Question for people who can remember when we lived in a free country.

Does this worry you?

A day late and a dollar short, the government decided to attempt to protect us from an attack that will probably never happen again (been there, done that; on to another surprise) by forming and staffing the TSA in a few short months, and giving powers to some people who don’t know their ass from a hole in the ground. And that includes this attorney, who probably couldn’t get a real job.

I spent a career in the US government in two enforcement agencies and I know all the bullshit that goes on; I enforced regulations (with hefty fines) because it was my job, even when I knew it was crap and didn’t serve any “real” purpose. One agency was the IRS; I tried to mitigate some of this by helping people when I could. Finally I quit because it was making me a wreck being told by superiors that I had to ruin people’s lives for no good reason. I left believing that IRS sometimes attracts people who enjoy this.

I know a little about the TSA because I have a relative who applied for a job when they were running people through their idiotic testing process wholesale, trying to staff up by the deadline Congress set. It took weeks to assemble the application for a background check; and then the checks weren’t done because there were too many. Later they discovered they had felons working for them. So, the agency was more dangerous to the public than the people they were trying to prevent from boarding the planes. I know all about trying to make deadlines for the higher ups; they don’t care what’s really happening, just that it sounds good on the memo. Yes, sir. Mission accomplished. Put it in the newspapers so the harried masses can have the delusion the government is actually accomplishing something.

So, they want to fine a bride $300.00 for forgetting she had a cake knife in her bag. Gee, I feel so safe now. I can’t tell you…

This idiocy has to stop. It isn’t preventing anything. We can’t prevent anyone from attacking us again. Israel is a very small country and the government can’t keep their people safe. The approach is not to go over to another country and bomb the shit out of them, killing many more innocent people than terrorists. Think how outraged we were that so many “innocent” people were killed at the World Trade Center. It is a long process, making peace. But, some people like that macho, simplistic bullshit that Bush exudes. I’m glad I’ll be gone when all this comes to the horrifying end it will inevitably lead to: the destruction of our economy and living in a police state where we are “safe”.

Too bad their aren’t any good choices for the next president. Kerry is a political animal down to his bones; deeply jaded. I would have voted for Howard Dean. So he’s inexperienced and naive; but he is smart and idealistic. Doesanyone wonder why Dean was so favored and then overtaken by Kerry so quickly? I’ve totally lost trust in our election process and the hope for any real change. So, on that positive note…is anyone else worried about these small signs that our government is going down the wrong path?

Do I ever worry that our government is going down the wrong path? Yes, I do, but then I remember what we came from, and the progress we have made.

We were once a country which allowed laws which declared that a black man could not eat in a resturant. During WWII, we interned Japanese and German immigrants, as well as German-Americans and Japanese-Americans, out of a paranoid delusion that they might all be spies for the Emperor. At times in our nation’s history we have given extraordinarily scary powers to our government, but depsite these things, we have made progress toward greater liberty for our citizens.

While I may not have much faith in our government, I have faith in the American people. We are a divisive, politically apathetic lot, but we jealously guard what we consider to be fundamental rights, and no politician is willing to risk his political career by rocking the boat too much.

So the solution you seem to be proposing is to do nothing because “We can’t stop it anyway.” Yes, I’m sure MILLIONS of Americans would be happy with that solution.

          What makes you say that "This probably won't happen again?"  Based on what?  There were two separate attacks in about a ten year period on the World Trade Center alone.  Why should we not expect that another attack is likely to happen somewhere?  

          The flip side to your "Macho BS" comment is that some people seem to believe in the exact opposite, which is the very touchy feely reasoning, "If we just understand why they did this and change, we can prevent it."  Isn't this the same sort of "blaming the victim" mentality that we have been taught NOT to buy into in the last 20 years when it comes to most violent crimes, especially rape?  Further, by changing ourselves, aren't we basically telling the terrorists they've won and further encouraging MORE attacks in the future?

          Your reasoning really seems as simplistic and unrealistic as what you are arguing against.  The real solution is somewhere in between.  You have to prepare for future attacks and try your best to prevent future attacks.  OF course you can't 100% prevent them or gaurrantee no more attacks, but it can at least be made more difficult and the repurcussions minimized if it does happen.  AT the same time, there has to be some political progress in working towards peaceful solutions.  The problem is that most of the terrorist groups are not the heads of any government or country but are private, more loosely aligned groups.  That makes it harder for a government to directly deal with them.

