Burch: Invasions of privacy and 'privates'

Friday, January 27, 2012 at 12:32am
By Michael R. Burch

While Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney wriggle like fish out of water over questions of personal ethics — especially where moneymaking is concerned — it seems that God (if there is a God) may have decided to help the only remaining Republican presidential candidate who strikes me as a man of character and conviction.

Einstein once said that coincidence is how God reveals himself. In an incredible stroke of good fortune for Ron Paul, his son was detained here in Nashville by airport security and missed his flight after refusing to submit to a full body pat down. Since throughout his career Ron Paul has consistently said that Americans should not be deprived of their Constitutional rights and freedoms in the name of “security,” this should give his campaign not only a boost in the polls, but a considerable amount of free advertising as well.

According to Rand Paul, a U.S. senator from Kentucky, a scanner at the Nashville airport indicated some sort of anomaly on his leg. When that happened, he allowed security personnel to examine his leg, then asked to be allowed to go through the scanner again. But that wasn’t enough for security personnel, who insisted on a pat-down search, which he refused.

At this point things get a bit murky, because Paul claims that he was detained, but the Transportation Security Administration, which oversees the screening process, denies this. But obviously he was detained enough to keep him from making his flight. In any case, Rand Paul was eventually allowed to leave and managed to catch a later flight without further incident.

Ron Paul immediately blasted the TSA by saying, “The police state in this country is growing out of control. One of the ultimate embodiments of this is the TSA, which gropes and grabs our children, our seniors, and our loved ones and neighbors with disabilities. The TSA does all of this while doing nothing to keep us safe.”

If any other Republican candidate made such a statement, we might suggest that he was just “making hay,” since conservatives have led the recent charge to strip Americans of their rights. But because individual liberty has always been the main plank in Ron Paul’s platform, I think his statement is consistent with his values. He has advocated repealing the Patriot Act and the recently passed National Defense Authorization Act, which when combined seem to give the federal government the right to arrest American citizens without charges and “detain” them for the rest of their lives in foreign prisons without ever giving them fair trials before judges versed in the U.S. Constitution and American law.

Six months earlier, a Clarksville mother was arrested for objecting to a full body scan and pat down of her 14-year-old daughter. A full body scan is similar to a nude photograph. A full body pat down is obviously highly intrusive and embarrassing.

How many young girls are terrorists? Why are Americans being subjected to such invasions of not only their privacy but also their “privates”? And, as Ron Paul has pointed out more than once, 9/11 was largely the result of our government’s constant interference in the private affairs of Middle Eastern countries.

If we ended that interference, we could save multitudes of lives, trillions of dollars, and keep other people’s eyes and hands out of our “personal business.”

Michael R. Burch is a Nashville-based editor and publisher of Holocaust poetry and other “things literary” at www.thehypertexts.com.


Filed under: City Voices

34 Comments on this post:

By: yogiman on 1/26/12 at 11:54

The fact that Rand Paul was an obviously known Senator and the TSA "put him through the test" tells a lot about them. From what I've read before, I'd bet it that was a Muslim woman in her attire she would have been allowed to walk right through the gate un-scanned and certainly not patted down.

By: Mike Burch on 1/27/12 at 12:58

One problem is that the US government and public are both in denial about the real reasons for the 9-11 attacks. If we simply accepted the fact that we have no business trying to force people in the Middle East to live the way we think best (when very few Americans are happy with our form of government), and removed our military from the region and stopped propping up governments that pretend to be our "allies" so they can get financial aid and weapons from us, the chances of more terrorist attacks would drop.

But most Americans live in a fantasy world where we are the "good guys" no matter how stupidly and evilly our government acts abroad. People outside the U.S. don't agree, and who can blame them? Some men would rather fight than submit to American-style tyranny, and we will always be at war with someone until we have the wisdom to stay out of their affairs. I think Ron Paul is right that we should have free trade and diplomatic relationships with other countries, but not use our military power to force other nations to do our bidding.

By: Ummm... on 1/27/12 at 5:52

Obviously, Mr. Burch, Ron Paul is right about some things. Remember the old adage about how even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in awhile?

By: Loner on 1/27/12 at 6:02

Good morning, Nashville.

Another fine letter from Nashville's Mike Burch...a lone progressive voice, in a wilderness of Christian theocracy and faith-based hate. Keep up the good work, Mr. Burch!

