What’s Wrong with the World

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What’s Wrong with the World is dedicated to the defense of what remains of Christendom, the civilization made by the men of the Cross of Christ. Athwart two hostile Powers we stand: the Jihad and Liberalism...read more

Fly the all-too-friendly skies

I fly infrequently and almost always for personal reasons, though the looming drums of business trips are not ever very far off. That means I frequently fly with members of my family. After purchasing tickets a few months ago for a recent trip, I started reading about TSA's new safety procedures at the airport checkpoints. Suffice to say I was none-too-pleased with what I read, even after factoring in the general exaggeration and panic that sets in around such things.

We were fortunate. Neither I or my daughter were subjected to anything other than the standard metal detector in either direction, even though we witnessed full pat downs in progress at both the security checkpoint and at the boarding gate. (Think you're out of the woods once you get through security? Think again. The blue-gloved ones are now doing more frequent gate checks.)

After the experience, I felt compelled to write to Southwest Airlines. Here is a copy of the letter:

Southwest Airlines
P.O. Box 36647 1CR
Dallas, TX 75235

To Whom It May Concern:

I would like to thank the crews and staff of Southwest Airlines for making my most recent trip a comfortable, pleasant and an overall enjoyable experience. I am continually impressed by Southwest’s ability to present a consistent and best-in-class product. If I were to fly by choice and for personal reasons, I would consider Southwest first above all other airlines.

But it is with regret that I write this letter informing you of my intention not to fly voluntarily again on your airline or any other. Though Southwest Airlines has proven itself to be an exemplary carrier, the experience with airport security and the TSA have soured my travelling experience as a whole.

The latest TSA procedures that include the full body scanners and “enhanced” pat downs are demeaning, invasive and in many cases, dangerous.

I have a 4-, nearly 5-year old daughter who is just now grasping the concept of what appropriate touching by strangers entails. Explaining to her the process raised both our anxiety levels to something I don’t consider healthy for either of us. It was bad enough trying to guide a child through the security process at airports these days without the pressure of the new security methods, but this has finally caused me to rethink my willingness to fly.

In their latest push to appear effective, the TSA has finally overstepped its bounds and has embraced procedures that subject innocent consumers of your product to a humiliating and degrading process. In the end, the only way we as consumers can hope to effect change is to alter our travel habits and hope the drop in business will result in the arm twisting required to reverse some of these egregious choices by those entrusted with our security.

Thank you for providing many miles of excellent travel experience. I hope that someday, and soon, we as law-abiding citizens can regain the ability to both travel by air and maintain our dignity.

Sincerely,

Todd McKimmey

Comments (99)

This is an excellent letter! I hope that they will make use of it to put pressure on the TSA.

The most disturbing thing about this. (Okay, there are so many, so perhaps I shouldn't try to pick out just one.) It appears clear now that you can be assaulted and touched everywhere even if a) you have already gone through a full-body scanner or b) there are no full-body scanners at the airport you are going through.

Would that I could get where I needed by passenger rail. Heck, Amtrak, and my senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson, tried like anything to get better train service and failed. Is there any entrepreneur out there willing to take the risk for what is clearly a great opportunity?

Airports can opt out of the TSA and substitute a private firm to do security checks and Ron Paul, today, is introducing Legislation to X-Ray TSA (Lew Rockwell Blog has info).

As far as our lost liberty, I have to confess that my baby-boom (BBs)generation failed freedom.

In almost every instance where we had a chance to push-back against some intrusive act of unwarranted and unconstitutional governmental action, we BBs justified our supine submission to Big Brother by asking ourselves, "Do I want to die on that hill?" and now, finally, when we have opened our eyes, we see that hundreds of those hills are now occupied by our collectivist enemies and we are crouching in the valley of fear and loathing.

I hope the youth of America succeed where we so miserably failed.

Here is one of the youth's rallying songs. But, caution, it contains an F bomb or two.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7JY-pn-OkM

I think Karen has a good point. I'll bet the hits on Amtrak's site have gone _way_ up. But the trips are so, so long. Could someone do any better? It would be worth trying, and now might be the time.

It's called "security theatre" and is designed to reassure what has become a nation of too many wimps and cowards. The notion that private contractors would do a better job is simply idiotic. That was what we had prior to 9/11 and they were clowns. There is no right to fly so there is limited Fourth Amendment protections.

There is a Cato article on national high speed rail that raises possibilities. They are opposed to the idea, of course, but they claim it would only cost $1 trillion - actually a reasonable amount and application in the present economic environment.

I fly only when trapped (a recent experience had me spending 12 hours - three flying, nine waiting and fuming - to go a thousand miles).

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/politics/Amid-airport-anger_-GOP-takes-aim-at-screening-1576602-108259869.html

I am refusing to fly. Period. And I won't fly ever again if I have to go through the X-Ray machine or have some fool fondle me.

Of course, if a majority of Americans did something similar to what I am doing, the TSA would be radically reformed.

The GOP has had one HUGE opportunity placed before it. Let's see what they will do with it.

There is no right to fly so there is limited Fourth Amendment protections.

Sure there is. The right to freely travel within and amongst the several Sates is located in the penumbra of The Fourth Amendment and there is no substantive due process that can be appealed to to violate the privacy and dignity of Americans by having them groped by dopes without probable cause.

The right to travel isn't the same as the right to fly. As a practical matter, no court or legislature is going to stick its neck out very far on this issue.

"The GOP has had one HUGE opportunity placed before it. Let's see what they will do with it."

You mean the party that depends on stoking the American public's continuing irrational fear of terrists and ferrners as its source of power?

Yet another example of our low information polity.

There is also no right to drive a car from one state to another. So let's see, would it not be against the Fourth Amendment for the feds to set up checkpoints at several state lines, where they stopped cars, made people get out, and touched their private parts and/or put them through naked-body scanners? How about for the police to set up such checkpoints between the "worse" and "better" neighborhoods in a given city? After all, there is no absolute right to drive down Main Street from neighborhood A to neighborhood B. Leftists have expanded the notion of a "liberty interest" to every type of activity, including abortion and sodomy, they have used the common-law notion of a tort to argue that it is unconstitutional to give unwanted food and water (because you're invading the other person's body without consent), but suddenly when it simply comes to liberty in _moving around from place to place in normal, legal ways_, they become rights skeptics and say, "There is no right to do X" in order to say that it isn't unconstitutional for officers of the govt. to grab innocent people at random who are attempting to do X and subject them to warrantless, invasive search. This is as ridiculous for flying from place to place as it would be for driving from place to place. So a woman's right to control her own body doesn't extend, evidently, to the times when she happens to be trying to travel by air. Absurd and sickening.

Perhaps I shouldn't say this, but there are many ways to take down a plane that are currently undetectable even to whole-body scanners. The 9/11 terrorists should have been stopped before they got to the airport. If people go to another transportation method, it will be targeted.

The Chicken

There is no right to fly so there is limited Fourth Amendment protections.

There is no right to get on a bus, a train, a boat in territorial waters or any other form of vehicular transportation. It would take a whole cloth fabrication by the SCOTUS to carve out some exception to the 4th amendment here. Not that I doubt that they're up to the challenge, but the 4th amendment contains no exceptions that avail themselves to the government's arguments.

They are opposed to the idea, of course, but they claim it would only cost $1 trillion - actually a reasonable amount and application in the present economic environment.

The American people will never go for it. We can't even get a coherent public transportation system supported by the general public in metropolitan DC, despite the fact that our roads are so bad (and badly designed for congestion) that if done right, and commonly used, it would actually literally improve the health of our region from the reduction in stress. That, and it probably took a veiled threat to turn Reston Town Center into section 8 housing for pedophiles to get them to stop raising an unholy #$%^storm of ruckus of "ohhh hellllll no, not in our backyard."

Conservatives should reject wholesale the Bush-era sop to P.C. sensibilities and copy the Israelis when it comes to airport security:

http://www.danielpipes.org/7866/airport-security-theater [h/t Larry Auster]

I'm hoping the national uproar over the new TSA regime will lead to the Republican House taking up this cause.

You mean the party that depends on stoking the American public's continuing irrational fear of terrists and ferrners as its source of power?

