Fooled Again: The Gullible Left and TSA Body Scan Hysteria

As the furor and outrage boils over TSA security measures, it is interesting how the left and the right are in agreement over perceived intrusion and invasion of privacy. It doesn’t matter that the controversy is a conservative fabrication, it just matters that there is a reason to rail on the Obama Administration.

The Right is anxious for a terrorist to bring down an American jet so they can blame the President for not doing enough to protect America. In lieu of that, they have whipped up outrage over security measures that may prevent an attack so they can blame Obama. Whatever their motivation, it is working to the Right’s advantage and the Left is reacting the way the Right wants them to.

The public outrage started when a man recorded himself telling a TSA agent that, “if you touch my junk, I’ll have you arrested.” His comment went viral on the Internet and main-stream media ran with the story. Since then, conservatives made an issue over the x-ray machines by propagating the idea that screeners are taking nude pictures and passengers are subjected to dangerous radiation, and that TSA agents are “feeling up” travelers who opt out of the x-ray scanner.

The idea that machines are irradiating travelers is nonsense, and in fact, the scanning machine gives as much radiation as two minutes in a jet at cruising altitude. But the right is using fear and misinformation to encourage passengers to forgo the machine and have a physical search instead. The physical searches are causing as many problems as the scanning machines, and TSA agents are taking heat for doing their jobs.

Suspicious people have rightly suggested the controversy is playing into the Right’s narrative, and it turns out that conservatives are behind the whole mess. A story in The Nation lays out the sordid details that implicate none other than Koch Industries, and before the Southern California man published his recording and put it on the web, a female operative faked an outrageous account of harassment and cruel treatment by TSA inspectors. The woman’s story turned out to be totally false, but by the time her lies were exposed, the damage had been done.

Fear mongers on the right accuse the TSA of taking nude  or pornographic pictures, and morons like Mike Huckabee and Fox’s commentators say President Obama should let the TSA “feel up” his wife, mother-in-law, and daughters. The right makes up controversies and fake issues to stir up anger and discontent toward President Obama, but the Left’s cooperation is puzzling.

No one appreciates security measures travelers have to go through to arrive safely at their destination, but the alternative is dying in an explosion at 35,000 feet or crashing into a building. Most people would rather go through any security measures to guarantee their safety than die. So the outrage from the Left is not just misguided, but it plays into the right’s game plan, and allows conservatives to control the narrative…again.

Does the Left really believe their civil rights are being violated? Are they even thinking that their tacit endorsement of the Right’s privacy invasion narrative will help the President? Why is the left so gullible on such a simple matter of security and safety? It makes no sense, and it is the reason that conservatives control the narrative and the government.

Most intelligent people would think critically and not buy into attacks on the Administration’s policies. It is bad enough that the right fools its ignorant supporters with fear and lies, but it is astounding that Republicans have enlisted Liberals and Progressives to aid in taking down President Obama. A good rule of thumb for Liberals and Progressives is, if the Right supports something, it may be a good idea to do the opposite, or at least do some research to find the truth.

Perhaps it’s because President Obama has not satisfied every little whim of the left. But whatever the reason, it is disappointing to watch Liberals join Republicans as they try to take down President Obama. The truth is, that it is time for the Left to grow up, learn and understand how governance works, and support Obama so he can eventually solve every single Liberal’s pet problem.

This whole issue with the TSA appears to be instigated by Koch Industries to erode support for the President, and on a secondary level, enact racial profiling at airports so Middle Eastern people will stay out of or leave America. There is no perfect solution to prevent a terrorist from blowing up a packed airliner, but using scanners was supported after the failed underwear bomber’s attempt to blow up an airplane.

It is incumbent on Liberals to be smarter than the Republican lying machine. The President is doing everything possible to protect Americans, and if it takes having an x-ray or being patted down, so be it. Conservatives are liars, and for the Left to buy in to their lies is disturbing and not productive. Instead of being outraged at having an x-ray, spend two minutes to find out the risks of standing in front of those scanners. Just be smarter than conservatives and don’t fall for their lies. It may protect your life, and prevent you from becoming another weapon conservatives use to defeat Obama.

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23 Replies to “Fooled Again: The Gullible Left and TSA Body Scan Hysteria”

  1. it’s no surprise that the Koch brothers are behind this. wherever there is a way for hate you will find the Koch brothers and the Conservatives.

