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Abel writes: "The out-of-control Transportation Security Administration is past patdowns at airports - now it's checkpoints and roadblocks."

A TSA 'viper' (VIPR) team patrolling mass transit. (photo: Guardian UK)
A TSA 'viper' (VIPR) team patrolling mass transit. (photo: Guardian UK)



The TSA's Mission Creep Is Making the US a Police State

By Jennifer Abel, Guardian UK

22 April 12

 

The out-of-control Transportation Security Administration is past patdowns at airports - now it's checkpoints and roadblocks.

ver since 2010, when the Transportation Security Administration started requiring that travelers in American airports submit to sexually intrusive gropings based on the apparent anti-terrorism principle that "If we can't feel your nipples, they must be a bomb", the agency's craven apologists have shouted down all constitutional or human rights objections with the mantra "If you don't like it, don't fly!"

This callous disregard for travelers' rights merely paraphrases the words of Homeland Security director Janet Napolitano, who shares, with the president, ultimate responsibility for all TSA travesties since 2009. In November 2010, with the groping policy only a few weeks old, Napolitano dismissed complaints by saying "people [who] want to travel by some other means" have that right. (In other words: if you don't like it, don't fly.)

But now TSA is invading travel by other means, too. No surprise, really: as soon as she established groping in airports, Napolitano expressed her desire to expand TSA jurisdiction over all forms of mass transit. In the past year, TSA's snakelike VIPR (Visual Intermodal Prevention and Response) teams have been slithering into more and more bus and train stations - and even running checkpoints on highways - never in response to actual threats, but apparently more in an attempt to live up to the inspirational motto displayed at the TSA's air marshal training center since the agency's inception: "Dominate. Intimidate. Control."

Anyone who rode the bus in Houston, Texas during the 2-10pm shift last Friday faced random bag checks and sweeps by both drug-sniffing dogs and bomb-sniffing dogs (the latter being only canines necessary if "preventing terrorism" were the actual intent of these raids), all courtesy of a joint effort between TSA VIPR nests and three different local and county-level police departments. The new Napolitano doctrine, then: "Show us your papers, show us everything you've got, justify yourself or you're not allowed to go about your everyday business."

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee praised these violations of her constituents' rights with an explanation asinine even by congressional standards:

"We're looking to make sure that the lady I saw walking with a cane … knows that Metro cares as much about her as we do about building the light rail."

See, if you don't support the random harassment of ordinary people riding the bus to work, you're a callous bastard who doesn't care about little old ladies.

No specific threats or reasons were cited for the raids, as the government no longer even pretends to need any. Vipers bite you just because they can. TSA spokesman Jim Fotenos confirmed this a few days before the Houston raids, when VIPR teams and local police did the same thing to travelers catching trains out of the Amtrak station in Alton, Illinois. Fotenos confirmed that "It was not in response to a specific threat," and bragged that VIPR teams conduct "thousands" of these operations each year.

Still, apologists can pretend that's all good, pretend constitutional and human rights somehow don't apply to mass transit, and twist their minds into the Mobius pretzel shapes necessary to find random searches of everyday travelers compatible with any notion that America is a free country. "Don't like the new rules for mass transit? Then drive."

Except even that doesn't work anymore. Earlier this month, the VIPRs came out again in Virginia and infested the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel, also known as the stretch of Interstate 64 connecting the cities of Hampton and Norfolk. Spokesmen admitted again that the exercise was a "routine sweep", not a response to any specific threat. Official news outlets admitted the checkpoint caused a delay (further exacerbated by a couple of accidents), but didn't say for how long. Local commenters at the Travel Underground forums reported delays of 90 minutes.

I grew up in the Hampton Roads region of Virginia. When I was a kid, my dad crossed the bridge-tunnel every day while commuting to work. When I was in university, I did the same thing. The old conventional wisdom said "Get to the airport at least two hours early, so TSA has time to violate your constitutional rights before boarding." What's the new conventional wisdom - "Leave for any destination at least 90 minutes early, so TSA can violate your rights en route"?

Airports, bus terminals, train stations, highways - what's left? If you don't like it, walk. And remember to be respectfully submissive to any TSA agents or police you encounter in your travels, especially now that the US supreme court has ruled mass strip-searches are acceptable for anyone arrested for even the most minor offence in America. If you're rude to any TSA agent or cops, you risk being arrested on some vague catch-all charge like "disorderly conduct". Even if the charges are later dropped, you'll still undergo the ritual humiliation of having to strip, squat, spread 'em and show your various orifices to be empty.

Can I call America a police state now, without being accused of hyperbole?

 

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+77 # jlohman 2012-04-22 08:08
Hey, how about stopping our troops from invading other countries, so their terrorists stay off of our soil? Will the defense industry campaign dollars still flow?
 
 
+39 # Archie1954 2012-04-22 09:13
Boy have you hit the nail on the head.
 
 
+35 # RMDC 2012-04-22 08:50
You can tell that terrorizing and conditioning of ordinary citizens in the goal of the TSA. Why else would they call these VIPER teams. They want us all to get used to having the police watching us and questioning us all the time at any place we happen to be.

I guess this is the best Obama can do for a jobs program. All the unemployed can become VIPERS.

I was in Washington DC a few weeks ago and went to some museums. I did not see any police or VIPERS. I guess they still want tourism to free and pleasurable. I'm sure that I would not have entered any museum if there were VIPERS at the doors. I'm sure that there were plenty of plain clothed VIPERS in the crowd, but they were invisible.
 
 
-33 # Michael_K 2012-04-22 08:51
It isn't the Napolitano woman's fault. Put the responsibility where it belongs, with fascist President Obama.
 
 
+81 # Archie1954 2012-04-22 09:14
Sorry but the whole police state thing started with GW Bush and his patriot act
 
 
+32 # jlohman 2012-04-22 13:11
Bingo!!! Now how do we get out of it?
 
 
+22 # Michael_K 2012-04-22 15:58
Quoting jlohman:
Bingo!!! Now how do we get out of it?


Seems to me that step one would be to get rid of anyone who voted for any of this crap, FROM EITHER PARTY!
 
