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• 11.27.10 03:30 pm

Remember the Exile? It was a hilarious newspaper for American ex-pats living in Russia. Editor Mark Ames is back in America now but the paper continues online as The Exiled. I always liked the guy and even had him guest edit Vice for our Russia issue.

Remember the Exile? It was a hilarious newspaper for American ex-pats living in Russia. Editor Mark Ames is back in America now but the paper continues online as The Exiled. I always liked the guy and even had him guest edit Vice for our Russia issue. He’s funny and articulate and a total expert at making fun of commie blunders.

So, how did he end up on the other side of the “Don’t Touch on my Junk” debate? Believe it or not, there are people out there who support the TSA’s initiative and see it as yet another example of Obama being amazing. They also see libertarians as pawns of big business.

In The Nation, Ames and his Exiled buddy Yasha Levine wrote a damning piece about the Don’t Touch my Junk guy that called him a fraud who was secretly being funded by libertarian billionaires. How someone who lived in the center of communist fuck ups can be so pro-government I will never understand. Here’s the intro paragraph…

Does anyone else sense something strange is going on with the apparently spontaneous revolt against the TSA? This past week, the media turned an “ordinary guy,” 31-year-old Californian John Tyner, who blogs under the pseudonym “Johnny Edge,” into a national hero after he posted a cell phone video of himself defending his liberty against the evil government oppressors in charge of airport security.

He then goes on to say the whole thing is a libertarian conspiracy funded by the Koch brothers…

We could take it all at face value and just trust that they’re all “ordinary guys.” Or we could ask, “Who profits?”

One person who seems to have the answer is Rep. John Mica, the Florida Republican who is set to chair the Transportation Committee. Mica co-wrote the bill establishing the TSA in 2001, just over a month after the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, DC. A little-known provision in that bill allowed airports to “opt out” from the federal agency’s security umbrella and to instead hire private contractors. As Media Matters pointed out recently, the whole reason why the TSA was formed was because private contractors paying airport security minimum wages were considered a big part of the reason why the 9/11 terror attacks were allowed to happen. Since the formation of the TSA, not a single terror attack originating from an American airport has taken place. But apparently that’s not nearly as relevant as the complaints of a few libertarians.

The links between Mica, the libertarians, the Kochs and the TSA scandal are only now emerging, and we hope more journalists will dig deeper.

A few people enjoyed Mark’s piece and passionately agreed with him but the comments from Nation readers and other Nation writers said it was a poorly written smear piece. Salon’s Glenn Greenwald was particularly annoyed. He said…

Today, The Nation — a magazine which generally offers very good journalism — subjects John Tyner to similar treatment, with such a shoddy, fact-free and reckless hit piece (by Mark Ames and Yasha Levine) that I’m genuinely surprised its editors published it. Beyond the inherent benefit of correcting the record, this particular article is suffused with all sorts of toxic though common premises that make it worth examining in detail.

Ames bounced back with a huge letter defending the piece, saying he wasn’t attacking Junk man but merely using that as an intro to point out libertarians are secretly funded by billionaires. He also seems to be implying Greenwald is also a pawn of the rich because he is a member of the Cato institute. Here’s the gist…

Here is what the article really said: Like many Americans, we found the TSA’s intrusive procedures offensive and we are against the invasive pat-downs and attack on our civil liberties. This was a given in our article, and we stated as much. What our article did was look beyond the obvious surface, into possible reasons why this particular issue suddenly rose to forefront of the national debate, when dozens of other, more pressing issues are getting so little attention –- people being kicked out of their homes and living on the street because of fraudulent foreclosures, a massive wealth transfer from struggling Americans to the financial sector, ongoing wars that are bankrupting the country and killing thousands, the attack on public education and so on.

Our investigation called into question the official version of events as a “spontaneous” grassroots anti-TSA outbreak. Instead, we discovered some very disturbing motives — business and political — pushing this issue forward. Our evidence, well-documented in our article, shows that the anti-TSA campaign was not a “spontaneous” “people’s uprising.” Instead, we documented numerous examples of anti-TSA campaigners with ties to the billionaire Koch brothers’ network, and we exposed the National Opt-Out Day campaign as being led by a Washington lobbyist who specializes in fake-grassroots campaigns.

