Selling our Ports

How can this be?
How can it be OK to give control of our ports to a foreign company, let alone one in a nation with ties to 9/11?

UAE Co. Poised to Oversee Six U.S. Ports
By TED BRIDIS , 02.11.2006, 09:41 AM

"A company in the United Arab Emirates is poised to take over significant operations at six American ports as part of a corporate sale, leaving a country with ties to the Sept. 11 hijackers with influence over a maritime industry considered vulnerable to terrorism."

Senator Schumer was just on television voicing his concern about this. He basically said there was a committee, that nobody ever heard of, that o.k.'d this proposal in the middle of the night.

Where is everyone else?
Where is the big outcry?
I would think that everyone would be just as, or even more, upset about this than we were about the Chinese Co. that tried to buy Chevron.

That was oil. This is about security against threats coming directly through our 'Ports of Entry'.

It should be against the law! NOW!

Posted by Dawn at February 13, 2006 7:55 AM
Comment #124193


I’m glad to see that someone on the Right actually recognizes that this is a BAD thing!

Of course, since Bush isn’t objecting to it, you’ll probably be labelled a left-wing pinko-commie tree-hugger before long. After all, if Bush can be trusted with unchecked wiretap authority, why can’t we trust his judgement here?

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at February 13, 2006 8:32 AM
Comment #124231


Are you really suprised? If you are, you have totally misread the political situation today. The name of the game is m-o-n-e-y. Somewhere, somehow, the members of whatever commitee that okayed this will benefit. For all of the talk and bluster about domestic security coming from the hallowed halls of Congress, when it comes down to the bottom line, it’s still money. I believe there are some in Congress who would sell their mothers and sacrifice their first born if they could figure out a way to make a buck. And, I’m talking about both sides of the aisle.

If this deal goes through, it will make a good platform for a group of anti-incumbent candidates to run for Congrss, and I say more power to them. If I have the opportunity I will definitely vote for one of them.

If anyone can find out the name of the commitee that passed this neat little piece of treason, please post it here.

Posted by: John Back at February 13, 2006 9:28 AM
Comment #124253

Here we go again. Shades of Jimmah Catah giving away the Panama Canal to China. Remember the Huthcinson-Whampoa attempt to buy Long Beach? Seems as if Bush just wants to sell us out to the highest bidder, terrosist ties or not be damned. You can bet there was some serious lobbying going on behind the scenes on this deal. I’m sure the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment was wined and dined for this. Note that one of the deal agreements was that the committee NOT formally investigate the purchase. Another that Bush could not block the deal. Some real slimy back-room deals happening on this.

Posted by: Beak at February 13, 2006 10:23 AM
Comment #124255

If money is the game, simply refuse to by any products (gas or otherwise) from this “outside” company. Make sure to research which American companies DON’T use “terrorist” country oils, there are a few, and f*$k the rest. Power is with the consumer. Buy smart and your, OUR country will profit. Good hunting!

Posted by: Raven at February 13, 2006 10:26 AM
Comment #124302

The government claims border security is too difficult.
The fact is, government is failing at one of their most basic, primary functions: National Defense

And, Americans are being victimized daily, but government simply ignores it.

It is just a matter of time.
Government telling you they are doing a good job because there have been no more attacks is incredibly false and irresponsible.

But, our irresponsible bought-and-paid-for incumbents have better things to do with their time. Government is not genuinely interested in National Security, as evidenced by their ignoring warnings about securing cock-pit doors, ignoring the 911 Commission recommendations, and ignoring near wide-open borders. And even though all the dots are screaming “look at me, look at me”, they ignore them until it is too late.

I fear we’ll have to learn the hard way again.

Posted by: d.a.n at February 13, 2006 12:34 PM
Comment #124307

Why haven’t we secured the Mexican border? Because Bush wants big businesses to save money with cheap labor.

Why isn’t the administration doing anything about high heating costs and the price of gasoline? Because petroleum companies wouldn’t be posting $10 billion quarterly profits.

How come health care costs are growing at an average of 30% each year, but personal income isn’t? Because BushCo thinks HMO profits are more important than personal profits.

This should help to answer your questions, Dawn.

Posted by: 0% APR at February 13, 2006 12:52 PM
Comment #124329

Yeah, it is Bush. But, it is really all irresponsible incumbents of all parties.
The irresponsible incumbents won’t allow any common-sense, no-brainer reforms.

National Security is supposed to be one of the governments’ most basic, and important functions.

This is a serious problem.
It is but on of several serious problems.

However, it is all futile until voters get fed-up and do one important thing first…what we should be doing always, all along.

Posted by: d.a.n at February 13, 2006 1:35 PM
Comment #124345

It shows the only thing Bush cares about more than national security is the all-mighty greenback. I think it’s obvious this administration is so pro-business they would (and do) sell out the gov’t to the highest bidder. Too bad we the people can’t summon a hundred billion dollars and pay them to retire.

Maybe we should have a corporate government, 1 share=1 vote (The GOP will naturally have 51% or more of the shares, but hey, it’s the idea that counts). Buy stock, eliminate national debt, and have a say in the government!

If money is the game, simply refuse to by any products (gas or otherwise) from this “outside” company. Make sure to research which American companies DON’T use “terrorist” country oils, there are a few, and f*$k the rest. Power is with the consumer. Buy smart and your, OUR country will profit. Good hunting!

Yeah, that’s easy. I’ll be sure to ask the next gas station attendent if he knows which country the gasoline came from (why not have one pump for gas from Saudi Arabia, one from Iraq ,etc. so we can “influence” the country).
Heck, I should check all the things I buy to see if it tells which port it arrived in. Hopefully instead of made in China, it will say “arrived in Baltimore.”
Now that we have the idea of seriously impacting our country simply buy our purchases, I’ll choose to support a power company that invests in alternative energy, oh wait… There’s only one power company where I live. Two broadband internet providers, which both rip off the consumer. How about movies from studios that don’t use DRM, too bad they all do.