 
+12 # Michael_K 2012-04-22 15:58
Quoting Archie1954:
Sorry but the whole police state thing started with GW Bush and his patriot act


So.. your defense of Obama continuing and/or expanding all of Bush's more heinous policies is "But Bush started it!"???? Really????
 
 
+1 # Alexis Fecteau 2012-04-22 09:16
republitard on RSN? Didn't know you had the synapses to read or feed yourself, must have come further out of the goo than we thought...
 
 
+37 # John Locke 2012-04-22 11:17
Not just Republicans;... Once again, another shocking story that threatens the personal privacy of US citizens has been kept from us by our politicians and the mainstream media.

Did you know that a bill, HR 658, the FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act, has just passed both the House and the Senate that authorizes the use of 30,000 spy drones over America? Like the anti-Posse Comitatus NDAA legislation that passed in November, this bill was not widely reported by the mainstream media. Think... we are being attacked by BOTH Parties...
 
 
+8 # Michael_K 2012-04-22 16:02
Thank you John... This "party loyalty" thing resulting in deep denial of the very obvious shortcomings of our President... well, it's quite demoralising.
 
 
+1 # Anarchist 23 2012-04-25 15:12
Considering we weren't attacked by Arabs on 911-unless they are Evil Magicians who can suspend the laws of physics-we have been the targets in the Fascists sights for a long time--so now the cloak of 'democracy' is gone and we are the Geheim Staats (Security States) in a new Fascist mindset. Welcommin to Der Heimat. Papiers Bitte.
 
 
+3 # Michael_K 2012-04-22 16:00
Quoting Alexis Fecteau:
republitard on RSN? Didn't know you had the synapses to read or feed yourself, must have come further out of the goo than we thought...


My synapses and reasoning ability are good enough, in fact, that although I campaigned for Obama, I can readily see that I was very wrong. Maybe, given some time, you can evolve from the delusional goo also.
 
 
+16 # John Locke 2012-04-22 09:32
Michael...You are right...and they haven't seen anything yet! This administration and their handlers on Wall Street are so paranoid about a revolution they are over reacting!
 
 
+7 # jcdav 2012-04-22 18:21
The tighter they squeeze the more slides through their fingers....
 
 
+4 # JCM 2012-04-22 09:28
The other side of the story:
From the DHS,
TSA currently has 25 Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR) multi-modal teams in operation and the FY 2012 budget request includes funding for 12 additional VIPR teams. VIPR teams are comprised of personnel with expertise in inspection, behavior detection, security screening, and law enforcement for random, unpredictable deployments throughout the transportation sector to deter potential terrorist acts. TSA's VIPR teams work alongside local law enforcement agencies throughout the transportation domain, enhancing the agency's ability to leverage a variety of resources quickly to increase security in any mode of transportation anywhere in the country. VIPR teams also represent an ongoing effort to develop surge capacity to enhance security in public transportation systems. TSA conducted over 8,000 VIPR operations in the past 12 months, including over 3,700 operations in mass transit venues. VIPR operational plans are developed with a risk-based methodology, in conjunction with local transportation security stakeholders, and conducted jointly by TSA, local law enforcement, and transportation security resources.
 
 
+13 # John Locke 2012-04-22 16:35
If I am not mistaken TSA is a Federal Agency! What are they doing acting with local police? That is unconstitutiona l!!! are we going to Give Obama another free pass when he continues to act against our Civil rights?
 
 
+4 # JCM 2012-04-22 09:29
Continued from above, taken from DHS:
To enhance coordination and deterrent effects of VIPR team operations, TSA and the representatives of the Transit Policing and Security Peer Advisory Group (PAG) work together to improve coordination, preparation, planning, execution, and after action review of VIPR deployments in mass transit and passenger rail systems. This cooperation has grown since the mutually agreed upon operating guidelines for "Effective Employment of Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response Teams in Mass Transit and Passenger Rail" were implemented in October 2007. The guidelines were distributed to Federal Security Directors (FSDs), lead regional Surface Inspectors, and Federal Air Marshal Supervisory Air Marshal in Charge (FAM SACs) around the country to improve the effectiveness of the VIPR program.
 
 
-4 # Lolanne 2012-04-22 10:37
Quoting JCM:
... taken from DHS:
To enhance coordination and deterrent effects of VIPR team operations, ... around the country to improve the effectiveness of the VIPR program.


JCM, There are always two sides to every story, and I appreciate your posting the other side in this one.

I am appalled by the tactics our country has resorted to that continue to encroach on our civil liberties. That said, we must remember that other countries have had mass transit facilities targeted by terrorists, and as long as USA foreign policies do not change, ours certainly could be too.

Also, based on personal knowledge, I do believe most TSA agents are people just trying to do the best job they can. My younger son is one of them. A victim of the economy, he was laid off and without work for nearly a year before finally being hired by TSA. People do have to make a living, and this was the job he was offered from among the many applications he put in. He and the friends he's made on the job since beginning work are individuals of high integrity who are courteous to a fault in their dealings with the public; most of them try to make things as painless as possible for the traveling public while still doing their job.

Thank you for your post.
 
 
+2 # JCM 2012-04-22 14:19
Thank you Lolanne, jumping to conclusions without examining both sides is a fundamental problem in our society.
 
 
+6 # Stephanie Remington 2012-04-22 15:08
There is a difference between "examining" – implying the use of critical thinking – and parroting.

This is a major problem with most media outlets. When true scrutiny reveals abuse, corruption, or waste, the contrast presented is usually uncritical stenography of the words of an often unnamed source, as if this equates to an objective presentation of “both sides” of an issue.
 
 
+1 # JCM 2012-04-22 17:23
Stephanie, you had replied to me awile back about being in denial. I'm not sure which article it was but I think my response will bring it back. I would appreciate your thoughts. Below is my response from back then:
 
 
+1 # JCM 2012-04-22 17:23
Ever thought you might be in your own denial. The real war being waged against the 99% for the last 30 years is by the Republicans. When you realize that you will be horrified of the mistakes you are making but then it might be too late. The Dems went more Right because they lost the last election. Why? Because they didn’t have the votes, the Right got them and the Dems now think they have to move Right to get more votes. They just don’t get being punished. We all have a much better chance to change politics if we got the 99% into Congress using the Democrats, similarly to how the Tea Baggers did it with the Republicans. It takes 100's of millions of dollars to be elected and more importantly media support. We can't take a chance on a nearly impossible task to get a 3rd party candidate to win. The consequences are lower taxes on the wealthiest, higher debt, the veritable destruction of our government, which is the extreme conservative ideology of the Republicans, not the Democrats. You talk about drones; the Republicans will give you all out war. You talk about foreclosure, the Republicans were the ones that created the entire disaster that led to the recession (yeah, the way all of this is being handle sucks, but if the Republicans had their way there wouldn’t have even been a settlement and would not be doing anything at all to keep from happening again). Get real and vote and fight for the Dems.
 