Justin Raimondo of popped in to say “Screw you Mark Ames!” before adding, “Gee, it seems like that check from the Kochs got lost in the mail!” Here’s the gist…

Speaking of implausible fiction, The Nation recently ran a piece by Mark “I spit on libertarians” Ames and Yasha Levine, which determined that the anti-TSA movement — that seems to have sprung up like a last gasp of life from the old America –- is really a front for the Koch brothers, two formerly libertarian billionaires who have become the deus ex machina of clueless “progressive” commentators who cannot otherwise explain the explosion of anti-government anti-authoritarian populism currently upending politics. Glenn Greenwald seems to have taken care of the Ames-Levine fantasists, putting them in their proper place as apologists for the Obama regime and all its works, but one more thing needs to be said:

If Ames and Levine are going to become the “go to” team for the dirt on libertarians, such as it is, they ought to learn their subject. Because the very idea of Charles and David Koch leading a national resistance movement involving civil disobedience on a massive scale is laughable: To anyone who knows them, or knows of them in more than a glancing way, this can only provoke gales of unrestrained laughter. It is sheer laziness to believe this. Indeed, if only the Brothers Koch, and the plethora of organizations their money has funded, were that radical! Unfortunately, they are not: a stodgy, boring conservatism marks both their methods and their politics, and always has.

I’ll end on the paragraph from here that Raimondo is talking about when he says “Mark ‘I spit on libertarians’ Ames.”

It’s from Ames’ review of the Rally to Restore Sanity…

Anytime anyone says anything libertarian, spit on them. Libertarians are by definition enemies of the state: They are against promoting American citizens’ general welfare and against policies that create a perfect union. Like Communists before them, they are actively subverting the Constitution and the American Dream, and replacing it with a Kleptocratic Nightmare.

Am I crazy or does that sound insane?


  1. dragler says:

    alot of liberals are very uncomfortable when they not only agree with libertarians but are then badly outflanked by them, often on issues like war and civil liberties.

    “Libertarians are by definition enemies of the state”

    This is of course true and in fact Raimondo’s biography of Murray Rothbard is called “Enemy of the State” with no irony. That doesn’t mean any of the things the guy says they mean though.

    perhaps the don’t touch my junk guy was trying to create a scene I don’t know but that certainly doesn’t prove that there is no genuine outrage over the TSA procdures or that it is some thing created to distract from the “real problems”.

    These procedures were enacted recently and their has been an immediate shocked response on the part of all sorts of people.

    I don’t really get what ames and the other guy were going for here. At best, its exposing a meaningless scandal amidst a far bigger scandal, at worst it is a bald attempt to put themselves and their liberal bretheren at the forefront of a civil libertarian movement which they have no real claim to.


  2. Taeil says:

    I’m not libertarian. Most of them don’t think they owe their country shit and don’t realize money is a social construct that should be manipulated for nationalistic ends.

  3. Anonymous says:

    hmm, seems a bullshitconspiracy made up by a liberal is almost as stupid as all the hundreds of bullshit statements by paleo-conservative libertarians.

  4. skull front says:

    in spirit of rock the vote. stars unite in the fight
    Funk the Junk


  5. Stephanie says:

    I wish I was secretly funded by libertarian billionaires. Life is not fair.

  6. Jim Goad says:

    Seems this dark, evil, undoubtedly oligarch-orchestrated “apparently spontaneous revolt” came right on the heels of enhanced pat-down rules being enacted in late October, no?

    Occam’s razor and all, for fuck’s sake.

  7. Ernest Queefingway says:

    20-year old dudes get into Chomsky, 40-year old dudes get into Stossel.

  8. jr23 says:

    what about George Soros funding of leftist activities with money he made by\curency trading.

  9. Hnasty says:

    Hey Gavin just cause you got old and had kids does not mean you have to be a libertarian shit head.

  10. BongBong says:

    Glenn Beckkk makes a living doing the same thing. Take zero facts, and then take your audience on a right turn into the looney bin. I feel like people should be saying “But thats just my opinion” more often. It would be funny if Ames and Levine are actually correct though. BTW What anti-TSA revolt?

  11. Joe the Carpenter says:

    Dude move on from this shit already!

  12. Tiny Tim's Crutches says:

    while I celebrate the libertarian impulse, a la greenwald, I share also greenwald’s distaste for overly doctrinaire-reductionist refusal to allow for necessary government-state restraints upon bad corporate actors. We cannot (in our zeal for purity of an ultimately vaprous ideal) run roughshod over unfortunate real persons who are tangled in real webs of obligation and fealty—-fealty to an overseer who cares not one whit about the quivering untermensch. That’s why the smearer got all rabid and started foaming about how ‘Libertarians are commie
    pinko fags.’

