Protest the TSA, and Avoid Flying

A lot of this bullshit article by the AP doesn’t add up. Written with an anti-populist sneer, the article states:

Despite tough talk on the Internet, there was little if any indication of a passenger revolt Monday at many major U.S. airports, with very few people declining the X-ray scan that can peer through their clothes.

As well as claiming:

Many travelers said that the scans and the pat-down were not much of an inconvenience, and that the stepped-up measures made them feel safer and were, in any case, unavoidable.

According to the article, most people don’t care, hell they don’t mind being molested by TSA officials and feel all warm and cuddly about it.

And yet…

A loosely organized Internet campaign is urging people to refuse the scans on Wednesday in what is being called National Opt-Out Day. The extra time needed to pat down people could cause a cascade of delays at dozens of major airports, including those in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Atlanta.

If so few people care or are taking action, how will it cause a “cascade of delays”?

“Just one or two recalcitrant passengers at an airport is all it takes to cause huge delays,” said Paul Ruden, a spokesman for the American Society of Travel Agents, which has warned its more than 8,000 members about delays. “It doesn’t take much to mess things up anyway.”

Bullshit. They are worried about many people choosing to skip the scan. And not because of the delay. Because with every additional scan they run the risk of more news stories like this one (they broke a man’s prosthetic and left him drenched in his own urine), or this one(patting down a 3-year old child), or this one(a woman is “patted down” underneath her underwear). The negative PR over this is shooting through the roof.

The article’s language (“loosely organized Internet campaign” and “tough talk on the Internet”) screams an aloofness – a desire to minimize the validity and impact of a visceral reaction to police state tactics at the airport. Idiotic politicians are taking one of two routes – use this mess to advocate profiling (guess who… Republicans), or take the time to actual defend this bullshit (you guessed it,Obama). This leaves us with an increasing disconnect between a stressed public who are being subjected to unreasonable and illegal procedures. The pat downs are essentially sexual assault. The scans don’t inspire confidence either from a privacy or a health standpoint (has not seen independent evaluations is technicalese for – the data thus far is just biased jack).

The TSA chief worries about people boycotting the scans. If you must fly, boycott them, slow the line down. Make a statement. Or make a bigger statement by avoiding air travel at every opportunity. That’s what I’m doing. Because when you factor in the cost, unpleasant nature of the cramped seats (coupled with too large passengers), time to and from the airport, time waiting at the airport, risk of getting molested by the tsa, radiation exposure, and the hassle of the security line… Is it really worth the trouble?

Boycott the TSA, boycott the scans, if you get molested let them know “if they touch you inappropriately you will seek all available legal recourse”. Boycott flying. Raise a ruckus.


Republican President Set to Strike

Today is the anniversary of the day a Republican President let partisanship cloud his judgement, and ignored the report stating “Bin Laden set to strike”.  The day the myth of Republicans as stewards of national security was shattered with finality.

Since then we’ve seen Democrats lay down or assist a Republican party bent on trading their own power for our security.  From the tragic blunder of Iraq to the wholesale evisceration of our constitutionally protected civil rights, we’ve watched our government become hostile to us.

Take a moment and chalk up the crimes, the blatant violations of the constitution and our trust, that the Bush administration has perpetrated utterly free of any consequences.

Angry yet?  Don’t forget to vote this November.  We need to send the incumbent ideology packing with a stinging welt on its ass.

Graphic by Tengrain of MockPaperScissors, Memory and political attention span beyond a week by Blue Gal.

PS Its two days till the Accountability NOW PAC Moneybomb.

Dear Obama: Listen!

Please listen to Jamelle!  (US of Jamerica):

Obama’s little riff here basically sums up his foreign policy approach.  I actually wish he would use this language to challenge John McCain’s national security “credentials,” since it’s a pretty effective characterization.

Barack’s language is right on, and applies neatly to foreign policy.  From the difference between talking tough and needing to act out, to the wisdom of walking away and “saving it for when you need it”.  These points, especially given the state of our military and the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Iran(Pending Cheney pressing a big red button while Congress just watches), hit home in an easily understandable way.

What was in Obama’s Passport File?

And what is in mine? (Bloomberg, emphasis mine, odd quoting theirs):

“Passport files do not contain travel information, such as visa and entry stamps, from previous passports,” State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said. “Almost all passport files contain only a passport application form as submitted by the applicant.”

Whose passport files would contain more information, and for what purpose?

McCain’s Dismal Foreign Policy Expertise

John McCain is going to run as an expert on foreign policy, an experienced heavyweight with security his centerpiece strength.

