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America's Outrage Over TSA Naked Body Scanners Fits Right into Libertarian PR Project to Prevent Workers from Unionizing

The right fears nothing more than unionized workers, and found a cunning way to scapegoat workers to derail a campaign to organize the TSA.

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“Don’t touch my junk is the anthem of the modern man,  the Tea Party patriot, the late-life libertarian, the midterm election voter...This time you have gone too far, Big Bro'. The sleeping giant awakes. Take my shoes, remove my belt, waste my time and try my patience. But don't touch my junk.”  


In hindsight, now that we understand the Republican playbook and their political goals, what happened last November makes a lot more sense. It all starts with a political goal: prevent the TSA screeners from unionizing. The strategy: 1) concoct and magnify fake government oppression at the hands of the TSA;  2) Demonize and blame the crisis on your political target, TSA screeners, so that the public turns against them; 3) Push and PR the message, focusing on valid but largely trivial aspects of the problem; and 4) Now you can appear, not as cruel union-buster, but as a hero defending the public.

The reason why last November’s anti-TSA AstroTurf campaign was so successful was because it  was based on valid criticisms of TSA policies and tapped into real anger, while deviously redirecting that anger against an innocent target. The con succeeded in duping many progressives, who allowed themselves to be caught up in the euphoria of what seemed like a genuine mass-conversion among right-wingers to the cause of civil libertarianism. But over on the Republican side, there was never a doubt about what the anti-TSA campaign was about -- even if they couldn't get their numbers straight -- as this blog post in Erik Erickson’s website RedState, headlined “ TSA Unionization: A $30 Million Annual Gift to Union Bosses ” shows:

In a significant victory for federal employee unions, the Federal Labor Relations Authority decided Friday that Transportation Security Administration staffers will be allowed to vote on union representation. The decision clears the way for a campaign by the government’s two largest labor organizations, the American Federation of Government Employees and the National Treasury Employees Union, to represent some 50,000 transportation security officers.

Here’s some informal statistics for you:

Number of TSA employees eligible for unionization: 50,000

·         TSA budget for FY 2010: $7.8 billion

·         Estimated Union Dues TSA unionization will provide union bosses at $50 per month:$2,500,000 per month or $30,000,000 per year.

·         Number of Americans whose Fourth Amendment rights have allegedly been violated:Thousands and still counting.


Unfortunately for the union-busters and their hired DC operatives working the media, the “grassroots” outrage against the TSA’s screeners, which was supposed to take shape in a much-hyped  Thanksgiving Holiday “Opt-Out” campaign of mass civil disobedience in airports across the nation—a kind of libertarian “Days of Rage”—never materialized as promised, leaving countless journalists looking foolish and puzzled. The media regurgitated a well-oiled PR message promising mass spontaneous people’s action against the “police state.” Instead, not a single airport experienced anything remotely newsworthy or unusual; it was as though the entire campaign was a hoax. A hoax that the media showed absolutely no curiosity in recognizing or solving: For two weeks, every major television and media outlet talked up this alleged grassroots anti-government rage sweeping the country, a tidal wave of liberty about to crash into America’s security checkpoints. But nothing happened; and no one asked the most obvious question: “Was the outrage even real, or did the media get played?”

Now we know: the media, and the country, got played.

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