Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Chuck DeVore Afraid Of "Crotch Grabs," Uses John Tyner Story For Political Agenda

Update - Read Chuck DeVore's comments to this article below!

It appears as if the right wing media has shifted gears to a new target- airport body scanners.  Conservatives, who championed invasive legislation like the Patriot Act, fear that the body scanners go too far, sacrificing privacy for protection on America's airlines - you do recall how the terrorists attacked the World Trade Center in 2001, right?

Well, it looks like conservatives have found their new poster child for governmental intrusion - John Tyner.  To sum it up, Tyner refused to be scanned and also refused to be patted down, making a comment that warranted TSA supervisors to enter the equation.  Here are Tyner's own words of the incident:
I made my way through the line toward the first line of "defense": the TSA ID checker. This agent looked over my boarding pass, looked over my ID, looked at me and then back at my ID. After that, he waved me through. SAN is still operating metal detectors, so I walked over to one of the lines for them. After removing my shoes and making my way toward the metal detector, the person in front of me in line was pulled out to go through the backscatter machine. After asking what it was and being told, he opted out. This left the machine free, and before I could go through the metal detector, I was pulled out of line to go through the backscatter machine. When asked, I half-chuckled and said, "I don't think so." At this point, I was informed that I would be subject to a pat down, and I waited for another agent.

A male agent (it was a female who had directed me to the backscatter machine in the first place), came and waited for me to get my bags and then directed me over to the far corner of the area for screening. After setting my things on a table, 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.
Tyner told the TSA agents that he would not be "subject to a molestation" in order to make his flight.

If you listen to the audio of the incident made by Tyner using his cellphone, the TSA agents sound very calm and try to explain airport procedures to a seemingly irate Tyner, who insists that he should be allowed to walk through the metal detectors and proceed without the preferred pat-down or body scan.

Reading Tyner's blog, it would be unfair to call him a conservative political activist - he obviously has a problem with airport screenings - but, what I found more interesting was not Tyner's response, but the right-wing response to Tyner's response, and I wanted to focus on none other then Chuck DeVore's comments, as made on Andrew Breitbart's Big Government website.

You may recall that I had mentioned Chuck DeVore in the past - last September I had written an article about Fox News and Andrew Breitbart manufacturing stories, referencing a DeVore piece for Big Hollywood regarding California's drought problems and the matter of an endangered fish - the delta smelt.  DeVore actually responded bragging about how he had represented 500,000 Californians while I sit 3,000 miles away, implying that he had a greater comprehension of the situation while I had none - I responded, but DeVore thought it was best to say nothing more.

It seems that I have another story to write about while sitting comfortably 3,000 miles away - Chuck DeVore is using Tyner's TSA situation for political gain with his right-wing base.  Acting in the typical conservative manner, DeVore attempts to re-frame things by calling the Advanced Imagery Technology scan that Tyner turned down as a "naked body scan" and then calling the pat-down a "crotch grab" - Tyner explained that TSA agents stated the pat-down "involved running hands up the inside of [his] legs until they felt [his] groin."  When was there ever grabbing of the crotch?

DeVore insists that these security measures should not be utilized because they have never stopped a terrorist, claiming "alert passengers and intelligence" have stopped terrorism in the past.

I wonder if DeVore is referring to post-September 11th terrorist attacks that have failed - Christmas Day bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab boarded his flight in the Netherlands, not America, and would have succeeded had his bomb fully detonated, and another recent plot involving a mail bomb bound for the United States originated outside of the country as well.  And shoe-bomber Richard Reid?  Paris to Miami, and that plot also failed before he was apprehended. 

Looking at September 11th, one could say intelligence did little to deter the attacks on the World Trade Center, although passengers were able to foil one of the terrorist plots that day - would increased security measures have helped prevent those attacks?  Had Abdulmutallab entered a "naked body scanner," would his bomb have been uncovered?

DeVore lacks these answers but has no problems decrying the costs of airport security, and in typical teabag fashion, he moves onto America's long-standing war against "militant Islamism" by citing the conflict with the Barbary Pirates from 1801 to 1815.  DeVore ignores the fact that a peace treaty with Tripoli prior to the subsequent Barbary treaties stated religion was not the pretense for war.
As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.
I wonder what DeVore would say about the modern-day Somoli pirates - Somolia is almost entirely Muslim, so would that make these pirates off the coast of Africa Muslim pirates?  Should America wage war with Somalia for being the host nation for a marauding band of pirates who happen to be Muslim?

