Is this what they mean by "job opportunities"?

Watching the video of a small boy being strip-searched made me very angry this morning. I was already angry at the TSA, though, as I had just finished reading in the Sunday paper about the indignities meted out to a man suffering from bladder cancer whose urostomy bag was forced open by TSA man handlers, soaking the poor guy in his own urine.

On top of that, I then read that if you balk at such procedures, you will be arrested and charged with crimes.

Nice Sunday-before-Thanksgiving reading.

Again, I have to keep reminding myself that this is the United States of America where these things are happening.

We are supposed to be thankful that we live in a free country, right?

Forgive my cognitive disconnect and my cynicism. In fairness to the TSA, it has to be pointed out that some of them are human beings and decent citizens, and they don't like doing these things to their fellow human beings. Here's what some of them are saying:

"It is not comfortable to come to work knowing full well that my hands will be feeling another man's private parts, their butt, their inner thigh. Even worse is having to try and feel inside the flab rolls of obese passengers and we seem to get a lot of obese passengers!"
"Molester, pervert, disgusting, an embarrassment, creep. These are all words I have heard today at work describing me, said in my presence as I patted passengers down. These comments are painful and demoralizing, one day is bad enough, but I have to come back tomorrow, the next day and the day after that to keep hearing these comments. If something doesn't change in the next two weeks I don't know how much longer I can withstand this taunting. I go home and I cry. I am serving my country, I should not have to go home and cry after a day of honorably serving my country."
I'd feel the same way, and I guess knowing that there are real human beings in the TSA who "Absolutely Hate New Pat Downs, Find Them Disgusting And Morale Breaking" is something to be thankful for.

As slavery is illegal, no one absolutely one has to do what he hates, so the decent citizens in the TSA can be expected to quit their jobs.

But who do you think will replace them? Obviously, people who have no problem with strip-searching little boys, bursting urostomy bags (I suppose colostomy bags will be next), and arresting non-compliant citizens while sadistically frog-marching them through airports in their underwear.

What kind of person would want do these things?

We all know that there are psychopathic creeps and weird sadists who live among us, but there's something about the government creating a perfect job opportunity for them that rankles me. I realize that America is supposed to be the land of opportunity and all that, and it's logical to assume that might be a sort of market for weird psychopathic voyeur sadists as long as there are people who are into that sort thing and are willing to pay to have it done to them.

But these job opportunities for sexual sadists constitute an artificial market, created by government bureaucrats unaccountable even to Congress. And the people who have to pay the sickos who want to do this to them are not willing masochistic consumers who freely enter some S&M house of pleasure, but just ordinary taxpayers -- many of whom don't want to travel on planes, but have to -- some in order to make a living, others because they have to see a dying relative. They are not willing and consenting participants in the full sense, and none of them consent to letting some psychopath get his jollies at their expense. It is as unfair to make them pay their tormentors as it would be to make a rape victim pay her rapist.

Who would feel thankful about that?

I am reminded of a classic line from "A Clockwork Orange":

A job for two, who are now of job age, the police!


It can't happen here of course.

posted by Eric on 11.21.10 at 11:17 AM


Not that theres a lack of examples but this is becoming one of the best ever. Created by the republicans, now democrats are doubling-down on it. A fine example of teamwork.

Doug   ·  November 21, 2010 11:45 AM

If I ever have to fly again, rest assured I'll be 'going commando' so these fast-food chain drop-out so-called screeners can experience the 'real thing'. Everyone else should, too.

Brooks   ·  November 21, 2010 1:01 PM

The way they're doubling down and telling us to shut up because they're making us safe (don't you want to be safe?) is unbelievable.

These days have been a long time coming, when the gov't believes we're subjects not citizens.

I really wonder if something is going to happen this week when the lines are long and tempers are frayed, on both sides.
You know these under-trained, otherwise unemployable napoleons will overreact and sooner or later it's gonna happen where there's just the wrong mix of large crowds, impatience and frustrated anger and the chit's gonna hit the fan as La Guardia is closed due to rioting.

For the first time in many years I will be going "home" for Thanksgiving.
I am so not looking forward to it and this is why I never do it anymore.

Veeshir   ·  November 21, 2010 3:47 PM

At the risk of raising the Godwin's Law flag, how is this different than Himmler's thugs? It is totalitarian.
If we let them get away with this, anything goes. This is not some accident, but is deliberate humiliation and a breach of civilized behavior.

They are preparing us for much worse. It is time to resist. NOW - NOT SOME GODDAMNED TIME IN THE FUTURE. ENOUGH!

