Saturday, July 2, 2011

Another bloated bureaucrat

This brief article on the TSA's new policy regarding kids (yeah, right!) contains this gem:

Former FAA security director Billie Vincent said that, while he was also disturbed by the intrusive pat-downs of children, the change was unnecessary and reflective of a problem with public perception.

"The TSA is walking a tightrope, trying to quiet the public damage,” he said.

Vincent favors profiling for all passengers—including the parents of young children—a step which would help security personnel to conduct more efficient screenings without using such rigorous techniques at the airport.

Another opt-out testamonial

Over at reddit:
This morning, I exercised my right to "opt-out." Here is my story:

Me: "Hi, can I go through the metal detector"

TSA lady: "no, you may not. You have to go through that line."

Me: "Um, no i don't. I don't want to go through that line."

"oh, you're one of "those"." on radio "Yea I have an opt out over here on lane four. Requesting male officer assist."

wait two minutes

Me: "Requesting male officer assist on lane four"

more time goes by, my flight departs in 20 minutes and I get frustrated

Me: "Is this going to take much longer? My flight leaves in 20 minutes. I'll just go through the damn machine"

"No. Once you opt out you must be patted down"

Pretending to be a thug

Bob Barr (2008 Libertarian Party Presidential candidate) discusses the personal security scanner toy (ie, metal detector wand). In his opening line, he points out that make-believe is healthy and a standard part of childhood. But, while he bemoans pretending to be a TSA thug or even certain toys of the post-9/11 security state, he seems to praise pretending to be a police officer or fighter pilot (as well as a cowboy).

In my opinion, there's nothing wrong with a child playing with this toy - as long as he knows that it automatically make him a "bad" person in the legendary fight between good and evil!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pat-downs will continue in Texas

This is an unfortunate turn of events. House speaker Straus seems to have gotten to the legislature with his cowardly stance that the anti-groping bill is a "publicity stunt."

UPDATE: Here's a little more info on the back-and-forth of the anti-groping legislation over the last few days.

I'll believe it when I see it

Forgive me for not trusting the lying TSA when it says it will start being smarter and more respectful when screening children at airports. What's interesting is that the reporting - some of it from the MSM - comes across as skeptical as well. A local news affiliate quotes Pistole in full, leaving in clear words that pat-downs of children will continue:
"As part of our ongoing effort to get smarter about security, Administrator (John) Pistole has made a policy decision to give security officers more options for resolving screening anomalies with young children and we are working to operationalize his decision in airports. This decision will ultimately reduce -- though not eliminate -- pat-downs of children.”
The liberal Baltimore Sun quoted Rand Paul's questioning of the TSA over this issue. points out:
One thing it doesn’t mean is that children will be exempted from having to pass through body imaging machines, which are a whole separate can of worms. In fact, the 6-year-old girl whose pat-down went viral was frisked in the first place only because she had moved while passing through a scanner.
However, while this site quotes Paul, it also ends with this garbage from Pistole:
"Unfortunately, we know that terrorists around the world have used children as suicide bombers," Pistole said.
That sets off major alarms for me - like an email claiming I won the UK lottery. Yes - some (very few) minors have been involved in suicide bombing. And, of course, there are child soldiers in war-torn countries to this day. First off, all child suicide bombers have been over the age of 15. Second, these children are in really desperate situations - their country has been ravaged and they may be orphans. Third, everything I've read about them indicates that they are local to the attack. A Palestinian boy attacking in Palestine, an Afghani boy attacking in Afghanistan, etc... There are zero reports of suicide-bombing children under the age of 15, zero reports of children from Western countries, and, I would guess, they're not usually with their parents at the time of the bombing (but, more likely, their parents have been killed by their perceived enemy). Yet, Pistole continues to try to scare us into supporting the absurdity that is the TSA... and the media plays right along!

Monday, June 27, 2011

The line gets pushed further

Here's how an elderly, ill woman was treated by the TSA:

She said her mother was first pulled aside into a glass-partitioned area and patted down. Then she was taken to another room to protect her privacy during a more extensive search, Weber said.

Weber said she sat outside the room during the search.

She said security personnel then came out and told her they would need for her mother to remove her Depends diaper because it was soiled and was impeding their search.

Are you angry, yet?


Sunday, June 26, 2011

The next step (satire)

Here's a satire on TSA policy: TSA Plans Screening Americans in their Homes.

Propaganda and corporatism

This Fox News piece on the "multi-billion dollar homeland security industry" is pure propaganda. Americans did not wake up after 9/11 - rather, they turned off their brains as usual and bought into the fear-mongering of our leaders. Of course, the politicians were in cahoots with a burgeoning "security industry" that does not sell its products to a voluntary public, but forces it upon us, getting paid with tax dollars, public debt, and inflation.

The article also tries to promote the work of DHS as something that benefits local agencies, and quotes a police sergeant to that effect (emphasis added):
Sgt. Brian Muller of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department has long been involved in security advancements. "Superior tactics reduce risks," he said. "And if there is some type of technology that we can exploit -- so that we will be able to serve the public better, do it safely, keep things within constitutional limits, not violate people's rights, apprehend the bad guy and make the community safe -- we're interested in looking at that type of technology."
I've yet to see the DHS and their cronies do anything but violate people's rights! In any case, what's really happened is that our local police has become militarized: a SWAT team in every small town and escalations of events that used to be defused without the police killing or intimidating someone.