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DOJ Could Ban Texas Flights Over Anti-Patdown Law

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the don't-mess-with dept.

United States 377

hellkyng writes "The Department of Justice may ban flights from Texas because of the Anti-Patdown law making its way through the legal system. Says Rep. David Simpson, 'Someone must make a stand against the atrocities of our government agents.' Should be interesting to see if Texas can pave the way for grope-free flying fun."

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Update on this story (5, Informative)

Sonny Yatsen (603655) | more than 2 years ago | (#36255114)

As of earlier today, the law's main sponsor, Dan Patrick, R-Houston, said the law is dead after support for the law collapsed.

http://www.click2houston.com/news/28032459/detail.html [click2houston.com]

Re:Update on this story (1)

divide overflow (599608) | more than 2 years ago | (#36255168)

As of earlier today, the law's main sponsor, Dan Patrick, R-Houston, said the law is dead after support for the law collapsed.

http://www.click2houston.com/news/28032459/detail.html [click2houston.com]

Wow...this story became a non-story tout suite!

Re:Update on this story (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36255348)

As of earlier today, the law's main sponsor, Dan Patrick, R-Houston, said the law is dead after support for the law collapsed.

http://www.click2houston.com/news/28032459/detail.html [click2houston.com]

Wow...this story became a non-story tout suite!

"Tout Suite"?! Yer, one of dem for-aners, aren't yeew?!

Yer have no biz-niss commenting on Amerikan matters, kah-peesh?!

Re:Update on this story (4, Insightful)

guruevi (827432) | more than 2 years ago | (#36255204)

What do you mean collapsed? I think 99% of Americans would support this. Oh, you mean support by the few people that make decisions and can easily be bought.

Re:Update on this story (1)

jdgeorge (18767) | more than 2 years ago | (#36255274)

Have you read the law so you can reasonably speculate whether people would support it?

Re:Update on this story (3, Insightful)

Noughmad (1044096) | more than 2 years ago | (#36255322)

The people won't read it either. The contents of a law have very little correlation to people's support for it.

Re:Update on this story (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36255318)

Collapsed within the Senate, who all cowered in fear at the TSA's threat.

Re:Update on this story (3, Insightful)

MooseTick (895855) | more than 2 years ago | (#36255346)

you are mistaken. Most people believe the pat downs make them safer. I bet half would not approve if eliminating them. It doesn't matter if it is true or not, just the perception.

Re:Update on this story (4, Insightful)

dynamo (6127) | more than 2 years ago | (#36255418)

It's not even the perception, sir, unless you happen to work at the TSA and are paid to pretend that you think what you do for a living makes any positive difference whatsoever.

Re:Update on this story (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36255550)

The filthy Mozzie bastards will support it becase it helps them kill Americans

Re:Update on this story (0, Troll)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#36255696)

>>>Most people believe the pat downs make them safer.

Most people are stupid if they think Naked X-ray Scanners and/or penal-breast groping is a good idea. It's also unconstitutional if the plane does not cross international lines, since the US Congress has been granted zero authority to forbid travel by airplane (or train, or car, or wagon). Read Amendments 9 and 10.

Re:Update on this story (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36255758)

Apparently your knowledge base is missing decades of commerce clause jurisprudence.

Re:Update on this story (1, Troll)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#36255792)

FIX:

Congress has been granted zero authority to forbid [internal domestic] travel by airplane or train, or car, or wagon. Read Amendments 9 and 10.

This is what happens when you kill the federalist system and replace it with a central oligarchy that exercises power without limits. You lose freedom as the voice of the People is no longer heard in the thousand-mile distant capitol city, and the central leadership cares more about gaining power than service to their bosses (us).

Re:Update on this story (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 2 years ago | (#36255394)

You'd be wrong. Many Americans are either ambivalent (it can't hurt...) or outright supportive (we can't let the terr'ists win!), ignoring the fact that every loss of personal liberty does hurt and that changing our way of life *is* a victory for them. Of course what they really are is irrationally afraid, but it's unpatriotic not to be afraid these days. The biggest irony is that our leaders can on the one hand tell us we have to fight the terrorists who hate our freedom while on the other hand restricting that very freedom.

