Roger L. Simon

TSA, the VA, Venezuela and Bernie

What do these have in common—TSA, the VA, Venezuela and Bernie Sanders?

You may have already guessed, but first, in case you missed this on your Twitter feed….

UPDATE: Kelly Hoggan has been removed from his position as head of security at TSA, following our hearing on May 12 on mismanagement at TSA.

— Oversight Committee (@GOPoversight) May 23, 2016

CNN has more:

The House Oversight Committee conducted a hearing on TSA’s operations on May 12. At the hearing the TSA Administrator, Peter Neffenger, was questioned why Hoggan was given $90,000 in bonuses when security lines were not improving.
His agency is on the defensive after three former TSA employees testified that they were retaliated against after “directed reassignments,” where employees who have highlighted wrongdoing within the administration are shifted to other assignments.
Neffenger said then that he did not “tolerate” potential retaliation against whistleblowers and pledged to “look into it.”
The TSA declined to comment. But in an internal memo from Neffenger on Monday, the TSA announced several changes to its management.
That’s the same TSA that is making our lives miserable across America, many of us missing planes, with its total incompetence and endless airport security lines.
 Meanwhile—the same day—over at the Veterans Affairs:
“The days to an appointment is really not what we should be measuring. What we should be measuring is the veteran’s satisfaction,” [Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob] McDonald told reporters at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast in Washington, according to The Hill newspaper. “When you go to Disney, do they measure the number of hours you wait in line?” he asked. “What’s important is what’s your satisfaction with the experience.”
What kind of ghastly human being compares waiting to have an artificial limb so you can walk again with waiting for a ride on the Matterhorn or Pirates of the Caribbean?  Unfortunately, the answer is, you guessed it, “a government official.”  (And, of course, you’ll also guess who jumped on this one.)
It’s obvious what these two Monday reports have in common—they’re  from government agencies.  We expect them to be incompetent and so they are.  Indeed, it’s almost certain TSA’s work could be done better by the private sector.  Veterans Affairs is a bit more complicated, but even so….the more government agencies you have, the more a country comes to resemble….

Venezuela—from whence there was also news today:

A sugar shortage has forced Coca-Cola to stop producing soft drinks in Venezuela amid an escalating food and energy shortage.

Coke said that suppliers in Venezuela will “temporarily cease operations due to a lack of raw materials”.

The announcement comes after the country’s biggest brewer, Empresas Polar, closed plants due to a barley shortage.

Venezuela’s economy has contracted sharply as oil prices plunge.

No beer, no Coke, no oil.  Oh, and no tires.  But have no fear. When socialist regimes indeed plunge into the toilet economically, as they inevitably do, we know who steps in—the military:

Either President Nicolas Maduro genuinely believes there is a credible threat to Venezuela’s national security from an unspecified foreign power, or he is delusional.

In what were described as the biggest ever military exercises to have taken place on Venezuelan soil, President Maduro proudly declared that more than 500,000 troops from the armed forces and civilian militias loyal to the government participated in “Operation Independence 2016” over the weekend.

“We have never been more prepared than this,” barked the president in a speech evoking Venezuela’s military heroes of the past, none more important than Mr Maduro’s predecessor in office, Hugo Chavez.

Sounds like it comes straight from the pages of Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism… or is it Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom?  But have no fear again because Bernie Sanders has been careful to separate himself from the excesses of the nefarious Chavez and his spawn Maduro.  From Venezuela Today:

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders is a rarity in American politics: a self-described socialist running for the White House. And this September, Sanders sought to distance himself from one of the most well known socialists of the new millennium — Hugo Chávez.

Sanders accused Hillary Clinton supporters of attempting to smear him by linking him with the divisive figure. Clinton is Sanders’s biggest rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, and the comments were allegedly made by pro-Hillary Clinton Super PAC Correct the Record. But in trying to distance himself from Chávez, Sanders is making many Venezuelans angry.

And they should be, because Chavez, it should be noted, started out, like Bernie, as a democratic socialist. Hugo was elected democratically.  It just got a bit worse from there, as it often does.

Now I’m not saying that’s what Bernie—who is unlikely to be elected anyway, but you never know—is going to do.  But he will take us a step closer, increasing the power of government agencies — and not just TSA and the VA.  Bernie believes government is the solution to everything.  And that’s fine for a feisty old guy like him, if he just would have stayed in a coffee shop in Burlington, doing Larry David imitations instead of the other way around.  But unfortunately  he’s going around the country infecting the brains of young people with this nonsense.  And it’s pretty obvious they don’t know better.  Why should they?  Their teachers don’t either.

So you have the answer to the question—what do TSA, the VA, Venezuela and Bernie Sanders have in common?  As Orson Welles would say, A Touch of Evil…. maybe more than a touch.