Let the Harassment Begin

Your tax dollars at work:

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

Tyner recorded the half-hour long encounter on his cell phone and later posted it to his personal blog, along with an extensive account of the incident. The blog went viral, attracting hundreds of thousands of readers and thousands of comments.

Michael J. Aguilar, chief of the TSA office in San Diego, called a news conference at the airport Monday afternoon to announce the probe. He said the investigation could lead to prosecution and civil penalties of up to $11,000.

TSA agents had told Tyner on Saturday that he could be fined up to $10,000.

“That’s the old fine,” Aguilar said. “It has been increased.”

Don’t submit to the police state, and we’ll come after you. This isn’t a punishment for Tyner, it is a message to everyone else.






134 replies
  1. 1
    Scott says:

    Think of it as a way to fix the economy. Every time someone gets pissed about the scanners and/or groping, they get fined $11,000. Think of all those angry airline travelers, just sitting there waiting to get fined. We’ll be solvent before next Christmas!

    Hey, it worked (kinda) for the RIAA.

  2. 2
    sherifffruitfly says:

    I’m surprised they didn’t taze him, tbh.

  3. 3
    Shalimar says:

    How many years do we have before they start selling the scans to the new Fox Adult channel for their cornerstone program, America’s Hottest and Funniest TSA Videos?

  4. 4
    Jay in Oregon says:

    That’s nothing; wait until Michele Malkin unleashes her flying monkeys citizen journalists on the guy.

  5. 5
    MattR says:

    Don’t submit to the police state, and we’ll come after you. This isn’t a punishment for Tyner, it is a message to everyone else.

    I agree and disagree. Yes, I think it was a message to the public to accept the TSA’s pronouncements. But given the publicity Tyner got, I also think the TSA was kinda backed into a corner where they had to try to enforce their rules.

  6. 6
    stuckinred says:

    Rangel guilty on 12 of 13 counts.

  7. 7
    Darius says:

    Personally, I’m sympathetic to the TSA agent in that scenario – Tyner was clearly trying to make trouble, and was acting suspicious as all hell.

    That said, opening an investigation here is overkill.

  8. 8
    R-Jud says:

    From the article:

    When he tried to assert his rights, Tyner was told by a TSA supervisor on tape, “By buying your ticket you gave up a lot of rights.”

    Chills. Chills!

  9. 9
    Mudge says:

    Michael J. Aquilar should never survive this, but he will. One outcome will be the banning of cameras in the area, like the out-of-control police are trying to do with respect of citizens recording how the police behave while doing their tax payer supported jobs.

    When the “homeland” becomes bigger than the people who live in it, we move towards becoming the Vaterland.

  10. 10
    GR says:

    Check the comments at the linked article. Plus consider that Tyner has basically been getting non-stop requests for interviews since this story went viral. I’m not prone to optimism, but I’m beginning to hope that this might be the tipping point for some long-overdue public backlash against invasive and ineffective TSA security theater.

  11. 11
    Violet says:

    Speaking of harassment, how about TSA alerting their buddies when a good looking young woman is approaching the Nude-o-meters:

    Last week, one of my flying partners (Captain with Skywest) was going through security at DEN with his 18 year daughter. As his daughter approached the detector, the TSO working the NoS said on his headset, “heads up, got a cutie for you.”

    Get nude, submit to sexual molestation, or you don’t fly. Your civil rights at work.

    I’m not a fan of Jeffrey Goldberg, but like his idea that men wear kilts, in the authentic style, when they opt out of the naked scanners. Nothing like a little nakeditity to spice things up.

  12. 12
    stuckinred says:

    Maybe all these people who are embarrassed by their bodies will get up of their fat asses and get ripped!

  13. 13
    MattR says:

    @Mudge:

    One outcome will be the banning of cameras in the area

    I was thinking about this recently. I am flying in a couple weeks and was thinking of taking notes and/or pics about which people are being “randomly” selected for the body scanners. But I realized I would probably get arrested for scoping out their security procedures.

    @Violet: That was the story that got me thinking of taking pics. James Fallows had a link to a place that sells kilts online. I think I may go take a look to see if they can ship one to me before my flight.

  14. 14
    Tim says:

    Living in the USA is increasingly creepy.

    I flew round trip Boston/Chicago in the last week. No specific issues with the security, except that it is time consuming and annoying and useless. Other than that it’s great.

    BTW, discovered after my return that I flew the first leg of the trip with an Xacto blade in my carry on. Their awesome Xray vision failed to pick it up. I guess I should be glad of that, as had they found it I might have been fisted right there on the concourse.

    I may be gay, but not really into that.

  15. 15
    El Cid says:

    @R-Jud:

    “By buying your ticket you gave up a lot of rights.”

    I’ve always felt that this was the operative assumption.

  16. 16
    Bnut says:

    I’m gonna see if can acquire a few little blue Pfizers to take before I fly for Thanksgiving. I would try to go natural, but for some reason, I’m not naturally turned on at the airport.

  17. 17
    Allan says:

    An alternative to kilts, courtesy of Eldridge Cleaver.

  18. 18
    AB says:

    How do I know I’ll be secure outside of the plane too? I propose we hire impartial people, like priests, to grope people on a daily basis to ensure a just and safe society.

  19. 19
    El Tiburon says:

    Nude scanners…tazers…warantless wiretapping…warantless search and seizure of all electronics…

    Small price for all that freedom.

    This is why it is so important to ban homo-gay marriage and tax increases – to preserve our freedoms.

    Ah, I love the smell of freedom in the morning.

  20. 20
    Lavocat says:

    This appears to be nothing more than malicious abuse of judicial process.

    I would be up for contributing to Tyner’s defense fund.

    Bastards!

  21. 21
    Violet says:

    I just flew home from Boston last night. Security was still your basic metal detectors. No fancy scanning or, as far as I could tell, special pat-downs.

    I did have an annoying experience at security, though. You are allowed one carry-on bag and one small bag. I had my small suitcase and a backpack and my purse. My purse fits in my backpack to make it “one piece” but I usually carry them as two separate items. Especially through security because I’m always asked to take the purse out for screening.

    So I’m headed into the line and the ultra low level security goon screams at me, “Two items only! Two items!” I look at him rather blankly and say, “The purse fits into the backpack.” And he shouts back, “You have to put it in there now! You can’t have more than two items!” I thought about saying, “But I’ll have to take it right back out…” but thought better of it, and placed the purse in the backpack.

    At the next stop, where the security officer inspects your ID and boarding pass, he asked how I was doing. I told him, “Annoyed” and when he asked why I relayed the story. He rolled his eyes and said, “But you’ll just have to take the purse back out for the x-ray machine.” Exactly!

