  I've never had a problem finding more than enough tasty calories to gain a pound by the time we land.

          And I've never had a problem getting a full can of whatever soft drink I liked on a plane, in coach.  If they don't have enough of X to go around, there's always Y or Z, and of course water which is essential to prevent dehydration.  But the flight crew's #1 job is safety; planes aren't restaurants and the crew aren't wait-staff.

          As for serving at altitude, I'd rather not have the guy in the next seat spill a quantity of whatever-beverage on my pants when the plane goes through a cloud or other bumpy air on the way up.  Really: hours to get to cruising altitude?  More like 45 minutes to an hour.  I can wait.

          Patience is a virtue and the reverse is also true.

          We got the future back. Uh-oh.

          by G2geek on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 04:40:42 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  you've never heard of this thing called plastic, (0+ / 0-)

            evidently.  And there is no glass on board?  Oh, I forgot.  First class passengers cannot by definition be terrorists.

            hours to get to cruising altitude?  
            You evidently never been on a flight that sat on the tarmac for 2 hours. I have, and more than once.

            Look, you like the stupid 3-ounce rule, it's your prerogative.  But don't pretend it's not an inconvenience, and don't try to argue it's rational when you recognize what I said in my other comment about poison.

      •  There is another thing. You can easily poison (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        G2geek, Odysseus

        an entire airplane with gases generated on site by solids that react with water.  I won't tell you how but anyone who remembers their high-school chemistry will know.

        Not to mention that they never look at anything in a medicine container, solid or liquid.

        •  i know most of those. (0+ / 0-)

          And a few potential security threats that aren't widely discussed in public.  About which I'll also say that it really would be worthwhile to ban all use of electronics in flight and require batteries out of any device that is not medically necessary.  

          Aww, how terrible, laptops and cellphones won't be quite as thin and light.  But Americans aren't as thin or light as they used to be either, so maybe that tells us something about getting our priorities straight.  

          Meanwhile, people can read magazines and books while they fly, or watch movies or TV on the screens in the seats, or use their imaginations and daydream for a few hours.

          We got the future back. Uh-oh.

          by G2geek on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 04:46:34 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You're really quite generous in disposing of (0+ / 0-)

            other people's time, aren't you?

            •  ha, that's funny. (0+ / 0-)

              "Disposing of other peoples' time" because they can't tolerate unplugging for a few hours while they're on an airplane?

              If someone can't go the length of an airplane flight without smoking a cigarette, drinking alcohol (which I would also ban on commercial flights; too many drunk & disorderly passengers), or using a screen-device, they've got a serious addiction on their hands.

              Really: any adult who can't just sit still for a few hours ought to renounce the title "adult."  

              Patience is a virtue, and the reverse is also true.

              We got the future back. Uh-oh.

              by G2geek on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 11:30:16 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  The TSA is essentially reactive: be it shoes or... (6+ / 0-)

    The TSA is essentially reactive: be it shoes or bottle sizes, they are always behind the eight ball, drafting protocol in response to prior attacks. That makes them ineffective.

  •  One failed shoe bomber and we all have to take (10+ / 0-)

    off our shoes forever; numerous mass murders with firearms and we all get to "carry" into churches, restaurants, and--coming soon to a place near you--college campuses!

    With all due respect, Dante, I can't agree. TSA is stupid, a waste of time, and completely ineffectual. Those terrorists who've been caught were caught by the other passengers, not theasinine TSA.  

    I don't say "no security," but I do say what we had pre-TSA, with its stupid, useless emphasis on tiny bottles of liquid, forcing us to take off our shoes, and feeling up passengers from three years old to 93, would suffice.

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 05:22:28 PM PDT

    •  Liquid A + liquid B, mix, and then... (0+ / 0-)

      .... slam the bottle down on the counter next to the sink on the plane.

      Boom.

      Both liquids available at common stores in any city.

      The amount of liquids allowed in carry-on are equivalent to what people use when they're on the ground for a brief trip of the kind that carry-on is designed to accommodate.

      For longer trips and more liquids, there's checked baggage.

      We got the future back. Uh-oh.

      by G2geek on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 07:41:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Whatever the arguments on either side ... (5+ / 0-)

    I avoid air travel whenever I can. I hate the entire security process that I am subjected to. I hate standing in line to prove that I am not a terrorist or a raving lunatic. I resent the implication that I am a criminal until proven otherwise. I hate the fact that I have to waste an hour every time I fly because, security.

