Wasn’t that little democratic sit-in adorable??
Nothing gets a Hilitant off faster than a chance to relive their glory years by participating in some meaningless act of civil disobedience. So off they scurried behind the biggest Civil Rights sellout of them all, John Lewis, and plopped their creaky asses onto the Congress floor for a few uncomfortable hours, which accomplished all of…dick.
If you’ve been keeping up, you know that things were already critical between the Party and me, so let’s just say that I wasn’t as charmed as all of those other sensible liberals out there…though I was distracted enough not to notice that SCOTUS used the opportunity to chip away at more of our Fourth Amendment rights…or what’s left of it.
More specifically, in a 5-3 decision, SCOTUS ruled that evidence discovered in a search by police during unlawful stops can be used in court, so long as police officers conducted the search only after learning the person had an outstanding warrant.
Now, if you’re naive enough to think, “So? Then don’t have an outstanding warrant, dumbass!”, then let Justice Elena Kagan, who dissented on this shit, explain it to you: “By barring the use of illegally obtained evidence, courts reduce the temptation for police officers to skirt the Fourth Amendment’s requirements”.
And if that isn’t clear enough, how about this: “They can’t plant shit on you if they aren’t allowed to search you to begin with”.
So by the time the Dem’s Senior Citizen Slumber party came to its usual pointless end–and, again, it accomplished DICK–those sly motherfuckers managed to take even more of the few rights we have left…and no, I don’t believe it was a coincidence.
Think I’m crazy? Sure, I’ll don the tinfoil hat, gladly. With pride. Nowadays, tinfoil is the new black, and if you aren’t wearing one now, you are way behind the times, sugar. At this writing, I have downloaded the strongest VPN I can afford, I’m using Tor and TAILS and I’m even wearing these incredibly stylish shades, because these days, paranoia is just another word for common fucking sense.
Now gather ’round. Mama Rogue’s gonna tell you a bedtime story.
Just by way of preface, I have a history with the TSA. I don’t do a lot of traveling, but every single time I fly–and I mean literally, every single time I fly–I get hassled by the TSA. Not a big deal; cursory pat down and a peek through my bags. And to be completely forthcoming, a couple of times I did fuck up–once I brought a tube of toothpaste that was larger than 3 ounces (yeah…I know. I’m lucky I’m not in fucking Leavenworth); and once I left a corkscrew in my carry-on (go ahead and judge me, motherfucker…I’m prepared).
Again–the TSA feel-up wasn’t a big deal, just annoying…especially when MB just walks past unmolested. One time they didn’t make him go through security at all! Mind you, I’ve never been arrested–at all–for anything. I do not belong to any sort of group whatsoever, much less an extremist group. I’m an atheist, so we tend not to sacrifice ourselves in the name of God, Allah, Darwin or anybody else, because we’ve already read this book and don’t like how it ends. Besides that, I’m a middle-aged, middle-class (you know what I mean), relatively educated white woman with indifferent health. I’ve owned cats who were bigger threats.
Anyway, as it would so happen, MB and I had a trip scheduled for Paradise; the day beforehand, I was messaging a close friend of mine, basically to touch base with him, to give him a rough itinerary so he would know how to contact me in case there was some sort of emergency. He asked if I was ready for my TSA Foreplay, as I’ve come to call it, and I laughed and said that I hoped he was right because I could use the action. Then, just to be a smart ass, I proceeded to deliberately list every single inflammatory (but true) comment I’ve ever made at any point–online, on the phone, in person, whatever–to “make it happen”.
So I listed the times I had condemned rogue cops, accused the media of blatant corruption, spoke out against drones (like, when they miss their targets and hit innocent civilians and even schoolhouses killing every child within); I said that Edward Snowden was my personal Jesus and that if it wasn’t for him, the NSA would be even more dangerous now than it already is; that Homeland Security was pretty much the government mafia and would eventually destroy the last shreds of our civil rights; that we were rapidly devolving from an oligarchy into a crypto-fascist state.
I said that the absolute failure to take even simple measures to increase gun safety was appalling and that if Obama didn’t have the guts to make it a personal crusade, he could have at least used his veto stamp once in a while; how women have fewer rights now than we did 40 years ago; that cops seem to be free to murder minorities just for pissing them off or just because they were having bad day or whatever…and never served single day in prison; that the DEA was the most corrupt, ineffective, $1 trillion failure and how I fully supported decriminalization so they could disband the DEA and invest all of that money into public rehab…like the Germans and Portuguese did and addiction rates have plummeted…and that I believed that the draconian mandatory drug sentencing was designed to house young black males in prisons-for-profit on non-violent offenses.
And, as the piece de resistance, I said that I felt that if only Anonymous could their act together–and if God-help-us-all, Trump rose to power or if the Christian extremists committed some sort of jihad, that hactivists could lead the revolution through technology instead of bloodshed.
And even though I believe every goddamn word of the above, I worded it in a very satirical, pseudo-melodramatic way with references to the joys of a Guantanamo Bay vacation and other twisted, ridiculous descriptions. This friend and I share a pitch-black sense of humor, but anybody with half a brain could see that I wasn’t being serious and went out of my way to clarify my harmlessness by including plenty of lols, winky faces and the like.
So: day of the flight, I made extra sure that I had no metal on myself, my carry-on bag or my computer bag, no liquids over 3 oz, etcetera. I even consulted the TSA website and double-checked all of the rules…because I was getting sick of always being patted down.
You know that agent who sits at the entrance of security check and looks at your boarding pass and ID? MB just sailed through as usual…but when the agent checked mine, he looked at the screen and literally did a double-take. His whole demeanor changed and he basically looked at me as if I were Osama bin Laden’s secret bastard child, standing before him poised to continue his legacy.