Okay, sorry. I just mean as much as I like capitalism, we learned in the 1800s that pure, laissez-faire economics does not work for the country. Consumers can’t realistically research every little product they buy, and even so, they often don’t have much of a choice. CEOs have a duty to make money for the company and shareholders, not to serve the public. Corporations will not by themselves protect the environment or purchasers.

We need a government that stands up to greedy businesses. It’s supposed to be by and for the people. Sadly, now adays the Bush administration is for the corporations and oil companies.

Posted by: John at February 13, 2006 1:57 PM
Comment #124393

“Why haven’t we secured the Mexican border? Because Bush wants big businesses to save money with cheap labor.”

Ahh sorry but no, you don’t win a cookie.

This is an argument from someone who obviously has a bookshelf filled with conspiracy theories, and may wear a tin foil hat to keep the radio frequencies out.

It was Bush who refuses to shut down the Mexican border because of free labor, but it was Clinton who signed the NAFTA agreement. I’m sure it was Big Willy’s intention to “lock down the Mexican border” as you say with a Free Trade Agreement.

It also must’ve been Bush that started this darn globalization trend in the world’s economy. He probably was also single-handedly behind other countries reducing their boundaries to foreign direct investment.

Look, my point is that with so many things to attack Bush on, why would you choose such a foolish, generalized statement that is not true?

Lock down the Mexican border?? Do you know who many spanish-americans, mexican-americans, etc there are? Since when has this border EVER been completely locked down and how in the WORLD do you blame one person for that, regardless of who it is?

You can’t restrict American companies to NOT using cheaper labor when their foreign competitors aren’t restricted. Do I agree with it outsourcing?? No, and I’m sure many of us probably don’t either, seeing as it could be us to have our jobs displaced.

However, as long as we want to be free to buy what we want from wherever we want, than those companies we work for and rely on need to be free to be as competitive as they can, especially in today’s very competitive global economy.

I have a hangnail…Bush must be behind this…

Posted by: OU812 at February 13, 2006 3:42 PM
Comment #124402

It was Bush who refuses to shut down the Mexican border because of free labor

Should’ve been cheap labor….sorry for the mistype.

Posted by: OU812 at February 13, 2006 4:02 PM
Comment #124410


I never said that Bush needs to “Lock Down” the Mexican Border, as you accuse. I did write that he needs to secure the border, when in fact I probably should have qualified that statement — he needs to do a better job attempting to secure the border, knowing that securing the entire border is a leviathian, and probably impossible, task. So on that part we agree.

Where we may disagree is in my contention that Bush isn’t doing one damned thing to enforce the immigration laws we ALREADY have on the books, nor does he seem to care about the flood of illegals aliens (and perhaps worse) coming across our borders and burdneing the millions of taxpaying citizens who ARE here legally.

On a separate but related note, Ken Mehlman recently announced that he plans on painting the Dems as incapable of defending our country in order for the GOP to win Congressional setas in 2006. Can you in all seriousness defend Bush’s blatant disregard of border security as a positive when it comes to national security?

Unlike you, I do not consider border security as trivial. The fact that you do speaks volumes for the hypocrisy of your party.

Posted by: 0% APR at February 13, 2006 4:17 PM
Comment #124456


Don’t you know the first rule of conservatism? Reduce government. What is the best way to reduce government? Bring in the private sector. According to the Republican mantra, government can’t do anything right and the private sector can’t do anything wrong.

A good part of the military activity in Iraq has been taken over by private contractors. If we can do it there, why not in ports?

By the way, United Emirates are our buddies. Where would we be without them?

Is it really true you are tired of this Republican message? Join the Democrats and work to get rid of this government privatization, thereby making our country safer.

Posted by: Paul Siegel at February 13, 2006 5:49 PM
Comment #124461

Interesting reading, This is a conservative site …???
What happened to the… of the people, by the people government. Please lets all take responsibility, and lets start taking action IE Jim Gilchrest and the minutemen project. Get active and quit your sniveling. Ya all sound like victims. Stand up and act!

Posted by: CZ Fuller at February 13, 2006 5:59 PM
Comment #124491


I can’t believe you hate America so much that you would disagree with your Dear Leader Bush. Don’t you know a Free Market is a good thing?

Posted by: Aldous at February 13, 2006 7:19 PM
Comment #124506

Actually, I don’t remember stating my party which is obviously not the one which you think I’m a part of.

And I do not think that border security is trivial. One could say that the fact that you accuse me of saying things I did not say after I truthfully misqouted you is hypocritical, so please lets not cast stones.

And I also never defended Bush’s enforcement(more like un-enforcement I agree on that point with you.) My point was that he is not the first to do so, and certainly not the worst. Immigration has always been a burden in this country, and at the same time it was what this country was founded on.

I apologize for misqouting you, but don’t call me a hypocrite without looking in the mirror.

Posted by: OU812 at February 13, 2006 7:46 PM
Comment #124546

The borders can and should be secured.
It won’t even be expensive.
It will use resources we already have.
It will eliminate numerous crimes.
It will relieve the burden on school, medical, welfare, law enforcement, prison, and insurance systems.
And the cost of cheap labor is not cheap. That is a myth

Posted by: d.a.n at February 13, 2006 9:26 PM
Comment #124556

This should come as no suprise.
There is no homeland security.
It is all a scam to make your
tax money disapear. The color
code is a diversion tool. Note
how it climbs as polls lower.
There is no commen since left
in the Republican party. Liers
and crooks. How dare I say this?
Because no matter how loyal
a person is to a party the
time comes when one must look
at facts. The party is over now
all that is left is the mess.
The republican party has let
america become a bad joke.
They label anyone who questions
them a liberal evan turning
on members of there own party.
The fact that this kind of a
deal can be made with out a
great deal of fight is just
the kind of thing that proves
a drastic change is needed.

Posted by: Honey P at February 13, 2006 9:55 PM
Comment #124557

What a strange thread.

Starting with the horribly innacurate title “Selling our Ports,” everybody starts free-associating about the evils of capitalism, immigration and border control.

