Monday, January 25, 2010

Had Enough Yet?

More from your friendly neighborhood Transportation Stupidity Administration. Don't you feel safer?

And don't you love all the "privacy" these "public" employees enjoy when they commit what would have been crimes for us "little people?" If the passenger had played a "joke," how would this situation been different, and what would have been private about how it would have been addressed?

I'm not exactly sure why, but the juxtaposition of the words "privacy" and TSA just don't seem to go together...

Remind me again why we broke away from Britain (and don't tell me to read the Declaration of Independence, it only depresses me...). Of course, things are even worse there these days. Where is William Wallace when you need him?


calov said...

Why are you shocked by this?

The TSA is a federal agency.

A majority of the TSA people working the airports are part-time employees.

The salary for such positions is above minimum wage.

We'll skip the whole federal agency/affirmative action hiring policies.

By having these positions be part-time, low-wage positions, the majority of the employees are not highly educated.

But, by the same token, look at how much the government is saving you by hiring poorly educated, unprofessional, poorly trained, part-time government employees! Part-time means no real government benefits. So what if you are treated like a criminal? Who cares if they act unprofessional and play jokes on you?

This is your government working to protect you, on a budget.

Jonathan said...

There are bound to be a few bad eggs now and again. I note that the offending Cretan is no longer employed by the TSA. It may not be the best system, but I'm glad we have it.

Father Hollywood said...

Dear Jonathan:

I disagree with you on a couple of counts. First of all, there are way too many "bad eggs." The TSA's record is deplorable. Can anyone in all seriousness claim that, for instance, this kind of thing would happen with such frequency at El Al?

Second, note the level of secrecy involved. Do we really know that the "cretin" has been fired? Furthermore, why isn't he being prosecuted? He violated and terrified this poor woman. Have we lost all sense of decency? I guess if we're going to let these guys look at naked pictures of everyone we might as well give them a slap on the wrist for little "jokes" involving planted evidence.

The TSA has become a CYA organization with no accountability - and yet we are putting the safety of the airlines in the hands of these Keystone Kops. They let terrorists on planes in spite of all sorts of red flags, while patting down little old ladies and pushing for technology that amounts to child porn.

Whoever coined the term "security theater" should get a medal. That's exactly what it is. And I think Calov makes some great points above.

The sad part is that the American people will likely just accept this substandard farce with hardly a bleat. Franklin's quote about what happens to those who trade liberty for security comes to mind - although it is even worse, since we're not even getting real security in exchange for our liberty.

My policy is that I will only fly in a dire emergency or if there is simply no other way to travel. In turning airports into concentration camps, we have chalked up a big win for Al Qaida.

Jonathan said...

We would turn airlines into an even bigger victory target for terrorists without TSA. We could go with the Israeli model and really intimidate travelers, but how many fewer airports do the Israelis have than we? I hope you are not boycotting flying because of the TSA. Would you really feel safer flying without them?

Father Hollywood said...

Dear Jonathan:


This is far too important to leave in the hands of government.

Besides, there are far more fundamental questions that need to be asked, such as, why are we target of terrorism? In many countries around the world, there is no worry of terrorism. In many other countries, people are still served meals with actual silverware - including knives.

The solutions to our problems do not lie in a bigger police/surveillance state. The British have turned their country into a real live 1984 - and there is still more crime than ever.

And I'm not "boycotting." I just do not want to travel that way any more. I do not want my wife fondled, my five year old ogled, and I do not care to be treated like a federal prisoner by people who do not seem to understand the Constitution.

If I can't drive or walk, I basically don't go. I will make exceptions where needed, but I no longer view airline travel as anything pleasant. It is something along the lines of a proctological examination - it may be necessary, but it isn't anything to savor. Certainly not my idea of a "vacation."

And these days, the comparison may well be more than a mere metaphor.

Jonathan said...

I believe that providing security for persons and property is one of the fundamental responsibilities of government, an inherently governemtal function best carried out by the government. Otherwise you are left with vigilantism. Every other endeavor of government is pretty much just a luxury. Perhaps we should advocate for reprioritizing our government's funds to help the beleaguered TSA.