I don’t think a fine of $150 is unreasonable for trying to bring a cake knife in carry on luggage! She was lucky that they allowed her to repack it in checked luggage. Most would just confiscate it. I can understand someone forgetting to take the tiny Swiss Army knife off of a key chain, but a cake knife is BIG.

If after all this you still think it’s “your” Government, you’re more of an optimist than I am.

And, speaking as someone who lived in a city pretty under ongoing threat of terrorism for 30 or so years, what’s happening over there is either plain hysteria, imho, or there’s a whole different agenda going on, and it’s got nothing to do with ‘protecting’ Americans or the rights they used to have.

Detaining a US citizen without charge in the USA without allowing him to see a lawyer, without any constitutional rights whatsoever for twenty months . . . how does that happen; why does that happen; what regard does the president have for that which he’s been elected to protect . . . ?

I’d suggest that to almost any western European who’s learned to deal with the potential threat of terrorism - Italian, French, Spanish, German, British - this reaction to what was lapse internal airport security seems . . . extraordinary.
“Your” (sic) Government seems to be doing an awful lot on the back of public naivety and the hysteria they’ve (the Government) very much helped to whip up, imho of course.

Recently I applied for a refinancing of my mortgage, with a broker I’ve dealt with before. As we were going over what paperwork I’d need to supply, he told me there was one new item:

A copy of my driver’s license. Why? Because the Patriot Act now requires it.

Oh, yeh, now I feel so much more secure from terrorism.

What’s up with the quotation marks in that sentence?

We can’t very well have terrorists buying houses next to good, god-fearing Americans! They should stay in apartments, where evil commies live!

Well I live in Canada and we’re starting to see signs of political correctness leaking from the U.S. over the border. It sucks. I’ve done a few things at a young age that today would’ve guaranteed me jail time, or explusion from school. Back then all it took was a slap on the wrist and a little scare-mongering to get my act together. I feel sorry for the kids nowadays who can be charged with assault if they tossed a paper-ball at someone.

Well, there is really is no such thing as a free country, is there?

Freer than others maybe but…

What scares me is that America is considered the freest (sp?) country in the world. Benjamin Franklin had it right!

“He who would willingly sacrifice liberty for security, deserves neither.”

Moving this to Great Debates.

Bush’ s behavior has been – I guess disturbing is the only right word. It’s like he’s not quite aware of his surroundings.

And I am a heavy duty conservative! I am actually a proponent of military force in more situations than most people I know. But the way things have been handled since 9/11 give incompetence a bad word.

Ya know, if you believed the intel was right when you went in, you made a genuine mistake. Fess up and move on, don’t pretend that you’re still right.

Why is it reasonable? In what way does the fine help stop terrorism? It’s purely a way to fleece someone that made a mistake. If it was a terrorist, 1) He or she would not be using a cake knife, 2) He or she would not give a shit if someone sent a fine to him weeks later.

Also, you should note that most cake knives are more like a big spatula shaped like a knife. They aren’t like kitchen knives, especially the type that are plated with silver and used at weddings.

Honestly I think it’s a reasonable fine. People should know better then to attempt to take a knife onto a plane these days.

I don’t expect the government to prevent every terrorist attack. I’d like them to prevent the big ones though.

You’ll note that Israel doesn’t just sit on it’s ass in an attempt to make peace. They have a habit of using their military to strike against terrorist or those that support them.

I’m a bigger fan of the carrot and stick approach myself.


Depends on what we mean by “cake knife.” If we’re talking about the big metal things with an edge and a point, I’ll agree. If we’re talking about those throwaway plastic wedgies with the rounded tip and scalloped “blade” the bakery gives you when you order a birthday cake for baby Timmy, then this is silly.

Mostly by Americans, though.

I’d mostly agree with this summary, with one caution. “The progress that has been made” is often grounds for complacency (I’m not suggesting you are being complacent Lissa).

Could try ‘most free’ but it’s still nuts, always was nuts. But, hey, if it makes the masses feel good, propogate the myth.

File alongside “shining beacon of democracy” and any number of other idiotic slogans that contain “best” and “country” and that seem to be the preserve of an empire mentality (cf. Victorian Britain).

Let’s try this then: The most bestest freest country that provides the best free message board for London_Calling to enter his shining beacons of messages on while the truly best and freest masses of this board are mostly saying “rise and shine” and getting ready for another nutty day of feeling good 'cause you can’t be a beacon if your light don’t shine.

And yes, any idiot that tries to bring a knife of any sort on an airplane in these times should be fined.