The Other Hostage Crisis

'Tis the season to be shutting down entire portions of the government if the Republicans' demands aren't met.

The Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) operating authority expires on Friday and the air travel safety agency may not open again Monday, since Congress has thus far failed to pass a re-authorization and funding bill. The FAA has been reauthorized without much controversy 20 times, but now, House Republicans are insisting on including a provision to weaken collective bargaining rights for airline workers.

Republicans want to overturn a 2010 ruling by the National Mediation Board, the federal agency that mediates labor disputes for airline and railroad workers, which would make union elections more fair and democratic by counting votes of only those voting, instead of all eligible workers. Naturally, Republicans are opposed to any expansion of workers’ rights and are now threatening to shutdown the agency if they don’t get their way, since the Senate has made it clear it will not approve the House version of the re-authorization bill and President Obama has vowed to veto it.

The FAA's operating authority ends on Friday, and if operating authority isn't extended, as many as 32,000 FAA employees may be furloughed.

There's more to it than just a desire to kill airline unions though, as ThinkProgress notes:

House Transportation Committee Chairman John Mica (R-FL) added a provision that would eliminate federal subsidies to rural airports — specifically, those in states represented by key Democratic senators. The provision targets airports in the states of Sens. Harry Reid (D-NV), the majority leader; Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), chairman of the committee which has primary jurisdiction over FAA legislation; and Max Baucus (D-MT), chairman of the committee that has jurisdiction over the aviation tax portions of the bill.

When asked about the motives behind Chairman John Mica's provision to eliminate federal subsidies in districts represented by Democrats, Mica said "It’s just a tool to try to motivate some action to get this resolved."

Or in other words -- vote for our bill to weaken union rights and strip federal funding from your own districts or we'll shut down the entire FAA.

John Mica would also like a fully-fueled jet waiting for him on the runway so he can make a speedy getaway following the collection of his ransom.

  • http://twitter.com/bphoon Brian C

    Shutting down the FAA is like pushing a blind person out into traffic and expecting him/her to avoid getting hit.

    Shutting down the FAA would bring a tremendous amount of commerce in this nation to a screeching halt.

    Shutting down the FAA would cost airlines and other adjunct businesses billions in lost revenue.

    Shutting down the FAA would cost local municipalities and their airport commissions billions in lost revenue.

    Why do Republicans hate America so much?

  • SharksBreath

    Tell me again while Obama continues to bend over for these terrorists instead of destroying them.

    Not prosecuting Bush has worked wonders for bringing the country together hun.

    Should have prosecuted his ass so everyday on the news people would have been reminded how the GOP are traitors for everything this country stands for.

    But let’s look forward.

    How’s that working out for ya.

    • JMAshby

      Since you obviously haven’t been paying attention, the president has essentially destroyed them. The Republicans have backtracked all the way from asking for $4 trillion in deficit reduction to now considering a debt ceiling increase with $0 deficit reduction.

      And what exactly does that, or any of your other babble have to do with the topic?


      • Lexamich

        JM, you have to understand that the talking points these trolls are prepped with inform them that they should be angry with President Obama for not prosecuting the Bushies.

        These dopes might as well show up with some sort of “plant” insignia attached to their pseudonyms. I, in fact, have first-hand knowledge that they’ve been planting Republicon trolls incognito for at least six years. I posed as one of them. I sat in their virtual meeting sessions in different chat rooms where they devised plans to repeat the current “liberal” talking points in order to legitimize themselves. Matter of fact, they’re still sending greetings to the dummy accounts I had on AOL, Google, and Yahoo. These fraud-peddlers and impostors are still in the business of recruiting folks. I delved into the abyss of Republicon trolldom for the sake of understanding one of my former patients. I did this during my off-hours, mostly on weekends and such. I believe I’ve told this story here on Cescaville before, but I was privy to the fact that they recruit and pay various rightwingers – ne’er do wells and such – to use to post comments on various blogs in order to promote Con-servative causes. They also recruit them to help out in local elections. One outlet actually paid a band of budding neo-Nazis, which is how I became aware of the phenomenon. I’m not at liberty to discuss each and every detail, so I speak in a general sense.