    Stupid security theater. Stupid TSA employees. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

  22. 22
    Dave says:

    They’ll fine him $11K? I bet he gets donations tripling that amount.

  23. 23
    Brick Oven Bill says:

    Gee, ‘Don’t Touch My Junk’ from a guy flying to a hunting trip in South Dakota has a very similar ring to ‘Don’t Tread on Me’.

    Go Teabaggers.

  24. 24
    D-Chance. says:

    Welcome to Obamamerica!

  25. 25
    MattR says:

    @Allan: I prefer the new Wrangler jeans that Brett Favre is advertising.

  26. 26
    Huntly says:

    @Violet: that is rather disgusting. Was thinking about what kind of back ground checks TSA employees have to go though when the story about the 3yo getting pat down was going around

  27. 27
    Jager says:

    If you travel on a one way ticket or if you travel on an airline “buddy pass” or a spouse’s (airline employee) pass you will be selected for a complete shaked down. How do I know this, I flew to Florida last year to buy a car and drive it home, as my bags were ripped apart, I got the full wand treatment I asked the TSA girl why I was selected, she looked around and said, “we do all one way ticket passengers to keep our numbers up”. A pal of mine is married to a flight attendant, he has a pass for her airline, he got me a “buddy pass” we flew to Minneapolis on the passes and we got the full treatment both ways…he said they always do it, just to keep the numbers up!

  28. 28
    Poopyman says:

    @Brick Oven Bill:
    Oh great, another flag with a snake on it.

  29. 29
    The Republic of Stupidity says:

    @Tim:

    … as had they found it I might have been fisted right there on the concourse. I may be gay, but not really into that.

    Also proves you truly are not a Republican…

  30. 30
    giltay says:

    @Darius: I’m sympathetic, myself. The TSA guys are having to keep up with crazy, contradictory rules that change every few months when there’s a panic, and they’re really not allowed to be sensible about it. I can’t absolve them of everything, but stories like this show more about the problems with the system and with US society than about these specific individuals.

  31. 31
    Bnut says:

    @Poopyman: Don’t make fun of Mexico!

  32. 32
    nancydarling says:

    I listened to Tyners phone recording. He didn’t seem out of line to me at all. Does anyone know what the maximum, safe, cumulative mREMs per year are? I studied this once in dental hygiene school, but I’ve forgotten. Whatever the safe dose is, it is much smaller for fetuses and children.

    From my brief research of the backscatter scanner, it is very soft radiation and does not penetrate into deep tissue. This means that it is concentrated in the skin. Does that mean that it could possibly lead to more melanomas or other skin cancers?

    I’m flying to L.A. next month and planning to refuse the scanner if they want to do it. I have been patted down a couple of times and unless they have changed the procedure, it wasn’t bad.

  33. 33
    The Republic of Stupidity says:

    @Poopyman:

    Oh great, another flag with a snake on it.

    Or another snake w/ a flag…

  34. 34
    Maody says:

    No junk on the TSA list.

    I don’t know why y’all are crying about your freedoms. Screwdrivers and junk are still allowed in carry on. Oh, excuse me, it was about being group groped. Happened to me by three female security agents in Newark on my way home from a memorial service in 2001. Only one on the plane chosen. And smallest passenger. Must have been my scarf and too close in time to 9-11.

    I think we should have a lottery pick on what freedom goes next.

  35. 35
    ruemara says:

    @Allan:

    That just gave me puppy “HUNH?” face.

  36. 36
    Punchy says:

    Speaking of harassment, how about TSA alerting their buddies when a good looking young woman is approaching the Nude-o-meters:

    I’m guessing there’s a backlist of pedophiles a mile long applying for the Scanner Checker gig.

    I thought I read somewhere that England (or was it Europe?) wasn’t going to allow these b/c it violated child pr0n laws…

  37. 37
    Steve says:

    @R-Jud: One of the rights I thought you kept was your right to leave if you didn’t want to submit to the procedures. I’m not sure why they think it’s helpful to fight with people over that issue.

  38. 38
    kdaug says:

    And yet we still don’t screen cargo…

  39. 39
    WyldPirate says:

    Don’t submit to the police state, and we’ll come after you. This isn’t a punishment for Tyner, it is a message to everyone else.

    Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.

    And yes, this is Obama’s fault. The BUCK. STOPS. AT. HIS. FUCKING. DESK.

  40. 40
    MattR says:

    @nancydarling:

    I have been patted down a couple of times and unless they have changed the procedure, it wasn’t bad.

    From what I understand, they have changed the procedure so it is much more, uh, thorough.

  41. 41
    Ross Hershberger says:

    As soon as this guy is charged with something the ACLU needs to step up and earn my donations.

    If this ends up as a test case of privacy vs ‘security’ it could go on for years.

  42. 42
    MCA says:

    I think giltay is right above. I get annoyed with those TSA employees who they act like they own the place, can’t be bothered to open another freaking line during rush hour, or refuse to act logically. But I’m generally sympathetic to the labyrinth of contradiction they’re supposed to be navigating, so long as they show a little compassion about passenger befuddlement re: the idiocy of the system.

    However, it will likely be a specific bad apple TSA employee that turns out to be essential in bringing the body scanner era to an end (hopefully sooner than later). It’s only a matter of time until someone figures out how to tap into the computers and starts leaking images. I think that’s what it’s going to take for people to realize how much their privacy’s being unnecessarily invaded.

  43. 43
    Joe says:

    Is there a material/tape that would show up very well during the backscatter scans?

    I am envisioning the writing of messages on your own body that only the TSA operator would see. Nothing threatening. Just a strong first amendment statement contained within the images they are probably storing.

  44. 44
    micwazoo says:

    @El Tiburon: @El Tiburon: Kind of takes away from the phrase “Freedom” when you’re subjected to such invasions of privacy. You consider yourself fortunate they don’t have a dense-o-meter in order to fly, you’d be grounded.

  45. 45
    micwazoo says:

    @D-Chance.: Don’t forget it was Bush\Cheney who started all this crap.

  46. 46
    R-Jud says:

    @MCA:

    It’s only a matter of time until someone figures out how to tap into the computers and starts leaking images. I think that’s what it’s going to take for people to realize how much their privacy’s being unnecessarily invaded.

    A matter of time? How’s now working out for you?

  47. 47

    Apparently there is now a National Opt-Out Day movement: November 24.

  48. 48
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    Is there a TSA job requirement that agents have to freak the fuck out and all of a sudden act like drill sergeants over every perceived “violation” by passengers?

