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TSA Got Everything It Wanted For Christmas 338

OverTheGeicoE writes "It looks like Congress' recent jabs at TSA were just posturing after all. Last Friday, President Obama signed a spending act passed by both houses of Congress. The act gives TSA a $7.85 billion budget increase for 2012 and includes funding for 12 additional multi-modal Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR) teams and 140 new behavior detection officers. It even includes funding for 250 shiny new body scanners, which was originally cut from the funding bill last May."
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TSA Got Everything It Wanted For Christmas

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  • Well, (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Samantha Wright ( 1324923 ) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @05:45PM (#38531424) Homepage Journal

    Can we just... start over?
  • Meet the new boss (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cosm ( 1072588 ) <thecosm3@gmaNETBSDil.com minus bsd> on Thursday December 29, 2011 @05:48PM (#38531462)
    ...same as the old...oh fuck it. I'm starting my own country in Antarctica. This place is burning.
  • Re:Well, (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ClintJCL ( 264898 ) <clintjcl+slashdot@gma i l . com> on Thursday December 29, 2011 @05:48PM (#38531474) Homepage Journal
    Yes. Revolution is an extension of evolution.
  • Re:Well, (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 29, 2011 @05:51PM (#38531516)

    But when a long train of abuses and usurpations pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

    Just sayin'.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 29, 2011 @05:52PM (#38531540)

    ...Not going to education, science, health care, yadda yadda because that would 'cost too much money'

  • Re:Well, (Score:3, Insightful)

    by The End Of Days ( 1243248 ) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @05:52PM (#38531544)

    Not likely to work. The culture of fear has taken hold. People want the comfort of being taken care of.

  • Re:How ? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BobZee1 ( 1065450 ) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @05:52PM (#38531550) Journal
    I thought Barack Obama was a democrat.
  • by theVP ( 835556 ) * on Thursday December 29, 2011 @05:53PM (#38531562)
    Between this, Indefinite Detention, and SOPA, I am really struggling to recognize America this month.
  • Parties? Plural? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @05:57PM (#38531636)
    When did the difference between Democrats and Republicans amount to anything more than a distraction? We have a one-party system, except that the one party happens to be somewhat divide on minor issues like gay marriage and abortion rights. People are easily distracted, which is how these crooks get away with so many abuses of power.
  • Re:Well, (Score:4, Insightful)

    by smelch ( 1988698 ) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @06:01PM (#38531706)
    Sadly, I'm not sure that starting over is a great idea. Have you seen the majority of people in the states? I wouldn't trust them to rebuild after a revolution. I think we should just split up the US in to 2 - 4 sections and let them progress in their own ways.
  • by Crudely_Indecent ( 739699 ) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @06:02PM (#38531724) Journal


    up $153 million from 2011

    So, they did get an increase.....it was merely obscene instead of absolutely ridiculous.

  • by binary paladin ( 684759 ) <binarypaladin.gmail@com> on Thursday December 29, 2011 @06:02PM (#38531726)

    Hope and change my friends. Hope and change.

    Until we dump the two party monopoly in America, the current direction will not waver regardless of which presidential candidate gets elected.

  • by snarkh ( 118018 ) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @06:04PM (#38531752)

    Well, their budget is larger than that of the National Science Foundation. If that is not obscene, I do not know what is.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 29, 2011 @06:12PM (#38531844)

    I'd get more benefit from, and prefer, to pay them to do nothing.

  • by DaHat ( 247651 ) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @06:14PM (#38531852) Homepage

    But is that because of or in spite of the TSA?

    When Napolitano said "the system worked" with regards to the underpants bomber... she was right... but not why she thinks.

    Just as with the shoe bomber, both attacks were thwarted not by the TSA, not by attentive passengers... but because of limited options on the part of the terrorist.
    In the old days, a terrorist would smuggle on to the plane almost anything as there was virtually no security. Whether it be DB Cooper or Pan Am Flight 103 the sky was the limit.

    Know what happened? We started looking for such things. All of the sudden getting a traditional bomb, gun or knife onto the plane got a lot harder... so the bad guys would have to find other means. The problem though (as evidenced by both the shoe and underpants bomber) is that some of their alternatives are not as effective as they’d like... leading to an increased chance of failure.

    Don’t get me wrong... the majority of what we face at the airport today is security theater... one upshot of which is we have (theoretically) increased the chances of finding a bomb/knife/gun carrier... forcing them to try to find more difficult ways.

    Body scanners are not the answer... profiling and behavioral analysis is.

