Ron Paul

The Backlash Against the TSA (Ron Paul Edition)

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Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) introduces the American Traveler Dignity Act:

I hope that in 50 years it will be as difficult to explain the "T.S.A." part of this joke as it is to explain the "Rick Roll!!!" bit.

A BILL

To ensure that certain Federal employees cannot hide behind immunity.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. NO IMMUNITY FOR CERTAIN AIRPORT SCREENING METHODS.

No law of the United States shall be construed to confer any immunity for a Federal employee or agency or any individual or entity that receives Federal funds, who subjects an individual to any physical contact (including contact with any clothing the individual is wearing), x-rays, or millimeter waves, or aids in the creation of or views a representation of any part of a individual's body covered by clothing as a condition for such individual to be in an airport or to fly in an aircraft. The preceding sentence shall apply even if the individual or the individual's parent, guardian, or any other individual gives consent.

The bill isn't likely to pass, but the spirit of the legislation is alive in California, where prosecutors in two counties say they're willing to charge TSA screeners who cross the line separating security theater from sexual battery.

In other TSA news, both the Senate and Time magazine have decided it's better to suck up to the agency than to ask it any hard questions. In other Ron Paul news, The Daily Caller reports that the congressman won't be joining the House Tea Party Caucus:

Jeff Deist, chief of staff for Paul, confirmed the congressman's decision in a statement to The Daily Caller.

"Congressman Paul decided not to join the Tea Party Caucus," Deist wrote in an e-mail. "He strongly believes the Tea Party movement should remain a grassroots phenomenon, rather than being co-opted by Washington or any political party."

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75 responses to “The Backlash Against the TSA (Ron Paul Edition)

  1. Somehow, I have a hard time believing a bill to strip federal employees of immunity is going to get very far.

  2. Actually, sovereign immunity generally applies only to civil actions, not criminal actions.

    A cop who burgles your house is not protected from being jailed by sovereign immunity.

    I’m not sure there’s anything preventing a prosecutor from bringing criminal complaints against TSA screeners. It would be a he said/she said type trial, but still . . . .

    I’m still trying to figure out how all this isn’t subject to a 4th Amendment challenge.

    I know the rote answer is that, by deciding to fly, you give implied consent to being groped and probed by law enforcement in the form of TSA.

    However, choosing a particular mode of transportation does not necessarily constitute consent to being searched in other contexts. The cops still need probably cause (technically) to search your car after a traffic stop, after all.

    1. “”I know the rote answer is that, by deciding to fly, you give implied consent to being groped and probed by law enforcement in the form of TSA.””

      NYPD has random checkpoints to enter the subway system. They are consent based and you can refuse. Of course they won’t let you enter if you do.

      The country is at war, the term reasonable in the 4th is relaxed. It is reasonable to conduct more searches in the name of catching the enemy.

      1. About 2 billion passengers fly each year. That means there have been about 18 billion passenger butts on airplanes since 9/11/01. Only two passengers have tried (and failed) to detonate plastic explosives on an aircraft. The failures (from what I have read) are due to the inability to get a conventional detonator onto an aircract because the basic metal detectors and luggage screening actually works.

        Therefore, fondling and virtually strip searching passengers provides no essential improvement in air traffic safety.

        There is absolutely nothing reasonable about the AIT or the enhanced pat downs.

        1. I referring to the implied consent, and when it’s reasonable to be searched prior to entering a transportation facility.

          1. And I believe that no one can infer consent to strip search or grope someone entering a transporation facility based solely on the fact that someone entered the facility.

            1. Obviously they can. That doesn’t make it right.

              Out of the 2 billion a year that fly, only a small number are complaining, and polls suggest the pubic in general doesn’t have that much of a problem with the virtural strip search. The groping is the problem and rightly so.

              1. The feds are spending an large sums of cash to buy equipment and pay personal to violate the dignity of the flying public while achieving virtually no benefit to public safety.

                Morally Wrong * Economically Wrong == What the Fuck!

                1. It seems that many disagree that the scanners violate their dignity or at least they are willing to put up with it in the name of safety. More scanners at more airports will put that to the test.

                  I think one thing is for sure. Everytime there’s a shoe or underwear bomber, the popularity of such scanning devices will increase for the short term. At some point, I’m guessing everyone will be deeply probed by the government, either by the scan, or by a deep background investigation for a secure pass.