DeVore states that "the best defense is a good offense," implying that he would rather go to war with Iran or any other Islamic state to preempt a terrorist attack.  He goes on to state that if terrorists are found in a nation, America should "kill them," and quite possibly that nation's leadership, too.  DeVore doesn't stop there - if America is forced to kill and "topple" the targeted "terrorist-loving government," DeVore believes America should spend no time occupying or rebuilding that nation - isn't that what started this whole mess in Afghanistan?  I am reminded of a quote by former Representative Charlie Wilson regarding the Soviet-Afghan war and America's involvement:
"These things happened. They were glorious and they changed the world... and then we fucked up the end game."
Macho DeVore sums up his stance as so: "Bottom line: we Americans get to keep our liberty and the bad guys get to lose their lives, which, when you think about it, is doubly satisfying in an especially American kind of way."

Personally, I have no problem with increased airport screening methods - I realize that I am sacrificing a bit of privacy for increased safety, and if I desired to maintain some of that privacy, I can utilize other modes of transportation, like stepping in my car and turning on the ignition, but I guess should I be pulled over I can pull out my "Chuck DeVore Card" and tell the cops to not touch my junk and go pursue some terrorists or illegal immigrants or something.  I might as well rip up my driver's license as well, being the photo is an invasion of my privacy.  Constitutional conservatives, like DeVore, should realize that air travel is not a right, but a privileged.  DeVore likes to claim the government has no place securing air travel but who exactly owns the airspace anyway?

Besides, why are people even listening to DeVore, anyway?  He finished third in the Republican primary to unseat Democrat Barbara Boxer, who went on to win with 52 percent of the vote...


  1. You undermine your own argument and reinforce my own about security when you cite terrorists boarding aircraft in foreign airports. This is one of my points: you can't defend everything. Make domestic air travel safe and a terrorist will board in Athens Greece -- or attack a school bus, subway, or airport terminal.

    All the best,

    Chuck DeVore

    P.S. About those Delta Smelt, you deny the validity of the report that largemouth bass have been one of the main reasons for their decline?

  2. I would think an issue would be protecting domestic flights. Eliminate screening procedures and you run the risk of terrorists boarding flights and running amok.

    How do French or Greek security measures compare to America?

    Maybe we should look to El Al airlines and how Israel deals with terrorist threats and air travel - according to Wikipedia, El Al's last hijacking occurred over 40 years ago, and no plane departing Ben Gurion Airport, outside Tel Aviv, has ever been hijacked...

    Also, in regards to the Delta smelt story, I have read reports regarding the largemouth bass - an invasive species - being a contributing factor, but not the only factor, in declining fish populations. This gives more reason to have entities such as the EPA work to protect ecosystems, and why Americans should play a greater role in protecting the environment.

    By the way, when was the last real mention of the Delta smelt drought by anyone in the media, including Sean Hannity or anyone else on Fox News?

    A recent article by Bruce Ross made a very interesting point - harvests did not drop to coincide with the increase in unemployment. One would have expected harvests to be considerably less with unemployment almost doubling in some regions. Looks like the Delta smelt is just a pretty convenient excuse.

    To ignore impact of pumping and lay blame solely on largemouth bass, or some other reason, would be irresponsible.

  3. Kevin, if you read my piece you'll see that I specifically cite the Israeli model of security as the way to go, employing fewer TSA agents, but training them and paying them more while using Israeli techniques, rather than the bureaucratic-industrial model we are using today. Also, I never proposed to end screening.

    As for the Delta issue, an issue I have studied for a few years as a California lawmaker, I can conclusively say that the pumps are not a major issue as they have been in place for decades. The largemouth bass, on the other hand, is actually planted in the waters by California's own Fish & Game Department because, while invasive, it is a gamefish. As to the impact of the decision to turn off the pumps, a simple drive down I-5 reveals tens of thousands of acres of dead fruit and nut trees -- killed by the judge's ruling. Unemployment has been impacted, but the labor that works those harvests tends to be migratory.

  4. I found your article to contradict itself.

    You wrote negatively of the TSA, stating that "you can spend a trillion dollars to make air travel safe and it won't work," but then a couple paragraphs down, you wrote that we need to pay the TSA force more.

    I found that you implied the TSA and their screening methods/equipment to be inneffectual (which they may be), and therefore should be eliminated - a point that seemed to have been conveyed to your readers.

    You also wrote that increasing airport security would only force terrorists abroad to countries with weaker security or make them use other ways to attack, like subways or buses. Again, this seems to contradict the message you had written about - you wrote that "incurring unending costs and eroding our freedoms, the terrorists win and we lose just a bit each day."

    You referenced the John Tyner story - imagine his reaction had he been met at the airport with the Israeli method of airport security. Your readers seem to think that a simple scan and a pat-down is an extreme loss of civil liberty - imagine how they would feel going through an Israeli-style screening.

