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Rand Paul Has a Quick Fix For TSA: Pull the Plug 1051

Posted by Soulskill
from the might-increase-their-efficacy dept.
suraj.sun quotes from Politico: "Rand Paul has a reform plan for the Transportation Security Administration: Scrap the whole thing. A personal message from Paul (R-Ky.) came atop emails this week from the Campaign for Liberty Vice President Matt Hawes, asking for readers to sign a petition in support of Paul's 'End the TSA' bill. A Paul spokeswoman said that legislation is being finalized next week. 'Every inch of our person has become fair game for government thugs posing as "security" as we travel around the country. Senator Rand Paul has a plan to do away with the TSA for good, but he needs our help,' reads the petition, which also asks signers to 'chip in a contribution to help C4L mobilize liberty activists across America to turn the heat up on Congress and end the TSA's abuse of our rights.' 'The American people shouldn't be subjected to harassment, groping, and other public humiliation simply to board an airplane. As you may have heard, I have some personal experience with this, and I've vowed to lead the charge to fight back,' Paul wrote at the top of a C4L fundraising pitch, according to blogs that received the email. 'Campaign for Liberty is leading the fight to pressure Congress to act now and restore our liberty. It's time to END the TSA and get the government's hands back to only stealing our wallets instead of groping toddlers and grandmothers.'"
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Rand Paul Has a Quick Fix For TSA: Pull the Plug

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 04, 2012 @02:31PM (#39893435)

    Sign me up. This security theater has got to stop.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by lightknight (213164)

      Indeed. I feel like I am watching a BOFH episode play out in real life. [ntk.net]

      Everything can be allocated behind the great white elephant [wikipedia.org] of national security.

      • by LifesABeach (234436) on Friday May 04, 2012 @04:12PM (#39895217)
        I am concerned that Rand Paul has stated something that I agree with. Now I'm forced to reevaluate my knowdege base of TSA pin headed flatulence and see where I am incorrect.

        And I had important,(for me), things that needed to get completed!
      • by jd (1658) <imipak@yaCOLAhoo.com minus caffeine> on Friday May 04, 2012 @05:14PM (#39896081) Homepage Journal

        I think the BOFH was their training manual. I can't say that the recent news that agents were arrested for facilitating drug smuggling in exchange for a cut of the profits did anything to improve my opinion. Stories from way back, for example one story on Slashdot where a former TSA agent claimed that their instructions were to allow guns through to avoid holding up the lines, also diminished what little regard I had for them. (The Slashdot claim mirrors claims by journalists at around the same time that around 30% of attempts to get a gun through screening succeeded, so I'm inclined to take the claim as more than just fluff.)

        This is perhaps the first (and probably only) time I'm going to agree with R.P. on anything, he's normally 52 cards short of a full deck (all that's left are the jokers) but there really is no benefit in a security apparatus that offers no security but does offer a great deal of insecurity and hardship. The TSA has failed to demonstrate that it is competent or capable of dealing with any actual threat. Rather, it has an worryingly high failure rate and an even more worrying tendency to fix the wrong problem when something does go wrong - and usually badly.

        There has been ONE attempt to put Semtex in a shoe, and the attempt could not have succeeded. It is extremely doubtful that passing the shoes through the scanner would have detected it. Compare that to the total number of hijacks that have succeeded due to firearms. Tell me, which of the attack vectors is a genuine threat more likely to pursue? The one that might work or the one that's stupid? So which does the TSA attempt to close? Yes, the one that's stupid. Yay. And "attempt" is about as far as it has probably got. I don't trust the TSA's competency at detecting Semtex, either in terms of finding a bomb detector that will spot it (it's notoriously difficult, which is why the IRA used it extensively) or in terms or recognizing that the detector has spotted anything at all.

        No security is perfect, but if we're to believe (even a little bit) the Slashdot claim and the recent news stories, then it suggests that the TSA is not accidentally insecure but knowingly insecure. The people at the top probably didn't intend it to be that way, but the people at the top don't seem eager to fix the problems either. As such, it may not be their doing but it is their responsibility and they're failing.