Dear Al. Dubya loved foreigners irrationally (His Brain, Rove, was the architect of Bush's attempted amnesty) and Bush had an irrational tolerance for willful blindness when it came to Muslims.

It was Dubya that stopped Clinton's Policy of Muslim profiling; but, you don't have any clue about that, do you?

http://vdare.com/sailer/100110_diversity.htm

You know, al. You are often, and easily, proved wrong in your haughty and snide commentary about Joe and Jill Six-Pack and that liberal habit of yours is shared by many members of your tribe of collectivists.

Ya know what? There are FAR more of us then there are of you. And your name-calling no longer works.

We are sappers, baby. And we are tunneling under your Ivy League, Ivory White "diverse" towers.

For those who have to travel on business, you could file a complaint about a "hostile work environment" since you have to be groped for your work.

The Fourth Am has to do with unreasonable searches, it does not limit itself to travel methods. So long as your travel method is legal, 4th Am should apply.

But we are talking about the judiciary here. Law and logic play a small role.

The Fourth Am has to do with unreasonable searches, it does not limit itself to travel methods.
C Matt, bingo. Exactly. If some travel method can be selected as exempt from the 4th amendment, why not walking into your local mall? What if we had mall bombings? Then would it magically become constitutional for the feds to set security agents up at the entrance to the local mall and grab-n-grope anybody who wants to enter the mall? "There is no right to shop at the mall."

It is not "liberal" to oppose the 4th amendment, it's fascist and antiliberal.

Great letter, Todd.

It all results from an enormous moral failure on the part of our government: a refusal to defend the rights of its own citizens by looking for people who might actually be terroists. It would rather humiliate them than give offense to Muslims.

I'm going to take my chances one more time in December; after that I'm not flying anymore. And my children, whom I like to visit several times a year, live far away.

Government bastards.

Al's remark about the 4th amendment was incredibly dumb. Our rights under it do not depend on location; it travels with us.

Good, Steve P., then perhaps you would explain that to Janet Napolitano and Barack Obama. And Al.

Al's remark about the 4th amendment was incredibly dumb. Our rights under it do not depend on location; it travels with us.

Al's comment was thoroughly boilerplate and unexceptional. The rhetoric flying around here would suggest an EMT were committing sexual assault by cutting a woman's shirt off.

I do believe that an EMT ripping off the shirt of a woman who does not require medical attention is considered sexual assault. Or would you argue that simply because they are an EMT, they can go around ripping women's shirt's off, even those who are showing no signs of distress?

Your analogy is fatally flawed.

Or would you argue that simply because they are an EMT, they can go around ripping women's shirt's off, even those who are showing no signs of distress?

That was precisely my argument. Thank you for advancing the conversation.

M.Z., stop being your usual self, okay?

These are ordinary citizens who are not in need of having their private parts patted by agents of the government. "Rhetoric." Fine. If you are fine with this, it can happen to you when you travel (or to your wife or child), and you won't mind. Be happy. Don't worry. The rest of us, as you can see from our "rhetoric," don't think being randomly stopped in the innocent pursuit of our lawful activities and having our bodies touched all over by federal agents on pain of harassment, investigation, and fine is anything remotely like being helped by an EMT when we are in physical need and distress, and we think that anyone who makes that comparison IS A TOTAL IDIOT.

"Al's remark about the 4th amendment was incredibly dumb."

Shooting the messenger is incredibly dumb.

Current airport security is also dumb but it is what it is. Lydia, making up all sorts of extreme examples may fly in philosophy but it is besides the point here. Last week I crossed over to California from Nevada on US 395 and had to go through the state agricultural inspection station (California has several of these). La Migra has established checkpoints in Arizona and California. There are all sorts of these things.

The Congress can change things (and should) but the courts are likely to show deference to the executive in airport searches. You all are invoking the Fourth Amendment in a vacuum. I posted a few references below.

There is no right to fly (note the "carrier decides" in (b)).

49 U.S.C. 44902

"§ 44902. Refusal to transport passengers and property
How Current is This?
(a) Mandatory Refusal.— The Under Secretary of Transportation for Security shall prescribe regulations requiring an air carrier, intrastate air carrier, or foreign air carrier to refuse to transport—
(1) a passenger who does not consent to a search under section 44901 (a) of this title establishing whether the passenger is carrying unlawfully a dangerous weapon, explosive, or other destructive substance; or
(2) property of a passenger who does not consent to a search of the property establishing whether the property unlawfully contains a dangerous weapon, explosive, or other destructive substance.
(b) Permissive Refusal.— Subject to regulations of the Under Secretary, an air carrier, intrastate air carrier, or foreign air carrier may refuse to transport a passenger or property the carrier decides is, or might be, inimical to safety.
(c) Agreeing to Consent to Search.— An agreement to carry passengers or property in air transportation or intrastate air transportation by an air carrier, intrastate air carrier, or foreign air carrier is deemed to include an agreement that the passenger or property will not be carried if consent to search the passenger or property for a purpose referred to in this section is not given.

This is from an en banc Ninth circuit decision.

"[5] The constitutionality of an airport screening search,
however, does not depend on consent, see Biswell, 406 U.S.
at 315, and requiring that a potential passenger be allowed to
revoke consent to an ongoing airport security search makes
little sense in a post-9/11 world.6 Such a rule would afford terrorists multiple opportunities to attempt to penetrate airport security by “electing not to fly” on the cusp of detection until
a vulnerable portal is found. This rule would also allow terrorists a low-cost method of detecting systematic vulnerabilities in airport security, knowledge that could be extremely valuable in planning future attacks. Likewise, given that consent is not required, it makes little sense to predicate the reasonableness of an administrative airport screening search on an irrevocable implied consent theory. Rather, where an airport screening search is otherwise reasonable and conducted pursuant to statutory authority, 49 U.S.C. § 44901, all that is required is the passenger’s election to attempt entry into the secured area8 of an airport. See Biswell, 406 U.S. at 315; 49 C.F.R. § 1540.107. Under current TSA regulations and procedures, that election occurs when a prospective passenger walks through the magnetometer or places items on the conveyor
belt of the x-ray machine.9 The record establishes that
Aukai elected to attempt entry into the posted secured area of
Honolulu International Airport when he walked through the
magnetometer, thereby subjecting himself to the airport
screening process."

"[6] To the extent our cases have predicated the reasonableness of an airport screening search upon either ongoing consent or irrevocable implied consent, they are overruled."

http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2007/08/10/0410226.pdf

Here is a discussion of the Special Needs exception from a Second Circuit decision (460 F.3d 260)

"DISCUSSION

I. Standard of Review
28

Because this appeal follows a bench trial, we review the District Court's findings of fact for clear error, but we review de novo its conclusions of law and its resolution of mixed questions of fact and law. See, e.g., Rose v. AmSouth Bank of Florida, 391 F.3d 63, 65 (2d Cir.2004).

II. The Special Needs Doctrine
29

The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution provides that, "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause...." As the Fourth Amendment's text makes clear, the concept of reasonableness is the "touchstone of the constitutionality of a governmental search." Bd. of Educ. v. Earls, 536 U.S. 822, 828, 122 S.Ct. 2559, 153 L.Ed.2d 735 (2002). "What is reasonable, of course, depends on all of the circumstances surrounding the search or seizure and the nature of the search or seizure itself." Skinner v. Railway Labor Exec. Ass'n, 489 U.S. 602, 619, 109 S.Ct. 1402, 103 L.Ed.2d 639 (1989) (internal quotation marks omitted). As a "general matter," a search is unreasonable unless supported "by a warrant issued upon probable cause...." Nat'l Treasury Employees Union v. Von Raab, 489 U.S. 656, 665, 109 S.Ct. 1384, 103 L.Ed.2d 685 (1989). However, "neither a warrant nor probable cause, nor, indeed, any measure of individualized suspicion, is an indispensable component of reasonableness in every circumstance." Id.
30

In light of those "longstanding" principles, id., we upheld a program employing metal detectors and hand searches of carry-on baggage at airports. See United States v. Edwards, 498 F.2d 496, 500-01 (2d Cir.1974). We determined that the "purpose" of the search program was not to serve "as a general means for enforcing the criminal laws" but rather to "prevent airplane hijacking" by "terrorists[.]" Id. at 500. We then dispensed with the traditional warrant and probable cause requirements and instead balanced "the need for a search against the offensiveness of the intrusion." Id. We concluded that,
31

