Category Archives: TSA

What Obama Slipped by Us on New Year’s Eve

By Charles Goyette, Editor, Freedom & Prosperity Letter

Pay close attention. This is how it happens…

President Obama found a moment of reduced visibility, in an unwatched hour on New Year’s Eve, to sign the latest assault on the Fifth Amendment. In signing the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 on New Year’s Eve, Obama knew the nation’s attention would be diverted by revelry, football, New Year’s Day and a Monday national holiday.

In case you haven’t heard, the National Defense Authorization Act allows the government to detain people indefinitely — yes, it includes American citizens who can be taken even on our native soil and imprisoned — merely on the basis of accusations.

The measure is “so radical,” says Human Rights Watch, “that it would have been considered crazy had it been pushed by the Bush administration.” And although Obama appended a signing statement as he put his name to the act, solemnly assuring the nation that the power he insisted on having won’t be used recklessly, it is a political gesture that has no more force of a law than attaching a little yellow sticky note to the bill. If the clear language of the Constitution itself cannot bind the governing classes, it is hard to imagine a post-it note having much effect on the current or future presidents now that the indefinite detention of Americans without trial has been legislatively countenanced.

There you have it in a nutshell, the new American way: Guilty until proven innocent. This is how once-free people slip into state tyranny and slide into martial law.

Political figures are always careful to paper over their power grabs with spurious legalities and midnight measures, granting themselves the rights they are appropriating. No matter how flimsy the pretext, no matter how forbidden the act, everything must be formalized and enabled. Overturned rights and the pretext of legality.

That is how the Fourth Amendment was trashed … marginalized by a document called the Patriot Act. And now the Fifth Amendment is under attack.

But you shouldn’t be surprised. If the president of the United States can have you, an American citizen, assassinated on his own say so, how much of a shock is it to find that he can have you arrested and held without any of that pesky Fifth Amendment due process business?

Of course, in trying to outdo Bush, Obama has all along claimed the right to detain Americans without interference from the Bill of Rights. In making this extraordinary claim, Obama relied on the 10-year-old Authorization for the Use of Military Force, the measure authorizing the pursuit of those responsible for 9/11. But now this broad interpretation of the authority to go after the likes of Osama bin Laden has been extended to nullify whole sections of the Bill of Rights. Obama’s reading of his authority, radical to begin with, has now been handed to him in a statute, codified in a pile of paperwork called the National Defense Authorization Act, and tucked right in with the Pentagon’s budget. It’s all part of the forever war on terror, after all.

And if the assault on the Fifth Amendment weren’t enough, the Sixth Amendment was put on the table as well. Remember, that’s the one about “a speedy and public trial” and “an impartial jury.” Well, that’s all but flushed. Forget “speedy.” And “public” just left town. You can now be detained without a trial at all. Indefinitely.

America’s Slippery Slope

How many points on the line does it take to recognize our downward slope into state lawlessness? Do we really need more than just the state claiming the right to arrest and hold the people without due process? Does it take more than the state assuming the right to assassinate them?

Warrantless surveillance? Torture? The state secrets privilege? Critics of the National Defense Authorization Act say it makes it easier for the government to render citizens to fascist proxy states where they can be tortured. Is that enough points on the line to see where we are headed?

Can the slide into state militarism be seen in serial wars, all undeclared? In the trillions of war spending that won’t be refused? Or in drones prowling overhead in what used to be called “our country,” but has now been renamed with a term that echoes Nazi Germany: The Homeland?

Perhaps it is a slope that can be discerned in the threat of violence as the first tool of diplomacy. In the paramilitary forces and SWAT teams that are now part of virtually every federal department and agency. In the Freudian envy with which local police departments across the land ape the dress and manner of military operations. In the TSA Viper (Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response) teams that have now moved their surveillance of the American people beyond the airports and put them on the open streets of das Heimland.

It happens in every power grab in modern times. Like the National Defense Authorization Act, there is always a legalistic pretext upon which the power grab of the state relies. Lenin consolidated his control under the cover of a blizzard of legalistic decree-laws. Hitler promulgated his emergency decree “For the Protection of the People and the State” on the day of the Reichstag fire. That was followed by the “Enabling Act,” which declared that laws of the Reich could deviate from the constitution.