  13. Tiny Tim's Crutches says:

    In short, Libertaranism (while it does currently provide a welcome and bracing third-party course-corrective) way overshoots the mark of Good Government (TBD). Libertarianism, qua -ism, would, as implemented in real time by hormonal apes like us, quite clearly end up pursuing obverse-Maoist necrophilic purity
    purges——all in the name of ANTI-collectivism.

    And I don’t care that your particular quiver of
    infallible Fearless Theorists claims otherwise. The world has obviously had its fill of political -isms.

    Don’t embarrass yerself with sophistries to the contrary.

    Human Wisdom is not pure, but it can hope to make less suffering and bloodshed.

  14. Diet Coke says:

    Libertarians are hated because they’re serious about their beliefs, and that’s rare in this world.

  15. you all like "Fergie" says:

    Modern political discourse has become about picking a word to hate. You either hate “liberals” or you hate “libertarians” or you hate “conservatives” and it saves everyone the effort of arguing about ideas.

  16. Liberal Faggot says:

    “anti-authoritarian anti-government populism currently upending politics” PLEASE. First of all, libertarianism is a Utopian vision, not a political ethos, and a laughable one at best.

    the idea of libertarian politics “upending” our current political situation is funnier than the Grape Lady video.

    the last time i checked, a political system based on the principle “i’ve got mine, fuck you” is not exactly populist.

  17. JackBlack says:

    Pretty much agree with you but I would say the Koch brothers are really more concerned about their vast business interests (Koch Industries is a mammoth privately owned conglomerate) than being true libertarian crusaders…

  18. darf says:

    Why do I keep coming back to this conservative website?

  19. zoom says:

    Fuck the Koch brothers and fuck George Soros, they’re rich fucks who 99% of us don’t give a shit about.

    Libertarians need to stop watching Glenn Beck and reading Ayn Rand. Shit is retarded and wholly out to lunch. No one really wants an ‘every man for himself’ society because we have kids and grandparents and things like cancer exist.

    Conservatives, well we all know they’re assholes. They’re the crotchety bastards who have resisted every necessary change throughout history. End slavery? No thanks. Civil rights? Don’t drink from that fountain. Gay Marriage? I’m afraid of fags. Mom’s sick? She shouldn’t have had that pre-existing condition, stupid cunt.

    PC liberals are uppity twits who take every reasonable ideal and push it to its spastic, moronic extreme. They’re the reason there’s a new word for ‘retard’ every other year and a million other wastes of time.

  20. frankie says:


    so where do you come down on this, then?
    i would think that the common-sense, anti-baby boomer thing would be to NOT give a shit about pat downs, and to view the anti-TSA stuff as alarmist nonsense.
    didn’t you say something to that effect in Vice on a related matter?

    your political stuff in the vice days was very provocative and funny because it was sort of post-ideological. but i get the sense now, though, that your whole political viewpoint consists of hating liberals/progressives, etc, i.e. its pretty dogmatic now.

  21. dragler says:

    Well the problem is the guy has come out against libertarians not on say tax cuts for billionaires or doing away with social security but on not being groped by the TSA, something that crosses political lines. It’s not even relevent to this story that the Tyner guy is a libertarian. Johnny Edge is an extremely corny screename but he didn’t deserve to be dragged through the mud for being one of like a thousand people to compain about the TSA and who also happened to come up with a catchphrse.

  22. fredMS says:

    nah but srsly libertarian movement is funded by/supported by hella millionaires. but so are all the other parties.

  23. oh yeah says:

    too long. didnt read.

  24. A says:

    This sounds about right:

    Libertarians are by definition enemies of the state: They are against promoting American citizens’ general welfare and against policies that create a perfect union. Like Communists before them, they are actively subverting the Constitution and the American Dream, and replacing it with a Kleptocratic Nightmare.

    Not insane

  25. dragler says:

    The state does not promote the general welfare or create policies meant to create a perfect union.

    They are the kleptocrats

  26. Toni Scarpini says:

    Come on, Gavin. You´re a fucking hardcore kid/dad. Forget this shit.

  27. wwtf says:

    is this an article about an article about an article? it’s making me dizzy

  28. dirk diggler says:

    i disagree with Ames but i didn’t completely write him off until he used the word “kleptocratic”

  29. Psychic Daddd says:

    Liberals are ironically entirely convinced that libertarians are delusional dupes who’ve been coopted by the Koch brothers into serving corporatist goals.

