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TSA: Common Sense, Follow the Money & More
Written By: Todd McGreevy
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: National Politics

2010-11-18 18:17:43

There seems to be a groundswell of resistance mounting to the Transportation Security Administration's latest screening policies and techniques that include full body X-ray scanning and aggressive pat downs for those that opt-out of being X-rayed. From legislation, to law suits and a national opt-out day, perhaps the American people are approaching the breaking point, when it comes to sacrificing their rights in the name of so called security.

While the Quad City International Airport does not currently have the Whole Body Imaging (WBI) machines, there's a push by federal agencies and some legislators to make them, and the controversial pat down alternative, mandatory at all airports nationwide. 

Americans have been too complacent and too unengaged in recognizing their rights are eroding at an unprecedented pace, right before our very eyes. We've been so dumbed down that we've lost sight of plain old common sense. Why would we allow ourselves and our private property to be subjected to violations just because it is a government agency? If you or I groped a person, like TSA is doing in dozens of airports nationwide, we would be arrested and ostracized from society. And how gullible has the tax payer become? The former head of TSA is the one now peddling the x-ray equipment to the very agency he used to run?

Perhaps this over reach by TSA will be the spark that lights the fires of liberty, once again, in our hearts. Here is a compilation of recent developments, along with links to full stories, news releases and videos.

Biochemist says 'naked' X-ray scanner may be unsafe

A University of California at San Francisco professor of biochemistry told CNET today that the Obama administration's claim that full-body scanners pose no health risks to air travelers is in "error." The CNET article goes on to state: "It appears that real independent safety data do not exist." In addition, the authors say: "There has not been sufficient review of the intermediate and long-term effects of radiation exposure associated with airport scanners. There is good reason to believe that these scanners will increase the risk of cancer to children and other vulnerable populations."  -- Full article, click here.

Man Opts Out of Scanning/Patdown in San Diego, Captures TSA Response on Video


Jon Tyner left his phone camera on recording video while he was processed by TSA at the San Diego Airport on November 13th.  When he opted out of the full body scanner and was told how he was going to be patted down by the TSA worker, he stated, "If you touch my junk I will have you arrested."  The exchange that ensues between Tyner and the TSA supervisors, as a result of this comment, is extensive and instructive. Among other statements made by TSA workers, "You gave up a lot of your rights when you bought an airplane ticket."

Tyner stood by his desire to not be touched in his private areas by anyone, and subsequently was not allowed to board his plane.  Furthermore, there was an attempt to detain Tyner for not complying and he was threatened with a $10,000 fine and civil lawsuit.  Tyner's written account and trio of camera phone videos (with very good audio, all things considered) are available here. Above is the first video clip.

Ron Paul Introduces HR 6414 - American Traveler Dignity Act


On November 17, twelve term Texas Congressman Ron Paul introduced a one paragraph piece of legislation that "removes the immunity from anybody in the federal government that does anything that you or I can't do" and gave an impassioned five minute speech on the floor of the House. Video link, click here.

From Dr. Paul's speech: "We have to realize that the real problem is that the American people have been too submissive. We have been too submissive. It's been going on for a long time. This was to be expected, even from the beginning of the TSA. And it's deeply flawed. Private property should be protected by private individuals, not bureaucrats. The bill I have introduced… is very simple, it's one paragraph long. It removes the immunity from anybody in the federal government that does anything that you or I can't do. If you can't grope another person, if you can't x-ray people, if you can't take nude photographs of individuals, why do we allow the government to do it? If an individual did these things we would be arrested. Yet we just sit there calmly and say, 'Oh, they're making us safe.'

And besides, the argument from the executive branch is that when you by a ticket you have sacrificed your rights and its the duty of the government to make us safe. That is not the case. You never have to sacrifice your rights. The duty of the government is to protect your rights. Another suggestion I have that might help us. Let's make sure that every member of Congress goes through this and gets the x-rays and looks at the pictures and then goes through the groping pat down. And have every member of the cabinet go through this too."

Dr. Paul's written statement is linked here.

Lubbock Texas Airport Director Addresses City Council:
"They are touching genitalia." 

