Third Party & Independents Archives

Much Ado Over Nothing

Oh the trials and tribulations of the embattled Bush Administration; if it is not one thing its another; in this case the rising and rather rancorous debate over Dubai Ports World’s assumption of the terminal operations in six American ports. With visions of terrorists dancing in their wee little heads, Congressman and women took to the airwaves in strenuous opposition. I say it all much ado over nothing.

This all began when Dubai Ports World a state-owned company based United Arab Emirates (UAE) bought London-based Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co., which current runs the terminals in the American ports in question. Peninsular and Oriental runs commercial operations at ports in Philadelphia, New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, New Orleans and Miami.

The initial reports had had internationally helmed Dubai Ports World taking over the ports in their entire, or at least gave the impression that that would transpire. Predictably the Democrats accused the Administration of compromising America’s port security. And the Republicans not wanting to be left scratching their legacies on an issue of National Security quickly and amazingly, piled on, in (very) rare bi-cameral, bi-partisan unison, bashing Bush and threatening to pass legislation to stop the deal.

Bush quickly countered that he would, gasp, veto such a bill. And later, yesterday, we all learned that Bush knew nothing about the bill until he learned about it in the news; boy that inspires confidence in his leadership, and stewardship of our government.

But the real story of the port operations is a lot less dramatic then they would have use believe; in other words my fellow Americans we are bring duped and manipulated again.

Here is the 411 on the ports: All American ports (foreign ports as well) are divided into terminals (a pier where ships tie up and off-load and or load cargo), with each terminal then being leased to a company or set of companies to manage on a daily basis. Security is still managed by the U.S. Customs Enforcement Agency, and the U.S. Coast Guard, and the employees on the docks are overwhelmingly American.

For example, the Port of New York and New Jersey, which is jointly owned and run by the two states under the guise of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The port has six terminals, which the Port Authority leases out. Two of the terminals are leased to American companies, and the rest are leased to foreign run companies. Dubai Ports World, which runs terminals in other countries, would lease one terminal in partnership with a Danish firm which is already in place. Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co. currently holds the lease. In addition Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co. also holds leases to terminals in six other east coast ports.

According to a report from National Public Radio (NPR), roughly 40% of the terminals on the eastern seaboard of the United States are managed by foreign companies, while 90% of the terminals on the West coast are leased to foreign companies, including a large percentage to Communist China.

So as you can see, Dubai Ports World would hardly be "running" the ports; they would in fact be running the operations of a terminal, or terminals within the port. Much ado about nothing? You decide. It would appear to me as though Congress and the majority of the American media are getting the story wrong. For the politicians the doom-and-gloom spin is probably 70% spin and 30% ignorance. As far as the media is concerned (NPR and PBS are the exceptions), there is no excuse for the gross misinformation and resulting hysteria.

Posted by V. Edward Martin at February 23, 2006 7:22 PM
Comments
Comment #128964

V. Edward Martin:

Can you guarantee an employee of Dubai Ports World can’t gain access on sensitive Port Security Data? Knowing the procedures and protocols of a specific port would make it even easier to smuggle something.

More to the point. Will you guarantee that the security we have right now is adequate? Your Dear Leader Bush reduced the Port Security Budget by 30%!!! Can you claim our Ports are safe?

Posted by: Aldous at February 23, 2006 8:32 PM
Comment #128967

This is at the heart of why this issue is NOT so much ado about nothing:

“�For every regime that sponsors terror, there is a price to be paid and it will be paid…. [Nations that support terror] are equally guilty of murder and equally accountable to justice… We must unite in opposing all terrorists, not just some of them. No national aspiration, no remembered wrong can ever justify the deliberate murder of the innocent. Any government that rejects this principle, trying to pick and choose its terrorist friends, will know the consequences.”

— GW Bush —

Either it’s a foreign policy or it’s a bunch of BS to pacify the masses when it fits the needs at hand.

Posted by: tony at February 23, 2006 8:33 PM
Comment #128975

Thanks and congratulation. This will bring down the wrath of the ideologues. Although I am interested to see how this plays out. If I (or even more Eric) wrote what you did in my column, I believe I would have got a lot of responses and lists telling my why I was wrong and an extremist. In your case (and in the middle column) my prediction is that people will just stay away.

I predict you will get about 25 responses.

It is very good article, however. Well stated and well sourced.

Posted by: Jack at February 23, 2006 8:50 PM
Comment #128986

the story here is that no one wants this deal to go through except bush and his neocon bushies.

the story is that bush wants it so bad that he is willing to piss on the head of anyone who stands in his way.

the story is…
“we all learned that Bush knew nothing about the bill until he learned about it in the news; boy that inspires confidence in his leadership, and stewardship of our government.”
…once again bush is either lying or grossly incompetent (neither of which would be unusual or new).

the story here is that finally my republican friends have seen through the lies of this abhorrent administration, and are stunned and repulsed by what they have seen…

i think that there is nothing that this administration has done or has attempted to do that isn’t a story with suspect motivations.

but how about a better story? like the administration’s reclassification of previously declassified documents - the purpose of which is what? to bury the truth? and how about cheney’s claim that he also has the authority to *declassify* information, and thus his authorization of the cia leak wasn’t treasonous.

what amazes me is that these traitorous criminals now admit to their crimes… and yet no one has gone to prison, or even been placed on trial.

yes, there are better stories out there than the port deal…
like the placement of this ad in the new york times recently. enjoy.

Posted by: diogenes at February 23, 2006 9:28 PM
Comment #128987

err.. this
ad

Posted by: diogenes at February 23, 2006 9:30 PM
Comment #128988

err..this ad

Posted by: diogenes at February 23, 2006 9:32 PM
Comment #128998

sorry for the double post, and only the second link works…

anyway, here’s a link to some basic information on the reclassification/declassification farce.

i won’t vouch for the authenticity of any facts related therein, as i believe the dailykos is an openly liberal blog, and i haven’t had the chance to extensively read the executive order or decipher all of its implications - but the message is still clear.