                  1. Just because lots of people are willing to be bent over doesn’t mean it’s OK. Arguing that numbers make it acceptable doesn’t prove any point.

                    1. It seems that many disagree that the scanners violate their dignity or at least. . . .

                      As I said the other day, I have to assume that the vast majority of those 4 at of 5 that don’t mind the scanners haven’t actually seen the undoctored scan of a man’s penis. Otherwise, there is no hope for the future.

                      The vast majority of Americans just don’t give a shit about things that they don’t understand. Even basic science and math are beyond the abilities of the average joe or jane on the street.

                      So surveys that say most people don’t care carry zero weight with me.

                    2. It doesn’t matter that you feel violated, the rest of us don’t feel that you are being violated, therefore you aren’t.

            2. This. SCOATUS has said many times that travel is an inalienable right.

              How is it that I’m expected to give up some of my inalienable rights in order to practice another? That shit just don’t vibe.

          2. As a comparison, I travelled regularly to Moscow in the mid-90’s when the chechens actually succeeded in taking out an apartment building and blowing up several trolleys and subway cars.

            People would ask me if I was afraid. And I would always reply that I was far more likely to be killed on taxi ride to the airport than in any terrorist attack.

            Oh, and the Russians basically changed nothing regarding security on public transportations. They spent there time and money crushing Chechnya.

            1. I’m on the subway every day. I don’t fear attacks.

              I’m just acknowledging that when at war, the government has more latitude with security. If one believes this is a war, then they can’t really bitch much about enhanced security in the name of protecting the people from the enemy in a time of war. But I don’t understand the sexual assualt stuff, be it feeling people up at the airport, or sexually humilating prisoners.

              1. The government only has more latitude in practice because large numbers of idiots are afraid. In principle they have no business changing our civil liberties in time of war. Why fight the war if the enemy wins by changing you? That’s all they want. They don’t actually expect to rule over us. They want us scared and too many assholes are letting themselves be scared by morons who can’t even light a bomb in a surprise attack. The effective attackers, 9/11 guys, didn’t use plastic explosives. They used box cutters and jumbo jets.

                1. The basic problem for the terrorist is they are a little lacking in the skill sets necessary to pull these capers off due to losing so many in our first invasion. However, our CIA is making up for this and giving them plenty of fresh talent by training Afghan army recruits. They are doing the same for the narco-traders in Mexico where so many cops and grunts wind up going to the other side. Both the Islamic extremist and the narco-traders should send Langley a bottle of champagne for continuing to make their endeavors possible.

                  1. “”However, our CIA is making up for this and giving them plenty of fresh talent by training Afghan army recruits. “”

                    Didn’t we do that in the ’80s?

            2. If one believes this is a war, then they can’t really bitch much about enhanced security in the name of protecting the people from the enemy in a time of war.

              The “war on terror” is no more a war than the “war on poverty”.

              1. “”The “war on terror” is no more a war than the “war on poverty”.””

                Or the “war on drugs”. I agree with that. But a few here put it squarely in the war catagory.

                I view terrorist as criminal thugs not worthy of a warriors tribunal and should be treated the same way we treat other thugs.

      2. More searches != search everyone, nor does it mean continually more invasive searches.

    2. My thought is that a TSA screener who exceeds the guidelines of searching could be subject to a Bivens action (a type of lawsuit that makes the employee of the agency liable, and not just the agency).

    3. “A cop who burgles your house is not protected from being jailed by sovereign immunity.”

      Cops beat the crap out of people all the time, they lie on the witness stand and in police reports. It is VERY rare that they go to jail for these crimes.

      1. Here in NYC, they are often brought up on criminal charges, but rarely ever convicted.

  3. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, admitted right away that “I have been a fan of the advanced imaging technology.” American air travelers, she said, “have to understand that this is being done for their best interests and their safety.”

    Gosh, Amy; the peasants are revolting, aren’t they?

    1. Is she interested in [click, click] photographs? Know what I mean – know what I mean?
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ona-RhLfRfc

      1. Am I the only one who loves these bots? I fucking love these bots.

    2. “I’m wildly excited that I can walk through a machine instead of getting my dose of love pats” – Mo. Senator Claire McCaskill (D)

      We. Are. Fucked.