Huh? Did anybody actually bother to look at this story before starting to ramble on about irrelevant issues?

What has happened here is that a British company which already has contracts to MANAGE these ports (and doesn’t “own” them) is being bought out by a company based in the United Arab Emirates.

Now, I don’t much like it either, but it’s not as though these operations are suddenly being privatized as some are suggesting (they were already privatized).

It’s definitely not as though the ports are being “sold.”

And it’s not as though the United Arab Emirates is being awarded these contracts by the Bush administration.

Once again: a British company who already has these contracts is being bought out. If this goes through, the same people who are managing the ports will still be managing it, just with a different home office.

The US government has no authority to stop the sale of this company. All they could do is cancel pre existing contracts.

I agree somewhat that this is a problem. From my point of view, I’d like to see the US cut off all trade relationships with a lot of middle eastern countries.

But without very good reasons to think that a particular company is untrustworthy, we can’t just start banning business contacts in this country for no better reason than we don’t trust Arabs.

If this company has a bad record or terrorist ties, then fine, let’s keep them out. But if they don’t, there’s just no way to do it unless you want to ban all foreign investment in this country. And when that happens, believe me, plenty of others will do the same to us.

Posted by: sanger at February 13, 2006 9:59 PM
Comment #124559


There are two MAJOR stumbling block in the use of the military to secure the border. Do I think that it’s the right idea, yes!, but there is a problem. The national guard is controled by the individual governors and is NOT controlled directly by the President until it is called up by the governor of each state (thus the REAL problem with the Katrina fiasco—despite the horrible performance or FEMA and other government agencies due to red-tape problems). It is a HUGE state’s rights issue. If the President called up the National Guard, the Supreme Court would HAVE to step in and tell him that he does not have the authority to do so. There is a hierarchy of the whole thing. The state official (governor) has to declare a state of emergency or a disaster area. Then it is up to the governor whether or not they want to call up the guard. Then they must petition the federal govt to be considered a federal disaster area. Then the guard can be controlled at the federal level.

Second problem with the military. If you use regular military as “border patrol” it would be considered “policing it’s own citizens” aka martial law. That would also be struck down by the Supreme Court (even with Roberts and Alito). The precedence there is the review of what Lincoln did during the Civil War in DC.

I personally think that there should be something done with the whole situation. The governor of Arizona has declared a state of emergency, but has not called up the guard or applied for a federal disaster relief.

Can you imagine the PC police if we considered a human being (or a group of them) as a “disaster”?

Posted by: Robert at February 13, 2006 10:03 PM
Comment #124564

I support the Minute Man Project as long as they do it peacefully and do not come into contact with illegal aliens. That will lead to trouble that will hurt their cause. But, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the Minute Men only calling the border patrol and reporting illegal trespassers. The danger of coming into contact with illegal aliens is that some Minute Men may get carried away, and harm the illegal trespassers, or vice-versa (i.e. some of the trespassers are drug runners, coyotes, armed, and dangerous). Legal force should remain with the legitamate law enforcement. The Minute Men need to remember that many (not all) of these trespassers are not evil people. The real evil is the greedy corporations that lure them here for sub-miniumn wage jobs, and the government that allows that, and refuse to enforce the existing laws that prohibit it. ____________________________________
…The Minuteman Project is not a call to arms, but a call to voices seeking a peaceful and respectable resolve to the chaotic neglect by members of our local, state and federal governments … more ……Historians will write about how a lax America let its unique and coveted form of government and society sink into a quagmire of mutual acrimony among the various sub-nations that will comprise the new self-destructing America.

The border states are being over-run.
We’ve even got illegal aliens voting in our elections. Securing the borders is not the monumental task that some want you to believe it is. It could easily be done with resources we already have, and a mere 1% of our current 2.6 million active military, guard, and reserves.

Many have proposed many doable plans. While government should enforce the law and punish greedy corporations luring (at great risk to many) illegal aliens to sub-minimum wage jobs, we still must secure our borders, or we will live to regret it. The next attacks may not come from hijacked airlines. They may walk right across the border, completely unobstructed. We have enemies, and they are not going to dissappear any time soon. Al-Qaeda has already been reported to have cross the U.S./Mexico borders.

Please, do not try to play the race card and turn this into a racist thing. I don’t care where illegal aliens come from, what their race is, what nationality they are, or what color they are. It has absolutely nothing to do with that. No soveriegn nation allows illegal trespassers, and for very good reasons. We do not yet live in Utopia. We are not yet free to move about the planet without permission of the government of the various nations.

Posted by: d.a.n at February 13, 2006 10:10 PM
Comment #124569


Those are good points. Yes, sticky points, but points that can easily be worked out.
For example, we already have a coast guard.
And it may not be terribly important whether the border security is executed by state or national forces. The military is responsible for national security. States want the federal government to secure the borders. I see your points, but don’t see them as big problems really. The real hurdle/problem is overcoming the greed that stops government from simply enforcing the existing laws.

Here’s something I think could work out fairly well, uses technology, surveillance cameras, and reduces the total staffing required significantly.

It is doable. The technical, staffing, and resource requirements are not the problem. The problem is corrupt/do-nothing government.

Hence, we are now to the root problem and solution.
No reforms, including the border security problem, can ever be passed until voters do what they are supposed to do, and vote out (or) recall all irresponsible incumbents. That would be most (if not all). Incumbents won’t allow any reforms to be passed. Newcomers are outnumbered by incumbents. Newcomers would like to pass many badly-needed, common-sense reforms, but incumbents pressure, tempt, threaten, shun, and isolate newcomers that don’t accept the status quo. Government is FOR SALE, and rotten to the core. Newcomers need the voters help. Only the voters can now resolve the problem. And, they will some day. The only unknow is how:
(a) The peaceful, less painful way?
(b) Or, the hard, painful way (again)?

Posted by: d.a.n at February 13, 2006 10:29 PM
Comment #124570

Dawn, good post. It’s outrageous that they want to allow this to happen.
Here are a few more of the questions that Shumer is asking regarding the ports of New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Baltimore, New Orleans, and Miami being taken over by the United Arab Emirates.

