As I wrote earlier this month, TSA incompetence and stupidity -- combined with American populace passivity -- are causing thousands of people to miss their flights. The amount of time travelers are supposed to allow to get through airport security keeps ballooning -- from one hour to two hours to, now, three hours before their flights. And that's for domestic flights, mes amis, not just international ones.
Because the level of ignorance and stupidity in this country can never be overestimated, we have the latest incidence of one of America's fine upstanding citizens displaying her intellectual acumen for all to see. And supposed airline professionals going along with her. True, this didn't involve the TSA, but we can easily see how the stupidity and paranoia exhibited by that organization -- and constantly hyped by our "security" overlords -- has spread to the population at large.
The bomb attacks in Belgium today -- three of them, two at different locations in the airport and one in the subway -- present in high relief yet more proof of what some us have been pointing out for years: the TSA is a charade. The TSA does not and cannot and will never prevent terror attacks.All the pre-boarding bullying, harassing, scanning, and groping doesn't make a damn bit of difference, because -- duh -- people can set off bombs anywhere, not just on a plane.
In the never-ending saga of TSA theft and stupidity — and did I say theft? — we have the latest episode (that we know of): at Baltimore-Washington International Airport, the goons spied yet another tasty treat they wanted to sample. So they pretended that said items were dangerous and confiscated them — er, sorry, encouraged the passenger to give them up. (As we know, since they tell us all the time, especially at their main propaganda organ, they don’t confiscate anything.) From thestory in the Baltimore Sun:
More sad news to add to the start of this year. First David Bowie, and now Alan Rickman. Both 69, both died of cancer. Rickman was simply one of the greatest actors of our time. And a great humanist. Marvelous actor, marvelous man. Why do such beautiful people have to go, while monsters like Dick Cheney still walk about?
As I wrote in this post on January 7, 2016, Edward Hasbrouck is a consistently reliable source of information on all things security -- and faux security. His excellent website, PapersPlease, is a breath of fresh air in the hothouse atmosphere of the travel blabbosphere. So it's no surprise that he has been predicting from the beginning that the Department of Homeland Security's attempt to impose yet more stupid regulations would fizzle. He said DHS would blink, and it has.
Watch this hilarious send-up of a supposedly straight news report. The comedian is Tom Walker of the UK; his alter ego is "Jonathan Pie." Absolutely brilliant. No surprise that this video has gone viral.
As many people have discovered from the latest news, the Department of Homeland Security has suddenly decreed publicly what anyone with reasonable observational skills knows they've been planning from the get-go: that the TSA will, at whim, force passengers through the strip-search scanners.I repeat that this has been the plan from the beginning. I said so at a now-defunct group blog where I used to write called Cogitamus, long before TSA News existed.Those who made predictions to the contraryhave been proven wrong.
If this video doesn't knock you on your ass, I don't know what will. Let me rephrase that -- many of the people watching this video already get it. But to see and hear a retired U.S. Army colonel, former National Security Advisor in the Reagan administration, former advisor to Colin Powell, dyed-in-the-wool Republican, saying this stuff, pointing out that the emperor is wearing no clothes, that, as he puts it, "this ship is sinking" -- well, I'd like to say it should make an impression on all the naysayers. But in fact I know it won't. They'll find a way to discredit him just as much as they discredit people such as Chris Hedges and Noam Chomsky. I know it won't make a dent. I'm posting it anyway. I hope people will share it.
As everyone knows by now, a hung jury led Judge Barry Williams to declare a mistrial in the case of Officer William Porter, the first police officer of six to be tried in the Freddie Gray case. Despite the slavering of the mainstream media for violence, there wasn't any. Neither was there a hint of it, anywhere in Baltimore, over this development. That didn't stop so-called reporters and news hosts from implying that violence was ready to break out at any minute. There was a small -- very small -- number of protesters downtown. And an overwhelming police presence. (I wasn't there, as I saw no need to protest. A mistrial is a mistrial. It's a fool's errand to try to read too much into it.)
I know I keep saying it, but you can't make this shit up. Once upon a time, this story would've been parody. Fodder for Saturday Night Live, The Onion, The Daily Show, any number of comedians. But you can't do parody anymore. Reality has surpassed it. To wit:
How can we not be simultaneously horrified and bored by yet another active shooter/shooters, this time in San Bernardino, California? I'm writing this on Wednesday, December 2, 2015, at 2:55pm EST, as this thing is unfolding. At least 12 victims so far. These so-called "active shooter" situations now average 16 a year in the U.S., according to the Secret Service -- that's more than one a month -- though we just had one last week in Colorado Springs and another one only a few weeks before that in the same town. But hey, gotta have our guns! After all, this is the USA!
The abject fuckupedness of this country continues.
Everyone keeps sending me links to this story, but I saw it when it first came out last week and decided not to write about it because it isn't news. It's the same old same old. I can't see how it means anything significant in our fight against the TSA.
John Whitehead's Rutherford Institute, which fights for civil liberties, touted the story in an email last week headlined, "Victory!" I'm on their mailing list, so I saw the message as soon as it came in. When I read the text, any initial frisson of triumph immediately fizzled. Victory? Really?
Yawn. Really, how can one greet these events anymore with anything other? They're so common. They're as deeply a part of American culture as baseball, Mom, and apple pie. This is an image of an actual ad. It has not been Photoshopped. Because Bushmaster, you see, is proud of this. Irony is dead in this country. Satire is dead. Anything you could make up has already been surpassed by reality. Archie Bunker's famous exhortation on the brilliant TV sitcom "All in the Family" over 40 years ago was understood by the audience then for what it was. Today, it's being taken seriously. Archie's illogical, lunatic, yet insuperably sincere sentiments are being posted, in all seriousness, all over the blabbosphere. In short, the answer to so many killings and so many guns is -- more guns! Just ask Bushmaster. Of course, the word "man" should be replaced by the word "dick," but minor quibble:
UPDATE: Open to the public, pay what you can. Doug says he realizes the $199 conference fee is out of reach for a lot of people.
Douglas Kidd of the National Association of Airline Passengers has organized this Airport Security Symposium for Tuesday, October 6, 2015, at Reagan National Airport just outside Washington, D.C. He’s lined up plenty of speakers, including Alaska state rep and TSA critic Sharon Cissna, consumer advocate and friend of the blog Charlie Leocha, one-man investigative research team Jonathan Corbett, security expert extraordinaire Bruce Schneier, and several of us who write for TSA News — Sommer Gentry, Wendy Thomson, and me.
Come on, folks, let's get this up to at least 150 signatures. If we do, it'll go live on the main White House petition site. It was written by our perennially creative contributor Chris Bray.
You may recall that we've tried petitions in the past, including one that went nowhere thanks in no small part to the fact that the White House's site went down for several hours and they didn't extend the petition-signing time to account for that. In other words, we got shortchanged.
Let's not let that happen again. This time, the petition is a brilliant satire of the TSA's behavior, especially the recent case of TSA supervisor Maxie Oquendo sexually assaulting a young woman at La Guardia Airport under color of authority.
Come on, let's make this happen! I know most people don't give a shit about this issue in general (believe me, I know it), but you can at least have a little fun with it. Sign the petition here. And then repost, tweet, disseminate however you like far and wide.