Cartoon for May 17

“We’ll get used to it.” That’s what the airlines say. But I still miss not having to check out my own groceries.


24 Responses to “”

  1. Aggie Dude Says:

    Indeed, Ted, I recall the very reasonable expectation that one could sit with their loved ones at the gate waiting for their plane. This wasn’t that long ago.

    When I was very young, my parents could put me on a plane alone because they could actually escort me to my seat…ON THE PLANE….and then watch it take off from the gate.

    It’s absolutely amazing what we passively accept. In fact I really hate flying now, I’m sure most people do. If the Soviet Union still existed, Americans would refuse to tolerate being treated like Soviets.

  2. Ted Rall Says:

    I remember that too. Whenever I’m at the TSA security line I’m amazed there aren’t angry outbursts. Why do Americans let themselves get treated like dogs?

    By the way, Soviets could fly anywhere in the USSR for $4, no reservations required. (If there were too many passengers, they sent a second plane.)

    Most citizens of former Soviet republics would bring back the USSR in a heartbeat.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    $1 for no kid sitting behind me, that’s a bargin…. I’d pay at least $50 for that guarantee.

  4. Celina Says:

    By the way, Soviets could fly anywhere in the USSR for $4

    Why have I never heard that before?

  5. Anonymous Says:

    This reminds me that hijacking an airplane has been a possibillity since the 1970’s. At the risk of opening old wounds,let me say the security guards were asleep at their posts. I know it’s old news. Too bad. Love, Winston Smith

  6. Incitatus Says:

    Ted, this defense of the former USSR is becoming really pathetic. I’m pretty sure most former ex-Soviets (as in more than 50%) would never dream of bringing back the original Evil Empire (one down, one more to go…), especially now that Russia’s per capita GDP is soon to be breaking through the $10K barrier.

    Now, a commited socialist like yourself should unabashedly love the TSA, since it provides yet another distributionist public teat for people with low job skills to suck on. And they get to fondle people too!

  7. mike k Says:

    Good work again with a La Carte Air. I have to enforce that half-full 3.4oz tube of toothpaste ban, as a TSA screener.
    Doesn’t make sense does it? Thanks for your book Road to Ruin, one of my desert island essential books.

  8. Edward Says:

    I expected to see a post by AG telling us how the Bush TSA is keeping the browns down because conservatives are biggoted racist homophobe Nazis. See it’s easy to be a professor at Sam Houston U

  9. Aggie Dude Says:

    Incitatus, why don’t you think first and then spout your presumptions about other people.

    People from the former soviet union have lived a nightmare for the past 20 years. Millions of women were carted off into slavery, the economy collapsed and has been run by the mafia.

    This is PRECISELY why Vladimir Putin is so popular. It isn’t because of propaganda, it’s because he provides them with what they want. There’s an old Russian proverb “The child with 7 nannies loses an eye.” ‘Democracy in Russia’ didn’t exist until the 1990s, and it wrecked their society, because perhaps it’s not the most important thing when your daughter got kidnapped by rapists and you can’t feed your family.

    Vlad brought back an element of order to a society that is still feudal, in that sense he brought them out of the dark ages. The economic increases have not touched most people, it’s still a free for all.

    So shut the hell up with your assumptions about other people. American assumptions about how to restructure the soviet system led to immiseration on a massive scale.

    They can’t afford any more of our “advice.” Maybe you flag waving morons ought to stop acting like you know what’s best for everyone in the world.

    Soviet society was better for the average person that current Russian society, although the move away from “democracy” has started to improve that. For example, I was told by a man who grew up under the Soviet system that garbage collectors and other low-level city employees were very proud of the jobs they had. They were paid decently and had medical benefits.

    There is a massive different between STALINISM, and post-Stalinist USSR, just like there is a massive difference between MAOISM, and post-Mao China.

  10. Anonymous Says:

    The real cruelty of all that “Security” is how pointless it is…

    Let’s say we had a real threat…

    1. Any existing terrorist would probably try a different tactic, like having “el Slavo” the illegal immigrant carry a nuke on Pepe the Burro’s back and just push a button when he reaches a city. I think, besides the “9/11 conspiracy” angle, the the “Terrorists” have a greater estimate of America’s worth than most Americans.

    2. But seriously, what about the millita groups and the BIBLE religious extremists? Let’s say those FLDS kooks get sick of this soft impact Waco and go for revenge. A bunch of healthy, armed individuals just storm into airports on multiple attacks mercilessly killing anything in their way, pulling out a knife and slicing eyes and fingers off if they need a “Password” here and there….

    I bet these “Minimum wage Rent-A-Cops” that pretend to be security would crawl under tables and sh-t their pants. They’d be too busy chewing their fingers off to even push any “Emergency” buttons.

    IMHO, all this “Security” is just a Bush era “no bid contract” scam. The companies the airlines pay certainly get top dollar, enough to pay the salaries for a legion of cops and getting crusty ex cops off retirement to help train new recruits. BUT that would mean actually providing the service promised to justify the expense, not profitable. Since it’s an “Administration Era” deal, they just are hiring nobodys and no wages and they’ll run with the money when the airlines “Scale back” and if they go bankrupt along the way…who cares…not them and the way they treat most Americans, not us.

  11. Aggie Dude Says:

    I expected to see a post by AG telling us how the Bush TSA is keeping the browns down because conservatives are biggoted racist homophobe Nazis. See it’s easy to be a professor at Sam Houston U

    I’m curious to know who you’re talking about, Edward, both who ‘AG’ is (Alberto Gonzalez?) and who’s at Sam that you?

  12. Angelo Says:

    Soviet society was better for the average person that current Russian society, although the move away from “democracy” has started to improve that.

    You are right to use quotes, ag.
    Even our shining example of democracy is just a pork vehicle, full of “axillary precautions”.
    Cases where democracy and capitalism have led to a country’s development are a very rare exception to the rule (and even then they are receiving tons of aid and assistance).

    Sorry edward, even the USA owes its development to Socialism.

  13. Marion Delgado Says:

    What Ted said, PLUS, as a person who lived in Hungary and traveled all over the east bloc under Chernenko and Gorbachev, I have to add that the USSR sucked compared to nearly all the rest of Eastern Europe (though it was substantially better than China). People were poor there and travel was limited compared to a typical E. European country.

    The big deal on both sides of the conflicts between the USSR and the satellites was the right of the Russians to have bases and troops all over the place.

    The Russians leaving filled everyone with national pride, improved the TV and drastically increased the availability of decent autos. However, for many countries – Yugoslavia comes to mind first – it was in no way worth the trade-off. Poland became a Catholic and capitalist theocracy, the former Soviet republics had the health and life expectancy and savings of all their citizens melted down to fatten a handful of American and Russian billionaires,e tc.

    Russian soldiers and students were actually decent people, party members were not at all. Ugly Russians with expensive tastes living in golden ghettoes wherever they went.

    The ideal would have been a slower and non-psychotic evolution towards something in between what’s going on in e. europe now and where they were in the 1980s.

  14. Incitatus Says:

    Incitatus, why don’t you think first and then spout your presumptions about other people.

    Friend, I’m not presuming anything, I’ve actually talked to Russians (not to mention Cubans and Poles) that have a different take on what you and Ted presume to have been real-socialism Wonderland. Speaking of presumptions, you make a beig leap yourself by assuming I’m American.

    Russia had it rough in the 90s, that’s for certain. What can you expect when a whole economy had to be built from scratch, with a little helping hand from some of the same gangsters that left it in the doldrums for three generations?

    Look, I can put up (though not civilly disagree) with people defending socialism writ small, like in Sweden or France. But the USSR, be it Stalin’s, Lenin’s or Chernenko’s, is a bit too much.

  15. Edward Says:

    No Angelo, America’s development came from hard working Americans.

  16. Aggie Dude Says:

    It’s not about defending the USSR, dude, it’s about you realizing that no human organization is uniformly good or uniformly evil.

    It’s about people like you getting your head out of your ass long enough to smell something other than your own crap.

    The Swedes and French have universal health care…they laugh at us for accepting serfdom. Does that offend you? does it wound your patriotic pride? Well maybe you should consider whether or not other places in the world have blue skies too.

    It’s not that the USSR was good, or even less than savage..but it was a far cry better than “the rough” time Russia had in the 90s, as though massive human suffering is just “a rough patch.” And then taking that and using it to understand why people reject the supposedly well-intentioned “advice” of America.

    It’s not because they hate freedom, as your beloved leaders insist…

  17. Aaron Manton Says:

    On the plus side re: checking out your own groceries, it’s pretty easy to use the code for onions when buying expensive fruit.

  18. Aggie Dude Says:

    “No Angelo, America’s development came from hard working Americans.”

    Edward, in what way does this remark, which attributes societal development to individual work ethic and not to social organization, have anything to do with Angelo’s comment about American socialism? How do the two correlate?

    You need to put down the Ayn Rand and read something that’s not fiction.

  19. Kurt Overmeyer Says:

    I will explain why there aren’t riots at the airports. It is because of the authoritarian, police state nature of TSA.

    Several years ago, I was travelling to Salt Lake from Sacramento. I was wearing jeans and some addidas sandals that were made of injection molded plastic. When I arrived at the security screening, I refused to take off my sandals as the TSA has issued a statement saying that shoes no longer needed to be xrayed (how does an xray machine differentiate between plastic and plastic explosive anyway? Hint: THEY CANT!). I had before leaving for the airport printed out the official press release off of the TSA website. When the TSA agent asked me why I refused to comply, I showed him the memo from the TSA and explained that I thought there was a health risk associated with walking where 10,000 other people just walked barefoot. Shortly thereafter, I was escorted to an area where I could not be viewed by others and was searched. During this search, the TSA agent who appeared to be in his 60’s, grabbed my testicles… Not once, not twice, but three times. Each time was increasingly rough. The third time, I told the TSA agent that I would knock him on his ass if he grabbed me like that again. Not 5 seconds later, I had 4 pistols pointed at my head. About an hour later, the TSA decided that I was no security risk (Duh) and they let me go on my way.

    The following week, I wrote a letter to the TSA in which I stated that my civil rights had been violated, especially my 4th Amendment right to not be bodily searched without probable cause and without a warrant. I recieved a letter several weeks later that stated that the TSA is not subject to the 4th Amendment.

    This Christmas, I flew from Sacramento to Ft. Wayne, IN. On my return trip, my infant son was searched by the TSA. About 1/2 way through the search, I looked at my wife and she was crying. I looked at my son and he was visibly upset. I told the TSA agent that it was insane that they frisked my child and that they had no fucking right to make my son and my wife go through that. “How dare they?!,” I said. I went on to tell the TSA agent that this is America, not the Soviet Union. Again, I was detained at gunpoint. Another hour later I was allowed to join my wife and son and travel on. Again, I wrote the TSA and told them that they had violated my civil rights and that they should not be searching infant children, or any children for that matter, without some over-reaching damn good reason. They responded with a statement that I would say is the equivilent of “we will do what we want, and you are not an Americain unless we say you are.” They also suggested that when travelling across the country with my family that I should drive or take Amtrak if I don’t like being searched unreasonably.

    Frankly, every last citizen of the United States should be as pissed as I am and they should NOT take it anymore. If everybody would stand up and say cut it out, the authoritarian shit would stop and they might actually create some security measures that actually have some real security impact and that don’t target one year old children for searches (actually, he was only 9 months old).

    So, TSA and NSA and all you other bullshit organizations that are spying out us… Fuck you!

  20. Incitatus Says:

    Quoth Aggie Dude: It’s about people like you getting your head out of your ass long enough to smell something other than your own crap.

    Aggie, can you please read this talkback again from top to bottom an tell me when have I been this rude to you?

    But apparently reading is not your forté:
    The Swedes and French have universal health care…they laugh at us for accepting serfdom. Does that offend you? does it wound your patriotic pride? Well maybe you should consider whether or not other places in the world have blue skies too.

    Dude, to make a subtle point as clear as a blue sky: I am not American, there’s very little that wounds my patriotic pride, and yes, socialist healthcare sucks, in Cuba, in the UK, and probably also in France and Sweden, though in varying degrees.

    The “massive human suffering” you claim Russians have endured in the 90s is peanuts compared to what they suffered throughout the 20th century.
    and, last I checked, Russia may be getting more autocratic and militaristic, but it’s not getting any more socialist.

    You want a lesson in history? Try this site:

    Select Cuba, and two other Latin American countries (say, Mexico and Costa Rica). Then, be enlightened.

  21. Caradoc Says:

    Let’s remember that airline security is theater, not real security. There are still a million ways to get a weapon onto a plane and the screenings miss more ‘threats’ than they foil. But the important thing is that it LOOKS like security, maybe enough to convince the casual flier not to worry about those big bad terrorists and please, please give some money to the airlines.

  22. Aggie Dude Says:

    You’re absolutely right Caradoc, this is about the impression of resilience in public safety.

    This is definitely the case in the food industry, where there’s an awful lot of symbolic pomp and circumstance to make it appear that we have “…the safest food supply….” in the world.

  23. kurt o Says:

    I know a lot of russians. Most of them came to the U.S. post Soviet Union. All the Georgians and Uzbeki’s I know love Stalin and speak wistfully of that wonderful time in history when everything was great. Sort of like 60 something white guys and the late 40’s early 50’s in the U.S. The people I know that travel home frequently say that Russia is the most corrupt and most difficult to deal with that it has been in their memory right now, but they also to a one think that Putin’s iron fist will fix it all. Of course, fatalism is deeply rooted in the Russian psyche. Moscow is the most expensive city in the world… Does that even make sense? Its fucking freezing there and the food is aweful in general (but the 15 year old girls are easy).

  24. Angelo Says:

    edward, Our kids are going to have enough trouble relating us as they grow up without having to feel guilty about looking down on us intellectually.

    I have actually given your view on development much thought. My only problem with it is that it does not take into account why extremely free market democracies like El Salvador and the Philippines have never developed despite working just as hard as Americans had.

    Also, I am hereby issuing a call-out to you for abandoning the last three discussions we have started. Oh, wait, I’m taking this too seriously, right?
    Better take a break…

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