When the risk is the jeopardy to hundreds of human lives and millions of dollars of property inherent in the pirating or blowing up of a large airplane, the danger alone meets the test of reasonableness, so long as the search is conducted in good faith for the purpose of preventing hijacking or like damage and with reasonable scope and the passenger has been given advance notice of his liability to such a search so that he can avoid it by choosing not to travel by air.
32

Id. Although at the time we lodged our decision within the broad rubric of reasonableness, id. at 498 n. 5, our reasoning came to be known as the "special needs exception" roughly one decade later. See New Jersey v. T.L.O., 469 U.S. 325, 351, 105 S.Ct. 733, 83 L.Ed.2d 720 (1985) (Blackmun, J., concurring) ("Only in those exceptional circumstances in which special needs, beyond the need for normal law enforcement, make the warrant and probable-cause requirement impracticable, is a court entitled to substitute its balancing of interests for that of the Framers."). Both before and after the doctrine's formal denomination, courts have applied it in a variety of contexts relevant here, including random airport searches, see United States v. Marquez, 410 F.3d 612 (9th Cir.2005), and highway sobriety checkpoints, see Michigan Dep't of State Police v. Sitz, 496 U.S. 444, 110 S.Ct. 2481, 110 L.Ed.2d 412 (1990). See also Illinois v. Lidster, 540 U.S. 419, 424, 124 S.Ct. 885, 157 L.Ed.2d 843 (2004) (highway information-gathering checkpoints); United States v. Martinez-Fuerte, 428 U.S. 543, 557, 96 S.Ct. 3074, 49 L.Ed.2d 1116 (1976) (border patrol checkpoints); United States v. Green, 293 F.3d 855 (5th Cir.2002) (random checkpoint stops near military installation).
33

The doctrine's central aspects are as follows. First, as a threshold matter, the search must "serve as [its] immediate purpose an objective distinct from the ordinary evidence gathering associated with crime investigation." Nicholas v. Goord, 430 F.3d 652, 663 (2d Cir.2005).2 Second, once the government satisfies that threshold requirement, the court determines whether the search is reasonable by balancing several competing considerations. See, e.g., id. at 669-70. These balancing factors include (1) the weight and immediacy of the government interest, Earls, 536 U.S. at 834, 122 S.Ct. 2559; (2) "the nature of the privacy interest allegedly compromised by" the search, id. at 830, 122 S.Ct. 2559; (3) "the character of the intrusion imposed" by the search, id. at 832, 122 S.Ct. 2559; and (4) the efficacy of the search in advancing the government interest, id. at 834, 122 S.Ct. 2559."

Your opinion and $4.00 will get me a cup of coffee at Starbucks. Thankfully I don't look to you for validation of a most basic issue of constitutional law. Likewise, I don't need your validation to understand that accusations of sexual assault are hyperbole - albeit somewhat effective hyperbole - and aren't serious allegations in this context.

I don't know about al but Napolitano and Obama aren't liberals they are neocon fascists. There aren't too many liberals left in politics. Or conservatives.

Al, it all comes back to "Is it reasonable?" Most people consider airline security that does the following to be reasonable:

1. Asks you questions about destination, etc.
2. Unobtrusive scans baggage and person for general weapons (i.e. metal detectors for people, and x-ray equipment for baggage)
3. The absurd shoe checks.

Now, most people here obviously consider the following unreasonable:

1. X-ray machines that show a fairly detailed picture of your naked body and may have health effects.
2. Being groped in a situation where you are not under arrest.

You can quote all of the legalese and precedent you want but that doesn't change what many people would consider reasonable.

And, do you really think that if trains were more heavily used, we wouldn't have the same security issues? It's not like terrorists haven't blown up trains before....well except for Spain and Britain.

Also, "La Migra" really?!?!? It's ICE, the Border Patrol, or Immigration. But, I guess you need to stick with your buddies breaking the law.

M.Z., really? That was your argument? And it proved what then exactly? It didn't show that the sexual assault argument was wrong.

The rhetoric flying around here would suggest an EMT were committing sexual assault by cutting a woman's shirt off.

The difference being:

1) EMTs tend to behave far more professionally toward the public than TSA agents do.

2) EMTs jobs do not entail the groping of breasts and genitalia for purposes that are dubious at best. (It should also be noted that police officers are generally NOT allowed to do what TSA is doing here, even when they've arrested someone).

3) EMTs do not have a tawdry reputation for all sorts of behavior from robbing the people they're serving, to sharing embarrassing medical photos (analogous to the scanner photos that have been leaked) and other shenanigans.

Al, I appreciate a) your ability to quote precedent and b) your belief that the Constitution means whatever SCOTUS says it means.

As to b, I don't agree in any event.

As to a, I note that even in the decisions you quote, what is being balanced on the one side includes

the nature of the privacy interest allegedly compromised by" the search, id. at 830, 122 S.Ct. 2559; (3) "the character of the intrusion imposed" by the search,

and


the offensiveness of the intrusion

At that time, this did not include groping of breasts and private parts nor naked scans. By involving itself in such a "balancing," the court has ipso facto involved itself in making new rulings on new intrusions as to their "character" and "offensiveness" and the "nature of the privacy interest" that they compromise. If these new searches do not compromise a basic privacy interest, are not offensive, and do not have an incredibly intrusive "character," I'm a monkey's uncle. And if SCOTUS ponderously rules that its "balancing" act allows _this_, then the 4th amendment has been gutted, whatever you may say to the contrary.

But your legal realism speaks volumes. You're supposedly the leftist civil libertarian around here, and the fact that this (instead of outrage) is your reaction says a lot.

And btw, when I spoke of checkpoints, I expressly spoke of their involving the same degree of intrusive bodily search for random travelers giving no probable cause as what is being done at airports. You, Al, chose to ignore that.

Mike T,
Sexual assault is the touching of erogenous zones with the intent to cause arousal or embarrassment. The physical act of contact with the breasts as an EMT may do in their course of work or a TSA agent may do in the course of theirs is not done with the intent of arousal. (Certainly it is possible for each to do so with such intent, but that would have to be proved.) Each contact is consistent with professional procedures. Security experts have complained that a pat down is not serious if it doesn't involve checking erogenous zones. Conservatives have used these complaints to beat up on the TSA, and now they are complaining when their complaints are heeded. The same people that think Middle Eastern hued people should be as a matter of routine be pulled aside and more thoroughly searched - pardon, violated in your times - are whining and moaning that the fair skinned bourgeois are treated the same. Cry me a river.

fair skinned bourgeois are treated the same.

Except, of course, I haven't noticed any fair skinned bourgeois flying airplanes into buildings and regularly threatening to destroy America (excepting certain left leaning fair skinned bourgeois).

The same people that think Middle Eastern hued people should be as a matter of routine be pulled aside and more thoroughly searched - pardon, violated in your times

I don't think that. In fact, I have expressly disavowed that opinion, where "search" involves what we are talking about here. Not that I actually _want_ MZ to read my personal blog or my comments thereon, but it's out there for the record.

If we would be smarter about who is allowed to fly at all--e.g., nobody with known terrorist ties, like the Christmas Day bomber had--we could do less in security even than we did before, rather than ratcheting it up to, yes, violation.

Sexual assault is the touching of erogenous zones with the intent to cause arousal or embarrassment.

That is how it is defined by law. The same system that defines it this way now used to say that blacks could be arbitrarily denied the rights that come with citizenship (despite the fact that nothing in the Constitution supported this).

So, you'll have to "cry me a river" if I don't look to the law as the ultimate arbiter of what most of these things are.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Walker_Lindh

Congratulations, you found an exception. However, groups virtually never take on the characteristics of their outliers. For every pissed off angsty white kid with daddy issues who becomes a jihadist, there will be 100 Arab males who more readily fit the profile of "potential Islamic terrorist."

(Call me a "racist" all you want. I don't believe that there is any matter of morality here. In that sense, I am a total moral nihilist on subjects like profiling.)

No, I was just pointing out that the infrastructure already exists; all we need is a precipitator.

