We Welcome All Lively Debate.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Why Norah O'Donnell is an Idiot

So apparently now CAIR wants an exemption for Muslim women wearing Hijabs to be patted down on the neck and head only.  So let me get this straight.  After 9 years of bitching about being treated differently, they want to be treated differently.  You know, all air travelers are being exposed to invasive procedures by TSA, but we should give Muslim women a soft pat down on the head and neck.  Literally the only 2 places one cannot hide a bomb (except the nose bomber that was on Pan Am flight 12957 that blew up over northwestern Latvia).  

Look, nobody likes being felt up, having nudie photos taken of them, or other such inspections done by TSA employees that have a collective IQ of 12.  But air travel remains the quickest form of travel, and therefore the most sought after target for man made disaster doers.  Now that's not my fault, but I'll gladly deal with it if it gets me from A to B.  I know it's tired and overused, but if you've got nothing to hide, why are you against it?  Admittedly the biggest issue is where you draw the line on civil liberties. But ever since radical Muslims weaponized our airline industry, I think we should all agree the line is somewhere past a TSA employee copping a feel.

I like to travel, and as of this post's writing, I can get to LA faster by plane than my 2003 Volkswagen Jetta.  But it seems like lately, terrorists don't even want to blow themselves up on our planes.  They're just shipping suspicious packages on our flights.  What the hell, at least when they were on the plane I could do an ocular pat down and assess the situation.  I doubt they'll even let me in the cargo of the plane to sift through other people's luggage.  Mark my words, the first time they succeed, the airline industry will be permanently crippled - but according to Mark Penn at least people will like Obama again (kidding, I don't actually think that's what Penn meant).

What's the solution to all this?  I don't really know - we're pretty much screwed if they can remotely detonate explosives on airplanes.  But I do know how we can combat suspicious people: profiling.  We all do it anyway, lord knows Juan Williams does.  An its not a racial thing, it's the same feelings everyone has had since 9/11.  You may chose to say you don't think that way. But you do.  And that's ok.  You can't tell if someone is a radical Muslim just by looking at them, so you look at all of them.  But I'm not suggesting we stop at profiling Muslims.  We should be profiling all strange behavior.  If a group of sorority sisters are wearing hooded sweatshirts and frantically checking their watches while sitting in an airport in Ecuador, I think someone should report them.

I know some people probably think that the above is a lie - I really want to just profile Muslims, but if I say all people it sounds better.  But it seems like that's really just your bigotry, implying that only Muslims would be suspicious, and no dumb blonde with her father's AMEX would act suspiciously (I apologize for stereotyping all sorority girls as dumb blondes).  The truth is people do weird things for perfectly logical reasons all the time.  Maybe those sorority sisters were flying from Ecuador on spring break back to Iceland (I'm blindly assuming Iceland is cold all the time, despite what D2: The Mighty Ducks taught me), and that's why they had sweatshirts on.  But I'd rather look like an idiot than the alternative.  

I suppose all of this could just be fearmongering, but isn't it amazing that it only took 9 years (and let's face it, these sentiments from the left came way before now) for some Americans to become completely desensitized to 9/11?  And it's not like we haven't had some friendly reminders along the way.  See also: Spain, London, Christmas of '09, Fort Hood, Times Square just to name a few.  I don't think the terrorists have forgotten about us.

You remember that quote your coach used to say to you in any sport - I'll paraphrase cause I don't want to look the quote up.  Every time you aren't training, someone else out there is.  And when you face that person, he will beat you.  I feel like the War on Terror is the same thing.  Only there are lots of someones holed up in a mountainside of Pakistan with unlimited funds, a crapload of patience, and a lot of weapons.  Oh, and "beat" in this context means "kill."


  1. Wow, Murph. Once again I totally disagree with you.

    Either we take our civil liberties and our rights seriously, treating them as a natural part of our very humanity, or we treat them as certain perks our benevolent government so graciously deems to give us. There is no middle ground with something so precious, even with terrorism. Just because terrorists are using all sorts of means to murder innocent people does not mean we treat and abuse all people as suspects. We have the technology and the common decency to root out terrorists in a manner which respects liberty and the rule of law. The "if you've got nothing to hide" attitude is not the attitude of a free society. It is one of a society motivated by fear, a society which has already surrendered to terror, where people are willing to be abused and mistreated like women in abusive relationships just because even with such treatment they feel "safe".

