Just Refuse To Pay The Fear Tax!

Seth  had an interesting post that he happened to pen at virtually the same time I wrote my “Just Give Up” opus last “Opinionated Monday”.

Here’s what happens as a result of security theater at the Orlando airport:

How to Move to the Philippines Manual
  • You wait in line at least twenty minutes
  • There’s a scrum of pushing and shoving
  • The staff are unhappy and not afraid to share it
  • An unreasonable workload leads to fatigue and errors
  • People miss their flights

Here’s what doesn’t happen:

  • Security is not increased
  • Peace of mind is not enhanced

In other words, we’re paying a significant tax (time and money) and getting nothing in return. In fact, we get worse than nothing. We could call it an anxiety program, instead of a tax. (After all, when you pay a luxury tax, you get some hard-won luxury as part of the deal).

The reason the TSA keeps changing the rules is not because the rules work, but because changing the rules creates more anxiety (for bad guys, they say, but for us too). …

We pay the fear tax every time we spend time or money seeking reassurance. We pay it twice when the act of seeking that reassurance actually makes us more anxious, not less.

We pay the tax when we cover our butt instead of doing the right thing, and we pay the tax when we take away someone’s dignity because we’re afraid. (my emphasis)

Here’s another “breaking news” item I just came across during the time I started drafting this post and then sent it off to publish:

“TSA was notified of a passenger allegedly smoking onboard American Airlines Flight 117 from John I. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX),” the Transportation Security Administration said in a statement.

This caused the diversion of the aircraft to an alternate landing site, the confinement of all the passengers in Gulag-like interrogation areas and then finally resulted in the aircraft being sent on it’s way after about 6 hours of delay, lost time, lost wages, added on expenses and so forth.

Why?  Because of a recognized terrorist threat?  No, because an American Citizen was rude enough/unlawful enough/ignorant enough to light a cigarette in a place he was not allowed to.  Wow.  Surprised they didn’t land the plane in the desert and just nuke everyone on board … real hardened criminals there, especially all the innocents who did not break the law, but still were treated and inconvenienced as if they had.

Before you rabid anti-smokers out there get on your high horse, I used to fly when smoking was allowed on aircraft and I still fly today.  Even as a smoker, I certainly support a smoking ban on airline flights, because the air on board is unhealthy enough without subjecting non-smokers to my habit … but Jesus, people, can we have a little bit of intelligence here … a measured response to the level of the threat?

The guy broke the law.  So take him off the plane and deal with him as the law requires … but subject all his innocent fellow passengers to a captive situation like they were?  Complete lack of control and intelligence on the part of our government … rampant display of arrogance, actually, in my view of course, since I know Carnivore is reading my blog posts to make sure I don’t use bad words like bomb, and terrorism, and overthrow and civil disobedience … and other words that are no longer part of free speech.

And then again, just before I was ready to go to press I got another news item involving air planes, terrorism paranoia and the aggrandizement of government agencies who somehow have forgotten their place … yes, Secret Service and TSA, I’m talking about your own disloyalty to the oaths you are supposed to serve under (more carnivore fodder there, eh?)

Two fighter jets were responsible for a pair of loud sonic booms that shook Western Washington Tuesday afternoon. The Oregon Air National Guard F-15s took off from Portland, Ore. in pursuit of a seaplane that breached a 10-mile restricted fly zone around the president’s Air Force One.

The intruding plane left the restricted area shortly before the fighter jets arrived and later landed in Lake Washington, outside of Seattle, where the unsuspecting pilot and passenger were awaited by the Secret Service. The pair were unaware of President Obama’s visit and the restricted fly-zone.

The explosion-like sounds heard throughout the area were caused by shock waves produced when the jets exceeded the speed of sound.

At the time, Air Force One was parked at a nearby air field while President Obama was in Seattle visiting an eatery and attending a fundraiser.