    I generally don’t like making statements like this, but the kind of person who pulls rank over every perceived slight or non-compliance by a passenger is severely lacking intelligence, and the ability to communicate with other human beings.

  49. 49
    Violet says:

    @nancydarling:

    I have been patted down a couple of times and unless they have changed the procedure, it wasn’t bad.

    They have changed the procedure in the last week or so. It’s been all over the news. It’s much, much more invasive and involves touching of genitals, etc.

    Be mentally prepared for it. I was randomly pulled out for screening in the UK and got an extremely thorough pat down. It was as invasive as I imagine the new US procedures are. I felt like I’d been molested. I still shudder when I think of it. I can only imagine how traumatic that kind of thing would be for those who have suffered abuse. It’s pretty awful.

  50. 50
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Violet:

    I’m not a fan of Jeffrey Goldberg, but like his idea that men wear kilts, in the authentic style, when they opt out of the naked scanners. Nothing like a little nakeditity to spice things up.

    Apparently there have been protests in Germany over this technology and, yes, the protest is that they strip down completely.

    But, as others have said, that would probably just get you tased here.

  51. 51
    KCinDC says:

    How can they force someone to undergo something he wasn’t alerted to? I understand the theory that they can require you to undergo whatever invasive procedures they want as a condition of getting on a flight, since there’s no right to fly. But doesn’t that mean refusal just means you can’t get on the plane? If I show up at the airport and discover that now suddenly they’re requiring cavity searches, does that mean I’ve somehow magically “consented” to that and will be unable to leave without being subjected to one?

  52. 52
    BDeevDad says:

    When we traveled in October, they had my six year old son and four year old daughter (who just learned to walk because of medical issues) get scanned individually as well. We were worried enough about my daughter falling over that we did not even think about what they were doing, but Jesus H on a stick, this is getting ridiculous.

    The other issue is you have to trust your kids will stay close by because they put them through first and then it takes another 30 seconds for you to get scanned next.

  53. 53
    micwazoo says:

    Some food for thought.
    1. As already stated, they don’t screen cargo, why screen passengers?
    2. Why do we still need to take our shoes off if they have body scanners?
    3. File sexual assault charges if you refused the body scan and they groped you.
    4. What if you have to pee real bad from standing in line so freaking long?
    5. If you choose the groping, ask for the workers supervisor, and then request the background check for that worker to ensure they are not a convicted molester.
    6. Start groping them as they grope you and tell them you got lost in the moment.
    7. Men, warn them there’s a python in your pants.
    8. Make loud orgasmic sounds as they grope you.
    9. Save up your biggest, smelliest fart for the grope session.
    10. Ask if someone can film the grope session because Mom and Dad don’t believe you can get a date.
    11. Tell them the crack of your ass itches and ask them to scratch it while they’re down there.
    12. If we pay their salaries, and their groping is sexually gratifying, can the TSA workers be brought up on prostitution charges?

    Okay, I have to get back to work, but I’m sure you all get the point.

  54. 54
    Nutella says:

    This guy Tyner is a RWA with another recent blog post about the “Social Security Ponzi scheme” so he’s going to be an excellent poster boy for this issue. If the same blog post had been published by a DFH only the other DFHs would have been concerned about it.

  55. 55
    YellowDog says:

    It’s the video. If he hadn’t posted the video, I bet TSA would have let it die out. But now the inanity is there for the world to see. It’s the same situation as the guy who videotaped his traffic stop. You can’t watch the watchers.

  56. 56
    observer says:

    So, what’s going to happen when a competent Richard Reid (the shoe bomber) or Umar Abdulmuttab (the underwear bomber) gets on a plane and is able to set off his half-pound of explosives, blowing a hole in the side at 35,000 feet, tearing the fuselage and bringing the plane down with 300+ onboard?

    Is case you haven’t thought about that. Security measures may be “theater,” but they are some deterrent and some detective examination.

    I suspect a lot of the Drudge Report fueled push back is to: (1) allow a terrorist incident which would take a lot more freedom and privacy away than the scanners and frisks do, and (2) institute a blatantly discriminatory regime against Muslims and brown people in general.

  57. 57
    Catsy says:

    @Bnut:

    I’m gonna see if can acquire a few little blue Pfizers to take before I fly for Thanksgiving. I would try to go natural, but for some reason, I’m not naturally turned on at the airport.

    I’m avoiding air travel until they get rid of this “grope-or-scope” Hobson’s choice. But in the event that I absolutely have to try, I think I’m loading my iPod up with porn to listen to while I’m waiting in line. No way I’m walking through the scanner, but I guarantee you the screener isn’t going to dwell too long on my junk if I’m sporting full timber.

  58. 58
    noncarborundum says:

    @AB:

    Yeah, but who’ll we get to grope the adults?

  59. 59
    Silver says:

    @BDeevDad:

    Don’t worry about that. If the tykes try to run, they’ll get tased.

    And then fined. It’s a foolproof system.

  60. 60
    300baud says:

    Any time somebody gets into a beef with the TSA, or any appendage of authority, people immediately start questioning every aspect of the person. Apparently because only perfect saints have constitutional rights, or the presumption of innocence, or the right to be treated like a citizen.

    My new plan is to go buy a large floppy dildo and tuck it into my underwear before going to the airport. Ideally this means they won’t actually touch my junk at all. Worst case, they will ask why I have a dildo in my pants, and I will tell them it just makes me feel more comfortable when flying. Since I’ll be flying out of SFO, this should be plausibly weird.

    I’m still debating on whether to go the extra mile by wearing breakaway pants and an oversized, neon-colored banana hammock. When they move in to grope, I make some sassy comment and rip off the pants in one motion. The hard part is deciding what to get printed on the front of the hammock.

  61. 61
    bkny says:

    janet napolitano, michael chertoff (lobbyist to the no touch strip seach crowd), all members of congress, and all officers of the national security state be required to submit each and every time they fly.

  62. 62
    Woodrowfan says:

    Great. I was planning on flying my walker-using 80 year old Mom up to my home for Christmas (I fly with her because she’s scared to fly). Now I’m thinking 500 mile one way trip to pick her up then bring her back. Lovely.

  63. 63
    joeyess says:

    Digby posted this story today.

    I’m getting really tired of the police state that is being built on massive amounts of tax dollars simply because we’re a nation of bedwetters. Read this post and the first person that says “well, I don’t care, I don’t have anything to hide” I’m going to find you and, as John would say, punch you in the fucking neck.

  64. 64
    BDeevDad says:

    Don’t you all realize, this is all part of Obama’s secret plan to Europeanize the US and get us to use the rail system more, justifying the need for rail infrastructure improvements that they wanted in the stimulus package.

