Wait, You Mean There Are Unintended Consequences to Ramming Through a Ginormous New Federal Bureaucracy?


Back when you could still wear clothes

Via the "Big Sis"-obsessed Matt Drudge comes this heart-tugging tale of Republican crocodile tears over today's new hate-bureaucracy, the Transportation Security Administration:

Rep. John Mica, the Republican who will soon be chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, is reminding airports that they have a choice [to opt out of federal screening after two years, and switch to private screening].

Mica, one of the authors of the original TSA bill, has recently written to the heads of more than 150 airports nationwide suggesting they opt out of TSA screening. "When the TSA was established, it was never envisioned that it would become a huge, unwieldy bureaucracy which was soon to grow to 67,000 employees," Mica writes. […]

Mica and other critics in Congress want to see quick and meaningful changes in the way TSA works. They go back to the days just after Sept. 11, when there was a hot debate about whether the new passenger-screening force would be federal employees, as most Democrats wanted, or private contractors, as most Republicans wanted. Democrats won and TSA has been growing ever since.

Don't touch my trunk

Wait, who ran the government in October 2001? How many senators voted against creating what they claim to hate today? Zero. What about the House? All of 9 congresshumans (including Ron Paul) voted against. As for claiming to be surprised that airports would prefer not to own the single most unpleasant part of the airport experience, that's about as credible as acting shocked that a bureaucracy would grow beyond initial projections.

Don't get me wrong–I'm certainly happy that Matt Drudge is excited about pat-down searches, and that Republicans such as John Mica are criticizing "security theater," just as I prefer 2010-era Republicans who campaigned on cutting government to those 2004-era types who governed the oppposite way. But if you believe the GOP at its core has learned a goddamned thing about how to legislate in a time of crisis, let alone when the country isn't in the midst of a National Pants-Shitting Moment, you will get the government you deserve.

And if you want a principled stand against government spending, inefficiency, and ham-handed intimidation, subscribe to this magazine.

NEXT: Yes, QE2 Is Uncharted Territory

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. “When the TSA was established, it was never envisioned that it would become a huge, unwieldy bureaucracy which was soon to grow to 67,000 employees,” Mica writes.


    Okay, then.

    And the TSA’s budget? It just appeared. Automagically.

    1. You beat me to it, P. I call bullshit on nine-term Mica’s assertion as well.

      1. Seems there’s consensus on this one!

    2. Let’s see, they envisioned a small,cost effecient, nimble and highly effective federal agency….bwaaahaaaaaa, bwaaahaaaa…what time zone do these idiots live in? Eastern Stupid Time?

      1. Christ. I’m hoping that’s the 81% of the population that doesn’t fly.

        1. And doesn’t vote.

          1. Apparently only about 4% of the population travel on airplanes with any regularity.

    3. Exactly. If they want to get the airports to opt-out of TSA screeners, make them pay for them.

  2. “When the TSA was established, it was never envisioned that it would become a huge, unwieldy bureaucracy which was soon to grow to 67,000 employees,” [Rep. John] Mica writes.

    Oh, NO government program is ever envisioned to become a huge and bloated monstrosity – all of them simply become it. I don’t know if Mr. Mica had a sudden epiphany on how government bureaucracies work or if he’s being disingenuous.

  3. “When the TSA was established, it was never envisioned that it would become a huge, unwieldy bureaucracy”

    I call BULLSHIT on this statement!

  4. Ring-a-ding-ding! A little swingin’ number from the TSA Rat Pack:

    Comply With Me


    1. *Iowahawk reminds you: song parodies are the lowest form of humor

      1. Fuck you.

  5. OK, Matt. High dudgeon noted, but isn’t there a better strategy than “Neener, neener, neener, I told you so?”

    How about, “We’re glad Republicans are finally realizing we need to work together to get rid of the awful, wasteful agency, and use this as a lesson that more government is always the wrong answer.”

    We need eternal vigilance against the growth of government. They need to know–and be constantly reminded–that we the people, including the tea partiers, are watching.

    We need to understand that there is always pressure on both parties in Congress to grow government goodies.

    1. NO. You are now seeing why Libertarians never get anywhere. When people actually start to agree with them, they use it as an excuse to bitch and moan and score emotional and political points rather than as an opportunity to get something done. It is just endemic within movement Libertarians.

      1. My clock has stopped and John is right. I fail to see how a relentlessly cynical, sarcastic, defeatist attitude toward government, coupled with a subscription to reason magazine, will solve anything, absent a majority of newly converted and principled and intransigent and incorruptible libertarians being elected to the House and Senate and Presidency, which will happen…uh…never. The best we can hope for at this point is that the Tea Party will be able to hold the feet of a few influential congressmen to the fire. We have to start somewhere. It won’t happen overnight. Congress has over 200 years of inertia and thousands of powerful and influential people with a vested interest in keeping it just the way it is.

        1. And we didn’t get to this over night so we are not going to get out of it over night. The Napolatano grab and grope scheme is a gift to libertarians. People are pissed off about this. Finally they are starting to realize a giant federal bureaucracy is not your friend and not the solution to every problem. It is a small step to say no to this. But it is a start.

          1. The Napolatano grab and grope scheme is a gift to libertarians.

            You’re welcome, John. I can go even deeper in the back, if you’d like.

          2. Actually, I think the x-ray machines are a gift to libertarians. If it’s really nuking testicles, then that means that TSA agents (who go through the thing every day – I think) and the sheep among the citizenry are going to be selected against in the next generation.