Your outrage is interesting. You all wanted conservatives on the SC and that is what you have and yet you are not happy. Roberts and Alito were selected based on their attitudes towards the Executive (as were Kagen and Sotomayor).

You seem to believe in a primitive, expected application sort of originalism and yet you want the right to travel to encompass things not dreamed of when Privileges and Immunities was put in the original 1787 constitution.

I'm outraged by the Drug War and its midnight, no-knock searches, civil forfeiture, preventive detention, Gitmo, Military Commissions, etc. The airport thing hits some of your modesty hot buttons, hence the outrage at something that only annoys me. I find 18 U.S.C.1531 outrageous both in its intrusiveness and the dishonest manner in which it was brought into being; you consider it the Lord's work. Folks will differ.

I guess its not enough that i consider much of our reaction to 9/11 cowardly and wimpy, I have to be outraged at the petty annoyances. Question? Were you all as outraged at our two wars, the detentions and torture, or for that matter that the person charged with preventing terrorism ignored his portfolio because he was too busy cutting oil deals for his buddies, skated as you are at the petty inconveniences you now experience?

My earlier posts weren't legal realism so much as just realism. Recall the reaction from your side at the underwear bomber. Sooner or later we are going to get hit again. If it is after some obnoxious and annoying procedure is eliminated, the administration that eliminated the procedure will get the blame. If it is a Democratic Administration, you all will be among the shrillest blamers. I caught a minute or so (all I can stand) of Glenn Beck last night and lo and behold he was discussing this very topic. He was lying as usual. Said we didn't use dogs yet i just saw one in L.A. Praised israel,

(another view, http://yglesias.thinkprogress.org/2010/11/israeli-airport-security/ )

and rambled off into a conspiracy involving George Soros, yes, all in a couple of minutes. Guess this is the outrage du jour.

If we want to have a reasonable and sane country, we need to actually be reasonable and sane. Any rational person observing the past election knows how far we are from that goal. Airport security checks are just the motes in our national eye.

In fact, I have expressly disavowed that opinion, where "search" involves what we are talking about here. Not that I actually _want_ MZ to read my personal blog or my comments thereon, but it's out there for the record.

It is degrading to them and still ineffective. Furthermore, it does them the disservice of underestimating them. It would have caught the lowest hanging fruit (a guy who couldn't successfully blow up the plane after he got the bomb on board!), but it would never have stopped competent guys like the 9/11 hijackers.

We have certain duties to them as fellow human beings (not to degrade them). There is no duty to not do things likes profile them.

I'm outraged by the Drug War and its midnight, no-knock searches, civil forfeiture, preventive detention, Gitmo, Military Commissions, etc. The airport thing hits some of your modesty hot buttons, hence the outrage at something that only annoys me. I find 18 U.S.C.1531 outrageous both in its intrusiveness and the dishonest manner in which it was brought into being; you consider it the Lord's work. Folks will differ.

Funny how you often lump me in with the neocons and other establishment republicans when I am probably far more radical than you on most of these issues. That's probably to be expected when all of politics is defined by a dichotomy between eating garbage or a "#$%^ sandwich" for lunch.

America's response is incredibly wimpy. It was not the sort of steely response we got after Pearl Harbor where most red-blooded males were ready to shoot someone rather than demand to be protected by Big Daddy Government. It was about as far as you could get from a "manly response" this side of an outright matriarchy.

Hi Mike, you weren't the "target", but I will note that the 9/11 hijackers wouldn't have been able to get their box cutters on board with today's boarding procedures and seize control with the now locked cockpits.

petty annoyances

That says a lot, doesn't it? Al considers this


to be a "petty annoyance."

http://www.ourlittlechatterboxes.com/2010/11/tsa-sexual-assault.html

And btw, I certainly did not favor Alito and Roberts because of their "attitudes toward the executive." Good grief.


Recall the reaction from your side at the underwear bomber.

I don't recall _anyone_ on my side saying, "Darn it! If only we were patting the crotches of all Africans or all Muslims attempting to fly, this could have been prevented!" Or "Darn it! If only we were randomly patting the crotches or taking naked scans of _all_ passengers attempting to fly, then _maybe_ he would have been selected, and _maybe_ this would have been prevented. We need random intimate searches _right now_."

What an idiotic thing, Al. Yes, I do recall. What people on "my side" were talking about were all the specific red lights about this guy and why he should not have been flying!!

The airport thing hits some of your modesty hot buttons, hence the outrage at something that only annoys me

Al's contempt for modesty perhaps should not surprise us. What is a little surprising is that he carries this contempt for modesty to such a length that it also, de facto, amounts to contempt for supposed liberal shibboleths like control over one's body, freedom concerning intimate touching of one's body, sexual freedom, and the like. Evidently on the liberal worldview it's a First Amendment right for a woman to choose to expose her body in nude dancing but isn't any constitutional right whatsoever--and indeed, need not be a right recognized in law--for her to refuse to expose her body in nude pictures for federal agents, at least not if she has the audacity to want to fly on an airplane, previously a perfectly normal and innocent part of American life.

One consequence of allowing Muslims to immigrate into America is the dope grope by Federales but unless you have previously publicly protested to a Litany of prior unconstitutional actions limned by the Als of the world, then the Als of the world say you have no right to object.

When the going gets totalitarian, the collectivists get pedantic.

Well, to hell with the collectivists; the Govt and those who succor them, like the Als and MZs of the world.

Sterodic snarking is the absolute height to which they seem capable of rising.

I'd just like to point out that as a Vermont Crank I lived less than 20 miles from the great Alexander Solzhenitsyn, a genius who had more intellect and wisdom in a clipped fingernail than an entire cohort of collectivists and it is not even possible for me to imagine that a great Christian man like Solzhenitsyn would act like the haughty and preening self-righteous Al or MZ who, quite obviously, think themselves much smarter and more reasonable then the rest of us knuckle-draggers.

But, then again, Sozhenitsyn was a great man who was loved, and treasured, and protected by we locals (when asked, we NEVER told anyone where he lived) whereas the Als and the MZs of the world could not cut the mustard in the hills of Vermont, and everybody knew it and they were laughed at and mocked.

In Vermont, it was bred in our bones that we had no obligation to be kind to those who obviously hated us.

Twerps they are and twerps they shall always be.

As far as I can tell Al is simply incapable of rendering his opponents' positions accurately. In several threads I have taken the time to lay out these mistakes in great detail, but he still goes on treating this website as if it were indistinguishable from The Weekly Standard or something. He's incorrigible on this.

Hi Mike, you weren't the "target", but I will note that the 9/11 hijackers wouldn't have been able to get their box cutters on board with today's boarding procedures and seize control with the now locked cockpits.

I know I wasn't the target in that particular comment. I was just musing on how you've often lumped me in with a number of your opponents here of the more typical republican persuasion when I am far more radical than you on a number of those common areas. For example, I favor a complete elimination of civil asset forfeiture laws, ending the War on Drugs completely and eliminating the use of no-knock raids except for violent crimes enforcement. Hell, I advocate ending all prosecutorial and police immunity and even making it so that if a cop arrests you without statutory authority, it's legally equivalent to kidnapping in all respects (including the ability to use appropriate levels of force to resist).

You are correct about those two points about the security procedures, but then the reason that those planes were hijacked was that the public had been told by the government to just obey hijackers because they would eventually be used as hostages (not part of 747-turned-large-cruise-missile). That problem self-corrected the moment Flight 93 heard what happened to the other two flights. I think today people have been accustomed to viewing a hijacking as a form of suicide bombing which means that compliance is a death wish.

And VC, what do you think Solzhenitsyn would have said about the naked-scan-or-intimate-grope regime?

Lydia, you missed my point. Any screw up or perceived screw up is going to become partisan fodder. If you were one of the persons wrongly on some no-fly list you would be outraged at that. I can't help but find the outrage somewhat amusing as many of you are part of the very conservative beastiary that is responsible for the political climate that has led to these fear induced searches.

As you singled out this example, I will assume that a minor annoyance outrages you more then the government being able to kick your door down in the middle of the night, being able to seize your assets without due process or being able to arbitrarily imprison and torture folks.

What I find most interesting is the level of outrage (evidenced by the epithets flying my way) over this as there is at least a case for this level of security. To be sure, it's not one I find compelling but at least there is a rational case just as there is a rational case with abortion, again one I don't find compelling.

