Rand Paul

Rand Paul's TSA Incident; Complaining About the TSA is Worse Than the TSA to Some Commentators

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had an incident with the Transportation Security Agency which may or may not have involved some sort of "detainment", but definitely led to Paul missing his flight because he didn't feel like someone getting a handful of senator. Regardless of what happened, it's time to remind ourselves that when you don't like a guy's stance on abortion, that means the TSA's power is hilarious and/or not a big deal. The White House Press Secretary's response was an unsurprising, "I think it is absolutely essential that we take necessary actions to ensure that air travel is safe."

But some media folks had some slightly more surprising and slightly more irritating responses. Esquire's blog was scornful and ready for further overreaction from Paul. Gawker's army of snark is often put to good or at least benign, soppy celebrity use, in spite of their general leftish slant. But today's blog post on Paul's TSA moment, by Max Read, is completely annoying in that it manages to make note of something that Gawker is often great on reporting — police excess — and yet use that as a trump card. See, the war on drugs is so bad that it's stupid and petty and middle-aged white guy-y to complain about the TSA. At least Alex Pareene at Salon tweeted amusingly about the incident. 

But for a government agency founded under George Bush paranoia, it's amazing how many liberals seemed to be suddenly keen on defending the TSA when it turned into a big to-do last year.

Under the headline, "Rand Paul is So Full of Shit About Being Detained by the TSA" Read also has plenty of room for general condemnation of libertarians, even if the younger Paul's qualifications for that title are debatable:

Libertarians are a people constantly in search of issues to be self-righteous about. This is the problem of a political movement about "freedom" peopled largely by white men with college degrees and above-average incomes: there's not a lot of freedom they don't already have, and not a lot of situations where their civil rights are being potentially trampled. The TSA is a wonderful thing for contemporary American libertarianism; it's one of not many places where a upper middle class Linux engineer can actually stand off against an invasive government.

But the stakes are so low and the "violation" so inconsequential that fit-throwing libertarians end up looking pathetic, even when they're basically right. Especially when they decide to invoke inaccurate language — language that could be accurately applied to civil rights injustices taking place not in the Nashville airport.

It's not that I doubt a Linux engineer or internet cartoonist or libertarian think tank employee would be similarly bold in the face of (say) militarized police attempting to enter their homes on flimsy drug warrants, it's that the war on drugs is so plainly different and worse and more pressing than an airport screening that the act of refusing a pat down, and calling it a "detention," comes across as an unbelievably petty dramatic fit instead of the imagined noble stand against an oppressive government. Couple that with the fact that TSA agents are union workers, often minorities, just trying to do their jobs, and it's really difficult to feel like this is a "stand" worth taking at all. Just let them pat you down, guy. Stop holding up the line.

Great! Read is aware of the existence of militarized police and "flimsy drug warrants"! That makes him more politically savvy than much of the population; which make makes the rest of his post all the more disappointing. He hates the war on drugs and correctly identifies that it is worse than TSA pat-downs. He neglects to mention that standing up to militarized police—whatever that means to him exactly — has a really good chance of getting a person killed. The nice thing about standing up to the TSA is that that won't happen. So, does that mean there's no point? Is there a readily available list of which causes are worth bothering with and which are petty?

It's easy to fall into the rhetorical trap of calling the TSA jack-booted thugs or to refer to their action as proof that America is turning into "a police state," as did the Elder Paul. I won't lose sleep over it if people choose to portray the TSA that way or in even more alarming terms. But that's not the point. Intellectually honest liberals should be able to sift through that arguably excessive rhetoric — or hell, just ask themselves what a country would look like that fit their definition of "police state"…perhaps the Bush years? — and recognize that the TSA is ridiculous and it's security theater and people have tested and proved that time and again.

But remember, to a certain type of commentator, slight rhetorical exaggeration in the face of government excess is always a bigger outrage than the excess its self. 

Reason on the TSA and on Rand Paul, you know, the fellow Matt Welch dubbed "The Most Interesting Man in the Senate" back in May '11.

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  1. Fist

  2. Citizens of the Soviet don’t even have to unite. Their apathy makes serfs of us all.

  3. If he was a dem, this would have been a heroic stand in favor of liberty.

    Since he’s a rep, it’s petty and childish.