    I would be opposed to the complete privatization of airport security because I would hate profit motives to play a part in keeping me safe - what airline would pay the amounts necessary to employ the Israeli method when they have a hard enough time posting profits. While the TSA may not be perfect (it's not), I would much rather the "bureaucratic-industrial complex" administer security...

    I think funding should definintely increase for the TSA - it is appalling that such small percentages of their budget goes towards threat assessment and intelligence, but implementing the Israeli methods of security in a nation the size of America is going to be extremely costly, and as you wrote, we can't just spend trillions on security...

  5. @Chuck Devore
    Thanks for being so proactive in addressing issues in which you are involved in. It does show the level of interaction that public servants need in this day and age (and not just the "twitter" feed of certain Celebrity Entertainers.

    Do you actually believe that the Israeli model is the way to go?

    I think logistically, scaling the Israel Model to the US is highly improbable. Israel has 12 airports (domestic+international) and the major airline (El Al, also cited as THE security model) has less than 4 million passengers annually and roughly 5400 employees.

    The US has 434 PRIMARY airports (10,000+ passengers/year) in 49 states (Delaware is the only one that has none), with recorded annual passengers of over 700 million. Let me do the math for you...4 times as many airports and 175 times the annual passengers, and would require approximately 900k employees (assuming 5400/1m passengers) or being generous only 450k employees. El Al also has airlines in US airports but along that Logic we can look at global airports which have US airlines in it which increases exponentially for the US airlines, which would be the ones to implement this.

    Training of El Al Security, from the former HEAD of it, is the following:
    - Fluent in 2 languages
    - Educated and trained in classrooms for a long time
    - On the job training with supervisor for weeks
    - In constant touch with Israeli intelligence
    - Looking at passenger lists for EVERY flight and comparing to suspicious lists
    - Thousands of tests on security throughout a year at a huge cost
    - Any failure of a test resulted in immediate firing
    - Detailed interviews with every passenger
    - Profiling of everybody regardless of race/creed/religion
    - Presence of armed, unarmed and undercover police everywhere
    - Not to mention physical upgrades to airport structures themselves (blast proof walls, etc.)

    The next post will detail some issues which explain why it is impossible.

  6. Issue 1 - Resources. Where will we be supplying these educated, military trained interrogator with an available pool for turnaround? Not just any "liberal arts" major currently out of work can jump right in.

    Issue 2 - Monetary. Who will pay for this and how? This would not fly if the government had to drop $200 billion/year in costs. Airlines? They'd HAVE to pass the cost on to the customer. Flights are ridiculously prices already so I can see this going over well.

    Issue 3 - Regulation. Trusting the airlines, who have a main priority of profit to shareholders, to regulate and supply proper personnel? More like cost effect (ie. inadequate). We've seen how well companies like to police themselves when it comes to quality (Gulf Oil Spill). FYI government regulation does result in safe, quality industries like Nuclear (NRC regulates).

    Issue 4 - Public approval of freedom issues? I'm sure profiling of everybody will go over unnoticed and without complaint by the American people. When Grandma Jill has to have a background check people won't complain AT all. having security go through ALL your luggage and try every little thing (squeezing bottles, taking pictures with cameras, fondling your underwear). And when airports start looking like ground zero at a war torn country with barricades/armed guards/military vehicles everywhere will people gladly not notice?

    issue 5 - Patdowns and strip searches aren't going away. El Al still routinely does these, even on American Professors invited to speak at Israeli universities who had traveled there numerous times in the past. Nothing was found during her hour long strip search (of course). No complaints at all from the American people (oh wait there are from simple pat downs!).

    Issue 6 - Do I really need to keep going? Oh wait, what about the OTHER non-primary airports in the US (even Delaware has 11) since you can't just do it half-way.

    Hopefully Chuck, you can see the many issues that make the OTHER option to full-body-scans impossible to implement. Sure a few major airports could be done (still at a higher cost and inconvenience to the passengers) but that isn't even a band-aid on the problem.

    If you want more specific details please comment and I will try to supply/answer/LMGTFY.

    Really looking forward to your response on this subject!

  7. Whoops noticed a typo in my in my first post. The 900k estimate is 5400/4million to get employees/million, than multiplied by 700million to artive at that number. Than divided by 2 to be generous at 450k employees.

  8. I completely forgot about the Delta smelt response!

    I would also have to disagree with you on your comments. You state that the labor that works the harvests are migratory and you state that the land has dried up. If the labor population is largely migratory, yet the harvests were roughly the same as they were a few years ago, I do not see the Delta smelt being the root cause of unemployment in the region.

    I also have thank you for your involvement and responses. I may disagree with you politically and have a different opinion on these matters, but I have a lot of respect for you for actually taking the time to respond defend your positions - it is obvious that you have worked hard for your constituency, and while I may think your wrong, I wish you the best and to keep up the hard work!


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