    There was a time, not that long ago, when air travelers were treated like valued customers. Today they are just criminal suspects, to be herded and prodded and subjected to an array of personal indignities, and deprived of an endless number of harmless objects. Because security.

    I truly believe that good intelligence is a better answer to terrorist threats than TSA approach that implicitly accuses all travelers of criminal intent. Why in FSM's world do I have to prove my innocence every time I travel?

    /rant

    Primo pro nummata vini [First of all it is to the wine-merchant] (-7.25, -6.21)

    by Tim DeLaney on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 05:28:05 PM PDT

    •  I fly just once a year with my family (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tim DeLaney

      ......and have done for the last twenty years or so, to the same place.

      You'd think, with all the money spent, 'security' and 'computers' would deduce that, not having been a problem, I'm not a problem now.

      Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man; we shall this day light such a candle by God's grace in England as shall never be put out.

      by Bollox Ref on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 05:38:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Bravo, TimDeLaney! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tim DeLaney, Odysseus
      I resent the implication that I am a criminal until proven otherwise. I hate the fact that I have to waste an hour every time I fly because, security.

      There was a time, not that long ago, when air travelers were treated like valued customers.

      (Emphasis mine)

      Absolutely!

      "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

      by Diana in NoVa on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 06:11:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I gave up flying when the TSA (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tim DeLaney, Odysseus

      came into existence. It's just not worth it and since I'm retired I no longer have a business reason to travel. So I say fuck the TSA.

      My invisible imaginary friend is the "true" creator

      by Mr Robert on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 08:49:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Same here. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Tim DeLaney, Mr Robert

        When my beloved grandmother died I drove 30 hours from New York to my home town out West rather than give the TSA and Bush & Cheney the satisfaction.  Naturally the TSA founded their VIPR teams to demand your papers on the highways and trains too, now, so so much for that.

        Do that many others still think that this sort of thing is cool for America to be doing, and they have no problem with the government doing ever more of it?  Has servility so pervaded the national character that legions of people will merrily march off to whatever fate awaits them if commanded by a man in a uniform?  Or is all of this supposed "citizen" support for these measures all a massive bit of astro-turfing by a JTRIG operation?

    •  Still far less time, hassle or danger than driving (0+ / 0-)

      Still far less time, hassle or danger than driving

  •  Add a poll Dante! n/t (0+ / 0-)

    … the NSA takes significant care to prevent any abuses and that there is a substantial oversight system in place,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California), said August 23.

    by mosesfreeman on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 05:28:43 PM PDT

  •  But they make $$ off our blood! Randian paradise! (0+ / 0-)

    Paul in 2016! Hell on Earth in 2017!

    We can do it!

    :)

  •  I have always been grateful, before and after (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    on the cusp, Rich in PA, red rabbit, jillf

    9/11 for the security at airports.  TSA does their job for the most part, and security prior to TSA did the same.

    The inconvenience is a small price to pay for any chance of increased security while flying.

    I find it incredible that those who fly think differently.

  •  were hijackings (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Diana in NoVa

    a major problem before 9/11?
    I don't remember them being frequent - it was maybe once a year. You're in more danger from passengers who become violent.

    TSA protects us against past actions. I can't see its usefulness.

    (Is it time for the pitchforks and torches yet?)

    by PJEvans on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 06:05:38 PM PDT

  •  Airport security is fine. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    red rabbit

    It could be improved, and they should lose the stupid shoe stuff, but it's fine.  It hasn't stolen my precious freedom bodily freedom fluids, and the airports I've seen have basically figured out how to do it.  Planes are more dangerous than other things for reasons too obvious to bother with here and I think heightened security is called for.  I find the security screenings to get into utterly commonplace federally-owned properties a lot more exasperating (I'm looking at you, Museum of the American Indian in lower Manhattan).  

    It's not the side effects of the cocaine/I'm thinking that it must be love

    by Rich in PA on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 06:38:00 PM PDT

    •  Agree-I must be missing all the TSA child moles... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rich in PA

      Agree-I must be missing all the TSA child molestors who are force feeding women their own breast milk. Apparently it happens all the time in some airports. I don't go through Chicago much, maybe that's it.