  65. 65
    Bnut says:

    KBR ran a Backscatter machine at the base I was at in Africa. I got to see some of the images from trucks, and one where a person was in a truck w/o the scanners knowing. So 4 years ago, the machines were advanced enough to CLEARLY see all this dudes junk in full detail. Imagine what those machines can see now. The next time you see images on television or the internet of screen captures from the airport scanners, see if there are levels/sliders/controls also visible. You’ll start to notice they seem to have the balance adjusted to completely dark or light to hide what a well-balanced picture actually looks like. And who cares if the images aren’t saved. You can jerk off and laugh with your buddies in real time just as well.

  66. 66
    Jay in Oregon says:

    @KCinDC:
    The part that I can’t believe about the story is that Tyner didn’t just charge out of the screening area– he was escorted out by 6(!) TSA agents at the request of a supervisor.

    Then, as he was trying to get a refund for his ticket, he was told by another TSA supervisor that because he left the screening area, he was subject to a fine and a possible civil suit.

    When Tyner asked if the agents and supervisor who made him leave would be subject to the same penalties, the response was that they were new and didn’t know the rules.

    So, to sum up:
    1) Refuse to go through the full-body imager? Get felt up by a TSA agent.
    2) Refuse to be felt up by a TSA agent? Get escorted out of the screening area.
    3) Leave the screening area before you are done? Be subject to a fine.
    And this is hypothetical, but 4) Refuse to leave the screening area? Be arrested.

    And they fucking wonder why air travel is down; high-speed rail can’t come soon enough for me.

  67. 67
    The Moar You Know says:

    Since I’ll be flying out of SFO, this should be plausibly weird.

    @300baud: SFO opted out of the TSA.

    Wish more airports would.

  68. 68
    Nutella says:

    @Woodrowfan:

    Hmm, what would they do with someone who can’t walk or stand unsupported by a walker or crutches? It looks like all of them will have to be groped. I’m having horrifying visions of old ladies in walkers and severely handicapped people like Stephen Hawking being groped and having to answer questions about their catheters, etc. So civilized.

  69. 69
    Scott de B. says:

    If I get frisked, I plan to warn the TSA agent that I have a psychological condition that results in involuntary evacuation of the bowels when I am touched near my genitals.

  70. 70
    TooManyJens says:

    @Nutella:

    Hmm, what would they do with someone who can’t walk or stand unsupported by a walker or crutches?

    Tase the fucking fakers for not cooperating, probably. Anyone else remember Customs letting a baby die a couple of years ago because they wouldn’t let his mother and nurse take him to the hospital?

  71. 71
    Nick says:

    @Scott de B.:

    If I get frisked, I plan to warn the TSA agent that I have a psychological condition that results in involuntary evacuation of the bowels when I am touched near my genitals.

    I plan on telling them I am a recovering nymphomaniac and one touch in the right area will make me take off my clothes and masturbate

  72. 72
    Matthew Reid Krell says:

    I like the notion of sexualizing the gropefest. I will be curious to see how long it takes before they start arresting people for that.

  73. 73
    Bnut says:

    Sunscreen will show up on the scanners, but not to the eye. Maybe a few private messages would spice things up.

  74. 74
    Punchy says:

    high-speed rail can’t come soon enough for me.

    With Republicans owning both houses of Congress (trust me), it aint coming at all.

  75. 75
    YellowDog says:

    Colostomy bags and adult diapers will make life interesting for TSA agents.

  76. 76
    Corner Stone says:

    @bkny:

    janet napolitano, michael chertoff (lobbyist to the no touch strip seach crowd), all members of congress, and all officers of the national security state be required to submit each and every time they fly.

    I’d settle for Ms. Napolitano and Mr. Chertoff submitting just once to an image scan and a full new style pat down. While being video taped.
    Just once in real life, forever to live on as a YouTube sensation download.
    That would be enough to get this farce shut down.

  77. 77
    bz says:

    Be sure to read the first-hand account here/.

    I read an interesting tactic in response to this that I’m going to do when I have to fly home for Christmas: Rockin’ a kilt. And just like my scottish ancestors, I’ll go COMMANDO. If they’re gonna insist on touching my junk, I’m gonna make em touch my junk.

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/201.....creenings/

  78. 78
    Nick says:

    @bkny: members of congress do.

  79. 79
    jack says:

    I think the liquids ban was the prime example of how stupid the security theatre is. Any second year chemistry student could tell you that there are solutions you can mix together that will blow up, but somehow it took six frickin’ years for them to realise that a crafty bastard could exploit this; and only then when a bunch of crafty bastards were caught planning to exploit it?

    The funding for security agencies has increased in orders of magnitude in the last decade. Couldn’t they have spent a couple of those millions getting a team of chemists, engineers, soldiers and spies and asking them to think of all the possible attacks they could do over a couple of pints? Hell, they could have hired the writers of the A-team, or one of the teams from Team Fortress 2, or one of those reporters from the half dozen newspapers that sent people out specifically to see if they could get restricted items through security; any of those would have been better than ‘wait for a near successful or successful attack, then modify procedure in a way that is inconvenient for all involved and either moot or futile’.

  80. 80
    Mnemosyne says:

    @observer:

    So, what’s going to happen when a competent Richard Reid (the shoe bomber) or Umar Abdulmuttab (the underwear bomber) gets on a plane and is able to set off his half-pound of explosives, blowing a hole in the side at 35,000 feet, tearing the fuselage and bringing the plane down with 300+ onboard?

    The president will be impeached for letting it happen.

    Oh, and explosives-sniffing dogs are a much more efficient way to determine if someone is carrying explosives than counting on someone seeing it on a scanner. We fall so far in love with technology that we forget that the low-tech way might be just as good (if not better).

    ETA: Plus people half-expect dogs to start sniffing their crotch, so it’s not quite as traumatizing.

  81. 81
    Dee from Texas says:

    The official statement is ‘the level of radiation is perfectly safe’ but that presumes that the machines are not malfunctioning. Patients in hospitals have been given lethal overdoses from malfunctioning machines.

    Am I supposed to believe that ANY of the TSA personnel are trained radiology techs?

    Pat-down for me, please. After radiation therapy I have very little body modesty left.

    Flying this Christmas will be a nightmare. We’ll see how bad on Thanksgiving.

    I really wonder what’s going to happen the first time a little kid freaks out about ‘bad touch’ and bites a cranky TSA searcher?

  82. 82
    PWL says:

    I can hardly wait to see what will happen, when they decide they need to do body cavity searches, too.