          3. The solution to every problem is not to stick your hand down everyone’s pants

            1. Ahhhh, I, uh, ahhhh…you know that’s not actually a bad idea. Especially if they’re 18-28 years of age.

        2. Honestly, though, Matt Drudge has had a fairly consistently slightly-libertarian tone. I’m not at all surprised. I wonder if Matt Welch is a regular reader.

    2. How about, “We’re glad Republicans are finally realizing we need to work together to get rid of the awful, wasteful agency, and use this as a lesson that more government is always the wrong answer.”

      Call me when that happens. Anytime, day or night. Don’t worry about waking me up. Just let me know when the House votes to kill the TSA.

    3. Yeah, because the Republicans really really really mean it this time. There’s no reason for us to think that maybe they’re just being opportunistic. Just because the two-faced bastards have buttfucked us so many times in the past.

      1. Can you pick that soap up for me?

    4. I’ll wait to see if the Republicans actually DO anything before I’ll be glad. They’re probably just going to talk about it and then not change anything, though.

      1. That’s the spirit!

    5. If congresscritter Mica votes against continued funding of the TSA he deserves our praise. Until then we should assume is a another Republican bullshitter who happens to recognize that libertarian rhetoric sounds good here. Statistically speaking, that is the best guess.

  6. “When the TSA was established, it was never envisioned that it would become a huge, unwieldy bureaucracy”

    That is just him hoping the rest of the country is stupid. But, hey that is what politicians do.

    “Don’t get me wrong?I’m certainly happy that Matt Drudge is excited about pat-down searches, and that Republicans such as John Mica are criticizing “security theater,” just as I prefer 2010-era Republicans who campaigned on cutting government to those 2004-era types who governed the oppposite way.”

    But you will never support them in even meager efforts to change things because ideological purity is more important than results.

    Seriously Matt, it is as they say what it is. TSA sucks. And it always had sucked. The fact that the idiots who created it are waking up to that fact should be looked upon as a good thing not an excuse to have a temper fit over shit that happened ten years ago.

    1. That is just him hoping the rest of the country is stupid. But, hey that is what politicians do.

      A more honest statement would be actually calling the rest of the country stupid.

      “Most of you idiots out there *wanted* the TSA and overwhelmingly wanted federalized airport security in the wake of 9/11, so we went along despite our initial misgivings in order to get with the tide instead of resisting it and possibly losing our precious, precious seats. Now that it seems like there’s some chance the tide might be swinging the other way, let me try to get out in front of that parade and claim that I’m leading it.”

  7. Wow…all you guys are missing the point. Does anyone remember getting their genitals squeezed in 2002? How about having nude pictures of themselves taken in 2005? No?? Well?? I thought not. The point is these TSA agents are beginning to go WAY to far with the intrusive searches. Every time a terrorist tries something we did not think of we all have to play catch-up and play along. What happens when they start placing C-4 in their rectums? Cavity searches and X-Rays for everyone? Oh Brother.

    1. How many times I gotta say it???
      Anal probes for everyone!!!

      TSA (the seachable anus) states: Precautionary anal probles will ass..ure that terrorists are not riding buses into the country with high explosives in their rectums to use later on airplanes…so we better check all car drivers as well. In relatd news, vasoline shares skyrocketed.

    2. I remember TSA forcing a woman to drink her own breast milk back in those days.

    3. And nearly all of this crap is because we are so enlightened now, so politically correct, that were can’t do the rational thing and look for terrorists. Oh no, that would be “profiling” and be “racist”! So instead everybody gets treated like a potential terrorist, even though no airplane in the entire fucking history of the fucking world has ever been hijacked by an elderly nun or a family with little children.

      We have to be “fair,” you see. We mustn’t hurt the feelings of anyone who happens to belong to the religion that wants to take over the world, and which regularly commits atrocities toward that goal. Oh no, anything but that. You nervous, swarthy 20-somethings will just have to wait your turn in line with everybody else, no extra attention to you, while we spend billions of dollars (that we don’t have) to make flying a pain in the ass for everyone equally. It’s only fair!

      1. Last I checked, Richard Reid, John Allen Muhammed and Jose Padilla didn’t look Arab. There have been women in Chechnya who have committed terrorist acts and a habit will run about $30. Hardly a huge capital outlay.

        1. Richard Reid is the very definition of a hinky-looking guy who should get the extra attention. John Allen Mohammed has a subtle clue in his name, one that you may have missed, indicating he should get a little extra attention as well. And Jos? Padilla? The convert to Islam, a.k.a. Abdullah al-Muhajir and Muhajir Abdullah, married to an Egyptian woman? Yeah, him too, for obvious reasons.

          The female terrorists from Chechnya could, in theory, disguise themselves as nuns and hijack a plane. None have, though, AFAIK, and I’m not saying everyone shouldn’t walk through a metal detector. But I’ll bet none of them are 65 and up, speak English perfectly, etc.

          1. If Jose Padilla has any ID that still says Jose Padilla, then his name wouldn’t set off any warning flags. If being married to an Arab woman sets them off, than Grover Norquist is SOL.

            Google Colleen LaRose. She wouldn’t set off any of your simple flags. But I like how as your simplistic “swarthy male” model gets holes poked in it, you have to make up new rules.

            No Chechens has dressed as nuns to hijack planes because nuns undergo the same security screens. If they didn’t it would take all of 30 seconds to figure out that renting a Halloween costume is all that it takes to avoid getting a serious security screen.

