Posts Tagged John Stossel

Cool Stuff: John Stossel Discusses The Good Of Private Military Companies

This is an excellent little piece by John Stossel. He is a Libertarian and brings forth some interesting points of view in regards to private industry vs government. He has a book that delves further into his ideas.

Some of the examples brought up in this video, would be familiar to anyone that has read this blog. They talked about the Flying Tigers, Somali Pirates and the MARSEC response (with mention of The Somali Project), privateering and the Letter of Marque, as well as early American colonists and their use of private security.

I would have also added some more uses of contractors that had positive results. Executive Outcomes in Angola and Sierra Leone, STTEP in Nigeria, and David Stirling’s PMSC that fought in Yemen to name a few.

It is great to finally see some alternative points of view when talking about this industry and I recommend watching this. –Matt


The Flying Tigers.


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Industry Talk: Push On To Expand Private TSA Baggage Screeners

Even then, lawmakers allowed TSA in 2004 to hire private screeners that are almost indistinguishable from federal officers in San Francisco; Kansas City, Mo.; Jackson Hole, Wyo.; Rochester, N.Y.; and Tupelo, Miss.
Another 12 airports have joined the program since then. The additions range from seven small airports in Montana to a heliport in New York City. Other participants are in Sonoma County, Calif.; Sioux Falls, S.D.; Roswell, N.M.; and Key West.

Check it out? 12 more airports have signed on to the program to choose a private company over a government option. lol This is turning out to be a Fedex/UPS versus the Postal Service scenario.

Now my personal opinion on this is that the TSA might not care to manage this process as well as they should, just because these private companies are the competition. The TSA also has a union breathing down their neck about protecting government employees and their benefits. So there is a definite conflict of interest here, if the TSA is involved with managing this program.

Still, the main benefit here is that these airports will have the ability to fire poor security companies. That, and competition between security companies all fighting to get that contract, is what will give an airport an excellent value and the service they demand. (as long as they choose a company based on best value, and not LPTA). They do not have that luxury with the government and John Stossel pointed this out beautifully in his articles about the private versus public debate.

The other thing is that this debate has been going on for awhile now. So every year around the holidays, everyone experiences the screening process at the airports, and they all direct their frustrations at the TSA. So I imagine that politicians are hearing this frustration from their constituents, and acting accordingly. –Matt


Push on to expand private TSA baggage screeners
By Bart Jansen
As complaints swirl around the Transportation Security Administration, some airports and lawmakers want to hire private baggage screeners under a program the TSA administrator is reluctant to expand.
Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., wants more airports to join the little-known TSA program that hires private screeners — rather than government workers — at 17 airports so far.
“Frankly, competition is a good thing in almost all places,” Blunt says.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican candidate for president, said in a CNN debate Nov. 22 that he would privatize TSA security “as soon as I could. … It makes abundant good sense.”

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Cool Stuff: The Peltzman Effect, Spontaneous Order, And The Roundabout

     I read this article a couple of days ago, but this little snippet was what stuck in my head.  It was cool to see John Stossel build a ‘snow mobile’ out of these ideas, and to learn about Spontaneous Order and the Peltzman Effect.  You learn something new all the time, and perhaps some of you out there, or even myself, will build something out of these concepts in the future?

     One thing that I would like to add to this article is the ‘roundabout‘.  I like the roundabout, because it is the best mixture of channeling traffic efficiently as well as putting more decision making in the minds of drivers.  You enter the thing, you are channeled throughout the entire process, and you decide when to turn out.  There is also a faster flow of traffic, and less idle time which equates to better fuel usage in those areas that use the system. And according to these guys, they are safer and more efficient. There are some signs for the roundabout, like to indicate it is coming up or to yield to oncoming traffic, but it is not nearly as sign intensive or as confusing as the standard traffic stop in the US or elsewhere. –Matt


From John Stossel’s Private Industry Does It Better, Page 2

August 5th, 2010

It’s Friedrich Hayek’s “spontaneous” order in action: Instead of sitting at a mechanized light waiting to be told when to go, drivers meet in an intersection and negotiate their way through by making eye contact and gesturing. The secret is that drivers must pay attention to their surroundings — to pedestrians and other cars — rather than just to signs and signals. It demonstrates the “Peltzman Effect” (named after retired University of Chicago economist Sam Peltzman): People tend to behave more recklessly when their sense of safety is increased. By removing signs, lights and barriers, drivers feel less safe, so they drive more carefully. They pay more attention.

In Drachten, Holland, lights and signs were removed from an intersection handling about 30,000 cars a day. Average waiting times dropped from 50 seconds to less than 30 seconds. Accidents dropped from an average of eight per year to just one.

On Kensington High Street in London, after pedestrian railing and other traffic markers were removed, accidents dropped by 44 percent.

“What these signs are doing is treating the driver as if they were an idiot,” says traffic architect Ben Hamilton-Baillie. “If you do so, drivers exhibit no intelligence.”

