Getting groped by a TSA agent is just like going to the doctor

Or to a hooker, really, if you can contort your thinking properly. Maybe Ruth Marcus could work that into her next column chastizing Americans for wanting their privacy protected when they travel.

“Don’t touch my junk” may be the cri de coeur – cri de crotch? – of the post-9/11 world, but it’s an awfully childish one. We let people touch our junk all the time in medical settings. Yes, the technician who performs my mammogram has more professional training than your average TSA agent, but she is also a lot more up close and personal than a quick once-over with a gloved hand. I undergo the mammogram for my personal benefit; I don’t know if there is a suspicious mass, whereas I know there are no explosives sewn into my underwear. I undergo the pat-down, if I must, for the greater public benefit. It is an unfortunate part of the modern social contract.

All of this would make a tiny bit more sense – and perhaps be even a tiny bit less abhorrent – if there were any evidence that these security measures did us any good. Glenn Greenwald, in an extraordinary takedown of this abysmal article at The Nation, quotes a representative of the ACLU saying:

[t]he new ‘enhanced’ security methods are far more intrusive than other methods but have not been shown to be any more effective.  Nobody should be forced to choose between ‘naked scans’ and intrusive groping by strangers to keep our airplanes safe.

The ACLU is documenting TSA-related complaints here. And no, there is no evidence whatsoever that all this security vaudeville is doing us any good at all.

As far as I know, nobody is yet documenting complaints over the ‘bland, shallow, pro-establishment tripe‘ of the Washington Post’s Op-Ed columnists. Though a few of them have made the Top 30 Hacks list over at Salon other posters here have been linking to today.






98 replies
  1. 1
    MBunge says:

    And no, there is no evidence whatsoever that all this security vaudeville is doing us any good at all.

    What evidence would prove it was doing any good at all?

    Mike

  2. 2
    The Bearded Blogger says:

    I take it Marcus supports cavity searches? When is it ok to scarificy for the good of the community? Only to help bankers and the police state, I take it?

    Also, it seems that the company that makes these scanners is called rapiscan. Sounds a lot like rapeyscan.

  3. 3
    me says:

    The way The Nation attacked Tyner was pretty bad but they did have a point that the real objective, at least by your pals at Reason and such, is to replace the TSA with private companies who, I bet, would be as bad or worse then the TSA. That said, the entire airport security system needs thorough reworking.

  4. 4
    freelancer says:

    @MBunge:

    What evidence would prove it was doing any good at all?

    if say the scanners CAUGHT people! Even ones that don’t have motives to bring illicit shit onto planes but do it accidentally.

  5. 5
    BGinCHI says:

    You know when people talk about a “slippery slope”?

    You know where we are now on the slope with this subject?

    That’s right, exactly where Dick and Liz Cheney pushed us.

    If you want security over every other measure of quality of life then this is what you get. Or worse.

  6. 6
    gnomedad says:

    just like going to the doctor

    Well, the reichtards will be OK with this as long it’s not available to poor and brown people.

  7. 7
    The Dangerman says:

    Having hookers be TSA screeners seems like a fine idea; perhaps the screening could be a lap dance. Pat downs without using their hands. This could work.

  8. 8
    General Stuck says:

    @The Dangerman:

    perhaps the screening could be a lap dance.

    That might just get me back on board

  9. 9
    General Stuck says:

    I just hope the folks on the left against the scanner, don’t label it “the hippies were right again”. Us real hippies, would simply show up at the airport wearing only love beads. That is if we had a mind to fly somewhere, without leaving the house.

  10. 10
    Zifnab says:

    @MBunge: @freelancer:

    What Freelancer said.

    http://wireupdate.com/wires/12.....or-blades/

    Mythbusters host Adam Savage shared his experience of passing through a TSA checkpoint last May without security catching his 12 inch razor steel blades that he mistakenly left in his jacket.

    I’m all for some degree of airport security, but the TSA isn’t anything resembling that. They didn’t catch the underwear bomber. They didn’t catch the shoe bomber. They didn’t catch the bomb packages. And their predecessors didn’t catch the 9/11 hijackers.

    For all this not catching people, we pay $8.1 billion / year.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T.....nistration

    That’s $1.3 billion more than we spend on the entire National Science Foundation.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N.....Foundation

    And last I checked, we saved far more lives with the much-derided Volcano Monitoring and Bear DNA research than we ever have with the TS-fucking-A.

