Free Markets, Free People

airlines


How to start a trade war in one easy step

Decide, as the EU has, to unilaterally impose a carbon tax on airlines and watch what happens:

China has warned the European Union to abandon its controversial carbon tax on airlines or risk provoking a global trade war. Adding weight to the warning, an industry insider told the Financial Times that the Chinese government was seriously considering measures to hit back at the EU if it insists on charging international airlines for their carbon emissions. –Simon Rabinovitch, Financial Times, 22 December 2011

The US has threatened to take retaliatory action against the European Union unless Brussels drops its plan imminently to start charging any airline flying into the bloc for its carbon pollution. In a sharp escalation of tensions over Brussels’ move to bring aviation into its emissions trading system from January 1, Hilary Clinton, US Secretary of State, has written to her European Commission counterpart, Catherine Ashton, and other top commissioners, to “strongly urge” the EU to halt or suspend its plan. –Pilita Clark and Andrew Parker, Financial Times, 20 December 2011

The Indian government has asked the country’s airlines to refrain from submitting carbon emissions data to the European Union (EU) for a new tax that will become applicable from 1 January for flights to Europe, hardening its stand further against the imposition of the levy. — Tarun Shukla, Live Mint, 18 December 2011

The EU is already in financial trouble and now it wants to compound that problem by something as silly as a carbon tax to support a very specious premise concerning global warming.  It’s all about agenda politics and its timing couldn’t be worse given the financial crisis in the EU.  This is either EU stupidity or simply bureaucratic inertia, but in either case, the stances taken by the US, China and India are not particularly “mild”.  The attempt to impose the tax on January 1st could cause quite an uproar and a suspension of flights into the EU until the outcry makes them back off.   And, of course, it won’t be the airlines who pay the tax, will it?  It will be their customers. 

The EU has more problems than it can handle now.  Starting a trade war over a carbon tax would be the cherry on top of the “stupid” sundae.  But then, for years and contrary to logic, they thought “other people’s money” would never run out, didn’t they?

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Napalitano Concedes “System” Didn’t Work

Apparently what was clear to every other person in the land has just recently become obvious to our DHS Secretary:

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano conceded Monday that the aviation security system failed when a young man on a watchlist with a U.S. visa in his pocket and a powerful explosive hidden on his body was allowed to board a fight from Amsterdam to Detroit. The Obama administration has ordered investigations into the two areas of aviation security — how travelers are placed on watch lists and how passengers are screened — as critics questioned how the 23-year-old Nigerian man charged in the airliner attack was allowed to board the Dec. 25 flight. A day after saying the system worked, Napolitano backtracked, saying her words had been taken out of context. “Our system did not work in this instance,” she said on NBC’s “Today” show. “No one is happy or satisfied with that. An extensive review is under way.”

Taken out of context? The fallback claim of every yahoo caught saying something stupid or inane. In fact, there were any number of signals which should have had this guy shunted off to the side for a more thorough check – like the warning his father had given the US embassy.

Officials said he came to the attention of U.S. intelligence last month when his father, Alhaji Umar Mutallab, a prominent Nigerian banker, reported to the American Embassy in Nigeria about his son’s increasingly extremist religious views. In a statement released Monday morning, Abdulmutallab’s family in Nigeria said that after his “disappearance and stoppage of communications while schooling abroad,” his father reached out to Nigerian security agencies two months ago. The statement says the father then approached foreign security agencies for “their assistance to find and return him home.”

The family says: “It was while we were waiting for the outcome of their investigation that we arose to the shocking news of that day.”

Some questions:

How can a Muslim student, whose name appears on a US law enforcement database, be granted a visa to travel to America, allegedly acquire an explosive device from Yemen, a country awash with al-Qaeda terrorists, and avoid detection from the world’s most sophisticated spy agencies?

Every intelligence agency across the world is fully aware that the targets of choice for al-Qaeda and its numerous affiliates and sympathisers are airliners – preferably those flying to the US. Yet Abdulmutallab seems to have avoided detection in both Nigeria and Holland when he passed through the various security checks at Lagos and Schiphol airports respectively. [How? -ed.]

Embarrassingly for the Washington, Lagos airport had recently been given the “all clear” by the US’s Transportation Security Administration [Why? -ed.], an agency established in the wake of the 9/11 attacks which was supposed to improve the security on American airliners.

Bottom line – if you want to make security more effective without increasing the hassle factor for everyone, there is a solution: start profiling.

Yeah, that’s right – if you’re warring against the Mongols, you don’t go looking for Latvians. It’s time we started pulling the “Mongols” out of line and checking them thoroughly. For instance, had this guy undergone a check for explosives, they’d have gotten him early:

Security experts said airport “puffer” machines that blow air on a passenger to collect and analyze residues would probably have detected the powder, as would bomb-sniffing dogs or a hands-on search using a swab. Most passengers in airports only go through magnetometers, which detect metal rather than explosives.

If, as a matter of routine, such travelers were sent through such devices or checks, do you think it might further diminish the threat of such attacks and cause them to look for different venue for their attacks?  Might it also put pressure on Muslims everywhere, when singled out as a threat because of their common link to the terrorists,  to clean up their radical elements?

Instead, you can count on the Obama administration, via the TSA, to make the new and reactive rules both draconian and applicable to everyone and pretend the 800 lb. gorilla in the room doesn’t e. But real security doesn’t play “political correctness”. It identifies the threat as specifically as possible, details characteristics of those who comprise that threat and then focuses its limited resources on them. That isn’t what we do, and we know why. And that’s why guys like Abdulmutallab and Richard Reid find ways to get on aircraft with explosive devices.

~McQ