Posted by: Adrienne at February 13, 2006 10:31 PM
Comment #124575

Honey P,
I understand your frustration.
Most of that is why I’m no longer a Republican.
But, I’m not fleeing to the Democratic party either.
But, parties are not the problem.
The problem is what makes up the parties.
They are people.
Politicians, and voters.
The incumbents are half the problem.
The other half are voters that tolerate it.
But, now, only the voters can change it, because incumbents will not reform themselves, and incumbents will not allow newcomers to congress to pass badly-needed, common-sense reforms either. No reforms are possible if they in any way reduce the incumbents’ power or opportunities for self-gain.

Posted by: d.a.n at February 13, 2006 10:35 PM
Comment #124576

Yes, Dawn,
Good article. It is a very important issue.
It is a national security issue.
What the hell good is Homeland Security?
Next thing ya know, they’ll be running security at the airports too.

Posted by: d.a.n at February 13, 2006 10:39 PM
Comment #124595

Should an Arab-American be allowed to work at an airport? Should one—gasp—be allowed to actually man a metal detector?

It’s funny how liberals suddenly demand racial profiling of companies when they’d scream and yell if it was done to an individual.

Posted by: sanger at February 13, 2006 11:13 PM
Comment #124600


Sure, as long as that person is a citizen of the United States, and can pass a background check. It does not matter what ethnicity, race, color, gender, etc. that person is.

No foreigners (non U.S. citizens) should not be operating metal detectors in airports.

Posted by: d.a.n at February 13, 2006 11:28 PM
Comment #124625

D.A.N., then I have trouble understanding why you’d think a foreign company which has also cleared a background check should be singled out and have the contracts of its British subsidiaries cancelled just because their home office is in the United Arab Emerates.

The US government has nothing to do with DP World’s intention to buy out and merge with the British Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co, and only has the option of cancelling their contracts to manage some operations at some of our ports.

Without solid reasons and a convincing explanation, cancelling such contracts will look like nothing more than racism and invite massive international retaliation.

Is this the kind of “better” diplomacy liberals are always talking about?

One thing I’d like to hear about, which nobody has bothered to mention, is what these port contracts actually entail.

What would DP World actually do? What added vulnerabilities, if any, might arise from an English company with an Arab home office being in charge?

So far, I’ve heard it suggested that they would “own the ports,” but that is obviously false. And I know they’re not in charge of security—that’s the role of the Port Authority.

So what do they actually do? Xerox, mop floors, change the toilet paper rolls, fill out forms in triplicate? Anybody?

I guarantee you that not a single person here raising their routine fuss has any idea what DP World’s responsbilities would actually be.

I’d like to hear and opionion from somebody who actually knows what they’re talking about for a change, but I’m not holding my breath.

Posted by: sanger at February 14, 2006 12:17 AM
Comment #124627

The Gaurd can be called up by the President without the Governors approval. It’s really under the Defense Department and is subject to being called up whenever the President fells it necessary.

Posted by: Ron Brown at February 14, 2006 12:22 AM
Comment #124630


Do you understand the republican neo-con party now??? Do you get it yet? Do you see the whorish nature of things?????

THEY DON’T CARE DAWN, THEY DON’T just like multinationals don’t care and they will try to excuse it. This is a party that gets power to fluff up their own stock portfolio hun, that’s it. How many of them own stock in this company now that they know they could attain US ports????? this is bad sh*t especially from a party that uses 9-11 at every turn. Go independent and take a stand against these people because The Republican Party won’t, I assure you unless it comes from independent members of the republicans on the hill, that they keep calling R.I.N.O’s. Those are the Patriots, the who aren’t afraid to criticize definite troublespots especially with our own national security. Why would they allow the selling of our own national security???? That’s near nihilism.

This is what we mean about bending over for corporations even when it doesn’t meet with OUR AMERICAN best interests. As a Dem this has me livid and just more of an indication that even though a centrist I’m with the right party (even with my odds with some of the democratic leadership they do take responsibility).

This is unconscionable, thank you for bringing it to my attention. Something such as this should never be on the table knowing what we know now.

Posted by: Translator at February 14, 2006 12:29 AM
Comment #124637


What was it 15 of the 19 highjackers of 9-11 were Saudis?? This is a real red flag especially after the mohammad cartoon riots??? I hope history won’t prove me right but if they are overseeing it and they are in with anti-American/anti-Israeli groups (very large ones at that backed by billions in oil revenues) this such a bad idea all of it. What if they decide to do these groups favors being that they do side with them? Where the hell is homeland security in all of this?!

Posted by: Translator at February 14, 2006 12:42 AM
Comment #124657


Just to let you know… to be Anti-Israel is not to be Anti-American. They are not equal in value or in politics.

Posted by: Aldous at February 14, 2006 2:28 AM
Comment #124735


Just to let you know… to be Anti-Israel is not to be Anti-American. They are not equal in value or in politics.

Good point. And to clarify, Anti-Israel is also not Anti-Jew. (As shown by the several Anti-Israel Jews that I know!) Too many people confuse that one, too.

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at February 14, 2006 7:50 AM
Comment #124752


Its interesting to note that Chuck Shumer says “Just as we would not outsource military operations or law enforcement duties, we should be very careful before we outsource such sensitive homeland security duties.” I’d agree with him on this, but he seems to neglect the fact that the outsourcing he is concerned with has already happened.

The ports are already being outsourced. The only difference now is who they are being outsourced to. And of course that must be considered—-and your article mentions that it has, in fact, been considered.

“DP World said it won approval from a secretive U.S. government panel that considers security risks of foreign companies buying or investing in American industry.
The U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States “thoroughly reviewed the potential transaction and concluded they had no objection,” the company said in a statement to The Associated Press.
The committee, which could have recommended that President Bush block the purchase, includes representatives from the departments of Treasury, Defense, Justice, Commerce, State and Homeland Security.”