 
+2 # Stephanie Remington 2012-04-22 18:42
JCM:
I'm not denying that the Republicans are awful. I merely point out, repeatedly, that the Democrats – being beholden to the same corporate deep-pockets – behave virtually identically to them on a vast array of issues of vital importance to freedom, justice, and democracy. From this I conclude that voting for Obama or other Democrats will be only marginally less harmful, and that the margin is not meaningfully helpful to the 99%.

While you may disagree with my conclusion, denial is not the appropriate word to describe my basis for it. I said you were in denial because despite the horrendous abuses of Obama and the complicit Democrats, you insist that he and they are actually good for people and the country and that everything would be fine if we could only get rid of those terrible Republicans. There is no evidence for your conclusions and plenty to support mine.

See the following RSN articles from just the last couple of days:

http://readersupportednews.org/off-site-opinion-section/56-56/11047-americas-drone-sickness
http://readersupportednews.org/news-section2/328-121/11038-us-muslim-i-was-tortured-at-fbis-behest-in-uae
http://readersupportednews.org/news-section2/317-65/11067-usa-today-journalists-targeted-after-report-on-dod-propaganda-program
http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/282-98/11066-the-tsas-mission-creep-is-making-the-us-a-police-state
 
 
+2 # JCM 2012-04-22 19:05
On the other hand I have described, and at best partially, what the Republicans will do to our country if they take complete control. To me these things are so damaging to our entire way of life in America that I am compelled to fight for the only realistic though improbable victory for the Democrats. And I firmly believe that a 3rd party candidate would not have nearly as a possible chance and might cause harm to the rest of the Democrats. You rail against Obama for many of his policies and I think I might agree and disagree with some of your views, what you are not realizing that whatever Obama has done to anger you the Republicans, to me, will no doubt be worse. The civil rights of Americans, for the Republicans have not been a winning platform for the American people. Below is another essay about the election I would like you to comment on.
 
 
+4 # JCM 2012-04-22 19:06
The overriding factor for this election is not completely about Romney or Obama, it is whether or not the Republicans will be able to maintain their influence and power over the Government, the Democrats and so many American people. Their ideology of less regulation and less taxes on the rich has been going on for at least thirty years. It is crippling our economy, our country and our greatness. It is the most profound scam that so many people, against their own good, have fallen for: making wealthy people even wealthier so they will make jobs and shower us all with their wealth. Of course if that were true our economy would be soaring because the wealthy have never been so rich. We must stop the Republicans war against the 99% and the only realistic way, just months before the election, is to vote for Obama and every Democrat we can. Unfortunately, if we don’t get a real super majority, it will be business as usual.
Some people say the Democrats are just like the Republicans, and in some ways that’s true, but when it comes to making legislation, over all, they try to protect the interests and lives of the 99% and all Americans. The Republicans platform is now, “Donate to our campaign and we’ll make you wealthier.”
Our only chance to heal our country is to have a true Democratic super majority, until the Republicans regain their sanity.
 
 
+3 # JCM 2012-04-22 19:23
Another point is that there is some evidence that with a super majority, when the Democrats no longer had to deal with the Republicans opposition, they would create legislation very beneficial to the 99% and all Americans. It is certainly not because I think everything will be fine. However, I do think it is our best chance at stopping the extreme destruction of the Republican Party and to heal our nation. If someone showed me or explained to me another means of stopping this destruction and giving our nation a better chance to prosper I would be very interested to see it. That said, the 3rd party possibility has a very low chance of success. Putting in candidates for the 99% in the Democratic Party, similar to the Tea Party tactics, would stand a much better chance. Mostly, the most important issue is to keep the Republican extreme conservative ideology from continuing its destruction. I really hope one day that you might join me in this struggle.
 
 
+3 # John Locke 2012-04-22 20:47
JCM, Sorry But I don't agree with your point...This I believe is a better one…Obama did not need to include the indefinite detention of American Citizens in the NDAA bill...he requested it remember...
 
 
+6 # Stephanie Remington 2012-04-22 22:05
I agree with John. And it's not just the NDAA. Obama was not even remotely forced into taking many of the anti-democratic , destructive, abusive policies he has chosen.

JCM: Your descriptions of what will happen if Republicans "take control" are correct. What I repeatedly point out is that in most cases virtually the same result will occur with the Democrats.

I think it's good to discuss the issues, but no matter what details I have described (often at length) in our previous exchanges, you ignore pretty much everything I say and simply repeat your same views.

This isn't a conversation. It’s digital ping pong.

If you are only engaging in this back and forth in the hopes of changing my mind, please save your energy. I've drawn conclusions based on facts and you repeatedly present fear-based ideology. It's not compelling to me.

If you’d like to discuss how to pursue policy changes outside electoral politics we may find common ground there.
 
 
0 # JCM 2012-04-23 15:32
If you’d like to discuss how to pursue policy changes outside electoral politics we may find common ground there.

OK what are your alternatives?
 
 
+1 # JCM 2012-04-23 17:10
Stephanie: "What I repeatedly point out is that in most cases virtually the same result will occur with the Democrats."

The same result???

The DEMOCRATS are going to pass the Ryan budget, will repeal health care, will continue to lower taxes for the rich and create larger deficits, will reduce funding for food stamps, for clean energy, for science, for global warming, for Pell Grants, will try to destroy unions, and will probably come up with some excuse to go to war? The Dems are going to try to destroy voter rights, women’s rights, want to deregulate the industries that pollute and steal from us, reduce funding for research and development, funding for the space program and our infrastructure? ARE YOU SERIOUS???????
 