    Time to pull out H.L. Mencken and read “The Beloved Turnkey” again. Explains why most Americans will be Good Germans, and put up with this nonsense, which is supposedly For Our Own Good…which is what every despotic system says when it comes up with a new outrage…

  83. 83
    SP says:

    Are you allowed to wear a jock strap? They’d probably freak out about it just like it’s a bad idea to put a lead box in your carry-on even if it’s empty, but if I want to hide my dick from them there’s nothing illegal about that.

  84. 84
    Kyle says:

    @D-Chance.:

    Welcome to Obamamerica!

    Right, it’s Obama’s fault. Because nothing like this happened under Bush/Cheney, who had no authoritarian tendencies whatsoever.
    Fucktard.

  85. 85
    evinfuilt says:

    @Mnemosyne:
    This what I’ve never understood.

    Reinforce cockpit doors (done)
    Educate Passengers (done)

    The only other effective thing that could be done is make sure every security check has a K9 unit at all times. But that requires a trained police officer, and all this other stuff that doesn’t work requires minimum wage workers (but costs obscenely more money.)

    I keep telling myself, one day we’ll be able to bring water on board, after walking briskly through a simple metal detector, get off the flight and be greeted by friends and family right at the gate… once again.

    I wonder, that or high speed rail, which will happen first (never for both I sometimes I feel.)

  86. 86
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Poopyman:

    Today’s internets, won by you.

  87. 87
    ChrisS says:

    My last flight in the US will be 6 December 2010, which has already been booked.

    After that I ain’t flying.

    My co-worker listens to a frat boy radio show (Free Beer and Hot Wings, if you must know) where one of the hosts states that he “hates liberals” in his bio. I can’t help but over hear it most mornings. This morning the little fascist on the radio was attacking DFHs and was completely for full body scans and thorough pat downs because “when you buy the ticket you give up your rights,” and “they’re doing this to protect America, the people who are most against this are the same people that who bitch that the government didn’t do enough to stop 9/11.”

    Remember the implicit right to privacy in the Constitution really chaps their ass.

  88. 88
    PurpleGirl says:

    @ChrisS: and “they’re doing this to protect America, the people who are most against this are the same people that who bitch that the government didn’t do enough to stop 9/11.”

    Rrrrrrrrrrrriiiigggggggggggghhhhtttttttttt… He forgets so completely a certain August 2001 memo that the then President ignored so he could stay on vacation.

  89. 89
    Corner Stone says:

    I wonder what would happen if my 6 yr old son punched the TSA agent right in his junk when he touched him?
    Then gave him an elbow on the way down.

    Because I’d be like, “Hey, I taught him it was never right for a stranger to touch him there. Don’t look at me if you want to get your jollies groping a child.”

  90. 90
    MattR says:

    Bill Maher’s “Fly at Your Own Risk Airlines” idea is sounding better and better. Make sure they have good cockpit doors so the plane can’t be hijacked and used as a weapon and have basic, pre-9/11 security.

    @Corner Stone: I am not a parent, but my immediate thought was that these pat downs of young children completely undermine the lessons they are taught about inappropriate touching, including by people in positions of authority like teachers, priests, coaches, etc..

  91. 91
    moron says:

    @Brick Oven Bill:

    The guy is in fact a bit of a right-wing crackpot — if you check out his blog, it’s a largely a mass of economic crackpottery — gold-buggery, randroidism, claiming Obama should have let the banks fail and the magic of TEH MARKIT!!!! take its course.

    That doesn’t mean the TSA agents were right, of course. Just that it takes a certain kind of idiot to think that white guys having to go through universally applicable security procedures is the greatest threat to liberty in the USA 2010.

  92. 92
    Tom says:

    To those essentially making the argument that “they’re just doing their job” — yes, perhaps. But when the job is immoral, it is the responsibility of private citizens to refuse to do it.

    And I think that that’s the point being made here — that we’ve crossed so far over the line in our quest for a little illusory “security,” that TSA agents have become, in effect, representatives of a police state.

    So yes, they were just doing their jobs. So? It’s still our responsibility as citizens to stand up to our government when it gets out of line, and — like it or not — when you put on the TSA uniform, you are acting as an agent of our government.

  93. 93
    nancydarling says:

    I am thinking about not flying except in an emergency after my already booked flight in December. I think all of us should refuse the scanner. If they want to scan me in December, I’ll have my questions ready:

    1. How many mREMs are safe in a year?
    2. When was your machine last calibrated? Show me the
    documentation.
    3. Have you taken a class in radiation safety? Show me your
    certification.

    I plan to be polite but firm—this is not the fault of the poor schmucks who have to implement the rules dreamed up by the bed wetters.

    It’s so easy to get around their rules anyway. I always have an EPI-pen in my purse they never question. How hard would it be to alter it to do damag? I also brought 16 ounces of frozen passion fruit from L.A. It comes in a slim 8 ounce plastic bag. I just tucked them amongst my clothes and they don’t show up in the luggage screener.

    This has got to stop! Something awful will happen again somewhere in spite of every thing done to prevent it. I could have carried an automatic pistol or a bomb in my purse to the Sanity Rally and taken out quite a few people. They still have metal detectors and cursory purse checks at the museums, etc. but nothing is checked anywhere else.

  94. 94
    Maude says:

    @ChrisS:
    They were taken off in this area a couple of years ago. The whining rightie on local NJ was saying the same things. There must be a talking points sheet being used by these idiots.

  95. 95
    300baud says:

    @jack:

    Couldn’t they have spent a couple of those millions getting a team of chemists, engineers, soldiers and spies and asking them to think of all the possible attacks they could do over a couple of pints? […] would have been better than ‘wait for a near successful or successful attack, then modify procedure in a way that is inconvenient for all involved and either moot or futile’.

    Sure. And the conclusion of that process is either a) nobody flies, b) mandatory cavity search, plus no personal items including clothing allowed during the flight, or c) we accept that some activities have inherent risk, and ignore the terrorists as assholes who are trying to push us around.

    But instead, we have a system that is driven by whatever fear you can whip up in the general public, balanced by fake “solutions” that make the general public think that something is being done, and abetted by our tendency during big problems to pick some scapegoat and declare them negligent in hindsight.

    Until we change that, there is little incentive for politicians to fix anything, and none at all for TSA bureaucrats. Nobody at TSA gets rewarded for increasing personal liberty if it increases risk, because we will only notice them if something bad happens and they hypothetically could have prevented it, at which point we don’t care about the costs.

  96. 96
    Tony J says:

    Is there a TSA job requirement that agents have to freak the fuck out and all of a sudden act like drill sergeants over every perceived “violation” by passengers?

    Sure there is. If airline passengers, like any other breed of terrorist suspect, were allowed to think that they had any rights whatsoever on the 21st century battlefield, it would be just likebanning frontline troops in a warzone from discharging their weapon until they process a form signed in triplicate and run a full background check on every individual shooting at them.

