Monday, April 09, 2007


A lot of people screw up. Most people, however, at least try to stop doing anything that's exposed as a screw-up on 60 Minutes.

Not the Bushies.

Last fall, 60 Minutes told us this:

...60 Minutes managed to obtain a copy of the No Fly List and without giving away any national secrets, found it to be incomplete, inaccurate, outdated and a source of aggravation for thousand of innocent Americans.

...[The list] has created enormous frustration and aggravation for thousands of innocent travelers who have the misfortune of sharing a name with someone on the list and some of the names are among the most common in America. Like Gary Smith, John Williams or Robert Johnson....

... Yet they say they are pulled aside and interrogated, sometimes for hours until someone at the Transportation Security Administration decides they are not the Robert Johnson on the No Fly List. And they say it happens nearly every time they go to the airport....

That kind of exposure would shame ordinary people into correcting the problem. But the Bushies are in a league of their own. They're still doing it.

Mark Graber at Balkinization reported yesterday that Professor Walter F. Murphy was recently told he was on the list:

"When I tried to use the curb-side check in at the Sunport, I was denied a boarding pass because I was on the Terrorist Watch list. I was instructed to go inside and talk to a clerk. At this point, I should note that I am not only the McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence (emeritus) but also a retired Marine colonel. I fought in the Korean War as a young lieutenant, was wounded, and decorated for heroism. I remained a professional soldier for more than five years and then accepted a commission as a reserve office, serving for an additional 19 years."

"I presented my credentials from the Marine Corps to a very polite clerk for American Airlines. One of the two people to whom I talked asked a question and offered a frightening comment: "Have you been in any peace marches? We ban a lot of people from flying because of that." I explained that I had not so marched but had, in September, 2006, given a lecture at Princeton, televised and put on the Web, highly critical of George Bush for his many violations of the Constitution. "That'll do it," the man said. " ...

Hmmm ... Walter Murphy. A very common name -- like (as I've noted in several posts over the years) Edward Kennedy, the U.S. senator, who was briefly on the list in 2004. Or James Moore, coauthor of two books critical of Karl Rove, who wrote in the Huffington Post in 2006 that he's regularly stopped. Or (James) Richard Kelly, the director of Donnie Darko, whose forthcoming film is a dystopian fantasy with references to national security crackdowns. Or -- yes -- Dr. Robert Johnson, who's twice run for Congress in upstate New York, as a Democrat.

All presumably somewhat suspicious to the Bushies. And all with very common names.

Incompetence? Vindictiveness? Both?

Whic hever it is, the Bushies will never stop doing it, until they're no longer there to do it.

(Via the Volokh Conspiracy and Memeorandum.)

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