A pilot friend sends along this testament to Francis’ prescience

…on just one little aspect of how the global economy is headed for suicide:

1) The Obama administration has opened a US Customs pre-check facility in Dubai, despite the objections and protests of the major US airlines, both management and labor (the pilots, in particular). This is a HUGE security risk that will allow passengers boarding US-bound aircraft in Dubai to clear *US* customs in the heart of the Arab Middle East. Those passengers, upon arrival, will be able to simply walk off the aircraft and into the US.

2) Again, despite the loud objections and protestations of the US airline industry, both management and labor, the US Congress is pressing forward to eliminate laws and rules that prohibit “cabotage.” Once those protections are gone, non-US airlines will be able to arrive in the US, unload their passengers, then reload with US passengers and fly them to another US destination. So an Emirates Air A-380 could arrive at JFK from Dubai, off load its 500 passengers, then take on another 500 US passengers and fly them to LA for some obscenely low price that the US airlines will never be able to match. The UAE funds its flag carriers with huge amounts of petro-dollars, fully expecting them to *not* turn a profit, with the intent of driving the world’s other airlines (and US airlines in particular) into ground. They very much want to dominate the commercial aviation industry and are paying off our Congress critters to achieve that end.

One of my airline pilot colleagues told me that his father-in-law, an economics professor at a top-rung university, studied the cabotage issue. His opinion as a disinterested, agnostic party: it’s a done deal — our Congress is being paid off to give the UAE the upper hand they seek.

3) The following article is merely a harbinger of what is coming. The UAE’s efforts are well underway.

Jesus, I trust in you.

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  • Peggy

    I agree that such things are serious problems and cause for great concern, but they don’t support the thesis that the world economy needs war to grow. These problematic policies are the result of an agreeable relationship between the US and Dubai, however wrongheaded they are. Now, something could go wrong and result in further military action. But UAE is rather westernized and benefits from productive participation in the global economy. Does that mean they will be careful in security? Not necessarily. But something going wrong won’t help them either. War and international disputes contract economic activity.

  • KM

    When even the Goldman Sachs CEO starts noticing that “income inequality is destabilizing and responsible for divisions in the country,” then you know it’s not all peachy. Increasing divisions can lead to conflict.


  • Sherry

    Just today, I got offered FREE Solar panels for my home, the goal of the company is to give away the product at a minimum price, so that we then pay them instead of the local utilities, driving the electric company out of business eventually while the new company doesn’t have to turn a profit as it has government grants for being green energy, and thus once the utility is gone, they will make money as the new game in town. I was told this by the sales person when I asked how they could make money giving away their product.

  • Adolfo

    Just how cheap are we talkin’?

  • kirthigdon

    These are two pretty much unrelated issues, neither of which has anything to do with war profits. As far as the first one is concerned, I don’t see the problem with customs pre-clearance at point of departure as long as security checks are satisfactory. Isn’t it even preferable to have contraband detected before it is loaded on a plane rather than when it reaches its destination? The real security problem is allowing travel agencies in Saudi Arabia to issue US visas. This was done prior to 9/11, discontinued for a few years thereafter, reinstated by Bush and still in effect as far as I know. It was a boon to the 9/11 hijackers who were able to enter the US “legally”. Once in country, they got their training, their box cutters, and their planes. The problem is letting dangerous people into the country. Once here, they can easily arm themselves without contraband.

    On the second issue, I’m unfamiliar with present law. Do other foreign carriers get to practice this “cabotage”? Certainly the US airlines are doing a good job of combining, cartelizing, and raising prices to their customers. As an occasional air traveller, I pay more for fewer choices than I did a few years ago. I wouldn’t mind paying “some obscenely low price” to visit family more often even if I pay it to some of those hated Ay-rabs.

    Kirt Higdon

  • Mickey Jackson

    As far as I’m aware, customs preclearance facilities in other countries are manned by U.S. border agents and subject to the same laws and security procedures as the facilities at U.S. airports. We’ve had similar facilities in Canada and Ireland for years.

    As for cabotage, it’s possible that the U.S. airlines have a point about foreign governments’ subsidies of their flag carriers. With that said, keep in mind that the airlines are big corporations in an increasingly oligopolistic market, as anyone who’s flown recently knows; and, like all oligopolists, they’re eager to use regulation to prevent new entrants. If there are truly legitimate safety concerns then of course the government should step in, but in general we should all be suspicious when big corporations try to protect themselves from competition. Consumers don’t benefit from industry protectionism (and it seems a little strange to invoke Pope Francis, of all people, in support of corporations’ efforts to maintain market power at the expense of, well, everyone else).

    Bottom line, IMHO: a lot of the Pope’s statements about modern capitalism are dead-on, but I don’t see these two anecdotes as being particularly related to what he’s said.

  • tz1

    You mean if I take a cruise to Dubai, I won’t be masturbated by the TSA in a connecting flight home?

  • Danny Getchell

    If the US carriers weren’t so hellbent on achieving customer service pitched somewhere between a Mumbai jitney and 1975 Aeroflot, they would have much less to fear regarding an end to cabotage.

  • Ye Olde Statistician

    Just like similar US Customs preclearance stations in Bermuda, Freeport, Dublin, Shannon, Toronto, Montreal, Halifax, etc.
    These posts are manned by US personnel.