Control over our ports is obviously an important component of national security. But your story provides weight to my theory that the “left’s” scattershot approach hurts them. They try to bring huge levels of significance to issues that simply don’t rise to those levels of significance. Look at the uproar from WB writers on this issue—and its obvious that most of them don’t even know the details of the issue. Yet that hasn’t stopped them from spouting uninformed opinions.

If the above mentioned committee has done its job properly, then there is no national security risk to this transaction. If they have not, then the relevant question is why not. End of story.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at February 14, 2006 8:25 AM
Comment #124811
D.A.N., then I have trouble understanding why you’d think a foreign company which has also cleared a background check should be singled out and have the contracts of its British subsidiaries cancelled just because their home office is in the United Arab Emerates

I’m against ports being owned and security being operated by anyone but U.S. citizens. That’s all. Everything else should be derived from that constraint.

Is this the kind of “better” diplomacy liberals are always talking about?
sanger, I don’t know. Ask them. I’m not a liberal and not big on labels, but the nearest description of me is probably a centrist with a libertarian leaning.
Without solid reasons and a convincing explanation, cancelling such contracts will look like nothing more than racism and invite massive international retaliation.
Why try to play the race card? I never said any of this had anything to do with race. It doesn’t. It is about national security. How can we secure our borders and ports if we sell them to non U.S. citizens ? And, if we are going to sell ports to non U.S. citizens and entities, there should still be security operated by U.S. citizens, so that there is accountability and no conflicts of interest.
sanger wrote: I’d like to hear an opinion from somebody who actually knows what they’re talking about for a change, but I’m not holding my breath.
Our humble apologies. Would you be so kind to please enlighten all of us? What is your esteemed opinion? Do you not see a security problem? Or, are you for wide-open borders (and ports)? Should we be selling ports-of-entry to foreigners? That’s not to say foreigners can’t own property within the U.S. But, there are some obvious security problems with turning over control and ownership of entry points (borders and ports) to foreign entities. I am for free trade and the least possible government regulation. But there are valid security concerns that Dawn and Schumer have pointed out. If we do sell ports, there should still be a way to ensure security. We will never be invulnerable, but we don’t have to make it easy either. Selling our ports seems sort of like selling our Canada/U.S. border stations to Mexico, and our Mexico/U.S. border stations to Canada. If you are a proponent of wide-open borders, then I can understand such a stance against interferring with such port sales. Otherwise, there is a genuine security issue. Posted by: d.a.n at February 14, 2006 10:53 AM
Comment #124817

The country of Somali is primarily Islamic. In Phoenix, at Sky Harbor Airport, 90% of the cab drivers are Somalis. How did this happen? There are several cab companies and yet this vast majority of drivers are Somali. There are a smidgen of Middle Eastern countries represented by the other drivers. Some will say they are only cab drivers. Where intel and security matters there is no difference in where the people are or what their position is, it presents a difficult position of security.

Posted by: tomh at February 14, 2006 11:10 AM
Comment #124820

I agree with your statement.
The problem is a combination
of the voters not demanding
more of incumbents. But then
I see yet anouther story on
a republican breaking anouther
law. The fact that our republican
created department of homeland
securety has not raised the
alert about such a take over.
Makes clear to me that they
use fear only when it serves them.
A working program is beyond there
grasp. It would not serve them
and might actually get in the way
of there ability to loot our nation.

the fact that diehard republicans
continue to defend this leval of corruption
and incompatance dumbfounds everyone
that takes this nation seriously

Posted by: Honey P at February 14, 2006 11:16 AM
Comment #124842


What sanger pointed out, and what you have yet to discuss, is that the ports in question are already outsourced. Your outrage should be directed there—not at the corporate buyout of the outsourcing company.

Focus on the real issue—not just the symptom, and I think you’ll get more agreement. Discuss, for example, the problem you have with the British company currently contracted to do the outsourcing. Discuss what specifically is outsourced: Is the security of the ports outsourced, the material handling on the docks, the payroll system….etc. Many things can be outsourced without affecting national security. Do you know the details on this, or are you just having a knee jerk reaction to the story?

Posted by: joebagodonuts at February 14, 2006 12:00 PM
Comment #124873


You make a lot of really good points in this thread, and I agree (aieee) with 90% of what you say here. But your posts raised 2 questions in my mind:

1. You say that nothing will change from the shift in ownership. I’d point out that’s not a given. It’s entirely possible (is it probable? No idea.) that the new ownership could implement widespread changes in operations and personnel.

2. You say that this new company “already passed a government background check.” Can you explain or provide more details/evidence?

Thanks, and good posts.

Posted by: Arr-squared at February 14, 2006 1:04 PM
Comment #124893


Your answer is below from an earlier post of mine—-i’ll take the moment to answer for Sanger.

“DP World said it won approval from a secretive U.S. government panel that considers security risks of foreign companies buying or investing in American industry.
The U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States “thoroughly reviewed the potential transaction and concluded they had no objection,” the company said in a statement to The Associated Press.
The committee, which could have recommended that President Bush block the purchase, includes representatives from the departments of Treasury, Defense, Justice, Commerce, State and Homeland Security.”

Posted by: joebagodonuts at February 14, 2006 1:35 PM
Comment #124911


Fascinating. Many thanks.

Posted by: Arr-squared at February 14, 2006 1:57 PM
Comment #124955

If security is being outsourced anywhere at our ports and borders, it is news to me.
Federal law requires the Coast Guard to regulate cargo and passenger facilities. Port operators have to comply with lots of regulations and maritime procedures to facilitate security, but port operators should not be responsible for U.S. port security. The sad fact is that port security (despite the billions to research vulnerable ports) is insufficient to prevent WMD within a container from reaching a U.S. port. The only way to prevent that is to inspect containers before reaching port.

Still, I hate to see the U.S. selling our port operations. They are obviously important assets. But, more importantly, we are in a better position to retain 100% authority and ensure secure ports if we still own them 100%.