Re:Update on this story (1)

hoggoth (414195) | more than 2 years ago | (#36255614)

I find it very hard to believe that the average American thinks the TSA pat-downs and porno-scans make them any safer at all. I can think of 10 ways to cause mayhem despite the TSA right off the top of my head, and I'm not trying. What a terrorist wouldn't do would be to try the exact same method that was tried before, ie: bomb in the shoe, etc. And that is exactly what the TSA is looking out for.

Re:Update on this story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36255718)

Terrorists don't have our freedom. Generally, they hate the way they perceive the USA / western world is treating their own country / people. Loss of personal liberty is not a victory for terrorists. It's arguably a victory for those in power, since the less power the people have, the longer those in control can stay in power and the more power they have.

Re:Update on this story (5, Informative)

GlassHeart (579618) | more than 2 years ago | (#36255486)

I think 99% of Americans would support this.

I don't think you can get 99% of Americans to agree that the earth isn't flat.

Re:Update on this story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36255806)

That's because there are a lot of stupid Americans.

Oh, was that the point you were trying to make? No wonder this was marked informative.

Great news citizens! (5, Funny)

denzacar (181829) | more than 2 years ago | (#36255244)

Also, the chocolate ration will be raised to twenty grammes a week.

Re:Great news citizens! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36255370)

but I could have sworn it was twenty-five grammes last week.

Re:Great news citizens! (1)

divide overflow (599608) | more than 2 years ago | (#36255434)

but I could have sworn it was twenty-five grammes last week.

On the other hand, do remember that a gramme is better than a damn.

Re:Great news citizens! (4, Funny)

Surt (22457) | more than 2 years ago | (#36255438)

I think you're misremembering, and it doesn't matter anyway as we've been further able to increase the ration to 15 grammes.

Re:Update on this story (2)

Omega Hacker (6676) | more than 2 years ago | (#36255282)

And here I was thinking that Texans had a spine. Silly me.

Re:Update on this story (4, Insightful)

Maltheus (248271) | more than 2 years ago | (#36255356)

Yes, apparently "everything is bigger in Texas" does not include balls.

Re:Update on this story (5, Insightful)

Gunnut1124 (961311) | more than 2 years ago | (#36255526)

We tried, what did you do?

I was actually contacted to give testimony to the state legislature about this by the ALCU (never got to). After a number of written complaints, action was taken and a bill set in motion... Too bad that the weak spineless reps didn't have the guts to follow through. The DOJ needs an overhaul after this mess.

Re:Update on this story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36255800)

Thank you for contributing to the regain of civil liberties. The country would be a better place with more people willing to act.

Re:Update on this story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36255808)

We tried, what did you do?

I did the only thing I could, stopped flying all together...

Re:Update on this story (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 2 years ago | (#36255852)

Too bad that the weak spineless reps didn't have the guts to follow through. The DOJ needs an overhaul after this mess.

So does the legislature. Remember this when election time comes.

Re:Update on this story (3, Interesting)

Wovel (964431) | more than 2 years ago | (#36255350)

Too bad our lawmakers are so spineless. That is a battle the FAA would lose. The TSA has done nothing to make us more secure. Every attempted airline incident has been stopped by passengers and/or air marshals. I am sure they would say you just don't here about all the good stuff they do. I say BS.

The feds would win this one (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 2 years ago | (#36255596)

The TSA/FAA could easily bar all takeoffs of scheduled flights that had enough fuel to get to the Texas border.

If they tried to shut down flights between Houston, Austin, and San Antonio or not-much-reserve-fuel flights between those cities and DFW the courts may toss them out.

