Saturday, November 27, 2010

Where is the feminist outrage?

I posted just the other day about how terrifying the TSA procedures are for sexual assault survivors. BB just sent me this link of another woman being left in tears because the scanner noticed an "anomaly": her menstrual pad. So, she was groped in her most private area after being scanned to make sure she wasn't a terrorist.

This seems to fit right in with Gary North's 1st rule of bureaucracy:
Some bureaucrat will enforce a written rule in such a way as to make the rule and the bureaucracy seem either ridiculous, tyrannical, or both.
Shouldn't the women of The View be sensitive to this type of invasion?

Life imitates art

The maker of Smile! You're on Candid Camera did his version of the porno-scanners about 10 years ago. It's interesting to read his take on Americans' perspectives on authority.

Also, this clip from Airplane! predicted the porno-scanners decades in advance (NB: nudity, of course). Link via LRC.

Friday, November 26, 2010

December 1st protest

From Shut Down The Airports:

December 1st, 2010

The day we stand up to the government and demand they keep their hands off our bodies is Wednesday, December 1st, 2010.

On this day we will:
  1. Take a day off from work - unpaid, if necessary - YES, IT IS WORTH IT. Do not be fooled - your civil liberties are worth more than a day's wage. Your children will look up to you for the stand you make for your and their freedoms. IT IS WORTH IT!
  2. Be non-violent - it worked once for MLK, it can again for us.
  3. Take your family/friends/co-workers and go to the nearest airport. Find a nice parking spot and ignore it - park in the road. Even better, park where the cops patrol (departures) and walk right by them. Don't worry about your car getting towed - it would take days to tow all the cars that will be there. Don't park in neat lines - make it difficult for anyone to remove vehicles.
  4. Walk to the screening area and join the hundreds/thousands of other concerned Americans - tell the TSA in no uncertain terms that we will not allow them to view us naked or sexually molest us any longer.
  5. You may want to take drinking water or some snacks. You may want to take signs that you can hold up to voice your displeasure (nothing that can be misconstrued as a weapon, though.) If the News Media take video or phots, show them that you are an ordinary American fed up with the TSA and their antics.
  6. Be nice, but don't move. And don't let anyone through the line or the machines. You can display civil disobedience by laying down on the floor and blocking the machines/walkways.
  7. Take cameras and camera phones - if you have any interaction with the TSA or Real Law Enforcement, be sure to videotape everything.
    In public places there is no expectation of privacy and video-recording (with sound) is explicitly allowed by the Supreme Court.

What's the big deal?

I can't say how many times I've heard the media try to marginalize the outburst against scanners with some comment like "What's the big deal?," implying that only the rare prude would object to being seen naked or felt-up against their will. I don't think this tactic will work in the long run - I have friends and family from the left, right, center, the politically outspoken and the apolitical all indicate outrage over the scanners.

Vedran Vuk sent me an email noting that the most recent gallop poll only asked frequent flyers about the scanners, accounting for only 23% of Americans. So 71% of 23% think the scanners are A-OK. The media should be careful about relying on the opinions of 16% of the population in their smear campaign painting anti-scanner mentality as belonging only to fringe groups. Meanwhile, there's a Zogby poll that says that most Americans oppose the TSA security measures.

One group that the media is not mentioning are those who have been sexually assaulted in the past. This article tells the story of such a person who finds going through security to be very traumatic now. (Note: I'm not 100% sure the story is true, and it is impossible to verify, but the point remains that this type of thing is statistically likely to happen.) Thanks to Dennis Drew for the link.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Some TSA humor

A reader sends along this video and says "Satire is always an effective statement of rebellion to shake up the system."

And a friend sends along this link of Adam Savage's (of Mythbusters fame) experience with security theater (NB: bad language):

Only some of us had to submit, so it's okay.

My husband sent me this link the day before yesterday. Now that we know that yesterday's protest did not cause delays, it's interesting to look at it again. He commented:
[It] suggests that 80% of security lanes won't have scanners.  For most people the procedure at the security checkpoint will be business as usual: remove your shoes, belt, jewelery, empty your pockets, fluids in small bottles, zip-lock bags, no nail clippers, etc. Therefore the furor is overblown, and when the other 80% of security lanes get the scanner and when the full-body pat-down becomes the norm, well then once again the security checkpoint procedure will be business as usual.

Calm down people, the government is not forcing us all to submit, it's just forcing some of us to submit.  It's not really a violation of constitutional rights unless it affects a simple majority, right?
One of my personal goals with speaking out (using this website and in other ways) was to educate Americans about this injustice. The "overblown" opt-out was on the news at every turn for the last two days. That's a win!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Reminder: National Opt-out Day is Tomorrow!