 
+3 # Stephanie Remington 2012-04-23 21:49
Your fear that Romney/Republic ans will “probably come up with some excuse to go to war” is astounding, given that Obama has declared the entire planet (including the U.S.) the battleground in the endless war on terrorism. He regularly orders bombing in at least six Muslim nations (overtly or covertly); he has already killed more innocent people, including children, with drones than Bush did in eight years.

How meaningful do you think “voters’ rights and women’s rights are when Obama has officially eliminated most CIVIL RIGHTS guaranteed by the constitution?

Yes, Obama is SOOO pro-Union. That must be why the FBI raided members of the SEIU in Chicago last year for their supposed “terror links,” and conducted coordinated raids on trade union members and “progressive” anti-war activists in six US cities the year before. This included confiscating their property.

And Obama would never deregulate industry – oh, wait – except for Wall Street, GMO crops, toxic air pollution from industrial boilers… He signed an executive order requiring federal agencies to ensure that all regulations promote economic growth, and he ordered a government-wide review of existing regulations to remove any that place “unreasonable restrictions” on business, or that are “just plain dumb.”

Obama has blocked effective action on global warming and sleazed through a back-door approval of the Keystone XL pipeline after pretending to block it.
 
 
+2 # Stephanie Remington 2012-04-23 21:57
What good are Pell Grants if Obama’s privatization of education produces a socio-economica lly stratified “crop” of “graduates” who are capable of working at Walmart-type jobs (the only ones available) and student loan interest rates make them indebted for life (Pell Grant maximum: ~$5,000/year; tuition at public universities in California: ~$11,000-$30,000/year).

The Obama budget disproportionat ely cuts social programs (including, for example, $320 billion from Medicare and Medicaid and $2.5 billion in cuts to community service block grants and an energy assistance program that helps poor people stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer); it fails to adequately address the jobs crisis ($100 billion for “job creation,” which would create 2 million jobs at $50,000 for the 20 million unemployed or underemployed IF the entire amount translated to jobs – allowing for no profits or overhead. But NOT ONE PENNY of the total was for hiring workers. It consisted largely of tax cuts for businesses that hire workers or raise their pay, extended unemployment benefits, and aid to state and local governments). Obama preserved the Bush tax cuts, increased military spending, and made no effort whatsoever to close loopholes for offshore tax cheats (or onshore cheats, for that matter).

I could go on, but I've already discussed many other issues that would also address your question. Do you read them? Or are your "questions" really just comments?
 
 
0 # JCM 2012-04-24 14:39
Before I get into each one of your contentions, I would like to hear about how you would like to fix or change the system, or the things that you think are wrong with our society.
 
 
+2 # John Locke 2012-04-25 11:40
JCM...I'll answer this one...Get away from the two parties controlled by Wall Street Interests...for m or support a Third party and finance it with $5.00 and $10.00 donations and use social Media and Blogs to reach people!
 
 
0 # JCM 2012-04-23 16:03
Here is a view of The National Defense Authorization Act that you may or may not like but worth reading.
http://crooksandliars.com/karoli/confused-about-ndaa-and-detention-provision
 
 
+2 # Stephanie Remington 2012-04-24 22:40
Glenn Greenwald explains it best here: http://www.salon.com/2011/12/16/three_myths_about_the_detention_bill/

This second link is a longer Greenwald post with more details on the same topic. It includes a 13-minute video clip at the bottom of the Young Turks that includes a clip of Senator Levin explaining that the original language of the bill explicitly exempted Americans and lawful residents, but that Obama asked him to remove that language because he didn't want that constraint. It also includes a short interview with Greenwald.
http://www.salon.com/2011/12/15/obama_to_sign_indefinite_detention_bill_into_law/singleton/
 
 
+7 # Stephanie Remington 2012-04-22 19:04
Quoting JCM:
You talk about drones; the Republicans will give you all out war. You talk about foreclosure, the Republicans were the ones that created the entire disaster that led to the recession (yeah, the way all of this is being handle sucks, but if the Republicans had their way there wouldn’t have even been a settlement and would not be doing anything at all to keep from happening again).


So you're ok with slaughtering innocent people, including hundreds of children, with drones as long as we don't declare war? As long as Americans aren’t killed in larger numbers?

You're ok with ensuring that bankers are never held accountable, the system stays rigged, people keep losing their homes and jobs... because the crisis occurred during a Republican administration?

You're ok with Obama saying robosigning was ok because some of those people really shouldn't be in their homes, and then backing that up by ensuring that the "settlement" included immunity for this fraud they used to evict God knows how many people?

You don't want to take a chance on a third party because there is too much risk? People who never take chances never change anything.
 
 
+1 # JCM 2012-04-23 15:12
This is not a matter of whether or not I agree or disagree with any of those decisions; it is a matter of who will be making those decisions next year. I believe I have shown beyond a doubt to any Progressive, Liberal and Democrat that the Republican agenda would be disastrous to the nation. In turn you have given me no alternative, no solution at all, either realistic or not. You rail against Obama and the Democrats but at every turn the Republicans have been galacticly worse in every respect that you seem to espouse. What do you really want and how realistically can you get it?
 
 
+2 # Stephanie Remington 2012-04-23 22:08
I have also demonstrated -- as have quite a few other commenters in this forum -- that the Democrats ARE already disastrous to the nation. You simply reject the facts and insist that popular movements and third parties are not viable or fast enough for you. The Republicans are only "galactically worse" in your mind. In reality the differences are minor compared to the similarities.

I've already told you repeatedly what I want and how I intend to proceed. You just don't want to hear it.
 
 
0 # JCM 2012-04-24 15:25
I have looked at some of your comments to me and haven't yet found any solutions. Now is always a good time to let me know
 
 
+2 # Stephanie Remington 2012-04-24 17:18
You don't see solutions, because you want an easy solution. You want to believe that all you have to do is vote for the "right" person and everything will be ok. The reality is that the country is seriously screwed up, both parties are corrupted, and it's going to take major effort by everyone to fix the system. OWS is a great vehicle for that. Third parties can also be part of the solution.