  11. 11
    Zifnab says:

    What Freelancer said.

    http://wireupdate.com/wires/12.....or-blades/

    Mythbusters host Adam Savage shared his experience of passing through a TSA checkpoint last May without security catching his 12 inch razor steel blades that he mistakenly left in his jacket.

    I’m all for some degree of airport security, but the TSA isn’t anything resembling that. They didn’t catch the underwear bomber. They didn’t catch the shoe bomber. They didn’t catch the bomb packages. And their predecessors didn’t catch the 9/11 hijackers.

    For all this not catching people, we pay $8.1 billion / year.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T.....nistration

    That’s $1.3 billion more than we spend on the entire National Science Foundation.

    And last I checked, we saved far more lives with the much-derided Volcano Monitoring and Bear DNA research than we ever have with the TS-fucking-A.

  12. 12
    The Dangerman says:

    @General Stuck:

    That might just get me back on board.

    Perhaps the screening should be done by the airlines, immediately before and after boarding; if so, I’m investing in Hooter’s Airlines.

  13. 13
    Mnemosyne says:

    Amanda at Pandagon has been pointing out that this stuff has been going on for years for women and non-white men. Interesting how it only becomes a problem when white men are treated like the rest of us have been.

  14. 14
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

     

    Yes, the technician who performs my mammogram has more professional training than your average TSA agent, but she is also a lot more up close and personal than a quick once-over with a gloved hand

    WTF? So the problem is that the groper isn’t sufficiently de-personalized?

    You know what would make the average TSA agent seem even less up close and personal? Have them wear wrap-around latex Lizard People masks. Problem solved.

    When you are always scared, every day is Halloween, only without the candy.

  15. 15
    The Bearded Blogger says:

    @BGinCHI: People get filmed all the time. Why should it be any different if it is in their own homes, if it is for the greater public benefit?

  16. 16
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Zifnab:

    They didn’t catch the shoe bomber. They didn’t catch the bomb packages.

    To be fair, none of those flights originated in the US, so the TSA wasn’t actually responsible for those errors.

    For me, the problem is that we’re trying to fight the last battle rather than trying to figure out what the next attack might be. It won’t be another hijacking, for sure, because the passengers would never sit still for it.

  17. 17
    BGinCHI says:

    @The Bearded Blogger: Is this a question for me? Based on my post?

    You lost me there.

  18. 18
    The Bearded Blogger says:

    @Zifnab: If they CAUGHT anyone they’d be out of business. The people in the terror business have an interest in continued terrorist attacks/attempts

  19. 19
    cleek says:

    @Zifnab:

    For all this not catching people, we pay $8.1 billion / year.

    just think… we could have nearly 100 TSAs, for the amount we spend on “defense”

  20. 20
    General Stuck says:

    @The Bearded Blogger:

    Doesn’t Great Britain have cameras covering about every public space square inch of their cities? Now that is what I call a security state.

  21. 21
    JM says:

    This is a political Tsar Bomba. If Obama can’t get out in front of this and shut it down, he’s going to be the Molester in Chief, and he won’t be able to live it down. As it is, it’s probably already too late, since T-day is upon us and thousands more have been assaulted.

  22. 22
    Neutron Flux says:

    Those stories at the ACLU link. Wow. Fuck me. Shit.

  23. 23
    The Bearded Blogger says:

    @BGinCHI: Sorry… you talked about a slippery slope; Ruth Marcus says being groped is like going to the doctor… I was picturing a way in which the slippery slope you described could lead to an all-out orwellian surveillance state, using Marcus’ glib arguments.

    Sorry for the obscurity

  24. 24
    Elia says:

    @Mnemosyne: I don’t know whether this is actually a helpful or insightful view of this brouhaha, but it certainly makes me feel better about myself to endorse it!

  25. 25
    The Bearded Blogger says:

    @BGinCHI: Sorry… I’ll explain…

    You talked about a slippery slope; Ruth Marcus says being groped is like going to the doctor… I was picturing a way in which the slippery slope you described could lead to an all-out orwellian surveillance state, using Marcus’ glib arguments.