    It’s no wonder El Al hasn’t been hijacked in in 40+ years. They take security seriously and don’t dink around with nonsense like forcing people to take off their shoes or (likely unhealthy) body scanners.

  • by Microlith ( 54737 ) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @06:21PM (#38531970)

    I do understand that an airplane can be turned into a giant guided missile that can take down a skyscraper. It may be that extreme measures are appropriate for security at an airport.

    This has not been true since Sept. 11, 2001 when people decided that letting a terrorist hijack a plane was no longer a good idea. Of course, the measures taken do precisely shit for security.

    But how does it make sense to send a VIPR team to search people getting on or off a train? How do you justify that? Are they going to drive the train off the tracks and blow up a building?

    Because everything is justified by the "War on Terror" even if no logic or data exists otherwise.

    Has a VIPR team ever caught a terrorist or found a bomb, ever?

    Nope, and they never will.

    But you can bet your ass that some contractors and equipment vendors will make a lot of money off of this. And I suspect, like Chertoff, it wouldn't be hard to trace the contracts that are inevitably issued back to the senators who support this garbage.

  • by Gription ( 1006467 ) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @06:23PM (#38531980)
    Flying is dangerous!!!

    ... because you have to ride in a car to get to the airport, you probably walked up or down stairs (and/or escalators), and you probably took a shower or a bath before you left. Those all are quite a bit more risky then flying.

    Other then that, the real risk is the 100% risk that the government will stomp all over your personal property rights, privacy rights, and any possible right to dignity,
  • by artor3 ( 1344997 ) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @06:25PM (#38532014)

    One party fought for public option health care. They fought for increased taxes on those who can afford it, rather than insisting that taxes only ever go down. They fought against the enormous and expensive blunder that was the Iraq war. They fought against allowing unlimited corporate money to influence politics. They fought against torture. They fought against teaching creationism in school. And despite your hand-waving dismissal, they fought for the rights of gays and women, who probably don't view themselves as minor issues. And that's just off the top of my head.

    Saying the parties are the same is just the excuse of the lazy, trying to rationalize why they don't bother voting.

  • We are the enemy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by koan ( 80826 ) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @06:30PM (#38532074)

    It's pretty clear that the primary threat the Think Tanks envision is not shoe wearing, scrotum burning terrorist but rather the US population and what's likely to happen when it becomes obvious to every unemployed dolt that we are in a serious depression, that the chance of a multiple massive riots/race war/civil war starting is high and the sheer volume of military weaponry owned by the average citizen makes it a certainty that it will be bloody, very bloody.
    From the nut job militias, (Idaho, Utah and elsewhere) massive illegal immigration, record gun sales and ammunition sales, to the fact that the membership of the 18th street gang in L.A. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/18th_Street_Gang) is more than twice that of the police force, and that's just one gang, it's become clear that we are in serious trouble and it won't take much to set off the powder keg.

    I hope I'm wrong about this and it's really just some large corporate contract raping the wallets of the American people again but things are looking grim.

  • Re:Well, (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 29, 2011 @06:32PM (#38532108)

    Revolution is a word tossed around by wannabe anarchists who make a show of desiring change but lack the commitment to actually enable any change. It's hip, it's fashionable, and it's anti-establishment so people feel empowered by endorsing revolution.

    Moving towards the less mature arenas, on college campuses you see people promoting revolution and hinting at violence as a component of it. It's another false sense of empowerment; the idea that violence can create real and permanent change is mostly untrue in modern times in the Western world.

    Like it or not, we are stuck with the system that we have. Revolution will never happen and if it did, it would never change anything. It's better to use one's time and money to make corrective measures to the existing system. In particular striving for more transparency in policies and programs helps keep the politicians honest as they have to disclose what they do, and things like the FOIA have been quite a benefit. That's something we can pursue realistically without the false pretense of revolution.

    Imagine if all the Occupiers had a coherent and uniform message about one particular issue, and had well thought out demonstrations. They may have been able to tweak things by now. But instead it's a bunch of disorganized pot-smoking street people all claiming their own cause and causing trouble. That is most definitely not the root of an revolution or any kind of progress. All the Middle East movements had very definite goals and that helped immensely.

    In short I disagree with your comment, and I think it's the kind of pretentious thing a hipster would say.

  • by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @06:42PM (#38532268)
    Really? The democrats fought against the Iraq war? That explains the bipartisan support for the war in 2003. Healthcare would have been a good move...except that we do not have it, and a democratic majority failed to delivery it. Corporations wield just as much power over congress today as they did during the Bush and Clinton presidencies.