            1. I am not saying that you look only for swarthy 20-something male Muslims, but if you are looking for terrorists who want to attack Americans, that is the rational place to start, is it not? Based on recent history. Our whole airline security system is premised on the absurd idea that anyone, of any age/gender/name/religion/ethnicity, is equally likely to be a terrorist. That’s inefficient and a waste of resources, because it’s true only in the most abstract sense. They should go with the odds, and focus on likely suspects first and foremost, instead of spreading resources across everyone equally in a transparent attempt to avoid the supposed sin of “profiling.”

            2. No Chechens has dressed as nuns to hijack planes because nuns undergo the same security screens.

              Shorter Mo: “God Bless the TSA”

              If Jose Padilla has any ID that still says Jose Padilla, then his name wouldn’t set off any warning flags.

              Yeah a murder rap and member of the “Maniac Latin Disciples” street gang shouldn’t be “profiled” either.

          2. “”John Allen Mohammed has a subtle clue in his name,””

            Like Mohammed Ali?

            1. You kids can bicker all you want. Right now, Americans have been exceptionally accepting of American Muslims in this country to the point of defending American Muslims whenever someone kills in the name off Allah (see Twin Towers, Fort Hood, etc.), but at some point — and it wouldn’t take much more — someone is going to successfully kill a shit-load of people in a Mumbai-style attack. And when that day comes, I fear that a citizenry that owns more guns than there are citizens is going to start taking out everyone that even appears to be Muslim.

            2. If he weren’t a geriatric celebrity, anyone by that name should absolutely get extra attention at the airport. American converts to Islam are far more likely to be terrorists than elderly nuns, 10-year-old kids, etc. etc.

      2. Papaya, do you really think the TSA cares about being politically correct? The real reason we don’t do profiling is because the obvious response to profiling is to simply have a terrorist who does not fit the profile. Profiling is like giving someone directions on how to bypass security.

        1. Of course they care. They “know” profiling is “racist” because of all the screaming about it for years. They are trying to be “fair” and “thorough” and “complete” instead of efficient and sensible.

          Of course you don’t publicize exactly what profiling you are doing. Yes, in theory the terrorists could somehow recruit elderly white nuns from middle America or 5-year-olds, but in practice it seems unlikely. We just need to stop looking for weapons and contraband and look for terrorists. They are the threat, not Grandma with too much hand cream in her bag.

    4. I liked the suggestion that the TSA can hire trained doctors to do the patdowns, and they can give you free prostate and breast cancer exams for your inconvenience. This is also helpful in diagnosing travelers early for the harmful effects of their own radiation-emitting machines.

      “Everybody stand back! This guy has a bomb in his rectum! Oh and by the way, sir, you also have third-level prostate cancer.”

      1. I prefer trained chimps…

  8. You know who doesn’t have a problem with all of this airport security theater? The fucking Amish.

    1. Not flying may be the rational response to this nonsense.

      1. Unless you have to fly as part of your job.

        Oh yeah, I guess I could just quit my job because the TSA is a bunch of assholes. That’ll do it.

        1. Drive really fast.

          I think someone else said this, but all of this nonsense could be an attempt to drive us to a ten trillion dollar national bullet train system.

          1. Yeah, like they will never be noticed by teh terrorists and become a target. A couple bad guys in a power boat and
            several pounds of explosive could put an Acela train into the Gunpowser River in Maryland before the LEOs could do a damn thing.

          2. It was me spoofing Joe Biden.

          3. they’ll still want top stick their hands down your pants…it’s in their nature, this is just the excuse.

        2. “Unless you have to fly as part of your job.”

          Sexual harassment suit. They can’t force you to let the boss feel you up or see you naked as a condition of the job, why should they be able to force you to let a government goon do the same?

      2. I stopped flying a couple years ago. Anything that can be driven to within a day or two, I drive.

        No airport hassles. No airport parking hassles. No shuttle busses. No need to rent a car when I get there. No problem bringing my dog along. No limitations to the amount of luggage I bring. No restrictions to the type of luggage I bring. No intrusive searches. No TSA to deal with at all.

        As has long been the case, cars = freedom.

        1. I used to fly a lot for work but don’t need to these days. Because I have a large family, flying is too damned expensive for most vacations. Also, when I do consider flying, I usually only do so if the drive is more than 4-5 hours. All the time in the airport makes it worth doing.

          1. I drive anywhere reasonable. Did fly to Florida last December and last January and two the caribbean last month. But anything within 8 hours is a drive.

        2. High speed rail is the solution. Even China is beating us on this. We have a high speed rail gap!

        3. As has long been the case, cars = freedom.

          For now … for now …

        4. And you can bring your weed and wine with ya.

      3. That’s my response. Anywhere in the continental US will be a drive/train ride; international, I will drive to Canada and fly from there.

        Fuck the TSA.

        1. And if you MUST fly for some reason, and get picked for ‘special attention’, decline the PornoTron, and INSIST that the TSA screener (if you’re a guy) be female, then do your best Meg Ryan in the diner while she’s giving you the ‘happy ending’. They may compel us to comply, but damned if we have to make them LIKE it.

  9. But yeah, during the initial discussion, the Bush Administration and the Republicans initially opposed federalizing aviation security, discovered in the overnight polls that it polled really poorly to do so, and reversed course. The “compromise” was allowing a few airports to stay private (including SFO) and an agreement that airports could opt out after two years.

    Let’s check out what the press was saying at the time. Here’s Time:

    The Republican-controlled House argued that federalizing the airport workforce would simply create more bureaucracy, make it harder to fire lackluster employees and, perhaps most important, provide the Democrats with 28,000 brand-new union members just in time for next year’s elections.
    The Senate, under Democratic leadership, unanimously took the opposing view: Only by federalizing security workers and performing high-level background checks, their argument goes, can the government implement truly universal safety standards. Otherwise, you end up with the same private firms employing the same incompetent people who’ve allowed past lapses.

    The House Republicans *did* oppose federalizing airport security, but they folded in the face of public polling and public support for it.

    1. “Only by federalizing security workers and performing high-level background checks, their argument goes, can the government implement truly universal safety standards. Otherwise, you end up with the same private firms employing the same incompetent people who’ve allowed past lapses.”

      I had a temp job at the time at one of the many makeshift testing facilities where the new federal TSA employees were evaluated and hired. About 95% of them WERE the same “incompetent” people who were doing airport security through private firms, and pretty much all of them succeeded at passing the evaluation.

      1. Why is it that every informative comment about our government (like the one above) is also a depressing statement?

        In other words, how can the federal government possibly suck this bad? How?!?!

    2. In other words, in spite of all their grandstanding, Republicans are spineless bastards.

      1. Well, yeah, when the polls are solidly against them, as they were.

        Natural selection in a democracy pretty much guarantees that. Politicians that don’t, don’t survive.

  10. Of course, there were amendments against the bill in addition to final passage. You can see one accepted amendment was McCain’s spelling out that TSA employees could be fired without having the full government union protection, etc.

    Now they’re going to be unionized, though, thanks to our President.

    Even the amendments of record don’t record all the various political dealing. The House Republicans and Republican leadership did resist the bill, but they bowed to the pressure to “do something,” and the public polling that indicated that the Democratic argument (as expressed by Time above) swayed the public.

    1. I’m not as worried about them unionizing as I am about them getting immunity from sex crimes.

      1. I had to perform the enhanced pat down search of this child at the playground because of national security concerns.

  11. Hey, it could happen to anyone.

  12. The amazing (distressing?) thing with all this is, that in 1996 when they started requiring ID to get on a plane, or in 2001 when the TSA came into being, if one stated that the current state of affairs (goons groping grampa’s groin, or kiddy porn for all) was the logical culmination of the whole thing, then one was called “hysterical”, “melodramtic”, “reactionary” or “just plain crazy”.

    I hated being right then, and I hate being right now!

    1. Then there were the people that said that the TSA was only so bad because Bush was intentionally doing so because he hated the idea of federalizing airport security, since it was a Democratic idea, or that it was only so bad because federal employees hated the idea of working for Bush and Republicans.

  13. When people actually start to agree with them, they…

    Not all people.

    An imagined “weakened Democratic Party” is a clean vessel for dreams of libertarian goodness, even though the party’s history and trajectory is relentlessly anti-libertarian, in all things.

    An actual “That idea turned out shitty, so let’s change it to make it less not-libertarian, maybe” Republican is someone to OH YEAH FUCK YOU at.

    Because…uh…he doesn’t watch Glee.

    1. Fine, tell everyone to fuck off. That will help things. Thanks for proving my point. No one is going to wake up one day and have some epiphany and start agreeing with you. So you have to at least support people for the concessions you get or you never get anywhere.

      1. Err, John, I believe he’s being sarcastic there.

      2. Thacker is right. I missed the sarcasm. My apologies.

  14. Republicans are finally realizing we need to work together to get rid of the awful, wasteful agency


    Get back to us when you have some verifiable evidence that this is true.

    Meanwhile, you need to put some more make-up on that black eye you got when you “ran into the door”.

    1. As long as libertarians and libertarian ideas keep being less popular– and federalizing airport security was DEFINITELY more popular, which is why the House GOP dropped their opposition– being treated like the nerd’s ex-friends in Can’t Buy Me Love is inevitable.

      Not that that means that any possible alternative party could do any better. It’s democracy, where we get the government we deserve, good and hard.

    2. It is up the American people. If they are pissed off enough about this, then yeah the Republicans will do something because even if it is for the wrong reason. If they are not and tolerate this bullshit, then yeah, the Republicans will roll over after the media and the Dems say “Boo!!”.

      We really do collectively get the government we deserve.

    3. There is verifiable evidence that the House Republicans opposed the creation of the TSA, only to back down.

      Given this poll by CBS suggesting that “roughly 81 percent of Americans support the use of full body scanning in airports, while 15 percent of respondents say that they oppose the technology,” I’d expect the GOP to back down again.

      I’m also profoundly depressed if that poll is accurate.

      1. You beat me to it. I heard about that poll this morning on the radio.

        “”I’m also profoundly depressed if that poll is accurate.””

        Yeah, same here.

        I’m curious how many that said yes have actually gone through the scanners.

        1. I’d guess somewhere between 0 and 0.5%.

      2. Those fools will change their minds once they have to actually go through them, or put their children through them.

  15. Wait, who ran the government in October 2001? How many senators voted against creating what they claim to hate today? Zero. What about the House? All of 9 congresshumans (including Ron Paul) voted against.

    How many of these elected officials who created this fucking disaster have come out and begged forgiveness, admitting to the public that “Yeah, I really screwed the pooch there. I will be much more skeptical in the future about creating new laws and expensive bureaucracies that will surely grow in both numbers and power”?

    [Silence from the Capitol Hill]

  16. TSA blatantly lied when they said the images were not stored and cannot be ‘leaked’.


    but the sheep continue to defend how it is “for our safety” and spout crap like “don’t like it? don’t fly.”