    When you compromise the effectiveness of something as vital as Operation Shut Up and Spread ‘Em by giving the impression that there are any ‘rules’ when it comes to how our brave men and women in uniform defend our freedoms, you might as well just put on your burka and light up that bonfire of bibles right now, because the Bad Guys will have won.

    Freedom Isn’t Free. And if the heroes of the TSA who are out there every single day risking their lives and eyesight tracking down possible Toddler Terrorists or Weapons of Perky Mammary Destruction in order to to keep America safe from harm are put in a position where Tom, Dick or Hammeed can tell them not to grope their package because of some outdated PC notions of what ‘Freedom’ really means, well, the next ‘package’ you hear about is going to be loaded with semtex and primed to blow.

    Scared yet? You should be.

    Boo!

  97. 97
    Silver Owl says:

    $11,000 for not allowing yourself to be groped while people get punished for being prostitutes and doing the same thing TSA does. It’s a wacky wacky world we live in.

  98. 98
    Corner Stone says:

    @moron:

    The guy is in fact a bit of a right-wing crackpot—if you check out his blog, it’s a largely a mass of economic crackpottery—gold-buggery, randroidism, claiming Obama should have let the banks fail and the magic of TEH MARKIT! take its course.
    __
    That doesn’t mean the TSA agents were right, of course. Just that it takes a certain kind of idiot to think that white guys having to go through universally applicable security procedures is the greatest threat to liberty in the USA 2010.

    Without endorsing any of the guy’s positions, IMO I think this is the perfect type of person for this to be happening to.
    And further, I largely don’t care if he and all his wingnut brethren blame Obama 100% for this type of activity.
    Only a nutso winger can speak the kind of code that will rally his kind of nutters on this topic. Anything to get traction at this point.

  99. 99
    Sasha says:

    @Jager:

    If you travel on a one way ticket or if you travel on an airline “buddy pass” or a spouse’s (airline employee) pass you will be selected for a complete shaked down.

    So if I were a remotely competent terrorist, I’d buy round-trip tickets, natch.

    Purest idiocy, and I expect not one prominent Tea person to denounce it. (Actually, they’d probably be demanding more such government intrusion.)

  100. 100
    bemused says:

    We know how much of a person’s body is visible on the new machines but are there any videos of the groping process? I’d like to know what I’m in for when I choose that over xrays.

  101. 101
    Nutella says:

    @Sasha:

    The pat-downs for people with one-way tickets have been happening for years. Also people who pay with cash rather than credit cards.

    Obviously a terrorist will pay cash for a one-way ticket when he’s going to blow himself up. Terrorists are very frugal, you know!

  102. 102
    Nutella says:

    An interesting approach to the problem.

  103. 103
    Sasha says:

    @Nutella:

    To a degree, I can understand: A fleeing criminal (for instance, a bank robber or kidnapper) is more likely to try and leave the area using cash and flying one-way.

    The thing is, the current security theatre procedure will not catch such a criminal (unless he’s carrying a weapon). Passenger psychological profiling (guilty/evasion tells), which isn’t practiced, would. However, that would preclude the need to buy expensive technological toys, so …

  104. 104
    Seething mom says:

    I am a thyroid cancer patient. I was born in Arizona in the late 1950’s and I believe my thyroid cancer is a result of living “downwind” of nuclear tests conducted in Nevada and New Mexico in the 50’s and 60’s. I’ll be damned if I am going to take anyone’s word (much less the federal government’s) on the safety of these airport body scanners.

  105. 105
    cckids says:

    So, what’s going to happen when a competent Richard Reid (the shoe bomber) or Umar Abdulmuttab (the underwear bomber) gets on a plane and is able to set off his half-pound of explosives, blowing a hole in the side at 35,000 feet, tearing the fuselage and bringing the plane down with 300+ onboard?

    Ali Velshi (sp?) was making this point on CNN, referring specifically to the underwear bomber. What I don’t get, is how all the scanning and groping would have stopped the guy, WHO WAS FLYING HERE FROM AMSTERDAM. Unless all foreign airports have similar screening procedures, OMG we’re still not safe. Better make everybody fly nekkid. Its the only way we’ll all be “safe”. Then will come the stories about people getting STDs from airline seats, new “mile high club” exploits, etc. Safety is not to be ours.

  106. 106
    maus says:

    @nancydarling: It’s not the same patdown, I’ve gotten the “enhanced” one after opting out.

    @Brick Oven Bill: Ok! I’m glad that the RedState crowd is up in arms, fucking DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. If y’all are only stirring up trouble and your leaders do nothing, I’ll… not be surprised one bit.

    I don’t care if the dude is a Scientologist, I support him standing up for his rights.

  107. 107
    maus says:

    @observer:

    So, what’s going to happen when a competent Richard Reid (the shoe bomber) or Umar Abdulmuttab (the underwear bomber) gets on a plane and is able to set off his half-pound of explosives, blowing a hole in the side at 35,000 feet, tearing the fuselage and bringing the plane down with 300+ onboard?

    You’re going to advocate every one of us get our anuses and vaginas three fingers deep if we want to step aboard, that’s what’s going to happen. The measures we had in place are enough.

  108. 108
    TooManyJens says:

    @Nutella: That’s a great post. Also, too, I hate Tumblr.

  109. 109
    Matt C. says:

    So, I’m late to the game on this topic, but here’s an interesting tidbit.

    The TSA, in support of fining Mr. Tyner, will likely be relying on the Ninth Circuit decison in U.S. v. Aukai, in which the Court found that once a person enters a security checkpoint with the intent of entering the sterile area of an airport, the person deos not have the right to revoke consent and back out of screening. In fact, the Supreme Court has held that a valid administrative search does not require consent.

    Reasonable administrative searches are an exception to the 4th Amendment warrant requirement, with the word “reasonable” being the defining factor. Administrative searches are reasonable only when limited to a particular administrative purpose — in the TSA’s case, preventing weapons and explosives from being taken aboard commercial aircraft. The Ninth Circuit in 1973 developed the Davis Test to make this distinction. The Davis Test states that an administrative search is reasonable if:

    (1) is no more extensive nor intensive than necessary, in the light of current technology, to detect the presence of weapons or explosives,
    (2) that it is confined in good faith to that purpose, and
    (3) that potential passengers may avoid the search by electing not to fly.

    As I noted above, the Ninth Circuit, in its Aukai decision, clarified the third part of the Davis Test by stating that once a person enters the screening process, they don’t have a right to back out. I think Mr. Tyner would have a tough time putting up a 4th Amendment objection to this point.