    The other reality is that these procedures don't do anything to make anybody safer. Terrorists know that they are happening and they find other means around them. It is merely an outward display from a government which does not have a healthy fear of its citizens trying to look competent. As somebody who flies back often across the Atlantic, I can tell you the TSA and US Customs are anything but trained and capable of doing their job. When a customs agent monitoring a flight from Frankfurt has no idea what Deutschland means on my residence permit, or even that my residence permit is supposed to be in my passport and is not in fact a defacing of it, we have a problem. Terrorist attacks happen because these idiots are incompetent to do their jobs. Oftentimes, it is the passengers or simple mail workers who stop the attacks from happening. It also wouldn't hurt to have armed agents or private security on flights, or even bomb-sniffing dogs, but the government won't allow those either. I suspect it's because it will show just how utterly incompetent the government is, and they don't want that getting out.

    The other issue here is the simple rule of law. TSA and Customs agents are civilians, just like police and the rest of us. Even if they were military, the rule of law would still apply to them. Can you snap nude images of people without their consent? Can you go up to a woman on the street and feel up under her breasts, or grab a child's buttocks? Can you detain them if they refuse on the grounds you just wanted to make sure the rest of us were safe from any potential harm those persons might have been concealing without any evidence at all to do any of it? No, you would be arrested and sent to jail. You would then have to register as a sex offender, not only because what you did is indecent to do to people but because it is downright illegal to violate persons in such a manner. What makes it suddenly okay for these jackasses to do it? Because a woman who has no idea how to do her job wants to look good and doesn't care what decency or civil right she violates to do it gave some surly employee special permission and a few bucks above minimum wage as an extra incentive? Either these laws apply to everybody consistently or they do not. The TSA guidelines do not pass muster with me, and I can't really object to Muslim women having a problem with strange men feeling them up.

  2. And if we're at the point the rule of law is not consistent and our rights are just arbitrary government perks, then let's at least stop pretending we're the freest country in the world and finally admit the terrorists succeeded at making us just as paranoid and miserable as we helped make the nations they came from.

    And yes, I don't mind doing a guest post. Just get in touch with me.

  3. Two things I have to take exception to. 1. The Video Voyeurism Protection Act only prevents unconsented nude photos when the subject has an expectation of privacy. Everyone knows they might be patted down at an airport, thus no expectation of privacy. 2. Government officials like the TSA can grope and pat down without it being criminal because it is privilaged contact pursuant to official duties. Just think, if we get rid of these procedures, terrorists won't even have to be creative, they can just waltz right into a terminal and start blowing shit up.

  4. Okay okay, I said this was going to be difficult from a civil liberties perspective. But what's the alternative? Civilian casualties that would no doubt result from a lack of security procedures would not be war casualities - I for one did not sign up to die because my government wouldn't do everything it could to protect me. So yes, I value civil liberties, but to a point.

    But what is this technology you speak of? And if it exists, why haven't we employed it? If your assumption is that we do employ it, then why the need for invasive TSA procedures? There has to be a reason. Right? And if the technology is employed, there sure seem to be a lot of gaps - there have been at least two confirmed reports of bombs getting on flights, and a multitude of other questionable packages either seen as dry runs, or otherwise raised suspicion. That has to mean something.

    The "if you have nothing to hide" attitude is one that an innocent person represents. Because the person has nothing to hide. And you don't think we have surrendered to terror? We have a media that reeks of Islamophobia rather than express their opinion, women go into hiding because they conceited the "draw Mohammed" cartoon - fear of Islam drives 40% of our actions as a society.

    How do these screenings no make us safer? We have CIA reports that indicate the next attack will be a result of concealed weapons hidden on one's person. Either an explosive shoved up their ass, hidden within their garments, or hell, why not disguised as an old person (apparently that works now a days).