Posted by: diogenes at February 23, 2006 9:54 PM
Comment #129002

V. Edward, I disagree.
It might only take one terminal and a few people acting on behalf of Al Qaeda. Remember, it only took 19 hijackers to orchestrate 9/11. Their money was funneled through Dubai. Two of the hijackers had papers which were issued from the UAE. The 9/11 report stated that Bin Laden had made contacts with UAE officials.
Personally I don’t think we should trust this deal simply because all the president’s men are claiming things have been “checked out”.

Speaking of which…
I put this up in the Blue Column, but I think it belongs here too:
Obscure US intelligence agency assessed ports deal

An intelligence agency that has existed for only four months and which is headed by John Negroponte were the ones in charge of looking at this deal — and deciding they “checked out”?
Sorry, but that just isn’t any kind of an assurance to me.

Negroponte’s record has been one of overlooking hard, ugly truths (such as deathsquads and drug-trafficking in Honduras) when that wasn’t what he and his president(s) wanted to see. And lest we forget, during his stint at the United Nations he served as the point man for their Iraqi weapons-of-mass-destruction claim, which means he presided over the dissemination of false information there too.
This whole deal stinks to high heaven.
Everything this whole administration does stinks to high heaven! And isn’t it funny how they just never seem able to follow the rule of law? Members of Congress are now claiming they didn’t with this deal.

Posted by: Adrienne at February 23, 2006 10:13 PM
Comment #129011

V. Edward,

It would seem that security is less of a problem than the ties that the administration has to the folks that will run the ports.
I suppose that the Bush explanation of hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil, would bear water except for the connections that his father has with the investors or this group, or the connections that Treasury has with this group.

The appearence of impropriety, true or not, is just one more strike against.

Posted by: Rocky at February 23, 2006 10:51 PM
Comment #129013

Oh, and BTW, when will the warning level rise or drop again?

Posted by: Rocky at February 23, 2006 10:54 PM
Comment #129015

the deal has been delayed.

perhaps now we shall find out why bush is so adamant about it - if he doesn’t classify the information first.

bush has lost face and expended the last of his political capital. he can’t back down, but failure to do so will only cause him more trouble, and merely further delay the inevitable.

scarborough says “the deal is dead”. let’s hope he is right.

Posted by: diogenes at February 23, 2006 10:56 PM
Comment #129017

Aldous,

No, I cannot guarantee that “an employee of Dubai Ports World can’t gain access on sensitive Port Security Data,” any more than I guarantee that an American employee can not gain the same access.

I am not in the business of guaranteeing the safety of U.S. ports that is supposed to be in the hands of the U.S. government (chuckling). There are no guarantees in life, and My Dear Leader Bush is no more my leader than I suspect he is yours. There is no love for W in my household, but I think this whole port/terminal business is just plain idiotic

Posted by: V. Edward Martin at February 23, 2006 11:02 PM
Comment #129022

What shocks me about this story is the total incompetence of the media when it comes to even getting the basic facts right.

With millions of dollars, teams of reporters and fact checkers—hell, even with access to Google—how they can be so completely wrong about simple facts is amazing. And there is no accountability.

Look at this headline.

Look at this headline.

Now look at this headline.

All of these articles claim that the ports are being “sold” to Dubai, which shows a total disregard for the facts—either lying or complete incompetence.

Thats our media, folks. It’s terrifying to think that campaign finance reform seeks to limit everybody’s right but these people’s to inform the public about the issues of the day.

Now, I don’t want to limit the media at all—but this story is Exhibit A in why the public must be allowed as much right as them to speak, broadcast and get their message out without limits and fetters. Otherwise, THESE people, who prove themselves again and again to be incompetent at best, will be the only ones permitted to set the national agenda and inform the public.

Posted by: sanger at February 23, 2006 11:30 PM
Comment #129035

“It’s terrifying to think that campaign finance reform seeks to limit everybody’s right but these people’s to inform the public about the issues of the day.”

what’s terrifying is that you believe that.
campaign finance reform limits *no one’s* right to inform the public. it merely limits the “right” of politicians to spend exorbitant sums of money, a practice which ensures that only the richest and most corrupt will have their voices *heard*. pure absurdity.

campaign finance reform in no way affects freedom of speech. nice stretch though.
the public *is* allowed “as much right as [the media] to speak, broadcast and get their message out without limits and fetters.”

Posted by: diogenes at February 24, 2006 12:07 AM
Comment #129042

What I don’t understand is why Americans want to give our country away, by letting foreign countries buy our companies and ports.
Folks hollor about jobs going over seas, but send their money over there by buying foreign products. Then these foreign companies come over here and use our money to buy our companies and send our jobs overseas.
I personally hope Congress sends Bush a veto proof bill. This kind of crap needs to stop or we won’t have a Country left.
But then some Americans might like that.

Posted by: Ron Brown at February 24, 2006 12:24 AM
Comment #129043
it merely limits the “right” of politicians to spend exorbitant sums of money, a practice which ensures that only the richest and most corrupt will have their voices *heard*. pure absurdity.

I’m not talking about when multi-millionaire politicians like John Kerry, Maria Cantwell, Jon Corzine and Herb Kohl spend gobs of their personal fortunes on their own campaigns. But it is interesting that you think this automatically makes them corrupt.

What I’m talking about are laws such as McCain- Feingold which curtail free speech for private groups except the media within 30 days of a primary or 60 days of a general election.

The media does not have any restrictions on what they can say and how much and how broadly they can say it—neither should they. But neither should anybody else in a free society.

Saying otherwise equals censorship, and there’s no other way to put it.