    They fought against torture

    While failing to fight against the prison-industrial complex, and while fighting for NDAA.

    despite your hand-waving dismissal, they fought for the rights of gays and women, who probably don't view themselves as minor issues

    Sorry, but gay marriage is a pretty minor issue by comparison with the other problems facing this country. What do you consider to be more important, allowing people to marry members of the same sex, or not being the world leader in imprisoning people? When we stop having law enforcement officers that carry M-16s on a day-to-day basis, maybe gay marriage will move up a notch.

    While you were busy cheering for the democrats pulling our troops out of Iraq (after nearly a decade spent in Iraq, and the approval of the democrats for the invasion in the first place), they were busy establishing more surveillance, more law enforcement power, more curtailments of your rights, more hand-outs for large corporations, more union busting policies, more censorship, and more imprisonment -- just like the republicans. It was not a republican president whose drug czar interfered in popular TV show scripts for the purpose of spreading propaganda.

    Yeah, I see what you mean about them being different from the republicans. After all, the republicans try appealing to the religious sentiments of middle America, while the democrats only use racial prejudice and fear. Republicans overtly support big business, while the democrats quietly support big business. As someone with liberal leanings, I guess it is clear that I should stop voting third party and start voting for the democrats, right?

  • Re:obama (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PortHaven ( 242123 ) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @06:56PM (#38532444) Homepage

    You know, there was a candidate who wanted to end the wars. Close Gitmo & the TSA. Who felt the government shouldn't have any role in marriage.

    That candidate does happen to be running in this election. And may in fact place 1st or 2nd in our first state election.

    Just saying...

    (And no, I don't agree with all his policies. But dammit, I so wish him upon Congress. Congress so deserves Ron Paul.)

  • Re:Well, (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lightknight ( 213164 ) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @07:00PM (#38532486) Homepage

    That is what I thought. However, recent evidence points to the obvious problem -> people become used to the current level of fear. Which means you are either in a race to continuously pop out a larger and stronger crisis, or you have to pull back for a bit. Right now, people are losing their life savings -> in the end, the people upstairs have ensured that the people downstairs have *nothing* to lose.

    And people enjoy comfort only so long as it doesn't chafe their freedoms. So, you get a few years out of the trade before people want to switch back. Why? Because after the trade, the comfort slowly gets cut back. Happens every time. The thinking of the people here seems to be one of "I'll have them trade their freedom for comfort, then I'll bolt the door, and take back the comfort. Win! Win! Win!" when reality dictates that removing their comfort, at the point, tends to sober them up. Then you're stuck in the room with someone who is pissed at you, and again, has nothing to lose.

    What I see now, going on with the global economy / politics, is something out of a video game -> FF7, to be exact. The {new} people {currently} in charge have decided to control through 'fear,' instead of money, because they think it's cheaper and just as effective. They are obviously too lazy / stupid to have read a history book, to realize how many other people throughout history have attempted the same, succeeded, then were found murdered in their beds. Yes, people will try to kill you whether you are a good or evil person, no, you do not need to provide them with additional reasons to come after you.

  • I'm all for this (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jd2112 ( 1535857 ) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @07:10PM (#38532608)
    As long as a tsa checkpoint is required to board Air Force One. (even for the Persistent)
  • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) * on Thursday December 29, 2011 @07:18PM (#38532710)
    Yeah, the TSA proved that they stopped the shoe bomber and the underwear bomber - oh wait, that was sheer luck, ineptness of the attackers and quick action by other passengers. Either way your point is completely invalid because these people made it past checkpoints both inside and outside the US.
  • by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @07:30PM (#38532830)

    On the Iraq war: Democrats were opposed 126-82

    That does not sound very united to me. Suppose the democrats had a simple majority in congress; if they are 3-2 against the war, what makes you think the measure would not pass? They would need a pretty significant majority in congress for 3/5 of the democrats to prevent us from going to war in Iraq, although maybe my ability to multiply and add fractions is on the fritz.

    They fought against torture

    So the fact that the Chinese do not even come close to imprisoning as many of their citizens as we do means nothing, because we are nice about imprisoning people. Additionally, the Democrats have only expressed opposition to waterboarding, but not to other forms of torture used in our prison system:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solitary_confinement [wikipedia.org]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diesel_therapy [wikipedia.org]

    When a large segment of the population is used as a political punching bag and denied basic rights and control over their lives, that IS a big deal

    Gays are not denied their rights anymore, and neither are women (??). The last, very minor right that gays were denied was the right to express who they are attracted to while they are serving in the military -- hardly a big deal issue, and hardly one that justifies voting for democrats. What rights are women currently being denied by the government, and what are your beloved democrats doing about it?