    1. And a libertarian (gasp!) to boot!

  4. I guess those complaining can’t see the irony in that a Senator who takes an oath to the constitution has to be checked out by the TSA in the first place.

    1. Funny thing is that he didn’t. He could have pulled rank, pointed to the constitution & said you have no legal standing in any attempt to hold me up.

  5. It’s not that I doubt a Linux engineer or internet cartoonist or libertarian think tank employee would be similarly bold in the face of (say) militarized police attempting to enter their homes on flimsy drug warrants, it’s that the war on drugs is so plainly different and worse and more pressing than an airport screening that the act of refusing a pat down, and calling it a “detention,” comes across as an unbelievably petty dramatic fit instead of the imagined noble stand against an oppressive government.

    OK, you sanctimonious sophomoric sleazebag, how exactly is the not-detention detention that the TSA practices any different than the not-detention detention that the NYPD practices to provide an excuse for stop-and-frisk? Is there really any doubt that the TSA is looking for drugs as much as it’s looking for weapons?

    1. I believe the correct name you were looking for for this guy is “douche bag”. Generally, this level of douche baggery is almost to be marveled at, but it is, at it’s core, douche baggery.

      1. Ah, but that would have attenuated my alliterative anger.

  6. Stances I agree with are bad when taken by those not on my team. Fuckers.

  7. Libertarians are a people constantly in search of issues to be self-righteous about.

    I challenge anyone to find a better example of projection and total lack of self-awareness.

    1. the thing is, we never have to look very far.

    2. Well, there was the Daily Show interview of a head of a civility board that sees no problem in her calling the tea party terrorists.

    3. Yeah, my jaw dropped on that one, too.

  8. Liberals: at the end of the day, they are all about hate. It trumps everything.

  9. Libertarians are a people constantly in search of issues to be self-righteous about. This is the problem of a political movement about “freedom” peopled largely by white men with college degrees and above-average incomes: there’s not a lot of freedom they don’t already have, and not a lot of situations where their civil rights are being potentially trampled.

    Beats constantly trying to appear superior by playing the privilege card.

    1. So we’re largely college educated with good jobs? At what point did not being a fuckup become some kind of disqualifier for having a valid opinion? Actually, I think that being educated and successful without handouts tends to make our opinions MORE valid than anyone else’s.

      And no, I don’t consider that a particularly arrogant assertion.

      1. No see, as college-educated whites with steady income, we don’t know what oppression really is, so we don’t get to say anything is bad, because other people have had it worse in other times, places, and ways.

        Also, how dare we question the wisdom of the largely white, male, and slightly-more-elite-college-educated people who run the government? They clearly know what;s good for you better than you do.

        1. No see, as college-educated whites with steady income, we don’t know what oppression really is,

          Whaddya mean, “we,” white man? 🙂

        2. Fortunately for us, we have the guns and they (due to philosophical beliefs) don’t. 🙂

          1. Philisophically, it’s OK to employ armed agents of the state, but not OK for individuals to be armed.

      2. Ever since left-wing identity politics.

  10. Couple that with the fact that TSA agents are union workers, often minorities, just trying to do their jobs, and it’s really difficult to feel like this is a “stand” worth taking at all.

    See? It’s totally OK to submit to pointless, arbitrary, random, intrusive searches that violate your 4th Amendment rights, as long as the goons perpetrating those searches are union darkies!

    It boggles the mind. The TSA prevented Senator Paul from leaving the area, and he missed his flight. Because he was prevented from moving freely and getting to his flight’s gate. IOW, he was detained. What dictionary definition of “detained” are these TSApologist morons using, exactly?

    1. Wait, I thought the TSA wasn’t yet unionized. And that there was a big to-do about that.

      1. You are letting facts get in the way of the narrative.

    2. Being kept OUT OF a place is not detention. Detention is keeping you IN a place.

      Will you guys stop redefining words please? That’s a liberal thing.

      1. He said he was told he could not leave. i.e. he was being kept in a place. I guess it could be he was lying…

  11. Max Read from the comments:

    Yes, hassling a bunch of working-class guys and making hundreds of other people late as part of an impotent protest against vague civil rights violations is definitely a good deed. I think that’s in the Talmud. It’s a mitzvah.

