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Richard Lightstone, CAS

Regulations Gone Wild

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Many of us do a lot of travel on airplanes and we now have another set of new regulations to make flying an even more unbearable event.

Here are the new directives from the TSA on new "In Flight" rules:

IN FLIGHT

1. During flight, the aircraft operator must ensure that the following procedures are followed:

1. Passengers must remain in seats beginning 1 hour prior to arrival at destination.

2. Passenger access to carry-on baggage is prohibited beginning 1 hour prior to arrival at destination.

3. Disable aircraft-integrated passenger communications systems and services (phone, internet access services, live television programming, global positioning systems) prior to boarding and during all phases of flight.

4. While over U.S. airspace, flight crew may not make any announcement to passengers concerning flight path or position over cities or landmarks.

5. Passengers may not have any blankets, pillows, or personal belongings on the lap beginning 1 hour prior to arrival at destination.

This is how government reacts to a failed terrorist attack by going in the opposite direction and closing the wrong barn door.

The problem is that the current system in place failed to stop Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab before he left Lagos, Nigeria.

The Red Flags were apparent but no one connected the dots and reacted to them -- sounds familiar doesn't it?

- Umar purchased his ticket in cash.

- He had NO checked bags.

- His own father raised his concerns to the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria.

- He was already on a watch list -- TIDE (Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment).

- Umar successfully got an unrestricted travel visa to the U.S. from our embassy in London, proving that information sharing among the Department of State, FBI, CIA, NSA, and foreign agencies is not working.

- Umar spent at least two weeks to two months in Yemen, prior to his flight to Detroit.

- He got the bomb materials in Yemen.

The system designed to stop an individual from getting on any airplane failed.

So all of you with your brand new Kindle, iPod, computer, book, magazine and newspaper will not be able to use them -- not just one hour before arrival, but during the entire flight. Yes, this rule is in place on some airlines already.

These rules are enacted by government officials who do not travel on commercial airlines -- so it doesn't effect them, just every one else.

What worked was a private citizen from Holland who reacted quickly and stopped the terrorist. Janet Napolitano, our Secretary of Homeland Security yesterday, said "The system worked.", only to reverse that today and say, "Obviously this individual should not have gotten on the plane carrying that material. And we can explain all of the reasons, but they're not satisfactory," Napolitano said on CBS' "The Early Show" Monday.

She was more blunt in an interview with NBC. "Our system did not work in this instance," she said.  

Thomas Jefferson said it right: "A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own" and "Most bad government has grown out of too much government."  

Our current administration says the "Global War on Terrorism" is over, replaced with "Man Made Disasters".

You decide.

RL

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Guest BobD

This last situation mentioned, and the knee jerk reaction from our and other governments is perhaps the dumbest thing I have heard since the shoe bomber knee jerk reaction...

  On a flight from Prague to New York not long ago, I was in a SECOND Xray and security checkpoint just before boarding when I was awestruck by what I witnessed just in front of me in line... A woman around 75 years old,  extremely fragile, was being taken apart an area just next to me... They were in the process of tearing apart her carry on bag, stripped her of her shoes, AGAIN, and removed her nail clippers!!!  The poor woman could barely put her shoes on and off, that was the sad part...  Well, they finally cleared her, sat everyone, and took off...  About 45 min. into the flight they served dinner, and gave each passenger a 6 inch serrated metal steak knife... I just could not believe my eyes....  It was surreal....  It seems things have not changed a bit....  Blind knee jerk reaction to make it look as if they are doing something. That is what this is about... Make it LOOK like something is done... 

I am in Europe now, and will be experiencing some of this as I fly from Czech to Paris in the morning... What a joke... all of it...

 

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shouldn't get me started on the airport Nazi's, but this is not unexpected.  keep in mind that all the security enacted after "911" had nothing to do with what actually happened on 911 -when the individuals involved all went through the existing security and were cleared!  But it was a great excuse for the government to further abridge our constitutional rights by implementing a security theater, and confiscating nail trimmers by the thousands...

then came the shoe bomber (same explosive as Christmas day), and since then we have been taking off our shoes (want to hear about the nasty foot fungus I acquired?) and joking how glad we are that Richard Reid wasn't "the underwear bomber"; guess what: the Underwear Bomber" has struck, so there go the Lu's and the blankets... none of those new rules have anything to do with what happened, but the government, as we have seen, still believes the system worked, but that we had too much freedom, so new restrictions are needed.

I still remember back even further to 1996 when TWA flight 800 went down soon after taking off from Newark, IIRC;  and the next day we were banned from mailing anything over a few ounces in mailboxes.  The government used the crash as an excuse to do this, saying maybe a bomb was in the mail the plane carried.  The Boeing later determined there was a problem in a nearly empty fuel tank that exploded, but we still cannot mail more than a couple ounces in a mailbox, or with stamps alone...