Consider this analogy. Land borders also have established points-of-entry, analogous to sea ports. Should we outsource the operation of those points-of-entry to foreign corporations (regardless of the country)? What does that do to the hierarchy of accountability? What conflicts of interest does it pose?

Honey P wrote: The fact that our republican created department of homeland securety has not raised the alert about such a take over. Makes clear to me that they use fear only when it serves them.

No doubt about it. Wire-tapping, and other such power grabs, but the refusal to address border and port security reveals their hypocrisy.

Posted by: d.a.n at February 14, 2006 2:34 PM
Comment #124971


My point was, and still is, that the story is nothing new. The same level of outsourcing at the ports will exist under the new corporation as did under the old corporation. Yet the reaction to the story by WB writers is to suggest that we shouldn’t outsource. Where were they when the outsourcing began? It’s a bit silly to complain about something as if it were new, when its been happening for quite a while.

Also, you say that “port security is insufficient to prevent WMD within a container from reaching a U.S. port.” If its insufficient, to what do you attribute the lack of WMD’s reaching our ports, or do you assume that perhaps some WMD’s have in fact reached our ports. If they have, then to what do you attribute the lack of attacks on American soil?

I’m not looking to disagree with you—-I’d like to see our ports secure. What I’m simply asking is this: If they are so unsecure, why do you think we have not yet had problems as a result?

Posted by: joebagodonuts at February 14, 2006 2:58 PM
Comment #124973

One other thing. I suspect the billions being spent to research sea port security is largely just more corporate welfare. Sea ports are still, now in 2006, very vulnerable. Sea port security is a complex problem, but neither sea port or border security seems very important to this government.

Posted by: d.a.n at February 14, 2006 2:59 PM
Comment #124976

But, we don’t have to keep selling port operations. It’s not too late to remedy the problem.
As for the British company, that’s not the problem. Race, nationality, etc. are not the issues (not unless it was perhaps an Iranian or N. Korean corporation…that would definitely seem like a bad idea).

I don’t think the lack of more attacks is a good indicator of sea port or border security, since we know they are not secure. A little more secure maybe? Slightly.

Why have there been no attacks thus far?
I don’t know. You’d have to ask our enemies, because there isn’t much stopping them. Perhaps they don’t yet have the WMD they need. That’s why they resorted to air liners and conventional bombs in 2001 and 1993? I wouldn’t start celebrating yet. There is much work to do, and I don’t think this government takes sea port or border security as seriously as their desire to wire-tap and argue its legality.

Posted by: d.a.n at February 14, 2006 3:08 PM
Comment #125245


I’m not talking about you knuckle heads I mean terrorists.

Let me throw a scenario at you: Now let’s say there was a comapany that made radiators out of the west bank that the Saudis supported and was funded by Hamas dollars which are Saudi dollars actually. Now they want to bring this stuff to market in the US. Saudis do them a favor in bringing the container over full of radiators for a fair price being that they side with them. Now there is little if any customs and people here in the US come and get that crate and hoist it onto the back of a truck with few checks. It goes back to a safehouse where the crate is opened and hidden inside the radiators are explosive devices and detonators.

That is a bad policy to sell these ports and that scenario was just as complex as 9-11 was.

Posted by: Translator at February 14, 2006 11:40 PM
Comment #125355


I’d agree that a lack of attacks does not mean we are secure. We thought we were secure before 9-11, but a fatal weakness was identified on that day.

I don’t think you’ve addressed one of my questions, though. What areas of the ports are we outsourcing? I don’t believe we have to have control over 100% of the port activities in order to maintain security. We should enforce the security of the ports, and make sure that any subcontractors follow the security guidelines.

As an example, consider subcontracting work at a sensitive facility in the United States. The work is task specific and has nothing to do with the operation of the plant—instead it has to do with building infrastructure. The sub is required to follow all plant safety procedures to the letter of the law. To suggest that the plant is less safe because they are outsourcing something would be wrong. To think that they could perform every duty in house, and maintain efficiency at the same time, is absurd. There are simply many things that they are not efficient at, so they outsource those things and focus on their mission critical issues.

As an example, lets say they outsource the payroll operation. There would be no inherent danger in that, and it would most likely be more efficient than hiring payroll specialists etc to do the work in house. Other similar examples might include vehicle maintenance, building maintenance, accounting, taxation, computer tech support etc.

d.a.n., we agree that our ports need to be secure. That there have been no attacks is an indicator that they might just be more secure than you give them credit for. But lets not overreact to this particular story, which has virtually nothing to do with your desire for safety at our ports. They are two different issues.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at February 15, 2006 8:02 AM
Comment #125497

MONEY MONEY MONEY!!!!Wow can you really believe that the same govenrment that is so concerned about national security that it will wiretap its citizens phones secretely wouldn’t be in an uproar over a company from a nation with terrorists ties can purchase 6 ports of entry to our country? What is next are we going to allow Bin Ladin to purchase property next to the white house, or maybe we will give the terrorists who keep making video taped messages the right to buy a broadcasting network…no I got an even better idea…sell the pentagon to Sadaam

Posted by: astounded at February 15, 2006 2:06 PM
Comment #125595
joebagodonuts wrote: … which has virtually nothing to do with your desire for safety at our ports.

No? I beg to differ. The first sentence of this article is:

How can this be?
How can it be OK to give control of our ports to a foreign company, let alone one in a nation with ties to 9/11?

So, I was commenting on that issue, which is about security.

OK. As you say, there are two issues:
(1) Security.
(2) Who is outsourcing Port Operation.

joebagodonuts wrote: I don’t think you’ve addressed one of my questions, though. What areas of the ports are we outsourcing? I don’t believe we have to have control over 100% of the port activities in order to maintain security. We should enforce the security of the ports, and make sure that any subcontractors follow the security guidelines.

Yes, I beleive that was answered that above. Only operation of the ports is outsourced, not the security, because the Coast Guard, by law, has to do the security. But, port operators have to follow many rules to facilitate security.

I just think we lose some vital controls that do not enhance security, by selling the port operations, since port operations and security are not completely separable.