    This is while also believing their guy Obama has zero to do with special interests in the finance sector or the military-industrial complex…

  30. John says:

    Ames is 100% right. Greenwald flew off the handle about ONE point in the article, which was far from the main point: that these “grass roots” movements that have been springing up are funded by billionaires with a serious stake in a certain outcome. That is the point. It’s not really about “smearing” someone, and it’s not about “touching my junk”. These are SIDE ISSUES THAT WE SHOULDN’T EVEN CARE ABOUT.

  31. John says:

    Also – let’s not forget that Justin Raimondo is basically a right-wing loon, the truly insufferable kind who will flirt with non-right policies to illustrate what a maverick he is. Why not just excerpt Pat Buchanan’s objections to Ames at similar length?

  32. Sam says:

    Wow another awesome piece by Gavin “White Power” McInnis

  33. Anonymous says:

    that “spit on a libertarian” thing was one of the most satisfying and relevant political statements I’ve ever read.

    as the world plunges closer and closer to resource disaster, as “free market” society exponentially squanders what we have left that could help us build the bridge to sustainability, as the collection world’s needlessly immiserated comes to include the vast majority of mankind etc…

    libertarians and their false definition of freedom (let the rich vote with their money over important issues, and let the poor starve) becomes the most dangerous view in the world.

    i’d include you in that group, gavin, except i’ve long since established you have no fuckin’ clue what you’re talking about, even (especially) when ranting about what you claim to be your own beliefs.

  34. Anonymous says:

    grammar correction above, “collection OF THE world’s needlessly immiserated.” Sorry.

  35. Destro says:

    “White Power Canadian Fashion Critic Gavin McInnis Tries To Become Relevant Again By Latching Onto Mark Ames’ Coattails…”

  36. Michael says:

    @Taeil: Your homework for the week is to find out which notable libertarian figure was instrumental in abolishing the draft. Once you figure it out, come back with something more substantial than “most of them don’t think they owe their country shit”.

  37. dragler says:

    John- this gets back to my first comment: liberals hate that libertarians are better than them on war and civil liberties. face it, you supported Clintons interventions and take a more moderate (read: lame) approach on alot of civil liberties issues.

    Justin Raimndo AND Pat Buchanan were way out in front on opposition to war in Iraq and infact opposed the FIRST gulf war, while on your side you’ve got the likes of Hillary Clinton still supporting Iraq and sabre rattling at Iran.

    Tons of democrats, even “cool” ones, support the patriot act the bailouts and all that.

    anonymous- “libertarians and their false definition of freedom (let the rich vote with their money over important issues, and let the poor starve) becomes the most dangerous view in the world.”

    I think people should be able to keep all their money and not be forced to spend any of it on things thy don’t want to spend it on. I don’t think I shoud have to fund the iraq war or subsisidies for corn syrup. the status quo is dangerous, not libertarianism.

  38. Edsel says:


    “So how did he end up on the other side of the “Don’t Touch on my Junk” debate?” Pull your head out of your ass. Ames and Levine are not supporting any side of the debate. Instead, they are asking valid questions about why there is a sudden libertarian protest movement (or debate) by the same people who would have gladly spread their flabby cheeks for Bush & Co. in a greasy heartbeat. Keep up the great work, you are turning out to be a fabulous stooge.

  39. P. LaMontagne says:

    First of all, libertarianism is a Utopian vision, not a political ethos, and a laughable one at best.

    Libertarianism (a philosophy to which I do not subscribe) is no less a political ethos, and no more a Utopian fantasy, than Liberalism. Both are based on the fallacy of the autonomous individual. Where Libertarianism has a leg up on Liberalism is this: Liberalism relies on the idea of human equality, something which objectively speaking does not exist. Liberalism is a Utopianist fashion statement based on an objective falsehood. Libertarians are misguided and naieve, Liberals are uninquisitive and gullible, they subscribe to Liberalism because pop culture is Liberal, and because believing anything else takes work, and brains, and some measure (at least) of courage to stand apart from the herd.

  40. P. LaMontagne says:


  41. mxwl says:

    who fucking cares. ppll get searched based on personal appearance. 511 levis and an Actual Pain shirt may be norm to you and the ppl you surround yourself with, but its still alternative and suspicious to THE REST OF THE COUNTRY. if you dress like a normal human being, yr gonna have less trouble.

  42. Charles says:

    Libertarians are basically pawns of big business. I usually try to find nicer ways to say it to them though. I’ve found that most libertarians can be swayed into holding generally anti-capitalist views with just a little bit of friendly prodding.

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