    Sorry for the obscurity

  26. 26
    schrodinger's cat says:

    I wonder what EDK’s stance was on airport security, back in the days of Bush and Cheney. Does anyone know.

  27. 27
    freelancer says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    The TSA does have a presence in foreign airports where they have flights destined for US Soil. FYI.

  28. 28
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

     

    I undergo the [this space for rent], if I must, for the greater public benefit. It is an unfortunate part of the modern social contract.

    Keerist on a cracker, with turkey and stuffing! Arthur Koestler would have loved these people, also too.

  29. 29
    JM says:

    Seriously, if you haven’t read the ACLU stories, go. Now.

    The anger out there is titanic. I can’t even imagine what this is going to look like come Monday.

  30. 30

    Medical people become intimate with patient’s in stages, and with permission at the beginning of every stage.

    It’s sort of like driving a car with 4 on the floor: Start slow, and when things are going smooth and only then, you go to the next level and stay there until things are going smooth and etc.

    It is a delight to watch a good pediatrician and a child. They [the doctor and the child] engage in a very polite interchange, with permission asked and granted at every level as the physician progresses to a more intimate examination.

    I like my doctors to treat me the same way. And they do.

    Is this what is happening with security at airports?

    Edited because I can’t spell.

  31. 31
    slag says:

    As far as I know, nobody is yet documenting complaints over the ‘bland, shallow, pro-establishment tripe’ of the Washington Post’s Op-Ed columnists. Though a few of them have made the Top 30 Hacks list over at Salon other posters here have been linking to today.

    I honestly don’t know what to do with these last two sentences.

  32. 32
    BGinCHI says:

    @The Bearded Blogger: The cameras will be made and operated by Halliburton.

  33. 33
    The Bearded Blogger says:

    @General Stuck: Oh, GB has been a quasi-orwellian state for decades… look at their copyright laws, at their police brutality…maybe it has to do with their having a dirty tricks secret service earlier than the US?

  34. 34
    MattR says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    For me, the problem is that we’re trying to fight the last battle rather than trying to figure out what the next attack might be. It won’t be another hijacking, for sure, because the passengers would never sit still for it.

    Exactly. The reason that 9/11 was so successful is that it preyed upon preconditioned response of the hijacked passengers. For that reason I would say the odds of the next major attack involving airplanes are rather slim. If all Al-Qaeda wants to do it blow something up and kill some people, there are much easier ways to do it at this point than boarding an airplane with weapons (several people in previous threads mentioned a suicide bomber at the security checkpoint). And really the same is true if they want to do something more spectacular. We have been so focused on that one area that we have plenty of other areas that are still exposed.

  35. 35
    ChrisNYC says:

    I don’t get why people think the “haven’t caught anyone yet” argument is such a slam dunk against “security theater.”

    Part of deterrence is preventing attempts. If you’re talking about a pill that is supposed to stop a disease and the disease keeps cropping up, fine, the pill doesn’t work. But if you’re talking about a thinking human on the other side of the equation, increasing the impression that you’re more likely to get caught makes a difference. (I see where if people are so outraged and crazy about the scanners and the pat downs, then you say, too high a price anyway.) And, the “didn’t catch anyone yet” argument doesn’t really show all that much. In other words, and I’m sure someone else has pointed this out, but part of it is indeed “theater.”

    The fact that the Xmas day bomber’s flight originated from outside the US could be used (since I don’t know his motivation as to why he chose the flight he did) to say that the post-9/11 stuff did decrease the likelihood of attacks on flights in the US.

  36. 36
    The Bearded Blogger says:

    @JM: I wonder what genius decide to trot out this new policy just before the holiday season? What is the rationale behind that?

  37. 37
    The Bearded Blogger says:

    @MattR: The only thing you do when preventing a specific form of terrorist attack is making terrorists think of other ways to cause similar damage.

    If the US wanted to be safe, they should

    1) Stop being foreign policy dicks
    2) Have a competent, well informed intelligence agency that is open to oversight and not dedicated to dirty tricks around the world (see 1) instead of doing good detective work.

  38. 38
    General Stuck says:

    @ChrisNYC:

    If you’re talking about a pill that is supposed to stop a disease and the disease keeps cropping up, fine, the pill doesn’t work. But if you’re talking about a thinking human on the other side of the equation, increasing the impression that you’re more likely to get caught makes a difference

    Nicely articulated!