In any case, the very real possibility that the feds would say "okay, no pat-downs, fine, no scheduled airline flights in and out of Texas" made this bill nothing more than a political "stand up for your principles" bill.

Re:The feds would win this one (1)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 2 years ago | (#36255810)

Just let Texas withhold their oil and beef. We'd have a really interesting time if they stuck to their guns.

Re:Update on this story (1)

stevelinton (4044) | more than 2 years ago | (#36255778)

How do you know how many plots have been abandoned because the plotters couldn't work out a reliable way past TSA screening?

I don't know either, and it might be none, but you appear to know that it is none.

Re:Update on this story (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36255354)

Why do we even have states anymore? If they're not going to stand up to the federal government, what's the point? I wish more state legislatures had the guts to stand up to federal incursions on our freedom.

Re:Update on this story (2)

Lifyre (960576) | more than 2 years ago | (#36255382)

What a shame. I was really looking forward to seeing how this would have played out. Texas would be a great place for this kind of challenge too. They're big enough and important enough that not only would this cause HUGE issues across the country but people might care. If a place like Vermont did it not many people would notice.

Re:Update on this story (2)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 2 years ago | (#36255788)

It's just as well, judging from a quote in TFA:

"All that HB 1937 does is require that the TSA abide by the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution," Simpson continued. "We aren't even prohibiting the pat-downs, per se. We're just saying you can't go straight to third base. You have to have a reason-you have to have probable cause-before groping someone's sexual organs."

If I want to go right to oral sex without obtaining probable cause, I should be able to dammit!

Stepping up exactly one level of seriousness: I hope Rep. Simpson wasn't exactly clear on what "third base" actually entailed. If there are going to be new TSA regulations actually involve "third base" and they don't hire new gate agents...

"interesting to see if Texas can pave the way" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36255158)

It'll be even more interesting if someone hijacks a fully fueled flight out of DFW and flies it into the Texas State Capitol Building in Austin.

Re:"interesting to see if Texas can pave the way" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36255218)

One more reason to fly Southwest.

Re:"interesting to see if Texas can pave the way" (3, Insightful)

Surt (22457) | more than 2 years ago | (#36255462)

That would be interesting as the primary defense against hijacking is a locked door, not a pat down.

Re:"interesting to see if Texas can pave the way" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36255568)

Bah. We already had one guy do that last year in Austin. We don't need to be giving the crazies any more ideas than they already have.

fuck usa and its nigger president (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36255182)

I calls em like I sees em..

you are cowards, gutless, spineless, worthless cowards..

About Time, Texas! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36255190)

Usually the only thing Texas "leads the way" with is fucking up high school science textbooks in order to appease religious idiots. Really makes my heart swell with pride to see an entire state say, "Fuck you, that's not happening here."

Re:About Time, Texas! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36255220)

agreed! Both of you

Re:About Time, Texas! (1)

reub2000 (705806) | more than 2 years ago | (#36255538)

...because nothing say fuck you like introducing a bill that was never intended to be signed into law. Legislators from everywhere at all levels of government routinely introduce bills intended more as a statement than as an action.

What about Intra-Texas Flights? (1)

bwohlgemuth (182897) | more than 2 years ago | (#36255216)

Have to wonder since most airports are local/state owned entities, could the TSA legally pull it's shenanigans on flights that originate and terminate within Texas? /yes, of course they will //but isn't the crux of the DOJ's argument around Interstate Commerce?

Re:What about Intra-Texas Flights? (1)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 2 years ago | (#36255312)

Southwest Airlines exists because of the possibility of intra-Texas flights, so I'd have to say that the TSA would fail.

Re:What about Intra-Texas Flights? (1)

teodesian (914355) | more than 2 years ago | (#36255378)

Not if they implemented a "No Fly Zone" like they did with Quaddafi. A "No Fly Zone" was proposed in the DOJ/TSA threat after all.

Re:What about Intra-Texas Flights? (1)

Talderas (1212466) | more than 2 years ago | (#36255564)

The TSA threat was to shut down flights out of Texas. Not flights into Texas.