      1. Shut up and do what you’re told. You’re hiding something, otherwise you’d just comply like a good citizen.

        1. Shut up and do what you’re told. You’re hiding something, otherwise you’d just comply like a good citizen.

          1. Speaking of shut up and do what you’re told:

            Editorial from the LA Times

            1. Link SugarFreed. Try again.

      2. Except that surely Senator McDouchebag doesn’t have to be subjected to either.

    3. It pains me to say this, but Klobuchar is a worse senator than Franken.

      She has done very little in her term, and what she has done has been appallingly stupid.

    4. American air travelers, she said, “have to understand that this is being done for their best interests and their safety.”

      And…for the children! Don’t forget the children.

  4. I’m not sure there’s anything preventing a prosecutor from bringing criminal complaints against TSA screeners. It would be a he said/she said type trial, but still . . . .

    “But I was only following orders! I felt lousy about it, but what could I do?”

  5. I can’t help but feel that part of Paul’s decision was motivated by the strong possibility that the Tea Party caucus adopts a stridently pro-war line.

  6. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) introduces the American Traveler Dignity Act

    He was fired up on the House floor:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qwsdq69AHnw

    1. I was with him up until the part about fattening us cattle up and eating us. Nothing like some hyperbole/confusing metaphors to get my day going.

  7. This story is starting to get legs. I hope that Obama and DHS are going to eventually blink, but I’m not holding my breath.

    1. They already have blinked, by “opening an investigation” on the guy who said “if you touch my junk, I’m having you arrested”.

      They’re first official response was a threat of arrest and fines.

      I think it’s more a matter of whether we (as a people) have the gumption to keep the pressure on.

  8. “Congressman Paul decided not to join the Tea Party Caucus,” Deist wrote in an e-mail. “He strongly believes the Tea Party movement should remain a grassroots phenomenon, rather than being co-opted by Washington or any political party.”

    It’s already too late – it HAS been co-opted by the Neo-cons.

  9. Penn Jillette had a funny essay on this topic 8 years ago. http://www.drudgereport.com/flash9p.htm

    1. I’m not sure which is funnier. Penn’s essay, or the photo on the Drudgereport of the TSA guy getting ready to service a customer.

      1. “You better put some ice on that.”
        -TSA guy

  10. The country is at war, the term reasonable in the 4th is relaxed. It is reasonable to conduct more searches in the name of catching the enemy.

    I think this is where I say, “Die in a fire.”

    1. To be fair to TrickyVic, a slowly growing and eventually fatal tumor is causing him to say those things. Dying in a fire would be swift and merciful compared to what he faces, so try not to be too hard on him. Ignore his crazy mutterings and try to give some words of encouraging support (though it is a futile gesture).

      Be strong, TV!

      1. But how is my statement not correct?

        I’m not saying I like it. Consider what the government did during WWII.

        1. I see nothing in the 4th that says the term is relaxed during a declared war (and I damn well know it doesnt apply during an undeclared one).

          1. Really, the definition of resonable in the 4th has been batted around the courts for years.

            I don’t see an LEO safety exlcusion in the 4th either.

        2. I promised myself I would stay strong. That I would not cry, but seeing the changes . . . it’s too much.
          Someone, please direct TV to Article 1, Section 9 of the US Constitution, and the enumeration of executive privileges under Article 2 why this can’t be accomplished through mere administrative fiat during an undeclared war.

      2. I should add that it’s one of the reasons we should use war sparingly. It grants the government too much power.

  11. Of course the Senate isn’t asking tough questions about the new TSA policies… the Senate is awash in Nudie Scan cash.

    Two companies make the scanners:

    L-3 Communications

    http://www.opensecrets.org/pac…..cycle=2010

    AND

    Rapiscan (a subsidiary of OSI)

    http://www.opensecrets.org/pac…..=C00414896

    If I was getting this kind of money from the Nudie Scan manufactures, I’d have a difficult time asking hard questions too.

    1. According to Rep Duncan, Chertoff represents (lobby?) for Rapiscan.

      John was talking about following the money on this yesterday.