That’s all.
As for who does the outsourcing if it is outsourced?
That doesn’t matter, as long as they are deemed fit. But, my concern still is that you can never know that. A port operator, if they want, could undermine security.

Posted by: d.a.n at February 15, 2006 6:38 PM
Comment #125686


Posted by: IRVING MANDEL at February 15, 2006 11:08 PM
Comment #125822

Thanks everyone. (I, and the rest of my family, have been ill the past few days.)

To anyone who thought I have just ‘woken up’ to this I would like to say:
I have always been against selling U.S. assets to foreign companies. I never understood why a few dollars would make anyone sell out like that.
Is it the assumption that eventually an American citizen will buy it back?

Seems like everything we do in this country is based on:
Who’s child has to die at that dangerous intersection before they’ll put in a stoplight?’
and of course… the almighty dollar.

Posted by: dawn at February 16, 2006 7:50 AM
Comment #126136


My point is that to change these “little problems” we must change the Article II powers of the President, or have a law that changes the chain of command to allow guard to be placed at the border. Libs (especially now—and personally me as a conservative) would have a HISSY over that. I think that the founding fathers got it right so don’t mess with it!

Ron Brown,

The President may ONLY call up the guard for FOREIGN action (ie Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan). To call them up for domestic uses they must be called up by the individual states. Otherwise, when Rhode Island needed National Guard troops they could call up California guard troops to help. Now they CAN be used with the “permission” of the governor, but they cannot be brought to the fore-front by the President. Makes you think about how much we really need for a “standing military” that was DESIMATED by the Clinton Administration and now is being “stream-lined” (more like down-sized) even more by Bush (something I’m not a fan of). Still a big problem in bureacracy (sp?)!

If you can prove me wrong in the constitution I invite being educated, but I have read it (quite a while ago) and that’s what I remember.

Like it or not, I’m afraid that d.a.n. is right though, there will be a backlash if something is NOT done whatsoever, and it doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen in the next 10 years unless we’re hit again…and again…and probably AGAIN. We, mostly libs (despite the way some conservatives CONSTANTLY trumpet it), have SHORT memories.

Posted by: Robert at February 16, 2006 9:01 PM
Comment #126302

Rep. Peter King(R-NY) has just let us know that he is very unhappy with this approved(doesn’t take much for the committee to do this) deal to sell the ports to the company from UAE.

He said that even though the coast guard would be overseeing the main security of the ports of entry - the company would be given ‘trade secrets’ because they would need to know them to run their day to days.

Posted by: dawn at February 17, 2006 7:32 AM
Comment #126376

Its comforting to know that US ports of entry will soon be under the control of potential terrorists. Im sure Helen Thomas and others within her pinko kind will be quite ecstatic over this approval, which I am sad to say was made by a committee in a republican ran congress. Thats okay, maybe we’ll get hit again. When we do, the nation will be up in arms for about a month. Afterwards, we’ll all forget about it until we get hit AGAIN. Life is way to easy to live nowadays and that is why our nation is filled to the brim with nieve liberals with no long-term memories. A leftist is a terrorist’s best friend.

Posted by: Matt at February 17, 2006 11:32 AM
Comment #126386
d.a.n My point is that to change these “little problems” we must change the Article II powers of the President, or have a law that changes the chain of command to allow guard to be placed at the border. Libs (especially now—and personally me as a conservative) would have a HISSY over that. I think that the founding fathers got it right so don’t mess with it!

Good point. Perhaps expanding the Border Patrol, instead of using the military would be best. There has been some talk of doing that, to get around these complications. That would suffice. It’s doubtful border states will mind that, since a majority of citizens want the borders secured. Arizona and New Mexico have declared a state of emergency, but the federal government still ignores the problem.
People that don’t live along the borders may not really appreciate the negative impact. Some think it is good because it gives us cheaper products. It’s not cheap. There is a very high cost . Not only money, but lives too.

Posted by: d.a.n at February 17, 2006 11:54 AM
Comment #126500

Listen. The blame game is useless. It is a never-ending cycle with no results. To believe that one single president or person is responsible for the very large problems facing this nation is unrealistic and narrow-minded at best. TRY THIS…Go to your search engine, type in ‘contact state representative’, or something similar, and you will find a link to YOUR representative who would like to have your vote next time around, and voice your complaints there. THE SQUEEKIEST WHEEL GETS THE MOST OIL! It takes only moments and anything we can do to stop the treasonous sale of our ports, or control our borders is a very worth cause. While Bush is not perfect, I will certainly take him over people like Al Gore who would pass out vaseline while John Kerry or some idiot like him convinced us all to turn around and bend over!

Posted by: Tia at February 17, 2006 2:55 PM
Comment #127023

I find this action by our country truly disturbing. How can we as a country let this happen? We have arrived to a place in time, where we cater to our enemies in order not to offend anyone. We are so worried about offending other people, that we neglect to take the right course of action in preserving and protecting our citizens and country. I only hope that we as a nation will wake up and smell the coffee. So what if we offend others. So what if we tell them no you can’t buy our ports. I mean we really shouldn’t even deal with these other countries that support terrorism. Plus, look at our South American boarders. We have a huge problem right here at home. We say no big deal we can handle it. England thought the same thing and we all know what happened. They got beat by a bunch of farmers. We as a country should not get high minded. In the end we all put our pants on one leg at a time.

Posted by: bill at February 18, 2006 1:19 PM
Comment #127528

I was so shocked to hear about the U.S. selling our ports. Friday night was the 1st time for me to hear it. The news only had about a 15 second talk on it, I have not heard no more about it…The American people need to be informed. Who made this decicion??? Why were we (Americans) not warned about this? It really should not surprise me, who cares that we (Americans) are offended. It seems as though we offend many now days and our freedom is being taken away. Are we going to have to move out of our own country? Do you think we can go to these other countries and have them stop living their culture because it offends us…Speak up America or we will be no more..God Bless America!!

