Saturday: Solidarity, SisterhoodPosted: March 12, 2011 Filed under: Economy, Hillary Clinton: Her Campaign for All of Us, morning reads, Women's Rights | Tags: 2012, 8.9 quake in Japan, bees, Bernie Sanders, Bradley Manning, civil liberties, collective bargaining, FDR, Joan Baez, Liberalism, Phil Ochs, Rep. King "hearings" on "radical Islam", US State Department, Wisconsin, womancession, Women's and children's health 74 Comments
Grab your morning brew, and let’s go!
- It’s farmer-labor day today at the WI Capitol building, starting at noon, complete with a “tractorcade.”
- Next, a piece I treasure. Plain Talk: Squandering 100 years of progress, by Dave Zweifel. Please take the time to click over and read this one sometime over the weekend if you can.
- Guess who is going to Egypt and Tunisia next week. In her FY 2012 budget request before Congress on Thursday, Hillary announced she will be meeting with transitional leaders in both Tunis and Cairo as well as with Libyan opposition while she’s in the region. For the new Arab world that is emerging to be new at all, women cannot be left behind. Who better to put that world on notice than Hillary Rodham Clinton?
(second link will take you to an AFP report on Hillary’s remarks at Friday’s Women in the World conference in NY. See also her remarks at the 2011 Women of Courage event for more.)
- This week–on International Women’s day no less–our advocate-in-chief helped to launch a Global Partnership on Maternal and Child Health, bringing a long-neglected development goal further out of the shadows. Brava, Madam Secretary!
(see also Hillary’s 100 Women Initiative. If you don’t know what it is, click and find out.)
- From Politico’s quotes of the week: “Her Excellency, Madam President… I love saying that.”
— Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, introducing the president of Kyrgyzstan at a State Department event.
- Hillary and Julia from their bilateral on Tuesday.
- If you’re a Hillary fan who can’t get enough of all things Hill and missed my essays from earlier this week, knock yourself out. One is the mischievously titled Hillary: Warmonger and the other is Women, Workers, and The Sisterhood.
- My response to Rand Paul’s hypocritical libertarian rant on “choice” (choice of toilet, that is). Shorter Wonk: I hope Rand has a working garbage disposal, because he sure talks a lot of trash.
- See here for RH Reality Check’s exhaustive coverage of the latest developments from yesterday. Also, Minkoff Minx wrote to her Georgia state representative, Stephen Allison (R-8) and received a letter from Rep. Allison that you might find of interest. Scroll to the end of the post to see it.
- My $0.02 on Allison’s response: The excuse that the most draconian of these bills will never pass is baloney. The rise of mini-Stupaks in states across the country has built up a momentum in the war against women, and that momentum is helping to get other horrible versions of these bills passed. Furthermore, the preponderance of such nonsense legislation clearly indicates a concerted effort to use women and their civil rights as a tool of division and distraction from the economy, degrading those rights in the process and blocking unfettered access to reproductive healthcare for women–all women. The rich will get their safe abortions on demand one way or another, and we all know it.
Tired of hearing about Charlie Sheen?
- Here’s the fix. At least on the Internet.
- Bernie Sanders introduces The Emergency Deficit Reduction Act. Sanders’ press release says the bill would a) create a 5.4% surtax on millionaires, yielding up to $50 billion annually for the US Treasury, and b) end tax breaks for Big Oil, yielding about $3.5 billion a year in new revenue. Thank you, Bernie Sanders!
- Krugman: Dumbing Deficits Down
- BBC News Magazine: Are call centres the factories of the 21st Century?
- Womancession/nifty graph pick of the week: Women Lead in Unpaid Work. Click graph for more info.
US Politics: 2012
- Nate Silver/NYT: Wisconsin Dispute Could Mobilize Democratic Base
- Andrew Leonard/Salon: Do rising gas prices spell doom for Obama?
- US News & World Report says wedge issues are back just in time for the 2012 electoral cycle. In other news… Water? Yep, wet as ever. (When did wedge issues ever leave?)
- Here’s a derivative piece if ever there was one… Cameron Lynch says Barack Obama is the “Surprisingly Silent President.” This echoes Ruth Marcus last week suddenly discovering that Obama is the “Where’s Waldo” president. Obama told America who he was from 2004 to 2008. The
creativeclueless class was too busy chattering away and creating “a different kind of politician” narrative to take note that Obama was telegraphing very clearly that he would make an indifferent kind of president.
- Have you read Glenn Greenwald’s takedown of the NYT editors and Andrew Sullivan yet? Glenzilla exposes the hypocrisy of their “Bush-tortured” defenses for Obama’s indefinite detention.
- Amnesty International petition to Secretary Gates and President Obama: End the punitive detention of Bradley Manning
- This next one is an amazing development. Via Laura Rozen over at her new Yahoo digs, The Envoy — Reporter: State Department official raps Pentagon treatment of Manning as “counterproductive and stupid.” We’re talking about PJ Crowley over at Hillary Clinton’s state department, y’all. He told that to veteran BBC reporter Philippa Thomas without thinking twice. Thomas blogged about it here.