Frank   ·  November 21, 2010 5:31 PM

From Claire Wolfe's blog at Backwoods Home:

"Manson bent — and the TSA bends — individuals to their will in part by violating sexual boundaries — by stripping away morality, modesty, and personal judgment and replacing those self-driven characteristics with mere obedience. In Manson’s case, he turned “nice” young women into killers. The TSA aims lower; it wants only harmless drones."

I love the comparison of Charles Manson to the TSA.

Her site is:

Frank   ·  November 21, 2010 5:46 PM


I grew up post WW2 and TV (when we got one) featured lots of WW2 films about how evil the Nazis were. The TSA could have had a starring role in such movies.

M. Simon   ·  November 21, 2010 6:34 PM


The tearing away of sexual boundaries works best with abused children looking for a "nice daddy" or a "nice mommy".

M. Simon   ·  November 21, 2010 6:36 PM

The 2 weeks that I investigated for Scapegoat made me relive those old Nazi movies you talk about. Yes, I remember them on local TV in the 1950's. It was not a pleasant experience going over the horrors of the Holocaust. In fact, reviewing the archives at the museum site brought me to tears.

This crap by the TSA is so reminiscent of the degrading start of that long ago nightmare. This must NOT proceed. I don't know if a spark will set off a reaction, or if people will just comply like the Jews did. Either way, I'm finding it hard to believe this is happening. And the TSA is pushing back. Who are these people?

Frank   ·  November 21, 2010 9:59 PM


The trouble is: the people gave up their protections against contraband searches to "win" the drug war.

The legal protections are gone. See my latest:

M. Simon   ·  November 21, 2010 10:23 PM

The legal protections are gone. See my latest:

This is different in that everyone, not just a suspect of criminal activity, is now being subjected to what you rightly define as loss of 4th Amendment rights.

I'm with you 100% on the drug war, and there may be some chickens coming home to roost for people who've looked the other way while rights were trampled in the drug war, but this is a whole new level. We may not like the drug laws, but they at least define what is criminal activity. In this case, there is no defined crime, just the open, blatant, use of force by government agents against unarmed, innocent civilians. And the numbers subjected to this will be in the millions. I must believe that we are being set up for something. They must know that not everyone will willingly submit, and not everyone will simply opt out of traveling by air. So?

Like any other government, ours uses extreme force to set an example. When the Symbionese Liberation Army was burned up in the house in LA, THAT was a message. When the Branch Dividians were likewise burned up in their Mt.Carmel compound, THAT was a message.
And having government agents accost and grope innocent air travelers, not backing down after complaints & the beginnings of a boycott, THAT is a message.

The message:

If they are allowed to get away with this, the next step will be an expansion. It's either stopped now, or we are fucked.

Frank   ·  November 21, 2010 11:01 PM

One other thing to remember: turn potential enemies into allies. *Most* TSA inspectors (based on TSA inspector I've known for awhile) *detest* having to do these sorts of searches. Should ever you be subject to one, say something sympathetic: "I'm sorry you're being forced to do this to keep your job. I'll be voting Republican next election and hope that it'll change."

Yes, there are a few TSA inspector perverts, but most are very happy to have found a job in these times, and don't like the crotch-feeling BS any more than we do. If each reader can change a couple of votes over the year, it will help.

CBI   ·  November 21, 2010 11:04 PM

Also, I don't think it's an accident this is going on before the next congress is seated.

Frank   ·  November 21, 2010 11:05 PM

Frank, next you'll be telling me it is no accident that they're rushing through a bill giving the government unprecedented power to shut down web sites and ISPs without due process!


Eric Scheie   ·  November 21, 2010 11:11 PM

Yes, indeed!

Frank   ·  November 21, 2010 11:28 PM

CBI, you make a good point. But from the looks of these agents in the videos, spreading a few good words would be a waste. They've got their backs up. The process is degrading, and the only good agents will be those who refuse to do it, get fired, or quit.

Frank   ·  November 22, 2010 12:04 AM

It would be nice to see a massive public consensus emerge that it is at last time to draw a line.

Eric Scheie   ·  November 22, 2010 12:45 AM


Where was the line when they were doing this to dopers?

M. Simon   ·  November 22, 2010 2:20 AM

A quote from Frederick Douglass:

"Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress."

Frank   ·  November 22, 2010 8:12 AM

"It can't happen here of course."

Uh . . .


But it already has.

jb   ·  November 23, 2010 10:59 AM

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