Police State Theater of the Absurd

I had to fly this past weekend, luckily just a one-day hop up to Reno, so I didn’t have luggage. That saved me a hour or more of waiting. This preposterous degradation we’re expected to endure every time we fly has really got to stop. The scrutiny has nothing to do with security and everything to do with training us in passive compliance with an authoritarian state.

Ever since the original stupidity started in 2001 I’ve been outraged by the absurdity of the so-called “security” measures taken at airports. They could hardly be less effective! The seizing of nail clippers and other personal items was ridiculous from the get-go, though you could kind of ‘get it’ that small sharp objects might be used for nefarious purposes. But making us all take off our shoes for all these years (are we going to do that forever? looks like it) is the dumbest thing ever, and now the government is holding press conferences trying to justify it as a mandatory policy even though a study from another part of the bureaucracy shows that it is pointless.

Craig Murray, formerly UK Ambassador to Uzbekistan, has come out with a decently skeptical piece about the latest propaganda campaign by the increasingly incomprehensible Bush/Blair machines. Several people asked me what I thought of the big announcement last week of the supposed terror plot in England. My first reaction was that it was fake. Murray’s piece makes clear that it was all political propaganda (what with the bad news in Lebanon, Iraq, Connecticut, Parliament, etc.) to change the topic, and of course the mainstream media did their usual stenographic lapdog routine. How anyone can go on giving credence to the mainstream media is WAY beyond me. None of the arrested suspects had a passport, plane ticket, or any bombs… whatever surveillance implicated them was probably largely a police fantasy, but it served its purpose during the three days of headline frenzy to reinforce the illusion that there’s a big war going on and the UK and US are the beleaguered victims barely escaping catastrophe.

I paid no attention, but Billmon did, to a Bush press conference yesterday, in which Bush serves as a PR lackey for the Israelis as they desperately try to avoid the consequences of their invasion’s abject failure. Billmon writes beautifully about the complete breakdown in coherence by Bush, not to mention the glaring set-up he’s imposed on himself when all his triumphant claims about the defeat of Hezbollah and Israel’s great victory are soon shown to be false.

Every time you think the Cheney regime has blown it, they find a way to blow it even more. No matter how blatantly wrong they are, no matter how much their policies fail, they just keep plowing ahead in the same psychotic direction, murdering and bombing under the bizarre idea that they will subdue opposition and win support. We’ve known for 6+ years that madmen had taken over, but it just gets crazier and crazier. Unfortunately, the deaths keep piling higher, the bloody rivers flow ever deeper. If you haven’t already read Sy Hersh’s latest in the New Yorker, I recommend it. He quotes various anonymous CIA and State Dept. people to show that the debacle in Lebanon will be spun as a great success by the Cheney gang, and they’ll use it to further justify their unjustifiable attack on Iran, already well underway in planning and logistics apparently, and set for some time after the November elections. Impeachment would be helpful, but it’s such a slow process and the Democrats are so lame and self-defeating, they’re sure to snatch failure from the jaws of long overdue justice… (On an unrelated California note, can you believe how helpless and uninspiring Phil Angelides looks as the Schwarzenegger campaign colonizes all the statewide media and spins his supposed big turnaround? Talk about pathetic… how do people keep putting money, time and heart into the Democratic Party? Why?…)

Anyway, we need to figure out a way to needle the idiots at the airports, or at least pressure the bigger idiots who have put us all into their Police State Theater of the Absurd. I am almost tempted to quit flying… but wait, we don’t have much of a train system anymore do we? Not much of a bus system either… aaargh.

P.S. AUG. 16: Becky Akers on Alternet has a nice piece following a similar line of thinking called “Abolish the TSA, Save Lives”. Here’s a nice quote:

The TSA has been a farce from its inception. It exists not to prevent terrorists from bringing down a plane but to prevent passengers from realizing the government can do little to thwart such a catastrophe.

1 comment to Police State Theater of the Absurd

  • You write, “No matter how blatantly wrong they are, no matter how much their policies fail, they just keep plowing ahead in the same psychotic direction, murdering and bombing under the bizarre idea that they will subdue opposition and win support.”

    Come on, man. You know better. As Abby Hoffman said about how to take part in meetings, DON’T LISTEN TO THE WORDS. Listen to the actions. Those guys don’t care what comes out of their mouths. They’re like Alan Greenspan — say whatever keeps people distracted while you do the real work behind closed doors. They don’t give a fig about support or opposition. They just want to make more money for their friends. W might want to be liked, but Cheney doesn’t care. He’s in it to kill and survive.

    I liked the formulation in this month’s Harpers, which declared Iraq a glorious victory for the people who really matter: the companies in the S&P Defense Industry Index have all seen their stock rise steadily since mid-2003 when it became clear that the Iraq war would be a quagmire.

    About the TSA, I found it funny yesterday to see people on CNBC saying that the reason cargo isn’t inspected on U.S. planes, while flip-flops and infant formula are, is that “it’s not sexy.” The security experts all agreed that the first priority is to do work that passengers can see. It’s what Schneier calls “security theater” — the goal isn’t security, it’s giving passengers a feeling of security, rather like the cameras on BART cars or the glow-sticks they hand out on Amtrak when the power goes out in the night.

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