James Loomis, Director of Aviation stated to his city council that with the new security procedures, the metal detecting wands are out, and "they are touching genitalia and it's absolutely wrong for these people to be doing this. First and foremost, they are not law enforcement officers." And under the fourth amendment, "There's no reason to be touched by anybody. There's no probable cause just because you bought an airline ticket." This video linked above is from the podcast NoAgendaShow.com with commentary about Mr. Loomis' statements from hosts Adam Curry and John C. Dvorak. Video link, click here.

The Rutherford Institute Defends Airline Pilots, Sues Dept. of Homeland Security & TSA Over Scanners, Virtual Strip Searches & Full-Body ‘Rub-Downs’

WASHINGTON, DC -- In a case involving the continuing encroachment of modern technology upon personal privacy, The Rutherford Institute has filed a Fourth Amendment lawsuit in federal court against Janet Napolitano, secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and John Pistole, administrator of the Transportation Security Agency (TSA), on behalf of two airline pilots who refused to submit to airport security screening which relies on advanced imaging technology that exposes intimate details of a person’s body to government agents. 

In opting out of being put through the Whole Body Imaging (WBI) scanners, the pilots, Michael Roberts and Ann Poe, both veterans of the commercial airline industry, also refused to be subjected to the alternative--enhanced, full-body pat- or rub-downs by Transportation Security Agency (TSA) agents. Insisting that the procedures violate the Fourth Amendment prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures found in the U.S. Constitution, The Rutherford Institute’s lawsuit asks the court to prohibit DHS and TSA from continuing to unlawfully use WBI technology and newly-implemented enhanced pat-down procedures as the first line of airport security screening in the United States.



The complaint in Michael Roberts, et al., v. Janet Napolitano, et al. is available here.
Full news release here.

11/19/2010 UPDATE:

TSA Agrees to Exempt Pilots from Scanners & Full-Body ‘Rub-Downs’ After Rutherford Files Lawsuit

WASHINGTON, DC -- Within days of The Rutherford Institute filing a Fourth Amendment lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Transportation Security Agency (TSA) over its security screening procedures for airline pilots, the TSA has announced that it is amending its policy to exempt pilots from having to submit to either full-body scans or enhanced pat-down searches.

In a press release issued today, TSA Administrator John Pistole stated that the agency is immediately modifying security procedures to allow U.S. air carrier pilots to pass through security by showing airline-issued identification and another form of identification.
Full news release here.

The Airport Scanner Scam

Mother Jones' James Ridgeway explores the blatant conflicts of interest that plagues the federal security industry, most especially the fact that former TSA Director, Michael Chertoff, is now heading the company that is selling the full body scanners to the government. "…airport security has always been compromised by corporate interests.When it comes to high-tech screening methods, the TSA has a dismal record of enriching private corporations with failed technologies, and there are signs that the latest miracle device may just bring more of the same. Yet the rush toward full-body scans already seems unstoppable. They were mandated today as part of the "enhanced" screening for travelers from selected countries, and hundreds of the machines are already on order, at a cost of about $150,000 apiece. 

Within days of the bombing attempt, Reuters was reporting that the "greater U.S. government shift toward using the high-tech devices could create a boom for makers of security imaging products, and it has already created a speculative spike in share prices in some companies." Which brings us to the money shot. The body scanner is sure to get a go-ahead because of the illustrious personages hawking them. Chief among them is former DHS secretary Michael Chertoff, who now heads the Chertoff Group, which represents one of the leading manufacturers of whole-body-imaging machines, Rapiscan Systems. For days after the attack, Chertoff made the rounds on the media promoting the scanners, calling the bombing attempt "a very vivid lesson in the value of that machinery"—all without disclosing his relationship to Rapiscan.

According to the Washington Post:

Chertoff’s advocacy for the technology dates back to his time in the Bush administration. In 2005, Homeland Security ordered the government’s first batch of the scanners—five from California-based Rapiscan Systems. Today, 40 body scanners are in use at 19 U.S. airports. The number is expected to skyrocket at least in part because of the Christmas Day incident. The Transportation Security Administration this week said it will order 300 more machines. In the summer, TSA purchased 150 machines from Rapiscan with $25 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds.

The Washington Examiner last week ran down an entire list of all the former Washington politicians and staff members who are now part of what it calls the "full-body scanner lobby": 

One manufacturer, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, is American Science & Engineering, Inc. AS&E has retained the K Street firm Wexler & Walker to lobby for "federal deployment of security technology by DHS and DOD." Individual lobbyists on this account include former TSA deputy administration Tom Blank, who also worked under House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Chad Wolf—former assistant administrator for policy at TSA, and a former aide to Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Tex., a top Senate appropriator and the ranking Republican on the transportation committee—is also lobbying on AS&E’s behalf. Smiths Detection, another screening manufacturer, employs top transportation lobbying firm Van Scoyoc Associates, including Kevin Patrick Kelly, a former top staffer to Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., who sits on the Homeland Security Appropriations subcommittee. Smiths also retains former congresswoman Helen Delich Bentley, R-Md. Former Sen. Al D’Amato, R-N.Y., represents L3 Systems, about which Bloomberg wrote today: "L-3 has ‘developed a more sophisticated system that could prevent smuggling of almost anything on the body,’ said Howard Rubel, an analyst at Jefferies & Co., who has a ‘hold’ rating on the stock."

Full Mother Jones story here
.


The Seven Creepiest Things About TSA's Porno Scanners

#7. They're an obscene waste of money. The House actually voted down the use of body scanners, but the TSA ignored the will of Congress and bought the machines anyway, wasting $25 million in stimulus funds.
Full Alternet story, click here.

Opt Out Day Promoted for November 24th

From www.OptOutDay.com: "OptOutDay.com is an educational outreach campaign, designed to get people to better understand what they are now consenting to when they purchase a plane ticket. Many people only fly around the holidays and may not be aware of the security changes, which is why November 24 was chosen.  There is no intent or desire to delay passengers en route to friends and family over Thanksgiving.  Once people are made aware of what is happening, they may have reservations about the new virtual strip searches and enhanced pat downs - especially for their children or spouse or other loved one.



Amüsing Enüf: “Brüno,” “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs,” and “I Love You, Beth Cooper”
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2009-07-12 19:22:11

Sacha Baron Cohen in BrünoBRÜNO

Returning with a comedy in a vein similar, re-e-e-eally similar, to that of their 2006 smash Borat, director Larry Charles and co-writer/star Sacha Baron Cohen now present us with Brüno, another mock-doc based on one of Cohen's famed Da Ali G Show characters. With a storyline that you can easily summarize in three words - Borat gone gay - it's the pair's latest attempt to shock the masses into spasms of outrage and gales of uncontrollable laughter, and I'll readily admit that the movie is pretty funny, and sometimes awfully funny.


Read More About AmüSing EnüF: “BrüNo,” “Ice Age: Dawn Of The Dinosaurs,” And “I Love You, Beth Cooper”...


Ron Paul’s Audit the Fed Bill Hits 207 Co-Sponsors
Written By: Administrator
Section: News Releases

Category: Politics & Elections

2009-06-10 15:12:52

House Minority Leader Boehner joins bi-partisan coalition supporting Federal Reserve transparency

ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA – H.R. 1207, The Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2009, yesterday surged past the 200 co-sponsor mark, nearing a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill, introduced by Congressman Ron Paul (R- TX), now has 207 cosponsors including 51 Democrats.

Signing on to the bill yesterday were Republican Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) and influential Rules Committee Ranking Member David Drier (R-CA). The bill has gained 28 co-sponsors just in the month of June.

Congressman Paul's legislation is aimed at pulling back the curtain from a secretive and unaccountable Federal Reserve.  Congress and the American people have minimal, if any, oversight over trillions of dollars that the Fed controls.

With recent bailouts and spending decisions shining a spotlight on the actions of the Federal Reserve, more and more pressure is bearing down on Congress to take action and demand accountability and transparency.

Minority Leader Boehner joins a group of legislators from across the ideological spectrum.  These Representatives include Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), head of the conservative Republican Study Committee, and Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), former head of the liberal Progressive Caucus.

