TSA’s Devious Pocketknife Feint

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TSA’s decision to allow small pocketknives on airplanes isn’t the most important news around, but Jonathan Bernstein has an interesting followup to my post complaining about Chuck Schumer’s demand that TSA reverse itself on this. He points out that it’s really hard to relax safety restrictions, because everyone knows that eventually something bad will happen and whoever did the relaxing will catch hell over it. So how is it that TSA worked up the courage to relax the rules on pocketknives? Bernstein gets Machiavellian on us:

So what I’ve wondering is whoever is making this happen over at TSA is actually really smart about that, and added “knives” to a collection of innocuous stuff to draw fire away from everything else. Not that I’m saying small knives should be banned, or even that TSA thinks they should be banned. Just that it’s probably a viable bureaucratic strategy to toss in one item on the list that politicians can go after, thus allowing everything else to go into effect.

This is….weirdly plausible. If everyone gets riled up over the knives, maybe they’ll forget all about the golf clubs and tiny baseball bats. It’s hard to imagine anyone at TSA actually having this conversation, since there would be too much risk of it leaking out, but who knows? Maybe those guys are more devious than we think.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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