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Stellar Post By Popehat On Both The TSA And A Disappointing Post At Volokh

November 28, 2012
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Stellar Post By Popehat On Both The TSA And A Disappointing Post At Volokh
Popehat writes about Stewart Baker, who, by the way, “forgets” to identify himself as an author of TSA policy (more on that below):

The one thing I take away from Stewart Baker’s extremely unsettling extended sexual metaphor about opposition to the TSA is that the man is very frustrated.

Mr. Baker — a self-described “privacy skeptic and national security conservative” — is frustrated at his inability to comprehend all of that nasty opposition to the TSA. He seizes upon a belabored sexual analogy: TSA lines give us (him) performance anxiety, causing us to fumble about, alarmed at any change in routine, thwarting us from the smooth, economical physical movements that, Astaire-like, make us sexually irresistible to virginal women. No, really. No, damn it, I’m serious, go read it yourself. There. I told you.

Baker, surrounded by a tissue of lies about TSA opponents and a double handful of the balm of self-regard, flogs that metaphor raw, but is unable to conclude it satisfactorily. He dreams of a TSA that would post encouraging signs to us that we’re doing fine, just fine, steadily building in tempo, moving us towards the end of the security line, until we shoot with a relieved sigh out of it all over the Sbarro Express.

…But there are no real women in his analogy; he dismissed them with a hand-wave: “I can’t explain the women who hate TSA with a passion, though I’m not sure how many there are. Anti-TSA sites and comments have a distinct whiff of testosterone.”

That would be a surprise to, say, Amy Alkon, who was threatened with a lawsuit by a TSA agent for having the temerity to complain about having fingers thrust into her during a search. It would be a surprise to women harassed over their breast milk by TSA agents to stupid or careless to know their own policies, or these women forced to remove prosthetic breasts, or this woman forced to expose her gastric tube to gawking polyster-clad subnormals, or this rape survivor cupped and groped and probed by TSA “professionals,” or this woman told to remove her nipple rings, or any of these women. I’m pretty sure they aren’t critics of the TSA because of some sort of surge of testosterone.

And yet I’m being unfair — to the women. Women don’t just criticize the TSA because some of them are getting groped and harassed and abused. Women, as much as men, love liberty. Women, like men, love America. Women love America, and they’re skeptical if the proposition that, if America is in such grave danger that we must surrender rights to save it, we should be surrendering rights to the sort of people who get recruited by ads on pizza boxes.

He quotes (and I quote in the comments) TSA quisling and official propagandist Blogger Bob (Bob [Curtis] Burns) on the TSA workers (referring to my blogging their names):

also consider the privacy of the individuals involved.

I commented:

Why should a government worker, searching a citizen’s body sans probable cause, be allowed to remain anonymous?

This is not the same thing as posting the name of some citizen who works at Cinnabon and exposing them for their fat keister.

But, yet, they have been allowed to remain anonymous by wearing their badges upside down, though this should not be the case, per an email I found from TSA Press Rep Nico Melendez, who is now refusing to give me answers and essentially telling me to shove it (up some complaint phone line).

If complaint phone lines did anything, or complaint lines in general, after 17,000 complaints about the TSA, something would have changed. All that seems to have changed is that the TSA thugs now touch my hair and inside my turtleneck as if I could have a big charge of C4 in there.

And regarding Stewart Baker, Pete, in the comments at Popehat, writes:

Note that Stewart Baker spent 3½ years at the Department of Homeland Security as its first Assistant Secretary for Policy. This sexually frustrated nut job is not just a defender of the TSA, but an author of TSA policy:

http://www.steptoe.com/professionals-762.html

And a right-on comment at Volokh from William Oliver:

It’s not surprising that someone who doesn’t believe that people deserve privacy or its associated dignity doesn’t understand why people who do believe become concerned with TSA’s disdain for it. I have found that folk who don’t believe that the hoi polloi deserve these things hold commoners in such contempt that they think that sugar-coating their disdain will fool us. It doesn’t.

The problem is not whether to put your shoes on the belt or in a bin. It’s degrading people with colostomies. It’s drenching people with catheters in their own urine. It’s sexually assaulting children. It’s exposing young women’s breasts for ogling. It’s selectively choosing attractive women for pat downs. It’s engaging in high tech voyeurism. It’s theiving from passengers. It’s actively intimidating and degrading people who object to it.

But then, what should one expect from an agency whose motto is “Dominate. Intimidate. Control.”

A “privacy sceptic” is just a “liberty sceptic” who lives inside the beltway. I don’t think you “fail to grasp” the intrusion on our freedom. I think you just don’t care.

Not surprisingly, Mr. Baker is no fan of free speech, threatening to remove comments containing a word I used in my anti-TSA op-ed — “sheeple” — which correctly describes those who politely and docilely concede their Fourth Amendment right to not be searched without probable cause. A note below his post:

NOTE: Comments explaining that TSA is an intolerable intrusion on our freedoms that the rest of the country simply fails to grasp are inevitable, but those using the word “sheeple” or linking to stories from PrisonPlanet may be removed, or mocked.

Should we really “mock” people who seek to defend our civil liberties?

Two more posts on Baker’s post by Scott Greenfield and Mark Bennett.

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