Don’t tell us we’re incompetent

After revealing serious holes in the gov’t airport security program, the college student responsible is not receiving any thanks from the protectors of our skies — the TSA:

    Deputy TSA Administrator Stephen McHale said Monday’s court action “makes clear that renegade acts to probe airport security for whatever reason will not be tolerated, pure and simple.”

    “Amateur testing of our systems do not show us in any way our flaws,” McHale said. “We know where the vulnerabilities are and we are testing them … This does not help.’

Firstly, they “know where the vulnerabilities are”? Huh? Also, considering Nathaniel Heatwole (the “conspirator”) outdid the security protocals, perhaps it is the TSA that is amateur.

Great Minds…

Jesse Walker pens a much more thorough criticism of the U.S. war on Latin America. On the Bolivian uprising:

[I]t was a short jump from trampling the liberties of the coca growers to trampling other people’s freedoms as well, with Amnesty International condemning the use of “excessive force” against demonstrators over the last month. Like, say, shooting them. On October 12, troops fired on protesters in the city of El Alto, leaving at least five dead. In this way, the war on drugs has undermined not just peasant property rights but the rule of law.

Read more.

Swing Voters in Baghdad

This article about plans to bring troops home made me wonder: In light of all the fuss about military votes in the 2000 election being counted, and the presumption that those votes were heavily pro-Bush, is anyone in the White House worried about how homesick soldiers still deployed next year will vote? Whether the public ever sees fit to notice the occupation or not, the 100,000 or so registered voters in Iraq might be the ones who unseat Bush.

Farm Aid, Pt. 2

When not busy destroying Iraq’s orchards, the U.S. government finds time to shoot and poison Latin American farmers. Thomas Jefferson’s obsession with agrarianism may not have been pure sentimentality, after all. Having regulated and subsidized America’s small farms to death after 70 years of corporate statism, we have eviscerated the concept of property itself and our empathy for those whose property is trampled. Joseph Schumpeter:

This evaporation of what we may term the material substance of property – its visible and touchable reality – affects not only the attitude of holders but also that of the workmen and of the public in general. Dematerialized, defunctionalized and absentee ownership does not impress and call forth moral allegiance as the vital form of property did.

From Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy