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 antiwar.com 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?