Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Of Sausages, Opera, and the TSA

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Somebody once said that making laws is a lot like making sausage, so we’re better off not watching the process.* But Texas’ bout with a bill to prohibit Leviathan’s lackeys from groping us at airports and elsewhere resembled opera more than sausage-making: the legislation was near passage, then it suddenly died before triumphantly resurrecting, only to limp mutilated and weakened from Texas’ Senate. The House votes on it again today – or never. Will it finally become law? It isn’t over till the fat lady sings.

This bill should have generated no controversy whatever since it simply affirms the Fourth Amendment’s protection from unreasonable search and seizure:

AN ACT

“relating to the offensive touching of persons seeking access to public buildings and transportation; …  (a)  A person commits an offense if the person: …

 “(1)  intentionally or knowingly: as part of a search performed to grant access to a publicly accessible building or form of transportation, intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly:

 “(A)  searches another person without probable cause to believe the person committed an offense; and

 “(B)  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.”

Its sponsor, Rep. David Simpson (R-Longview), translates that for us: “The bill just says you can't touch privates without probable cause.” Indeed, he continues, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has no "’statutory authority for a government agent to touch the breasts, anus, sexual organs, or buttocks of a traveler. So, if there is actually statutory authority consistent with the Constitution, all an agent must do is bring that statute to the attention of the court. In other words, Texas needs to tell the Department of Justice, ‘You show me yours (statutory authority) and I'll show you mine (privates),’ Simpson wrote.” No wonder “this bill was supported unanimously by Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives."

Ah, but not at the national level. Judge the Feds’ perversion and dictatorship by their ruckus over this legislation — a bill whose one and only criticism should be its redundancy of the Fourth Amendment.

Note, too, that Simpson did not propose to abolish the TSA or its molestation. Rather, he merely limited the agency to groping with “probable cause.” (Oh, for a country so free that even this infuriates! Why should government’s goons ever touch our private parts? And what in the heck are said goons doing at the airport in the first place?) But Simpson’s fractional diminution of their power had DC’s despots caterwauling and threatening all manner of reprisals.

“John Murphy, U.S. Attorney for the western district of Texas, wrote a letter to leaders of the Texas state legislature indicating that if the bill is enacted, the TSA would ‘likely be required to cancel any flight … for which it could not ensure the safety of passengers and crew.’"

This is what comes of allowing government to control aviation: we fly only with its permission. Planes from the largest jumbo jet to the smallest Piper Cub take off when the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) says they can since it monopolizes air-traffic control. There are far more efficient ways than the FAA has ever imagined to ensure that the thousands of planes aloft each hour don’t crash into one another, but we’ll never experience them because government relishes nor will relinquish its totalitarian power over our movement.

So the federal threat required nothing as dramatic as shooting rebellious pilots out of the sky. Little grey men in a little grey bureaucracy withholding approval for take-off sufficed.

On the other hand, Houston and DFW are major hubs for American aviation. Grounding aircraft in Texas would have eventually brought every commercial flight in the country to a halt.

Texas should have called Our Rulers’ bluff. But its legislators were too busy kissing butt. As Simpson’s measure died and revived and died and revived again, the craven Speaker of Texas’ House actually worried that “that the bill would make the Legislature a ‘laughingstock’ if it becomes law.”

Tragically, he’s right. Defending victims from sexual assault was once the height of heroism; now the corporate media implies that only wackos object to official fondling. Reporters unilaterally adopt the TSA’s euphemisms so that near rape becomes “enhanced security”; they carefully phrase their discussions of the “pat-down procedure, which many passengers say feels invasive and inappropriate” to hint that we merely perceive it that way. Sophisticates know there’s nothing inherently evil when the State’s minions grope us against our will.

Fine. The corporate media has cheered the State’s atrocities and churned out its propaganda for several centuries now; only quislings and socialists seek its favor.

Bravo to Texas — and the other states considering similar legislation — for defying unspeakably dictatorial and degenerate DC. But it’s unlikely their bills can protect us. The TSA regularly flouts laws, Congress, and public opinion; its very existence violates the Constitution as horrifically as screeners do us. An agency that routinely trashes the Fourth Amendment isn’t likely to honor local statutes.

Which is Reason #9,648,129,953,427 for abolishing the TSA.

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*The quote is sometimes attributed to Otto von Bismarck, but the source is doubtful.

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