        Around 2005, they started infiltrating liberal blogs in order to promote Bush’s valiant efforts at stamping out the terrorists, standing up for illegal immigrants, keeping the economy stable etc. It’s actually very easy to infiltrate their own blogs and such. You simply have to post the most ignorant, foul, and ridiculous liberal-bashing statements for a little while, and the fellows hanging out on these blogs will invite you into their circles. Also, understand that they use “sockpuppet” accounts. Many sockpuppet accounts. They game the systems by way of cell phones, some they buy from stores directly, others they get access to from family connections. The latter entails their using their relatives’ various e-mail accounts, sometimes without their knowledge.

        You want to know how to spot these trolls? Don’t stick to a single topic. Switch up your various online conversations if you ever find yourself in the unfortunate position of actually dignifying their circular arguments. Most of the trolls are not able to keep up with broadened discussions. They’re prepped with a few liberal bugaboos that they repeat over and over again in order to appear passionate. Anything beyond those is cause for them to cry about another’s intolerance or some other such hypocritical nonsense. The truth is their facade is beginning to fall apart, so they attempt to play victim in order to garner sympathy not only from those they’re lambasting, but from the wider audience observing the “debate.” They also love to congratulate themselves for voicing their opposition to President Obama and/or various Democrats. Look for that. They cannot help being vain in their duplicity.

        Oh, for some trolls, the more posts they leave the more they get paid, as well. Their benefactors have ways of checking how many comments they’ve left. They also drop in certain product placements in their comments. So if you’re arguing with a troll, and he start mentioning say, for example, a local pizza joint they supposedly hang out at or a small business that makes shoehorns that they frequent, know that that is a paid troll/plant. I’ve ocassionally made the mistake of fueling their shenanigans when I berate them online. Giving them cause to post many replies is exactly what they want you to do. When you’re in the moment, sometimes you can’t help but have fun at their expense, but you may also be contributing to their cause of lining their pockets. Use caution. For a wider example of this, see Sarah Palin and Christine O’Donnell.

        I’m leaping to conclusions based on a single comment from the concern troll you were addressing, JM. I do this because when I see the signs of a fraud, I speak on the fact. As you yourself noted, JM, the “Bush prosecution” jive is way off the subject. So why was it brought up? It may be because your headline and subsequent observations are so persuasive that the concern troll felt the need to switch the subject to some OTHER liberal concern that you may or may not be in the mood to discuss. Trolls see reticence and hesitation to bicker as an opening to badger. I’m surprised the concern troll did not return to belabor the point about the current president not going after the previous administration like a vain crusader. That’s an old petty concern that was being passed around not two months after Obama’s inauguration. One could mention the various crises that he had to manage right from jump or the fact that he hadn’t even formed a full committee to deal with such matters, but they’ll never be convinced that Obama could not have gone after Bush like in a Law & Order episode. The troll’s fleeing could be simple laziness, or perhaps they’d simply overwhelmed themselves with the postures. I can’t say for certain. But I do know what it all resembles.

        Stand up to the scourge of the Republicon plant mob.

        • i_a_c

          Thank you for this, Lex. I know for sure that there are Ron Paul plants on liberal websites. But they aren’t so subtle–they try to convince users that Ron Paul is more progressive than Barack Obama. Which is a flat out lie, but whatever.

          I have no doubt in my mind that the GOP has instigators trying to turn liberals against the president and Democrats. They want the leftists to find another Nader and vote for him.

          I wonder if the Democrats have anyone trying to push teabaggers toward a third party. I wouldn’t doubt it.

        • Dan_in_DE

          Excellent rundown on this, Lexaburn

          I spent a little time yesterday searching the web for info on paid trolling, and couldn’t find much at all. It’s really hard to prove that any of this is really happening. Paid trolling is a very secretive industry by nature; its effect wouldn’t be worth shit if everyone was aware that all these concerned commenters have been put up to it, so to speak. It’s carried out by professionals in PR firms, which makes it really hard for us to prove that this really is what’s going on.

