urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
Good news, in a way: it looks like we're staying put in London, after all the stress and fuss. Prospective Employer has at least given a verbal offer with a starting date (in January) now, and he felt like it was firm enough to announce.

Which, although we were planning to relocate to Dublin by train and ferry, brings me around to the TSA mess. I am very, very glad that no further flying will be necessary in the foreseeable future, especially into and out of the US. (We were originally supposed to move to the Bay Area, and I did not feel like I could reasonably refuse.) It will take very special circumstances indeed to get me back into an airport, and that's with my whole family across the Atlantic. I am really not looking forward to the levels of alienation that might result if something should happen to my grandmother. I'm honestly not sure I could force myself to venture into an airport.

I really, really hated flying already )


On a good day, I'm the monkey, and that's before anyone tries to touch me:



In airport situations, I'm kind of amazed I haven't bitten anyone yet. Biting is not good, but neither is the way they frequently deal with customers.

None of the personal concerns have changed (except I am, if anything, having more tics lately), but even more petty tyrant behavior and anxiety from that has been thrown in. Which makes me even more concerned about melting down and maybe starting bellowing, screeching, and hitting people I shouldn't if they touch me. Especially since I have gotten patted down more than randomly flying in the US, since both my knees are held together with screws--and I'm not sure I could do the expected deferential body language if I tried. I have seen some excellent points raised about the added distress for sexual assault/abuse survivors (and trans* people). Below are a couple of links talking about that.

Protest vs. power-tripping authoritarianism? )

Back to the PTSD-related stuff, there's also one at The Wild Hunt, PNC-Minnesota: Rape Survivor Devastated by TSA Enhanced Pat Down.

I found the regular patdowns--not even the "let's use a more intrusive kind to try to humiliate anyone who refuses the scanners" kind--a bit triggering from that kind of survivor perspective. But, one commenter there puts a finger on an aspect I find even more disturbing (and which makes me more likely to have the kind of violent PTSD reaction that will get me arrested):
If it is made absolutely clear that their profits drop with more TSA invasive maneuvers, they might have to treat you like a customer again, instead of like an inmate in an asylum.


I'm not sure about the first part of that sentence, but yeah. It's the same kind of bad institutional behavior, trying to control people through threats of humiliation and violence of one kind or another. Getting herded around an airport under not-so-subtle threats, dehumanized at pretty much every opportunity, and punitively "searched"/intrusively touched is very much like being locked up "for your own good" in a psych hospital. (US prisons don't even bother to pretend it's for your benefit and safety--not that I've ever been in one.) I have been punitively treated in the same kinds of ways in hospital settings as a minor (not only psych, either), and felt if anything more violated and helpless from those abuses of power than from blatant sexual assault by individuals who don't actually have that institution-backed level of power over other individuals. I am still amazed that the majority of the travelling public have put up with it to the extent that they have.

But, a friend also pointed out the Milgram experiment; then there's the Asch conformity experiments and Carney Landis: The Scourge of Rats Everywhere. My own experiences (and who knows, maybe neurology) have made me very demand resistant and distrusting of authority-for-authority's-sake. On one level, I understand the motivations there, but on most others, I just boggle.

And another good observation from the comments at The Wild Hunt:
As for private screenings? If you're behind a curtain or a door, someone is very likely to have you get naked.

So why is the TSA all about naked-or-grope? Would you like to get naked or be groped? People talk about how nobody wants to see you naked, but when it comes down to it, yes they do. And punitive groping, as described above? Just another rush of power for the people with arbitrary levels of authority.

Petty tyrants don't have to hurt you, they just like to.


Unfortunately, that does seem to be just about all the explanation of dynamics required in a lot of cases. See also the Stanford Prison Experiment--people who did not start out behaving like petty tyrants will do so, under the right "Us vs. Them" institutional conditions. And what have you got to hide, anyway? *facepalm*

Overall, this sounds very pessimistic, but I truly can't see the situation improving anytime soon. What I can see is the TSA-as-institution escalating things as people make more noise about the kind of treatment they're getting, to show that they can.
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
I obviously haven't been keeping up too well, but here's an interesting one from my inbox: Clarence Thomas: It's time for YOU to apologize to Anita Hill.
Her agenda in approaching Anita Hill with her outrageous request is unclear. But it's yet another example of brazen attempts by Tea Party adherents to rewrite history and claim victimhood for the powerful even as they launch attack after attack on minority groups -- be they women, gays, African Americans, or immigrants.

We shouldn't ignore this bizarre incident. We should accept Virginia Thomas' challenge and defend history as we know it.


I was 15 or 16 when the original mess came to light, and was appalled then. Not that I'd been laboring under the impression that things were fair before that--hell, I was dealing with frequently sexualized bullying on a daily basis--but it really helped bring home that no matter what level of dominant-culture-defined success you reach as a woman in our society, you still get to deal with special levels of condoned hatefulness. Not to mention Long Dong Silver (which the kiddie bullies picked right up on). And if you make any fuss, you're going to get humiliated and painted as a liar.

It's bad enough when prospective Supreme Court justices aren't expected to act any better than evilminded 15-year-old bullies (gee, wonder where they learned it?!)--and when this kind of behavior is tolerated/encouraged from anybody. Further harassing the wronged party 20 years later? Truly unbelievable. The sociopathy continues to astound.

NY Times article: Clarence Thomas’s Wife Asks Anita Hill for Apology

From 2001: The return of Long Dong Silver, in which a writer hired to prop up Clarence Thomas admits he was making stuff up, and:
"...Hill’s version of events was more truthful than Thomas’s after all.” He acknowledges that he had become “a witting cog in the Republican sleaze machine.”.


Not that the other major party doesn't have its own sleaze machine going, but that's not the one under scrutiny here. *shakes head*
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
Quick pointer, via [personal profile] the_future_modernes: Shakesville's Quote of the Day.

"How start?"—A bullet-point in "a newly declassified document that details talking points that emerged from a meeting between Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and CENTCOM Commander General Tommy Franks in November 2001." The bullet-point was followed by suggestions on how to start the Iraq War.

[transcription of JPG, formatting slightly modified - U.]
How start?
--- Saddam moves against Kurds in north?
--- US discovers Saddam connection to Sept. 11 or to anthrax attacks?
--- Dispute over MWD inspections?
------- Start now thinking about inspection demands


Um, yeah.

Too bad cooking a case for war out of thin air isn't a war crime, huh?


I just keep getting depressed and frustrated at the idea that large numbers of people think that giving anyone that level of power over other people is a good plan. Especially anyone who wants and actively pursues it. Put just about anybody in that kind of position--including random people off the street--and somebody's going to wind up hurt.

And we come back to [livejournal.com profile] issendai's excellent piece on sick systems.

What's even more depressing is the way that this gets painted as some sort of wackily extreme position.

Edit: And again via [personal profile] the_future_modernes: [personal profile] deepad's Dirt I Can Lay Claim To, a POC-focused roundup related to MoonFail. Glad one of my posts was worth linking. :)

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