The no-fly list really is a no-brainer

[Read the post]

Could this be a cunningly astute political move?


The exact number of people on the list, and the criteria used to put
them there, are state secrets, although past travel to certain
countries, social media postings, drug use and human error are believed
to be factors.

I agree. You’d have to be on drugs to think someone’s so, so dangerous as to not be allowed to freely travel, yet so innocent as to not be arrested.


Yes, it would be impossible for them to ascertain this through any other means, like, say, trying to board an airplane. Otherwise, terrorists could use the carnival booth algorithm and determine whether or not they were under suspicion by taking flights every so often.


Beat me to the punch here. I don’t think so, but wow, that would be sweet.


Perhaps the worst thing about BoingBoing’s political commentary is how consistently unaware the writers seem of the actual (i.e., non-strawman) positions held by their counterparts on the right.

If over the last decade or so you had bothered to occasionally read, say, National Review, or the Powerline blog, you would find all kinds of criticism of the No-Fly list. It’s not something that the right has “finally” woken up to.

lllll AJ


If you want to get rid of the No-fly List, use it as Obama proposes. It seems like it should be a slam dunk that the NRA goes after it on Constitutional grounds, and it will be in front of the Supreme Court within two years.

But then again…

First the NRA would need a US citizen with no disqualifications to attempt to purchase a firearm. Then that person will have to prove he was prevented from doing so because of the no-fly list. At THAT point the NRA can take it up.

The simple defense against this, for the government, is to decline a background check without giving a reason. If the person who was denied can’t show it was because of the No-Fly list, the government will claim he has no grounds to attack it, and the courts will dismiss the case. This is how the NSA fights these things.


As in, “actual Right-wing officials and lawmakers who craft and enact policy.” You know, the ones who constantly complain that Obama is weak on terrorism for having the audacity to suggest that maybe some of those guys in Gitmo should get a trial or something.


I am all for closing the “no-fly” loophole, because it’d get challenged immediately and considering the track record, I’m betting the 2nd amendment would win where the 4th and 5th amendments have offered only the barest impediments.


This isn’t a Right or a Left thing. Bush started the No-Fly List, and Obama has continued it. Let’s not derail this thread with that partisan stuff. I think almost all of us are in agreement that the No-Fly list is bad, torture is bad, and spying on innocent Americans is bad. Amazing that for all that, we can’t seem to get rid of it.


More like a cunning stunt. Dished up by a bunch of, well, you know.


Yeah, but do democratic lawmakers do any better? There may be a political slant to support for the list, but I think @lllllAlaskaJack has a point here. If it is fair to say that the right wing supports it because right-wing lawmakers do, then why couldn’t we say that the left-ring supports it because Obama does?

A lot of countries manage to elect governments that do the opposite of what the people want the governments to do, but America seems to have a special knack for it.


I’d say the left is at least being intellectually consistent on the issue.

If someone poses enough of a risk for committing an act of mass murder that we can curtail their constitutional right to free travel, then why can’t we curtail their constitutional right to buy dangerous weapons ideally suited for committing mass murder? Pick a position already.


I don’t disagree with your critique–it isn’t something that intellectuals across the political spectrum have just woken up to. But perhaps the argument that an average person may be starting to go, “hey, wait a sec” has merit.

I don’t have polls on me just this moment, but perhaps I (we?) should go look some up.

1 Like

Such bullshit.

It was put into place under the Bush administration. Did Bush supporters protest it? Not with any significant volume.

Did Obama supporters explicitly call out the continuation of the No Fly List as a policy they wanted Obama to continue? I don’t recall that being the case.

What do you suppose would happen if Obama somehow did away with the No Fly list? Do you think the Republican rank-and-file would cheer? LOL. No, they would scream bloody murder about how he’s literally killing American citizens by purposefully allowing Islamic terrorists into the country.

This is a policy largely supported, advocated for, and implemented by Republicans. Democrats can’t undo the policy because of the perception that they’re soft on terrorism. Republicans could have undone the policy at any time during the last 10 or so years but haven’t bothered.

How is this not a partisan issue? It has always been a partisan issue from its inception. Liberals were the ones opposed to Bush’s war on US civil rights. Republicans supported it.

Is there any particular reason you’re trying to wash this down the memory hole and re-write history?


I want to make this very clear:

Republicans supported George W. Bush’s war on civil rights. It is absolutely a partisan issue.

I don’t particularly like being partisan, but I had to watch while the whole country went crazy in 2002/2003 and I’m not about to let anyone deny that actually happened.


And this is the reason a lot of other things like say GITMO not getting shutdown (not to mention they have a lot of people there that would be free to go if there was a country that would take them)
Obama is in a dammed either way situation.
Am I happy with his administration? Enh. It has been good and bad but way better than the alternatives would have been.


I was initially pretty disappointed he didn’t close Gitmo right away, but it was way more complicated than just shutting it up. What were they going to do, just release them all into Cuba and wish them good luck? I mean, my stupid government was fighting with the Obama administration’s attempts to send Omar Khadr back to us, and then when we finally had to take him back they passed a bizarre law that lets them strip people of citizenship to make sure they didn’t have to do something like that again.

On the other hand, I don’t really buy the “otherwise he’d be painted as soft of terror” thing. That’s putting PR above people’s rights and people’s lives. I also think it might be just plain doing it wrong. Everyone is so convinced that their political spin doctors know what they are talking about, but both Trump and Sanders are greatly exceeded expectations by being authentic with people. If he’d eliminated the no-fly list and the republicans said he was soft on terror, he could have just said it was the right thing to do, and that the republicans don’t care about people’s rights.

Or he could have just put all the republican congressmen and senators on the no fly list. That’s what I would have done. Get that thing shut down in a hurry.


Dave Joly, a spokesperson for the screening center, said that it did not publicly confirm or deny whether someone was on the list.

“Disclosure of an individual’s inclusion or non-inclusion in the TSDB [Terrorist Screening Database] or on the no-fly list would significantly impair the government’s ability to investigate and counteract terrorism,” Joly said.

Yeah, there’s no way that somebody could find out they’re on the watch list.


That was such a bullshit argument.


That there is where idealism meets and clashes with reality. There is also the issue of, “What if I let these people go and they go on to kill Americans?” Do you want to live with that? Politically too it would be a death knell.

Exactly, for the reasons outlined in the article. Broad, nebulous power with no oversight is a bad idea.


Yeah, but that reasoning would lead them to lock you and I up as well. I mean, what if?

I met someone who worked on the Canadian cost/benefit analysis of having people surrender small amounts of liquid at airports. Their conclusion was that if it prevented on plane crash in 50 years it would be worth it. So of course the politicians jumped on it.

But the history of aviation has about 2 major (80+ people) airliner crashes a year, and extremely few of those are terrorism related, 1 in 50 years would be about a 1% overall reduction in major airline crashes worldwide because of liquids in Canadian airports. That’s absurd, it could never happen.

But politicians make terrible decisions based on fear of political consequences. That I don’t have much sympathy with, even though it means I basically think that everyone is a terrible incompetent idiot in proportion to the amount of authority they have.