Meantime the DHS is all bent out of shape because Sig-Sauer put out a press release saying their pistols had been ordered for the Sky Marshals.  of course there was no sky marshal on the Christmas flight, but if there was, s/he'd have been sitting in first class, and nothing would have been different on that aircraft, NOTHING!!  once again a faulty explosive device, perhaps an incompetent terrorist, and a lot of luck are the reasons we did not have a disaster...and that is in spite of all the "security"!

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I'll not comment on the present implementation of security measures or the long history of these measures, some reasonable, many foolish.

There is, however, one area where I might welcome a bit of government intrusion-

As the airlines have hit economic turbulence and looked for additional revenue sources, they hit on the idea of making the entire flying experience ala carte. I don't welcome paying extra for an in-flight meal but I accept that as a business activity that should remain unregulated.

I don't accept the idea that baggage should now be an extra cost item. When the airlines began more intensive passenger checks in response to the 2001 attacks, there was actually a brief period when flying became a bit easier. To speed their progress through the security checkpoints, people began to check most of their luggage and carry on only essentials. Now that the airlines are charging extra for each and every bag, people are again trying to board planes with as many possessions as possible. Space in overhead bins is packed tight and the whole experience is more loathsome.

I believe that regulations requiring carrying one bag for every paid ticket in domestic flights and two bags on international flights would be in everyone's best interest. If carriers were required to provide this service, no airline would have any advantage or disadvantage. And the regulation is entirely justifiable on security grounds. It's much easier for TSA inspectors to find contraband if they need only search passengers and minimal carry-on baggage.

Of course, with thousands passing through each check-point daily, no system can be 100% secure. And the fellow from Nigeria secreted the explosives on his person, not in his carry-on baggage. But it stands to reason that limiting the amount of stuff an inspector has to look over will improve the odds of finding things that shouldn't be there. And flying would be that much less of an ordeal for everyone.

David Waelder

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Guest BobD

"secreted the explosives on his person"

Shouldn't that read...  "secreted the explosives FROM his person"...  No wonder he was in the bathroom for over a half hour...  Better get the Xray machines....  Goodbye personal rights.... 

We're heading for anyone with relation to certain countries, or skin colors will be profiled...  Maybe not the U.S., but some countries will probably institute this sooner or later...  The writing is on the wall....

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and making this discussion relevant to production sound mixers:

travel days are not free,  and shouldn't even be "half days", with all the hassles involved.  I insist that the travel day is a paid full day!

but there is a glimmer of good news as at least one airline did announce, in response to the new "only one carry-on" directive they were suspending charges for 1 bag per ticketed pax...

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" "secreted the explosives FROM his person" "

that's next...

" ...will be profiled...   "

I thought that is already happening, and one of the items in a "terrorist profile" is an expired drivers license!

(don't try this yourself...)

or an "expired ID"...

how can my ID expire?? I'm me for the rest of my life!!

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Well, this makes for an interesting situation...closing the vault door after the horse is long gone and all.

Already, if something is 12 hours of driving or less, I won't even think about hopping on a plane...I've even done Portland, OR to Reno, NV in a day. The last big one was Austin to Midland in Texas.

I guess it is time to become a "known shipper" as well, since air freight isn't screened much, and they actually prioritize commercial freight over baggage. I can even book freight on a specific flight, and know it is under my feet.

For some reason, whenever I fly, I feel like an unwilling participant in a maniacal farce...Alas, "security theater" is what it is.

When will the airlines start pushing for better security, instead of just more security? I know they are hurting, especially as people hop in cars to cover what used to be lucrative short-haul routes.

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If you think its bad now.....there are many more measures that are possible...not very practical but that went out the door some time ago.....strip searches of all passengers BEFORE getting on planes for one....and if you think thats not feasible then go back 10 years and see how free it used to be.

EL Al,the Israeli airline is the most secure because of the measures they adopted many years ago...and it works....perhaps if others had done the same then there wouldn't be the problems we now see.

Its like the work we do....its all in the preparation....too late when you are on location and you discover that you haven't done blah blah blah.................

Its tackling the problem before it gets to the plane...so you can be absolutely assured that there's nothing or anyone on board that is going to cause a problem. Then we can have the freedom that we all like to have.

People in general are cautious when it comes to their lives so it is all understandable.

Airlines that can travel their passengers across the world without coming across US borders will do better as time goes on.....there's only so much inconvenience people will put up with especially if they have a choice of a different route. You may find in the not too distant future people only traveling to the US if they absolutely have to.

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Ugh.  I dread my family trip to The Caribbean in June already.

Any advice?  Los Angeles to Miami, then to St. Kitts (West Indies) - OR - Los Angeles to San Juan, then to St. Kitts.

Thanks,

Robert

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My friend just emailed me from 35741 feet on a Virgin Jet from JFK to San Fran.  She knew her speed, altitude, temp. and that she was flying over Iowa.  She said security for her at JFK was normal and no additional frisks or checking of carry on.  That is quit different than what the media is reporting.