    • by crazyjj (2598719) * on Friday May 04, 2012 @03:11PM (#39894181)

      The problem is that Rand Paul isn't suggesting that the groping stop. He's suggesting that it be *privatized*, with no government oversight or accountability at all (even less than there already is). So the only thing that will change is that the person grabbing your balls will wear a different logo on his shirt--and answer only to a private company.

      • by z4ce (67861) on Friday May 04, 2012 @03:19PM (#39894323)

        Unlikely. The airlines know the security theatre is costing them big $$$. They will scale it back.

        • Depends (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Bananenrepublik (49759) on Friday May 04, 2012 @03:43PM (#39894725)

          That depends on how their insurance think about the importance of passenger screening.

        • by Sir_Sri (199544) on Friday May 04, 2012 @03:46PM (#39894781)

          That would be true if they weren't liable for what happens. As long as the TSA does security they are are fault if something goes wrong. If the airport or airlines run security themselves they could be bankrupt from a single event. Not to mention the further damage that would be done from even a single incident of a half successful hijacking or the like.

          Right now the airlines can rely on 'we don't like it either, but if you want to fly, those are the rules with everyone so tough it out'. I'd much rather the government trying to figure out to grope my balls without groping them than an insurance company demanding the airline minimize its liability for terrorist acts.

          Security is a government problem. That doesn't mean the TSA, the US military or anyone else do a particularly good or bad job. But transferring security responsibility to private companies or individuals would make the problem worse, not better. If you don't want the TSA engaging in security theatre pass laws that prevent the theatre and demand actual security, which is what should have happened in the first place.

      • by shiftless (410350) on Friday May 04, 2012 @03:22PM (#39894357) Homepage

        He's suggesting that it be *privatized*, with no government oversight or accountability at all (even less than there already is)

        ....and no force of law behind their unlawful detentions? No more harassment that I have to put up with or be arrested? No more "VIPR" teams roaming the highways?

        GOOD.

      • by Azghoul (25786) on Friday May 04, 2012 @03:27PM (#39894451) Homepage

        This is incorrect.

        By ending the TSA, airports will gain the flexibility to change their processes, and we will gain the ability to sue the shit out of said private companies when they grope us inappropriately.

        What is it about "privatized" that makes you think there would be "no government oversight or accountability". And on the ground, how much less could there possibly be than there is right now??

      • by Surt (22457) on Friday May 04, 2012 @03:27PM (#39894459) Homepage Journal

        But if it IS privatized, that means a private company can hire strippers to do the job. And I can choose to use that airline/airport.

      • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Friday May 04, 2012 @03:42PM (#39894707)
        The airlines have a greater interest in ACTUAL security, as opposed to security theater though.

        The groping and pornoscanners are a huge waste to convince the public that the government is protecting them from these ever-present, super scary terrorists that we need to elect them to fight. The terrorists are actually quite stupid and would never be able to pull off another 9/11. The only reason they succeeded is because the passengers thought it was in their best interests to go along with the terrorists. They were convinced there was a bomb on board, and if they waited, the terrorists would let them go. Everyone knows that is not the case anymore, AND the doors to the cockpit are locked now.

        That is what has made us safer and only that. Everything else is just to convince the public that we're making progress, while preserving the fear-mongering that keeps certain politicians getting elected and keeps certain government organizations paid.

        The airlines have little interest in fear mongering: it hurts them. Most people still fly, but the thought of some high school dropout molesting their children and/or TSA acting like al quaeda is around every corner hurts their business. Put it on them, even if the government pays for it, and they'll get rid of a lot of the security theater.

        Not to say it would all be good. They'd no doubt use security as an excuse for their own purposes. Specifically, they'd raise the prices dramatically and start racial profiling like we haven't seen before.
      • by plazman30 (531348) on Friday May 04, 2012 @04:13PM (#39895225) Homepage

        Before the TSA, most security at airports was private. The TSAs backscatter X-Ray machines have already been bypassed. Air Marshalls can be spotted a mile away on a plane. The "Freedom Gropes" we have to endure are completely insane.

        Watching TSA agents detaining a woman because because she wouldn't let them x-ray her daughters breast milk is insane.