From my post below: Regarding third parties, I honestly believe that if everyone just voted for the candidate they thought was best, a third party candidate would win. It’s the relatively widespread belief that they can’t win that poses the – admittedly large – main obstacle. In my personal experience, it is impossible to achieve anything without trying, and virtually impossible to succeed without first envisioning success. We absolutely can change things. It depends on our attitudes and beliefs.
 
 
+1 # JCM 2012-04-24 17:52
Part 1
I would appreciate for you to stop putting words in my mouth. There is nothing easy about getting every, Progressive, Liberal and Democrat to actually vote for Obama and every Democrat they can.
The largest difference we have is that you think the Dems are as bad as the Republicans and have a few pieces of legislation that you chose to use as evidence. However, I believe that most of your examples can be seen from both sides and you can find differences of opinion, from liberal minded people, over the internet(there are a few that I find hideous). The examples I have chosen, I believe, are much less defensible from Liberal minded people, such as the Ryan budget, repealing health care, reducing funds for food stamps, for clean energy, for science, for global warming, for Pell Grants. Their desire to destroy Social Security, Medicare, Medicare, etc, etc, etc. I know you have criticisms about much of this but you fail to see any legislature passed in regards to this kind of legislation as the product of having the Republicans with so much power. Continued to part 2
 
 
+2 # Stephanie Remington 2012-04-24 22:46
It's a lot easier to use your time and energy putting pressure on your fellow citizens than it is to put real pressure on public officials who have extreme levels of power.

Unbelievable that you equate the "difficulty" of spreading the word with what peaceful protesters face (pepper spray, beating, arrest, strip search...) when genuinely speaking truth to power.
 
 
+1 # JCM 2012-04-25 14:07
Part2
You have a dream that everyone will vote for a third party candidate that will have the ability to restore politics. I have a dream of keeping the Republicans gaining more power and for the Democrat to have total power for at least a while until the Republican regains their sanity (Both dreams are, unfortunately, far from reality). That certainly puts us at odds with each other. A talent like yours would have been a great help. I will not take a chance on the Republicans gaining more influence. If you can’t see why (I apparently do not see the Democrats in complete control as being any where near as destructive) then enough said, Goodbye
 
 
0 # JCM 2012-04-24 17:53
Part2
You have a dream that everyone will vote for a third party candidate that will have the ability to restore politics. I have a dream of keeping the Republicans gaining more power and for the Democrat to have total power for at least a while until the Republicans regain their sanity(Both dreams are, unfortunately, far from reality). That certainly puts us at odds with each other. A talent like yours would have been a great help. I will not take a chance on the Republicans gaining more influence. If you can’t see why (I apparently do not see the Democrats in complete control as being any where near as destructive) then enough said, Goodbye.
 
 
0 # John Locke 2012-04-25 11:42
HCM Its difficult for someone with a closed mind to see anyhing!
 
 
+3 # Stephanie Remington 2012-04-25 02:49
Quoting JCM:
This is not a matter of whether or not I agree or disagree with any of those decisions; it is a matter of who will be making those decisions next year.


You are essentially saying that you only object to horrific acts if they are committed by the "other" side.

That is one of the main reasons we have had so much trouble getting out of this mess. Half of the country is always making excuses for the atrocities committed by the leader of their own tribe.
 
 
+3 # John Locke 2012-04-22 16:37
This is not two sides it is the other side of the same coin!
 
 
-2 # JCM 2012-04-22 17:27
John, you never responded as far as I know and I would appreciate your thoughts:
“sorry if I am going to be nailed I would rather it be done by a real republican and not one who is a latent republican...”
So let’s let the Republicans totally destroy SS, Medicare and Medicaid instead. While we're at it let’s let them gut the Department of Education, and Pell Grants, lets lower taxes on the wealthiest and raise taxes on the poor. Hell just for spite because we don't like Obama, let’s let the Republicans add another two conservative judges on the Supreme Court and then repeal Roe v Wade and countless other beneficial rulings for the working class, let them repeal health care so that people could still be denied insurance when they get sick and the people with pre existing conditions will be out of luck, let them create larger deficits, and reduce funding for food stamps, for clean energy, for science, for global warming, don’t forget we can let them destroy unions too. Sounds like a great plan, John Locke, Karl Rove would be proud.
 
 
+9 # John Locke 2012-04-22 19:26
JCM...You forget one important point... If and When we wake up and begin voting for REAL americans who are not controlled by Wall Street as BOTH Obama and Romney are...This crap you refer to will all be reversed...Much of it can be done through the courts even now...And I am not so sure Obama will not appoint the same conservative Judges Romney would appoint...The Democrats Gave Bush a free pass with Roberts and alito...remembe r...
 
 
0 # JCM 2012-04-23 17:57
This is getting delusional
 
 
+6 # Stephanie Remington 2012-04-22 19:34
I'm glad your son was able to get a job, but feel bad about where he ended up.

It's nice to hear that there actually are people there who are trying to do a good job, but given the job requirements it seems like it would be hard for a person of conscience to avoid doing things he doesn't want to do.
 
 
-1 # Lolanne 2012-04-23 06:20
Quoting Stephanie Remington:
I'm glad your son was able to get a job, but feel bad about where he ended up.
It's nice to hear that there actually are people there who are trying to do a good job, but given the job requirements it seems like it would be hard for a person of conscience to avoid doing things he doesn't want to do.


I wonder whether you have ever been in the situation of having to choose between taking a job or being unable to pay your bills and eat. The view is very different from the other side of the fence. It's pretty easy to talk about our ideals but sometimes in the real world it is not so easy to live them. Practically everybody I know is sometimes required by their jobs to do something they would not choose to do.

And I wonder why JCM and I are getting red numbers...it's as if some here do not want a discussion of all sides of an issue. Too bad, it's a loss to all of us when we choose not to listen to another's POV.
 
 
+3 # Stephanie Remington 2012-04-23 12:37
My post that you responded to was intended to communicate exactly what you expressed in your first paragraph.

I genuinely feel bad about the position your son is in, and grateful that even though things are scary financially, for the moment I'm ok.

I also strongly believe that neither of the two main party candidates will do anything to change the status quo regarding jobs (or most other problems) because they are too beholden to their corporate funders who are profiting from our rigged system.