    I think the only point we agree on is that the TSA, and other such agencies, do not exactly wield competence. And the issue of that, as alluded to before, is that we don't pay them enough. You want to talk about really valuing civil liberties? Let's pay the people that protect our lives top dollar. But it will never happen.

    I can really objected to Muslim women having a problem. And here's why. It's not targeted towards Muslim women. They are apparently willing to allow some invasive searching. Just not as much as everyone else. The only logical conclusion is because they intend to conceal something. Let's be honest, as I said in my post. Nobody likes these procedures. I'm just shocked to hear someone would actually object to them in the defense of civil liberties - which I vaguely remember reading an article about a Muslim cleric saying was the reason that would bring about America's demise.

  5. But there is that word again, privileged. We have certain "privileged" civilians doing this as their government job because the government has allowed them to do it. Where do we draw the line, and where does it stop?

    And there is most certainly an expectation of privacy for private citizens everywhere they are, particularly because the only evidence they may be terrorists is the fact they simply want to catch a flight. That isn't evidence of any possible wrongdoing at all. It doesn't matter what our new laws say. All citizens have the expectation to privacy unless it can be demonstrated there is serious cause to search their persons directly, and even then it has to be done by the books. Once again, these are civilians doing the searching of other civilians. If police officers can't grope during a pat down because it violates privacy, then neither can the TSA. There is no special exemption here. If a customs agent asks me what I was doing in Europe, I am perfectly within my rights to tell him it's none of his business. He may not like that response and he may want to detain me for it, but the simple fact of the matter is that I am a private citizen and no other private citizen may detain me because I refuse to give up that kind of information. This applies even when he's just doing his duty. Refusing to give up such information is neither evidence of a crime being committed or grounds to even suspect it. Just because they ask questions doesn't mean it is legal to ask them under such penalties. There is a line, and in America it has been crossed.

    Once again, even with these procedures in place terrorists still walk right onto airplanes. In the last few years the TSA has failed miserably to do anything about it. It was passengers who stopped the attacks. So no, based on job performance these procedures do not make us safer.

    And yes, I do believe we have surrendered to terrorism. Not only are we petrified of Islam, an Islam that we helped for decades to create mind you, but we are so afraid of what Muslims could do to us we have sacrificed the principles of a free society just so we can feel "safe". The "nothing to hide" argument is not the hallmark of an innocent person or a healthy society. It is the hallmark of a paranoid coward who no longer believes in simple decency or the hallmark of a person who simply wants power over others and will exploit any crisis to do it. If I want to be constantly suspected of criminal activity and have government officials show zero respect for my privacy while they investigate me, I'll move to an Islamic nation or a banana republic.

    I also wouldn't trust an Islamic perspective on what will bring about America's demise or even trust that kind of fear-mongering propaganda. They study our political culture more so than we do, and they know what makes us shake. I'm not phased by any of it. If anything America will collapse because of paranoia over what he said and what it tries to do about it, not by remaining faithful to its values.

    And as I said before, there are other means to successfully screen out terrorism which we do not employ at all. I question why we go this route, and I do suspect it's a combination of incompetence and a government gone wild.

  6. You need to also remember that Islam is more of a political system than it is an actual religion as somebody in the West would imagine one. Terrorism from Islamofascism is not about "hating us for our freedoms" the way Sean Hannity and others would have us believe. We're just sort of "in the way" and it's because we put ourselves in the way. We really gave them a perfect opportunity, and it's no surprise they took advantage of it.

    First, they hate us for messing up their shit for decades. We have threatened the heart of their belief system from Iran to Saudia Arabia to the banana republics of Africa, and that's not a particularly good idea when Islam doesn't exactly inspire people to sanity or civil behavior.

    It is also about establishing Islam as a political system over all the world, something they have previously not been able to do for centuries because most Muslims had no big bad to fight against. One of the roadblocks to doing that, however, is Western liberty and respect for individual rights. They want to destroy our way of life because it makes it easier for them to spread Islam, and the way America is reacting their plan is working rather well. For less than a 100 million they will most likely topple the world's most formidable superpower. For trillions trying to stop them we will be a bankrupt, paranoid police state and we won't be able to do anything about it as they spread throughout Europe and Africa and push further into Asia.