The function of the Transportation Security Administration is to keep the population of this nation in a state of constant low-level terror...it's fear-based governance...a system imported from a Middle Eastern country that has perfected the freedom-robbing technique.

Senator Joe Lieberman, a de facto Israeli agent, introduced the Made-in-Israel Patriot Act the day after the 9-11 attacks...all typed up, collated, bound and reproduced...copies for every member of Congress....all ready for swift approval, with no debate....a gift from our "allies" in the Jewish State....where fear-based governance is a national treasure.

We were attacked primarily because of US support for Israel's oppression and brutal occupation of the Occupied Territories. Our response to the attacks was to adopt more Israeli techniques, attitudes and belligerence. Of course, we will get hit again...and the TSA will be powerless to prevent it.

And our president has been reduced to the status of vassal to the Israeli Prime Minister.
Anyone who complains is an "anti-Semite"....therefore very few complain.

By: Loner on 1/27/12 at 6:05

Ron Paul makes sense; ergo he has no chance. This is all about getting the right guy into the WH, so that the special interests who backed him can rip-off the nation with impunity...no mystery here...no glory here...this is larceny, plain and simple.

By: Loner on 1/27/12 at 6:27

After all the millions of searches, the TSA has never found a single explosive device hidden on anyone or in anyone's luggage...they never will, unless it's a false flag deal.

The purpose of the TSA is to scare us, not to protect us...and considering its true mission, the agency is doing a great job. The nation is now primed for war with Iran....and anybody else that Israel chooses....Israel is the bird dog, pointing out the endless enemies, but not actually pulling the trigger...that's our job.

And the Republican presidential wannabes, except for Ron Paul, are whining that Obama is not a friend of Israel...they promise to embrace the Jewish State and the IDF with even more devotion, adoration, emulation and passion, if elected.

Helen Thomas under-stated the problem. Check out who got what from the Israel lobby:


Of course, we Americans do not have reciprocal control over the Israeli Knesset...the Israelis would never stand for that....but we must endure this sell out to a foreign nation....or be branded as "Jew-haters"....this is complete BS and it has to cease.

By: govskeptic on 1/27/12 at 6:52

The Nashville Airport incident with Rand Paul, a Bowling Green resident which
probably makes Nashville his home airport, is just typical of what is happening
nationally with the TSA. Unfortunately these airport agents are no better
trained nor useful than the "rent-a-cop" patrolling the malls of America. Homeland
Security was a mammoth agency put together in haste and by an Administration
and Congress in desperation. Replacement for previously disjointed and overly
bureaucratic agencies that were just as incompetent and overly politically
correct as the current.

Ron Paul will win enough delegates through the process to have a strong
voice at the Republican Convention. To the disappointment of the author
and TCP co-horts, Mitt Romney is going to be the nominee and provide an
extremely competent, competitive, and extreme contrasting choice for
America versus the Wonder child from Boss Dailey's Chicago!

By: yogiman on 1/27/12 at 7:50

If I may, Mike; a slight correction on your comment about our government acting "stupidly and evilly" abroad. Why leave out 'at home'?

We haven't had a government representing "we the people" in decades now. If they were in office abiding by their oath to follow our Constitution they would not have allowed someone who was obviously not constitutionally eligible for the presidency to usurp the office.

By: Captain Nemo on 1/27/12 at 8:12

I have got enough metal in my body that I set off alarms at any security check point now. I am waned scanned and frisk when I go through airports, government buildings or any other secured areas. It is a part of life now, because because the USA is a big brass targets.

Rand Paul is a show boat looking for attention.

By: Captain Nemo on 1/27/12 at 8:13

Not only is life a bitch, but it is always having puppies.
-Adrienne Gusoff

By: Captain Nemo on 1/27/12 at 8:14

Got to go now. Have a good day.

By: Moonglow1 on 1/27/12 at 8:37

Moonglow1: Some people believe 9/11 was an "inside job. ". Remember Bush sat around reading "My Pet Goat" like he aleady knew what was going down and I hear that there were unusual "puts and calls" ahead of 9\11, and the Bin Laden family was sent out of the USA ahead of time. NORAD did not protect us. A lot of unanswered questions remain. Since 9\11, one thing is certain. Our freedom is gradually disappearing and the American public is under the watchful eye of our govt.

By: MusicCity615 on 1/27/12 at 9:29

Mike Burch-

Your article would make sense, it we lived in the 1800s. Ron Paul has no idea about the difference between criminal law and national defense. Terrorists and jihadist were cheering when 911 happened (which was mainly because we are considered a Christian Nation who protects Isreal), killing thousands of people and living many young children orphans, what makes you think they would object to planting a bomb on and sacrificing a child?

Of course I don't want our children nor elderly to be patted down, but let's be realistic. Bombs are made and can be hidden in many ways, and a real problem would be for us not to have the technology to detect them. If a woman gets mad beacuse she thinks a naked picture is basically being taken of her, THEN SHE SHOULDN'T FLY. NO ONE IS FORCING HER TO FLY.

In New York, police had the right to check people's bags in the subway after the London subway bombings, which I'm sure Mr. Burch you will somehow say is the UK or America's fault, not the jihadists, and I couldn't stand people who cried out an "invasion of privacy".

We live unfortunately in a violent world, and America not ruling with an iron fist will help, but some times you have accept that terrorists killing people is the terrorists' fault, and we have to protect ourselves. If you think youre privacy is invaded, don't fly a plane. Just my opinion.

By: MusicCity615 on 1/27/12 at 9:32


If you watched the 911 videos carefully, you can see President Bush jumping out of the planes just before impact and after putting in muslim dummies at the pilot's seat to make it look like Al Queda's fault.


Al Queda wants to destroy America. If this was an "inside job", don't you think they would admit that it was an inside job? Or do you think that their word is their bond, and they would kill thousands of people, but never break a promise!

By: Mike Burch on 1/27/12 at 9:33


I don't think 9-11 was an inside job. The men who planned and helped carry out the attacks have explained why they did what they did. They oppose what Israel and the U.S. have done to millions of Palestinians (most of them completely innocent women and children). And they oppose U.S. government and military interference in the Middle East. When our government contributes to the suffering and deaths of large numbers of innocent people, we shouldn't be surprised that some men are willing to retaliate.

But regardless of what triggered 9-11, the question is what we can do, as American citizens, to end unwinnable wars abroad and have more social and economic justice here at home. To me, the choice is simple. Until the Republican Party ends its madness (stripping Americans of their rights, and rigging the system to always benefit the super-rich 1%), we need to vote for Democrats. No, Democrats are not perfect, but at least the party is trying to preserve our rights and establish a fairer tax system.

If we vote for Democrats, we put pressure on the Republican Party to reform. Politicians who can't get elected become jobless. So we need to send the GOP a strong message: do what is best for the 99%, or go file for unemployment.

We do have a powerful weapon, if we choose to use it. The first step is to see and understand what the GOP is really up to. Once we have a Democratic majority in both houses, we won't have perfection, but we can have progress in a better direction.

Mike Burch

By: brrrrk on 1/27/12 at 10:10

"According to Rand Paul, a U.S. senator from Kentucky, a scanner at the Nashville airport indicated some sort of anomaly on his leg."

Did anyone else think of Spinal Tap when they read this? :-)

By: Loner on 1/27/12 at 11:45

And we have our own local Paul Revere types: "THE JIHADISTS ARE COMING....THE JIHADISTS ARE COMING...."


The Israelis have lived in mortal fear for the last 63 years....that fear is contagious....and we got it bad.

The land of the free is being, wire-tapped, patted down and scanned...the home of the brave is now the home of the scared shitless.

Unscrupulous politicians and their special interest backers are cashing in on the mass hysteria. The fear is here to stay....fighting fear is now the law...and that's what scares me the most.

By: brrrrk on 1/27/12 at 11:57

Loner said

"And we have our own local Paul Revere types: 'THE JIHADISTS ARE COMING....THE JIHADISTS ARE COMING....'"


This reminds me of a story a friend of mine told me. A few months ago he had to take a trip overseas. Of course he went through all the security crap here in the states like we all go through. On the way back he was going through European style security and being used to our security asked if he needed to remove his shoes. He said that the security agent just looked at him, smiled, and said, "We're not afraid of everything like you Americans are." Now granted, that's sort of a snide remark.... but my friend said he "got the point".

By: MusicCity615 on 1/27/12 at 11:58

Mike Burch-

One of the best things America can do is to have energy independence, which Barack Obama is opposing with its rejection of the Keystone Oil Pipeline. I guess Obama thinks people can't have jobs and paid money unless he taxes us to give government handouts.

It's ironic how you say you want America to mind its own business and leave the middle east alone, let you favor a party that invades people's lives by advocating more and more regulation of the private sector, a party that prevents Boeing from creating a plant in south carolina, a party that advocates a government healthcare system which rejects people's freedom to choose their own policy (mainly by employers dropping coverage of its employees because Obamacare is too expensive), the list goes on and on.