These searches hit something deeply personal with some of you and yet that some of you have no problem intruding into the personal lives of strangers on matters in which you haven't even a rational case, namely contraception and marriage. This fact makes your modesty induced outrage seem like mere special pleading.

That your social conservatism leads you to prioritize false modesty over real abuses and justifies your own abuses which you would inflict on others is yet another reason not to be a social conservative.

Paul, as I recall my point was, unless one is Zippy-like and doesn't vote, fine philosophical distinctions are beside the point if, in the end, one winds up voting to empower statists, plutocrats and usurers based on what is arguably a somewhat moot issue.

Dear Lydiea. Solzhenitsyn would have warned us that the dope grope is on the upswing of a trajectory that ends in The Gulag.

In his Harvard Speech, he correctly identified our lack of courage:

The Western world has lost its civil courage, both as a whole and separately, in each country, each government, each political party and of course in the United Nations. Such a decline in courage is particularly noticeable among the ruling groups and the intellectual elite, causing an impression of loss of courage by the entire society. Of course there are many courageous individuals but they have no determining influence on public life. Political and intellectual bureaucrats show depression, passivity and perplexity in their actions and in their statements and even more so in theoretical reflections to explain how realistic, reasonable as well as intellectually and even morally warranted it is to base state policies on weakness and cowardice. And decline in courage is ironically emphasized by occasional explosions of anger and inflexibility on the part of the same bureaucrats when dealing with weak governments and weak countries, not supported by anyone, or with currents which cannot offer any resistance. But they get tongue-tied and paralyzed when they deal with powerful governments and threatening forces, with aggressors and international terrorists.

What the Als and MZs of the world rise to defend is what Sam Francis called Anarcho-Tyranny that state of existence that monstrous state "law" that moral cowardice and PC/MC midwifed into being.

http://www.vdare.com/francis/patriot_act.htm

That your social conservatism leads you to prioritize false modesty over real abuses

Yep, Al, that's it. No real abuses here folks, move along. And oh, my worries about being treated in the way that woman was treated in the link I provided above when or if I next fly? False modesty. Meanwhile, back to yelling about conservative "statists" who don't want to call homosexual relationships "marriage." Now _that's_ really intruding into people's intimate personal space. Federal agent with her hand literally inside a totally innocent traveling woman's pants? Just a minor annoyance.

I haven't sent any "epithets" your way that I know of, Al. You are breathtakingly liberal. And that's epithet enough.

al, get down to the White House, they need you pronto. Your man has just made a complete fool of himself in Seoul & the G-20, the Civilian trial thing for an islamist murderer didn't go to well, and he continues to babble about getting the message out.
You can help by pointing out that it is the conservative bestiary that "has led to these searches" not the islamists, when not "kicking your doors down in the middle of the night", like they did with Ethan Gonzalez, and of course torturing plain old innocent "folks". Just"folks", like Mom and Pop across the street.
And al, make sure you bring your "sanity" with you. We wouldn't know you without that shining beacon in the night.
Yes al, your sanity !

Given the number of times the blogger to whom you linked uses the term "sexually assaulted" it is obvious she was traumatized by her experience and should get some help at TSA expense plus some serious compensation for her trouble but I fail to see how, under Ohio law, the circumstances rise to a criminal act under the sexual crimes section of the Ohio Code. The section below would possibly qualify but proving gratification or arousal under the circumstances would seem impossible unless there was pattern of such conduct by the officer.

"2907.06 Sexual imposition.

(A) No person shall have sexual contact with another, not the spouse of the offender; cause another, not the spouse of the offender, to have sexual contact with the offender; or cause two or more other persons to have sexual contact when any of the following applies:"

"(B) “Sexual contact” means any touching of an erogenous zone of another, including without limitation the thigh, genitals, buttock, pubic region, or, if the person is a female, a breast, for the purpose of sexually arousing or gratifying either person."

I'm assuming she has or will file a claim. The officer seems to have violated protocols and should be fired. Before firing her a sting might be in order, Send an attractive undercover officer through the process and see what happens.

You seem to be arguing that national security policy should be based on the barest possibility of low level error or criminality. Carried to its logical conclusion we wouldn't do anything, ever.

Today we have rain so I have been catching up. It seems while I have been doing outdoorsy things the conservative outage machine has embraced a shiny new object. I suspected as much after I caught the Beckster last night and a little wandering around the innertubes has confirmed it. I wonder what the next one will be?

"Yes al, your sanity !"

Wow, this issue really has legs.

It doesn't "just come back to is it reasonable.'" Even in cases where someone feels it is reasonable it also comes back to "can you persuade a judge it's REASONABLE to issue a warrant specifically naming the place and person to be searched--or in cases where that is impossible--at an airport it presumably would be--do you have REASONABLE CAUSE to suspect the person is carrying illegal contraband and will violate the law if not searched right then and there.

My understanding is that the gropees are usually chosen randomly without reasonable cause. Isn't that true? It surely must be true of the six-year-old child they groped recently.

Some conservatives ("neocons," really) seem to be arguing that because the word "reasonable" is present in the fourth amendment the amendment has no effect. Those people are either lying or their very existence is an argument for demanding that citizens pass an IQ test in order to be allowed to vote.

Civil rights lawsuits are in order. If the TSA people won't let you just leave the airport without getting on a plane and compel you with physical force or the threat of fines to submit to being molested and cannot demonstrate in court that they had reasonable cause to search you, you have a solid case, if there are still any honest judges left who haven't been paid off by the body scanner manufacturers.

If on the other hand it's a case of the airlines refusing to let you fly without being groped or scanned you may still have some kind of legal case against the airline but that's a different question.

Steve P., Al quoted above (it's a useful thing he's done on this thread, I have to grant) what apparently (I'll take his word for it) are lower-court federal opinions which SCOTUS left standing. Under these rulings, apparently the *entire apparatus* of warrant or probable cause for searching has been *thrown out the window* for airline travel and prevention of terrorism. According to these opinions, the feds don't have to have warrant or probable cause under the 4th amendment to search you or to keep you (by force, apparently) in the airport until you are searched once you have placed your baggage on the conveyor.

The only thing they left was the question of _just how bad_ the searches were. Apparently at the time they were talking about searching carry-on luggage and metal detectors. Nothing like what's going on now was on the table. So the judges set themselves up to make this big hole in the Fourth Amendment protections (which, of course, remain in place for heinous criminals arrested by the ordinary police) and to leave us only the sop of their continual oversight of whatever other insane procedures the TSA might dream up in the future as our Robed Masters "balance" the state interest in preventing terrorism with small questions like _just how much_ the warrantless search, without probable cause, of randomly selected individuals, violates those people's privacy.

Charming, huh?

Even so, they ought at this point to step up to the plate, because if this doesn't violate privacy to the nth degree, I don't know what does.

an argument for demanding that citizens pass an IQ test in order to be allowed to vote.

I have thought for years that we need tests for voting rights - not IQ tests, but actual factual knowledge of the issues and the candidates, and tests of logic to see if people can follow the thread of 2 syllogisms put together. Almost every liberal I talk to screeches to the skies when I say this. But for the life of me, I cannot understand why liberals think this is a liberal/conservative issue, unless they are already convinced that stupid people predominantly vote liberal. It does NOT line up with the usual liberal/conservative tensions.

Some conservatives ("neocons," really) seem to be arguing that because the word "reasonable" is present in the fourth amendment the amendment has no effect.

Steve P., I have no doubt that you've seen that elsewhere, but please note that on _this_ thread, the only people who appear to be taking that position are not even _remotely_ "neocons" and, in fact, are seeing this as some sort of conservative hyped-up issue.

"Almost every liberal I talk to screeches to the skies when I say this"

This would eliminate busing the mentally retarded and those of room temperature IQs to the polls -- can't have that.

"Almost every liberal I talk to screeches to the skies when I say this"

This would eliminate busing the mentally retarded and those of room temperature IQs to the polls -- can't have that.

A linking of individual statistics and a vote would also eliminate the guy who called up KVI and bragged about taking his whole ward of addicts down "to vote" with the implication that he filled out the ballots utterly without effect.

Can't have that.