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Here is an update on the timeline of the Nigerian terrorist which highlights the complete incompetence of the State Department, and Homeland Security as tweeted by ABC's Jake Tapper:

(1) May 09 UK denies him a visa for claiming he'd study at bogus university. Per Home Secy that immediately put him on watchlist in UK.

(2) Nov 19, his father- a respected banker- reports son to US Embassy in Nigeria, says he's being radicalized in Yemen....

(3)Nov 20, US Embassy informs other embassies and US counterterrorism community, but all thats done is name put in database of 550K

(4) Dec 16 he buys $3K ticket WITH CASH from KLM office in Ghana. Gives no address or contact info

(5) Dec 24 he boards plane in Nigeria for roundtrip multiday flight to US WITH NO LUGGAGE

Here is the video of his report:

http://abcnews.go.com/video/playerIndex?id=9437473

RL

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John,

I'll assume you are trying to be funny -- but these incidents are not to be laughed at.

What if both attempts were successful?

Would you say the deaths of about 600 innocent air travellers indicates "we've pretty well got this under control and the TSA can all go home now."

I doubt it.

RL

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It seems even the most unsophisticated of attackers are able to bring explosives onto a plane, so it is evident that extreme measures taken by under-trained and overly self-important-mall-security-type TSA agents do little more than harass innocent travellers.  I for one would rather take my chances and have airline travel return to how it used to be, still the safest means of transportation.

Our government is paternalistic and its turning our country into a prison-like environment raising a bunch of over-protected morons who would likely fall off anything that wasn't surrounded by a railing.

Why don't we put a stop to the law suits and whining, and bring back a little bit of personal responsibility.

Sorry to drift a bit off topic, but I'm so tired of being treated like a five-year-old, even though I often sound like one!

Robert

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The bad guys are accomplishing just what they want to.  They got us all scared!  The government is having a knee jerk reaction because they wont take responsibility for their own failed security policy.  We now all have to be punished in flight for this.  How about stopping them from getting on the plane in the first place by doing their damn jobs!!!!

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What if both attempts were successful?

What if there was a component failure in the plane? What if there was a fire in the airport?

Fact is, both of these clowns were overpowered by a group of people who decided they're sick of it.

The TSA, with all their theatrics and grandstanding, failed.  Obviously we need them to keep the airports secure, but these incidents just go to show that no matter what you do you're never going to be 100% effective in eliminating every threat, no matter how many overpaid Wendy's employees with metal detectors you put at the gate.  We've just reached an age where people are no longer content to sit by and do nothing.

Would you say the deaths of about 600 innocent air travellers indicates "we've pretty well got this under control and the TSA can all go home now."

Really?

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" no matter how many overpaid Wendy's employees with metal detectors  "

you should say: " no matter how many overpaid Wendy's employees with badges and metal detectors  "

they weren't effective enough with badges embroidered on their shirts, the TSA spent over a half million dollars getting them real badges...(so they would look more like real cops... money well spent ??

next they will all get guns!

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John,

The first person to fire is Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security and then after a Congressional Hearing, overhaul the whole system.

It took four days for President Obama to announce this was a “mix of human and systemic failures”. I think the average citizen knew that within hours of it happening.

I will be redirecting my frustration over this to the elected Senators and House Representatives who are supposed to be listening to their constituents instead of their benefactors.

I look forward to November 2010 and 2012 to do a lot more "firing".

http://blip.tv/play/hJNRgbnnIQI%2Em4v"

RL

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" The first person to fire is Janet Napolitano, "

she said "the system worked" ...

right:  " the system worked only after the attack was foiled,  " great job!

" it took four days for President Obama to announce "

President Hussein has ordered a review...and he: "  praised the bravery and commitment of those who work in intelligence and law enforcement and said that the response to the attempted attack - after it occurred - was appropriate and effective. "

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and this situation will no doubt result in another knee-jerk reaction which will be another major hit at our constitutional rights:

" "If you want to keep these devices off airplanes then we as a society have to give up certain of our rights," Doug Laird, a former Northwest Airlines security director, told CBS News correspondent Daniel Sieberg. "Personally I believe that is a fair tradeoff." "

tradeoff...what??

x-rays!! not only a potential Cancer risk, but a definite privacy risk.

" machines essentially perform "virtual strip searches that see through your clothing and reveal the size and shape of your body." "

" Thanks to a software filter, (the) face came up blurred on the resulting image. Even so, privacy experts worry that misused, the technology could become a high-tech peep show. "

and it will...

 of course the government says not to worry, they promise to protect our privacy.  

"The TSA has reneged on privacy assurances before, and there's no guarantee that they won't do so again,"   "

I'd say we can depend on that!!  after the government gets what it wants, it does what it wants!

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