  17. Saved images are already being leaked. Just saw this link from Gizmodo on the matter

    1. I beat you to it! 😛

    2. Yippee!!! more free internet porn…than I looked at it and realized these are average Americans. Have you seen an average American naked lately… or early? Eiiick!!!

      1. FD…that’s niche porn! Shit there’s a market for everything!

        1. Rule 34. BTW, has anyone found any Albino porn yet?

  18. CBS says: Poll: 4 in 5 Support Full-Body Scanners.

    As long as that’s true, we’re fucked on this issue. I really hope that it’s not.

    1. Judging by most of the replies to the story, I would say it was wrong.

      People are divided on the issue… Probably right down the middle.

    2. 4 out 5 probably think that “safety” is a constitutional right. where safety is defined as “never being harmed in anyway whatsoever”

    3. I believe it. Like I said before – Americans are far too enamoured of Fascism to suddenly “discover” they have inalienable rights.

    4. I don’t know about that. If 20% are against it, and they refuse the scans every time through the airport, and are groped in front of everyone else, I would think that public opinion would begin to change against it.

      1. If nothing else, 20% opting out will cause chaos.

        1. National Opt-out Day and the like is a stupid idea. Does anyone actually think the TSA cares whether you go through the scanner or get groped? All it’s going to do is slow everything down, inconveniencing other airline customers. The TSA does not give a shit if you’re late for your flight because 50 people in front of you decided to prove some sort of point by demanding to be felt up.

          1. Who cares if the TSA cares or not. They dont decide final policy.

          2. Getting TSA to care isn’t the goal. Slowing everything down and inconveniencing other airline customers is the goal.

            If I were flying that Wednesday, I’d be real early.

            1. So the government institutes a new program that is, among other things, a huge inconvenience to airline customers. So your idea is to inconvenience said customers even more. Brilliant. Yeah. That’s going to get everyone to demand we put a stop to this, right?

              Or is it, maybe, going to make most people get angry at the people doing this as a protest?

              1. It’s not really important who they get mad at, just that they get good and fucking mad. That, and that they finally figure out that they’re being offered a one size fits nobody false choice solution. Israelification!

                In addition to declining to stand in the PornoTron, all the guys should INSIST that it be a female TSA flunky that delivers the ‘happy ending’, and do their best Meg Ryna in the diner at the appropriate point. Make them be as uncomfortable as they’re making it for everyone else!

    5. I’m gonna assume that the 80% that support the scanners are the illiterati that haven’t seen an un-doctored scan of a man’s penis in explicit detail.

      Cos if these people actually know what is going on and still support it, I am going to have to emigrate.

  19. Wait, who ran the government in October 2001? How many senators voted against creating what they claim to hate today? Zero. What about the House? All of 9 congresshumans (including Ron Paul) voted against.

    How many of them [TSA supporters] have offered a Mea Culpa? How many Representatives or Senators who, voted to create this useless piece of shit have publicly stated “I really screwed the pooch on that one. I should know that federal bureaucracies always suffer from mission creep and budgetary expansion far beyond what was predicted or intended”?

    That would be zero, right?

    1. Like anyone would notice if they did. From October 16, 2002:

      House Majority Leader Dick Armey, R-Texas, lashed out at the Justice Department Wednesday for what he called its “lack of regard for personal civil liberties in America” while combating terrorism.

      “I told the president I thought his Justice Department was out of control,” the retiring lawmaker told USA TODAY’s editorial board.

      Armey has long expressed concerns about civil liberties violations in the name of fighting terrorism. He helped scuttle Bush’s plan to set up a government hotline for delivery workers and others to report suspicious activity.

      “Are we going to save ourselves from international terrorism in order to deny the fundamental liberties we protect to ourselves?” he said. “It doesn’t make sense to me.”

      Of course, it would still be dishonest if they said that about the TSA. They *knew* it would happen, they went along with it because it was popular.

      1. And what was his vote on the P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act?

        1. Take a wild fuckin’ guess.

          1. Well since he’s talking big on civil liberties, I’m going with he voted against it. 😉

            1. As is well known, he insisted on the sunset provisions, which didn’t make much difference because everyone in Congress was just as hysterical five years later. Still made him better than nearly anyone else in Congress.

              The alternative being doing the equivalent of Ron Paul’s work in making sure that tariff bills are higher.

              But you knew that of course.

              It’s as logically consistent as blaming you personally for not stopping the bill.

  20. The question is not “bigger” or “smaller” government. The question is will we have EFFECTIVE or INEFFECTIVE government?

    China’s government is much bigger than ours (their stimulus would be the equivalent of $2 trillion here if one as a percentage of GDP) but they’re about to surpass us in just about every measurement possible in the next 10 years. They may even have the world’s largest economy by PPP in 2012:


    We need a SMART, EFFECTIVE government with bipartisan cooperation. One that, like China’s, can invest in upgraded infrastructure, green technology, education, and health care.

    1. SFC8 was right. Kenneth is the Asia-bot going Skynet.

    2. They have over a billion people. Their total GNP being larger than ours doesn’t mean much. The average Chinaman still doesn’t have a pot to piss in. And they also have a real estate bubble that dwarfs ours.

      Seriously though, the China stuff again? Who is this? One act was good. But you need to come up with something new. No one likes one too many encores even if it is good trolling.

      1. It means they’re going to have more influence than us in the world in the future. For the first time ever this year, the #1 most powerful person in the world ranked by Forbes Magazine is not the President of the USA, but the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China.

