Eric Cantor: Let's Paralyze U.S. Air Transportation and Destroy The Economy

Friday, January 8, 2010

No, that's not verbatim what Rep. Eric Cantor (R-"Mini-Me to Minority Leader Boehner’s Dr. Evil") said, but he might as well have. How so? To explain the idiocy, let's begin with a transcript of Cantor's recommendation that we model the U.S. air transportation system after Israel's.
But look, if anybody's flown El Al lately, look at what they do. There is not a passenger that boards those planes that they don't know everything possible about. And that's what we gotta do, that's the scrutiny with which our safety and security folks needs to be employing right now.
Wow. This is so stupid it's even beyond the usual Eric Cantor Stupid level of stupid. Here's a good explanation as to why:
... like most Republican ideas that sound good on the surface it falls apart on closer inspection. To start with El Al is miniscule compared to even the smallest of regional carriers in the United States. They fly 40 flights a day compared to the 87,000 daily flights in the U.S.

Still, they have really good security, right? That is true, they have great security, but here is what it takes. Every single passenger has to arrive at least 3 hours before an El Al flight. Before you get there, they have divided the passengers up by last name. If you have an Arab last name, you will be guaranteed to have an intensive screening, including a body search. I think this is a big part of why Rep. Cantor is pushing El Al security measures; it is a way to get the racial profiling. that the Conservatives are so in love with, implemented.

There is more, though. Even if you do not have an Arab name you will questioned at length by at least three different screeners. If they do not like your answers, you will be treated to the “high risk” screening like those with Arab names.

Baggage is intensively screened, if it comes from another air-line it is checked through security again. All baggage is put through a low-pressure chamber to simulate being on a plane to keep bombs set for flight from getting on planes.

Then there is on plane security. On every flight, five of the aisle seats are take up by armed undercover air marshals. Most of the cabin crew and flight crew are ex-military (this is more to do with the fact that military service is compulsory in Israel, but bet your bottom dollar Republicans would like to paramilitarize the airline industry).

This may be what it takes for El Al to secure its fleet of 40 planes, but it is completely un unpractical for a nation that flies as much as we do. The U.S. air system is 2175 times the volume of flights of El Al. There is exactly zero chance of scaling up what works for a very small air line to a system that big.

But that is not Minority Whip Cantors concern. He is on Faux News to stoke the fears of their low information viewers and provide a simple solution to a complex problem, even though that never actually works in the real world. Rep. Cantor is not going to talk about the cost or the hassle or frankly the Constitutional issues behind a government agency like the TSA racially profiling Arab Americans. No, that is not his purpose at all.
So, what is Eric Cantor's purpose here? Very simple: partisan, political gain via fearmongering, nothing more and nothing less. One thing's for sure, Eric Cantor's purpose is not to be helpful or constructive in any way. In fact, if Cantor were in charge of our government and his cuckoo-for-Cocoa-Puffs idea to make the United States just like Israel were implemented, he'd effectively paralyze the U.S. air transportation industry and bring our entire economy to a grinding halt. Which is why I say, "thank [insert deity here] this irresponsible, blowdried, bubble-headed fool is nowhere near the levers of power."

P.S. I just thought of another level of "teh stupid" here: aside from being wildly impractical, Eric Cantor's proposal to have the government "know everything possible about" you violates pretty much everything Republicans claim to believe about limited government, personal privacy, you name it.