A common retort is that this is “equating money with speech.” But that’s wrong. Money doesn’t speak—but it does buy the ability to speak, and that’s as true for the media as everybody else.

That’s just a fact of life in the media age. If CNN doesn’t pay its anchors, cameramen and licensing fees, their money just sits there in the bank. Money does not equal speech, but speech is ALWAYS purchased by money in our media environment.

It’s simply wrong to make the media into the unelected gatekeepers who control the flow of information when others are prevented from putting their views out there.

There should be no restrictions at all on hard or soft money. None whatsoever. Saying otherwise demonstrates a desire to censor, a fear of debate, an unwillingness to allow voters to sort through a deluge of information and make their own informed decisions.

It’s a totalitarian instinct actually—it says that voters can’t be trusted and what reaches their ears must be controlled.

Posted by: sanger at February 24, 2006 12:26 AM
Comment #129079

I use 4 gallons of gas every day traveling to and from work. The cost hovers between 9

and 10 dollars each day. I use maybe 1 gallon on the weekend.
GWB addressed this situation in his State of the Onion address. I have a good chance of

still being alive in 25 years so I expect to see my situation resolved.

Are any of you talking about the goal or are you talking about the symptoms of not

achieving that goal?

I stop at the local stopandgo every day to buy my 4 gallons. I see the same people. They

are doing the same thing, going to work. They all have different things to do but they all

have the same thing in common. They are going to work.
I have a state road I start on from the stopandgo. I go north for 6 miles. I go east on an

interstate for 17 miles then again north and east for a grand total of 71 miles, round trip. 71 /

4 = about 17 mpg. I need a tune up.

Will a tune up solve my problem? I doubt it.

I’d like to have a lighter car but the heavy stuff will just blow me off the road. I’d be able to

fly to work if I had a 4 wheel-10 speed bike on a railroad track.
Wouldn’t you?

I’d bet I could.

Maybe our first step would be to allow alternate powered vehicles the same access fossil

fuel vehicles are allowed. If someone can get a 4 wheeled-10 speed bike to go 60 mph

then he should be able to use any road. Agreed?

Why are we bickering about things that are happening at this moment when we should be

creating things that eliminate our problems.

Like the 4 wheeled 10 speed bike that goes 60 mph.

I have proposed the 4 wheel 10 speed bike that will move at 60 mph. That is a tangible

goal. Any in favor, say “Yes!”.

Posted by: Weary Willie at February 24, 2006 4:10 AM
Comment #129095

VEM,

It is probably a bit overblown. The place where a company is incorporated is a pretty marginal issue these days. You can buy a Honda that is largely made in the US, or a Ford that is largely made in Mexico. The only issue I can really see as if details of port security were sent back to the UAE. Maybe the company can set up some sort of “Chinese wall” to prevent the flow of such information. I bet anyone could stand on the dock and figure it all out, but at least this takes care of the ownership issue.

Posted by: Woody Mena at February 24, 2006 6:45 AM
Comment #129122

Sanger,

Not all of the media outlets got it wrong. As I pointed out in my main piece I learned the truth of the matter from NPR, an outlet that got it right from the start, which explains why I listen to their news programs almost exclusively.

The mainstream press is too busy sensationalizing every story to be bothered with getting it right. Is this another case of the free market failing to common man? I think so.

Ron Brown,

Ever heard of the free-market? Its all about globalization man, get onboard the train or be left behind my man!

Adrienne,

When the U.S. Congress and the American people are as vocal about importing so much of our oil from Saudi Arabia, a country which supplied 13 of know hijackers, then I will listen to dooms day scenarios about Al Qaeda sneaking in on a container or two. The U.S. is an open society, with very porous boarders. Why would I, Mohammad the Terrorists, sneak a bomb into a U.S. port when I could just as easily drive it over the boarder, or sneak it in by sea, landing on any beach in the U.S.?

Posted by: V. Edward Martin at February 24, 2006 9:38 AM
Comment #129123

There are already over 30% of U.S. sea-ports that are operated by foreign corporations.

The question is:

Is security sufficient when sea port operations are not operated 100% by U.S. corporations and agencies?

It seems sad that no American corporations can or want compete to win the bids to operate the U.S. sea ports.

So, you say it’s a global economy.
Is it a global village, or global pillage?

Is it exploit-and-abandon.
Global corporations can always find cheap labor.
But, what if global corporations are creating cheap labor.
Here’s how it works.
Global corporations descend on nations with very cheap labor, and few labor protection laws.
Inevitably, wages rise, and so does the standard of living. That is good.
But, global corporations then flee to other nations with cheaper labor.
The previous nations start falling (economically). Especially, if they can not find innovative ways to create new markets.

This ensures that there is always a source of cheap labor, unless all regions of the world are equal.

Also, some global corporations don’t want to help some of the nations at all. Some want to exploit and abuse some nations (see: “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” by John Perkins).

Free markets are good, but some regulation is required to prevent predator monopolies from abusing their power, and raping people and nations as many corporations have already done.

Otherwise, we have a growing problem of corpocrisy, corporatism, and global pillage.

As with any organization (corporation, government, etc.), there are six important factors to a harmonious balance. Too often, an imbalance gives way to corruption.

So, there are really two bigger issues that the port operations issue touches upon:

(1) National Security
(2) Government Corruption and Global Corporatism fostered by bought-and-paid-for government officials

Posted by: d.a.n at February 24, 2006 9:40 AM
Comment #129128

V. Ed:

You deserve congratulations on your article. Very very well done, and to be honest, your comments don’t normally get compliments from the likes of me :)

It’s important to note that the issue started over the security of the ports, which doesn’t change under the sale. It also contained the spectre of outsourcing, until people realized the ports already are outsourced.