With regard to the thumbs down, take a look at a lot of my posts. I have been given thumbs down – sometimes very large numbers of them – from people who haven't even bothered to respond to my comments (bizarrely, one of the posts that got thumbs down indicated my belief in working toward world peace, even though it sometimes seems completely unattainable). I can’t speak for the people who gave you thumbs down, but for the record, none of them are from me.
 
 
+2 # Lolanne 2012-04-23 20:34
Quoting Stephanie Remington:
My post that you responded to was intended to communicate exactly what you expressed in your first paragraph. . . .


Obviously I misunderstood and overreacted -- sorry. Guess I'm too touchy, probably due to the prevalent negative opinion of TSA agents. Hell, I used to share those opinions! And I've pretty much stopped flying, it's just too much of an unpleasant hassle now. But having a family member in the business has opened my eyes to a lot of things.

And as I've said before, I honestly do hear what you say about our "leaders" -- of both parties. BUT -- I see no way for a 3rd party or write-in to come anywhere near a win this year, and I will not waste my vote by just opting out or voting for someone I know can't win. I KNOW under the Repigs, things would be infinitely worse than we can even imagine. I won't help that happen.

The T-partiers co-opted the Repigs in 2010; why can't the Progressives do something similar with the Dems in 2012? If we can get a solid Dem Congress and Pres in, then they have no excuse not to make positive changes, beginning with getting the money out of elections! Voting them in and then relentlessly keeping pressure on them is the best chance we have to effect positive change.
 
 
0 # Stephanie Remington 2012-04-24 16:11
I completely understand. Times are just bad, things are scary, and it's very hard to see such widespread criticism directed at an agency that through circumstances beyond your control is connected to someone you love. It was good that you reminded people that despite the agency's abuses, decent people still work there.

I've pretty much stopped flying, too, though because on my last flight, in particular, I had the misfortune to encounter TSA agents not as conscientious as your son.

Regarding third parties, I honestly believe that if everyone just voted for the candidate they thought was best, a third party candidate would win. It’s the relatively widespread belief that they can’t win that poses the – admittedly large – main obstacle. In my personal experience, it is impossible to achieve anything without trying, and virtually impossible to succeed without first envisioning success. We absolutely can change things. It depends on our attitudes and beliefs.
 
 
+2 # Lolanne 2012-04-25 06:37
Quoting Stephanie Remington:
. . .
Regarding third parties, I honestly believe that if everyone just voted for the candidate they thought was best, a third party candidate would win. It’s the relatively widespread belief that they can’t win that poses the – admittedly large – main obstacle. In my personal experience, it is impossible to achieve anything without trying, and virtually impossible to succeed without first envisioning success. We absolutely can change things. It depends on our attitudes and beliefs.


I used to feel that way, too, Stephanie. But after living through 8 yrs of bushco and seeing what happened in 2004, I gave up on that idea. The only way I see for a third party ever to have a chance is to get the money out of politics. And we'll never do that as long as a repig lives and breathes in congress! I KNOW the Dems rake in money, too -- if they didn't they'd never get elected. It's the only game in town, and if you want to play, you have to observe the existing rules. But if the PEOPLE want those rules changed, they CAN be changed, I believe, by electing a Dec majority and then keeping the pressure on them. Once they're in, we can never let them forget for a single day, or even a single minute, what we want! Leveling the playing field by eliminating bought and paid for elections is the only way a third party candidate will ever have a chance to even get into the game.
 
 
0 # Lolanne 2012-04-25 06:40
Quoting Stephanie Remington:
I completely understand. Times are just bad, things are scary, and it's very hard to see such widespread criticism directed at an agency that through circumstances beyond your control is connected to someone you love. It was good that you reminded people that despite the agency's abuses, decent people still work there. , , ,


Thanks for your understanding and empathy. Sorry you've run afoul of the bullies in TSA. I have too, and honestly, even under the best of circumstances, flying is a major hassle these days. I'd rather drive, cross country driving trips are kind of fun sometimes.
 
 
+2 # Lolanne 2012-04-23 20:37
Quoting Stephanie Remington:
. . .
With regard to the thumbs down, take a look at a lot of my posts. . . . (bizarrely, one of the posts that got thumbs down indicated my belief in working toward world peace, even though it sometimes seems completely unattainable). . . .


I've pretty much given up trying to figure out the red numbers here. I remember that post you made about working toward world peace (I totally agree and pray for that daily) -- couldn't believe even that got thumbs down! Who wouldn't want world peace??? (Besides the war machine that rakes in all the money making war, that is.)
 
 
0 # JCM 2012-04-24 19:25
Lolanne, I would like to say thank you for your kind words. If you are still watching this let me knowm I would like to say some more about our situation.
 
 
0 # Lolanne 2012-04-25 06:29
Quoting JCM:
Lolanne, I would like to say thank you for your kind words. If you are still watching this let me knowm I would like to say some more about our situation.


Yep, I'm still lurking, JCM. :-) The conversation seems to be ongoing...
 
 
+1 # JCM 2012-04-25 14:40
There are a number of reasons why we both get red when supporting the Democrats. The first are people who support Republicans and react with a negative for anything that go against their values. Then there are people who support a third party and would rather both the Dems and the Repubs go away. Then there is the possibility that a Republican supporter pretends to be a Progressive in order to get your trust and then will tell you the Dems are as bad as or worse than the Repubs. There might be other reasons but I believe that anyone trying to convince you to vote for anyone but Obama and the Dems have an unrealistic view of politics and the extremely destructive nature of the Republican ideology. They will rail against Obama without putting any of it in context to the political situation he and the Dems are in. I can’t tell you Obama or the Dems haven’t made mistakes, sometimes pretty terrible. Clinton signed the bill that got rid of Glass-Stengel and I think the one of the worse things Obama has done is the Jobs Act. That said it still doesn’t come close to the destruction the Republicans have done and would do if they gained greater control. It would be great if there was a third party that could make everything better, but the probability of a third party candidate winning is extremely low. Additionally, there is certainly no guarantee that they would have the political will to make things better. Once you start sleeping in the White House things look much different.
 
 
+1 # Lolanne 2012-04-26 10:40
Quoting JCM:
There are a number of reasons why we both get red when supporting the Democrats. ...