Re:What about Intra-Texas Flights? (1)

ebuck (585470) | more than 2 years ago | (#36255640)

While it is an interesting idea, I am pretty sure that a "No Fly Zone" would have to be enforced by planes that were either under control of the United States Navy (most likely, they have more planes) or the United States Air Force.

There are very specific clauses in the Constitution which addresses the US Armed Forces (defined by the Army, Navy, and Marines (and extended to the Air Force as they branched from the Army) which bar service members from acting against US citizens. While the public may remain ignorant about the rules, the armed forces (who will quickly be judged under the harsher UCMJ) are much more aware of this aspect of the law.

Therefore, your interesting idea would not be legal under the Constitution unless the USA would declare that Texas was party to a civil war. Granted, Texas has a reputation (undeserved) of being a bunch of gun toting quick tempered cowboys, but a civil war must be based on something more than a reputation.

Re:What about Intra-Texas Flights? (1)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 2 years ago | (#36255342)

By NOT participating in interstate commerce, you are affecting interstate commerce. Or so the modern legal theory goes.

Re:What about Intra-Texas Flights? (1)

diamondmagic (877411) | more than 2 years ago | (#36255466)

At which point it becomes intrastate commerce, and the state's responsibility instead of the federal government's. Unlike the purposeful perversion of "interstate" trade that FDR created, that's what the constitution actually says. Regulatory powers over commerce under the Constitution is given to either the Federal government or the state, but not both. Sstates are likewise prohibited from taxing and regulating interstate trade except to control banned products coming into the state.

Counter to federal laws? (4, Insightful)

schwit1 (797399) | more than 2 years ago | (#36255302)

"The Department of Justice has sent a letter to Texas legislative leaders warning that the rule would run counter to federal laws."

What ever happened to the 4th amendment? Isn't that federal law?

Re:Counter to federal laws? (2)

Scutter (18425) | more than 2 years ago | (#36255392)

What ever happened to the 4th amendment?

The what, now? Sorry, doesn't ring a bell.

Re:Counter to federal laws? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36255400)

THOSE laws only apply to corporate citizens and their government representatives.

Re:Counter to federal laws? (1)

SirGeek (120712) | more than 2 years ago | (#36255426)

What federal law were they citing ? Oh they weren't citing a specific law because there aren't any !

The TSA has a "policy", it is NOT a law that you have to have your junk felt up to travel. At least no yet it isn't...

Re:Counter to federal laws? (1)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 2 years ago | (#36255606)

You are required to adhere to TSA regulations. Statutory law authorizes and empowers regulatory law.

That you don't get to see TSA's regulations is another topic.

Re:Counter to federal laws? (1)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 2 years ago | (#36255430)

That issue has been covered many times... they are not forcing you to get on the plane, you are always free to walk away.

Re:Counter to federal laws? (3, Informative)

i.r.id10t (595143) | more than 2 years ago | (#36255498)

No actually you aren't. Too lazy to google it now, but it was here on /. and many other places about a guy who refused and tried to leave and was threatened with a $10k fine

Re:Counter to federal laws? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36255664)

That's because there are fairly LARGE signs at every checkpoint (At least at DFW Intl. Airport there are) that state quite explicitly that once you start the security check process, you must finish, or you could be fined. Which, honestly, if you saw someone who was walking through suddenly decide they don't wanna do this anymore, you would put up a red flag of 'suspicious' as well.

So yeah... perhaps those people should have not been so lazy as to NOT READ THE SIGNS.

Re:Counter to federal laws? (3, Interesting)

wurp (51446) | more than 2 years ago | (#36255846)

So I give up my constitutional rights if I pass a sign saying that the passing beyond it voids my rights?

Re:Counter to federal laws? (1)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 2 years ago | (#36255774)

Yeah, his name was "Johnny Edge". Crazy story, but in the end he walked out without being scanned, arrested, or fined. Clearly the TSA dicks can threaten you with whatever they want (a mall cop can threaten you with whatever he wants, too) - but apparently in the end they realized he was free to walk away...