It is in the process now of segueing into a discussion of whether our ports are secure or not. This has nothing to do with who is operating the ports, and everything to do with how well our govt is securing the ports. Its actually more important to secure NON-American ports, since that is where shipments coming into the US are loaded. Imagine if the US has totally secure airports, but we allow other countries to let any joker on a plane. By the time the plane lands at our secure airport, its too late.

I expect this issue too will fizzle out. Its already eclipsed that latest greatest scandal (the Cheney game hunt) and I will enjoy seeing what issue gets cooked up next.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at February 24, 2006 10:02 AM
Comment #129129

The reality of this so-called farce is simple: Bush, once again, failed to comply with the 45 day review requirement.

The reason why antiBush people are taking such joy should also be obvious:

FFFFF U U N N
F U U NN N
F U U N N N
FFF U U N N N
F U U N N N
F U U N NN
F UUU N N

Posted by: Dave at February 24, 2006 10:10 AM
Comment #129130

Clarifications:

Failed to comply with the law, i.e. the 45 day requirement.

And the FUN looked better as 5x7 characters

Posted by: Dave at February 24, 2006 10:13 AM
Comment #129143

Joe,

Thank you for the compliment, it means a lot coming from you. I agree with you that the issue is really port security, but I believe it will die with the next great news story; hell Congress is already back-peddling on lobbyist reform. One Congresswoman even stated that it was good thing that the Beltway Lobbyists were referred to as the fourth branch of government, because they represent the American people’s interest. Funny I thought that was Congresses job!

I think an even wider and far-reaching concern vis-à-vis the ports is the out-sourcing of our country to foreign concerns. I envision a day when we don’t make much of anything. How will that affect the nation security stance if we get into a nasty shooting war and have to ramp up like WWII? Without the capacity to make steel and build ships, how can we protect the vital sea lanes upon which finished good must traverse? Without a semi conductor industry how can we build the advanced weaponry we will need if the countries that supplied them are wiped out, buy conventional and or nuclear arms? Globalization is fine, but we must, we must, we must, maintain a basic industrial infrastructure in order to defense ourselves!

V. Edward

Posted by: V. Edward Martin at February 24, 2006 11:17 AM
Comment #129147

V. Edward,
I always thought we should have gone after the Saudi’s and the UAE following 9/11 rather than going into Iraq. As you pointed out, so many of the hijackers were Saudi, and the money was funneled through the UAE so it would only have made sense.
We once didn’t target Bin Laden at one of his camps in Afghanistan because he had half the UAE royal family with him. Now they’re claiming that the UAE is such a good ally and that a government run company should take over port terminals in the US?
Sorry, but that doesn’t sound like a good idea to me.

I agree that enough hasn’t been done regarding securing our borders, but I’m afraid I don’t follow your logic that because Bush hasn’t done nearly enough in other places that this is much ado about nothing, and that we should allow this deal to go through.

Posted by: Adrienne at February 24, 2006 11:25 AM
Comment #129152

V. Edward

Ever heard of the free-market? Its all about globalization man, get onboard the train or be left behind my man!


So you have no problem with foreign companies or countires buy up our country?
Globalization will do nothing but erase national identity. It won’t stop war, help the poor, feed the starving millions, bring the rich down, or any of the other things yaall librals want.

Posted by: Ron Brown at February 24, 2006 11:43 AM
Comment #129170

The real problem at the root of this and most of the reforms and issues bandied here, there are no solutions until the first fundamental step is made to really underderstand it and do the common-sense things to resolve it.

Pretending national security is important is stupid when ports and borders are nearly wide-open, and little has done to improve any of it. There are 20 million illegal aliens living in the U.S.
The only reason terrorists have not attacked us again with WMD is because they do not yet have any WMD, which is why they have thus far resorted to conventional explosives and airliners as missiles.

When terrorists finally do get WMD, they will use it, and there will be little to stop them.

Corrupt, bought-and-paid-for, do-nothing government in-league with global predator corporatism, are at the root of problem too.

Perhaps the U.S. FBI, CIA, Pentagon, and S.S. should be renamed the TA (Tombstone Agency), since they can’t connect the dots, don’t want to communicate with each other, only want to build their little empires, and are ignoring the ports and borders. True, security is not easy or simple, but we are nearly wide open. Some common-sense reforms could be implemented, but they are not. But, a whole lot of money is being spent to study all of it. Any single ship container or large truck could contain WMD, and we can never know it if they are not inspected before entering our ports or borders.

It is just a matter of time. People always have to die before any common-sense reforms will be passed.

Posted by: d.a.n at February 24, 2006 12:55 PM
Comment #129181

Adrienne,

How would communist China running U.S. terminals sit with you? That is what is happening on the West Coast.

Are you under the impression that suddenly a hoard of workers from the Middle East is going to com in and replace U.S. dock workers? It would never happen. Dubai Ports World would just manage the terminals, no doubt with a U.S. management team, or more than likely the same management team that is place now. The only thing that would change is the company that owns the lease.

As for terrorist money, the UAE is turning into the Switzerland of the Middle East; their banking industry is growing by leaps and bounds. The fact that some of the terrorist money flows through their banks doesn’t make them terrorists by default. Money is laundered in banks all over the world everyday. If memory servers U.S. banks laundered money for the drug cartels bank in the 1980’s and ‘90’s, and some probably still are.

I think a larger concern for Americans is the decline of U.S. shipping and maritime assets; we used to be global player in this arena, now we are just has-beens. For a nation that is increasingly reliant on goods from overseas, this is a nation security issue. Be angry about that.

Ron Brown

First of all I am not a liberal. Holding a view opposite of your own does make me or anyone else a liberal, it qualifies me as a rational thinking human being, capable of logical and well reasoned conclusions.

To answer your question, I do have a problem with too much foreign investment. At some point we have to start thinking strategically about the future of our nation. We cannot remain a nation of buyers forever, at some point our population will not have enough money to buy the goods we import, because all of the good paying middle class jobs are outsourced, Wal-Mart not withstanding.

I agree with you, at this point Globalization is a failure because the global playing field remains uneven; the jobs go to where the workers are cheaper. It is a race to the bottom, and most of use will lose. The organizations the world has set up to combat this problem are failures as well. The WTO, World Bank, and International Monetary Fund should be trying a lot hard to bring up the living standards of all humans, and stop kowtowing to the West.

V. Edward

Posted by: V. Edward Martin at February 24, 2006 1:46 PM
Comment #129189

Everybody,

If Bush is so stupid in this debate, then why did I just get THIS email?

For Immediate Release

Date: Friday, February 24, 2006

CONTACT: Jim Manley / Rebecca Kirszner (202) 224-2939

REID: IT TAKES MORE THAN TOUGH TALK TO PROTECT THE NATION

Washington, DC—Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid released the following statement on President Bush’s speech today to the American Legion. A fact check on the president’s speech follows below.

“President Bush has mastered the rhetoric of the post-9/11 world, but his decision to outsource the control of America’s largest ports to the government of Dubai shows he still doesn’t understand the realities. Even in today’s speech, we heard tough talk, but no acknowledgment that the decision to sell our ports, as well as his Administration’s other national security policies, have made America less secure. Democrats understand that it takes more than tough talk to protect the American people in a post-9/11 world. It takes smart policies, strong U.S. leadership, and real resources as well.”

Looks like SOMEBODY doesn’t know how to use Google OR Yahoo…

Posted by: Jim T at February 24, 2006 2:22 PM
Comment #129191

Did you know the UAE gave $100 million for hurricane relief after Katrina? Yes indeed. More than four times as much as all other donors combined. A few weeks before putting in for the ports deal. Wired the money.

Just a coincidence, folks. Nothing to see here. Keep moving, keep moving.

Posted by: phx8 at February 24, 2006 2:28 PM
Comment #129192

V. Edward:
“How would communist China running U.S. terminals sit with you? That is what is happening on the West Coast.”

I know. And no, it doesn’t sit well with me at all. Neither did China’s bid for Unocal.

“The only thing that would change is the company that owns the lease.”

It’s not merely a company, it is the COUNTRY itself that will own the lease. A country whose royal family recognized the Taliban, whose members have been extremely friendly with Bin Laden — even going so far as to visit with him in Afghanistan. Whose port city is known as a popular destination for terrorists and whose documents were issued to two of the 9/11 hijackers. In my opinion, the UAE should not be allowed to control American port terminals for ANY reason whatsoever.
Bushco is saying they’re such a great ally of the US, but I’m afraid they don’t have any kind of a valid track record that might make that claim believable.

“I think a larger concern for Americans is the decline of U.S. shipping and maritime assets; we used to be global player in this arena, now we are just has-beens. For a nation that is increasingly reliant on goods from overseas, this is a nation security issue. Be angry about that.”

I agree, that is a large concern, and I’m none too pleased about it.

Posted by: Adrienne at February 24, 2006 2:29 PM
Comment #129200

By placing Dubai in charge of these ports there are additional security concerns the US takes on. It’s just that all experts agree that compared with all the other security problems our ports face these are hardly important in comparison.

It’s ridiculous to put Dubai in charge. This is rewarding Bush for doing a lousy job, as we rewarded him by placing him in charge after 9/11, which he should have been held partly responsible for.

I wonder if this is his selling point to his Arab friends: “Let’s say you screw up with the ports and the US gets bombed, so what? We’ll just give you more money to protect us.”

This whole racist thing is really insulting. Did Clinton say Republican’s were racist for suggesting he not sell weapons to them? Why does Bush repeatedly return to this insult, like when he accused conservatives who opposed Meyers of being sexist? If anything, what sounds vaguely racist to me is recognizing the Taliban but not recognizing Israel.

I realize the neocon robots that post here don’t take offense, but do you think real conservatives like being called sexist, racist, etc. when they disagree with the president? How much of this do you think real Republicans are going to take? And no, most of you guys I am convinced don’t count, you’re your own party at this point, the Bushies.

Posted by: Max at February 24, 2006 3:07 PM
Comment #129206

VEM hit the nail on the head.
It is a race to the bottom.
Corporations move all over the globe.
Corporations descend, exploit, and plunder.
Then abandon, and flee to cheaper labor elsewhere.
U.S. was on top for a while.
But, since the 1970’s, corporations have been moving abroad to find cheaper labor, and it is still going on.
Corporations say Americans don’t want the jobs for the wages being offered.
So bought-and-paid-for politicians in government in-league with corporations created the H1B visa, to import cheaper labor.
That was not enough, so corporations continued to move abroad and continue to do so.
This is good for foreign nations and corporations.
It is bad for many Americans.
Hence, wages have stagnated (especially considering more workers per household).
Outsourcing continues.

Someday, when the U.S. has cheap labor, the corporations will return (for a while).

And, the world is full of cheap labor, so it may be a long long time before global corporations return to the U.S.

To make things worse, the U.S. has a neighbor to the south that is full of cheap labor too.
Bought-and-paid-for politicians on both sides of the border refuse to enforce border security, because that would defy their big-money-donor-puppeteers (i.e. corporations).

But, bought-and-paid-for politicians in corrupt governments, in-league with corporations, guarantee that the exploit-and-abandon system will always provide them with cheap labor. It ensuers cheap labor always exists somewhere for global corporations to exploit.

The irony is, except for the few at the top, and the few corrupt greasing the way, most people will suffer the consequences of unemployment as corporations flee to places with cheaper labor. In fact, in many instances, they will train their replacements before being let go.

The days of a career at any one company or profession are gone. The U.S. is in decline. And crooked government greedy corpocrisy is hastening it. There are now more jobs in government than manufacturing. That can’t continue. We’re already bankrupt.

The only jobs left are service jobs that require on-site personnel, and even some of those are being filled by H1B visa workers.

Thus, before long, the only that will be left are service oriented jobs, until none of us have any money left to afford each others’ services. That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the picture.

This problem with port and border security arises only because national issues conflict with corporations profits. That is why 30% of our ports are foreign operated and the land borders are nearly wide open.

But, whatever unpleasant issues and reforms we need, none will happen as long as government is irresponsible and unaccountable.

Posted by: d.a.n at February 24, 2006 3:26 PM
Comment #129216

That the loyalties of various countries seems to change at the drop of a hat.

I know many Moslems whom I would trust to handle the port operations. I have know them for many many years. They do not flip-flop in their roles as people.

From what I can tell, the UAE has flip-flopped several times during the last decade.

Of course one way to solve this dilemma might be to treat the the Saudis the same way - after all most of the terrorists came from there. Lets let Saudi Arabia buy control of our ports as well.

That would really put us in an insecure situation - but would increase our global situation. Heck why don’t we just out-source our jobs to both countries….

Posted by: Linda H. at February 24, 2006 4:03 PM
Comment #129217

Adrienne,

Yes, Dubai World Port is a state-owned enterprise, but there is compromise afoot here. American aircraft carriers routinely use the Port of Dubai for refueling, replenishment, and refreshment (crew leave ashore), because it is the only port in the Persian Gulf deep enough to accommodate them. The Persian Gulf, which at one time was considered to narrow and shallow for the safe operation of aircraft carriers is now routinely patrolled by at least one carrier battle group. Deployments are long enough, and would be even more arduous if the carrier has to stay at sea for the entire 6 -8 month deployment, so the loss of the Port of Dubai would be a huge loss for the USN and her personnel.

And we also have several large Air Force bases in Dubai as well as staging areas. The trade off in my estimation is worth the continued presence of the USN and USAF on Iran’s doorstep.

As far as terrorists are concerned: France, Germany, Spain, Italy and several other European countries were open safe-havens for terrorist on the run throughout the ‘90’s and into the new century and yet we still consider them out allies. BushCo (like the name) declared war on terrorism and yet Hamas, Hezbollah, and several other Middle Eastern groups were left unscathed; go figure. You have to choose your battle wisely…

V. Edward

Posted by: V. Edward Martin at February 24, 2006 4:05 PM
Comment #129219

By the Way,
I am delighted that Jack was wrong on his prediction of how many comments you would get.

All in all it is a well written, well researched and poses some interesting points.

Posted by: Linda H. at February 24, 2006 4:09 PM
Comment #129233

Linda

I don’t mind.

As I said, I was interested in how it plays out. V Edward is doing a good job.

We (red team) have not posted as much as usual, the right facts are coming out and you don’t need me. But that didn’t stop someone from attacking us. eg

“I realize the neocon robots that post here don’t take offense”

Right.

Posted by: Jack at February 24, 2006 4:59 PM
Comment #129235

V. Edward:
“You have to choose your battle wisely�”

Had we chosen our battles wisely, we’d have never gone into Iraq, but should have gone after the Saudi’s and the UAE, after taking out Bin Laden and the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Maybe I feel this way because I lost an old friend on 9/11, and I’m afraid there just isn’t any reason I can overlook the fact that the UAE aided and abetted Al Qaeda in the attack that took his life.

Posted by: Adrienne at February 24, 2006 5:04 PM
Comment #129244

you make some good points, however…
“it is interesting that you think this automatically makes them corrupt.”

‘autmatically’ is the wrong word - the word i would use is ‘inevitably’. recent eve ts support this theory - corruption is rampant. yet you seem to ignore this fact.

“There should be no restrictions at all on hard or soft money. None whatsoever. Saying otherwise demonstrates a desire to censor, a fear of debate, an unwillingness to allow voters to sort through a deluge of information and make their own informed decisions.”

i’m sorry, this is utter nonsense. your view exhibits either ignorance, or a proclivity towards corruption.

contrary to your conclusion, it is in fact your own scheme that suppresses freedom of speech (those who have insufficient funds will never be heard). public funding would allow all parties ample (and *equal*) opportunity to express their views.

the preponderance of evidence supports my conclusion, which is why the vast majority of the population supports campaign finance reform.

is it your intention to argue that corruption exists *because* of the (very limited, seldom enforced, and easily evaded) current regulations? or perhaps that iniquities such as bribery are also protected by the first amendment?
good luck.

Posted by: diogenes at February 24, 2006 5:51 PM
Comment #129246

sorry, the previous post was for Sanger.

…and jack…

“…the right facts are coming out and you don’t need me…”

… i could not possibly agree more.

Posted by: diogenes at February 24, 2006 6:01 PM
Comment #129267
Would you object to British controlled ports?

It’s not the same thing. Ahem:

Human Appeal International, a UAE government-operated “charitable” organization, whose board includes the UAE president, funds HAMAS as well as other Palestinian organizations, “martyrs,” Palestinian terrorists in Israeli prisons and their families. The HAI’s modus operandi is to transfer money to the Palestinian Red Crescent Organization whose West Bank and Gaza branches are operated by HAMAS. They, in turn, distribute the money to HAMAS “charities.”

For example, according to the Orient Research Center in Toronto, Canada, the UAE “compensation” plan for the Palestinian intifada in 2001 included $3,000 for every Palestinian shaheed, $2,000 for his family, $1,500 for those detained by Israel, $1,200 for each orphan. In addition, families of those terrorists whose homes Israel demolished each received $10,000.

Also in 2001, in support of the martyr’s families in the Palestinian intifada, two telethons were organized in the UAE. “We Are All Palestinians” raised 135 million dirham, or $36.8 million, and “For Your Sake Palestine” raised 350 million dirham, or $95.3 million.

According to a detailed report on March 25, 2005, in the Palestinian daily Al Hayat al-Jadeeda, the UAE Friends Society transferred $475,000, through the UAE Red Crescent, to West Bank “charitable” organizations in Hebron, Jenin, Nablus and Tulkarem to distribute to the families of “martyrs,” orphans, imprisoned Palestinians and others.

The Palestinian newspaper Al-Ayyam reported on March 22, 2005, that in 2004 the UAE Red Crescent donated $2 million to HAMAS “charities” to be distributed to 3,158 terrorists’ orphans.

On February 15, 2005, the HAMAS website reported on funds transferred from HAI to two HAMAS front organizations in the West Bank, IQRA and Rifdah, which Israel had outlawed. And last July, Osama Zaki Muhammad Bashiti of Khan Younis in Gaza was arrested as he returned from the UAE, for often transferring funds of as much as $200,000 at a time to the Gaza HAMAS branch. The suicide bombing and attacks, including one mortar attack on Gush Katif, caused the death of 44 Israeli civilians and dozens of injuries.

The UAE support of HAMAS is in line with the agenda promoted by the late Sheikh Zayed. His Zayed Center for International Coordination and Followup, founded in 1999 as the official Arab League think-tank, was shuttered under international pressure in 2003. It championed Holocaust deniers like Thierry Meyssan and Roger Garaudy and provided a platform for anti-Western, anti-Christian and anti-Jewish extremists like Saudi economist Dr. Yussuf Abdallah Al Zamel, who blamed the war in Iraq on “radical Zionist and right-wing Christian” influence.

Although UAE foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahayan stated that the Emirates have been and remain a “strong ally of the U.S. in combating terrorism,” its continuing support of HAMAS and other Islamist organizations contradict his statement. This legitimately raises concerns about trusting U.S. ports to UAE management.”

Front Page Mag

The Bushies have some nerve calling Republicans and Democrats racists.

Posted by: Max at February 24, 2006 7:35 PM
Comment #129281

Nicely done, Max!

Posted by: Adrienne at February 24, 2006 8:35 PM
Comment #129346
public funding would allow all parties ample (and *equal*) opportunity to express their views.

Yep, and that’s exactly the problem.

The Nazis, the Klan, the Wiccans, the American Communist Party and the “08 Paul Sanger for President Committee” will all—by law—get the same amount of federal money as both the Democrats and the Republicans under a “fair system” like the one you describe.

After all, the ability to attract donations must not be considered a factor related to anybody’s political legitimacy.

Actually, I’m kind of starting to see things your way.

I demand that the federal goverment give me exactly the same amount of money as Hillary Clinton will get to run for President in O8!
If she spends one dime more than I am able to, then she should go to jail!

Anybody want to be my running mate? Aldous?

Another way to put this: campaign finance laws are a joke and an insult to the First Amendment.

Posted by: sanger at February 25, 2006 12:21 AM
Comment #129388

V. Edward
Well at least we can agree on one thing. Globalization it hurting the US.
It’s a sad stae of affairs when US companies move jobs to other countries. There’s pleanty of labor here. Maybe it aint as cheap as somewhere else. But I seriously doubt you can get the same quality work somewhere else.

Posted by: Ron Brown at February 25, 2006 1:44 AM
Comment #129394

sanger,

your attempt to belittle my argument proves nothing.

quite obviously, there would need to be regulations on who qualified for funding - else every single citizen in the nation would attempt to run separately.

those who are proposing such legislation - trust me - thoroughly recognize this, and are undoubtedly ready to address it (if not, i will personally advise them on how they may do so)…

besides, as the this administration is demonstrating on a daily basis, the current system is unable to prevent the rise of fascists, itself.

Posted by: diogenes at February 25, 2006 2:03 AM
Comment #129424

Mr. Martin, it could be much ado about nothing. It could just as easily be a much ado about an immensely rapid trend toward amalgamating the U.S. economy, territories, culture, and way of life with other nations eroding the lines and definition of America as a distinct and unique sovereign nation.

I am learning that the risk of terrorists reaching us through the Dubai company’s management of our ports is unlikely. But, the bigger issue is that our ports were run by the British and perhaps now the Arabs. Our convenience stores are alread owned and operated by Arabs across the country. 45% of national debt is held by foreign interests and nations. That same percentage of our interest payments on that debt, representing a portion of our national annual wealth, is paid out to foreigners and foreign nations, and we get nothing back in exchange for it.

Our trade deficits, 3/4 of a trillion dollars just this year, are very simply an export of constant value dollars in exchange for deterioriorating and depreciating goods. Foreign nations keep our dollars which hold their value, while what we import has a life span of perhaps 1.5 to 3 years on average. We are exporting our nation’s wealth right under our noses, and Bush calls this a good thing.

The even bigger issue here though, is our loss of independence in foreign affairs due to our economic and financial dependence on those other nations. We are reaching the point where we must accede to the will of other nations or suffer horrendous financial and economic consequences. Both Clinton and Bush have supported policies increasing that dependence, which is a double edged sword. On one hand, it can reduce the liklihood of military engagment between interdependent nations. On the other hand, we are becoming dependent on nations who have no need to depend upon us and whose dependence occurs on other nations, not the U.S. That is inherently DANGEROUS!

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 25, 2006 6:15 AM
Comment #129431

Max,

I will admit that if what you quoted in the article is true, it is most disturbing and shou8ld have factored into the BushCo’s decision to lease to allow the leasing of the terminals to proceed. Also, if true, it would seem the UAE is playing on both sides of the fence, and it indeed a Hydra and the country bears close watching even as our aircraft carriers make port calls.

I will concede your very valid points, and I share you sense of alarm over the rapid decline in U.S. fortunes in the guise of Globalization. It is one of the reasons I no longer shop at Wal-Mart for I believe it is the ring leader in our ill-informed race to the bottom. Common-sense alone should inform the American public that this rate of conspicuous consumption of foreign good is not good for our nation’s long-term viability. The fact that 2/3’s of our economy is based on spending money and not making things, should alarm us as a nation but bells remain silent.

I only hope pass away before I witness the inevitable fall of our once great and proud nation. It is just unfathomable to me that a nation could be so blind to the internal dangers besetting it and not confront them. Our nation is begging for a real leader and all we could come up with is George W. Bush, the worse President the nation has ever had. Shame on us for voting in such a buffoon…

V. Edward

Posted by: V. Edward Martin at February 25, 2006 8:29 AM
Comment #129450

V. Edward:

Kindly do not include the rest of us in your shame. YOU may have voted for The Shrub, I certainly did not.

Posted by: Aldous at February 25, 2006 11:57 AM
Comment #129491

In times that call for exceptional leadership, maybe we could have someone like Ghandi, or ML King -

we’ve got Barney Fife (with no Andy.)

Posted by: tony at February 25, 2006 4:21 PM
Comment #129540

Aldous,

What are you referring to? Bush perhaps? I did not vote for him either time.

V. Edward

Posted by: V. Edward Martin at February 25, 2006 8:20 PM
Comment #129756

V. Edward

The fact that 2/3Ⳡof our economy is based on spending money and not making things, should alarm us as a nation but bells remain silent.

It’s very arlaming. The problem is most Americans listen to the politicians who are telling them that everything is hunky-dory while their selling us down the river to the highest bidder.

Posted by: Ron Brown at February 26, 2006 10:08 PM
Comment #129757

Aldous
Are you sure your not a closet Republican? No Democrat could come up with the things you do and keep a striaght face.

Posted by: Ron Brown at February 26, 2006 10:11 PM
Comment #129885

It is not possible, regardless of who operates the ports or under what realistic procedures are in place for inspection to examine :

[] 100% of the container content
[] 100% of the containers themselves

The same holds true for small to mid-size air landing strips and,

For border crossings at ground level by foot or vehicle.

Aside from the arguably obvious reasons for this, my opinion is confirmed every time I read an article and/or watch some kind of news piece regarding security. Invariably, the “former” Chief, the “previous” Head of, the widely accepted “expert on”, etc. says that this is what is needed, this will or wont work because of, and so on.

These would be people who have proven that they can’t get the job done (although continually quoted as being capable of). Everyone seems to know exactly what is needed yet is unable to convince anyone that they are right.

The scary thing is that we are so
worried about that which we have already been terrorized into thinking is yet to come, we have lost track, in a way which is accelerating of the some 18 million illegal folks who have already gone through the port, walked across a border, landed on a remote runway, some of whom live right down the street.

Posted by: steve smith at February 27, 2006 12:00 PM
Comment #131936

To whom it may concern:

While it takes no great genius to recognize that the quality of political leadership in this country has been on the decline for decades now, does anyone have a solution to reverse the trend? Would voting for Kerry have resulted in such a monumental improvement to the overall quality of our lives? I think not. Is there a better Republican option out there than Bush? I don’t see one. Do the Democrats have a candidate for ‘08 that will get our ship righted? Please don’t give me Billary Clinton in ‘08…that is no solution.

It’s easy to bash the current administration and the mistakes made by it (notice…I don’t call them deceptions because I don’t believe that they are, any more than previous presidents of both parties have been deceptive…hang Bush, hang the last dozen presidents). How about some solutions? Seriously. Because I don’t see any, short of starting over from scratch. Should we vote out every politician that has been in office for more than, say, 6 years? While at the same time deporting any and all lobbyists? While at the same time closing our borders and ousting any foreign companies that own anything domestic?

Yes, I know. I’m exaggerating to make a point. And the point I’m trying to make is that this is the world we live in. We built it. We allowed it to come to fruition. And what we need are solutions. Ideas. A positive direction to move in. Not more accusations and partisanism. Right now, there are too many of us (and with us, I include myself) who are a part of the problem, and not enough who are part of the solution.

How do we change that?

Posted by: LB at March 7, 2006 3:31 PM
Comment #137379

Yes, let’s pretend that Bush is the cause for 9-11. That way we need not indict our first black president, Willie B Clinton. Willie, history proves, ignored opportunities to capture Bin Laden, even though our Sudanese brethren offered his islama-terrorist butt up several times. It turns out Bin Laden was a Saudi. Who gave the most money to Clinton’s “Library Fund”? The Saudi Royal Family! Opps! But say hey, those Saudi’s just LOVE a good book, right? Right! Also it seems Mr. Clinton is working for other middle-east interests, including the boys at Dubai! But again, we can’t call a spade a spade, so why call a bribe a bribe, and why place the blame where it clearly belongs. It’s oh so toasty warm in bed with the White Elder Democrats: Clinton, Carter, Kennedy and Kerry! Oh what strange bed-fellows these! Let’s pretend that the Big K family had NOTHING to do with the assassinations of King and X. That makes us feel warm and fuzzy. My oh my, how we can so easily deceive our own selves! Sharpton and Jackson get a pass. Why you think? They didn’t contest the power of the Carter-Clinton machine, they didn’t contest the power of the Kerry-Kennedy (where’s the third K?) machine of Boston, they joined in the hoodwinking, bamboozaling fun. And if you ever open eyes to that picture of Jackson on the balcony of the Lorraine Hotel in 1968, you just might see a portrait of a man who just gave up King, his brother, to the other man. Ill-gotten gains have no reward! Don’t Hate! Educate!

Posted by: Rubicon at April 1, 2006 11:29 PM
Post a comment