  39. 39
    MattR says:

    @The Bearded Blogger: Their defense is that there is a threat out there so they have to enhance security and they rolled these things out as quickly as they could. In fact John Pistole explained that one of the reasons it took them so long after the underwear bomber to break out these new procedures was that they had to train the TSA agents on the proper pat down procedures. (His other reason, that there was no permanent head due to congressional gridlock, made a lot more sense to me)

    @The Bearded Blogger: Yep. Only they had already reached the point where airplanes were no longer a cost effective method of attack long before these latest changes.

  40. 40
    BGinCHI says:

    You know what’s really hard to hijack and steer into a building?

    A high-speed train.

    Also, private garbage trucks.

  41. 41
    Joseph Nobles says:

    Yeah, the Nation article could have easily been written the same way about Rosa Parks in the 1950’s. Actually there was more on Parks. She was an active member of the NAACP, which was considering candidates for a test case of Montgomery’s buses. “I was tired” is a lot more dignified than “Don’t touch my junk,” though. But that’s the facts Tyner had to deal with.

    ETA: The TSA seems to have shut down the backscatter and pat-down regimen today. This will cut down on the complaints, of course, but only fuel the fire of the security pantomime claims.

  42. 42
    Citizen Alan says:

    Please tell me that Ruth Marcus is somewhere on Salon’s list of the World’s 30 Worst Hacks. That fascist bitch is every bit as bad as anyone else at Kaplan.

  43. 43
    E.D. Kain says:

    @me: That’s a pretty big leap.

  44. 44
    John Bird says:

    Glenn Greenwald vs. Mark Ames. That’s pretty good reading right there.

  45. 45
    E.D. Kain says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: I was opposed to both wars, the patriot act, and Bush and Cheney, actually. Though I wasn’t blogging at the time. But your ‘speculation’ here is mostly an attempt to impugn me with ulterior motives. It’s a lazy tactic, but I’m getting used to it.

  46. 46
    wobbly says:

    No commercial aircraft have been blown up or flown into buildings since September 11, 2001. No flight attendants have had their throats with box cutters, no grandparents have picked up the phone to hear their son say goodbye as he, his wife, and their baby were incinerated while they were watching the television as the (second) plane hit.

    Pardon me, but I think that’s a good thing, and may constitute evidence that some some of this “security theater” may be working.

    After all, the “underwear bomber” was forced to conceal his explosives near his “junk” precisely because increased airport security made the box cutter in the carry on a non starter. Or the plastique in the shoes….

    I mean, I read all these rants about privacy, and it’s as if everybody has forgotten how September 11 went down.

    I hate airport security as much as anyone, but do I feel that TSA agents enjoy feeling people up?

    No.

    Would I rather ride in a plane where everybody was thoroughly screened than one in which maniacs skated through security pleading a “privacy” exception?

    Yes.

    Oh, and by the way, I’ve been summoned to appear in the Bronx family court next month. If you think the lines at the airport are a problem, get in line for a routine child support hearing in the Bronx.

  47. 47
    General Stuck says:

    @Joseph Nobles:

    I think it was a Marist poll that came out today showing 61 percent of likely voters now opposing the scanning and patdowns. Only a few weeks ago, a CBS poll, and I think another one, showed 80 percent of the public approved of both of those TSA security measures.

    Don’t know really what to make of it, either the media has more short term influence that I thought they had, the public are just a bunch of chicken littles reacting to caustic term like “groping junk” or the being seen naked on the internet meme, or maybe after learning more about the techniques caused them to rethink. I won’t make a guess right now as to which.

  48. 48
    Zifnab says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    To be fair, none of those flights originated in the US, so the TSA wasn’t actually responsible for those errors.

    It just illustrates how useless the organization is. The attacks that are attempted get foiled by FBI and CIA, or by airplane passengers themselves. The TSA remains the vestigial sixth finger of national security.

    For me, the problem is that we’re trying to fight the last battle rather than trying to figure out what the next attack might be. It won’t be another hijacking, for sure, because the passengers would never sit still for it.

    It’s not terrorists have been shy about truck bombings or train bombings or good old fashioned “vest made of dynamite in a crowded location” bombings.

    @cleek: They’ve been ramping up the useless private contractors for the last ten years. Blackwater and the rest, baby. The future is now.