    However — and what I find more applicable in Mr. Tyner’s instance — is how the Court would interpret the first two parts of the Davis Test, in light of the new TSA screening requirements. Remember, the Aukai decision was made before the advent of full-body scanners and pat-downs involving the touching of breasts and genitals. Also, Mr. Tyner was actively escorted out of the security checkpoint and was given a refund for his ticket.

    So, here are the questions in Mr. Tyner’s instance which are probably going to be at the crux of any appeal, and which I find interesting:

    (1) After the government makes a decision to reject a person from a security checkpoint and escort them back to the unsecure area of the airport, can the government then change its mind and require that person to continue screening?
    (2) Was the TSA acting in “good faith” in asking Mr. Tyner to continue screening after he had already been escorted out of the security checkpoint and given a refund for his ticket?
    (3) Are full-body scanners and pat-downs involving the touching of breasts and genitals “no more extensive nor intensive than necessary, in the light of current technology, to detect the presence of weapons or explosives”?
    (4) If the TSA is confined to the administrative purpose of preventing weapons and explosives from being taken aboard commercial aircraft, is it reasonable to continue screening a person who has had their airline ticket refunded and can no longer board an aircraft?

    By the way, if you want to see the Aukai decision, it is available here: http://openjurist.org/440/f3d/.....es-v-aukai

  110. 110
    burnspbesq says:

    I think this is going to die a relatively quick death. The US Attorney for the Southern District of California is a career prosecutor with no political ambitions (she’s openly gay and married, which would be a problem in San Diego), who by all accounts is a rational person capable of making intelligent decisions about the efficient use of her scarce resources. There’s no way she wants any part of this.

  111. 111
    MattR says:

    @Matt C.:

    Are full-body scanners and pat-downs involving the touching of breasts and genitals “no more extensive nor intensive than necessary, in the light of current technology, to detect the presence of weapons or explosives”?

    I am gonna go out on a limb and guess that the TSA does not want to litigate this particular question or anything else that would call into question the effectiveness of airport security.

  112. 112
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    Small price for all that freedom.

    One wazzock nearly burns his bits off, and gets the nation’s air travellers to be forced through the nude-o-scope or groped.

    Got to chalk that in the win column for Teh Terrsts, and anyone who thinks that it’s less of a win than actually bringing down a plane is deluding themselves.

  113. 113
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    IMO I think this is the perfect type of person for this to be happening to.

    I don’t even mind that Limpballs, who flies by private jet, took a crack at the TSA. Let them go at it, thinking that it’s a crusade against Big Gubmint, and see if they can cope with being hand-in-hand with the ACLU.

  114. 114
  115. 115
    Mnemosyne says:

    @burnspbesq:

    I think this is going to die a relatively quick death.

    I got to spend five days in a courtroom this summer because a junior prosecutor decided that a graduate student who had a knife in her purse was deliberately trying to smuggle it into the courthouse because shut up, that’s why. (She said it was in there for self-defense and she forgot to take it out when she switched bags.) We actually had to go through an entire jury trial because the prosecutor wouldn’t drop the stupid case and it took about 15 minutes for the jury to come back with “not guilty.”

    So I don’t have a whole lot of faith in prosecutors dropping stupid cases at this point.

  116. 116
    burnspbesq says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Was that LA Superior or the Central District? Based on the publicly available information about Andre Birotte, it’s hard to imagine him countenancing something like that. Cooley, on the other hand, has been running for office as a Republican, so what you describe is not surprising if it came from the LA County DA’s office.

  117. 117
    Mnemosyne says:

    @burnspbesq:

    LA County, at the Pasadena courthouse.

    The DA probably thought she would plea bargain, but she’s doing her research about juvenile justice so even a misdemeanor conviction would probably derail her career.

  118. 118
    Mark Grantham says:

    @MattR:
    I was a teacher in the Middle East, therefore I had to fly back and forth. I noticed the TSA agents singled out Middle eastern looking men and women, of course, this was before the full body scan. Somehow it doesn’t seem fair to pick on someone because of “how they look”.
    When I came back to America, I flew through one of the New York City airports. The Customs agent who looked at my passport gave me a verbal lashing, because I had been in the Middle East. When he looked at my passport, and saw the visas in Arabic, he got very upset, what I would call abusive! Well, it makes sense to me, I was in an Arabic country, the visas were in Arabic.
    So much of the security and safety of the passengers is up to the individual agent, and that is extremely scary! It seems to me, that my safety depends on the mood of the agent at the security gate!
    There has to be a fine line between just getting on a plane, and living in a police state!

  119. 119

    @Darius:

    Personally, I’m sympathetic to the TSA agent in that scenario – Tyner was clearly trying to make trouble, and was acting suspicious as all hell.

    LOL!!!

    Um, don’t you think the TSA are the ones acting suspicious as all hell???

    They are fondling people and xraying them and searching them and detaining them all to help dirty lying politicians get re-elected by providing security theatre!

    But your comment just goes to show how dangerous this stuff is. If the people “act suspicious” (what does that mean?) they are in trouble, and should be in trouble. But if the politicians’ flunkies fondle you, xray you, search you, detain you, and take your laptop, then that’s fine.

    America – land of the free! LOL!

  120. 120
    Taniwha says:

    A couple of years ago I read an article by a guy who is currently fairly high up in the Israeli government and works on airport security and nothing else.

    Obviously the Israelis have been special targets for aircraft terrorism since 1950, but very few successful attempts have been made in the last few decades.

    Israeli airports are very efficient and their primary goal is to have passengers into and out of aircraft as fast as possible with as little hassle as possible, while also giving the impression that aircraft terrorism isn’t much of a threat.

    They don’t have any of the ‘security’ procedures that have been implemented in the US since 9/11. Instead they rely on having highly-trained agents visually inspecting and watching each passenger from behind one-way glass or via video, and allowing them to identify people who may be acting suspiciously for interviews.

    There are numerous well-known ‘tells’ and facial/behaviour cues that reveal people who have something to hide. Well-trained staff can pick these out *very* reliably.

    It works. But only because the actual goal of the exercise is to make air travel safe.

    In the US, the goal of the exercise is quite different. The government wants the general public to think that terrorism is a real and imminent threat, and the TSA administration simply wants bigger budgets and more power. And the companies involved just want to sell more expensive toys to the government. Those three factors are what drives airport security policy, and nothing else.

    The Israeli complained that they had offered to set up training programs in the US and implement their own processes at US airports, but the US government had flatly refused such assistance.

    You would have to be an idiot to not understand what is really going on here.

