All linky, no thinky: special issue on fisking TSA apologists

Just a pair of links for you this time.  First we have Radley Balko tearing The Nation‘s Katrina vanden Heuvel — more specifically, her non-apology for that magazine’s hit piece on libertarians — into tiny quivering pieces.  Rhetorically, of course:

Balko primarily takes issue with this claim from vanden Heuvel:

We have long opposed, and exposed, the continuing encroachments of the national security state, though we also think that those who applauded each sacrifice of liberty for security under the Bush administration should expect to be regarded with skepticism if the presence of a Democrat in the White House suddenly prompts libertarian concerns.

At face value, it seems reasonable; I certainly regard with skepticism those conservatives who turned into small-government libertarians on January 21st, 2009.  But vanden Heuvel targets libertarians specifically, who (as Balko demonstrates in great detail, at length, and with full references) have been ranting and raving about security theatre pretty much since September 12th (and some long before that).  Besides the big names (Reason, the Cato Institute, the Mises Institute, LewRockwell.com) Balko cites, I’ve generated a few dozen frothing rants about airport security and the surveillance state during the Bush 43 presidency.  If I’m supposed to be getting money from the Koch family, well… did I forget to fill out a form or something?  I haven’t seen shit-all.

And about The Nation‘s record of having “long opposed, and exposed, the continuing encroachments of the national security state”:

A search for “TSA” and “Transportation Security Administration” on the The Nation website returns just 16 articles dated 2008 or earlier. Weeding out for glitchy search results and articles where the phrases appear only in reader comments, we’re left with just six stories that substantively address the TSA in some way.

Four of those articles, Balko notes, are in fact rather supportive of the “national security state”.  Two others are mildly critical on civil-liberties grounds.  But all is not lost:

Finally, I could find just one article published by the The Nation during the entire Bush presidency, in its magazine or on its website, that was a broad criticism of the TSA and its effect on civil liberties. That would be this David Jones article from 2003. In the last week alone, The Nation has published three times as many articles attacking the motives of libertarians who have spoken up to defend their civil liberties from TSA.

It’s possible that not all of the magazine’s archives are online, or that the search engine didn’t pick up every example. But hey, I at least made the effort, which is more than we can say for vanden Heuvel. Even if I missed a few, I think my point is made: Libertarians have been out in front on this issue from the start. And contra vanden Heuvel and Ames/Levine, not only was libertarian criticism not muted when a Republican occupied the White House, during that time libertarian journalists, wonks, and pundits did a damned sight better job covering TSA abuses, inefficacy, and theatrics than the The Nation.

RTWT for more details and, you know, actual supporting evidence.


Next we hop over to the League of Ordinary Gentlemen, where James Hanley reports that

Briefly: Kinsley asserts that his own experiences (as an affluent white middle-aged journalist/pundit) just have to be representative of everyone else’s, and does his damndest to trivialize the abuses that’ve been documented.  Here’s Kinsley:

[T]here are jokes about what kind of pervert would want to spend all day looking at X-rays of the privates of overweight Americans and then have the wonderful opportunity to run their hands up your leg. Don’t flatter yourself: Your leg is no thrill.

So not only do we have “blame the victim” of the slut-shaming variety in Kinsley’s article, but this list — helpfully provided by the ACLU, via Hanley —

  • My penis was touched by a man. My anus and groin were rubbed by a man
  • The pat down was so invasive that the woman doing it stuck her thumb through my jeans into my vagina, significantly more than simple resistance.
  • After fondling my genitals he groped my buttocks
  • The TSA agent … rammed her hand up into my crotch until it jammed into my pubic bone…. I was touched in the pubic region in between my labia.
  • she touched my labia each time, and one pass made contact with my clitoris, through 2 layers of clothing.
  • on the second canvassing of my groin, single-finger pressure was applied to my labia majora – the plane of which was near-broken, during which the agent made a wildly off-color remark.
  • I was wearing a sanitary napkin, so the agent notified her supervisor that I had a “foreign object.”… I was told to remove my sanitary napkin.
  • My genitals were touched no less than 4 times with the index finger as the screener’s hand was slid up my leg until it could go no more into my crotch.
  • . She… rubbed my vagina with her fingers three separate times.
  • the agent not only felt the inside of my upper thighs but also probed my vagina three separate times.
  • most disturbingly, her hands karate-chopped their way a full two inches up into my vagina through my slacks. She performed this maneuver not once, but twice: once from behind me, and then once again, standing/bending in front of me.

— has turned into “run their hands up your leg”.  Hanley wonders:

Kinsley tries to pass off the prodding of vaginas and groping of testicles as merely “running their hands up your leg.” Why did he say that, when the reality is much more graphic, disturbing, and well-known? Is Kinsley just a liar? Or is he so deep in his mainstream Washington media bubble that he actually is unaware of what’s really happening? This is a classic case of is he stupid or lying, and there is no complimentary answer to that.

Heinlein’s Razor suggests stupidity — or in this case a staggering combination of self-absorption and willful ignorance — but given the partisan nature of the TSA debate (I’ve been told that complaining about the TSA is basically equivalent to supporting Sarah Palin) I’m willing to go with malice as well.

10 Responses to “All linky, no thinky: special issue on fisking TSA apologists”

  1. November 29, 2010 at 18:10

    We’re aware “of what’s really happening.” That’s why we choose to Boycott Flying COMPLETELY, until sanity returns! Please join us: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Boycott-Flying/126801010710392

  2. 2 Michael Wiebe
    November 30, 2010 at 16:49

    Ah! Sweet refreshing haterade…

  3. 3 Jon
    December 4, 2010 at 14:20

    Off thought, but have you noticed that the media pictures *never* show contact between the TSA searcher and the groin or breasts of the person being searched.

    The now famous pics always show crotch searches from the side or back, so you can tell what’s happening without actually showing it. Breast searches are always shown with the trademark blue hands just under or over the breasts, never directly on.

    I do believe the media has determined that a TSA search is NSFW.

  4. June 6, 2011 at 22:25


  5. June 6, 2011 at 22:30


  6. June 6, 2011 at 22:33


  7. 9 منتدى
    June 6, 2011 at 22:40


  8. 10 منتديات
    June 6, 2011 at 22:41


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