  •  Prevented 6.3 hijackings? (3+ / 0-)

    So what we're really saying is there were (or we expected) a massive amount of hijacking attempts post 9/11, because prior to that event, you have to go back about 20 years prior for 6 hijackings of American airlines (not all of which had fatalities).  For more specific comparisons, prior to 9/11 the last hijacking of a US airline was in 1994, and the last fatal hijacking was Lockerbie in 1988 (which did not originate in the US).

    On top of that, what the real failure here is that the TSA's invasive procedures are totally unnecessary.  We have had intelligence warnings of multiple hijacking or bombing attempts, including the eventual 9/11 hijackers, and have not reacted to those threats.  The solution is not more airport security, it's to pay attention to the information we have coming in.  Every time we hear about some new attack, we also hear about warning signs which should have indicated there was a threat.

    The TSA may make some people feel safer, but it is not in fact making us safer, and we are throwing away our civil liberties in the name of that veneer of safety.

  •  I like the TSA (0+ / 0-)

    before the TSA there were just a bunch of private security guards who often seemed to be asleep.
    TSA is hard-working professional group that provide consistent security all across the US.
    They have experimented with technology and now I think the security screening technique they are using is quite good.
    No hijackings since they started working.
    I'll admit no system is perfect but I think they are doing a great job.

    Obama 2012...going to win it with our support!!!

    by mattinjersey on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 07:54:57 PM PDT

  •  There is a middle ground (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Miggles, out of left field

    that even the TSA admits exists. I get to go through the TSA-pre, which means that I don't have to take off my shoes or take my laptop out of my bag. It's all quite civilized. I don't have a TSA person bellowing at me about taking off my coat, etc, etc. In fact, it's very like what other countries do for everyone. Europe has been easily as attacked by air terrorists as the USA, but only America has actually lost control of its national bowels and emptied its collective bladder as a result of this type of threat. By all means, take reasonable precautions, but can we please - at long last - get a fucking grip?

    Voting is the means by which the public is distracted from the realities of power and its exercise.

    by Anne Elk on Sun Jun 01, 2014 at 07:56:26 PM PDT

  •  I had to walk 12 miles, uphill both ways... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    red rabbit, Major Kong

    to school when I was a boy.

    Actually when I first started flying, things were heating up in the Middle East and the Cubans were just getting good at hitching free rides back to the homeland. Magnetometers had yet to be re-engineered for airport use. When you worked your way up to the front of the security line, you entered a small booth with a curtain and a security screener. You were VERY thoroughly patted down, asked to empty your pockets, pull out your shirt, maybe jump up and down and all kinds of intrusive activities that would never be tolerated today. I seem to recall that one time I had to take off my belt and unbutton my pants, also. It was severe to say the least.

    When I first flew from Athens to Beruit, after the "feel-me-up" session in the molestation booth, we were led out to the tarmac where the plane was waiting. All of the luggage was also on the tarmac (along with a plethora of guards with submachine guns at the ready). You walked over and indicated your luggage and then walked up the ramp and were seated on the plane. Any luggage that was not claimed was destroyed by the bomb squad if there was anything suspicious about it at all. No unclaimed luggage was ever loaded on the plane.

    So I guess that's why I don't really grumble too much about the TSA today, even though they can certainly be trying at times...

  •  Why stop at airports? (0+ / 0-)

    I'm sure this approach could reduce operating costs at nuclear power plants and storage facilities, and if terrorists can't build radiological weapons, they will just go do something else anyway.

    True, the ship is sinking... but the music is being played with such feeling!

    by E A Dawsoni on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 12:39:24 AM PDT

  •  You think the TSA is bad? (0+ / 0-)

    Try taking a flight out of Tel Aviv some time.

    If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

    by Major Kong on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 03:30:57 AM PDT

  •  The TSA doesn't matter. (0+ / 0-)

    It's what the TSA does that matters.

    A little historical perspective.  Back in the 60s, air travel was not so common as it is today.   The term "jet setter" had a certain cachet -- it meant you were one of the rare affluent people for whom air travel was routine. By the 90s, we were living in the era of discount airlines.  Air travel worldwide had quadrupled. In the US, it had increased almost tenfold. People who flew all the time were no longer "jet setters", they were just working schlubs.

