Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, April 1, 2017

MVNews this week:  Page B:3



 Mountain Views News Saturday, April 1, 2017 


Mountain Views



Susan Henderson


Dean Lee 


Joan Schmidt


LaQuetta Shamblee


Richard Garcia


Patricia Colonello




John Aveny 


Kevin Barry


Chris Leclerc

Bob Eklund

Howard Hays

Paul Carpenter

Kim Clymer-Kelley

Christopher Nyerges

Peter Dills 

Rich Johnson

Merri Jill Finstrom

Rev. James Snyder

Dr. Tina Paul

Katie Hopkins

Deanne Davis

Despina Arouzman

Renee Quenell

Marc Garlett

Keely Toten


 It was probably worse for the Transportation Security Administration 
officer than it was for me. 

 Maybe I’d better explain. 

 I recently had the misfortune of experiencing the TSA’s recently 
enhanced pat-down procedure. 

 According to ABC News, you see, an audit by the Department of 
Homeland Security determined that TSA officers failed 95 percent of airport security tests in 
which undercover agents snuck mock explosives and banned weapons right by them. 

 As a result, the TSA modified its screening procedures. Officers used to have five pat-down 
types to choose from - five degrees of thoroughness, in a manner of speaking - but now they have 

 And, boy, is it invasive. 

 As I attempted to board a flight in San Antonio, Texas, my computer bag was flagged by the 
X-ray machine. The TSA officers pulled me aside for “special screening.” 

 Three officers rooted through my computer and carry-on bags like crack addicts looking for 

 A fourth snapped on a fresh pair of white plastic gloves and began working me over like I was 
a side of Kobe beef. 

 I tried to maintain my composure, but “no means no” had zero effect. “Don’t touch my junk” 
fell on equally deaf ears. 

 Now, I can empathize with the poor fellow who was doing my screening. It’s not his fault that 
religious fanatics are driving cars into innocent crowds, shooting co-workers at Christmas parties 
and attempting to hide explosives in their skivvies so they can blow our planes out of the sky. 

 But how do I, a freckle-faced fellow with a hint of Jameson on his breath - I don’t enjoy flying 
and the hooch calms me - fit the profile of the fanatics hoping to commit these horrific acts? 

 I don’t. 

 Neither do the little old grannies or nuns or countless other people who must now go through 
overly invasive pat-downs when their baggage sets off the X-ray machine. 

 I understand the process is even worse for women. Because they have more undergarments 
- and more places to conceal explosives - they’re being patted down in a manner that used to 
require dinner and a show. 

 In a saner world, we would make a couple of key changes to end this pat-down madness. 

 First, we could modernize the dated technology most airports are still using. 

 “The machines the TSA is using at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport to scan 
carry-ons at checkpoints are nearly a decade old, and the practice of X-raying a bag goes back far 
longer,” reports CBS News. 

 Three-dimensional CT scanning technology, commonly used in the medical industry, “can 
detect explosives in laptops, liquids and gels, which means the days of having to take things out of 
your carry-on bag could be numbered,” says CBS News. 

 So why aren’t we using it? 

 Second, why aren’t we using better screening processes as practiced in Israel? 

 Despite considerable threats, Israel boasts some of the safest airports in the world - without 
groping millions of innocent people. 

 Here’s why: Israel’s security people are highly trained. They conduct multiple checkpoints and 
screenings before you enter the gate. And they profile. 

 Profiling does not mean “stereotyping by skin color or nationality,” either. It means that highly 
skilled agents are continuously assessing behavior and any oddities. These processes are extremely 

 Why are we afraid to do something that sensible? 

 Because we’re afraid of offending people who keep telling us they want to blow our planes out 
of the sky? 

 All I know is that the next time you fly, there’s one thing you’d better be prepared to leave at 

 Your dignity. 