  49. 49
    ChrisNYC says:

    More of my incomprehension.

    Frankly, I don’t get the “fighting the last battle” thing either. I mean, there was Pan Am 103, 9/11, the plan to blow up many airplanes over the Pacific (out of LAX), the shoebomber and there was the Xmas day guy. Did we receive a notice from South Waziristan saying that blowing up airplanes is soooo 2009?

  50. 50
    MattR says:

    @wobbly:

    it’s as if everybody has forgotten how September 11 went down.

    9/11 went down solely because the passengers had the mistaken belief that if they cooperated they would make it home alive at the end of the day. The destruction of that myth has done more to prevent future 9/11’s than any security measures the TSA created as a result of that day.

  51. 51
    me says:

    @E.D. Kain: People in Congress have already explicitly said that, it’s not a big leap. Notice, I never said that i thought you wanted that, so do you think that the TSA should be replaced by private companies?

  52. 52
    Svensker says:

    @The Bearded Blogger:

    If the US wanted to be safe, they should
    1) Stop being foreign policy dicks
    2) Have a competent, well informed intelligence agency that is open to oversight and not dedicated to dirty tricks around the world (see 1) instead of doing good detective work.

    You obviously are not running for office, since these two things are sane and not expensive.

  53. 53
    Morbo says:

    As far as I know, nobody is yet documenting complaints over the ‘bland, shallow, pro-establishment tripe’ of the Washington Post’s Op-Ed columnists. Though a few of them have made the Top 30 Hacks list over at Salon other posters here have been linking to today.

    I must admit that I had hoped Matt Yglesias would make the list in the spirit of bipartisanship.

  54. 54
    Zifnab says:

    @wobbly:

    I mean, I read all these rants about privacy, and it’s as if everybody has forgotten how September 11 went down.

    I haven’t forgotten.

    It was nineteen guys with box cutters. But when Adam Savage can walk aboard an aircraft with a pair of 12″ saw blades after the TSA X-ray’d his balls off, I think the TSA has.

    Bombings have been attempted. We have multiple records of bomb attempts. TSA has failed each and every time. The running joke now is how long until we have to fly naked because a guy figures out how to make an explosive pair of blue jeans. Or start getting cavity searched because a crazy asshole shoved C4 up his butt.

  55. 55
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @E.D. Kain: Thanks for answering my question. I was not trying to accuse you of anything, I was just curious. The reason I did not address my question directly to you, was that you hardly, if ever respond to comments. I hope you have a happy Thanksgiving.

  56. 56
    John Bird says:

    I suppose the fix is in, as a friend forwarded me an article from Krauthammer that segues from a sudden concern for civil liberties and the TSA pat-downs (remember ‘situational libertarianism’?) right back into his boring advocacy for racial profiling.

    You see, white people shouldn’t be bothered by airport security when we’re obviously looking for . . . Nigerians?

  57. 57
    Violet says:

    I undergo the pat-down, if I must, for the greater public benefit. It is an unfortunate part of the modern social contract.

    No it’s not. The contract is between the passenger and the airline and the contract is the purchase of the ticket. The nude-o-scope/pat down is an additional requirement by the government, and it’s got nothing to do with a social contract. It’s a bad law being enforced in wildly varying ways.

    These pundits really are dumb, aren’t they? Do their brains even work or do their mouths/fingers just speak/type without any neurological activity?

  58. 58
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @John Bird: Well I am waiting for some VSP to suggest that only white people be allowed to fly.

  59. 59
    Violet says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:
    How about one line for white people and one line for browns and blacks? That would work well. Sigh.

  60. 60
    Zifnab says:

    @me:

    The way The Nation attacked Tyner was pretty bad but they did have a point that the real objective, at least by your pals at Reason and such, is to replace the TSA with private companies who, I bet, would be as bad or worse then the TSA. That said, the entire airport security system needs thorough reworking.

    Honestly, I don’t see why this would be such a big deal. My objection would be to the US taxpayer continuing to foot the bill. Pass a mandate requiring airports to provide their own security. Then let the free market do its thing.

    The reason you’ve got Chertoff selling hundred dollar FastPass and million dollar X-Ray machines is because it’s all being billed on the taxpayer’s dime. If it was Continental or US Airways picking up the tab, you can guarantee they’d be cutting every corner imaginable.