“Americans from every walk of life, across the country, are speaking out and demanding transparency at the Federal Reserve,” said Campaign for Liberty President John Tate. “Members of Congress, whether they are conservatives, moderates, progressives, business Republicans, libertarians or blue dog Democrats, are listening to their outraged constituents and coming together to support H.R. 1207.”

"The American people have had enough. Enough of an out of control Fed, enough of run away government spending and enough of the secretive Federal Reserve practices that won't even allow us to know where our money is going." continued Mr. Tate. "And the message is getting through loud and clear as indicated by the overwhelming support for this legislation across the country and in the halls of Congress."

To view a full list of co-sponsors, please click here.
http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-h1207/show

H.R. 1207, would open up the Fed’s funding facilities, such as the Primary Dealer Credit Facility, Term Securities Lending Facility, and Term Asset-Backed Securities Lending Facility to Congressional oversight and an audit by the non-partisan Government Accountability Office. Additionally, audits could include discount window operations, open market operations, and agreements with foreign central banks, such as ongoing dollar swap operations with European central banks.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Jesse Benton
June 10, 2009                           703-347-6886, 202-246-6363
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Put Down the Remote, Pick Up the Mouse
Written By: Todd McGreevy
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Editorials

2009-04-29 11:50:00

When it comes to the latest hot topics of the day, one will not learn anything new by watching the talking heads on cable news or the networks. Fortunately, technology has come a long way, and all one has to do is browse the Web for perspectives and information that will most certainly raise the bar on the water-cooler dialogue at the office.

To that end, you will find ready-to-go video clips about the following stories that you won't find anywhere else:

April 15 Tea Parties

The Quad Cities hosted two Tea Party protests on the infamous Income Tax Day. More than 500 people attended the Davenport protest, and more than 300 people assembled that afternoon in Moline. The Reader was at both events and has posted a nine-minute video segment that includes interviews with seven people, including an 11-year-old.

The mainstream media picked up on the Tea Parties as a simple way to continue polarizing the masses along strict left/right and us/them party lines. No single outlet could help itself. As a guest on Keith Olbermann's show on MSNBC, Janeane Garofalo described the protest attendees as the "Klan demographic" and "tea-bagging racists who hate having a black man in office." To which Olbermann rhetorically asked, "What happens if at one of these things somebody hurts somebody?" And Fox Noise talk-show host Sean Hannity picked up the banner of the downtrodden tax payer and promoted the Tea Parties as if he had some solidarity with any disenfranchised citizens other than staunch neo-conservatives just like him. It was appalling. The really sad part is that many Americans fell for the "party baiting" hook, line, and sinker, and the only loser in that game was the level of discourse in America.

The bias in the media was no more apparent than when the reporter from CNN accosted a man holding a sign and his two-year-old child. The man's sign was about how his two-year-old was already in debt, and the reporter berated him, demanding whether he knew he was entitled to a check for $400 under the new regime. She wouldn't let him answer her questions, and things got worse from there when she finally claimed, "It is clear this crowd is anti-CNN and anti-government." The clip went viral for a short period, then CNN forced YouTube to take it off the air over copyright issues. Fortunately, FoundingBloggers.com was on-site in Chicago and filmed the dialogue that happened after the CNN cameras were off, and a suburban small-business owner takes the reporter to task, pointing out that CNN failed to show signs such as "Republican's Suck Too. End the Fed."

The reporter keeps trying to pigeonhole the woman as part of a group, and finally the woman explains that both the Democrats and Republicans are to blame for all our ills and that they "all need to go." Too bad that didn't make it to CNN's broadcast. You can watch the clip that CNN had YouTube pull and the off-camera fun below here.

In Minnesota, the blogger "The Grace Kelly" posted this account on the decidedly liberal Daily Kos Web site: "At a protest, normally, one sees the very hardcore support. However, what I saw was widespread disillusionment. In the video, notice how people are blaming politicians on both sides. Note that even though we now have President Obama, there is still acknowledgment that the problems started in the President Bush administration. So unlike other reports, talking to people at the Minnesota tax tea party gave me hope that these people value 'fiscal responsibility' and are actually open to persuasion." You can watch her insightful interviews about fair tax and the Federal Reserve at our Web site.