Re:Counter to federal laws? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36255500)

That issue has been covered many times... they are not forcing you to get on the plane, you are always free to walk away.

Not true. There are many people who have reported that when they chose to walk away, rather than submit to having their genitals groped, they were held prisoner and threatened with arrest. At least one has been threatened with a several thousand dollar fine for publicizing it, rather than submitting like a good German.

Re:Counter to federal laws? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36255548)

No your not. Once you are in line, if you get out of line they will detain you. So as to prevent terrorists from testing the system, or so they say.

Can we also have an anti-radiation law? (1)

DeadDecoy (877617) | more than 2 years ago | (#36255374)

Sad thing is, I'd rather have a patdown over increased chances of cancer.

Re:Can we also have an anti-radiation law? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36255440)

As it happens, the whole-body imaging scanners do not eliminate pat-downs. It does happen that a passenger goes through the WBI scanner, takes the risk of skin cancer (X-ray backscatter machines) or skin burns (millimeter wave radar machines), and has to submit to a resolution pat-down.

The frequency of this happening is unknown -- but higher than the very low percentage claimed by TSA (without any citations of course).

Re:Can we also have an anti-radiation law? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36255478)

Agreed. At least with the patdown you're given the chance to make a TSA agent hate his job, even if only for a few moments. I recommend viagra and copious amounts of hip gyration. Turn the molester into the molestee.

Re:Can we also have an anti-radiation law? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36255574)

I agree with the sentiment, but let's not take out our frustrations on the TSA agents by calling them molesters. That's like being an ass to a cop who writes you a parking ticket. They're just doing their jobs.

Re:Can we also have an anti-radiation law? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36255592)

TSA doesn't make the policy.
Most of them don't even like it.

Re:Can we also have an anti-radiation law? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36255622)

But apparently they don't dislike it enough to make waves internally. It's the whole contractors-on-the-Death-Star discussion all over again.

Re:Can we also have an anti-radiation law? (1)

Lifyre (960576) | more than 2 years ago | (#36255714)

I was going to bring up the guy being arrested for doing pretty much just that in SF International but apparently it wasn't a true story.

Re:Can we also have an anti-radiation law? (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 2 years ago | (#36255594)

If that is the case, then you shouldn't be on an airplane to begin with. if you fly at 30,000 feet for 2 hours, you will get 60 times the dose from one of those screening machines.

Re:Can we also have an anti-radiation law? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36255616)

But I can't avoid THAT radiation if I'm going to fly, it's not OPTIONAL. The scanners are. If ONE person gets cancer from the scanners, that's too many, since NO ONE is being saved by them. Also, the cost is absurd.

Re:Can we also have an anti-radiation law? (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 2 years ago | (#36255710)

Cost absurd? For 400 bucks I took a round trip of about 1,000 miles each way. Total travel time for me was roughly 8 hours round trip including time to the airport, to my hotel, back to the airport and back home.

Time in a car would have been more like 50 hours. If car traveling were free, then I paid around $9/hour for time savings.

Car traveling would have cost around $320 in gas, and more than that in depreciation of the car. The flight is cheaper than the car.

Re:Can we also have an anti-radiation law? (1)

Lifyre (960576) | more than 2 years ago | (#36255672)

I know right? No one is going to be particularly impressed with my genitals or physique but honestly if they're that interested they could ask nicely to see my balls... wait no they can't that's sexual harassment... But apparently telling me they're going to look at them or touch them whether I like it or not is ok.

I wonder what would happen to me if I VOLUNTEERED to show them my balls...

Re:Can we also have an anti-radiation law? (1)

ebuck (585470) | more than 2 years ago | (#36255764)

Do you really think that a back scattering machine contains the energy back scattered from your body when it has two huge gaping holes aligned with the most common entry / exit paths? As far as I can tell, to the people standing in line, the only shielding is a few feet of air (and the bodies of those before them).