Yep, your reasons are all plausible ones, plus, some people are just tag-alongs. They see which way the wind is blowing and then pile on. But like I said, I've pretty much stopped caring. Will say what I think/feel/beli eve and let the red ink fall where it may!

But I am getting seriously worried about this election. There seem to be so many people who are so thoroughly disillusioned with Obama that they'll sit it out or throw their vote away on some 3rd party candidate who doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell of winning anything. I've been pretty much disgusted myself on many occasions, and felt betrayed early on. But in all reality, I think many of us were expecting the kind of miracles of change NOBODY could have produced! None of us can really know all the pressures that a president feels from all sides. In my more paranoid moments I even wonder whether O has been under threat of physical harm to himself and/or his family if he doesn't "obey" his big donors.

Bottom line for me is that the repigs would be so unutterably worse that I would not even think of wasting my vote this year! The best -- and I really think ONLY -- chance we have is to put the Dems in charge en masse and make sure that we hold their feet to the fire!
 
 
-1 # JCM 2012-04-26 12:49
Wow! If you have seen any of my comments you would know I feel the same way. I understand the people who want a third party but historically that would mean the other side wins. I believe it is more realistic to try to get the best candidates into the Democratic Party and was hoping the OWS movement would come up with more. Our big disadvantage there is we have few billionaire supporters as the Tea Baggers have with the likes of the Koch Brothers. I truly wish I could convince the third party people to help support the Dems or if they would rather frame it as keeping the Republicans from winning, fine. The biggest problem is they have some valid (and some not so valid) criticisms of Obama and the Dems and don’t want to support them at all. I think their biggest problem is they view things as an individual act without historical and political reference. I try to show what the Republicans would do if they had a super majority vs. what the Dems would do, but even that didn’t seem to make a difference. Ultimately if they are wrong they could help the Republicans win and I won’t take that risk. Remember in 1999 the economy was in pretty good shape and after 8 years of the conservative ideology of less regulation and less tax on the rich it nearly destroyed us. There is more at stake than just our country. I am confidant if the Dems were in control, and didn’t have Republican pressure to contend with, they would help much more with the environment and Climate Change. Thanks again.
 
 
0 # Lolanne 2012-04-28 19:51
Quoting JCM:
Wow! If you have seen any of my comments you would know I feel the same way. ...


If you're still checking here, JCM, yes, I've read your comments pretty consistently and realize we agree. Guess we have to just keep trying to convince people of the facts...those who are gung-ho to write somebody in or vote 3rd party this year are dreaming -- it's just not gonna happen til we get the $$ out of politics!
 
 
+2 # Stephanie Remington 2012-04-26 13:31
Quoting JCM:
...one of the worse things Obama has done is the Jobs Act.


The "JOBS" Act is incredibly destructive to the economy and actual jobs, but the NDAA and Obama's assassination program are destructive of democracy -- completely tyrannical power grabs. It is unbelievable to me that people who care about freedom and justice could advocate for a man who claims the right to take anyone's freedom or life without opportunity for self defense. What is the United States of America without the Constitution? A name. What are you defending?
 
 
0 # JCM 2012-04-26 15:24
I can't agree with you more about the Jobs Act and I want to thank you for pointing out Obama's Education doctrine. It favours charter schools, I am against. The NDAA had to be passed. It is for the military budget. I have read some arguments, some say Obama made it worse, some say he made it better. All say the Republicans wanted it much worse (as a Progressive sees it). The sentence “(e) AUTHORITIES.—No thing in this section shall be construed to affect existing law or authorities relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States, or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States.”, to me is seems to protect us. It is arguable but I am not spending all my time writing to defend or condemn legislation. You have read a great deal of mine and I have been unsuccessful in changing your mind. Egregious legislation happens all the time. I am sure even if a third party candidate were elected it would happen still and you would rightly rail against it. My point has always been that, realistically, there will be either a Democrat or a Republican in control next year and I do not want it to be a Republican, for many , many reasons.
 
 
+1 # Stephanie Remington 2012-04-26 21:19
Quoting JCM:
The NDAA had to be passed.


The NDAA had to be passed, but the two sections codifying indefinite detention into law absolutely did NOT. Have you read the two sections yourself or are you quoting from another article? If not, please read sections 1021 and 1022 and, if you haven't already, see the Greenwald links I posted for you above.

In case you don't know about him, he was an apolitical lawyer specializing in constitutional law until he became horrified at what GWB was doing, at which point he quit his practice and started blogging and is one of the most knowledgeable, articulate, and insightful writers and speakers on the topic.
 
 
0 # JCM 2012-04-26 16:19
I am defending our country from the ideology of greed.
 
 
+11 # frankdavid 2012-04-22 10:43
In other words.......shu t up and sit down.....courte sy of the TSA.
 
 
+11 # seeuingoa 2012-04-22 10:33
I think that Napolitano´s only
sexlife is being groped in the
airport.

And for sure you can call America
a police state.
 
 
+15 # Regina 2012-04-22 10:33
In God We Trust has been replaced by Sieg Heil!
 
 
+20 # lorenbliss 2012-04-22 11:08
"Dominate. Intimidate. Control." That says it all, the appropriate dicta not of dutiful cops who protect and serve but rather of concentration-c amp guards and Gestapo agents.

But I doubt even the Gestapo was so bluntly outspoken -- "Dominate-Intim idate-Control" -- about its tyrannical purpose.

Hence, precisely as the dicta imply, we witness the transformation of TSA from airport guards to national transit police, soon from national transit police to national police and thence to recreation of the original Geheime Staatspolizei.

Somewhere in Hell, Heydrich, Himmler and Hitler are all smiling. Meanwhile here on Earth it's "Dominate-Intim idate-Control": welcome to the Fourth Reich.
 
 
+15 # CreativeBlue 2012-04-22 13:45
This looks for all the world like the creation of a national police force.

As usual in such instances, I cannot find a legal basis for such an organization in the Constitution, although the spirit of federalism would seem to find such an organization an odious prospect, as it seems to be a usurpation of the states' sovereignty in regards to their own police powers.

On the other hand, I also cannot find a prohibition for such an organization in the Constitution.