  61. 61
    Andre says:

    @MattR:

    9/11 went down solely because the passengers had the mistaken belief that if they cooperated they would make it home alive at the end of the day.

    wat

    I mean, I get what you’re trying to say, but it’s really poorly phrased, and it’s unprovable besides (there haven’t been any highly organised multi-person airplane hijackings since, which is the only correct context for your statement.)

    9/11 went down because 19 Muslim extremists hijacked four commercial domestic flights. That’s where the buck stops responsibility-wise.

  62. 62
    me says:

    @Zifnab: Funny thing is that was basically how it was before Sept. 2001. You’d probably never convince anyone to go back to that even though you’re right, we probably wouldn’t be significantly less safe.

  63. 63
    The Bearded Blogger says:

    @Svensker: Nope, not a serious person.

  64. 64
    liberty60 says:

    @Zifnab:
    I read the Nation piece and found the link between privatizing TSA and the sudden crescendo of the Wurlitzer highly suspicious, to say the least.

    But Greenwald makes a pretty solid case, that even if Tyner is sort of a crank who went looking for a confrontation, the point is that on this one isolated point, the Wurlitzer is highlighting the very same issue that civil libertarians like Greenwald and Cory Doctorow were screaming about years ago, the ever-encroaching Security State, and the ability of the media elite to meekly accept and urge us to do likewise.

    I just wish someone could get the Wurlitzer to focus on warrantless wiretapping and torture with the same zeal.

  65. 65
    Mnemosyne says:

    @wobbly:

    I still don’t understand why people persist in characterizing this as “groping or no security at all.” There are MANY other actions the TSA could take that would work better than these scanners. The problem is, they would all require specialized, trained personnel (like K-9 units with explosives-sniffing dogs) and that costs M.O.N.E.Y.

    It is (relatively) cheaper to have a machine that a minimum-wage employee can operate than it is to have trained personnel screening the passengers, so we picked the machine, and not because it was clearly superior to explosives-sniffing dogs. We picked it because you didn’t need very good employees to run it.

  66. 66
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Andre:

    9/11 went down because 19 Muslim extremists hijacked four commercial domestic flights. That’s where the buck stops responsibility-wise.

    I don’t think that MattR is saying the passengers are to blame for what happened. He’s saying that, when they hijacked those airplanes and flew them into buildings, the 9/11 hijackers changed the paradigm. Up until that point, passengers had been told to cooperate with hijackers because it was considered a hostage situation, so the passengers did exactly what they had been told to do … until the people on that fourth airliner found out what the hijackers were doing and turned against them.

    I agree with Matt that a 9/11-type crime is unlikely to happen again because now the potential victims know what could happen and they will be much, much more likely to resist.

  67. 67
    MattR says:

    @Andre: This whole thread is full of unprovable assertions about the effectiveness of various security measures. But answer this: if19 other Muslim extremists hijacked four commerical domestic flights with the intention of flying them into buildings today, do you think the results would be the same? IMO, there might be 50 people killed on board the planes, but all four planes would land safely with the terrorists dead or subdued. Every plane today has at least 10 self accredited air marshalls on board who have thought through exactly what they would convert into a weapon if the need arose.

    EDIT: Or what Mnemosyne said :)

  68. 68
    me says:

    @liberty60: Well, there is a lot in hypocrisy on the right WRT to wiretapping and such but not from Reason (and probably Kain) who have been consistently critical of it.

  69. 69
    D-Chance. says:

    Or to a hooker, really, if you can contort your thinking properly.

    Just sayin’

  70. 70
    HyperIon says:

    And no, there is no evidence whatsoever that all this security vaudeville is doing us any good at all.

    Weak.
    And happily MBunge got on this immediately in comment #1.
    (An old timer I haven’t seen much around these parts lately.)

    Better to say: where is the evidence that these xray-based scanners are any better at detecting plastic explosives than the old system? That question has an unequivocal answer.

  71. 71
    Mark S. says:

    We let people touch our junk all the time in medical settings.

    Words utterly fail me. I wish the Founders could see this. They would have said the hell with it.

  72. 72
    wasabi gasp says:

    Passengers for each flight should be escorted to meeting rooms where they can have coffee and donuts and get to know each other a bit until they all feel comfortable enough to fly the friendly skies together.