    In the 1960s there six passenger jet hijackings originating in the US.  So in the 1990s, all things being equal, you'd expect there to be 60 hijackings. But in fact there were no passenger aircraft hijackings originating in the US. So it's clear that the basic security precautions introduced in the 70s and 80s (bag inspections, metal detectors) by the 1990s had become highly effective at deterring hijackers.  The 9/11 hijackings were the first successful US passenger jet hijackings in fourteen years.

    The 9/11 hijackings didn't expose lots of flaws in our air travel security; they showed us what a determined enemy could do by launching a coordinated attack exploiting a small number of flaws.  Al Qaeda sucessfully hijacked four planes in one day, but had they spaced those attempts out over four months only the first would have succeeded. Why? Because we'd have closed some of the vulnerabilities they relied on.

    The lesson should have been to get on top of vulnerabilities as they're exposed, but its apparently a lesson we haven't learned. Worldwide there have been almost fifty wheel well stowaway events since 9/11, four of them on flights originating in the US.   The first post US 9/11 wheel well stowaway was way back in 2004, right at the height of the post 9/11 vendor feeding frenzy.  Yet almost ten years after the first post 9/11 wheel well incident, anyone who is sufficiently determined can still access an aircraft while it is on the tarmac.  And I think we all know why: unlike with full body scanners, nobody has a product to sell us.

    It seems evident that the TSA, as an agency, is an expensive failure.  That doesn't mean that it doesn't do vital work, work that has to be done by somebody.  We should either reform the TSA or give their vital work to someone else; not roll back air travel security to the way it was in the 1960s.

    I've lost my faith in nihilism

    by grumpynerd on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 05:45:40 AM PDT

  •  April Fools was a couple of months ago. (0+ / 0-)
    And these arguments could be respected, if they had the remotest degree of sanity.
    The TSA is horrible by any measure.  Far better results could be obtained with less money, less wasted time, and using other methods that are far less invasive and less Constitutionally problematic.

    That one person made a bad argument to do a good thing does not make it a bad thing.

    Abolish the TSA.

    -7.75 -4.67

    "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

    There are no Christians in foxholes.

    by Odysseus on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 06:55:07 AM PDT

  •  Let's not forget (0+ / 0-)

    a security presence, and even the promise of facing security measures, discourages some knuckleheads from trying to do the mayhem they daydream of doing. Suicide does not appeal at all to most bad actors. They want to do their dirty and get away with it.

    This is much and maybe most of the effectiveness of law and enforcement. By catching enough bad guys to appear competent, law enforcement effectively deters a lot of crime from ever being done.

    If you don't believe me, then just consider how many people in your life you have wanted to do violence to, and did not. Sure, you're a good person, and those were only feelings of the moment. But, if you will recall, one persuasive thought you had was something like, "but I'd get caught."

    It's a shame we can't count the crimes never done because of deterrence, but I think we can look to the recent blooming of measles because of anti-vaccine nonsense as an instructive parallel. Where there is no deterrence, more bad things happen, and in rapidly increasing numbers.

    To My Colonoscopist

    I think that I shall never see
    so far up you as you up me.

    by shieldvulf on Mon Jun 02, 2014 at 08:41:35 AM PDT

  •  The entire reason (0+ / 0-)

    that Libertarians and Republicans were against the TSA but favoring private industry instead is because the TSA is the largest unionized organization within the government.  This rankles everything they believe in.  The GWB administration would not allow unionization, The Obama administration did.

    Don't buy into the hype.  It's a BS counter-argument.  They aren't against security precautions, they are against government agencies, especially unionized ones.

  •  As a millenial, I am just old enough (0+ / 0-)

    to coherently remember flying before things went to shit. I would look forward to plane trips for months. Then 9/11 happened, and flying was still fun but it lost a lot of its magic thanks to the TSA. And frequently selected me, a ~8-10 year old, white, English speaking, American born child for extra screening. My mother theorized that it was because we were military dependents. I wonder how many TSA cheerleaders on this thread have been unfairly profiled based on their skin color, clothing, or accent.

    To clarify: I mentioned my race and nationality because I wanted to emphasize that if I was somewhat profiled even in all my whiteness, it must seriously suck for minorities.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site