 ©2017 Tom Purcell. Tom Purcell, author of “Misadventures of a 1970’s Childhood” and “Wicked 
Is the Whiskey,” a Sean McClanahan mystery novel, both available at, is a Pittsburgh 
Tribune-Review humor columnist and is nationally syndicated exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc. 
For info on using this column in your publication or website, contact or call 
(805) 969-2829. Send comments to Tom at

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 If you’ve been watching TV or on social media, you’ve heard 
that “Republicans are going to let Internet providers sell your 
browser history.” 

 It’s not true. Not even close. 

 What’s really happening is that a corrupt Google power grab 
from the Obama administration is being overturned. 

 Here’s the real history. 

 The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) until 2015 was the cop on the beat for Internet 
privacy, data security, and consumer protection broadly. The FTC had a well-developed 
framework that treated all the players the same way – Internet Service Providers (ISPs), 
search, advertising networks, and social media companies. 

 That all changed when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted on a 
3-2 party-line vote to adopt Barack Obama’s plan to regulate the Internet like a public 

 That vote pre-empted the FTC’s jurisdiction and stripped Internet users of consumer 
protections – deliberately creating a vacuum which could then be used to shift the 
focus of the privacy debate to ISPs, taking the heat off Google, which has vastly more 
access to personal data.

 The FCC took this party-line action despite warnings from the FTC that it would no 
longer be able to protect consumers as it had in over 100 privacy and data security cases 
and 150 spam and spyware cases. 

 FTC Commissioner Maureen Ohlhausen warned that “economists (and common 
sense) tell us that if different sets of rules govern competitors, companies subject to the 
more onerous or unpredictable regime are disadvantaged compared to those outside 
that regime.”

 That’s precisely what happened as Google – which had an astonishing 250 personnel 
rotate into the Obama administration – used its stroke to hobble competitors.

 Under the proposed FCC regulations, ISPs with limited market share and limited 
ability to collect user information would be subject to heavy-handed regulation 
effectively prohibiting running ads without a prior opt-in, while edge providers that 
have dominant market share and vast databases of user information are exempt.

 The FCC claimed ISPs are uniquely situated to collect user information, but the 
best available data shows otherwise. Steven Englehardt and Arvind Narayanan of 
Princeton University found that 61 percent of the top million sites on the web use 
Google Analytics.

 The FCC claim that ISPs are uniquely situated to collect and use user information 
reflects a basic misunderstanding of how the Internet works. 

 The Institute for Information Security & Privacy at Georgia Tech concluded that 
ISPs are highly limited in their ability to collect user information because the average 
Internet user has more than six different devices, encryption is pervasive and employed 
by all 10 of the largest websites and 42 of the top 50, and users increasingly decline to 
use DNS services offered by their ISPs. They found companies like Google have far 
more access to user information.

 As Ajit Pai observed in his dissent: “due to the FCC’s action today, those who have 
more insight into consumer behavior (edge providers) will be subject to more lenient 
regulation than those who have less insight (ISPs).”

 Pai continued, “when you get past the headlines, slogans, and self-congratulations, 
this is the reality that Americans should remember: nothing in these rules will stop 
edge providers from harvesting and monetizing your data, whether it’s the websites you 
visit or the YouTube videos you watch or the emails you send or the search terms you 
enter on any of your devices.”

 Under the Democratic rules, ISPs can use personal data to tailor advertising or make 
you special offers – but they need to buy the data from Google first. That’s crazy.

 The vote in Congress wasn’t about whether privacy should be protected, but rather 
who should do the protecting – and whether there should be a level playing field or 
a sweetheart deal for Google; it’s unfortunate that so many “real” news organizations 
bought into the Obama Administration spin instead of checking the facts.


© Copyright 2017 Phil Kerpen, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Mr. Kerpen is the president of American Commitment and the author of “Democracy 
Denied.” Kerpen can be reached at



During the campaign, Donald Trump famously conceded that 
he gets much of his information about world affairs from “the 
shows.” Incredibly, the impact made on Trump’s thinking by 
what he sees on television is even more profound now that he’s 
the leader of the free world. 