Story here.


The Peltzman Effect

By Wikipedia

The Peltzman effect is the hypothesized tendency of people to react to a safety regulation by increasing other risky behavior, offsetting some or all of the benefit of the regulation. It is named after Sam Peltzman, a professor of Economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

From the foreword of a talk by Peltzman at the American Enterprise Institute:

Sam Peltzman is one of the few economists, and probably the only regulatory economist, to have an effect named after him — the “Peltzman effect.” The Peltzman effect arises when people adjust their behavior to a regulation in ways that counteract the intended effect of the regulation. So, for example, when the government passes a seatbelt law, some drivers may respond by driving less safely. It turns out that the Peltzman effect has widespread application and has spawned, like much of Professor Peltzman’s other work, a veritable cottage industry for economists.

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Montana: Private Security Considered After TSA Failures At Bozeman Airport, And Other City Airports

    “Again, it’s because you can fire a bad contractor, but you can’t fire the government. I think TSA stands for Thousands Standing Around.” -John Stossel 


   First off, bravo to Dick Roehm for at least taking a realistic approach to security at his airport.  If they cannot depend upon the TSA to provide good security, along with good customer service and satisfaction, then I say go private and demand those things via a well written contract.  Europe, along with Israel, has been doing this awhile, and to me, the TSA along with government is a terrible security apparatus to use.

   As for Jim McGarvey, stop drinking the kool aid that the contractor haters have been serving you, and listen to reason.  Better yet, just read the quote up top, and tell me how with the current system in place, that you can actually fire the TSA for doing a poor job? Besides, the argument that the town will lose jobs when they go private is stupid.  Who do you think private companies will hire for work locally?

   The other thing that bothers me about Jim’s assessment is the idea that making a profit is evil or something?  Profit is what drives a company and it’s employees to be competitive and do a good job in order to maintain the contract.  If they suck at what they are doing, or try to rip off the airport, the airport authority just ends the contract and goes with someone that can do a better job.  And hey, if the AA writes up a good contract and actually monitors the quality of the contract, then they can actually get a good value for the dollar.  The company providing the service also knows what it has to do in order to maintain the contract when you have that kind of a system.  Like Stossel said, you can fire a bad contractor, but you can’t fire the government. –Matt


Security breach raises questions about government airport screening

January 13, 2010

By DANIEL PERSON Chronicle Staff Writer

A passenger getting through security at Gallatin Field with a gun, coupled with ongoing complaints about how passengers are treated at checkpoints, is trying the patience of the head of the local airport authority.

Now, Dick Roehm is raising the prospect turning to a private company to handle security at the airport.

On the morning of Sunday, Dec. 13, Transportation Security Administration screeners at Gallatin Field inadvertently allowed a man with a firearm in his carry-on bag through security, according to a TSA statement released Wednesday.

While in the boarding area, the unidentified man realized he had the gun and turned himself into TSA officials. In response, TSA rescreened every passenger at the airport, including passengers on a Horizon Air flight that had left the gate but not yet taken off, delaying three flights for more than an hour, said Roehm, who was briefed on the incident.

The gun was turned over to local law enforcement and the passenger was allowed to continue on the flight, TSA spokesman Dwayne Baird said in a written statement.

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Industry Talk: Privatizing Airport Security

“Again, it’s because you can fire a bad contractor, but you can’t fire the government. I think TSA stands for Thousands Standing Around.” -John Stossel


   This is a no brainer coming from our side of the house, and I salute John Stossel for calling it the way he sees it. I brought up three interesting informational pieces on airport security, and the reasoning behind going the private route.  For one, it works, and number two, it is what the Israelis do.

   I know, I know, we have a much larger airport system in America than the Israelis do.  But we must look hard at what we are doing, versus what others are doing, and ‘build a snowmobile’ out of the thing.  Privatizing airport security is just one component of the strategy, and using what we can from the Israeli and European models is essential. By the way, I love the quote that Stossel put together up top. lol-Matt


O’Reilly Tonight: Privatize the TSA

By John Stossel

January 5, 2010

I’ll go on O’Reilly tonight to talk about the ridiculous new flight rules from the TSA .

Before my last flight, right after Christmas, security officials patted me down. I was wearing shorts. But they patted down my bare legs. There is a lot of “security” that seems pointless. Jet Blue told us that TSA had ordered them to keep all TV’s off for the whole flight. Everyone had to stay seated for an hour before takeoff — without blankets, pillows or personal belongings on their laps. And so on—you’ve heard about the new rules.

Those rules might help stop a terrorist if he did the exact same thing that Abdulmutallab attempted on Christmas. In reality, I suspect the rules will do nothing but inconvenience millions.

TSA should not exist. Before 9/11, screening was private — private companies, working for government, did the screening. They weren’t very sophisticated, but they did the job. The small knives the hijackers used were not violations of government rules. Neither were unlocked cockpit doors.

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