  73. 73
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    I haven’t said much about the whole mess, instead preferring to sit back and see who says what. From the outside looking in, at first it looked to be fairly bipartisan anger but now it looks more like the Republican ‘anger’ is little more than opportunism on their part. When the Repubs agree with the ACLU, you need to take a careful look at why.

    IMO the Repubs think of this as a win-win-win for them if the searches are made less effective. Win number one is that their stupid supporters will be happy they beat back a government agency that they view as invading their privacy. Win number two is that they will be viewed as having saved freedom so it will give them a boost in popularity. Win number three is that if the easing of searches leads to another attack, they get to profit from it having happened with a Democrat as president.

    Republican politicians want Obama to fail and they would be overjoyed if a large number of people are killed with the Democrats in charge. They don’t love their country, they love themselves. They view themselves as ‘the country’, as the “real Americans”, with the rest of us being their mortal enemies.

    I am all for the invasive scans, same with the full-on TSA gropefests. Hell, even if Obama and the Dems pushed back and got the searches eased you know damned well that if the repubs regained power that they would find a way to reinstate them just to cover their asses.

    Sorry but I vote to keep the TSA hard at groping and scanning. Let the repubs roll the searches back when they get in power. You know they never would, that’s why they are pushing for the Dems to do it.

  74. 74
    Evolved Deep Southerner says:

    The contract is between the passenger and the airline and the contract is the purchase of the ticket.

    I’m having flashbacks to “Airplane,” that pundit on the television. “They paid their money. They got their tickets. I say let ’em die.”

  75. 75
    slag says:

    @E.D. Kain:

    It’s a lazy tactic, but I’m getting used to it.

    If you put as much critical thought into assessing your own arguments as you put into assessing the motives behind someone else’s comment, your posts might be more persuasive, in general.

  76. 76
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @Zifnab:

    Mythbusters host Adam Savage shared his experience of passing through a TSA checkpoint last May without security catching his 12 inch razor steel blades that he mistakenly left in his jacket.

    I think they misunderstood. He pretty much said the razor blades were in his laptop bag. He pulled them from the inside of his jacket only to show the audience. (After all, it would be pretty hard to forget you had 12 inches of steel stuck inside your jacket.)

    So to be fair, the body scanner wasn’t at fault, but whoever let his laptop bag slide through the x-ray machine wasn’t paying attention.

  77. 77
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @slag:

    Meow.

  78. 78
    Mark S. says:

    @slag:

    Oh for fuck’s sake, like it really took a lot of effort to discern the motive behind schrodinger’s cat’s comment. If you guys hate Kain so much, why don’t you try skipping his posts?

  79. 79
    Kat says:

    You wanna know if TSA’s touchy-feely is criminal assault or not?

    Try touching them the same way, and see what you get charged with.

  80. 80
    Quiddity says:

    Question: Is “Don’t touch my junk” a long-standing east coast expression? I’m on the west coast and never heard it until this year.

  81. 81
    jbb says:

    @Odie Hugh Manatee:

    Except that security theater underlings came up with these brilliant plans 5 years ago, and Bush’s TSA director vetoed them because they were thought to be an affront to civil liberties and would be enormously unpopular.

    That’s right, the Bush administration, who used the constitution as their toilet paper after a night at Taco Bell, thought that these policies were a bridge too far, and Pistole/Napolitano said, “Let’s cross that bridge!”

  82. 82
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    @jbb:

    At this point I couldn’t care less who did what. The republicans have been tooting the terror horn for so long that anyone with half a brain knows that they own this mess. Because of their terrorizing tactics, the public favors this stupid shit and if the Dems back off on it then they (and we) will pay for it if we get attacked again. Even better IMO, is that more people will have to undergo the humiliation of these stupid searches. Why is this better? Maybe they will start to relate to those who get pulled over and harassed for existing while brown. Maybe they will get sick of being suspected of being an evil person until a search proves otherwise. Right now they are screaming about the authorities not going after the right potential terrorists/suspects for a close search (anyone who is brown) and complaining that they are searching the wrong people (white people). Let them stew in the fun of being considered a suspected terrorist. They’ve earned it.

    Bring it on.

  83. 83
    Arclite says:

    Yo, E.D. Happy Thanksgiving!