        I will not walk through a backscatter x-ray machine for any reason. Personally, I'll not shower for a week and wear the same clothes. Then I'll pop 2 Viagra and request a freedom grope when I get to the TSA. Hopefully that will make the agent sexually assaulting me as uncomfortable as possible.

        I'm going in on the 21st for a hip replacement. After that, my life is pretty much f*cked at airports. I will never be allowed to go anywhere without some type of enhanced pat down.

        This insanity has to end.

  • by Mitreya (579078) <mitreyaNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday May 04, 2012 @02:32PM (#39893459)
    I would love to.
    But if anyone besides a small following was listening to Ron Paul, US might have repealed PATRIOT act and even bombed fewer countries with drones.
  • by Nimey (114278) on Friday May 04, 2012 @02:32PM (#39893463) Homepage Journal

    Can we get a non-extremist pol who thinks TSA is a bad idea and has the power to do something about it?

    • Sad Day (Score:4, Insightful)

      by SuperKendall (25149) on Friday May 04, 2012 @02:34PM (#39893483)

      It's a sad day indeed when common sense is considered "extreme".

    • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Friday May 04, 2012 @02:36PM (#39893521)
      Unfortunately, the political mainstream in America does not give two hoots about civil rights, except when it comes to protecting the rights of corporations and wealthy Americans. We have gotten the point where the bill of rights is "extremist."
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Rand Paul and Ron Paul are not the same person.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by PaulBu (473180)

      "Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice, and moderation in the pursuit of justice is not a virtue" (Cicero, used by Barry Goldwater in his '64 acceptance speech).

      Again, which of his positions do you find extreme? Protecting the Bill of Rights? Not bombing random countries willy-nilly? Supporting Internet freedom?

      Or are you conditioned to have a knee-jerk reaction that any pol with an (R) next to his name is too extreme?

      Paul B.

    • Political reality (Score:5, Interesting)

      by sjbe (173966) on Friday May 04, 2012 @02:50PM (#39893777)

      Can we get a non-extremist pol who thinks TSA is a bad idea and has the power to do something about it?

      No. Next question.

      Seriously, the TSA is going to have to do something horrendous to get reformed. (I mean like killing babies horrendous, not their usual baseline horrendous) Otherwise any politician who tries to change it will be accused of coddling terrorists. Sad but that's the political reality we live in.

  • Petition link (Score:5, Informative)

    by SuperKendall (25149) on Friday May 04, 2012 @02:32PM (#39893467)

    Since all the submitter could be bothered to do was pump up Politico page views, here's the link to the > petition> [chooseliberty.org].

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 04, 2012 @02:32PM (#39893469)

    I presume his bill will have a rider that ends the rest of the federal government also.

  • by cpu6502 (1960974) on Friday May 04, 2012 @02:34PM (#39893489)

    The government only has the powers given to it by the People of this land. If I can not touch your breast or crotch, neither can the government.

    BTW there's already a law that allows airports to remove TSA from their buildings. So far I've only heard of one airport that considered evicting them. (And the government responded by saying that airport would be removed as a travel destination, if it followed through.)

    Government is not eloquence or reason: It is force and intimidation. See the medical marijuana users who, even though they followed California law, were arrested anyway by U.S. police violating the 9th and 10th amendments.

  • by Grond (15515) on Friday May 04, 2012 @02:37PM (#39893533) Homepage

    Bear in mind that the Campaign for Liberty is about a lot more than opposing the TSA [campaignforliberty.com], some of which some people may not find all that palatable (e.g. free market fundamentalism, scrapping the Federal Reserve, dismantling most of the federal government, withdrawing from most international organizations).

  • And this is news? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sarten-X (1102295) on Friday May 04, 2012 @02:41PM (#39893611) Homepage

    The Pauls have a quick fix for everything, and it's usually some form of "pull the plug".

    • The Federal Reserve Bank's complex and lacks oversight? End the Fed!
    • Income tax is hard to understand? No more income taxes!
    • Mathematical models aren't perfect for predicting reality? Use psychology!
    • We've made a mess of another country, and cleanup's expensive? Exit Afghanistan!
    • Social Security commitments breaking your perfect budget? Opt out!
    • People think you're a crackpot who doesn't understand the modern world enough to support your campaign through traditional channels? Fly a blimp!