    1. Paul is on the other TEAM, Hugh. Haters gotta hate, and principles mean Jack and shit, and Jack left town.

      The instant someone indicates they’re a partisan, you know they have zero integrity.

    2. Another commenter calls him on his “evolving opinions” on the subject.

      1. The outrage over these procedures is, admittedly, fueled by a right-leaning libertarian community that seemed awful quiet about similarly questionable procedures during the Bush administration, and brought to the forefront at least in part thanks to the fact that, well, in this instance, it’s non-Muslims whose rights are likely being violated.

        What a fuckface. First off, the groping policy was started after the underwear bomber, well into the BO administration. So that dog don’t hunt.

        Second, what a fuckface.

        As if that needed to be said again.

        1. I approve Tulpa’s message.

  12. Ron and Rand Paul would agree with Max Read that the War on Drugs is worse than the TSA, and both of them oppose it.

    Yet Max Read doesn’t *really* consider the War on Drugs to be all that important, not compared to his hatred of libertarians.

    1. Getting a cheap shot in at libertarians is all that matters to a piece of shit statist.

    2. Is this Max Read the same “Max” who occasionally trolls here? Anyone offering any odds on this?

      1. They do sound alike, though “our” Max focuses completely on *Ron* Paul. He hardly ever mentions Rand.

        Plus, I doubt Max Read lives in his mom’s basement.

    3. Yeah, it seemed pretty obvious that he was completely unaware of the multiple anti-WoD articles that appear on this site on a weekly basis.

  13. — so Paul the Lesser was on his way to Washington, for the “March of Life,” right? And he’s complaining about his body being touched by… people he didn’t want to… so he can go and support that…

    Ah, libertarians.

    If it were Costco’s TSA, or the Tennessee State TSA, it would, of course, be full of freedom.

    1. That made since to you when it ran through your head?

      1. sense — damn it.

        1. Joe’s law, it’s inescapable.

          1. For a person who picked the name “Liberty”…

    2. Nice — you attempt to divert the discussion from the rights and wrongs/ pros and cons of this incident to your
      speculation about whether or not any rights attaching to the zygote-fetus etc. should absolutely trump the right
      of the mother, in consultation with her
      physician, to make her own decision without intrusive interference from the state. I happen to to think those rights should not absolutely trump the rights of the pregnant woman, but that’s hardly the point.
      But even if that strategy made sense, any hypocrisy or self-contradiction in Rand Paul’s views would not undercut serious problems with the entire TSA “security theater.”
      Besides, there are arguments to be made that may overcome the apparent contradictions you seem to assume.
      And it certainly does not follow that the same screening procedures practiced by Costco or an agency of Tennessee must somehow be cheered as fair and reasonable by libertarians.
      You are very confused — massive fail.

    3. Abortion isn’t about liberty for anybody. It’s about defining humanity. If I believed that a blastocyst was a human, I’d be right there with Paul in the March of Life.

  14. it’s that the war on drugs is so plainly different and worse and more pressing than an airport screening that the act of refusing a pat down, and calling it a “detention,” comes across as an unbelievably petty dramatic fit instead of the imagined noble stand against an oppressive government. Couple that with the fact that TSA agents are union workers, often minorities, just trying to do their jobs

    You mean, just like the militarized police who are prosecuting the war on drugs?

    1. Really trying to hit all the leftist notes there. The only thing missing is the extremely frequent use of the word “privilege” throughout.

    2. You know who else were just trying to do their jobs…

    3. “Don’t trouble yourself,” said the civilian. He was very angry. “Save
      your skill for later. You’ll be needing it.”

      The prisoner burst out laughing. He laughed heartily, as if he were
      still a young man, and Maxim realized with horror that this laughter was
      genuine. The men sitting around the table stiffened as they listened to him.