So take your pat down (if you're lucky to get it instead of a screening). But don't think you're getting off with no exposure. Note that the TSA people generally don't stand in front of the entrance / exit, I wonder if that's policy.

This doesn't sound like Texas politics... (5, Interesting)

bradorsomething (527297) | more than 2 years ago | (#36255460)

Something's going on in the background here... it's unlikely these legislators are taking such a myopic view. Say the TSA tries to ban flights to Texas... really? Would anyone stand for this? Even a Californian would stand up for Texas if that were to happen. Even an Oregonian... hell, maybe even someone from Delaware.

This bill sounds like something John Wayne would support, which means it should be gravy to pass through the Texas house.

Re:This doesn't sound like Texas politics... (1)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 2 years ago | (#36255686)

It did pass through the Texas House, and did so without a Nay vote. It was the Texas Senate that changed things up at the last minute when the federal DOJ began issuing memos about the consequences.

This would have been almost instantly stayed by the courts had it been signed into law. It would be on hold until it made its way to the Supreme Court which would, I suspect, overturn it on about a 7-2 basis, if there was any dissent.

No on patdowns, but still support the rape-scans? (2)

ocdude (932504) | more than 2 years ago | (#36255512)

I mean, there is this (emphasis mine):

"Instead of threatening to shut down flights in Texas, why doesn't the TSA just show us their statutory authority to grope or ogle our private parts?" asked Simpson.

But aside from that, and perhaps it's my unfamiliarity with the proposal, I don't see any indication that this is trying to end the practice of treating everyone like a criminal.

Re:No on patdowns, but still support the rape-scan (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 2 years ago | (#36255578)

I'm no fan of backscatter X-Ray machines, but "rape-scans"? Come on.

Re:No on patdowns, but still support the rape-scan (1)

ocdude (932504) | more than 2 years ago | (#36255668)

The company's called rapiscan. I use the pun all the time when flying, guess it doesn't come across well in text.

Re:No on patdowns, but still support the rape-scan (1)

GodricL (1898284) | more than 2 years ago | (#36255684)

Don't think of them as rape-scans. Think of them as Rap e-scans. E-scans for the up and coming rap star.

Tough Texans, not. (2, Funny)

wcrowe (94389) | more than 2 years ago | (#36255530)

Texas caved almost immediately. The next time some Texan starts bragging about what badasses they are down there, I'm going to bring this up. The TSA wrote one threatening letter and they peed their collective pants and groveled.

Groping (4, Funny)

verbatim (18390) | more than 2 years ago | (#36255634)

But if the TSA doesn't grope my junk, who will?

Forever Alone...

Re:Groping (1)

dhickman (958529) | more than 2 years ago | (#36255728)

Man I wish Space Moose was still around. Imagine a post 9/11 Space Moose.

Wait, most of the people on /. was probably in grade school when that internet comic was strong.

I feel old.

meh; I'll Godwin law this one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36255666)

So can someone translate "homeland security police" into German for me?

Maybe Indiana has the balls to do it first (2)

ka9dgx (72702) | more than 2 years ago | (#36255766)

I've already suggest to my local representative that she introduce similar legislation in Indiana..... here's what I wrote:
    I ask that you consider introducing legislation similar to that of the recently pulled HB 1937 of the State of Texas.

    Here's the link to their web site about the bill: http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/Text.aspx?LegSess=82R&Bill=HB1937 [state.tx.us]

    It would criminalize the types of searches the TSA has been doing, which are in violation of the 4th Amendment of the US Constitution.

    In introducing this, you would show that you stand for the rights of your fellow Hoosiers. We don't have as much air traffic to worry about, so their is less fallout. You would also show some distance between yourself and the DC beltway crowd, which will probably come in handy soon, as they keep debasing the dollar, leaving the States out to dry.

    Thanks for your time and attention.

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