These searches hit something deeply personal with some of you and yet that some of you have no problem intruding into the personal lives of strangers on matters in which you haven't even a rational case, namely contraception and marriage.

Lydia, you sure have a lot of patience with al. See, when some of us present a moral and philosophical case against homosexual marriage, we're irrational. Presenting that case so intrudes upon the personal lives of "strangers" that it is just like having some TSA touch-bot fondle our privates. Al's understanding of conservatives is one of people who really cannot think. Like the TSA bots, we just do what our programmers tell us to. It's a contemptuous caricature; to him, we're no more than bugs in amber. What's the point in engaging?

Bill, you're totally right. That's why my last couple of comments ignored him.

Btw, just up this morning:

TSA officer lifts skirt-wearing woman off her feet with hand between legs, causing pain.

http://www.wzzm13.com/news/news_story.aspx?storyid=140233&catid=14

TSA officer searches inside woman's underwear:

http://www.kmov.com/news/mobile/Woman-says-her-Lambert-security-screening-was-sexual-assault--109114934.html

These women, also victims of that "false modesty" problem, were in tears, shaking, etc., after these assaults by agents of their government. But, you know, I bet the searchers didn't do it with sexual intent, so everything's all right, and these are just petty annoyances./sarc

al, your 6:08 of elusive meaning.
I realize your mind wanders but it was you who broached the subject of sanity.
BTW, have you noticed any outrage on the left. a smidgen perhaps? Perceptual problems, moral confusion, what's holding you up?

"Lydia, you sure have a lot of patience with al. See, when some of us present a moral and philosophical case against homosexual marriage, we're irrational."

No, what I mean is that you have failed to demonstrate that a legitimate state interest is served by legally prohibiting same sex marriage. Within the context of this or that dispensation your case may be compelling but I have yet to see a case that justifies denying same-sex couples access to relevant law. Rational as in rational basis relative to the proper interests of a secular state.

I was referring to the scanners not the searches which, as they plainly go beyond the scanners whose efficacy I'm not yet sure of, are likely a bridge too far. The issue with the scanners is do they work or not? The searches absent probable cause should be stopped.

i noticed several references to Israel's system (which may not be uniformly pleasant according to the link I posted) but their system may not translate well to our country. It seems to me that their system requires a high level of training and competence which may be achievable in a nation with two international and about a dozen regional airports but may not translate well to a nation with 15,000 airports (just California, Arizona, and Nevada together have around 15 international airports). Dogs should be used but can we train enough dogs and handlers and we would need to respect the sensitivities of Muslims. Some sort of electronic solution may be unavoidable.

I believe the extreme amount of emotion around these issues is obscuring a very real problem. Creating a super department - Homeland Security - was likely a mistake. Perhaps our focus should be on that and not the matter du jour.

http://www.redstate.com/erick/2010/11/18/another-tsa-outrage/

The TSA and what they did to returning veterans.

Frankly, this could not have happened to a better group of men because such action may wake-up those soldiers and get them to begin to question themselves as to whether they really are defending American liberty by fighting in Afghanistan.

I know it is important that America do what it can to keep Afghanistan safe and orderly for Muslim Men and their catamites and to succor and build-up our mortal enemies, but I think we could more profitably use the presence of these young men here to oppose the loss of liberty at home.

Ya know, I am almost cynical enough to think that the Gov understands it is to their benefit to send these idealistic young males overseas to keep them out of their hair while they implement their hare-brained schemes at home.

Such idealistic young men could prove to be a huge barrier to the ever-expanding, ever-more-intrusive plans of the totalitarian-minded Ivy League-trained "experts."

You really do enjoy imputing malice Lydia. While I'm sure you are comforted by claiming that I or others support "lifting a woman off her feet with the agents hands between her legs" you will search in vain to find a statement by myself (or others in this thread) actually supporting that. Nor will you find a statement by myself or others claiming an impossibility of untoward conduct. What you will find is the claim that the policy in and of itself is not a scheme by higher officials to provide fodder to be criminalized by lower officials.

http://www.redstate.com/erick/2010/11/18/another-tsa-outrage/

It would have been interesting if the soldier had asked him this:

"So, you say my nail clippers are a weapon, but my M4 is not. Let me ask you. If I suddenly came at you right now with one of them, which would you consider a greater threat to YOUR safety right now: the unloaded M4 or the nail clippers?"

What you will find is the claim that the policy in and of itself is not a scheme by higher officials to provide fodder to be criminalized by lower officials.

Whoop-de-doodle-do, MZ. I'm so comforted by that thought. If I am touched all over by a TSA agent on a trip, this wasn't produced by a scheme for criminal behavior. And your reference to the EMT and the woman's shirt--indeed, all of your comments on this thread-- make it quite clear that you do not consider gropings by TSA agents to be "untoward conduct" in and of themselves.

http://www.wzzm13.com/news/news_story.aspx?storyid=140233&catid=14

Note, this:

The TSA says people in what they call "bulky clothing" may be singled out for the enhanced pat-down.

See... she was dressed in such a manner that she was 'asking for it'! We can't have people dressing with any semblance of modesty, now, can we? TSA-issued spandex, miniskirts! Or fishnets! (I'd say high heels, too, but you have to take those off anyway.) No low cut blouse? That's grounds for a breast grab! Obviously a high neck line would be hiding something! (oh... right...)


The searches absent probable cause should be stopped.

There, Al, that only took you umpteen comments to choke out.

It seems to me that their system requires a high level of training and competence which may be achievable

It would be achievable if we were willing to hire only well-qualified people. But we're not, of course.

Dogs should be used but can we train enough dogs and handlers and we would need to respect the sensitivities of Muslims.

The heck with that. _That's_ the kind of thing that really burns me up. I do _not_ believe that Muslim women or _any_ women should have these searches done on them randomly, nor the naked scanners. But to refuse to use sniffer dogs because Muslims have a crazy aversion to dogs, and to allow that to "limit" us to these far more offensive and invasive means of screening, is sickening.

Were you all as outraged at our two wars, the detentions and torture, or for that matter that the person charged with preventing terrorism ignored his portfolio because he was too busy cutting oil deals for his buddies, skated as you are at the petty inconveniences you now experience?

As I recall, yes, many here were outraged at the two wars (if not initially, then soon thereafter), the torture (from the get go), and not sure what the portfolio reference is.

Dogs should be used but can we train enough dogs and handlers and we would need to respect the sensitivities of Muslims.

Ah the true liberal speaks. If I or anyone else here has an issue (based on a religious sense of modesty) with being groped or seen naked based simply on the desire to ride in an airplane, that is a "petty inconvenience." However, if a Muslim is offended by being sniffed by a dog, we have to respect their sensitivities. So, obviously, it's all about whose ox is being gored, not about any principle.

BTW, if there were no Muslims flying in this country, would we have to go through this charade?

Matt, opposition and over the top outrage are two different things. I have always doubted the wisdom of mashing many different agencies into one large, unmanageable conglomerate. I think a calmer, more analytical discussion would lead to better results then carrying on about incompetence as if it were something else and then going on to the next thing and carrying on about it. Once the searches are stopped, our attention goes to something else and we are left with the underlying problems unaddressed. We are now hearing cries for private screeners. Recall how well that worked before.

"There, Al, that only took you umpteen comments to choke out."

I was referring to scanners with the false modesty comments and those stand. I found the pat downs problematic when I finally read about them and the more I think about them the more problematic I find them. I'm concerned about the selection factor. An occasional pat down is likely to be viewed by a normal person as a necessary but undesirable part of the job. At some point, as the number of pat downs increase, the job itself becomes intolerable for our normal person and we start selecting for dysfunctionality.

"It would be achievable if we were willing to hire only well-qualified people. But we're not, of course."

I don't see how we find the number that would be needed to do a Israeli type screening at umpteen American airports at the pay levels at TSA or private clones. More thought on why we're not and less outrage might make for a more productive discourse.

"...and we would need to respect the sensitivities of Muslims"

Because I'm such a sensitive guy? I thought you would get this; anyway we kid because we love.

I've been trying in vain to google it, but I was almost certain that the general framework for DHS was written up by one of those blue ribbon commissions after the Oklahoma City bombing. Naturally, it was shelved and they dusted it off after 9-11.