    We can help millions of people right now, but it seems you'd rather let them suffer because you can't get some other things you want first.

    Gay marriage is a nice concept if you are a romantic, but I am not going to vote for people who support gay marriage while simultaneously supporting the war on drugs, the militarization of the police, the military industrial complex, and the prison industrial complex, when I could vote for someone else. Some issues are minor, and some are not minor, and gay marriage falls squarely in the "minor" category. It is not that it is not something worth addressing, but given the choice between living in a country where gays can marry each other an the police drive around in tanks (see link) and a country where people can only marry members of the opposite sex but the police are not a paramilitary force, I choose the country without gay marriage.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41912754/ns/technology_and_science-tech_and_gadgets/t/why-do-americas-police-need-armored-tank/ [msn.com]

    Also I seem to recall some Democrats fighting like hell in Wisconsin to protect the unions

    Meanwhile, in New York State, Andrew Cuomo pushes hard to break the unions:

    http://nyceducator.com/2011/11/governor-one-percent-discreetly-pulls.html [nyceducator.com]

    ...just like his democrat predecessor:

    http://nyceducator.com/2005/12/dear-attorney-general-spitzer.html [nyceducator.com]

    Stop falling for it.

    I am not the one claiming that gay marriage is important enough to outweigh the support among democrats for the various fascist domestic policies that they have been pushing.

  • Re:Well, (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RoknrolZombie ( 2504888 ) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @07:37PM (#38532916) Homepage
    No big surprise that you posted this as AC...don't want to claim your own opinions? Revolution is necessary in a large number of situations - generally speaking, when all other avenues have been exhausted. The United States is not - YET - at that point, however (as many) I'm seeing the same trends happening around the world and, let's face it, the United States is not full of leaders. We are not, as you say, "stuck" with what we have. We have had (and continue to have) opportunity to effect positive change. We also have probably the worst case of National Apathy that I've seen in a long time. When people get pissed off ENOUGH, then the Apathy will go away out of necessity. I see this playing out in one of three different ways (there may be more, lists are for goobers): 1) Citizens pull their heads out of their asses, get educated, and start participating in effecting positive change. That needs to happen before: 2) The Government manages to strip the last of our remaining rights away. If #1 doesn't happen, then #2 certainly will. As soon as people wake the fuck up, then we can expect to see: 3) People rebelling against the government that treats them as a consumable to be bought, sold, and abused as They see fit. I can't say that there will or won't be a revolution, but I will say that it's likely to help things more than hinder them (in the long run)
  • Foolish. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bussdriver ( 620565 ) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @08:14PM (#38533388)

    Obama got in by a lot and it was a clear message that was sent; Obama didn't get that message himself but it was quite clear people wanted a big change with their new outsider of a new color with a vague broad message of change.

    The biggest obstructionist move EVER in the history of the nation was the response. Ron Paul wouldn't be any different, he couldn't bend over backwards with compromise and get much of anything or become a moderate; both which Obama did and neither of which actually worked. You are not thinking; Ron Paul would get LESS out of them than Obama did. Then as things got worse, incumbents would be punished but its not likely people supporting him would get in; but those with the money to hire marketing to exploit whatever the trends are will -- the most corrupt ones... as we had in 2011.

    The problem is getting enough honest ones in office when the process is so controlled to filter those people out.

  • Re:Well, (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ClintJCL ( 264898 ) <clintjcl+slashdot@gma i l . com> on Thursday December 29, 2011 @08:44PM (#38533760) Homepage Journal
    "the idea that violence can create real and permanent change is mostly untrue in modern times in the Western world" Yup. Nothing violent has created any permanent changes in the world. That's why there's no wars or terrorist attacks.
  • Re:Well, (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheCarp ( 96830 ) <sjc@@@carpanet...net> on Thursday December 29, 2011 @09:01PM (#38533924) Homepage

    Probably not but.... most great successes come after lots of failures.

    In fact, government will always suck, and we will always need to overthrow them and start again... that is inevitable. However, it doesn't mean that we should stop trying. I like the way that Allen Moore (of V for Vendetta fame) described his view of anarchism:]

    I believe that all other political states are in fact variations or outgrowths of a basic state of anarchy; after all, when you mention the idea of anarchy to most people they will tell you what a bad idea it is because the biggest gang would just take over. Which is pretty much how I see contemporary society. We live in a badly developed anarchist situation in which the biggest gang has taken over and have declared that it is not an anarchist situation – that it is a capitalist or a communist situation. But I tend to think that anarchy is the most natural form of politics for a human being to actually practice.