        That’s because we’ve failed to compete. America is a loud fat braggart kid stuffing his faces with hamburgers and corn syrup while the China is a kid who eats his vegtables, trains for sports, and studies hard every night.

        1. and fakes data to get ahead. It’s okay though, the politburo disappears anyone who’s doesn’t get away with it.

      2. You know what else happened this year, John?

        The Chinese broke our world record that was set in 2000 in new light vehicle sales. 20 million/year, while we’re lucky to break 11 million/year.

        1. That is because we have a mature economy dipshit. Everyone already owns a car. So the market for new ones is smaller. Would we be better off if we crushed our existing cars and bought new ones? Then the US could be first.

          You can’t be serious. Is this Sugar Free?

          1. Shorter John:

            “lalala, I can’t hear you! America will always be #1!! Problems? What problems?”

            1. Shorter Kenneth: Yellow people! Run!

              1. Give up your rights, and central planners will make ya rich. Rich, I tell ya!

    3. They been very effective at reducing the percentage of females who reach their first birthday. Their efficiency at quelling dissent is also laudable.

      Not so bold prediction – China’s gonna have a helluva bunch of problems in the next decade that halt or reverse their economic growth.

      1. They’ve been saying that for years, but the only country that’s stopped in economic growth instead is the USA.

        Compare Guangdong to Detroit some time.

        1. yes, people in detroit are poor. People in guangdong are poor AND have to contend with smog.


      2. That was in response to Kenneth’s Chinese government economic miracle that we should emulate post.

      3. Yes. But it won’t stop the MSM from telling us how China is better.

    4. China is about to impose price controls on food.

      If that’s actually carried out, it will lead to epic domestic disorder when people can’t buy rice anymore.

      1. It will make food cheaper and fight inflation.

        Again, China can take TOP DOWN decisive action that we just can’t compete with at this point.

        1. So they have the right people in charge? I’m jealous.

        2. LOL. Whoever is doing this, you just jumped the shark. That is 100% troll.

          1. Well, I got trolled.

        3. Oh alright, you’re just a troll, not some misguided fool who stumbled upon H&R by mistake.

        4. Price controls violate the laws of economics. Even if you manage to take “TOP DOWN decisive action”, you end up creating shortages. This is basic, basic economics. Here’s some history for ya, you little scamp.

    5. I would hereby like to submit the following proposal: mention of the term “effective government” should be a drink-worthy event.

    6. If you love China so much, why don’t you marry it?

      1. I guess I should have kept on reading… goddamn you, JW.

  21. “When the TSA was established, it was never envisioned that it would become a huge, unwieldy bureaucracy which was soon to grow to 67,000 employees,

    Yes it was.

  22. Ever seen the Shanghai Maglev? The Beijing-Tianjin supertrian? The Three Gorges Dam? The multi-billion dollar rennovation and expansion of Beijing Airport to be the biggest in the world?

    Why haven’t we been doing things like that? We’re too busy arguing over “small vs. big” when again the real question is “smart vs. dumb”.

    1. So, you’re moving to China soon, right?

      1. Hopefully. Then he wouldnt be able to access this site from behind the Great Firewall of China.

    2. Shut the fuck up, Kenneth.

    3. It seems we have made the smart choice.

    4. If you love China so much, why don’t you marry it?

    5. Haven’t see those things, but I have seen a family of four riding on a scooter weaving through traffic it the most polluted city I have ever visited.

    6. If you are in any way referring to the Maglev as a success, all you are doing is showing you don’t know much about the history of the Maglev.

      A guy who has ridden the Maglev about 50 times

    7. Ever seen a grown man naked?

  23. We no longer graduate the most engineers. Chin anad India does. We no longer have the worlds largest proportion of college graduates! We’re falling behind and instead of the government taking bipartisan ACTION to DO THINGS we’re stuck having silly philisophical arguments.

    We need action, and we need it now.

    1. For the short term, I’d force anyone with the aptitude to major in science or engineering.

      1. Maybe utilizing some sort of economic draft.

      2. Force? Or incentive?

        For the limited government folk, force would be off the table. Incentives would depend on the details, shouldn’t be taxpayer funded.

        1. No, I was thinking more of mandatory camps where kids are forced to learn science and/or engineering. Kind of like in the behavioral conditioning in A Clockwork Orange but with a little more brutality.

          1. Failure is not an option.

          2. Real Genius meets A Clockwork Orange. I like it.

            1. Exactly.

            2. “”Real Genius meets A Clockwork Orange. I like it.””

              Chris Knight: Have you ever seen a body on a girl like that?

              Father: Yeah, I raped her last night over a bottle of wiiiiiiiiiiine

    2. Oh boy, DOING THINGS!

      Just because something needs changed doesn’t mean DOING SOMETHING, even if it’s bipartisan, is the right course. Sometimes bipartisan ACTION turns out to be retarded.

      Usually, actually.

    3. Yeah, but we can kick the shit out of China and India in post-modern feminist litcrit. Let’s see some computer science geek from Shanghai square off against that.

        1. Who wouldn’t? 😉

      1. That’s not funny.

    4. Re: Kenneth,

      We need action, and we need it now.

      Thus spoke America’s Horst Wessel…

    5. Kenneth – for his mono-maniacal fanboy felating of everything China – is the best recent troll.

      I’m trying to decide if he’s just a regular China fanboy who thinks us libertarians need to learn more about the Yellow Dragon or possibly a Chinese propaganda bot transitioning into a full-fledged artificial intelligence.