Father Hollywood said...

Dear Jonathan:

Their function was carried out by private security until the post-911 hysteria that has resulted in such over-reactions as prohibiting nail files in federal buildings that are teeming with armed federal agents.

Now that the TSA has governmental status, TSA agents are exempt from lawsuits and they think their word is law - constitutional or not. Plug in TSA in YouTube and check out how common this nonsense is. It just keeps getting worse.

There was an amazing case a few months ago of an encounter between several TSA "officers" (all secretly recorded on an iPhone) and an innocent citizen who had nothing that even looked like a weapon. He had a few thousand dollars in cash in a lockbox (he had been fundraising for a political campaign). But because he had cash, he was treated like a common criminal. He was falsely arrested. He was interrogated. He was bullied. And when confronted with the Constitution, the TSA thugs treated him even worse - threatening him with detention by the DEA, cursing at him, and threatening him with violence - all for doing nothing more than asserting his right to travel with money that was legally his, no weapons, no suspicious behavior, no nothing. This was a man who posed no threat whatsover to anyone - except to thugs who don't respect the Constitution. And of course, nothing happened to the goons. Nothing. All sorts of excuses and justifications were bandied about - and it took the threat of a lawsuit to get the policy changed.

This is an out-of-control agency of an out-of-control government.

I don't want an encounter with them, so I stay the heck away. There are truly times when the bumper sticker slogan "I love my country but I fear my government" is true. No thanks.

I'm not the only one not interested in being harassed by TSA agents. We are becoming a police state, and people are ever so quick to get in the boxcars. If you want a preview of where we are headed, look at the once-proud British, now a disarmed people being pushed around by a socialist surveillance/nanny state.

That's where we are headed (like eager lemmings) unless we change our way of thinking and change it soon. I'm not optimistic.

Jonathan said...

Well, I guess the Pinkertons were not any better at stopping the terrorists on 9/11. And what's to keep chuckleheads like that erstwhile TSA agent from working for a private security company, lowest bidder? Are they any any more immune from bad eggs? Or what says a contractor can't propose to use strip searches and enhanced interrogation techniques? No, I don't put any more faith in the marketplace when it comes to security. It is something the government *should* do and do well. Unfortunately, in either case, you are dealing with human fallible systems. So what's say we just forego the whole security rigamorole and instead hand out baseball bats to all the passengers after the metal detector?

And also, federal employees are not immune from personal liability for constitutional torts committed under color of law (42 USC 1983.) For other torts, the federal government has waived sovereign immunity for its liability. So this poor young lady whose dad is a prosecutor ought to pursue it under either theory.

Father Hollywood said...

Dear Jonathan:

By the same token, we all know that government employees have protections (official or unofficial) that private employees do not have. Government monopolies rarely ever provide better service. Even the military has largely been privatized, as huge sectors of what was formerly done by soldiers is now run by private contractors.

Who do you trust more - FedEx or the USPS? Which is a better run operation - Medicare or Google?

The expansionary and increasingly invasive police state is the problem, not the solution.

If you like being treated like a federal prisoner being crammed into a flying jail cell, by all means, feel free. As for me, I'll go where I can drive (or take the train while that is still a civilized option). I will bring a Swiss Army knife, shampoo, and even a bag of peanuts (gasp!)if I choose. My wife will bring her nail file and will not be compelled to allow a goon to put his hands all over her and look at naked pictures of my son.

Thanks but no thanks.

Numa Pompilius said...

I agree with Jonathan who said: "I believe that providing security for persons and property is one of the fundamental responsibilities of government."

One of our most important properties is our property interest in Liberty, i.e. the right of the citizen to enjoy his rights, e.g. freedom of movement, without being harassed by the government, to live without government intrusion into ones life until their may arise a reasonable suspicion that a particular individual is guilty of something illegal or there is a credible report of pending illegal activity.

Yes, give me a government that is interested in protecting my property interest in my rights especially my right to liberty.

Father Hollywood said...

This just in. Still not had enough, America?