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Texas could become the first State to pass a bill criminalizing invasive pat-downs by agents of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Near the end of the regular session HB 1937 passed the State House unanimously yet stalled in the State Senate after the Department of Justice (DOJ) threatened to ground all flights out of Texas. Some supporters of the bill are saying the federal government would essentially be creating a “no fly zone” over Texas. Similar legislation was introduced in New Hampshire, though that bill has been stalled in committee.
Currently, Texas Governor Rick Perry stands in the way of “round 2” for this bill. The Texas Legislature has been called into a “special session” and only the Governor can add bills to the “call” for the Legislature to consider during the special session. The special session was called, primarily, because the Legislature failed to pass a budget. They also failed to pass a Congressional redistricting plan; something that must be done since Texas gained four members of the US House.
Bill sponsor Rep. David Simpson told ABC News, “The attorney general’s letter claims we are stopping all searches. The bill just says you can’t touch privates without probable cause.” HB1937 would criminalize “as part of a search performed to grant access to a publicly accessible building or form of transportation, intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly: searches another person without probable cause to believe the person committed an offense; and touches the anus, sexual organ, or breasts of the other person, including touching through clothing, or touches the other person in a manner that would be offensive to a reasonable person.”
Opponents of this bill claim that such invasive searches are “needed” to protect the airlines. However, in August 2009 during an episode of 60 Minutes CBS reported,
[T]he question is: ‘is everything we go through at checkpoints actually making us safer?’ Security expert Bruce Schneier says no. He says much of it is just ‘security theater.’ ‘It’s a phrase I coined for security measures that look good, but don’t actually do anything,’ he explained.
Schneier, who has been an adviser to TSA but also its most persistent thorn-in-the-side, says there are too many silly rules.
As for the latest tools of the TSA (backscatter X-ray machines and invasive groping) Sheier says, “it’s politics. You have to be seen as doing something, even if nothing is the smart thing to do. You can’t be seen as doing nothing… It won’t catch anybody.”
Other supporters of the TSA will say “you don’t have a right to fly.” The right to travel is a fundamental right, as is the right to not be subjected to invasive groping. The Articles of Confederation recognized the right to travel, “the people of each State shall have free ingress and regress to and from any other State.” Even the UN recognizes that “everyone has the right to freedom of movement.” Not to mention, the US Supreme Court has recognized the right to travel. In U.S. v Guest, 383 U.S. 745 (1966), the Court noted, “It is a right that has been firmly established and repeatedly recognized.” In fact, in Shapiro v Thompson, 394 U.S. 618 (1969), Justice Stewart noted in a concurring opinion that “it is a right broadly assertable against private interference as well as governmental action. Like the right of association, … it is a virtually unconditional personal right, guaranteed by the Constitution to us all.”
Since the TSA is “security theater” and individuals have a right to travel and a right to not be subjected to invasive searched without a warrant and probable cause; it should be clear that any government agent should be held accountable for their actions, when such actions violate common rights!
The perverts in violet are meeting the resistance face to face on their own turf, and finding that when they push (and grope)… real Americans are pushing back:
It’s only a matter of time until this boils over. The Liberty vs Security fight has finally stopped dancing around the airport security theater and semantics game that’s been played up since 9/11 and is now coming full speed to mass clashes.
At this point the cynicism is so entrenched in the Liberty camp that the top YouTube comment is a false flag warning:
Our government will issue a false flag attack, probably nukes on Washington or other country. then blame it on terrorists, then use that excuse to take more liberties away and kill anyone who questions it for “liberty” and to counter terrorism. That or throw you in there FEMA camps to brain wash you or kill you ether or. Worst part is, everyone will eat it all up like 9/11 then worship them as their saviors..sickens me. I have 2 kids ill be damned if i have them grow up in that world!
I’m not going down the road of terrorist/nuke/whatever false flag attack right here and now, because frankly it’s crap like that which keeps everyone fearful in the first place (and the government loves that fear, seriously). But I do love the closing on that missive to the government watchers. S/he certainly already has tons of responsibility as a parent, and this is something that fires people up (that’s also two children who will be keen to the libertarian walk of life).
It really is like dominoes.
Your unfriendly airport gate-gropers and porno-scanner operators may soon be card-carrying union members of either the National Treasury Employees Union, or the American Federation of Government Employees. Both are high on the list of choices pre-made for the agency’s employees as they gear up on a proposed measure to unionize their little corner of the security theater erected after the September 11th attacks.
Rebuttals against the unionization of the TSA should self-evident (like namely, that there has been relatively ZERO clamor for it within the ranks of TSA screeners outside of media hype), but the Republicans can take the cake for this gem:
Republican leaders say public employees should not be allowed to bargain collectively, asserting that it pushes up costs for taxpayers and impedes management’s flexibility. What is more, they warn, letting airport screeners unionize could jeopardize national security if strikes and work slowdowns crippled airports and resulted in inadequate security checks.
If you’re gonna sell the downside of something, it really helps if the dystopian future you’re painting isn’t already a systemic problem. From within the same article, comes this juicy tale of misbehavior:
[I]n 2006, airport screeners in Toronto conducted a slowdown by inspecting every piece of luggage by hand, creating such a snarl that management let 250,000 passengers through with minimal or no screening — a move a government investigation later found was a major security breach.
Blue-shirt security theater plus unionization protection equals anyone’s guess, but I already know who will be the losers: air travelers.
LATER UPDATE BECAUSE WHY END ON A SOUR NOTE: This story on reddit perfectly illustrates how I expect my government workers (the people’s employees) to behave in close proximity to these unconstitutional practices. Stand up and have some balls, it’s the cool thing to do.