    Ron Paul 2012: because quick fixes haven't screwed up the world enough already.

  • by Karmashock (2415832) on Friday May 04, 2012 @02:43PM (#39893653)

    Well... for politicians. The problem they have is that if another terrorist attack gets through they don't want to be held accountable for it. So the TSA was created and the security was made as annoying as possible without actually making it so annoying that the TSA is scrapped. It's a balancing act.

    Anyway, if there is another attack they can point at the TSA and say " do you want it to be any more annoying then that?!" And if they've made it annoying enough everyone will agree it is almost unbearably annoying.

    So they'll say "well, you chose not to make it any more annoying so that's on the American people and not your entirely blameless elected official."

    And thus they can't be held accountable for anything that could go wrong.

    If you scrap the TSA and there is another attack, they'll get blamed for it. That's not acceptable.

    If they put in a better system that isn't annoying but is much more effective and there is an attack they could still get blamed even if they gave us a really good system. Why? Because unless it's really annoying someone somewhere will blame the system.

    So here we are... and in a lot of ways it's all our faults.

    I'm personally going through the pat down process every single time I travel. If more people were like me, the TSA would have disbanded about ten seconds after it stopped because logistically they can't pat everyone down.

    Many people have messaged me in the past on this very site to tell me that they shouldn't have to go through that process and so they go through the scanner instead. That's fine. You're making it easy for them and it is because of people like you that the TSA gets away with it.

    If you don't like the TSA then get a pat down or stfu.

    Ron Paul can't do anything about it. The man has no power. He has one isolated seat in congress. Who votes with him in a block? No one. He's all by himself out there. So whatever you think of his politics, he's not really an effective response to anything. He won't be president and he's isn't even a relevant force in the house.

    If you care about the TSA's abuse of the common traveler... never walk through the scanner. Always take the pat down alternative. If enough of us do it. We win.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 04, 2012 @02:43PM (#39893655)

    Although ending the TSA is an admirable goal, please do not send money to this group.

    This group also has goals / ideas which are not as logical as the removal of the TSA.

    Push your own congress critter to move forward on this, and work on legal petitions, not these fake online ones.

  • by sandytaru (1158959) on Friday May 04, 2012 @02:52PM (#39893821) Journal
    They searched my back once they saw it on the radar. Poor dude manning the XRays when my bag went through couldn't figure it out, and the chick who searched my bag was like "Ohhhhh!" once she realized what it was. She still had to wipe it down with something (for what, I don't know) and after they reran my bag, they seemed rather embarrassed about the whole thing.
  • MEH (Score:3, Informative)

    by snarfies (115214) on Friday May 04, 2012 @02:52PM (#39893825) Homepage

    I signed the petition (once I FOUND it, thanks Slashdot for not actually linking to the thing). I was then immediately hit with a "GIVE MONEYS PL0X" page. It really didn't feel right.

    If I do give moneys, I'll also be supporting the campaign to repeal Obamacare (the petition for which I am intentionally not linking to), so no thanks.

  • by Ichijo (607641) on Friday May 04, 2012 @02:54PM (#39893877) Homepage Journal
    High speed rail will get you to your destination faster than by air, curb to curb, up to about 400 miles. (Even bicycles are occasionally faster [usatoday.com] than flying.) And to date, no terrorist has ever steered a train into a building, so unless you're going through the tunnel under the English Channel, there will always be less groping to board a train than an airliner.
  • by MrEricSir (398214) on Friday May 04, 2012 @03:07PM (#39894095) Homepage

    If there's one thing I've learned from programming, it's that quick fixes are always the best. Why bother trying to understand the details of a problem when you can just band-aid over it?

  • Won't happen (Score:5, Insightful)

    by slasho81 (455509) on Friday May 04, 2012 @03:16PM (#39894285)

    The TSA employs about 58,000 employees.

    The number one thing by far that voters in the US care about is jobs.

    This will never happen.

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