Republicans Defending The Freedom Of Right Wing Terrorists To Crash An Airplane?
This morning, Mike Lillis wrote that the GOP, legislatively speaking, is already measuring the drapes for their new post-midterm offices. McCarthy and his lieutenants have an ambitious agenda-- but it isn't about getting anything done for the American people. It's geared towards winning the White House in 2024... against an incredibly unpopular, doddering fossil of an accidental president, who is in office for all the wrong reasons. (According to the new Morning Consult poll for Politico, of 39% of registered voters approve of the job Biden is doing, while 57% disapprove.)
McCarthy will seek to set up countless clashes with Biden across a spectrum of thorny, hot-button issues issues, from COVID-19 protocols and Big Tech to border security and the national debt." Since McCarthy himself is a mental midget whose only expertise is raising corporate cash, he's enlisted the help of "a host of prominent Republicans, including former Trump administration officials; conservative power players, like Club for Growth President David McIntosh... and former congressional leaders, like onetime Speaker Newt Gingrich, who’s acting as a kind of informal adviser." One goal in ballyhooing the GOP agenda how is to shift the campaign debate away from Trump's absurd claims that he won in 2020 and also away from the 1/6 insurrection and Republican attempted coup.
The strategy marks an extension of the Republicans’ “Commitment to America” campaign of 2020, which featured broad promises to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, fight domestic crime, bolster the nation’s infrastructure and empower parents when it comes to their children’s education.
...The House GOP strategy marks a sharp departure from that being adopted across the Capitol by Senate Republicans. Although GOP leaders in the upper chamber are also bullish about their chances of picking up seats and seizing control, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has said he’ll keep his legislative plans under wraps until after the elections.
Though the midterms remain more than eight months away, the prospect of Republicans taking control of the House has already sparked an outpouring of opinions from rank-and-file lawmakers about where GOP leaders should launch their legislative agenda next year if they hold power.
Many are advocating for a focus on the southern border with Mexico, where a surge in migration has led to record detentions — and a humanitarian crisis — in the first year of the Biden administration. Republicans are framing it as a national security threat.
“Border security would be right at the top,” said Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-Ca). “We need to finish the fence. We need to have all the protocols all along the border, in order to control our border.”
Other Republicans argued that the emphasis should be on scaling back the public health protocols put in place by the Biden administration in the name of combating the COVID-19 pandemic. Conservatives have bashed those policies-- particularly mask and vaccine mandates-- as an unconstitutional encroachment on individual freedoms, vowing to outlaw any similar effort under their watch.
“I would like to think that the Democrats, in the majority, and this administration would let go of the unconstitutional, unlawful, unjustified, unscientific mandates relative to the China virus, and stop with the masks and vaccines on everybody long before a year from now,” said Rep. Bob Good (R-VA), a member of the far-right Freedom Caucus.
“However, they are clearly ‘COVID forever,’ and it seems as if they want to continue it-- certainly the administration does,” he continued. “So that is the No. 1 most important issue, is the trampling on people’s freedoms.”
Sure, Bob Good is a crackpot and extremist but he is in his party's majority, certainly in the House, where districts gerrymandered to produce solid red majorities, have guaranteed that primary winners and the most extreme candidates. And the Senate GOP is not immune to this dynamic either. Just yesterday Felicia Sonmez and Lori Aratanin reported for the Washington Post that 8 Republican senators-- a kind of ad hoc crackpot caucus-- are "pushing back against efforts to create a federal 'no-fly' list for unruly passengers, arguing that doing so would essentially draw an equivalence between terrorists and opponents of mask mandates." The 8 whack jobs who sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland were Ted Cruz (R-TX), Mike Lee (R-UT), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Rick Scott (R-FL), James Lankford (R-OK), Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and John Hoeven (R-ND).
The Republicans' point is that since "the vast majority of reports of unruly passengers have been related to the mandated use of face masks amid the pandemic," they should be treated differently from other sociopaths who disrupt and endanger commercial airplane flights and airline employees and passengers. Cruz and Rubio and their cronies claim that "there is significant uncertainty around the efficacy of this mandate, as highlighted by the CEO of Southwest Airlines" so the perpetrators-- many of whom were violent-- shouldn't be punished by being put on a no fly list. They wrote that "Creating a federal 'no-fly' list for unruly passengers who are skeptical of this mandate would seemingly equate them to terrorists who seek to actively take the lives of Americans and perpetrate attacks on the homeland."
The problem with their logic is that no one was suggesting anyone be put on a "no fly" list because of what they believe, just for what they were convicted of having done. The only passengers who would be targeted by this list are ones who took violent and dangerous action. Unsaid in the complaint is that the vast majority of unruly and violent passengers are Republicans and Trump supporters.
The 8 extremist senators "argued that the Transportation Security Administration 'was created in the wake of 9/11 to protect Americans from future horrific attacks, not to regulate human behavior onboard flights.'"
Earlier this month, Delta Air Lines chief executive Ed Bastian sent a letter to Garland urging him to support industry efforts to create a national list that would bar those convicted of onboard incidents from travel. Airlines maintain their own lists of passengers who are barred from traveling but don’t share information with other carriers. Bastian said Delta has 1,900 people on its no-fly list.
As recently as last weekend, two American Airlines flights were forced to divert from their destinations because of unruly passengers. In one case, a passenger attempted to open the main passenger door while the aircraft was in flight.
Unions representing airline workers have argued that a centralized list is necessary because a passenger banned from one airline can simply book a flight on another carrier.
In a statement Tuesday, the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA called the eight senators’ letter “irresponsible and political brinkmanship that puts our economic security at risk right along with our lives.”
“Homeland security is homeland security,” said the union’s president, Sara Nelson. “Our flights are under attack by a small number of people and it has to stop. … This is not about ‘masks,’ and the worst attacks have nothing to do with masks. You’re either for protecting crew and passengers from these attacks or you’re against.”
Attempting to open the main passenger door while the aircraft is in flight may be perfectly normal behavior in the eyes of a party that calls a violent and murderous insurrection "legitimate political discourse." And kooks like Cruz and Rubio may want to stick up for the "freedom" of their fellow crackpots to open a cabin door in mid-flight, but the airlines are thinking about their employees and passengers-- and bottom line, since who would want to fly if Cruz and Rubio get their way and encourage passengers-- many drunk-- to act out in a way that puts everyone's lives at risk?
Florida Senate candidate and former Orlando congressman, Alan Grayson was thinking along the same lines. This morning, he told me that "It’s interesting how the same people who think that the Jan. 6 attempted coup was 'legitimate political discourse' also think that some maskhole who tries to open the door of the plane while it’s in flight deserves another chance to do so-- 'better luck next time,' Marco Rubio says."