Paper pretexts all, slow-motion coups in the small hours conferring the appearance of legitimacy as they subvert the people’s freedom.

Of course, most of the national news media, the lapdog press, will miss the latest assaults on the Bill of Rights. But do not assume it’s because they were all hung-over. It’s easier to believe that they just don’t care. If there is any dissent at all about this power grab, it will not be because of the attack on your freedom. The national talk shows will see it as important only to the extent that it allows their favored team, red or blue, to move the ball down the field.

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TSA Strip Search Singers Christmas Carol Performance

TSA Agents at LAX singing Christmas songs and more to let you know they are nice people who can do more than just use government force. As soon as Ron Paul is elected president these agents will be auditioning for X-Factor and American Idol.

and more…

 

We are Still Suffering from Bush Derangement Syndrome

 

During the years of the George W Bush Presidency (2000-2008) there was a constant outpouring of vitriol and hate from those on the left and in the Democrat party. This was mostly due to the fact that George W Bush was a Republican, but it was always couched in terms of the Anti-War movement. Every day there was a new article about how evil Bush was or how despicable someone in his administration was. Rumsfield was the devil, Cheney was Darth Vader, Bush was Hitler.

These hit pieces came in the form of outbursts from celebrities, such as Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam singing “no blood for oil” and pretending to decapitate George W Bush on stage using a Halloween mask depicting the president’s face. These hit pieces came in the form of protests where people would create effigies of President Bush and dress him in Nazi garb. These hit pieces came from journalists who would write articles pretending to be anti-war but really just displaying partisan hackery. These hit pieces even came in the form of presidential candidates making wild claims about George W. Bush such as this gem from Howard Dean:

“I don’t know. There are many theories about it. The most interesting theory that I’ve heard so far — which is nothing more than a theory, it can’t be proved — is that he was warned ahead of time by the Saudis. Now who knows what the real situation is?

This constant barrage of attacks from pop culture, journalists, and politicians on the left was summed up by a term that Charles Krauthammer coined: Bush Derangement Syndrome:

the acute onset of paranoia in otherwise normal people in reaction to the policies, the presidency — nay — the very existence of George W. Bush.

This is a very accurate description of the vast majority of the outcry against the Iraq War and against George W Bush. It was based on nothing. It was based on no philosophy, no ideology, no principle, only a strict hatred for all things Republican and all things Bush. It was an emotional knee jerk reaction that would cling to the nearest political excuse in order to attack Bush, which was most often the Iraq War.

But Bush Derangement Syndrome didn’t affect only those on the left. Sadly, the principle side effect of Bush Derangement Syndrome was that it caused Republicans to lose their ability to think objectively and rationally and to simply defend George W Bush at all costs. As a result, Republicans en mass defended the TSA, the DHS, the Patriot Act, the nation-building in Afghanistan, and the nation-building in Iraq. Despite being exactly the opposite of George W Bush’s platform in the 2000 election, Republicans twisted reason and rationality to never before seen limits to justify the president’s actions. This even included such left-leaning policies as the No Child Left Behind act and the largest social program in history: Medicare part D. At the end of his presidency, there were even Republicans cheering his multiple stimulus plans where he would simply mail out checks to every American household, and abhorrently, there were even Republicans cheering his TARP plan to funnel money to bankers – the same bankers that caused the economic collapse.

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TSA screenings aren’t just for airports anymore

Rick Vetter was rushing to board the Amtrak train in Charlotte, N.C., on a recent Sunday afternoon when a canine officer suddenly blocked the way.

Three federal air marshals in bulletproof vests and two officers trained to spot suspicious behavior watched closely as Seiko, a German shepherd, nosed Vetter’s trousers for chemical traces of a bomb. Radiation detectors carried by the marshals scanned the 57-year-old lawyer for concealed nuclear materials.

When Seiko indicated a scent, his handler, Julian Swaringen, asked Vetter whether he had pets at home in Garner, N.C. Two mutts, Vetter replied. “You can go ahead,” Swaringen said.