    6. “We no longer graduate the most engineers.”

      State-sponsored diploma mills. Chinese and Indian postdocs are totally ineffective.

      On the other hand, the US has been setting up a parallel rush to the bottom, so you may be right.

      1. Well, some of them. From what I understand, the IIT campus in Kanpur is excellent. (Told to me by an engineer from Kanpur. Who came here to get a degree from Arizona State’s easier program.)

        But, yes, I’m sure there are lots of degree mills as well.

        1. I agree, IIT is great. I didn’t meet a single chinese postdoc who didn’t fake data though, except for the one who got his PhD at stanford.

        2. Yes, but IIT kids only know about engineering. Seriously, they are off-the-charts smart at problem solving. But their narrow educational focus often means they don’t know which problem to solve. I.e., they are terrific engineers, but poor innovaters.

    7. *punch* *punch*

  24. Given this poll by CBS suggesting that “roughly 81 percent of Americans support the use of full body scanning in airports, while 15 percent of respondents say that they oppose the technology,” I’d expect the GOP to back down again.

    So you freely admit there is no verifiable evidence the Rs have any intent to pull back on the TSA’s reins.

    As for polls, I routinely ignore them, due to the ease with which the results can be manipulated by careful wording of the “questions”.

    “Don’t you wish the world was a happier place?” does NOT mean “Do you want Sarah Palin to run for President?”

    1. So you freely admit there is no verifiable evidence the Rs have any intent to pull back on the TSA’s reins.

      I don’t expect it to go much further than Mica reminding airports that they’re free to opt out of the TSA unless the polls show something different than that one, no.

      As for polls, I routinely ignore them, due to the ease with which the results can be manipulated by careful wording of the “questions”.

      Unfortunately, the politicians don’t ignore the polls, and for generally good reason. They’re more accurate than you’re saying, but I’m sure you know that.

      Blaming politicians for not doing something when 80% of the population is against it is fruitless. Natural selection as applied to politicians guarantees that that wouldn’t happen; politicians who do that don’t win re-election.

      Sorry if I can’t get all morally outraged and upset about it. It rather seems like getting upset at the laws of physics or natural selection.

  25. Maybe utilizing some sort of economic draft.

    That would be too late; all children must be placed in the custody of the Ministry of Plenty, in order that they be aptitude-tested and trained for their most valuable position in society.

  26. all of this nonsense could be an attempt to drive us to a ten trillion dollar national bullet train system.

    And if you think the TSA won’t be doing bag checks (wink wink, nudge nudge) at the train station, I’ve got a space elevator to sell you.

    1. Don’t know about TSA, but transit police in DC are considering random bag searches


      1. The TSA has worked at the major Northeast corridor train stations in the past (http://www.tsa.gov/press/happenings/vipr_cities.shtm). If for some reason high-speed rail were to ever get going, security on it would likely be just as bad as in airports.

        The TSA sickens me. I’m flying on National Opt Out Day. I’ve opted out of scanners before, and been given a grope so thorough that I thought about asking for a cigarette afterwards. And apparently they’ve gotten worse since then.

        I wonder what would happen if I flagged down an airport LEO and tried to file a sexual assault claim against a TSO.

        1. A better idea: When the guy brushes your junk let out a blood-curdling scream and keel over in pain. Who knows what hurts – I know I’ve had a few times when I could hardly move because my balls hurt for no apparent reason.

    2. As soon as one of them thar bullet trains smacks a suburbanite and sends them to the moon,the polls and the pols will demand they reduce the speed to no faster than a TSA agent with a lantern can walk.

  27. I love bipartisanship; it gives us great things like the TSA. Think of how many jobs the TSA has created!

    1. +10

      I love how political season gives us the talking (and the invariably lockstep nodding) head approval of those questions that attempt to examine a candidate’s willingness to be “bipartisan” and “get things done,” as if that were a worthy goal in and of itself. When is someone going to get that question from their local TV broadcast “journalist” and knock it the eff out of the park?

      If you’re reaching across the aisle to jerk each other off while baiting and screwing the public, what good is that?

  28. Your cover depicting a security officer scanning a young boy is inaccurate, he should be reaching around to grope this genitals, this is what happens today at the airport – molestation.

    1. So am I going to get a TSA agent jerking me off in the security line or not? That might produce a volume of liquids greater than is allowed onboard commercial flights (depending on the technique used).

      1. This was meant for BSR below, but I guess it also works as a reply to lol, in an even creepier way.

      2. Christ, that just totally made me LOL. Thank god I work from home now – no need to explain myself.

  29. Drudge is now linking to a story showing that the latest TSA outrage is agents literally sticking their hands down your pants.

    1. They only do it because they feel nuts.

  30. Kenneth, incif.
    incif, Kenneth.

    Good, now that introductions are compelete, buy-bye.

    1. that was supposed to be buh bye

  31. Kenneth has got to be a model train collector…

  32. Matt Drudge has always had a slightly libertarian streak to him, yes, even during the bush administration. I’d put him ever so slightly to the statist of Rand Paul, so you gotta give him a break.

    1. Drudge is a muckraker. His primary audience is a slightly more centrist, slightly more libertarian version of Limbaugh’s, sort of what you think of when Tea Party comes to mind. He’s very good at setting a tone for the news, and especially good at hitting the emotional chords of Middle ‘Merica. I roll my eyes at the links he posts just about as often as I hope that some gain social traction, he’s got a pretty good gig.

