Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 6, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

THINK BIG!....Brad Plumer has a few modest proposals for cleaning up corruption in Congress.

Kevin Drum 1:41 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (19)

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Ahh, satire, If Swift and Hogarth, Sterne and Daumier were alive to day...

Posted by: Mr. Bill on January 6, 2006 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

hi , just spreading an important article around the net..


James Moore is an Emmy-winning former television news correspondent and the co-author of the bestselling, Bush's Brain: How Karl Rove Made George W. Bush Presidential. He has been writing and reporting from Texas for the past 25 years on the rise of Rove and Bush and has traveled extensively on every presidential campaign since 1976.
This author was placed on the no fly list. Two points: there's nothing you or I can do to help him but make this public, and two- we are all targets here.
This week last year I was preparing for a trip to Ohio to conduct interviews and research for a new book I was writing. My airline tickets had been purchased on line and the morning of departure I went to the Internet to print out my boarding pass. I got a message that said, "Not Allowed." Several subsequent tries failed. Surely, I thought, it's just a glitch within the airline's servers or software.

I made it a point to arrive very early at the airport. My reservation was confirmed before I left home. I went to the electronic kiosk and punched in my confirmation number to print out my boarding pass and luggage tags. Another error message appeared, "Please see agent."

I did. She took my Texas driver's license and punched in the relevant information to her computer system.
"I'm sorry, sir," she said. "There seems to be a problem. You've been placed on the No Fly Watch List."
"Excuse me?"
"I'm afraid there isn't much more that I can tell you," she explained. "It's just the list that's maintained by TSA to check for people who might have terrorist connections."
"You're serious?"
"I'm afraid so, sir. Here's an 800 number in Washington. You need to call them before I can clear you for the flight."

Exasperated, I dialed the number from my cell, determined to clear up what I was sure was a clerical error. The woman who answered offered me no more information than the ticket agent.

"Mam, I'd like to know how I got on the No Fly Watch List."
"I'm not really authorized to tell you that, sir," she explained after taking down my social security and Texas driver's license numbers.
"What can you tell me?"
"All I can tell you is that there is something in your background that in some way is similar to someone they are looking for."

"Well, let me get this straight then," I said. "Our government is looking for a guy who may have a mundane Anglo name, who pays tens of thousands of dollars every year in taxes, has never been arrested or even late on a credit card payment, is more uninteresting than a Tupperware party, and cries after the first two notes of the national anthem? We need to find this guy. He sounds dangerous to me."
"I'm sorry, sir, I've already told you everything I can."
"Oh, wait," I said. "One last thing: this guy they are looking for? Did he write books critical of the Bush administration, too?"

I have been on the No Fly Watch List for a year. I will never be told the official reason. No one ever is. You cannot sue to get the information. Nothing I have done has moved me any closer to getting off the list. There were 35,000 Americans in that database last year. According to a European government that screens hundreds of thousands of American travelers every year, the list they have been given to work from has since grown to 80,000.

Posted by: BJ on January 6, 2006 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

hi , just spreading an important article around the net

the link itself would've sufficed.

Posted by: cleek on January 6, 2006 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

Speaking of satire, I think that the 2004 GWB ads showing a cartoonish Kerry windsurfing were quite funny. In not responding in kind, Kerry ceded one more area to the RNC.

Posted by: lib on January 6, 2006 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

Can't pry you guys loose from public financing of campaigns, can I? I want to see details.

Who decides who gets money and who doesn't? How?

Posted by: tbrosz on January 6, 2006 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

Let's take the money out, that's how you reduce corruption. If there is no money to be had, the politicians may remember the definition of "public servant."

Posted by: G on January 6, 2006 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK


Yeah, having been to Hood River often and observed the wind surfers, can not picture gutless Twigless bouncing across the waves at top speed among hundreds of other surfers. If he can not stay upright on his tricycle, how is he going to stay aboard when bouncing up and down through very choppy waves. The Secret Service would be constantly pulling him from the Columbia.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on January 6, 2006 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

Who decides who gets money and who doesn't? How?

Ha ha. Who decides now?

Posted by: TomB on January 6, 2006 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

Does 'neutron bomb' mean anything to anyone here???

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on January 6, 2006 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

Does 'neutron bomb' mean anything to anyone here???

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on January 6, 2006

Dropped on D.C.?

Posted by: nutty little nut nut on January 6, 2006 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

Easy solution to clean up politics: Make corruption a capital offence.

If they lie, shoot 'em.

If they accept a bribe, hang 'em.

If they abuse the power of their office, burn 'em at the stake.

Political corruption is treason, pure and simple. Give em a trial, let them appeal, and if they are guilty, then kill them.

After the third execution, you would see an enormous sea-change.

Posted by: charles parr on January 6, 2006 at 7:21 PM | PERMALINK


Yeah, having been to Hood River often and observed the wind surfers, can not picture gutless Twigless bouncing across the waves at top speed among hundreds of other surfers. If he can not stay upright on his tricycle, how is he going to stay aboard when bouncing up and down through very choppy waves. The Secret Service would be constantly pulling him from the Columbia.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on January 7, 2006 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: cojalyhtfr on January 7, 2006 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

Geez, those weren't Brad Plumer's modest proposals, were they?

Posted by: tbrosz on January 8, 2006 at 2:49 AM | PERMALINK

Speaking of satire, I think that the 2004 GWB ads showing a cartoonish Kerry windsurfing were quite funny. In not responding in kind, Kerry ceded one more area to the RNC.

Posted by: alfredo on January 8, 2006 at 2:59 AM | PERMALINK

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