The Transportation Security Administration isn’t just in airports anymore. TSA teams are increasingly conducting searches and screenings at train stations, subways, ferry terminals and other mass transit locations around the country. ………

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This may also interest you.

 

Broward to TSA: Convince us airport scanners are safe

Federal officials insisted Tuesday that X-ray scanners used at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport are safe for travelers, but Broward County commissioners weren’t convinced.

On a split vote Tuesday, a majority of commissioners asked the federal Transportation Security Administration to do more to assure Broward’s travelers that the X-ray scanners are safe, or to ban them from use if they’re not.

The county’s request of the TSA: Find the studies that led Europe to ban the scanners, and explain why the TSA agrees or disagrees; determine whether frequent fliers are at a higher cancer risk from passing through the scanners, and if so, post alerts at the airport informing frequent fliers about how many scans a week might be safe; and if the TSA finds the European Union’s studies show a heightened risk, consider banning the use of the backscatter scanners here.

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SpectraFluidics Lands $1.3M From TSA for Vapor Detection System

$1.3 M to develop a nose that sniffs bombs like dogs have been doing for decades?

Santa Barbara-based SpectraFluidics, a company that specializes in developing and manufacturing trace vapor chemical detection and analysis technology, was recently awarded a $1.3 million contract from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Transportation Security Administration (DHS/TSA).

The scope of the award is to develop and validate a vapor detection system that quickly and efficiently detects homemade explosives, and can be used as an orthogonal detection system  with imaging equipment…

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Robin Koerner: If You Love Peace, Become a “Blue Republican” (Just for a Year)

Robin Koerner

The world lost its goodwill toward the USA when Americans voted for George W. Bush the second time around.

I don’t endorse the idea that American politics should be dictated by foreign opinions but a reading of the foreign press over the last six years reveals that the first election of President Bush Jr. was largely excused around the world since no one could have known what this new president was going to do.
Moreover, America arguably didn’t vote for him anyway in 2000.

However, the second election President Bush was not excused, because by 2004, the modus operandi of the Bush administration was clear. He wanted to 1) conduct wars against countries that did not threaten us (e.g. Iraq), 2) oversee large financial benefits to companies with which those in his administration were close (e.g. Halliburton), 3) establish a legal framework for riding roughshod over the liberties of private individuals who are not suspected of crime (e.g. Patriot Act), and 4) establish a massive federal apparatus to carry out such intrusions on innocent Americans in what is becoming a police state (e.g. domestic wiretapping, TSA etc… )

The more-or-less global delight upon Obama’s election in 2008 followed largely from the hope that Americans had realized what a mistake they had made with Bush’s second term and were therefore voting against the egregious actions of the then Republican establishment.

When most Americans voted for “Hope” and “Change,” the above four objectives were at the top of their list of what they “hoped” would be “changed.”

After two years, however, we now see that Obama 1) conducts wars against countries that do not threaten us (e.g. Libya, Yemen etc.), 2) oversees large financial benefits to companies with which those in his administration were close (e.g. Goldman Sachs), 3) supports the legal framework for riding roughshod over the liberties of private individuals who are not suspected of crime (e.g. Patriot Act), and 4) is growing a massive federal apparatus to carry out such intrusions on innocent Americans in what is becoming a police state (e.g. domestic wiretapping, TSA etc.. )

Put another way, when it comes to such things as the killing of innocent people, taking from the common man to support cronies, and the elimination of the basic values that make our lives worth living, we had the hope, but we haven’t had the change.

Robin Koerner: If You Love Peace, Become a “Blue Republican” (Just for a Year).

Woman claims to have been strip searched at JFK

Woman claims to have been strip searched at JFK

An 85-year-old woman said Saturday she was injured and humiliated when she was strip searched at an airport after she asked to be patted down instead of going through a body scanner, allegations that transportation officials denied.

Lenore Zimmerman said she was taken to a private room and made to take off her pants and other clothes after she asked to forgo the screening because she worried it would interfere with her defibrillator. She missed her flight and had to take one 2 1/2 hours later, she said.

“I’m hunched over. I’m in a wheelchair. I weigh under 110 pounds,” she said from her winter home at a seniors community in Coconut Creek, Fla. “Do I look like a terrorist?” ….

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