The SHA (Swine Human Avian) Flu Virus

The front page of the Wall Street Journal on Monday read, "The federal government is releasing 12.5 million courses of its emergency stockpile of potentially effective antiviral drugs to states that need them." Since when does anyone "need" something that is "potentially effective," especially when the risks of the drugs may be higher than the virus? To the WSJ's credit, they refrained from referring to this latest scare as "swine flu," but they did give us unique insight into what the future may hold for you at your airport. Pictured was "Scanning for feverish passengers at an airport in South Korea," showing bio-scans of passengers by their body-heat index. One can imagine the abuse and fear such a vetting process could engender. But don't take my word for it; listen to Dr. Ron Paul, an 11-term congressman from Texas and an MD. He and a Georgia congressmen, Larry McDonald (also an MD), were the only two "no" votes back in 1976 when the government ramped up a similar "swine flu" pandemic scare and mass-vaccinated thousands of people, including military, by force, resulting in 25 deaths and hundreds becoming sick ... from the cure no less. You can watch Paul question why Homeland Security is getting involved in medicine at our Web site.

As always, your feedback about what you read in these pages and online is encouraged. Write us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .



Ron Paul: Imagine
Written By: Todd McGreevy
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Guest Commentaries

2009-03-18 03:13:02

Imagine for a moment that somewhere in the middle of Texas there was a large foreign military base, say Chinese or Russian. Imagine that thousands of armed foreign troops were constantly patrolling American streets in military vehicles. Imagine they were here under the auspices of “keeping us safe” or “promoting democracy” or “protecting their strategic interests.”

Congressman Ron Paul - 14th District, Texas
Imagine that they operated outside of US law, and that the Constitution did not apply to them. Imagine that every now and then they made mistakes or acted on bad information and accidentally killed or terrorized innocent Americans, including women and children, most of the time with little to no repercussions or consequences. Imagine that they set up check points on our soil and routinely searched and ransacked entire neighborhoods of homes. Imagine if Americans were fearful of these foreign troops, and overwhelmingly thought America would be better off without their presence.

Imagine if some Americans were so angry about them being in Texas that they actually joined together to fight them off, in defense of our soil and sovereignty, because leadership in government refused or were unable to do so. Imagine that those Americans were labeled terrorists or insurgents for their defensive actions, and routinely killed, or captured and tortured by the foreign troops on our land. Imagine that the occupiers’ attitude was that if they just killed enough Americans, the resistance would stop, but instead, for every American killed, ten more would take up arms against them, resulting in perpetual bloodshed. Imagine if most of the citizens of the foreign land also wanted these troops to return home. Imagine if they elected a leader who promised to bring them home and put an end to this horror.

Imagine if that leader changed his mind once he took office.

The reality is that our military presence on foreign soil is as offensive to the people that live there as armed Chinese troops would be if they were stationed in Texas. We would not stand for it here, but we have had a globe straddling empire and a very intrusive foreign policy for decades that incites a lot of hatred and resentment towards us.

According to our own CIA, our meddling in the Middle East was the prime motivation for the horrific attacks on 9/11. But instead of re-evaluating our foreign policy, we have simply escalated it. We had a right to go after those responsible for 9/11, to be sure, but why do so many Americans feel as if we have a right to a military presence in some 160 countries when we wouldn’t stand for even one foreign base on our soil, for any reason? These are not embassies, mind you, these are military installations. The new administration is not materially changing anything about this. Shuffling troops around and playing with semantics does not accomplish the goals of the American people, who simply want our men and women to come home. 50,000 troops left behind in Iraq is not conducive to peace any more than 50,000 Russian soldiers would be in the United States.

Shutting down military bases and ceasing to deal with other nations with threats and violence is not isolationism. It is the opposite. Opening ourselves up to friendship, honest trade and diplomacy is the foreign policy of peace and prosperity. It is the only foreign policy that will not bankrupt us in short order, as our current actions most definitely will. I share the disappointment of the American people in the foreign policy rhetoric coming from the administration. The sad thing is, our foreign policy WILL change eventually, as Rome’s did, when all budgetary and monetary tricks to fund it are exhausted.

Orginally published March 9, 2009 at Congressman Ron Paul's House website blog entitled Texas Straight Talk.






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