  121. 121

    @MCA:

    But I’m generally sympathetic to the labyrinth of contradiction they’re supposed to be navigating

    But the TSA workers chose the job. Would you choose a job where you have to pat people down, etc? It takes a (ahem) special kind of person to want jobs like that.

    And don’t they have a union that will draw the line for them and protect them? I’m in Australia, so I don’t know about the American situation. Would they get sacked for refusing to xray people and pat them down?

    And what’s with the “keeping your numbers up” scenario? That is obviously security theatre, and the TSA and the Union shouldn’t tolerate that sort of crap.

  122. 122
    Bill Murray says:

    @Martin Gifford: no they don’t have a union. That’s what got Max Cleland voted out of the Senate in 2002 — supporting allowing TSA to unionize rather than approving the legislation without that allowance. The legislation was approved without allowing unionization.

  123. 123

    […] imbéciles? Si se ceban con Tyner no le va a faltar apoyo por parte del público. Por supuesto, como comenta John Cole, no se trata tanto de cebarse con Tyner como de enviar un mensaje al público: “No os sometáis […]

  124. 124

    @Nutella:

    Hmm, what would they do with someone who can’t walk or stand unsupported by a walker or crutches? It looks like all of them will have to be groped. I’m having horrifying visions of old ladies in walkers and severely handicapped people like Stephen Hawking being groped and having to answer questions about their catheters, etc. So civilized.

    You get groped. My father wears braces on his legs. He’s been going through this sort of thing for the last 40 years. Seven years ago after I lost my leg I was on crutches for several months and got to go through the same thing and now I get to do it every time I go through a metal detector because of my prosthesis. It’s actually less of a pain in the ass if you’re ha

    All of this security is a joke. I walked into a building that has metal detectors a few weeks ago with a four inch folding knife in my pocket. I took my keys, wallet and cell phone out of my pockets and put them in the tray for the X-ray machine and told the guard that he was going to have to wand me because I have an artificial leg. I walked through the detector, set it off, pulled up my pants leg to reveal the prosthesis, went through a perfunctory check with a wand and was on my way. I didn’t realize until later that I still had the knife on me.

  125. 125

    @Taniwha:

    The Israeli complained that they had offered to set up training programs in the US and implement their own processes at US airports, but the US government had flatly refused such assistance. You would have to be an idiot to not understand what is really going on here.

    Great info, Taniwha! Observing from here in Australia, I have concluded that America runs on doing favours for one’s business friends rather than choosing the best option.

    @Bill Murray:

    no they don’t have a union.

    Ah. Thanks for the info.

    Anyway, who needs unions? Free enterprise is always the best way to go. /snark.

  126. 126
    CalD says:

    I went through one of those machines last week and got a pat-down when it couldn’t get a clear image for some reason. It really didn’t strike me as any big deal. Having to empty out all your pockets before going through the machine was annoying but at no time did I feel violated in any way.

  127. 127
    burnspbesq says:

    Anybody who has to look at my genitals in order to get his/her jollies deserves your pity, not your censure.

  128. 128
    Jim Harvie says:

    I am absolutely gobsmacked that this is treated as news by the American faux-intelligentsia. These were rights that you collectively agreed should be abrogated about 30 seconds after your so called 9/11.
    There has been a culture of fear taking over the media and the zeitgeist. (see tea party). There has been them and us and our way or the hiway since and you have wallowd in it.
    Now it comes home to roost and you are all surprixed?
    Fucking tourists.

  129. 129
    Jim Harvie says:

    I am absolutely gobsmacked that this is treated as news by the American faux-intelligentsia. These were rights that you collectively agreed should be abrogated about 30 seconds after your so called 9/11.
    There has been a culture of fear taking over the media and the zeitgeist. (see tea party). There has been them and us and our way or the hiway since and you have wallowd in it.
    Now it comes home to roost and you are all surprixed?
    Fucking tourists.

  130. 130
    Jim Harvie says:

    I am absolutely gobsmacked that this is treated as news by the American faux-intelligentsia. These were rights that you collectively agreed should be abrogated about 30 seconds after your so called 9/11.
    There has been a culture of fear taking over the media and the zeitgeist. (see tea party). There has been them and us and our way or the hiway since and you have wallowd in it.
    Now it comes home to roost and you are all surprixed?
    Fucking tourists.

  131. 131
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    @Martin Gifford: “Observing from here in Australia, I have concluded that America runs on doing favours for one’s business friends rather than choosing the best option.”

    We call it crony capitalism. It’s a way of life for the rich and our politicians. The rich throw money at the pols, the pols lower taxes on the rich, in turn the rich throws even more money at the politicians to buy more government access, sweet contracts and to lower taxes even more. Wash, rinse and repeat though I think they are running out of ‘shampoo’.

    Come to think of it, the whole sham is nothing more than poo. It’s a game of musical chairs and we are about to run out of chairs.

    Our government sold us out to cash in on it for themselves. Too many politicians figured out that they could cash in and if things get bad for them then they can cash out then line up at one of the businesses owned by a rich buddy who owes them a cushy job. They can be long gone when everything collapses and we are left with the mess they created. Hell, they can even join in on the finger pointing and note how ‘everything was just fine when they were in office!’. We are stupid so you know most will believe that line, allowing them to get away with it. Long ago our politicians discovered that their government career gives them an opportunity to live well, building lives and careers that regular citizens could only dream about. In the pursuit of riches and power, too many of the sheep we have sent to Washington have turned into wolves.

    I really don’t see a way out of this mess. I just don’t.

  132. 132
    jehrler says:

    @observer:

    I realize this thread has come and gone, but planes are not all that fragile. Remember the Aloha plane lost its top and landed safely. Quite a few other planes have had holes punched in them from disintegrating engines, failed cargo doors, failed windows, etc.

    And, yes, there have been planes brought down by bombs but, in at least the Pan Am case, the bomb was not on the passenger but in the hold. And really, after the shoe and underwear bombers have shown how responsive both the crew and passengers are to threats undertaken by a passenger, it is the cargo hold that should be the real worry.

  133. 133
    Sister Inspired Revolver of Freedom says:

    In case you were wondering, this is why Chicago didn’t get the Olympics. Has no one stopped to think about what this is doing to tourism and business travel? Who would want to come to the US knowing they faced this.

  134. 134
    buddhacosmos says:

    I’m slow on understanding the constitution and our system.

    All this about the Right to Own Guns. Whch is a Priveledge.
    But nothing going about unwaranted search and seizure? Which is a Universal.

    Doesn’t this tell us the squeeky wheel gets the greese? Maybe the Gun Rights Lobby would like a new affiliate -the Unwarranted Search and Seizure Lobby?

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