Can we get some Constitutional lawyers to work on this?
 
 
+6 # corals33 2012-04-22 15:33
total-itarian tip toe
wish you luck America.
 
 
+19 # Richard1908 2012-04-22 15:39
Many of us in the rest of the world (that's the 96% of us) look on at America in a combination of amazement and fear. Amazement that Americans are accepting these fascist, police-state measures, and fear as America seems increasingly intent on imposing its crazed will on the rest of us. The United States of America seems to have gone stark raving mad, and if you like it that way, at least leave the rest of us alone.
 
 
+14 # lorenbliss 2012-04-22 16:35
More to the point, what does the "Dominate-Intim idate-Control" paradigm tell us about our future?

In bitter truth it proves beyond a scintilla of doubt that "recovery" (whether of our jobs or our constitutional rights -- is the ultimate Big Lie. Instead what the One Percent has in store for us is National Enslavement, for details of which see http://truth-out.org/news/item/8637-locking-down-an-american-workforce-prison-labor-as-the-past-and-future-of-american-capitalism.

And capitalism it is – infinite greed as maximum virtue (as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be) – its smirking masters enabled by ever-more-savag e capitalist governance: absolute power and infinite profit for the Ruling Class, total subjugation and genocidal poverty for all the rest of us.

For how else but by exploitation of "human capital" -- the enslavement of us all -- will the capitalists maintain their obscenely lavish lifestyle in a time of dwindling natural resources and a planet raped to increasing rebellion against human survival?
 
 
+8 # ThePigman 2012-04-22 17:23
Stick a fork in it, Amerika's done.
 
 
+6 # 666 2012-04-22 18:46
I gotta web-business idea: let's sell toilet paper printed with the constitution & bill of rights. the slogan can be "the TP preferred by 100% of government officials!"
 
 
+1 # Mardi Gras 2012-04-22 20:58
Both parties are subject to the rule of big corporations, but I believe the Democrats will hold off some of the wrecking... That is not a very strong endorsement, but I think we have to preserve what we can. Certainly at the local level I believe Democrats offer more hope and I think that is EXTREMELY important to consider. The USA has many levels of government and much good can be done by people who don't give up.
 
 
+1 # medusa 2012-04-23 06:46
There is still a lot of support behind the Bush agenda, and Karl Rove is back in business for this election. There is no alternative to voting for the Democratic party.
Remember how for Europe, Bush turned the United States from honored, if dizzy, friend, to toxic pariah.
 
 
+3 # TomThumb 2012-04-23 08:30
I used to blame GWB for everything that happened in his administration. While I am not absolving him or the current Pres of blame, after all the job was not forced on them, a more realistic view is to see them as salesmen of policies and ideologies that are concocted and pushed by outside groups (ususally think tanks funded by corporate and private wealth) and then enforced by the same entities. This is also not to say the Pres does not have some power and room for manuever, but it is contrained and may be non-existent on certain issues.

At some point it became the policy of the oligarchy, which includes the military industrial complex, to keep the domestic population from asking embarrassing questions about seemingly unnecessary defense spending and endless wars. Don't forget that Total Information Awareness was originally under the purview of Admiral Poindexter and the defense department under Rumsfeld, who promised he would pursue it under another name after it was defeated.

One of the main aims of the War on Terror is not just unreasonable searches and seizures, but to terrorize and intimidate the American public.

Tommy Rimes
 
 
+2 # Texas Aggie 2012-04-23 12:56
Granted that right wing corporate America has a strong hold on both parties, but it isn't equivalent. So far there are a number of Democrats who want to get the government out of people's personal lives. Unfortunately one of the most powerful, Russ Feingold, was beaten by a t-bagger. The only two republicans who feel the same are Ron Paul and to a much lesser extent, his kid, but both of them carry too much baggage to be taken seriously.

The republicans got to where they can control things by beginning at the grass roots with local elections and moving into the state legislatures. ALEC is the result. If real Americans, not the Caribou Barbie facsimile, want to return America to a nonpolice state, we need to start at the bottom and elect people who are willing to ignore the fascists' marching orders and to call them out when they overstep.
 
 
0 # aitengri 2012-04-24 11:34
Although the debate rattling along through these comments certainly poses challenges to thinking people, concerning the fate of our political process and the status of our civil liberties, the debate itself suffers from "topic creep". A comment I submitted earlier on has been suppressed here, because I utilized a literary device that may have seemed like advocacy of "violence". It was a very brief "magical incantation" alluding to the power of the imagination, and the power of that imagination acting over large groups of people. The locked up intellectual arguments here about political strategy will end up erased from all conscious awareness, the moment these web pages disappear. With that said, I shall insert the very brief, censored "invocation":
I am the devil incarnate. I shall invoke murderous anti-spirit energies, and these shall wipe out the entire TSA, from top administrators to lowly cheek spreaders. Their life force shall simply bleed away in the moment of enforcement activity of any kind. Thus shall it (maught it) be!
 
 
-2 # Michael_K 2012-04-28 20:31
I very strongly advocate holding one's nose and voting for the rethuglican empty suit as president, and voting for dubocratic candidates all the way down the rest of the list. With any luck at all, this should get rid of our lying murderous current president and ensure government paralysis for 4 years that we can use to regroup or form a new party.
 
 
0 # gsosbee 2012-08-20 07:18
Evidence of Police State headed by fbi:



Never co-operate with secret services. The first thing they do is turn you into a murderer (by making you accessory to their crimes).









We must open all fbi/cia files in order to understand the total corruption of these two groups of homicidal sociopaths and how they blackmail all other branches of gov, including congress & courts.
Must also understand the threat to the people of the WHOLE world by the assassins & torturers of the fbi/cia/mi6/mos sad; start here:
http://www.sosbeevfbi.com/


http://www.sosbeevfbi.com/part4-worldinabo.html


http://www.sosbeevfbi.com/non-consensual.html


http://www.sosbeevfbi.com/statement.html


http://www.sosbeevfbi.com/hightechassau.html


http://www.sosbeevfbi.com/part16-updatefor.html


http://www.sosbeevfbi.com/affidavit2007.html


http://www.sosbeevfbi.com/tooth14.html


http://www.sosbeevfbi.com/mystory.html
 

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