- Required Reading for all Liberals: Lynn Parramore’s Torture: The Movie (via New Deal 2.0) and Margaret Kimberly’s Peace Prize Torture (via Black Agenda Report).
- Adam Serwer (via the American Prospect) has an important read up that puts it all in perspective… Good Cop, Bad Cop: “On counterterrorism, the only difference between Republicans and Obama is rhetorical.”
Disaster in Japan and Elsewhere
- Foreign Policy’s The Cable: Crowley deleted tweet comparing Middle East ‘tsunami’ to Japan crisis.
(Also, Crowley confirmed his comments about Manning to The Cable:”What I said was my personal opinion. It does not reflect an official USG policy position. I defer to the Department of Defense regarding the treatment of Bradley Manning.”)
- See the NYT’s photojournalism blog — Lens — for dramatic shots of the devastation from the 8.9 quake and tsunami in Japan, as well as other harrowing pictures from around the world yesterday, that tell the story of tragedy and strife.
- “The way humanity manages or mismanages its nature-based assets, including pollinators, will in part define our collective future in the 21st century. Human beings have fabricated the illusion that in the 21st century they have the technological prowess to be independent of nature. Bees underline the reality that we are more, not less dependent on nature’s services in a world of close to seven billion people.”
–Achim Steiner, the executive director of UN Environment Programme
This Day in History (March 12)
- First fireside chat: “It is your problem no less than it is mine. Together we cannot fail.” –FDR, 1933 (even FDR sounds like he’s saying Solidarity forever!)
What Kind of Liberal are You?
- Take the quiz. I’m a “Working Class Warrior.” How about you?
- I mostly linked to this silly quiz so I could share this priceless bumper sticker quote from the first question: “May the fetus you save be gay.”
Song of Protest for Saturday
Extra verse added to the PPM version: “Show me the famine, show me the frail, eyes with no future that show how we failed, and I’ll show you the children with so many reasons why there but for fortune, go you or I.”
- Also see Phil Ochs: There But For Fortune, and check for a screening near you.
I’m turning the Saturday reads over to you in the comments… Take the quiz and let us know how you score, share a song, link us to what’s on your blogging list this weekend…and have a great day!
[originally posted at Let Them Listen; crossposted at Taylor Marsh and Liberal Rapture]
Finally! Public Outrage Builds Against TSA Abuse of PowerPosted: November 16, 2010 Filed under: Human Rights, Surreality | Tags: abuse of power, Catch-22, civil liberties, Hobson's choice, Kafkaesque, naked body scanners, TSA, violation of privacy, War on Terror 109 Comments
Thanks to John Tyner, an ordinary citizen from Oceanside, CA, who just wanted to enjoy a little pheasant hunting in South Dakota last weekend, the media spotlight is now on the TSA and its employees, some of whom are apparently power-mad and abusive to the travelers they are supposed to be protecting.
I’m sure you’ve heard about Tyner by now. He’s the man who refused a naked body scan at San Diego Airport, and then refused to be manhandled by TSA employees using their new security procedure, the “resolution pat-down,”
which requires TSA agents to grasp the body of the subject more firmly when running hands over limbs and also requires probing up to the genital areas of the body.
Tyner had the presence of mind to capture video of his encounter with the TSA, and he later posted the videos on you tube and on his blog, where he also described his experience in detail. Here’s an exerpt:
A male agent…directed me over to the far corner of the area for screening….he turned to me and began to explain that he was going to do a “standard” pat down. (I thought to myself, “great, not one of those gropings like I’ve been reading about”.) After he described, the pat down, I realized that he intended to touch my groin. After he finished his description but before he started the pat down, I looked him straight in the eye and said, “if you touch my junk, I’ll have you arrested.” He, a bit taken aback, informed me that he would have to involve his supervisor because of my comment.
We both stood there for no more than probably two minutes before a female TSA agent (apparently, the supervisor) arrived. She described to me that because I had opted out of the backscatter screening, I would now be patted down, and that involved running hands up the inside of my legs until they felt my groin. I stated that I would not allow myself to be subject to a molestation as a condition of getting on my flight. The supervisor informed me that it was a standard administrative security check and that they were authorized to do it. I repeated that I felt what they were doing was a sexual assault, and that if they were anyone but the government, the act would be illegal. I believe that I was then informed that if I did not submit to the inspection, I would not be getting on my flight. I again stated that I thought the search was illegal. I told her that I would be willing to submit to a walk through the metal detector as over 80% of the rest of the people were doing, but I would not be groped. The supervisor, then offered to go get her supervisor.
The upshot of all this was that Tyner was escorted out of the security area by a police officer and then after more consultations with supervisors, managed to get a refund on his ticket.
At this point, I thought it was all over. I began to make my way to the stairs to exit the airport, when I was approached by another man in slacks and a sport coat. He was accompanied by the officer that had escorted me to the ticketing area and Mr. Silva. He informed me that I could not leave the airport. He said that once I start the screening in the secure area, I could not leave until it was completed. Having left the area, he stated, I would be subject to a civil suit and a $10,000 fine. I asked him if he was also going to fine the 6 TSA agents and the local police officer who escorted me from the secure area. After all, I did exactly what I was told. He said that they didn’t know the rules, and that he would deal with them later. They would not be subject to civil penalties.