 The latest example was a gem: Trump made a direct appeal 
to his millions of Twitter followers that they watch a weekend show on Fox News 
Channel hosted by Jeanine Pirro. Hours later, Pirro began her program by demanding 
that House Speaker Paul Ryan resign over his botched handling of the health care bill. 

 It’s one thing to glean facts from cable programs, it’s quite another to use them to send 
a political message or float a trial balloon. For what it’s worth, the White House insists 
Trump had no idea what Pirro was intending to say. You be the judge. 

 Then there was Trump’s explanation for why he claimed Barack Obama ordered 
wiretaps at Trump Tower. “All we did was quote a certain very talented legal mind,” said 
Trump, “who was the one responsible for saying that on television.”

 The reference was to a commentator, Andrew Napolitano, whom the president 
had seen on Fox News Channel. The whole thing was so ludicrous that Fox refuted 
Napolitano’s claims and promptly suspended him. 

 Trump is not alone in his fascination with cable news: ratings since he took office are 
up dramatically. In the first quarter of this year, FNC is up 28 percent; MSNBC is up 51 
percent, and CNN is up 11 percent. 

 MSNBC’s jump was the largest, year-to-year, in cable-TV history. CNN, meanwhile, 
had its most-watched quarter in 14 years. And Fox? Well, it achieved its biggest quarterly 
increase in the channel’s history, dating back to 1996. 

 What are we to make of this? For one thing, the daily drama of a flailing presidency 
makes good theater. 

 Beyond that, the channel with closest ties to the party out of power usually gains 
viewers—which is why Fox profited handsomely during the Obama years, and why 
MSNBC is now a magnet for Democrats frustrated by Trump. 

 Rachel Maddow’s highly promoted but underwhelming program in which she 
“revealed” two pages of a Trump tax return drew her largest audience ever: 4.2 million. It 
helped catapult Maddow into cable’s Top 10 for the first time, but older viewers probably 
found it reminiscent of Geraldo Rivera’s live examination in 1986 of Al Capone’s empty 

 Speaking of relating to older viewers, the most engaging discussions of Trump’s affairs 
are taking place on Don Lemon’s CNN program. The semi-regulars are none other than 
Carl Bernstein, the Washington Post’s ace Watergate reporter, and Nixon’s Watergate 
counsel, the remarkably well-preserved and articulate John Dean. Some nights they are 
joined by the Post’s legendary know-it-all Sally Quinn. 

 Also worthy in covering DC’s disarray is Brian Williams’ nightly series on MSNBC. 
Void of the constant whining that spoils the efforts of Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell, 
Williams does a sharp, no nonsense examination of events, with enlightened guests. 

 Give Trump credit: he saved Williams’ career. NBC had benched Williams for making 
false boasts about his coverage of dramatic events, but then gradually allowed him back 
on cable during the 2016 campaign. Now he’s MSNBC’s most solid citizen. 

 As for Fox, its diehards, led by Sean Hannity, continue to blast Trump’s critics and 
defend even his most egregious misstatements. But elsewhere on FNC, anchors such as 
Shepard Smith are becoming bolder in taking the new president to task. 

 Even more surprising was a FNC “town hall” recently in North Carolina, hosted 
by Martha MacCallum. Unlike previous FNC events in which the questions seemed 
carefully screened to protect Trump, this program featured an articulate audience of 
Trump critics. 

 Despite the example set by the president, none of us should rely too heavily on cable 
channels for hard news. Moreover, we must avoid Trump’s mistake of quoting the 
opinions offered as matters of fact. 

 That said, it’s hard to beat cable-TV news these days for prime-time drama and 


Peter Funt can be reached at

 Peter Funt is a writer and speaker. His book, “Cautiously Optimistic,” is available 
at and © 2017 Peter Funt. Columns distributed 
exclusively by Cagle Cartoons, Inc., newspaper syndicate.

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