I am fiscally conservative and socially liberal. I actually favor a 2% tax increase on the wealthy, but only if it's in conjunction with a major overhaul and reduction in entitlement reform. The Obama administration wants everyone to be dependent on the government, not independent.

Oh and by the way, Obama is asking for a $1.2 TRILLION increase to the debt limit. Seriously?

By: brrrrk on 1/27/12 at 12:17

MusicCity615 said

"One of the best things America can do is to have energy independence, which Barack Obama is opposing with its rejection of the Keystone Oil Pipeline."

Do you know that we already have a tar sands pipeline delivering to refineries in our western states? The purpose of the Keystone is to deliver tar sands to refineries along the gulf coast solely to produce products for export. In fact, once the Keystone is completed, even tar sands that are going to those western refineries will eventually be diverted to the gulf which means we will have even less refined oil available to us domestically.... and the price of domestic fuel will go up. The only beneficiaries of the Keystone will be the oil companies and the countries (like China) that the oil companies will be exporting to. Meanwhile the taxpayers will be saddled with the cost of dealing with the damage done to our environment. Yeah.... sounds like a great deal to me.

By: pswindle on 1/27/12 at 12:24

President Obama is having to ask for more money to run the government because of he mess shat Bush left us. I heard this morning on TV that Bush spend $20 Billion on airconditioners for Iraq and other places in that region. Good Grief, no wonder we ae in the shape that we are in.

By: Loner on 1/27/12 at 12:25

We need to get off the petroleum...it's a dope.....bringing in more dope via pipeline just extends the time before we go cold turkey....as for fracking...no, we don't need the jobs and the gas so badly, that it turns our aquifer combustible....flaming faucets are not the solution to our energy woes.

I am sick of the expression "other people's money" ....everybody pays taxes in one form or another, directly or indirectly...so it's OUR money....not other people's money.

The Republicans live in mortal fear of 3 things:
1. That minorities will become the majority.
2. That the poor may be exploiting the system.
3. That somebody out there is actually having a good time, enjoying life.

By: Loner on 1/27/12 at 12:32

Pswindle...the company that got the AC contract would vociferously disagree with you...probably a Haliburton subsidiary.

Remember Paul Bremmer. Under Bremmer, pallets, stacked high with newly minted US folding money, disappeared into thin air...billions still unaccounted for...Bremmer was never brought to justice for his ineptitude-corruption...his only talent was being a loyal Bushite.

By: Loner on 1/27/12 at 12:41

With 15,000 US Embassy personnel still in Iraq, Uncle Sam will continue to hemorrhage money in the "liberated" Iraq. Billions annually.

Gotta wonder why we need 15,000 people to represent US interests in Iraq....Junior Bush always thought BIG...Texas-sized proportions all around....he was very free with OUR money, wasn't he? The war criminal had better stay in the US for the rest of his miserable life....he is a wanted man....he ought to be in solitary confinement....Cheney in the adjacent cell.

By: Loner on 1/27/12 at 12:50

Our legacy to the people of Iraq is plain to see...today, a suicide bomber killed 28 people attending a funeral. Hundreds have died since we "pulled out"....the Iraqi government is in internal turmoil....millions of Iraqi refugees are afraid to return home....the new Iraqi boss is the same as the old Iraqi boss?

The only beneficiary seems to be Israel...Saddam is gone and now the IDF can send its jets into Iran by way of Iraqi airspace....the Iraq war cost the Israelis nothing, in fact they made money off the suffering and they are now in a more domineering position in the region...with allies like that, who needs enemies?

By: brrrrk on 1/27/12 at 12:53

Loner said

"Pswindle...the company that got the AC contract would vociferously disagree with you...probably a Haliburton subsidiary."

When Bush/Cheney took office, Haliburton (in which Cheney was and is invested) was about to go belly up. During the 8 years of the Bush administration, Haliburton "surprisingly" became one of the richest companies in the world. Nuff said!!!!

By: Loner on 1/27/12 at 1:09

Cheney used the revolving door...he went from politician, to lobbyist, to politician, to lobbyist. He'd go back into politics in a few years, if only they could extend his life to the max...Cheney would keep spinning round in that infernal contraption, getting richer with every revolution....eventually, Cheney would own the world.