Opt for the pat down if you're flying tomorrow.

Someone send me an email saying that an acquaintance who is a TSO says that TSA/DHS is telling the screeners that this will all blow over in a month or two. I firmly believe it won't - prove me right by making a big stink tomorrow!

Delta inches forward

NPR reported this morning that Delta will be giving refunds on non-refundable tickets on a case-by-case basis in response to the scanner backlash.

They also report that American, Continental, and US Air are standing by their no-refund policy.

When this whole thing blows over, are you going to choose Delta or US Air? Me, too.

Monday, November 22, 2010

I'm very nervous

John Tyner says that he was trying his best to avoid a confrontation at the airport, but wanted to be prepared for the worst. That's why he turned on the video recording on his phone before he put his bag through screening. Before that, he checked online to make sure that SAN didn't have scanners (and the TSA's website said it didn't). He also tried to get into the metal detector line, but events transpired against him.

This is why I'm very nervous.

I'm doing everything I can to avoid the scanner and warrantless pre-custodial search. I will not submit to this, and I will not allow my daughter to be scanned or groped. But I promised our family that we'd be back for Christmas, so, while I'm speaking out to US Air and Orbitz to get publicity for the existence of the scanners, I'm going very far out of my way to avoid a confrontation at the airport.

But these stories keep coming in. What if the metal detector goes off or I am randomly selected for a pre-custodial search? What if they try to take my daughter from me to give her a pre-custodial search? When I refuse to follow orders, what if they arrest me? If you wonder why I wrote that "I was in tears," it's because I keep imagining things like this or this. Or worse.

I really do wish that US Air and Orbitz and the rest of the gang would put up a fight here. Ground their planes. Pilots and flight attendants on strike. Then the rest of us could quit worrying about how we're going to continue to see our loved ones without having an anxiety attack.

Update on US Air and Orbitz

I have received no response to my letters last week. Does this mean that they have no intention of trying to retain me as a customer?

I've used Orbitz almost exclusively for my travel needs for the last 10 years. Good-bye, Orbitz!

As a bi-coastal family, I've flown cross-country at least twice a year for these last 10 years. The airport that I fly into is served only by US Air and United, although I've been known to frequent Southwest and Jet Blue in the past. So far, I've been nonplussed by responses from all of these carriers.

Because I made a promise to my husband's family that they would get to spend Christmas with my daughter this year, I will be making every effort to get her to California. I truly hope that I am not forced to make a decision between our privacy and our vacation. But I can see no reason to continue to support companies that show such little disregard for the my family's fundamental rights.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

John Tyner on Wait, Wait!

The first question of "Who's Carl This Time" was the now infamous "If you touch my junk..."

We must make sure this issue doesn't go away - we got our 15 minutes, and now we need to keep going.

Write your airports, too!

Steve Smith writes:
People are calling the airlines to register their complaints about the peeping and the groping. They should also call their local airport authority. These are (I suppose) quasi-governmental bodies, but their first job is to keep people flying through their airport.

In my case, I know that my local airport is on the TSA list of airports with the full-body scanners. However, I called the authority's number anyway and left this message (it being before business hours), with my name and phone and a request that someone get back to me:

"Hi, this is Steve Smith. I live in Chapel Hill and my number is _________ .  I understand that RDU [Raleigh-Durham airport] has those full-body scanners. Please let me know for sure, as I don't want to fly from there if you do.  Also, do you happen to know if, say, the Greensboro airport [about 50 miles distant] has them yet? I might fly from there instead. Thanks."

When/if someone calls me back and confirms that RDU does have the porno-tron scanners, I will strongly suggest that they opt out of the TSA's "services" if they don't wish to lose customers like me.
I fully support this. See also Tom DiLorenzo's open letter to Birmingham and Atlanta airport administrators.

Senator Leahy: We'll be watching

Kevin McElroy forwarded Sen Leahy's response. For those who feel the political route will be more effective, here's what you can expect:
Dear Mr. McElroy:

Thank you for contacting me about the use of body scanners in airports and new security screening procedures.  I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue, and understand your concerns.

After September 11, 2001, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) implemented a pilot program to test whole-body scanners in airports before they were put into widespread use.  In October 2009, the TSA ordered 150 whole-body scanners to be deployed in airports across the nation, and in March 2010, the TSA purchased an additional 450 scanners that are currently being deployed nationwide.  In the wake of this deployment, many Americans have expressed concerns over personal privacy as the whole-body scanners are used to screen passengers, and the security of those captured images.