    2. But we are talking about the defense industry. The darling of many in Congress.

  12. When you have to “Assumes the Position” in those scanners, raise your finger and flip off the anonymous agent examining your parts.

    This is what little protest we have left.

    1. I think it would be funny if you could use an invisable paint that will show up in the scan, and paint a big Fuck You on your chest.

  13. http://www.slate.com/id/2275430/

    Dave Ratfucker Weigel actually has a pretty good column on this subject.

  14. http://www.salon.com/technolog…..index.html

    Here’s a scenario:

    Middle Eastern terrorists hijack a U.S. jetliner bound for Italy. A two-week drama ensues in which the plane’s occupants are split into groups and held hostage in secret locations in Lebanon and Syria.

    While this drama is unfolding, another group of terrorists detonates a bomb in the luggage hold of a 747 over the North Atlantic, killing more than 300 people.

    Not long afterward, terrorists kill 19 people and wound more than a hundred others in coordinated attacks at European airport ticket counters.

    A few months later, a U.S. airliner is bombed over Greece, killing four passengers.

    Five months after that, another U.S. airliner is stormed by heavily armed terrorists at the airport in Karachi, Pakistan, killing at least 20 people and wounding 150 more.

    Things are quiet for a while, until two years later when a 747 bound for New York is blown up over Europe killing 270 passengers and crew.

    Nine months from then, a French airliner en route to Paris is bombed over Africa, killing 170 people from 17 countries.

    That’s a pretty macabre fantasy, no? A worst-case war-game scenario for the CIA? A script for the End Times? Except, of course, that everything above actually happened, in a four-year span between 1985 and 1989.

    A year ago, a not-so-bright dickhead scorches his crotch trying to light a plastic explosive without using a proper detonator.

    Now I have to get my balls groped by a rent-a-cop just to take my wife to the Carribean.

    Americans have turned into fucking wimps.

    1. What difference killing 3000 at once on national TV makes.

      1. We solved that problem. Reenforced doors and “lets roll” prevent the use of the plane as a weapon.

        Next.

        1. Damn straight

        2. I agree. That makes a handful of us.

          But the powers that be are too concerned with looking bad if one slips by.

  15. http://gizmodo.com/5692583/wom…..re-airport

    Ladies and Gentleman, your TSA. I don’t think this issue is going away. I think Obama is going to get killed over it.

    1. He might. I’m thinking the opt-out will go away. The scans are not as much of a problem for the citizenry as the opt-out groping. Over time, people will get use to the scan.

      Consider that in the ’70s the idea that you could be tracked everywhere you went would get people riled up. Today, most people carry a GPS enabled cell phones. They have no problem with the ability to be tracked.

      1. You dont get “used to” ionizing radiation.

        1. “”You dont get “used to” ionizing radiation.””

          No, but many may get use to the process that does in the name of feeling safe.

      2. “He might. I’m thinking the opt-out will go away. The scans are not as much of a problem for the citizenry as the opt-out groping. Over time, people will get use to the scan.”

        You know, that’s a perverse enough “solution” to the problem I could see the feds enacting it: “okay, we’ll just take away the opt-out option so you don’t have to be felt up. Nudie scans for everyone!”

  16. ‘Enough is Enough’ Ron Paul Calls for End of Federal Government Criminal Activity
    This TSA legislation will curtail abusive violations of Airport security and Freedom to Move and Travel without Fear and Terror of Government molestation.
    The Simple one paragraph piece of Legislation, looks to do this by removing the current immunity of any agent or officer of the federal government from doing anything that you or I couldn’t do. Namely removing Immunity that the Federal Government Agents enjoy in committing what would normally be Crimes.
    (full)
    sovereignthink.wordpress.com/2010/11/19/enough-is-enough-ron-paul-tsa-bill/

    -sovereignthink

  17. isnt sexual assult a criminal act? So when I was patted down and sexually assaulted by a T.S. A. Infront of others watching, am I now a rape victim? Sure made me feel like it. Now I suffer the ramifications! No dignity left! My choice is to never fly again, and now try to heal . At 60 yrs. Old I feel like revoliting& asking Mr. President , would you allow your wife, daughters, or mother be fondled i’n public ? This must stop !

  18. If they scan minors, doesn’t that make them liable for producing kiddie porn? The pat-downs child molestation?

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