Posted by: Tina at February 19, 2006 6:16 PM
Comment #128088

I personaly think the selling or allowing the arabs to control our ports would be very huge mistake. Not to mention putting the American people at risk. I for one don’t trust the arabs with our ports. And if they sell or allow them to control our ports whats next? I cant even believe that this is even being considered. I think the people should have a say in this by allowing the American public vote on it. This is our country and it will affect us all. My fear is that America being taken over by these arabs, and turning the US into an islamic country. If they allow this God help us all.

Posted by: T.J. at February 21, 2006 2:24 AM
Comment #128252


I am wondering how anyone could think that the selling of our ports is fine and dandy. How in the world could it be a good idea, to turn our ports over to an arab or any other islamic person.

I certainly pray that this does not happen.

Maybe it would be a good idea to just turn all of
our military installations over to them also…that would be a good way to down-size.

Posted by: PATRICIA ANN LINDSEY at February 21, 2006 3:19 PM
Comment #128333

I am a Republican who voted for GWB twice and support him on many issues. However, he has been a disaster when it comes to defending our borders, and now we find out that he supports selling our ports to a company from the terrorist-enabling UAE. When I firdt heard this, I thought it was some kind of hoax. The Dems have already smelled blood on this issue and are trying to capitalize. We need to call, write, e-mail, and whatever else to our senators and congressmen not to mention GW himself and try to stop this before it starts. This is the most insanely idiotic thing I have seen from this administration, and it’s a catastrophy waiting to happen.

Posted by: Duano at February 21, 2006 7:52 PM
Comment #128347

I am a registered Republican who voted for
Mr. Bush, and usually agree with most of his
policies, but this time I think he has gone
round the Bend !!!!!!!!!
I guess I will re register !

Posted by: Eileen T. Schukis at February 21, 2006 8:41 PM
Comment #128366

I, too, voted for President Bush twice and supported him on most issues. My family has been busy the past few days making our views known to the President, VP, Senators, and other congressman. We believe that selling our ports to foreign countries is the biggest mistake our government can make. Why don’t we just open all the doors and let the enemy in??? We can’t go to other countries and buy their ports or land. Anyone can buy our land and ports whether an American or not. What kind of legacy are we leaving our children and grandchildren. Wake up America and speak out!!!

Posted by: maride at February 21, 2006 9:57 PM
Comment #128380

Stupid is an understatement!
As a fundraiser for the GOP, I have heard the public outcry for and against pretty much everything the Bush Administration has or hasn’t done. I have (out of necessity) learned to spin the failure to push social security, out of control spending, and the fact that little or nothing has been done about our borders. I’m not exactly sure WHAT the rationale is for this, and a large percentage of the people I talk to across the nation are equally perplexed. I’m starting to believe that our President is so disconnected from the pulse of America, and that he has sold not only himself to corporate America, but America in the process. God help us all.

Posted by: jonnybgoode at February 21, 2006 10:43 PM
Comment #128468

The selling of America, and endorsed by “Our” President. I use the word “Our” lightly because I am not certain exactly whose interests he’s working to protect.
I didn’t vote for Bush but I usually back our leader no matter which party he represents as I assume he was voted in by a majority of the people and they can’t all be wrong but I’m worried for my children, grand children and what kind of future they may be facing.
I am writing this as a result of the selling of Americas Ports to “any foreign interest”, let alone a country with ties to 911. I’m appalled at even its consideration. What’s next? How about we sell the Capitol and the Whitehouse and lease it back from….Osma??
We spend trillions on waste. We talk about building a wall between Mexico and the US, which makes sense, but no sense in light of the possibility of selling our ports!! Why? We might just as well end all attempts to secure this country.
America needs to stand up and protest the further selling of America before it’s too late.
Thank you for your time, Danny W.Cook

Posted by: Danny at February 22, 2006 9:03 AM
Comment #128511

I know I didn’t vote for him. I say, you made your bed …. now sleep on the oily sheets

Posted by: Slim Whitey at February 22, 2006 12:14 PM
Comment #128664

Well this proves the Europeans are right, Americans are a stupid lot of dolts that think they know it all but know nothing. Dolts only fall into your party line, jerks. there is a party line only for the Electorate only. Every President since Nixon and every Congress since has been for sale and it don’t matter who the buyer is. It’s pretty good odds that Clinton got paid $675,000 for the NAS in; and a good bet that Bush is promised up to a Billion for the ports,maybe more. Hey jerks, why was the planning so secret???? And this took a hell of a lot of planning Think, if you can. Fred

Posted by: F. William Keating at February 22, 2006 6:04 PM
Comment #128720

Sanger, I think, mostly, you are right. The US is right now on very good terms with the U.A.E. and denying this ‘sale’ will only make us lose these terms, hense increasing the already overwhelming population that is angry at us. The approval should not have been so secret, but not allowing the trade because they are Arabs is just not right. It would be in fact easier for terrorists to just bribe one or two American workers, than create a massive web of employed terrorists into the company. No matter what country a person hails from, somewhere someone is willing to do a lot just for a cheap buck, and that is a sad fact. As long as the company had a good reputation, there is no reason that they are any less qualified than the British. Also, we should concentrate more on checking incoming shipments, and national defense like that, rather than racial prejudices.

Posted by: sdd at February 22, 2006 8:53 PM
Comment #128808


Posted by: lisa at February 23, 2006 2:39 AM
Comment #129748

The fact that foreign nationals are operating our ports is a reflection of just how rotten the whole system has become. There is but one way to cure this and all the other problems in our government today. Simply go to the polls in November and vote against every incumbent, and in 2008 take out the rest of them. We have to eliminate at least 2/3 of the lobby existing on K street, and let all the politicians know that we will not t olerate this anymore.

Posted by: Bill at February 26, 2006 8:43 PM
Comment #131420

Ok, I admit that I am as gulible as the rest of the morons who voted for GB, but I can now say I am sorry and that I made a grave mistake. Now what to do? Can we somehow impeach the man? What about a vote of non confidance? We better do something quick before our country and our economy collapses.

Posted by: Peter at March 5, 2006 2:27 PM
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