    However, there are alternatives to these scanners. And those alternatives have been shoved aside in our haste to get these backscatter scanners. The national laboratory has explosive sniffers that all you have to do is walk by. There is another machine that is far more accurate than dogs. None of which require to make an image of your body. Yes I think this is an invasion of privacy. And I do not think the alternative is being blown up. You can use these machines for 10 years and probably never find a person with explosives. Of course there is always the chance you will.

    I believe it’s absolutely necessary that security be performed. I simply do not agree with the current method of both allowing images of your body to be taken and for someone to have to feel your privates. There are alternatives.

  2. That’s just the point! The left shouldn’t be in this for all or nothing. Yeah,, these machines suck. They were Bush’s buy and they bought the wrong machines. They spent a lot of money doing it. But I’d like to think the left would ask a frigging question or two before buying into this crap. Koch brothers. Nice.

  3. There are valid civil rights objections to being patted down around one’s genitals and breasts. In that respect, I don’t think the writer has done his homework.

    That the Koch brothers are behind this as the Nation article asserted has been largely debunked. See Emptywheel.

    I believe its fair to assess that the right has, for the first time in the last decade, made a choice of civil liberty over security and its worth understanding why. I think the writer has this part largely right.

  4. Great post, Rmuse. I can’t believe how the Left is falling for this stuff over and over again. It’s very dismaying. I agree that these machines were the wrong machines, but this “grassroots” anger is nothing more than Koch brothers funded set ups so they can make the case against unionization of TSA and for privatization. New machines are coming in a few years anyway, so this can’t really be about that.

    What the Left should be screaming right now is “UNIONIZE!” So that we get competent, well-trained people at TSA who can handle this job better, because what is real is the poor treatment of the disabled and lack of respect for privacy issues.

    Do we no longer stand for labor because it looks to me like we’re stabbing labor in the back again. I sure as heck don’t want to go back to the private contractors pre 9/11. Blackwater: Not accountable to anyone. No thanks.

  5. It wasn’t debunked. They are suggesting the relationship isn’t supported enough, but what I want to know is since when is the left defending Koch brothers? All this guy is asking people to do is think before they get hysterical and look behind the curtain. If you think the Koch brothers aren’t behind this than explain why private contractors are already being pushed to replace TSA in Florida.

  6. No one is saying there isn’t a privacy issue with pat downs, but that would fall under the TSA training and goes back to unionization. Why did the Right refuse to nominate (via Senatorial secret holds) the first two TSA chiefs Obama wanted? Because they might have been pro-union.

    We went without a TSA chief for almost two years because of the GOP’s refusal to nominate anyone who might have been remotely pro-union, and now when the vote is coming near for unionization, suddenly there is a rash of anti-TSA crap permeating the media — much of which turned out to be lies (girl was never in handcuffs and was treated with respect contrary to her claims according to the video I watched) — and the Left doesn’t think they might be being manipulated?

    This isn’t an either or game. Your point about privacy issues actually makes the case that this is a set up.

  7. There are several reason this enhanced security is abhorrent in a free society. First of all, the 4th amendment provides against unreasonable search and seizure of our persons. Why am I considered guilty just for getting onto a plane.

    Second – the scanners. Medical scanners are calibrated and maintained to precise specifications. These $12 an hour Government employees are not maintaining these machines – who is? What is to prevent xray bursts? Xrays are cumulative – which is why people who work around xrays wear radiation badges which the TSA people are not allowed to wear. Even have a dental xray requires patients to use lead aprons. But we are to trust the Government (with Michael Chertoff selling these machines) to take care of the machines properly?

    Third – you seem to have left out the fact that airline traffic moved wonderfully smoothly yesterday and OptOut was a failure. Of course, many travelers reported the TSA simply turned off and roped off the scanners. So it appeared that people were cooperative.

    Finally – unless and until CARGO is scanned in this country, we will have incidents. Forcing a child to be undiapered and groped in public is appalling when CARGO is being lackadaisically checked and only sporadically.

    This country is famous for knee jerk overreactions. It is also famous for letting exGov employees find a way to grift off the system as Chertoff has done.

    Of course we all want to be safe, but I’m not going to hide in my house in fear until the government invents preventative bubbles. On the other hand, I will also be skeptical of something that has not been proven to work.

    There are literally millions of dogs – who need homes (and a job) and who can be taught to “sniff” everything. The Rapiscan machines are not able to sniff powdered explosives! A dog could do this – why is our government not using dogs? (a hint: too simple).

    Rather than seek out conspiracies – that don’t make us safe – we should seek some concrete answers to the questions of why no one seems to want to use thought and logic to try and fix some things that I am not convinced will ever work.

    Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving.

  8. Respectfully Sarah – having or not having a TSA chief isn’t going to make any differences when the methods being used are full of holes.

    Cargo isn’t checked. We all know this. People are very alert – on planes especially. No one will ever get to a cockpit again and stay alive getting there!

    This isn’t about the Koch brothers or hysteria, to me. It is about government overreaction – a need to dumb down individuals in this country in order to maintain control.

    We have always believed we were safe from our government. We have had laws to protect us. And we now see the laws being twisted and bent to overturn our rights.

    This could be so simple. Retinal scans – could be used following background checks. Dogs for sniffing chemicals. We travel with passports, and they damn well DO know who we are. So do the airlines.

    The government is stomping and clumping its way around reacting and overreacting to everything as it usually does. We are never proactive – we always shut the barn door after the horse is stolen.

    We need to use intelligence and thought – but we also need to stop treating lawful US citizens as criminals. And to be fair, the TSA (some of them) are incredible bullies. They have spiffy new uniforms and they act like the Waffen SS.

    They bully and issue orders – and we don’t like it. It doesn’t make us feel safe .. it makes us feel like we’ve done something wrong. They all need an attitude adjustment. And they need some training in customer service.

  9. This article was poorly written. The author made numerous errors of logic and reason, I’ll list just a few:
    1.No one appreciates security measures travelers have to go through to arrive safely at their destination, but the alternative is dying in an explosion at 35,000 feet or crashing into a building. ”

    That’s a false dilemma, on the level of George Bush’s “You’re either with us or against us.” In fact, there are less intrusive ways to balance privacy with security.

    2.Perhaps it’s because President Obama has not satisfied every little whim of the left. Straw man argument—mischaracterization of opponents’ arguments. There are many serious disagreements with Obama many leftists have. Health care, bank regulation, war in Afghanistan,etc…

    3. The truth is, that it is time for the Left to grow up, learn and understand how governance works, and support Obama so he can eventually solve every single Liberal’s pet problem. ??? Nonsensical statement.

    4. The President is doing everything possible to protect Americans, and if it takes having an x-ray or being patted down, so be it. Forgive my cynicism, but that argument wouldn’t be accepted for a second by the writer(and shouldn’t be accepted) if a Republican were President. In fact, that defense sounds like a lot of George Bush’s defenders: he had to (waterboard, invade Iraq, search libraries, etc..) to protect us.

  10. You mentioned, almost in passing, the fact the cargo isn’t fully checked. That is my main argument with these new “security” measures. Also the fact that body cavities aren’t checked. I still think its a power and control move and I would like to know why.

  11. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for so clearly articulating what I intitively knew was wrong with this entire dialogue.

  12. In my experience with the media, the corporate agenda prevails and becomes the talking point of the country all too often. Naturally, I am suspect when I find out many of the examples of being bullied were fabrications and Republican Rep. John Mica of Florida wrote letters to 100 of the nation’s busiest airports asking that they request private security guards instead and guess who his campaign donations come from?

    Ironically, private contractors would have to follow the same rules, so this little dance of distraction meant to benefit private corporations will do nothing to address the issues you brought up. And that’s why it’s important to understand all sides of this issue, lest our outrage play into this attempt to Blackwater the TSA. Think ACORN.

  13. They are updating the machines in several years, per your point. These machines were bought by Bush years ago. Of course, there are better options out there now.

  14. Bandit, I think we get over radiated everywhere and really like the Dogs idea! There are so many dogs sitting in shelters needing homes they could be trained to sniff out explosives, guns, plastic explosives and since Dogs noses are so super sensitive there would be no need for a body search!
    Dogs after training work cheap, dog food :D I’m sure the training of each dog would not be over the cost & maintenance of the machines.
    But yeah, this is the Kochoctpus again and they want “Private companies” in charge of screening and I wonder who own those companies….?

  15. Bandit,Bandit I ♥ you! You just said it all about the xray scanners, dogs everything!!!
    Thank you!

  16. Sounds like a win-win situation. I see no reason to give obama a pass on this one. He can always call on his base for help. Oh that’s right, he alienated his base.

    He can always fly public airlines to show his support, ha-ha.

  17. That’s because you are so fucking stupid you wish Obama is at fault for this and you’re counting on other people being as stupid as you are. Take it up with the Republicans, you clown. Google “secret hold TSA”. Then google “George W Bush TSA scanners”. Have a nice day.

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