Which makes this pretty fucking alarming (via Greg Saunders at TMW, emphasis mine):

The foolishness of this John McCain “gaffe”, to use the media’s favorite understatement, should terrify anyone who actually thinks the commander-in-chief should have a basic understanding of the wars we’re fighting :

Sen. John McCain, traveling in the Middle East to promote his foreign policy expertise, misidentified in remarks Tuesday which broad category of Iraqi extremists are allegedly receiving support from Iran.He said several times that Iran, a predominately Shiite country, was supplying the mostly Sunni militant group, al-Qaeda. In fact, officials have said they believe Iran is helping Shiite extremists in Iraq.

Speaking to reporters in Amman, the Jordanian capital, McCain said he and two Senate colleagues traveling with him continue to be concerned about Iranian operatives “taking al-Qaeda into Iran, training them and sending them back.”

Pressed to elaborate, McCain said it was “common knowledge and has been reported in the media that al-Qaeda is going back into Iran and receiving training and are coming back into Iraq from Iran, that’s well known. And it’s unfortunate.” A few moments later, Sen. Joseph Lieberman, standing just behind McCain, stepped forward and whispered in the presidential candidate’s ear. McCain then said: “I’m sorry, the Iranians are training extremists, not al-Qaeda.”

Wow. If foreign policy is supposed to be the area in which McCain is an expert, I’m terrified of what he might do to the economy.

McCain’s being transparent.  He wants to yell “boo, Al-Qaeda!” when pressed with a foreign policy question, even when it makes less than zero sense to do so.  If McCain’s experience amounts to staring at a wall while people whisper the answers in his ear he’d better come up with another angle to market his presidency.

Time Lies for Big Brother

Time Magazine has written an irresponsible article that manufactures indifference.  Via Slashdot, Glenn Greenwald has the scathing lowdown:

No matter how corrupt and sloppy the establishment press becomes, they always find a way to go lower. Time Magazine has just published what it purports to be a news article by Massimo Calabresi claiming that “nobody cares” about the countless abuses of spying powers by the Bush administration; that “Americans are ready to trade diminished privacy, and protection from search and seizure, in exchange for the promise of increased protection of their physical security”; and that the case against unchecked government surveillance powers “hasn’t convinced the people.” Not a single fact — not one — is cited to support these sweeping, false opinions.

Worse still — way worse — this “news article” decrees the Bush administration to be completely innocent, even well-motivated, even in those instances where technical, irrelevant lawbreaking has been found, as it proclaims:

In all the examples of diminished civil liberties, there are few, if any, where the motivating factor was something other than law and order or national security.

Does Calabresi or his Time editors have the slightest idea how secret, illegal spying powers have been used, towards what ends they’ve been employed and with what motives? No, they have absolutely no idea. Not even members of Congressional Intelligence Committees know because the Bush administration has kept all of that concealed. So Time just makes up facts to defend the Bush administration with wholly baseless statements that one would expect to come pouring out of the mouths only of Dana Perino and Bill Kristol — the “motivating factor” for secret, illegal spying was nothing “other than law and order or national security.”

This goes beyond simply making false assertions.  A claim like this actively influences our domestic policy.  If enough papers uncritically picked up on this story suddenly any idea of public pressure on domestic spying would be met with ridicule.  Weak politicians who would only support efforts to fight the repeated violations of our rights by the Bush administration would find no pressing need to do so.

It is not surprising that this is the view of Bush followers, but it’s also the predominant view of our ornery watchdog journalists as well. The Founders envisioned that the media would be the watchdog over government deceit and corruption, but nobody is more aggressive in dismissing concerns of government lawbreaking and deceit than the Time Magazines of our country. That’s their primary function.

That function is antithetical to Democracy and the proper role of the press.

Hillary’s Fear Ad and Obama’s Response

Hillary’s latest ad is badass. The essential equation is “Won’t somebody think of the children” + fear. The straight up honesty involved in such a tact is refreshing. Hillary Clinton is going to manipulate the shit out of you running for office, and if elected, will continue to do so. How very McCain “liberal conservative” of her. Via Pam at Pandagon(text quoted from ABC) :

“It’s 3:00am and your children are asleep,” the voice over says. “There’s a phone in the White House, and it’s ringing. Something is happening in the world. Your vote will decide who answers that call.”

Whether someone knows the world’s leaders, knows the military, someone tested and ready to lead. It’s 3am and your children are safe and asleep. Who do you want answering the phone?”

Obama’s response video provides an alternative appeal. The strange idea that more than having any experience, it is having the correct experience that counts:

It’s 3 a.m. and your children are safe and asleep. But there’s a phone ringing in the White House.  Something’s happening in the world. When that call gets answered, shouldn’t the president be the one – the only one – who had judgment and courage to oppose the Iraq war from the start… Who understood the REAL threat to America was al-Qaeda, in Afghanistan, not Iraq. Who led the effort to secure loose nuclear weapons around the globe… In a dangerous world, it’s judgment that matters. I’m Barack Obama and I approved this message..”

Experience is a liability if you’ve made the wrong decisions. Barack Obama’s ad makes that a central point in this campaign, and one that will be of equal use when he faces off against McCain in November.