Since I believe in a right to privacy, both of these procedures are completely out of bounds.

johnt,
A. It's Elian Gonzalez, not Ethan. Good thing you care so much you forgot his first name. B. The story has made a negative splash in the liberal blogosphere, most notably Huffington Post, including a thorough mocking where they suggest TSA partner with Match.com.

As i recall it was Liberman's baby.

The response from Southwest. I harbored no expectation of anything groundbreaking, of course.


Dear Todd,

We received your e-mail and appreciate your taking the time to contact us. As a valued Customer of Southwest Airlines, your feedback is very important to us. We appreciate the opportunity to address your concern regarding the screening processes used by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

It's important to explain that the implementation of imaging technology and new pat-down procedures at airport security checkpoints nationwide were determined solely by the TSA and not by the airlines. According to the TSA, these procedures are part of a multi-layered approach to security and are used on only a small percentage of passengers, mainly during the secondary screening process. The TSA has a responsibility to ensure the security of the traveling public. However, they also recognize that there is a delicate balance between privacy and security. Please visit the TSA’s web site for more up to date information regarding this screening method regarding children.

Todd, we appreciate your taking the time to share your thoughts. Should your future plans require air travel, we hope we will merit your consideration.

Sincerely,

Kathi, Southwest Airlines

"The 9/11 terrorists should have been stopped before they got to the airport."

Yes. And the place to do this is at the US Consulate in their hometowns!

Poor humans! I'll bet you wish you could fly like me - naked and embarrased...oh, wait...

The Chicken

Sorry. My last comment was uncalled for.

The Chicken

Soon your Overseers will make the sure the groping and probing is replaced by sensual caressing and fondling. The Sexual Revolution, profit motive and our quest for perfect security will all coalesce to make air travel an exciting erotic adventure.

Invest in airline stocks now. Your degradation will soon be upgraded.

Step2, leave it to you to catch the big ones, I couldn't possibly care if I got his first name wrong, now could I.
Let me try another one in the same spirit, how about Waco ! Ah, but somewhere a lib on the net may have criticized that as well, even if Clinton didn't.
FYI, and whether you believe me or not, I realized my mistake moments later, but figured no one would be petty and small enough to make an issue of it.
I forgot about you. Please try and not bother me with your small minded obsession with yours truly.
Thanks,
Johnt
P S, now if you don't mind I'll ignore you.

johnt,
You are welcome. If you don't mind I will continue to point out your mistakes.

"how about Waco?"

I'll see your Waco and raise you another atrocity, Ruby Ridge (Horiuchi should have been charged with a capital crime).

This below makes my point on the usefulness of outrage and hyperbole on serious policy matters.

"Soon your Overseers will make the sure the groping and probing is replaced by sensual caressing and fondling. The Sexual Revolution, profit motive and our quest for perfect security will all coalesce to make air travel an exciting erotic adventure."

"Invest in airline stocks now. Your degradation will soon be upgraded."

This sort of thing implies a certain sense of helplessness which is corrosive of republican virtue.


Sir - would you say your prior rationalizations in defense of body examinations illustrative of "republican virtue", or an example of shameless docility before State authority?

The TSA says people in what they call "bulky clothing" may be singled out for the enhanced pat-down.

So, a Muslim woman in a burqa should be chosen as a matter of course. What could be more suitable for hiding a few AK-47, some C-4, and a little nitro for fun?

You obviously don't read closely. I differentiate between scanners which either "work" or don't and pat downs which, on examination, appear to be applied randomly and hence without probable cause.

What I would like to see is a policy discussion in which the hysterical sacrifice-anything-to-keep-me-safe folks and those who have to drag things sexual into the discussion tone it down and get a grip.

If we wish to apply Israeli psychological screening methods we are going to have to be prepared to increase some TSA salaries. I would like to see more dogs, lots more dogs, but that will require a change in Congressional and administration mindsets as no one is going to get rich training dogs (as opposed to buying scanners).

Lastly we likely need to get rid of the department with the fascist name.

P.S. you might like to explain how someone who would see the FBI thug who murdered Vicki Weaver imprisoned for life or hanged is "an example of shameless docility before State authority"?

"and a little nitro" which I wish they would carry as its instability would insure their not getting past their front door.

A free man does not wait, as you did, for murder before standing down the thugs. To do so may be an attempt to cleverly conceal your supine nature from yourself.

On one hand you call for outrage and hyperbole, while also asking others to "calm down." It seems it offends you when outrage is directed against the State. Another mark of the slave.


"A free man does not wait, as you did, for murder before standing down the thugs.'

An interesting McVeigh-like observation.

"On one hand you call for outrage and hyperbole..."

???

Yes, McVeigh, the reliable rhetorical cattle-prod used to contaminate dissenters, while justifying one's obsequious compliance. McVeigh, his name is legion and he's out there somewhere, ominously balking at a body search.

Impressed by your continual refraining from "hyperbole."

Al, I'm pretty impressed at what you say about Vicki Weaver. No snark. I was...horrified about that. It's still pretty vivid. I lived not far away from Ruby Ridge at the time, though not in the same state.

If I, who am not a terrorist, can think of perhaps five methods of killing the people on an airplane undetectable by these search methods (any decent scientist or engineer could), all this means is that pat-downs and scanners will only stop the uncreative terrorists. Good going, TSA - tell the terrorists what they have to defend against. Let them plan.

Really, it is the killing of massed people that is the problem. Flying cars would solve everything. There, problem solved. Where's my check?

The Chicken

The price tag for a flying car is a little steep.
http://www.hammacher.com/Product/11812?promo=homepage_hero

This is what I want-
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhpPhvWvLgk

Raising one's voice against police brutality, especially when it results in death is easy. Though it is true, the Right is scandalously mute when it occurs within our inner-cities.

The invasive security regime at airports poses a more sinister challenge in terms of social conditioning. A citizenry that consents to the public debasement of its personal dignity is incapable of resisting soft tyranny,let alone the harder kind.

I'll see your Waco and raise you another atrocity, Ruby Ridge (Horiuchi should have been charged with a capital crime).

Amen to that.

"and a little nitro" which I wish they would carry as its instability would insure their not getting past their front door.

Which is why I put it in there. ;-)

I'll see your Waco and raise you another atrocity, Ruby Ridge (Horiuchi should have been charged with a capital crime).

Amen to that.

I don't want this to descend into a debate about Ruby Ridge, but I will point out 3 things: First, if Horiuchi should have been charged with a capital crime, then all 5 of his superiors who approved or let go out door those Rules of Engagement under which he was operating would also have to be charged equally: he was clearly operating explicitly in accordance with those rules. Nobody who wants Horiuchi charged should be willing to let his superiors off the hook, indeed they should go after the superiors first and foremost as the instigators of the tragedy. Horiuchi was at worst merely a pawn.

Second, the claimed Constitutional problem with ROE and of Horiuchi's application of them is, also, a constitutional debate. There are competing views of the right understanding of what the 4th amendment permits, and nobody before 1960 would have thought that shooting a fleeing subject who has already killed law enforcers, even though he is not at this very moment offering violence, to be a violation of the 4th amendment. They would have said that the mere fact of the prior crime is itself sufficient evidence of probable danger and is sufficient for lethal force (whether the danger is immediate or for the future when you finally track him down and corner him again being totally irrelevant.)

Finally, Mike, you have before illustrated a sense of rightful and wrongful police action based on what your particular state provides in law. Other states do it differently. In the state I grew up, you are legally obliged to obey a policeman's order to submit to arrest EVEN IF YOU KNOW YOU ARE NOT GUILTY, and can prove it in a court of law. I personally think this is a more reasonable law because of several factors, but the simplest is that you cannot know for absolute certainty all of the crimes the police intend to charge you with until they charge you, and you cannot be sure that you are absolutely innocent of them ALL and that you can prove it in a court of law until the evidence is presented.

My family happens to know the Horiuchis. I have never heard Lon H. speak of Ruby Ridge, so everything I know about it is from public sources. But what we know of the MAN indicates that he is exactly the sort of man that is like the best 10% of law enforcers of any unit in the country, and if you don't want people like that protecting you then you might as well all give it up because there is no hope for civilization. I believe that the correct understanding of the events is that he made a mistake rather than that he committed a crime. Law enforcers that are not allowed to make a mistake will cease to be law enforcers, and then where will we be?