      “Massaraksh!” The prisoner wiped his tears with his shoulder. “Some
      threat!” He turned to the civilian. “But you, you re still a young man. You
      must learn to do your job coolly, officially — for the money. It makes an
      enormous impression on the victims of your inquisition. What an appalling
      state of affairs when you find yourself being tortured not by an enemy but by a bureaucrat. Take a look at my left arm. His Imperial Majesty’s
      specialists sawed it off in three stages; and each order was accompanied by a lengthy official correspondence. Those butchers were just doing a
      disagreeable, boring, unrewarding job. While they were sawing off my arm,
      they cursed their wretchedly low pay. And I was terrified. I had to strain
      my willpower to keep from talking. And now… I can see how you hate me. You
      — me, and I — you. Fine! But you have been hating me less than twenty
      years, and I — you, for more than thirty. You, young man, were still
      toddling under the table and tormenting the cat.”

      Prisoners of Power – By Arkady&Boris; Strugatsky

  15. This is the problem of a political movement about “freedom” peopled largely by white men with college degrees and above-average incomes: there’s not a lot of freedom they don’t already have, and not a lot of situations where their civil rights are being potentially trampled.

    I could say the same about the SWPL phaggots that frequent Gawker and Salon.

  16. There are people out there suffering from horrible diseases, so what business do you have complaining about being robbed & beaten?

  17. Man, Max Reed has such a punchable face.

    1. He looks like a 70’s one hit wonder.

      1. Douchebag hipster beard… shit-eating grin… yep. Punchable.

  18. But for a government agency founded under George Bush paranoia, it’s amazing how many liberals seemed to be suddenly keen on defending the TSA when it turned into a big to-do last year.

    It is also amazing how many conservatives have forgotten it was created by Bush, when you remind them they argue with you that it has gotten worse under Obama but it was ok under Bush.

    1. I try not to remind them. When a group is for all practical purposes incapable of doing the right thing for the right reason, and you suddenly find them doing the right thing for the wrong reason, why would you interfere?

  19. The White House Press Secretary’s response was an unsurprising, “I think it is absolutely essential that we take necessary actions to ensure that air travel is safe.”

    But until we figure out what those *necessary* actions are, we have the TSA.

  20. Gawker should hire a couple of those crazy libertarian linux wizards to fix their fucking spectacularly shitty websites.

    1. Reason would do well to do the same.

  21. Every now and then Reason reminds us why Team blue is just as despicable as team Red.

    Wow these guys are fucking clueless

  22. Max Read sounds like a douche-bag who feels guilty when other people stand up against the TSA because he’s too much of a pussy to do anything about it himself.

    And, yes, I am a fucking Linux engineer – someone has to pay for the TSA.

  23. It’s easy to fall into the rhetorical trap of calling the TSA jack-booted thugs or to refer to their action as proof that America is turning into “a police state,”

    The airports used to not be de facto police states. They are now. Is that really what you consider a “rhetorical trap”, Lucy, when someone accurately describes what someone is?

    1. The SWAT teams are the real jack-booted thugs. The TSA are just wannabe jack-booted thugs.

      1. This. You have to go out of your way to come under the coercion of the TSA, whereas SWAT makes house calls.

    2. Good question there. Made me wince when I read the post the first time in wonder of whom may be Lucy’s peers these days. Whould it be hyperbolic to mention that US incarceration rates compare more favorably to Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany than they do to the rest of the industrial world? Or, would it just be true?

      1. Whould slip sliding away a little every day, that being my brain.

    3. Generally you can’t walk out of a police state at will, which is one of about a hundred or so ways airports differ from a police state. I hope someone who actually has lived in a police state urinates on your left calf.

      But hey, keep on conforming to Read’s stereotype of woe-is-me libertarians.

      1. Everything is either a police state, or it isn’t. Just like everyone is either a Democrat or a Republican, or for us or against us.

  24. “Couple that with the fact that TSA agents are union workers, often minorities, just trying to do their jobs, and it’s really difficult to feel like this is a “stand” worth taking at all.”

    Wow, so being a minority union worker excuses you from violating civil liberties? I’ll remember that the next time a union cop breaks into a house and kills someone for growing marijuana. He was just doing his job, after all.

  25. TeamBlue is taking its que from Obama. He is now violently opposed to civil liberties, so are they. Really, nothing more complicated than that.

    1. TeamBlue is taking its que

      You already kicked yourself a couple of times in this thread. Kicking yourself for this one yet?