          So it’s no surprise that there’s little solid information available on the subject. I was only able to find one good article on the subject. You should check it out here at Alternet. The Bivings Group, reported on in this story, appears to be setting up companies with a specialized software interface to help them monitor and comment on relevant internet discourse, as if they were merely concerned citizens rather than industry employees.

          Let’s not exaggerate the problem – If paid trolling was really as widespread as a lot of us imagine, then we would have lots of examples of PR firms offering internet presence/commenting services, but this apparently isn’t the case. I don’t think that it could possibly be as prevalent as it often seems. Nonetheless, it’s really important that we get the all the hard evidence that’s out there recorded. I think the stories that we have here, between Lexaburn and others, need to be put together in such a way, that they become part of the record on this subject.

          • Lexamich

            See, the thing is, before I’d actually took part in a few charades, I’d have doubted the story completely. I know of the one group that was helping out in NJ and PA. One of my clients’ son and his buddies were helping out in a few local elections for at least three years before I took the boy on as a patient. Mind you, this is a boy that pretty much decided he couldn’t stand African-Americans, yet for that money, he was all to willing to pretend to be one online.

            I can’t go too much into what we discussed, but know that during our final meetings (which were group sessions), he was in the process of dropping the bigot front. He had to because he was being forced to eat besides people of all races and backgrounds. There was no one there for him to use as an anchor for the bigotry. This is why I figure he was so honest about how he earned some of his money. He had nothing to gain keeping it close to his chest, and he would not be participating, what, with his being locked up and all.

            The virtual circle I was chatting with online, they were pretending to be Latinos and individuals affected by Hurricane Katrina. I’m not sure whether any of these guys were neo-Nazi. They were more likely rightwing bigoted busy-bodies that got a little too caught up national politics. They were not necessarily telling folks they were going to pay them like the group employing the neo-Nazis. These were more like elaborate pranksters seeking to pick on liberals on their home turf online.

            The part I mean to emphasize is that the trolls are seldom very good at carrying on extended conversations with those they mean to harass, which is why they are constantly on attack mode. Hostilities hide their true agenda, and people should be able to recognize the people that go out of their way to be insulting to Democrats on these Lib forums.Things can never be calmed down, so once they’ve exhausted their salvo of ad hominems, they proceed to accuse they play victim of the intolerance of others. They are very good at playing victims. Hell, in order to fit in with the dummies, I basically complained about everything from John Kerry and Al Gore to Kanye West. Victimhood is like a religion to rightwingers. Something “foreign” has always effected their personal income, their freedom, that of their children etc. Ugh, just thinking about their self-centered, completely asinine rants about Democrats and religion.

            Oh, the dummies had NO clue about then-Senator Obama. They were focused on Hillary, and only Hillary. Obama was not on any of their radars back in 2005-06. I, for one, find it all hilarious. Goodness, you should have read the things they wrote about Hillary during those chat sessions. You know how some children cry in crowded areas to get their parents to buy them something? Well, these dudes figured if they complained about the menace of Hillary loudly enough, they convinced the “liberal,””devil,””libturd,” media to report on just how big a threat to national security she was. Again, just think about this as you watch President Obama. THEY HAD NO IDEA HOW HE WAS GOING TO BLOW UP. I’m chuckling just thinking about it.

            Ohh, they’re so silly, these con-servaknaves. Silly and hilarious.

  • i_a_c

    Oh, fucksake. Can we not even reauthorize the fucking FAA without political grandstanding? What is the deal with these Republicans? Do they think the United States is a third world country that can’t even offer basic services like the FAA without bribes and hostages?

  • MrDHalen

    As a pilot, I find this disgusting. These agencies are what have made this a first rate nation. Pilots enjoy a strong FAA because it is what keeps flying safe and manufactures responsible. Republicans are just the sick, twisted, I don’t even know anymore, crap.