Tony, As I recall the only deaths resulted from poor decisions on the part of law enforcement and while the exact circumstances of the agent's death are not clear, Randy Weaver wasn't involved. Randy was being sought on a warrant for a non-violent crime which ATF agents induced him to commit in order to extort his cooperation.

Horiuchi may, under some circumstances, be a great guy. Hey, I once knew a murderer who was anti-abortion when it came to his 15 y.o. daughter. Recall the passage in the Gulag Archipelago about the effective "interrogator". The SWAT thugs who routinely kick down the doors of wrong addresses and terrorize the inhabitants likely love their wives and children and are good neighbors.

"Law enforcers that are not allowed to make a mistake will cease to be law enforcers, and then where will we be?"

We overuse the term "mistake". Using the "every dog gets a free bite" standard for sworn officers isn't how a free people should respond to abuse of authority.

Fine, then, Al, go after the big guys who trained Horiuchi, and who drilled into him Rules of Engagement for years, and who drummed up these particular RoE, and who put together a scenario going in that led to the marshal being killed, who briefed Horiuchi, and who made half a dozen other mistakes of fact or judgment before Horiuchi ever got into position. After those guys are in jail or shoved out of the police forces, then it might make sense to go after a small fry who operates according to his training and makes one bad judgment call after making 5 excellent ones, under the pressure of the battlefield. You simply cannot compare some 2010 local SWAT team thugs who knock over a house to arrest a guy with 2 ounces of pot to an FBI HRT guy going after (as he was told) someone who had already killed a marshal and had a ton of guns and other weapons. Next are you going to say that the HRT team is itself an offense against the 4th amendment?

Tony, these are from the Ninth circuit decision:

"There are competing views of the right understanding of what the 4th amendment permits..."

"B. The use of deadly force to apprehend a suspect is a seizure under the Fourth Amendment. See Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S. 1, 7 (1985). Law enforcement agents may use deadly force only if they reasonably believe that killing a suspect is necessary to prevent him from causing immediate physical harm to the agents or others, or to keep him from escaping to an area where he is likely to cause physical harm in the future. Even then, deadly force may not be deployed until the suspect has been given a warning and an opportunity to surrender, unless giving a warning will materially increase the risk of bodily injury or escape. See id. at 11-12."

As for Horiuchi's story,

"On this record, it seems highly debatable whether a reasonable agent in Horiuchi's position would have believed that the helicopter would be endangered if the man with the gun reached the cabin."

"The FBI had been in the area for a full day, and had deployed snipers to within 200 yards of the cabin, yet the occupants were never alerted or warned to surrender. The first they learned that they were under siege was when Horiuchi's bullet struck Randy Weaver."

"Knowingly shooting the man who did not threaten the helicopter, just because he was armed and in the vicinity, would not have been constitutionally permissible. Indeed, Horiuchi does not attempt to justify shooting Harris on this basis. Rather, he claims that he made a mistake--that he shot Harris when he meant to shoot Weaver."

"Horiuchi, once again, contradicts himself. During the Weaver criminal trial, he testified that the two men were dressed in similar black clothing and he could not tell them apart. See Horiuchi Testimony, p. 368 supra, at 238-39. If this testimony is credited, then Horiuchi would have had no cause to believe that Weaver was the second man running into the cabin, rather than the first. At most, it would establish that Horiuchi thought there was a 50/50 chance the man he was shooting was the one he had seen threatening the helicopter. This is far less certainty than an officer must have before taking human life."

"As best the record discloses, this was not a case of mistaking one man for the other, but of shooting in the face of major uncertainty about the identity of the target. This is more akin to recklessness than reasonable conduct."

"5. The position of Vicki Weaver. Horiuchi claims he was unaware that Mrs. Weaver was standing behind the door when he shot through it at Harris. Yet again, Horiuchi's testimony on this point has been less than consistent. Horiuchi testified that, when he fired at Harris, he thought someone else might be standing behind the door, because Harris"was trying to hold the door open or moving somebody out of the way." Id. at 108. Other witnesses, too, contradict Horiuchi's claim. Sara Weaver testified that the curtain on the door was open, see Preliminary Hearing Testimony at 21, and so Horiuchi could have seen her mother through the glass pane on the door. Both Sara and Randy Weaver testified that, after the first shot, Vicki Weaver came onto the porch and called out, and so Horiuchi could have seen or heard her. See id. at 10, 92. Of course, there is evidence that supports Horiuchi's version as well. But there remain disputed facts on this issue. If Horiuchi shot through the door knowing, or having reason to believe, someone else was standing behind it, then his second shot could not be deemed reasonable."

"On the record before us, we cannot say that a reasonable agent in Horiuchi's position would have concluded that Harris presented the kind of immediate danger that made the use of deadly force reasonable. At the very least, the matter is in dispute."

As for the precipitating incident,

"It seems plausible that a 14-year old boy, on seeing his dog shot, would have opened fire at the person who shot his dog. At that point, it was likely that the Marshals would shoot back at the two people who were firing on them. In the course of the gunfire, Marshal Degan was shot by Harris and Sammy Weaver was shot in the arm and in the back."

"That the first shot was Roderick's shooting of the dog is consistent with the early reports from the scene. An Idaho State Police Captain reported that he understood from talking to Roderick on the night of August 21 that he shot the dog first. The Federal Raid on Ruby Ridge, ID: Hearings Before the Subcomm. on Terrorism, Tech., and Gov't Info. of the Senate Comm. on the Judiciary, 104th Cong. 1107 (1995) (Appendix, Ruby Ridge: Report of the Subcommittee) [hereinafter Ruby Ridge Report] (citations omitted)."

http://bulk.resource.org/courts.gov/c/F3/253/253.F3d.359.98-30149.html

LH is a West Point graduate and a presumably well trained individual. He had to have been aware of the constitutional issues around the ROE.

These are core FBI values

Our Core Values

* Rigorous obedience to the Constitution of the United States;
* Respect for the dignity of all those we protect;
* Compassion;
* Fairness;
* Uncompromising personal integrity and institutional integrity;
* Accountability by accepting responsibility for our actions and decisions and the consequences of our actions and decisions; and
* Leadership, both personal and professional.

According to their website trainees,

"As part of their ethics training, students tour the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. to learn what can happen when law enforcement loses its core values."

An agent's oath is to the Constitution not the work product of his superiors.

Al, please, the Ninth Circuit? The NINTH? The clownish buffoons of the judicial world?

As part of their ethics training, students tour the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

Ruby Ridge happened in 1992. The museum opened in 1993. There is a very good chance that the FBI trainees were not brought to the museum while it was being built.

LH is a West Point graduate and a presumably well trained individual. He had to have been aware of the constitutional issues around the ROE.

The FBI trains its agents very hard. It does not turn them into constitutional lawyers. I know a couple other extremely talented FBI agents, and I assure you that they have immense respect for the Constitution but are not lawyers and are not trained to parse the ins and outs of the Constitution on the battlefield. If several levels of superiors, who established the RoE, thought that the rules were within bounds, and it took an immense amount of hand-wringing after the fact by whole teams of lawyers to establish that the RoE were probably not constitutional, why should we expect LH to be confident that he knew better than his superiors and that they were wrong?

At the very least, the matter is in dispute

Those are the words of the extremely detailed investigation. That's all that is needed to conclude that the agent on the scene made a battlefield decision that was not a grave criminal act. I never said that he made no mistakes. And yet Al would see the FBI thug who murdered Vicki Weaver imprisoned for life or hanged . Even thought there is room for dispute.

And I don't see any point in discussing this further, my original reason for contesting Al's remarks about LH was that there is room for dispute and therefore his extraordinary level of antipathy is untoward.

If several levels of superiors, who established the RoE, thought that the rules were within bounds, and it took an immense amount of hand-wringing after the fact by whole teams of lawyers to establish that the RoE were probably not constitutional, why should we expect LH to be confident that he knew better than his superiors and that they were wrong?

I wouldn't have a problem with placing all the supervisors on trial as accomplices. It was their responsibility to know that in the context of all the mistakes that led up to the standoff that what they authorized was insane.

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