      But I sympathize, man. We all have those days/drunken nights.

      1. Lol! I was going to point it out, but decided to leave it be. I really am a terrible lush at that time of the day and I need to unwind before the wifey hands the kid off to me so she can go in to work. I don’t mind bringing in some cheap laughs from my foibles.

  26. So, standing up to the TSA is a waste of time, when he should be standing up to the Patriot Act, the War on Drugs, and the NDAA? Oh wait — Rand Paul does stand up to those. So he’s a better liberal than his liberal critics are.

  27. As someone who was accused of something he didn’t do and wrongfully punished (which was and is totally lifewrecking) I find the “your race/etc. once had it too good so your individual suffering and complaints are meaningless” shit to be absolutely noxious.

    1. A to the fucking Men. The privilege arguement is such utter bullshit.

  28. There will be poetic justice when Senator Paul filibusters any budget that provides funding for the TSA.

  29. You got it, Mr Read. Libertarians don’t give two shits about poor and minority victims of police abuse and errant drug raids.

    1. Liberals, despite also being largely privileged middle-class white folks, have a monopoly on the-poor-people-sympathy. No one else’s version of betterment for their fellow man is legitimate. If you’re not pro-welfare-state, then you want the poor to all die. Duh!

      he’d probably argue that libertarian opposition to the drug war is based on the wrong *principles*. Its not about *freedom*, its about class inequality! ultimately ideology makes you unacceptable… to the point where these fuckers defend the status quo simply because libertarians are against it.

  30. This guy Read gets PAID to display his lack of critical thinking and spineless fealty to the Homeland? “Take the pat-down and don’t hold up the line?” — that’s what this progressive believes is the right response to intrusive, insulting, and UTTERLY FREAKIN’ WORTHLESS SECURITY THEATER? I swear, I really can’t stand it anymore. If I had been alive and feeling this way in 1883 or 1909, I would have made my way to America. It’s 2012 — where do I go now?

  31. Sorry Mr. Read, what you don’t get is that without liberty, most of the rest doesn’t matter. Maybe it’s only the affluent who have the luxury of worrying about these things, but if we leave only one thing to the next generation, I’d like it to be the ability to tell the political powers that be to go to hell. That statement may be verbal, or it may be insistence on being left alone physically, but it also includes the right to expect to be left in peace regardless of the color of your skin, or what foolish god you revere, or what incomprehensible gibberish you speak, or whether you like it in the missionary position or doggie style.

    Liberty is Liberty, and it’s all one thing.

  32. Just when I thought Gawker couldn’t suck balls any worse. Thanks, Gawker.

  33. “But the stakes are so low and the “violation” so inconsequential that fit-throwing libertarians end up looking pathetic, even when they’re basically right.”

    Dude, you’re being way too harsh on Rosa Parks.

    1. It’s a shame this comment isn’t further up the thread, because it’s a winner.

    2. This. Exactly.

  34. Pretty sweet strawman on the part of a blogger sounding off in the worthless echo chamber that is Gawker. I guess its now hip to take potshots at the people who help create the technological marvels that let bloggers earn a dime by putting words on a page. Get bent, Max Read.

  35. Interesting take:

    http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/P…..r-senators

  36. Max Read is a retarded fetus.

    Just look at that little bitch-boy defend those “just following orders” welfare queens.

    So tempting to find his address and place an anonymous call to the FBI so he can deal with a SWAT raid.

  37. Paul got pissed off at somebody constricting his travel rights – when he was trying to get to a conference that centered on taking away women’s rights.

    I am not, nor would I ever, claim that being groped by a TSA agent was a good thing. However, it could not have happened to a bigger douchebag (errr, I mean “a nicer guy”).

    1. Right on! How dare he try to take away a woman’s right to scramble the brains out of her unborn fetus! Fuck him!

  38. Your first mistake was “intellectually honest liberals” modern liberalism is a takings coalition not an ideology.

  39. “Intellectually honest liberals”

    LOL.

    “Dry water”
    “Giant mice”
    etc.

  40. Am I the only one who finds it ironic that this happened while the senator was on his way to speak in support of restricting the right of women to choose an abortion?

    1. No, and it wasn’t any wittier when they said it.

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