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The TSA and Other Violations of Our Civil Liberties

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The TSA and Other Violations of Our Civil Liberties

Post  Mata Hari on Tue Jan 24, 2012 7:23 pm

Whatever you think of Sen. Rand Paul, I think he was brave to refuse to be pawed by the TSA. A must-read article.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2012/jan/23/bigger-picture-rand-paul-brush-with-tsa?CMP=twt_gu
The brouhaha over Senator Rand Paul's refusal to submit to a full-body groping by blue-gloved minions of the Transportation Security Administration shows, again, how the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Ever since America's founding, you'd always raise a few eyebrows if you ran around saying "I won't let total strangers see or touch my genitals when I travel." But in the good old days – read: the days before 9/11 gave politicos the chance to say "9/11 changed everything" as an all-purpose excuse to gut the constitution – those eyebrows went up because their owners would think: "No ****, Sherlock. What a creepy non-sequitur."

It's not a non sequitur anymore. Since 2010, it's actually considered newsworthy whenever an American says the government can't touch his "junk". And we Americans who insist on travelers' rights to keep our privates private are considered either radical anti-government zealots or rich selfish Scrooge-types out to undermine the working class, when we criticize the actions of poor downtrodden TSA agents, who are, after all, just following orders.

The US constitution still has the words "fourth amendment" written in it, and still says government agents cannot search people without a warrant, or probable cause to suspect wrongdoing. But TSA says the constitution doesn't apply to airports, train or bus stations, subways, highways or any form of transportation at all. As Ray Dineen, head of the TSA office in Charlotte, North Carolina, recently said: "We are not [only] the Airport Security Administration. We take that transportation part seriously."

Which brings us to Rand (son of Ron) Paul, a Kentucky senator and one of the pitifully few American lawmakers to speak against the unconstitutional affront to human dignity that is the TSA. Last April, when the video of six-year-old Anna Drexel's legal molestation at the hands of some just-following-orders creep outraged the nation, Paul criticized the TSA's actions, even as the TSA insisted that the conduct was perfectly proper, even necessary to keep America free.

Of course, the TSA interferes with adults, too. Sometimes, you can avoid that if you do what TSA calls "submit to a scan" –hold your hands over your head the way criminals do when they surrender, then stand perfectly still while radiation goes through your clothes and bounces off your skin, thus letting TSA agents see exactly what you look like naked. As a young woman, I'd always thought "Never let anyone photograph you naked" was good, solid, non-controversial advice. But 9/11 changed everything.

Even if you submit to the scan, TSA agents might still "pat you down" if they don't like what they see on their monitor. That happened to Rand Paul on Monday, when the TSA in Nashville wanted to grope him after the scanner showed an "anomaly" on his knee.

Any traveler with surgical scars or medical prosthetics may as well skip the scan and head straight for the grope-fest, because the TSA agents will likely demand one anyway. That's why Alaska state representative Sharon Cissna was singled out for the TSA treatment last year, after the scan showed agents her mastectomy scars. For TSA defenders, a breast cancer survivor with scars on her chest is suspicious, but government agents right to view those scars and the rest of her body is uncontroversial, because 9/11 changed everything.

Thoughts?

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Re: The TSA and Other Violations of Our Civil Liberties

Post  Elena on Tue Jan 24, 2012 8:13 pm

I think our civil liberties have been eroding for a long time. Read this:
http://catholiclane.com/if-you-can-be-dismembered-without-due-process-whats-a-little-detention/

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