  84. 84
    Paris says:

    This post is incoherent – what are you talking about? You link to a left complaint of a leftish magazine – one that is notorious for critiquing itself by its readers and contributors. Its not the American Spectator or Reason which don’t allow any deviation from ideology.

    As far as I know, nobody is yet documenting complaints over the ‘bland, shallow, pro-establishment tripe’ of the Washington Post’s Op-Ed columnists. …

    Are you drunk??

  85. 85
    E.D. Kain says:

    @me: I think we need to either give airport security back to the airports (the way it used to be) or we need to have much, much greater protection of civil liberties and privacy built into the TSA. I honestly don’t think there’s a lot of good options at this point. Then again, I’m more on board with the Israeli methods and that’ll never happen here.

  86. 86
    E.D. Kain says:

    @Arclite: Happy Thanksgiving!

  87. 87
    Paris says:

    Never mind. I read Greenwald’s post and you think you’re him.

  88. 88
    E.D. Kain says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Okay. Sorry for the touchy response. No – my position on this stuff has always been against. There was a time for a while where I had serious (very serious) doubts about exiting Iraq and Afghanistan prematurely. My thinking has evolved in this regard, and my foreign policy is much more along the lines of Daniel Larison at this point.

  89. 89
    E.D. Kain says:

    @wobbly:

    No commercial aircraft have been blown up or flown into buildings since September 11, 2001. No flight attendants have had their throats with box cutters, no grandparents have picked up the phone to hear their son say goodbye as he, his wife, and their baby were incinerated while they were watching the television as the (second) plane hit.
    Pardon me, but I think that’s a good thing, and may constitute evidence that some some of this “security theater” may be working.

    Yeah and it may be total coincidence. I mean, that sort of thing wasn’t too common before 9/11 either, you know?

  90. 90
    E.D. Kain says:

    @Paris: Right. That must be it.

  91. 91
    E.D. Kain says:

    @MattR: Quite right. That and the locked doors to the cabin and the pistol inside the cabin.

  92. 92
    Martin says:

    I don’t know what kind of doctor y’all go to, but it doesn’t feel like going to the doctor to me. Feels more like going to see the priest after services.

  93. 93

    @E.D. Kain: Big leap? Not really. Though maybe Reason hasn’t called for privatizing the TSA, here we have Red State and CNN’s Erick Erickson (identified here only as Macon City Councilman Erick Erickson) doing so, alongside members of Congress.

  94. 94

    Don’t tase me, bro! Can’t we all just get along?

  95. 95

    @wobbly:

    No commercial aircraft have been blown up or flown into buildings since September 11, 2001. No flight attendants have had their throats with box cutters, no grandparents have picked up the phone to hear their son say goodbye as he, his wife, and their baby were incinerated while they were watching the television as the (second) plane hit. Pardon me, but I think that’s a good thing, and may constitute evidence that some some of this “security theater” may be working.

    Leaving aside the whole issue of the 9/11 attacks being successful because the passengers and crew were operating under old modes of thought about hijacking (assuming the goal was ransom/demand fulfillment rather than death), that lack-of-successful-attack post-9/11 was all done without body scans or aggressive groping.

    So how does that justify the body scans and aggressive groping?

  96. 96
    Ailuridae says:

    @E.D. Kain:

    Eight time. Are you ever going to acknowledge misusing monopoly in the trash collection posts? You’re here, posting every 37 seconds …..

  97. 97
    Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century) says:

    ED,

    I don’t understand what are the exact complaints are to pat-downs.

    inefficiency? please, you gotta do better than that.

    is it just that people don’t like to be frisked? If so, that’s pretty funny. Minorities have had to live with frisks forever. welcome to the club. As teens, minorities are educated by their elders to “be cool if you’re stopped and frisked or arrested, don’t even fidget, no matter how bullshit it may be, because you could get a bullet in the back”.

    too bad the RW noise machine and the libertarians didn’t freak out over Giuliani’s reign of terror during the 90s.

    first they came for the niggas,

    then they came for the PRs,

    then they came for the gays,

    then they came for the arabs,

    and now they come for the white folk traveling on business class.

  98. 98
    Citizen Alan says:

    @wobbly:

    Gutless cowards like you are why Osama bin Laden’s victory over this once great nation is nearly complete. You make me sick.

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