F-15 enforcing the far tax. The President crisscrosses the country at will .. for important things like fundraisers.  OK, fine, he’s the elected chief executive, and certainly he is so far less of a traveler/delay causer than his predecessor or his predecessor’s predecessor .. although I I were in the President’s shoes, I’d travel less and use the money to create more honest jobs … but hey, that’s just me.

But he’s my issue.  Even when the president isn’t on board.the Secret Service expects everyone to know where Air Force One is (technically it is never Air Force One when the President isn’t on board, but you wouldn’t expect new reporters to understand the laws of our land).  They only understand hyperbole and fear mongering.

In the name of “Presidential Security” we launch fighter aircraft from hundreds of miles away to “protect” an airplane that doesn’t even have the president on board.  Why?  because we are powerful agencies and we CAN, not because there is the slightest indication of any threat to the president.  Sad.

Also note, that just like in 2001, the Air Force still arrived too late to do anything about the threat, had it been real.  So in nearly 10 years now, almost a decade into this “War On Terror”, we, the people have accomplished exactly what?

Sacred the crap out of a lot of people and instilled fear in the hearts of Americans who actually have nothing to fear.

The heck with these Tea Parties and other Fox News propaganda, let’s revolt against the damnable “Fear Tax” Americans are paying … remember who we are and then act accordingly … and just say no to Federal Agency jackboots … do we still have the guts to live by our own Constitution?  What sayeth you?


  1. John Miele says


    As a very frequent flyer, you hit upon something that is the primary reason that I am quickly becoming highly disenfranchised with my own country. And…. You are 100% correct in your assertion that all of this occurs because these agencie CAN do it.

    TSA and DHS were created as power grabs, plain and simple. Then followed the Patriot Act. This isn’t anti-Bush, anti-Obama. BOTH parties are more than willing to use these laws to gain tighter CONTROL over the population.

    To illustrate, a visit to the TSA web site has a section highlighting all of the drug busts and other criminals they have arrested as a resulty of all of this “security”. Sarcasm aside, I certainly feel much, much safer knowing that they guy sitting next to me isn’t carrying a joint in his pocket or is a tax cheat.

    All of this theatre is simply CYA… The next time something happens they can say, “but look at all we’ve done to make you safer!” Then, we will be subjected to another set of Draconian laws removing even more freedoms.

    When I fgly through HKG, or SIN, I feel much safer knowing that they have implemented sane security regulations that are effective, rather than worrying about soldiers in uniform removing their boots or if grandma forgot that she was carrying a bottle of orange juice. They profile, they are visible, and they treat passengers with respect and security as a necessary evil in modern travel. Compare this with LAX OR LHR (Yes, it is far worse there) where you are screamed at by some idiot guard to be holding YOUR boarding pass and sweating in a 30 minute queue carrying bags and losing patience.

  2. says

    Exactly, John. I’d put up with almost anything involving security _IF_ it actually provided any additional security. Having worked for years inside Minuteman missile silos, Cheyenne Mountain and the former SAC Underground in Omaha, I think I know one or two things about the subject, also.

    Instead of a true security plan we have the jackboots of the TSA throwing their weight around catching smokers, and here’s a kewl part … tracking American citizens who allegedly visit underage prostitutes overseas.

    Now I am all for catching and punishing perverts … got no use for guys like that … but to classify that as “National Security”? Come on now … we all know the reason the TSA and their leadership at the DHS chases pot smokers and perverts … it’s easy and low threat.

    Actually finding any of those terrorists who pose “credible threats” to the USA? Well, now that’s a bit more difficult (and dangerous, don’t you know), and hey, catching less threatening guys counts just as much toward retirement as actually making a difference in the so-called “War On Terror”?

    Am I disillusioned? Yep, you bet. Am I disappointed at the totally chickenshit way the TSA “handles” security? You better believe it.

  3. Bruce Michels says

    As they have said many time never let a crisis go to waste! (even if it is a manufactred one) Most Americans are stupid they believe what they hear on the boob tube and radio.
    Then they put their heads in the sand and say just leave me alone in my own little world.
    Little do they understand is that These people use this war on terror to restrict your movement, take away you constitutional rights and tax the hell out of you.
    This is not the America I grew up in or swore an oath to protect and serve. All we have now are greedy power hungry officials who look at us as tax revenues not follow citizens. Sorry for the rant but it’s true.

    • says

      When I worked in a large government headquarters function we had a common saying … if you haven’t heard a good rumor by 1 pm, start one 😉

      I agree wholeheartedly … I don’t know what has become of our country. If Fox News says it is so, it must be. Doesn’t anyone think for themselves any more? Oh well …

  4. Ron LaFleur says

    I totally agree with everything said here. John accurately says CYA and that is appropriate. Lets assume though that the seaplane was intending to harm the President. What happens if we don’t divert it? Lets assume the smoker in the aircraft was actually trying to light a shoe bomb and not a cigarette. The flight attendants don’t know-no one other than the smoker really knows. So yes you have to CYA. No one likes it-I don’t but I do feel better knowing that someone is trying to CYA. I do feel for people like John that fly so often. Myself and family maybe four or more times a year. If I were wearing John’s shoes I would be more frustrated. Incidents like the TWA flight blown out of the sky, 9/11 and other hijackings do happen. Will all of this supposed security stop it from happening again-probably not as its impossible to be 100% effective. Look at the bright side-it creates jobs.

    • says

      Well I don’t feel better that people are playing CYA, Ron. This is a situation where the people in charge of security are consciously not doing the ‘hard’ things and doing the easy things, and consciously trying to get the average citizen to support them by unjustified propaganda fear mongering. Sorry, but I don’t feel better at all.

      What TWA plane are you talking about being blown out of the sky, BTW?

      Regrading the smoking incident. yes, as I said, it’s appropriate that the flight crew took action and landed as soon as possible. That’s a given in today’s world of ‘shoe bombers’ and such. However. to detain everyone for hours and hours just to show ‘who is boss’ is nonsense. Just grandstanding to show off their power, and those sorts of ‘jobs’ we don’t need, IMO.

      And if we are going to have no fly zones and enforce them with the Air Force, the point I am making is that in nearly 10 years the Air Force is still failing in their mission, exactly as they failed on 9-11. We’re creating the jobs, spending the money and yet still flubbing the dub. (I’m not anti-military, BTW, I’m an Air Force retiree with more than 38 years of military and civilian service), but if the shoe fits, one has to wear it. What is the point of carving up the air space all over the US whenever the president flies, and then not being able to do anything about it. When will the US citizenry demand performance instead of showmanship?

      Mission performance is the key ingredient and frankly, I see very little of it. You know our military is currently about one tenth the size it was in WW-II, yet there are about 40 times more generals … and there’s a general officer responsible for the fact the designated Air Force coverage of the no-fly zone did not successfully complete their mission. Where’s his name in all this, and why isn’t he on the carpet?

      Showmanship and sonic booms are not security.

  5. Andrew says

    I hope i’m never on plane in the U.S. where some ignorant nicotine junkie decides to light up a coffin nail. Man, if i were to be held for six hours just for being on the same plane, i’d go freaking postal. And then i’d probably get tossed in the pokie for complaining loudly.

    Me: Sir, have you been tested for idiocy?

    TSA: No, sir. Do you have your lawyer’s number handy?

    • says

      That’s my point, exactly. In the name of ‘security”, we have given up our rights. Anything to pay lip service to “safety”. Always remember and never forget, the biggest despot in history, Adolph Hitler was “legally” elected and completely legally appoint chancellor by a duly elected congress who made him dictator becuase of “fear” of rabble in the streets.

      Marcos, by far the most despotic leader the Philippines ever knew maintained a strangle hold on the country, completely legally, by fear-mongering regarding “Communist Rebels”. The US also fell all over itself supporting and protecting Marcos for years against a virtually non-existent threat.

      Americans need to graduate from children being afraid of the dark and start living our lives for something aside from “safety” … the TSA does little to enhance, anyway.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *