Revelations of Ron, Muse of the Platte

Discussion in 'What's On Your Mind?' started by Ron, Oct 16, 2011.

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  1. Ron

    Ron Original Member

    Please, again, show me where in the Constitution it says that you have the "right" to travel by commercial airline completely free of government involvement. Article and a link would be great.

  2. Ron

    Ron Original Member


    Do your own dam reading. Or remain ignorant, your choice.

  3. Ron

    Ron Original Member

    Nice dodge/spin. Answer the question.

  4. Ron

    Ron Original Member

    So, the one's who agree with your view on the subject are allowed free reign, but if I step out of line then I'm gone because I do not agree? Interesting. Isn't that what the people here claim TSO's do? Is that what you want the others here to take away from the conversation Coach?

    No, somehow I doubt that will ever happen. Facts and evidence have little to do with the conversations I have read here so far (and participated in). Folks would much rather refuse to take responsibility for their actions and blame the highly visible members of the TSA instead.

  5. Ron

    Ron Original Member

    I am honored. Truly.

    So, are all of my posts going to be moved there where no one can respond to them? Hmmm, such interesting possibilities in that.

    Or have the “coaches” decided that the folks in the forum are just not up to the task of ... what was it she said… “shred(ing)” me? Interesting, a forum where only one point of view is allowed.

    Well, I suppose that it makes it easier for everyone to remain on the same page that way. Certainly it would be disruptive to have a few facts and some evidence opposing that point of view hanging around now wouldn’t it.

  6. Ron

    Ron Original Member

    At the link below you will find an excellent atricle on aviation security, written by
    E. Marla Felcher, Ph.D., a prolific author and an Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. The article is quite direct, it tells an interesting story about the evolution of aviation security, where it is now, and where it needs to go. The author equally bashes congress, the FAA, and the TSA. Should be an interesting read, but it’s a bit long. Nor can I find the date it was published, maybe someone here can. It does not start with the bashing of TSA so I suspect many of you will ignore the article. But it does tend to bash some of the hard held belief’s of many of the posters here.

    Before you discount the article because I posted the link, Google the author.

  7. Ron

    Ron Original Member

    OK, lets start by clearing up some of these “red herrings” folks are complaining about. Obviously connecting the dots is a bit more difficult for some than others.
    *** These asterisks will denote side notes and personal opinions.
    Let us first start with the basics, The Constitution of the United States.
    Article 1, Section 1 states:

    Legislature as defined by Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

    Make laws. We all know what laws are, right? They are what separates us from a very large gang of thugs and make us into a nation, a country if you will.

    The Air Commerce Act of May 20, 1926, was one of the very first laws that defined governments role in Civil Aviation. The Act charged the Secretary of Commerce with fostering air commerce among other things. At that time security was not considered an issue of significant importance. In 1934 the Aeronautics Branch of the Department of the Department of Commerce was renamed the Bureau of Air Commerce. In 1938, the Civil Aeronautics Act transferred the federal civil aviation responsibilities from the Commerce Department to a new independent agency, the Civil Aeronautics Authority.

    The approaching introduction of jet airliners and a series of midair collisions spurred passage of the Federal Aviation Act of 1958. This legislation transferred CAA's functions to a new independent body, the Federal Aviation Agency, which had broader authority to combat aviation hazards. Again, security was not on the table.

    In 1966, Congress authorized the creation of a cabinet department that would combine major federal transportation responsibilities. This new Department of Transportation (DOT) began full operations on April l, 1967. Even before becoming part of DOT, the FAA gradually assumed responsibilities not originally contemplated by the Federal Aviation Act. The hijacking epidemic of the 1960s involved theagency in the field of aviation security. Finally the government acknowledges that Security must be a part of its overall responsibility for civil aviation.

    Following a spate of commercial airplane hijackings in the early 1970s, Congress amended the Federal Aviation Act in 1974, saddling the FAA with yet a another job, civil aviation security. The amendment required passengers and their carry-on luggage to pass through security screening before boarding a plane. The legislation fell short of stipulating what it would mean for an airplane or airport to be "secure enough," leaving the airlines to interpret the law on their own. It was not until 1986 that Congress started poking into the FAA's security policies due to the rising number of hijackings and attacks against airports in foreign countries. The House Subcommittee on Government Activities and Transportation asked the General Accounting Office to investigate the state of domestic aviation security.
    A year later GAO associate director Ken Mead reported a grim situation. The GAO had sent undercover agents through airport checkpoints with fake test weapons; of the thirty-four major airports agents had tested, eight (23 percent) detected test weapons less than 70 percent of the time, and only six (18 percent) detected the weapons more than 90 percent of the time. Clearly, there were gaps in the airport security system.

    On December 21, 1988, Pan American Flight 103 crashed on its way from London to New York, less than an hour after takeoff from Heathrow Airport. The Boeing 747 exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing all 273 people aboard and more than a dozen people on the ground. A direct attack against American interests. Two days after the crash, on Christmas Eve, investigators learned that on December 5 an anonymous male caller had warned the American Embassy in Helsinki that an explosive device would be placed on board a U.S.-bound Pan Am plane within the next two weeks. A specific direct threat, and little or nothing was done about it.

    *** I was stationed in the UK when this happened, and I later drove through Lockerbie while on leave. There were many signs of the disaster 9 months later that were clearly visible from the roadway.

    “The FAA was keeping a lot more from the public than notice of the December 5 warning. Officials knew that on October 23 German police had arrested fourteen people believed to be associated with a Middle Eastern terrorist group. One of the items seized in the arrest had been a Toshiba tape recorder, fit with a detonating device that could be set to explode when an airplane reached a certain altitude. On November 10, when German intelligence sent a letter to all U.S. airlines in Frankfurt warning of a possible terrorist threat, they included a photograph of the tape recorder. On November 18 the FAA issued an "aviation security bulletin" to the airlines, describing the tape recorder and the detonator. This notice sat, unopened, on the desk of the Pan Am security officer in Frankfurt who was responsible for responding to the FAA's warnings; the officer was on vacation, and he did not open his mail until he returned, after the Pan Am crash. On December 9 the FAA issued a second warning to the airlines, describing the December 5 "Helsinki Warning." As was normal procedure, both the FAA and the airlines withheld this information from the public.”

    The PanAm 747 was taken down by a 12 ounce package of Czech-made plastic explosive hidden in a Toshiba cassette recorder, in an unaccompanied bag. The unaccompanied bag had sailed through Pan Am's security system, managing to pass undetected through three airports on its way to New York: Malta, Frankfurt, and Heathrow.

    An FAA rule prohibited unaccompanied luggage from being loaded onto the Pan Am flights. Specifically, a system known as a full bag match required passengers to identify their suitcases on the tarmac before boarding the plane. Pan Am security personnel were to watch to make sure that every bag loaded onto the plane was claimed by a passenger who subsequently boarded the flight. If a bag was not claimed it was to be searched by hand or left behind.

    Pan Am management, however, viewed the bag-match procedure not as a safeguard against a terrorist attack but rather as little more than a way to slow down the airline's operations and delay flights. So, instead of searching unaccompanied bags by hand, Pan Am had directed its screeners to scan luggage through X-ray machines, a technology incapable of detecting plastic explosives.

    Six months later, in August 1989, Bush reluctantly convened the President's Commission on Aviation Security and Terrorism. As President Bush's investigators got off to a hesitant start, the GAO was crossing the finish line with its Pan Am Flight 103 investigation. Reporting to Congress that "fundamental deficiencies" existed in most aspects of FAA's domestic aviation security, it urged legislators to compel the FAA to make improvements in four areas: passenger screening, airport security controls, security inspections, and training for security personnel. Two years after the Lockerbie explosion, Bush signed into law the Aviation Security Improvement Act of 1990, codifying most of his commission's recommendations.

    FAA officials, members of Congress, and the Bush administration boasted in newspaper articles and on television that the U.S. government had successfully tackled and largely solved the problem of airport security. But, in fact, the 1990 legislation did little more than beef up the FAA's already bloated bureaucracy and dole out busywork to the agency's mid-level staff. Creating new security-related jobs would not improve matters unless those hired into the new positions were given the authority to force the airlines to train their screener workforce more thoroughly, to conduct undercover tests to make sure weapons and bombs were not getting onto planes, and to impose significant penalties on the airlines if they failed these tests. The new legislation contained no such provisions.

    “It is not surprising, then, that undercover tests conducted in airports over the next few years revealed airport security to be no better than it had been before the 1990 legislation--perhaps even worse. In 1991 the FAA deployed the Red Team, an elite group of undercover agents whose job it was to try to penetrate domestic airport security checkpoints with simulated explosives packed into hollowed-out 35-millimeter cameras. They succeeded more than half of the time. Yet, the FAA took no action based on the Red Team's findings. Why? Because the airlines had made sure they could not.

    Before the Red Team had been created, the FAA Office of Civil Aviation Security had been conducting undercover airport screening tests through its field offices. FAA regulations stipulated that the airlines could be fined for security lapses only if they had been uncovered according to a standardized testing protocol that the airlines themselves had approved. Undercover agents were required to place their test devices (simulated explosives) in uncluttered bags, "oriented in such a way that [they] would be readily visible to X-ray machine operators." If, under those rules, screeners failed to identify the highly visible test weapons, the FAA could fine the airline. The Red Team, on the other hand, was told to conduct realistic tests, namely, to hide their test weapons in bags that were cluttered.11 But such tests turned out to be an enormous waste of money and effort. "The FAA told us that based on the Red Team's creative . . . testing, its findings were deemed not suitable for civil enforcement proceedings, because the Red Team's techniques went beyond the standardized criteria . . .," Inspector General Ken Mead concluded after his investigation into FAA's undercover operations. In other words, because the airlines had not signed off on the Red Team's testing methodology, the FAA could take no action against them when regulators learned that more than half of their test weapons had made it through security.”
    *** Someone was saying something about pre-9/11 screening being good enough? Sounds more to me like the airlines had no concern about passenger safety, only their soaring profits.

    In 1993 Inspector General Mary Schiavo dispatched another team of undercover agents into airports, with instructions to walk through checkpoint metal detectors, around departure lounges, onto unlocked airplanes, into cargo holds, and onto airport tarmacs with guns and knives. Although the plainclothes agents were instructed not to identify themselves at security checkpoints, the airport screeners often knew exactly who they were and what they were doing. "The FAA tipped off airports that the IG was coming," Schiavo reported. Nonetheless, her agents still succeeded in getting test weapons through 75 percent of the time.
    *** They were better ‘eh? Not according to the FAA’s own Inspector General.

    In 1996 the Red Team went back to Frankfurt Airport, to see if security had improved since the 1988 Pan Am bombing. The undercover agents were able to get every one of their test weapons through security.
    “In the end, the Aviation Security Improvement Act of 1990 did little to improve aviation security. Despite the billions of dollars of available trust fund money, Congress freed up only $122 million, for airport access controls. And while the FAA had initiated actions intended to improve security, regulators had been unable to compel the airlines to make meaningful changes.”

    End of Part 1

    (*** Sources will be provided at the end of the series)
  8. Ron

    Ron Original Member

    Reminds me of most federal agencies to be honest. I don’t like the out of control spending any more than anyone else does, so I believe I will be voting to end it during the next presidential election.

    It isn’t anything new. No one here wants revelations, and most don’t want fact, those facts tend to get in the way of peoples belief’s.

    Some of it was, some not. Like it says at the bottom, sources will be provided at the end of the series.

    You might actually try reading the report. Oh, never mind, your one of those “don’t need no facts” kind of folk, right?

    Allowing discussion might be a nice twist.
  9. Ron

    Ron Original Member

    Chasing Red Herrings (Part 2)

    In 1996 congress passed the “Federal Aviation Reauthorization Act of 1996”. PUBLIC LAW 104–264—OCT. 9, 1996. Among other things this act in congress required that:

    Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, in cooperation with other appropriate persons, shall conduct a study and submit to Congress a report on whether, and if so how, to transfer certain responsibilities of air carriers under Federal law for security activities conducted onsite at commercial service airports to airport operators or to the Federal Government or to provide for shared responsibilities between air carriers and airport operators or the Federal Government.”

    It was pretty clear that the recommendations made by the “Gore Commission” which was the lead part of this “study” were being ignored. No changes, and millions spent.
    *** Normally I’d say that this is what one can expect from the “Democratic Party”, but the Republicans honestly were no better. The evidence is pretty clear that both parties were solidly in the pocket of the various airlines and that the lobbyist problem was still a problem. Far as I can tell, it still is.

    Lobbyists were able to talk the various members of congress to gut the new law, as well as convince the FAA that they needed to dump the surviving parts of the law into the black hole of “Rule Making”, where the proposed changes could remain for years at a time gathering dust.

    Add to into the mix the fact that congress passed this law while providing no federal funding stream and no requirements on who else might be tasked with paying for it, and you had a recipe for inaction. Naturally the airlines didn’t want to fork over the cash, even though they were all pretty much having banner years ( with soaring profits. Fuel was cheaper, passenger count was WAY up, and deregulation. In 1997 the major airlines reported profits of more than $5 Billion dollars (TWA was not in that report, but adding them could only have increased the industry profits).

    During this time the FAA (remember them?) did a Cost/Benefit study that showed that the average airline disaster only costs the industry about $271 million, and that improving security to meet the recommendations of the “Gore Commission” would cost $300 million over 10 years. And it only took the FAA 2 years to finish their Cost/Benefit analysis.
    *** Who here is of the opinion that the FAA was actually looking out for passenger safety in 1997? The only government agency tasked with ensuring the safety of the flying public, and they too were unable to ignore the lobbyists and actually do their job.

    At the end of all the FAA’s efforts (or lack thereof), it was determined that actually holding screeners to a standard was “worth it”. None of the principals actually wanted to pay for the training needed to meet these standards, naturally, but most were indeed in favor of the idea of a “standard”. Once again the “profit” monster rears its ugly little head. No action was taken, the proposed changes remained in that black hole known as the FAA, again collecting dust.

    Along about 2000 or so the NTSB finally got around to determining that the TWA Flight 800 explosion 4 years earlier was not the result of terrorist action, most likely. Once this was announced the proposed changes to passenger safety by the FAA and the “Gore Commission” went back into the cupboard. Not to see the light of day again until September 12th, 2001.

    “On September 12 the International Air Transport Association projected the airlines' loss to be about $1 billion a day.” One truism about business is that if you want to get their attention, hit them in the wallet. Millions of people were stranded without flights, airlines had no passengers and were unable to fly their aircraft even if they had passengers, the FAA finally got off is nice warm bench and actually exercised its authority. $1 billion a day. Yeah, they took notice of that.

    On the morning of September 15th, just 4 days after 3000+ people were killed by terrorists in our country, the CEO’s of the major airlines got on a conference call and discussed how they could get the government to cover their losses. These folks were making profits in excess of $5 BILLION dollars a year, and had been for some time, and now they wanted the government to pony up some cash to cover their losses.
    *** Yeah, they were interested in safety, safety for their paychecks.

    On September 17th, 6 days after the attacks, these CEO’s began making the rounds of our congressional members, lobbying for money, relaxation of the flight restrictions, and how the government should take over security at the nation’s airports. Now please understand, the airlines were always “for” this particular idea, just as long as they didn’t have to pay for it. Get the “security monkey” off their backs at the governments dime and let the government take the heat for the issues security always causes.

    On Wednesday, September 19, Representative Don Young (R.-AK; $317,810), chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, kicked off Congress's first major post-September 11 hearing. The topic: H.R. 2891, a bill authorizing President Bush to provide loans, loan guarantees, and other financial assistance to air carriers.35 Eight airline executives testified, including the CEOs of Federal Express, Northwest, and Alaska Airlines and the chief financial officer of American Airlines. Young initiated the hearing by commending the aviation industry for "their cooperation and willingness to put the safety of others first." Mullin, pleading on behalf of his industry's trade group, reported that the airlines' need was "urgent and immediate." His request: a $17.5 billion government bailout, exculpation from liability for damages done by the hijacked airplanes to people and property on the ground, and a complete government takeover of airline security, including airport checkpoint screeners, bomb-detecting technology, and intelligence gathering. Lasting seven hours, the hearing ended with Representative John Mica (R.-FL; $193,175) promising to draft legislation that would give the airlines what Mullin had requested. Even Congress's die-hard "free-market" conservatives like House majority whip Tom DeLay (R.-TX; $164,580) and deputy whip Blunt were in favor of helping the airlines stay afloat; after all, DeLay represented Texas, the home of American, Continental, and Southwest Airlines, and Blunt represented Missouri, home to TWA.”

    Congress was quick to jump into the fray with your cash to help out these poor starving orphans of the air. Specially if a major airline or aircraft manufacturer’s home was in their district or state. Congress could see more votes for them in bringing government cash into their districts.

    On September 21st, 2011, Congress began the vote on $15 billion airline bailout bill. Nothing and no one would stop them from helping these poor little orphans out, not even the guys that wanted to make sure that the American public was served by this bill. Senator Tom Delay (R-Tx, home of American, Continental, and Southwest Airlines) bulldozed the bill through congress, right over the top of anyone who would choose to stand in his way.
    *** I can see why, the bulk of that bailout was coming to his state.

    On November 19, 2001 President George W. Bush signed the Aviation Transportation Security Act, creating the agency you all love to hate.

    On November 19, 2002, TSA's first birthday, Transportation Secretary Mineta and Admiral James Loy, new head of the TSA, announced that the agency had met its deadline to deploy federal screeners to all of the nation's 429 commercial airports. This was not entirely accurate, the screener workforce was not, and probably never would be, completely federalized. The 5 initial test airports, San Francisco International, Kansas City International, Tupelo Regional, Greater Rochester International, and Jackson Hole, would remain in contractor hands. Jackson hole and Tupelo I could see, they are pretty small airports to begin with, but MCI and SFO? No matter, the TSA was still paying their wages.

    In January and February 2002 two news agencies went “under cover” into some of the nation’s airports and ran tests (Please note that this was 7 months before TSA had been completely deployed). Screeners failed these tests (according to the news agencies) roughly 75% of the time. What a news expose what would make!
  10. Ron

    Ron Original Member

    I have spent the last 2 hours looking for that GAO report that you all have quoted for the last 2 years about the TSO’s missing 70% of the covert tests and am unable to find it. Can anyone provide a link?

  11. Ron

    Ron Original Member

    Not odd, just not able to find. Can you provide me with a link to the report please?

  12. Ron

    Ron Original Member

    All SSI is written down or in an electronic format. Otherwise it cannot exist.

    If your a TSO, you are a poor one. Time to find another job.

  13. Ron

    Ron Original Member

    Releasing SSI to those not authorized access to it is a regulatory violation, which may include fines or other disciplinary action and may include termination of your employment with the TSA which may preclude you from other federal employment opportunities.

    IMO the job is certainly not about the money. Not one bit. It’s about service to community and country, about giving back to those who have given to you. And despite the prevailing (yet complete lack of wisdom) attitude here, it is my belief that the TSA and its other sister agencies under DHS provide a needed and worthwhile service to the citizens of the USA.

  14. Ron

    Ron Original Member

    His acknowledgement of it does not serve to answer my question. I want to read it personally. Me. Not take the word of BB or any other SD out there. So, if you can’t provide a link to the report then just say that. It’s so much easier.

  15. Ron

    Ron Original Member

    Everyone else is wrong, and you are right. Hmm, sound familiar somehow.

  16. Ron

    Ron Original Member

    Hmm, this also sounds vaguely familiar...

  17. Ron

    Ron Original Member

    I contribute it to a small group of intellectually dishonest and intentionally ignorant folks. Many of whom can be found right here on this forum. Oh, there’s some variations of course, like one or two emotional cripples, and a few others that just don’t have the background to discuss the subject intelligently and therefore resort to disingenuous and off topic comments. But for the most part its people who refuse to see past their own ignorance and accept the facts.

    Add to that the fact that I don’t care to candy-coat my responses, which tends to ruffle feathers left and right, and you get the types of responses that I normally see. What I find unusual is being censored in a forum that claims that it is “devoted to the discussion of travel experiences in an environment respecting freedom of speech”. An erroneous claim if I have ever seen one.

  18. Ron

    Ron Original Member

    Why? So it can be bounced into the "no reply option" area again?

    If you had read it you would know that it was more about accepting another person’s posting style than a personal attack. The post was equally disdainful of your style, and just as accepting. Of course it also contained the odd bit about this forum's administrator ignoring the stated mission statement of the site.

    Interesting that you fail to acknowledge the "loathsome personal attack" that he made against me to which I responded and you somehow "lost" due to "technical problems".
    Why? So it can be bounced into the "no reply option" area again?

    If you had read it you would know that it was more about accepting another person’s posting style than a personal attack. The post was equally disdainful of your style, and just as accepting. Of course it also contained the odd bit about this forum's administrator ignoring the stated mission statement of the site.

    Interesting that you fail to acknowledge the "loathsome personal attack" that he made against me to which I responded and you somehow "lost" due to "technical problems". These "loathsome personal attack"s against me are the standard here, not the exception, yet I don’t see you acknowledging them for what they are. Another posting style quirk, or a blatant disregard for the concept of “fairness”? The proof is in the pudding, and I’m not the only one who has a problem with it.

  19. Ron

    Ron Original Member

    Nope, not me. Not really anything that sounded like me either. I don’t post under any other names on this subject. I have posted under other names (Usenet mostly), but never when dealing with TSA based issues. I know you are not going to believe that, but then again the truth escapes most of the people here all the time, so that will be no surprise.:rolleyes:

    Did you happen to note the large percentage of emotional cripples though? THEY are the one’s I find entertaining. Thanks for the link, it was an entertaining read.

  20. Ron

    Ron Original Member

    If for no other reason than to show LeAnne that she does not know me as well as she believes. She IS the one that predicted that if I ever came here that I would be "shreaded", and of course that has not happened. Nor have I run out of here with my "tail" between my legs. If I decide to depart it will be with my head held high knowing that the folks here are just not up to the task of dealing with the facts.

    OTOH, With Mikey wasting so much time and effort "confining" me to my own special little thread I suspect he will eventually tire of it and ban me. That also will allow me to depart with my head held high, because that will also prove that the folks here are just not up to the task of dealing with the facts.

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