Gay Grope Request

LOL, what a world we live in!

  I think requesting protective radiation gear like they use at the
dentist's office might be a better strategy. If they refuse, make a
point of obviously getting the names of screening personnel "In case I
get cancer later and need to sue in order to pay for my health care."

Love & Liberty,
        ((( starchild )))

Seriously, the radiation argument is a bad one. You get an order of
magnitude more radiation during the flight you're going through security for
than you do from the backscatter machines themselves.

We have to keep our eye on the ball here. It's not about radiation. It's
about the Fourth Amendment. Period. Prior to the creation of TSA, if the
private airlines instituted crazy invasive security, it was their right as
private companies making requirements for you to set foot on the plane that
they owned. But now that it's a federal agency mandating the screening, the
Fourth Amendment should kick in. If there's enough public outrage solely
about the privacy issues, and not the scientifically-dismissed health claims
about the radiation involved, then I think the Supreme Court may stop all of
this nonsense with one decision.

Rob

Another solution may be to let all those who decline the screening or
patdowns be put on a "non-screen" flight, if they can find an airline that
will risk their aircraft w non-screen flights.

The rest would have consented to the screening, patdowns etc and would fly
together on a "full-screen flight".

if people want to take risks, they shd be allowed to do so, but may have to
pay for the privilege - the added insurance cost for non-screened flights
may make them more expensive.

Sarosh

Honestly, I think it's really going to take a case of a terrorist having a
large intestine full of explosives who makes it through both a backscatter
scan and a full-fledged gate-rape grope-down for everyone to finally figure
out that there's no such thing as a screening system that will afford
perfect safety.

Statistically, the pre-9/11 solution of walk-through magnetometers and
x-rayed bags (with 100% baggage x-ray screening instead of the
pre-and-infuriatingly-post-9/11 random sampling) provides the same real
level of safety as anything else they come up with, up to making us all get
a full-body MRI before getting on a plane. If we got rid of TSA and
airlines started competing on security versus convenience, I honestly don't
know which I'd pick -- the no-screening airline or the one that has
passengers walk through magnetometers and x-ray their bags. I guess since I
grew up with it, the "old-fashioned" security screenings don't bother me so
much (if I get to keep my shoes on and not be restricted to that quart bag
of 3oz bottles). And the Supreme Court has upheld those earlier screenings
as Constitutional, so I doubt they'll ever go away. But I do think this
Court may very well rule these scanners unconstitutional in a reaction to
public outrage. The Court bends to popular opinion an alarming amount of
the time, so there's still hope...

But wouldn't we just be better off changing our foreign policy to stop
pissing off these guys to the point where they're willing to blow themselves
up just to be able to take a few of us with them? (I used the first person
plural as many times as possible in that sentence, just for Starchild.
LOL.)

Good for you, those of you who don't have to travel for business, who are
willing to take a stand later this week. But I simply cannot afford to be
put on a no-fly list with my current job's travel requirements, so I'll have
to support you in spirit only. I'm currently averaging a 4+ hour flight
every other week, so driving instead of flying simply isn't an option for
me, nor for a huge chunk of my fellow frequent-flyers who do so as a
requirement of their jobs. So we REALLY appreciate those of you who are
willing to give up your future leisure travel to take a stand against these
procedures.

For my part, I'll never get into one of those machines, but as long as I
want a paycheck, I'm going to have to tolerate the occasional groping.

Rob

Interesting points, Rob and Sarosh. Rob grew up with a little bit of tyranny, so that level is OK; therefore, those that grow up with the nudie machines will be perfectly OK with them too!! Yes, very few folks are willing to arrange their lives (sometimes at the loss of the opportunity for a higher income) in order not to subject themselves to tyranny.

I don't know about "non-screen" flights. To us that idea seems like a totally feasible market-based solution. However, the powers that be will immediately point out they need to protect the folks on the ground who would suffer also if an airplane were blown up. So, we are back to the long-term solution of a foreign policy change.

Marcy

That's funny. To me, a little bit of tyranny sounds like a little bit
pregnant.

While the line is different for everyone, I think tyranny is more like an
on/off switch. When the tyranny trigger happens for an individual, it's
full-on tyranny in that person's mind. So, the question is -- do nude
photos vs groping as the price of flying trigger most people?
Unfortunately, since most people don't fly on a regular basis, and most
people who fly won't get screened, I'm afraid the answer is no. It's like
IRS audits. If they happened to everyone, they'd be banned tomorrow. But
they happen to a tiny minority, so the voters tolerate it. I listened to a
TSA apologist on the Newshour tonight, and he basically admitted as much.
Less than 5% of the people flying this weekend will get scanned/groped, so
unless something we can experience through others goes viral (which TSA
understands, explaining the ban on cell phones and cameras during
screening), 95%+ who fly won't experience a problem, and the outcry will die
down.

This is why you've never heard me say a bad word about "activist judges" --
as the courts are the only ones who can stop this.

Rob

Yep, that was my point -- a little bit of tyranny is like being a little bit pregnant! Excellent summary of what will happen, Rob. In all probability, the flurry will die down and the layers of tyranny will continue to be piled upon us. Unless a great inconvenience is hammered into people's perception in relation to the machines and/or the patdowns. I know you have suggested keeping our focus on the 4th Amendment, but I feel that approach would go over the heads of most folks. On the other hand mass mental depression as a result of people seeing how out of shape they are, or the spread of highly contagious maladies as a result of the patdowns might have a better chance of turning the tide. Activist judges just exchange one bad problem for another, so I don't like them. I would prefer a class-action suit based on good Constitutional or medical grounds, which would not require a judge to be activist in order to render a decision to do away with the machines/patdowns.

Marcy

The juxtaposition of intense poverty and hopelessness in 80% (or so) of the world relative to the affluence and perceived power of the USA makes us a convenient scapegoat for demagogues and populists the world over.

There is simply not enough "nature" on a sustainable basis globally to provide a comparable level of consumption (and waste) for the vast and growing human population (increases 50-100 million annually). See Global Footprint Network compiled data on various countries for detailed info on indivdual country biocapacity and usage patterns.

We are living in a fully interdependant, inextricably interconnected world. And its the only planet we have - as a practical matter, it is too expensive and takes too long to even contemplate gathering resources from other planets.

Free and compulsory education for all wd help, but there are cultural and financial barriers, plus many groups (religious right, islamists, demagogues etc) who, overtly or covertly, oppose the spread of scientific knowledge, to consolidate their control over the ignorant, and allocate resources to perpetuate that control.

Given today's technology, human population reduction to a sustainable number (perhaps 1-2 billion), living at a relatively comfortable (European) level of consumption is a longterm solution, but which group or country is willing to eradicate itself for the good of the rest? In a democratic (or feudal) system, greater numbers confer power, so many groups instruct their adherents to multiply.

The average number of children that women have in some countries is 8-15. How is it surprising that 20 years down the road there are not enough jobs (ie natural resources) to satisfy them all, and they are frustrated, envious, angry, have nothing to lose and are willing to bring down a world that leaves them out?

This is a global problem and requires a global solution, leaving aside ideology and theoretical principles, to arrive at a pragmatic solution. The alternatives are not pretty.

So far, we are fortunate that this is not as immediate a problem to us, as it is in other parts of the world, but its getting closer.

Happy Thanksgiving, all!

Sarosh