And Newt is channeling Cheney? But no...a "historian" is not a lobbyist...according to the Newt. The guy is one slimy dude...lives on euphemisms....and other people's money...always looking for fresh poontang and a free meal....that's our round, honest-faced Newt....eat - survive - reproduce.

By: Loner on 1/27/12 at 1:24

Corporate welfare saved Haliburton, enriched Dick Cheney and fleeced the taxpayers....and Newt Gingrich would continue with this scheme....so would Mitt Romney...Saint Santorum worships at the same altar...only RP offers us a different paradigm....a sane and secular approach to governance...like in the beginning....and none of the Founders were all that photogenic either....they had great minds, not good hair, sparkling teeth and superpacs.

Ron Paul is a throwback to a time when good looks were irrelevant in politics....I kind of like that.

By: yogiman on 1/27/12 at 1:36

Then consider Buddy Roemer,Loner. But why won't the media have him on their "shows"? Because he might make their selections look like fools.

And by the way, I understand he's a friend of Ron Paul's. Buddy Roemer as President and Ron Paul as Sec. Of Treasury? I believe the "guvment" would change more back to the old version..

By: govskeptic on 1/27/12 at 2:06

Another 118 million of stimulus down the drain with today's announcement
of Bankruptcy by another electric car company, which comes on the heels
of a 75 million dollar collapse of a stimulus funded battery company in Indiana.
By election day there will probably be as many as 20 of these announcements.

By: brrrrk on 1/27/12 at 2:21

govskeptic said

"Another 118 million of stimulus down the drain with today's announcement
of Bankruptcy by another electric car company, which comes on the heels
of a 75 million dollar collapse of a stimulus funded battery company in Indiana.
By election day there will probably be as many as 20 of these announcements."

So what's your solution? To let the oil industries continue to bleed us dry until the bottom falls out? Remember this, petroleum is used in this country for a lot of other important things besides energy (plastics, clothing, pharmaceuticals), so why use it in one of the most inefficient ways possible.... powering internal combustion engines?

By: JayBee56 on 1/27/12 at 11:48

Mike, this is the second time I have "heard" you say that we should vote for Democrats. Not sure what makes them to be preferred over Republicans. It is a rare politican who will vote against party and for principle. Neither party has done our country much good lately. I'm afraid our parents or grandparents who were staunch Democrats or Republicans would recognize what their parties have become. For the record, I believe the searches at airports are a flagrant violation of the 4th amendment, yet our political leaders seem to be blind to this violation of personal rights and liberties. We could stop it tomorrow if we had the political willpower. Democrats in power scare me as much as Republicans in power. How about just citizens in power? Elections have become popularity contests with no real change occurring. We need to come up with something different to ensure that the needs and views of the common man and woman are represented instead of special interests. States hold the key to reform if they will act together as they did when approving this federal system under the Constitution. The tendency of food left unrefrigerated is that it begins to spoil and is unfit for consumption. It will happen every time because that's the nature of food that is not preserved. In the same way, government's tendency is to get more corrupt and more inefficient. New people in office is the best way to keep government working for us instead of against us.

By: yogiman on 1/28/12 at 7:30


The best move Harry Truman did when he took over the office at FDR's death was to get the term limit bill passed. At the time he was pushing or the Senate and House to be on that bill but they wouldn't buy it arguing they were "elected by the people". I guess their jobs were too easy to give up. Truman didn't push that part of the bill and settled for the President's limit.

The worst bill he got through congress was the United Nations and I understood he only did that because Roosevelt had started it and he just finished it on his behalf. Bad mistake!

By: spooky24 on 1/30/12 at 3:25

Anytime someone starts the totally ridiculous 'inside job' about the 9/11 attacks then their opinion on anything else no longer matters and will get ignored.
I put a lot of work and study into 9/11 mainly the strategic planning(KSM) and the tactical(Mohammed Atta) progress of the attack from it's inception in 1993.
The breakdown of the Hamburg cell ( Led by Atta) and it's function is one of the most fascinating covert plots in history.
This information (not released in the 9/11 report but later in the appendix) balloons to 9000 pages and 1700 footnotes.
It's tough to face however got to give credit where it is due. The genius of both Atta and KSM made the plan work. Their complex plan to move wanted members in and out of the USA by invoking a sort of version of 'check kiting' using entry and exit visas.
Even at this late date it is still not known how the al Shehri brothers (flight 11 north tower) were able to fly into LAX -then red eyed to Boston for the attack the next morning.