CNN political commentator Dean Obeidallah explained that the recent news that another unruly passenger grounded a flight isn't just an occasional thing with a slight uptick in activity. In fact, airplane freak outs have grown to nearly 20 times higher than normal years.
Writing for CNN.com, Obeidallah calculated that it amounts to almost 18 incidents daily.
"Are we just becoming more brutish as a people? Has the isolation caused by Covid-19 restrictions made us less civil?" he asked. "Perhaps. But one other fact about these incidents tells us there may be something else likely contributing to the aggression: Trumpism."
According to the report from the airlines, these passengers lost their minds and turned to violence as a result of the mask mandate.
"Who was it who publicly mocked people for wearing masks? Oh yeah, Donald Trump," he recalled.
What's worse is that he anticipates that this will continue and even grow worse.
"Disturbingly, we can likely expect more incidents involving anti-maskers on planes given that the Transportation Security Administration recently extended the face mask requirement at airports and on board commercial aircraft through September 13," Obeidallah wrote. "These mask haters should know that the penalty for those who engage in unruly behavior could be far more than being just escorted off a flight. The FAA's 'zero-tolerance' policy for such conduct has resulted in the agency seeking fines of $9,000 to $15,000 against individual passengers."
The question, he closed, is whether the penalties will be enough for people to act like adults.
US President Joe Biden will seek to restore bonds of trust at NATO's first post-Trump summit on Monday, as leaders push to revitalise the alliance despite differences over dangers ahead.
The allies will agree a statement stressing common ground on securing their withdrawal from Afghanistan, joint responses to cyber attacks and relations with a rising China.
Biden's predecessor Donald Trump undermined faith in the West's security architecture by questioning Washington's commitment to defend European partners.
And he clashed publicly with counterparts the last time leaders met in 2019, before abruptly heading home early.
In contrast, Biden has firmly reasserted American backing for the 72-year-old military alliance -- and his administration has been making a show of consulting more with partners.
But there remain divisions among the allies on some key issues -- including how to deal with China's rise and how to increase common funding.#photo1
Partners are concerned about the rush to leave Afghanistan and some question the strategy of an alliance that French President Emmanuel Macron warns is undergoing "brain death".
"We do not view NATO as a sort of a protection racket," Biden said Sunday after a conciliatory G7 gathering in Britain.
"We believe that NATO is vital to our ability to maintain American security."
He stressed the United States had a "sacred obligation" to the alliance and the principle of collective defence, promising he would "make the case: 'We are back', as well".
The summit at NATO's cavernous Brussels headquarters is set to greenlight a 2030 reform programme.
The leaders will agree to rewrite the core "strategic concept" to face a world where cyber attacks, climate change, and new technologies pose new threats.
Looming large in the background is the scramble to complete NATO's hasty withdrawal from Afghanistan after Biden surprised partners by ordering US troops home by September 11.
- Russia remains, China rises -
"I'm very confident that this summit will demonstrate the strong commitment by all NATO allies to our transatlantic bond," NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told AFP.
"We have a unique opportunity to strengthen our alliance."#photo2
European diplomats insist that confronting an emboldened Russia remains the "number one" priority for an alliance set up to counter the Soviet threat in the wake of World War II.
Moscow's 2014 seizure of Crimea gave renewed purpose to NATO and fellow leaders will be keen to sound Biden out ahead of his Wednesday meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
On China, Biden is picking up from where Trump left off by getting NATO to start paying attention to Beijing and is pushing for the alliance to take a tougher line.
But National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, briefing reporters from Air Force One, played down how big a part this would play in the statement. "The language is not going to be inflammatory," he said.
Many allies are wary of shifting too much attention away from NATO's main Euro-Atlantic sphere.
"This is not about moving NATO into Asia, but it's about taking into account the fact that China is coming closer to us," Stoltenberg told AFP.
He pointed to attempts by Beijing to control critical infrastructure in Europe, its moves in cyberspace and heavy spending on modern weapons systems.
"NATO has to be ready to respond to any threats from any direction," he said.
- Out of Afghanistan -
As NATO looks to the future, it is putting one of its most significant chapters behind it by ending two-decades of military involvement in Afghanistan.
Allies are patching together plans to try to avert a collapse of Afghan forces when they leave and figuring out how to provide enough security for Western embassies to keep working.#photo3
Biden will discuss a Turkish offer to keep troops at Kabul airport, in a meeting with leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Ankara has offered to secure the essential transport hub, but insists it would need American support.
Sullivan said the leaders would discuss how "our embassies can stay in a safe and secure way in Afghanistan, to be able to do all the things they definitely want to do, providing for the Afghan government and security forces, the people".
But the US president is also set to push Erdogan on Turkey's purchase of Russian missile defences and human rights.
As part of a reform agenda over the next decade, Stoltenberg is pressing for allies to improve political cooperation.
But there have been disagreements over proposals for increased common funding for NATO, with France especially arguing it would distract from efforts by individual nations.
On that front Biden is expected to tone down Trump's rhetoric, bashing allies for not spending enough.
But he will still push European allies and Canada to further boost defence budgets to reach a target of two percent of GDP.
Stoltenberg said allies are expected to sign off on a new cyber defence policy and to create a fund to help start-ups developing groundbreaking technology.
They could also rule for the first time that an attack on infrastructure in space -- such as satellites -- could trigger the bloc's collective self-defence clause.
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) tripled down on his assertion that the attack on the U.S. Capitol wasn't all that bad or dangerous.
Johnson, who didn't encounter any attackers on Jan. 6 and apparently hasn't viewed the closed-circuit camera video showing what happened that day. According to Johnson, he can tell it wasn't an "armed insurrection" because people were walking within the ropes.
That isn't true either, as photos and videos show.
In this video, rioters were seen breaking their way through barriers set up:
Two Senate committees assessing security at the U.S. Capitol in light of January's deadly attack recommended giving… https://t.co/VK2d0yHKz2— Reuters (@Reuters) 1623194400.0
A photo of this man shows that he went outside the ropes as well, into the Speaker's office and put his feet up on her desk:
Federal Judge Orders Man Who Sat At Nancy Pelosi's Desk During Capitol Attack To Remain In Jail… https://t.co/8wbTcbrrbi— GO247 BLOG (@GO247 BLOG) 1611926124.0
Repelling down to the floor of the House and walking onto the Senate floor are also beyond the ropes.
A Reporter’s Footage from Inside the Capitol Siege | The New Yorker www.youtube.com
More videos show several images of Capitol attackers making their way into offices and other Capitol rooms where the public is prohibited.
Inside the U.S. Capitol at the height of the siege | Visual Forensics www.youtube.com
It's unknown why Johnson continues to promote conspiracy theories about the Capitol attack or downplay the seriousness of it.
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