TSA agent
TSA agent
TSA Pays Off In Breast Exposure Suit ... Texas woman, 24, receives "nominal" settlement ... The woman who sued the Transportation Security Administration after her breasts were exposed during a frisking at a Texas airport will receive a "nominal" payment from the government as part of a legal settlement ... The settlement was disclosed in documents filed last week in U.S. District Court in Amarillo, where Lynsie Murley last year filed a lawsuit accusing the TSA of negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress in connection with the May 2008 incident at the Corpus Christi airport. - Smoking Gun

Dominant Social Theme: Fairness is the least that can be expected.

Free-Market Analysis: A new feudalism is being born. It is a quite deliberate effort of the power elite in our view, but people don't notice it - or haven't verbalized it - because it is difficult to analyze something when one is in the middle of it. But the feudal evolution is surely occurring. We can see its signature in the article above but there are many other signs.

Feudalism's "flourishing" or time-span was between ninth and 15th century, apparently. It was not a formal system but a sociopolitical evolution of relationships between various power nexuses. Wikipedia describes feudalism as "a set of reciprocal legal and military obligations among the warrior nobility, revolving around the three key concepts of lords, vassals and fiefs. There is also a broader definition, as described by Marc Bloch (1939), that includes not only warrior nobility but the peasantry bonds of manorialism, sometimes referred to as a 'feudal society.'"

The evolution of the new feudalism can be seen in various ways, including the erosion of property rights for the middle class and the increasing molding of employment around the vast portfolios of the powers-that-be. (Lawyers and accountants are in high-demand.) The Western middle classes - especially in America where they have been the most vital - are under sustained attack. Taxes, inflation and unemployment are signatures of such a society, along with expansive regulations.

Of course the economic issues mentioned above have been features of Western regulatory democracies for some time. What is changing is the regulatory environment and people's attitudes towards its enforcement. Partially as a result of a bad economy, people are more willing to put up with a level of authoritarianism that would have disturbed them years ago. Ms. Murley is something of an exception, yet even here it is not her reaction that is so noteworthy as the attitude of those who harassed her. Here's some more from the article:
The 24-year-old Murley alleged that after being "singled out for extended search procedures," a TSA agent frisked her and "pulled Plaintiff's blouse completely down, exposing Plaintiff's breasts to everyone in the area." Her complaint noted that, "as would be expected," Murley was "extremely embarrassed and humiliated." Murley charged that TSA employees "joked and laughed about the incident for an extended period of time." After leaving the security line to be "consoled by an acquaintance who had brought her to the airport," Murley returned to the line, where a male TSA worker said that he had wished he was there when she first passed through. The employee, Murley recalled, added that "he would just have to watch the video."
There is a sense of entitlement, even arrogance, among TSA employees, or so it seems; and this is evidently and obviously shared by other government workers in the US, including law enforcement officials. There are endless reports in mainstream media of inappropriate use of tazers, and of outright shootings; the drug-war has been especially corrosive to American civil rights, encouraging government "takings" of private property without due process. Government service is increasingly glorified, if not rhetorically than through compensation. The average government worker apparently makes up to 50 percent more than the average individual in the private sector.

The inequities are increasingly obvious. Senior government officials contravene tax laws without penalty; central banks hand out trillions to favored financial firms and corporations; government secrecy is increasingly enshrined by judicial fiat along with the ever-expanding power of the US executive bench via authoritarian executive orders. As the inequities increase, so does the arrogance. Gradually a two-tier society is created.

At the center of the new feudalism, apparently, are the Anglosphere's great banking families and assorted appendages: major multinationals and even elements of church institutions. Beyond the core are lesser families and wealthy entrepreneurs, along with the corporate and government lieges that carry out the will of the central core. Still further down are government workers, soldiers, intelligence agents and others working within formal government institutions. In the private sector, lawyers, accountants and academic professors provide resources for the emergence of the new feudalism. Then, finally, there are the vassals ... everyone else.

The new feudalism is evidently to be worldwide; and the drive toward increased global governance is to be accompanied by eroding economic conditions, food insecurity and heightened authoritarianism. There is evidently and obviously a pattern in what is occurring; a level of planning seems evident and the implementation is ongoing. On the other hand, as we have pointed out, there has been a shock to the system: the Internet, the advent of which was unexpected. It has resulted in close scrutiny of the emergent new feudalism and may yet help ameliorate it.

Conclusion: The new feudalism is not being built openly but in secret; society is to be reorganized gradually and without any fanfare. But it is difficult to conduct a pan-social reconfiguration under the bright lights of electronic scrutiny. The Tea Party in America and the austerity riots in Europe are but two examples of the Internet's impact in our view. And just yesterday, protests flared in Tunisia, with much of the organizing apparently taking place on Facebook as occurred previously in Iran. Signs of the new feudalism are widespread; but because of the 'Net, its imposition remains somewhat problematic.