You get the idea. Tyner’s experience was Kafkaesque. The behavior of TSA and Airline employees was reminiscent of Joseph Heller’s descriptions of military red tape in Catch-22. Eventually Tyner did escape the airport without being groped, but the TSA isn’t through with him yet.
The TSA plans to “investigate” Tyner because he left the airport without being authorized by TSA to do so.
The Transportation Security Administration has opened an investigation targeting John Tyner, the Oceanside man who left Lindbergh Field under duress on Saturday morning after refusing to undertake a full body scan….
Michael J. Aguilar, chief of the TSA office in San Diego, called a news conference at the airport Monday afternoon to announce the probe. He said the investigation could lead to prosecution and civil penalties of up to $11,000.
TSA agents had told Tyner on Saturday that he could be fined up to $10,000.
“That’s the old fine,” Aguilar said. “It has been increased.”
So that’s it, folks. If you want to fly in the U.S. today, you either have to be photographed naked or you have to submit to a humiliating groping process that involves a stranger’s hands coming into contact with your genitals. That’s a Hobson’s choice if I’ve ever heard one. One way or another, you submit to an embarrassing situation in which you are vulnerable to the whims of strangers who may be drunk with power.
What’s the risk you take with the naked body scans? They expose you to radiation, and that may be dangerous for young children and elderly people. Many people would find the invasion of privacy and modesty embarrassing and humiliating. And how about the fact that some invisible total stranger may be examining your body and perhaps gawking at your body parts or ridiculing you? These scans show the body in detail and seem to highlight the genital area (see photo). Worst of all, although the government claims the naked images are immediately destroyed, that isn’t so clear.
Gizmodo published multiple stories about this issue today. Here’s a very creepy one you might like to take a look at: The TSA’s Sense of Humor Makes Me Nervous The story includes a photograph of a TSA computer with a highly offensive wallpaper image that apparently reflects TSA “humor” (see below)
The technology site also posted a video of 100 leaked naked body scans.
Wait a minute. Those images aren’t supposed to be saved, are they? Riiiiiight.
At the heart of the controversy over “body scanners” is a promise: The images of our naked bodies will never be public. U.S. Marshals in a Florida Federal courthouse saved 35,000 images on their scanner. These are those images.
A Gizmodo investigation has revealed 100 of the photographs saved by the Gen 2 millimeter wave scanner from Brijot Imaging Systems, Inc., obtained by a FOIA request after it was recently revealed that U.S. Marshals operating the machine in the Orlando, Florida courthouse had improperly-perhaps illegally-saved images of the scans of public servants and private citizens.
We understand that it will be controversial to release these photographs. But identifying features have been eliminated. And fortunately for those who walked through the scanner in Florida last year, this mismanaged machine used the less embarrassing imaging technique.
Yet the leaking of these photographs demonstrates the security limitations of not just this particular machine, but millimeter wave and x-ray backscatter body scanners operated by federal employees in our courthouses and by TSA officers in airports across the country. That we can see these images today almost guarantees that others will be seeing similar images in the future. If you’re lucky, it might even be a picture of you or your family.
Finally Gizmodo asks whether the scanners are being put into airports our safety or for the further enrichment of three giant corporations and their lobbyists. The Gizmodo story refers to this story by Timothy P. Carney:
If you’ve seen one of these scanners at an airport, there’s a good chance it was made by L-3 Communications, a major contractor with the Department of Homeland Security. L-3 employs three different lobbying firms including Park Strategies, where former Sen. Al D’Amato, R-N.Y., plumps on the company’s behalf. Back in 1989, President George H.W. Bush appointed D’Amato to the President’s Commission on Aviation Security and Terrorism following the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103. Also on Park’s L-3 account is former Appropriations staffer Kraig Siracuse.
The scanner contract, issued four days after the Christmas Day bomb attempt last year, is worth $165 million to L-3.
Rapiscan got the other naked-scanner contract from the TSA, worth $173 million. Rapiscan’s lobbyists include Susan Carr, a former senior legislative aide to Rep. David Price, D-N.C., chairman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee. When Defense Daily reported on Price’s appropriations bill last winter, the publication noted “Price likes the budget for its emphasis on filling gaps in aviation security, in particular the whole body imaging systems.”
An early TSA contractor for full-body scanners was the American Science and Engineering company. AS&E’s lobbying team is impressive, including Tom Blank, a former deputy administrator for the TSA. Fellow AS&E lobbyist Chad Wolf was an assistant administrator at TSA and an aide to Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, who sits on the Transportation and Defense subcommittees of Appropriations. Finally, Democratic former Rep. Bud Cramer is also an AS&E lobbyist — he sat on the Defense and Transportation subcommittees of the Appropriations Committee.
It always comes down to money, doesn’t it? Personally I haven’t flown since before 9/11, and I am determined never to fly again until this outrageous violation of our privacy and civil liberties ends.