    About sums it up.... now, lets talk about whats wrong here.

    Well, I don't see how the voting system and representation system can evolve anything other than a 2 party system. The effecitvely means a constant 2 party struggle, meaning that no issue can have a third side and everything is broken up. Look at congressional approval. Polls show most people don't believe their rep represents their interests, and the majority of them, don't like the other parties candidates either. Where does that leave people in a 2 party system?

    Of course, also with centralization.... it means the interests of 300 million people need to be distilled down into a few hundred people. A few hundred people who can't possibly be experts about everything, and so even with the best of intentions they can be manipulated easily. Its too much concentrated power, and too broken of a voting system.

    To fix it from within itself, easily seen to be impossible. The two party lockdown ensures that no serious reformers could ever get power, and if they did, would have to be virtuous enough to vote themselves less power.

  • by artor3 ( 1344997 ) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @09:01PM (#38533926)

    On the Iraq war vote: Yes, the mixed numbers make it so that they'd need a large majority (~80% if my math is right) to stop the war. Honestly, given how bad Republicans have been for the country, the Dems ought to have that many. Or better still, have the Dems have half of Congress with a new party to their left controlling the other half, so that the American left is no longer to the right of most country's conservatives. But that's a pipe dream. The fact is, the statement that the parties are the same is false.

    On torture: I've never said that the amount of prison time handed out in this country is okay. But the claim being discussed is: "The parties are the same." One party actively supports torturing people, the other doesn't. That strikes me as a difference.

    On gays and women: Gays in many places can't visit loved ones in the hospital, or adopt children, and only thanks to the Democrats can they serve in the military. Women can have abortions, for now, but the Republicans are curtailing that right at every step of the way, and if a liberal Justice has a heart attack while a Republican is in the White House, that can change in a jiffy. Tell a 16 year old girl who just had her entire life screwed up over one mistake, all because the government is kowtowing to a religious group, that her rights aren't being denied by the government, then get back to me.

    On unions: I'm aware of what Cuomo is doing... my dad is an affected union member (and, ironically, a Republican). I don't like it, but what he's doing isn't union busting. He is a tough negotiator with PEF, but there's a world of difference between taking a hardline stance in negotiations and taking away your opponent's right to negotiate at all.

    On overall approach to politics: You have strong morals and are fighting for what you want. I get that. I don't like the war on drugs (along with its militarization of the police force) any more than you do. But if you want to see this country get better, you can't keep wasting votes on third parties. Vote for Democrats, primary for liberals, and drag the Overton window back to the left. The reason the conservatives have been able to do so much harm is because they understand that sometimes you need to hold your nose and vote in lockstep.

    You're never going to hit that home run to fix the country all at once. You have to learn to play small ball. It took decades to create this mess, and it'll take decades to work our way out.

  • by Bob9113 ( 14996 ) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @10:20PM (#38534612) Homepage

    But in the end, they need 60 votes to break the Republican filibuster, and they didn't have those votes. What would you have them do?

    Ummm, not vote in favor of the things they say they oppose? That would be a nice start.

  • Re:Well, (Score:5, Insightful)

    by msobkow ( 48369 ) on Friday December 30, 2011 @02:51AM (#38536078) Homepage Journal

    George Orwell was an optimist.

    The fact that the people of the United States not only tolerate but encourage chicken little security theatre over respecting their own Constitutional rights is a sad testament to a people who've forgotten who they were before 9/11.

    Who've they stopped so far? An underwear bomber whose bomb wouldn't go off. Some guy with a car dealership who was theoretically contacted and working for an unbelievably incompetent and mismanaged foreign nation's security forces.

    Yet they didn't stop the homegrown terrorism of that fellow who shot and killed a half dozen people or so recently. They haven't stopped the terrorism of gangs that control entire cities. They haven't leashed the horrors of oxycadone addiction in the general population. People in Iraq are still being blown up by crazed lunatics who fantasize of being rewarded by their God for murder and suicide. The Afghanistan conflict shows no signs of ending soon.

    What, precisely, have the American people gained by giving up their right to be protected from unlawful searches and seizures? Even the Nazis only asked for papers at checkpoints; the police can harass you anytime, anywhere in the states to identify yourself and explain why you're where you are, and no one says boo about it.

    How sad to see a nation fall prey to the manipulation of those who instill fear and distrust of a vaguely identified "other" to justify their abuses of the rights of the people.

The wages of sin are high but you get your money's worth.