I knew then that I was in for it.
Scan was fine, of course…but instead of the pat down, they ordered me to stand in front of this morose asshole who looked exactly like a fat Abe Vigoda. He glanced at MB and told me—not MB–that if he came near me, he would also be searched.
Then he told me not to touch my shoes and to stay right there, while he went through every single item in my bag, including going through my (admittedly extensive) medicine bag–picking up every one of them, reading every single label…and going as far as opening them up and glancing inside (pretty sure that’s illegal, but…who am I kidding?)
He opened up my clear ziplock freezer bag that I used to pack all of my cosmetics and opened each item–checking for incendiary eyeshadow devices, I suppose–and then, I swear to god, I’m not making this up–he turned the clear bag upside down and shook it. Looking for terrorist skin CELLS, maybe…who knows.
Abe seemed disappointed, but then again, what the fuck, he looks like Abe Vigoda, motherfucker already looks disappointed in LIFE. Anyway, Abe took out my MacBook bag and scanned it with some sort of miniature, all-purpose super-duper Anti-Terrorist Magic Wand™ and slowly scanned the bag for about five minutes and then opened every compartment and pocket and scanned them separately for perhaps another two minutes more. Once he finished that, he picked up the MacBook and asked me if it was an older model. I thought that maybe he was a fellow Mac fan and I volunteered that yes, I got a great deal on a refurbished…and realized that I said the wroooonnnggg thing (and I’m still not sure why…).
Very gently, Abe hefted the Mac and shook it. Then, when it failed to detonate, he set it down on the counter, scanned the top and bottom with the Wand™ and very slowly and carefully opened the laptop as if he thought an insurgent snake was going to jump out and destroy the world. Again, with the magic Wand™, over the screen, then through every row and in between every…single…button on the keyboard.
By now, the fact that he couldn’t find any incendiary devices was beginning to piss Abe off; he told me to stay where I was until a female TSA agent was available to search me. After another 3-4 minutes, she finally arrived. To be fair, Lady TSA was actually very kind and professional; I got the feeling that she was embarrassed about feeling up an obviously petite, middle-class, middle-aged white women ,when any fool could see that I was fucking harmless.
Lady TSA gave me the choice of being searched out in the open or in a private room. I wasn’t about to go into one of those God-forsaken interrogation rooms; I had no doubt that they were rigged with portable waterboarding stands, so I said “I’m fine right here”.
Okay, I’ll try to be discreet, but I was stunned at how personal the search was. I am not exaggerating when I say it was pretty much a clothed cavity search–every single part of my body was groped, squeezed and even slightly penetrated. To be fair, she would pause now and then and tell me exactly which parts she would be searching and made it clear what the process would be.
The whole thing took at least 5 minutes. At one point, I said wearily, “I’ve never been arrested in my life. I’m a democrat. Hell, I’m even going to vote for Hillary, for god’s sake”, but she was obviously embarrassed and so I shut up. She was only doing her job…and she was the only person there who didn’t treat me like criminal shit. And when everybody else is treating you like criminal shit, you learn to appreciate decency.
Throughout this whole 4th amendment rape, poor MB was watching me with this stricken, helpless look. He’s already ridiculously protective of me and he told me later that he felt guilty for not “doing a better job of defending me”, which was as sweet as it was really dumb.
Understand, this was happening in front of probably 100-200 people…but I wasn’t at all embarrassed; they were the assholes. They were the disgraceful ones. I had no choice in their treatment of me, but I wasn’t going to hide my face in shame. I didn’t even drop my eyes. Fuck them.
This whole ordeal took 20 full minutes. Lady TSA kindly told me that I could collect my things and go.
When I went to get my things–including my damn shoes–Abe shoved my belongings towards me without even looking up.
I was so livid that I didn’t dare say a thing; we barely made our flight.
So…maybe I’m crazy. Maybe I should don a tin foil hat…but I don’t think that was a coincidence. And I don’t give a shit. I don’t care if from now on, we have to routinely factor in another 45 minutes into our arrival time to get the government groping. As long as there is a First Amendment, I will say exactly what the fuck I think…and if you *do* think I’m being melodramatic, then I suggest you go watch the documentary on Edward Snowden, Citizenfour, or at least go introduce yourself to Wikileaks. It’s terrifying. There is no such thing as privacy–for anybody. They read the emails, download keystroke software to track every IP address, look at every single photo, can tap your phone and do the same to everyone of your contacts, inventory the books you order and basically violate your privacy, no matter who you are and they don’t need any reason to do so.
Paranoid? We’ll see. In the meantime, I’ve downloaded the most secure VPN available, changed my email to proton mail–MIT researchers developed it and it is supposed to be “NSA-proofed”, and I do all of my research and purchases on the deep web (which has been unfairly compared to the dark web–it’s all in how you use it, folks).
If it never happens again, great. I WANT to be paranoid. But I don’t think I am.
So what about you? What should you do if it happens to you? Nothing. Submit. If you have a partner who is not having their civil rights reamed and if they are willing to take the chance of being reamed, have them tape it…but nothing will come of it. That’s my point: we don’t have a Fourth Amendment. Not anymore. They can listen in, read what you read, see what you order, go through your shit, search your cars, search your homes stick a fucking gloved hand up your non-greased ass and plunge in to the hilt. We let this happen. The question now is, what do we do to keep it from getting worse?
Well, you can start by not being distracted with cute little stunts like the democratic sit-in…and then pay…the fuck…ATTENTION to what’s really going on.
Because they are.