      I love the “MANY TURN OUT IN SUPPORT OF BOY WITH AMERICAN FLAG ON BICYCLE” headline that he was running the last few days. It’s the essence of Drudge.

      1. At least he’s less of a shrill than Limbaugh… Mostly because he lets other people do the talking.

        I know lefties who read drudge and appreciate it. Can’t say the same about Rush – and I don’t blame them. Hell I don’t think that most conservatives agree with rush much more than 60% of the time, they just enjoy that when they do agree with him he’s appealing to the anomie created by the rest of the media being so mostly liberal that those viewpoints don’t get expressed.

      2. Christ what a moron. His audience is at least 43 different countries. The Drudge has received 9 billion hits so far this year. Antyone who thinks they can distill 9 billion hit in more than 43 countries into one specific profile is a god damn idiot.

  33. My favorite part of TSA security theater is the boarding pass/ID check when you get to the head of the line. All you’re basically proving is that yes, you have an ID. Since creating a boarding pass is a trivial exercise in any reasonable graphic design software, you could easily book under a name that’s not on the no-fly list, create a boarding pass that matches your actual ID, pass through security with the fake pass then use your real boarding pass to get on the plane. They don’t check at the plane that your boarding pass matches your ID, and they don’t check at the checkpoint that your name isn’t on the no-fly list. Don’t even need a fake ID.

    But hey, people feel safe. That’s what’s important.

    1. My favorite part is the little blue flashlight the wave around on your ID. I’m thinking that’s the flashy thing Tommy Lee Jones used in MIB to make you forget. In fact, I wish it were, so that I would just get off the plane at the other end with no sense of the interminable time of my awful flight passing and no memory of the discomfort of air travel.

  34. “”and no memory of the discomfort of air travel””

    except for that feeling that someone used an anal probe.

  35. Can someone explain airport security to me at all?

    Ignore the fact that the security doesnt work, why do we care about securing airports so much? We now know how to prevent planes being used as weapons. Closed, reinforced cockpits and “Lets roll” stop that. So now the worst the terrorists could do is take down one plane and kill 100-200 people. There are lots of easier ways to kill 200 (or more) people. Bomb in security line at airport during peak hours, for one. Bomb in stadium of college football game. Etc, etc.

    So why the big freakin deal about securing airplanes? After 9/11 it was important to change things to prevent that kind of attack, but thats done, so whats the deal?

    1. I think the thing that aggravates me the most is that, with the sole exception of 9/11, all of the modes of attack that they’re “protecting” us from-shoe bomber, crotch bomber, etc.- were failures. That’s not exactly what I’d call a high standard.

      Aside from the obvious scenario that others have brought up–what about the guy with explosives up his ass?–I wonder if any violence will trigger another dumbass rule.

      What will they do on the day when a flight attendant is attacked by some asswipe who think’s he’s a martial artist because he’s watched every episode of Walker Texas Ranger? Even if the flight attendant knocks him on his ass with contemptous ease? What will TSA do? Try to compile a database of all martial artists, real or imagined? Ban you from flying if you own a TV? Handcuff all passengers?

  36. When the TSA was established, it was never envisioned that it would become a huge, unwieldy bureaucracy which was soon to grow to 67,000 employees,”

    What a lying f*cking liar. Mica’s been in the House since 1994, so he’s no neophyte. He should have learned by 2001 that federal bureaucracies justify their existences not by what they do, but by how much. Quality doesn’t matter has much as volume. Therefore, TSA, in order to justify stealing and spending more of the people’s money, must have the latest and greatest in toys, including body scanners.

  37. why do we care about securing airports so much?

    Considering the fact that it really wouldn’t be very difficult to knock a plane down (taking off or landing) without ever setting foot on airport grounds, I have no idea.

    1. It would only be easy if you have a stinger missile. They generally don’t sell those on e-bay.

      1. Psssst…I can get you one.

  38. why do we care about securing airports so much?

    Depending on the resources at my disposal, if I were a Terrorist Mastermind, I would target a football game. If I was going the bomb route, I’d probably hit a Redskins game, ’cause its the DC team. Just light up the security line where they are searching for beer.

    If I was going the Bombay shoot-em-up route, I’d just unload my shooters in front of any game, so they could shoot their way in. In a state, of course, with stringent gun control laws.

    Bodies everywhere. Oodles of coverage. Security not an issue. What’s not to like?

  39. In the days immediately following 9/11, most people, Republican and Democrat, supported establishing a Federal agency to staff security checkpoints at airports. The presumption was that this would result in greater standardization and higher quality security. I doubt that anyone gave serious thought to the extended cost of that decision.

    Now, the chickens have come home to roost. Despite defensive claims to the contrary, virtually all TSA security officers are of the Barney Fife variety, clinging to dreams of becoming real police officers but lacking the education or skill to do so. They are demonstrably no more capable than the rent-a-cops that they replaced, but they have the power of the Federal governmnet behind them. That makes for a dangerous combination.

    The TSA should be disbanded and airports should be made responsible for their own security, funded by the using airlines. Contrary to some pundits views, such an arrangement actually is quite viable.

    The airlines have a huge vested interest in assuring that their passengers aren’t killed and their aircraft aren’t destroyed. They also have a huge vested interest in not alienating their passengers and would, therefore, be far less prone to extreme measures.

    Meanwhile, how about having our security “experts” spend a bit less time examining passengers genitalia and a bit more time addressing other terrorist threats: air cargo, subways, trains, pipelines, shopping malls. The list goes on, and has received little more than lip service while the “security theater” continues.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.