    If you want to understand the mindpoint of Islam today, look no further than Nazism. It is about the glory of the Islamic State, not the worship of Allah, though that is a guise to keep people happy. Hiter is revered throughout the Islamic world, and students there even read Mein Kampf in school. Hiter even saw Muslims as great allies because they thought the same way about the State and its relationship to its citizens.

  7. You would be amazed at how narrowly the courts construe an expectation of privacy. For instance, the 9th circuit just ruled you have no expectation of privacy that your car is not being monitored while using public roads. And I'm well aware of the creping Islam that is trying to enter our political system. It's why Oklahoma had a ballot initiative saying Sharia law would not be used in their courts.

  8. I am amazed at how narrowly the courts are interpreting it. Although it doesn't surprise me the courts will vote to protect the interests of the government, I am amazed that this happens with little outcry. As I've said before, the fact most Americans simply don't care tells me the States is not worth saving at this point.

    And OK's ballot initiative was a joke.

  9. I also noticed you don't really try to counter my arguments. You just say what the courts are doing, or what laws were passed to strip people of their rights. It tells me you don't really agree with it, either.

    And Islam is not concerned with our political system nor is it concerned with turning America into an Islamic State. It just wants us out of the way, and we make it very easy for them to do that. Not only do our policies do the recruiting work for them, our reactions to terrorism are going to collapse our system and make it easy for them to bring Europe and their former claims in Asia into the Dar al-Islam. They aren't concerned with Islam in America yet because the climate isn't right. Broken and fearful societies convert easily because Islam promises them order and security in an uncertain world, and that's been Islamist strategy for centuries.

    Alone I have more foreign policy and real-world experience than most of the people trying to "protect" you, and not just because I've spent some time in the big wide world. It's amazing what you learn and how Muslims open up to you when you speak a little Arabic.

    And I know there is an alternative because I've seen how other nations deal with it. In Europe and Asia I have never once been poked or prodded, treated discourteously, or encountered an incompetent security officer. Germans confuse me for a Muslim all the time, and I have never once been mistreated by German immigration for it.

  10. I don't think there's a huge disagreement here. And my larger point is being missed for the sake of arguing about civil liberties, a point which I acknowledged in my original post.

    My intention with the post was to articulate the complacency many in the US have taken towards future terrorist attacks. This, along with our civil liberties are viewed as weaknesses and vulnerable points to attack. Thomas Friedman said, after 9/11 that the attacks weren't a result of intelligence failure, but a failure of creativity. To a large degree, that is true.

    "We do believe as Muslims that the east and the west will one day be governed by the Sharia. Indeed we believe that one day the flag of Islam will fly over the White House." - Anjem Choudary. I'm sure I'm taking that out of context though...

    To your point that there is an alternative. Amsterdam has recently been at the route of potential acts of terror. Your assumption are that things are working because nothing has happened (you've yet to point out what is different about these other countries, just that it's different). Since 9/11 nothing has happened on any US flights. Wouldn't that, by your mindset, imply that the invasive system in the US also works?

  11. No, it does not. As I've mentioned before, these attacks were stopped by passengers and not security agents. This also doesn't surprise me. When it comes to security, passengers have a bigger stake in the game than a TSA agent. What I am saying, is that Europe is not nearly as invasive in its policies nor is Asia. While I don't think their security is any better, with the exception of Germany and Singapore, I am saying it does respect people's liberties and rights by other means. What we have in America does neither, nor does it keep us safe. It's a sad day when Europeans seem to understand that better than we do.

    I also don't doubt Anjem Choudary is being insincere, but you're misunderstanding the motive. They don't want Sharia in the USA yet, because it wouldn't be possible to do it. They want us out of the way until we are ripe for conquest. We are doing their job for them.

    The only hope I have for the West are cases like the link I posted above. I'd also find it highly amusing if the TSA upped the stakes and passengers started groping back. Nothing says "NO" like an old-fashioned c*nt punt.