Loose Canons

Algore Akbar!

The cultist EU is about to impose cap-and-trade on U.S. airlines. Our president will approve, instead of declaring Europe a no fly zone.

By 10.10.11

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Every Europe-bound U.S. airliner is about to be hijacked. No, not by box cutter-wielding Saudis or squads of Nigerian explosive underwear bombers. This attack is mounted by a bunch of euro-grifters who are about to impose the European Union's "cap and trade" global warming tax on every flight landing in the EU.

You might think that the fact of the euro's downward spiral might focus the EU bureaucracy on saving their own phony baloney jobs before the euro's dissolution. But you'd be wrong, because the global warming crowd is just as much of a cult as the Islamofascisti who try to blow up their shoes and underwear to kill their fellow air passengers. They are just as fanatic, too. They probably mumble "Algore Akbar!" under their breath while smiling politely at our objections.

As the Financial Times has reported many times over the past few months, the EUnuchs "cap and trade" scheme is the largest such in the world and although aviation accounts for only 2-3% of the global carbon dioxide emissions every year, the EU will impose its costs and burdens on every aircraft flying into or out of Europe beginning in January.

Consider, please, the brazenness of the Euro "Algore Akbar" cultists. Even if we accepted the nonsensical theory of man-made global warming, the imposition of the EU cap and trade scheme on U.S. airlines would be impermissible. Perhaps they can impose another tax -- call it what you will, but this is all the cap and trade scheme is -- if they craft it within proper limitations. But limitations are not for the Algore Akbar! cult.

The way the EU plan will be imposed on U.S. airlines will be to grant them "permits" to emit carbon dioxide and such under certain limits each year. Those limits will, of course, be much lower than the estimated emissions to force the airlines to buy more "allocations" from the EU and create a "market" in which to buy and sell them. Of course, that market will be European and subject to European regulations and corruption. (Think about auctioning guns in a Mexican border town or the insurance "cooperatives" set up under Obamacare.)

And even that is not the worst of it. The emissions included in the amount regulated, taxed, and traded will not just be those flowing from engine exhausts in European skies. The regulated/taxed/traded emissions of, for example, a Los Angeles to London flight will be the entire amount from takeoff to landing despite the inconvenient truth that about 99% of the flight occurs over U.S. territory and the Atlantic.

And that's the point. With a brazenness that would make Lady Gaga or even Harry Reid blush, the EU is imposing its power and its ability to tax on actions that occur entirely within the United States and over the free oceans of the world.

This is, to state the obvious, an invasion of U.S. sovereignty and a limitation of our freedom of navigation in the air and at sea. In better times -- say, for example, the two previous centuries -- any nation or group of nations that tried to impose a tax on American shipping sailing U.S. waters or on the high seas would have bestirred a rather different reaction than the non-response from Team Obama. Wars have been fought -- justly -- over less than this.

But all this, we are assured, is a matter of international law. As Judge Bork memorably wrote a few years ago, there's no such thing. International law -- except for the law of war, which was used in earlier times to punish war criminals -- is just international politics written down. Which the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg proved last week when its advocate general issued her preliminary opinion dismissing the grounds for the case brought by two U.S. airlines -- United Continental and American -- to overturn the law.

(India is also fighting the EU airline cap and trade law, and will achieve no better result.)

The advocate general -- formally, an advisor to the court -- issues opinions that aren't binding on the court, but usually presage the court's decisions. The only difference is the court uses paper even more expensively produced with fancier seals.

The ECJ-AG opined that "EU legislation does not infringe the sovereignty of other states or the freedom of the high seas guaranteed under international law, and is compatible with the relevant international agreements."

The State Department issued a harrumph at the ECJ-AG opinion last week, reaching the startling conclusion that the ECJ case isn't likely to resolve this dispute. While Attorney General Holder is busy dodging questions on "Fast and Furious," there's no reaction from the Justice Department or the White House. Why?

You, dear reader, already know the answer. It is because President Obama doesn't object to the Europeans doing indirectly what he can't do directly. Our president picks and chooses the laws he likes, and his ever-willing Attorney General agreeably declines to enforce those that Obama disdains.

Even liberals should be objecting to the EUnuchs' scheme. Their objection, of course, would be that the tax take won't go into the U.S. treasury. How dare someone take the "enhanced revenue" the libs want to control and spend?

So where do we go from here? Contempt should be our airlines' policy. Contempt of the EU, contempt of its court, and an utter refusal to pay the tax or trade the "allocations." The airlines should form an alliance with Indian airlines -- and those of any other nation so inclined -- to refuse to pay or engage in the trade of the EU cap and trade allocations/tax.

U.S. airlines are running on such a thin financial string that they must be at least tempted to simply ignore the European law and court rulings and let the fines stack up. American companies are, with some justification, pretty gun shy of this sort of political/legal dispute, but the airlines are in a position where they may not be able to do anything else.

In this case, they should stand fast. The EU law will almost certainly be upheld by the EU court, and go into effect in January. It can be safely ignored. Few, if any, European leaders will pay attention to it even if -- a decade hence -- it's the last vestige of the failed European Union.

The EU's financial meltdown and the failure of the euro currency have reached the stage of inevitability. Rumors abound that Germany -- the most productive and richest economy in Europe -- has begun printing Deutschmarks secretly in anticipation of the euro's failure.

When the euro fails, and the members of the Brussels branch of the Algore Akbar! cult are out of a job, no one will remember the airline cap and trade law. Between now and then, American companies and people are obliged by history to refuse to obey it.

Freedom of navigation at sea and in the air is an essential part of American economic freedom. The EU cap and tax scheme being imposed on our airlines is no different from the British tea taxes and stamp acts of colonial times. The only permissible answer to it is, "Go to hell, Europe." Anything else would be, literally, un-American.

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About the Author
Jed Babbin served as a Deputy Undersecretary of Defense under George H.W. Bush. He is the author of several bestselling books including Inside the Asylum and In the Words of Our Enemies. He is coauthor (with Herbert London) of the new book The BDS War Against Israel. You can follow him on Twitter@jedbabbin.