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Tilting at Windmills

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February 28, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

BUSH AND DUBAI....Look, I happen to think that the Dubai port deal is probably OK. But for chrissake, Richard, it's not exactly insane to be a little more cautious in turning over port operations to a company owned by the United Arab Emirates than to one owned by, say, the German government. Get a grip.

As for why George Bush has defended the deal, one hardly has to resort to paeans to his open-minded humanity to figure this out. I don't think Bush is a bigot, but the reason he stuck to his guns on the port deal is because his first instinct is always to stick to his guns. When Bush is attacked, he attacks back, whether he knows anything about the issue at hand or not. Anyone who hasn't figured that out after five years of Bush watching really does need to go back to school, and not just for a refresher in elementary arithmetic.

Kevin Drum 1:45 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (133)

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Comments

You're in good company, Kevin. Bush, Chertoff, Cohen.

Strike that. *We're* in good company. I'm hiring a guy to drive my kids to school. He had a string of DUI's a few years ago, but he seems to have been more or less clean for almost five years now. So I'm not going to let his history get in the way of putting my kids' lives in his hands.

So you've got me on your side, too. Aren't we sober and serious?

Posted by: tom on February 28, 2006 at 1:49 AM | PERMALINK

Isn't this the guy who was bragging about not knowing algebra last week?

Posted by: MillionthMonkey on February 28, 2006 at 1:56 AM | PERMALINK

You know, my biggest fear on this issue is not that our ports will be infiltrated by sneaky terrorists. It's that the left will learn to win by the means that the right has used all along, namely by utilizing arguments that lack the nuance we're so famous for.

When this deal is examined through a more careful lense, as someone at Booman Tribune did a few days ago, it's not something that would set off the Fear Factor set, yet the left is relishing the thrill of scaring the pants off the masses every bit as much as the right has done up until now.

Posted by: KathyF on February 28, 2006 at 2:00 AM | PERMALINK

Isn't this the guy who was bragging about not knowing algebra last week?

Yep.

He should have been bragging about not knowing anything, along with his hero Bush.

Posted by: frankly0 on February 28, 2006 at 2:00 AM | PERMALINK

it's not exactly insane to be a little more cautious in turning over port operations to a company owned by the United Arab Emirates than to one owned by, say, the German government.

LIAR. We're just turning over management of the TERMINALS to the Arab company. Security would still remain with the Coast Guards and Customs Service. But I wouldn't expect liberal racists to understand the difference.

Posted by: Al on February 28, 2006 at 2:04 AM | PERMALINK

That's funny, Kevin. Earlier you were bashing Singapore because its neighbouring countries were Muslim.

I think you are a bigot. Get a grip.

Posted by: McA on February 28, 2006 at 2:10 AM | PERMALINK


KEVIN DRUM: I don't think Bush is a bigot, but the reason he stuck to his guns on the port deal is because his first instinct is always to stick to his guns. When Bush is attacked, he attacks back, whether he knows anything about the issue at hand or not. Anyone who hasn't figured that out after five years of Bush watching really does need to go back to school, and not just for a refresher in elementary arithmetic.

You do need a refresher in elementary arithmetic (because that's what it's about) if you haven't figured "out after five years of Bush watching" that he is indeed a bigot--a class bigot. Bush doesn't "always stick to his guns" anymore than he stuck to his gun while in the National Guard. What he sticks to is money. What he sticks to are his cronies. That's what this deal is about; it's what all Bush's deals are about. More and more I think it's what your deals are about too.


Posted by: jayarbee on February 28, 2006 at 2:14 AM | PERMALINK

When this deal is examined through a more careful lense, as someone at Booman Tribune did a few days ago, it's not something that would set off the Fear Factor set, yet the left is relishing the thrill of scaring the pants off the masses every bit as much as the right has done up until now.

Look, why should there be any presumption at all -- AT ALL -- that the deal should go through? Why should we simply grant the UAE the ability to take over operations of these ports? Why do we have ANY such obligation to the ruling classes of the UAE, which have clearly in the past consorted with our enemies the Taliban and Osama?

People talk as though we need some compelling reason to deny the deal to the UAE. But why on earth should that be true? If we happen to believe that we don't fully trust the UAE, or simply don't wish to treat them as if they DESERVE our trust, why is that NOT sufficient unto itself as a reason to deny them this deal?

One thing that pretty much disgusts me is the idea that liberals are being "hypocritical" here, and have changed their tune about how we should treat the "Arab world".

In fact, FROM DAY ONE, liberals have criticized Bush over the special treatment he's given to his good buddies in the royal families of oil rich countries. Hell, that was the basis of great deal of the criticism directed Bush's way by Michael Moore -- a supposed moonbat leftist.

How is the criticism of the UAE royal family in ANY way different?

Posted by: frankly0 on February 28, 2006 at 2:17 AM | PERMALINK

Man, you guys whack Kevin down anytime he strays from the script. Can't a self proclaimed moderate take a nuanced view of anything?

Or does agreeing with Bush on a topic make you immediatly a Bush sychophant? The polarization is getting insane here.

Posted by: MobiusKlein on February 28, 2006 at 2:26 AM | PERMALINK

For God's sake people, what are your major malfunctions? The left, the liberals, the progressives, the Democrats -- we're supposed to be the "reality-based community", and instead we get a bunch of people who ought to know better screaming "Boogedy boogedy boogedy! Arabs! Arabs! Boogedy boogedy boogedy!" Not even the freakin' Daily Show treats this as important.

And for daring to not join the mob, people who ought to know better are lumping Kevin in with the Republicans and the sleaze-bags. Christ almighty, the left/liberal/progressive community ought to just officially adopt the circular firing squad as its symbol.

Posted by: Calton Bolick on February 28, 2006 at 2:35 AM | PERMALINK


MOBIUSKLEIN: does agreeing with Bush on a topic make you immediatly a Bush sychophant?

Bush lies, cheats, steals and kills. He does nothing--absolutely nothing--for the common good. So the answer to your question is . . . emphatically . . . YES!


Posted by: jayarbee on February 28, 2006 at 2:39 AM | PERMALINK

instead we get a bunch of people who ought to know better screaming "Boogedy boogedy boogedy! Arabs! Arabs! Boogedy boogedy boogedy!"

Look, the ruling class of the UAE is NOT just a group of Arabs, OK? The UAE was one of three countries to recognize the Taliban. They refuse to recognize Israel. They went out hunting with the Taliban and Osama. They are NOT just random "Arabs".

Is this really hard to understand?

Act as if you've had a clue some time in your life on this earth.

And, until you get that clue, maybe you should stop lecturing US about who is "reality-based".

Posted by: frankly0 on February 28, 2006 at 2:40 AM | PERMALINK

We are concerned about terrorism against the United States and about containing the spread of terrorists, their sympathizers, and the prevention of WMD.

UAE, sadly, doesn't have a good record on these counts. They were one of only three countries to have recognized the Taliban govt; they were lax with AQ Khan's network, which smuggled nuclear material through UAE (don't forget that nuclear is the ultimate WMD); they refuse to recognize Israel etc.

Why should they get the benefit of doubt on something so important to us -- security and protection against terrorism? The Bush administration went to great lengths to suppress the rights of its own people and others in the name of protecting the nation against terrorism, but all is forgotten when a little green dough is involved?

Since 9/11, everything and anything even remotely related to the security of this nation has been dealt with a great sense of urgency and importance -- to the point where the rights and freedoms of Americans and non-Americans were trampled -- under the pretense of protecting the nation. How can a cabal of Arab monarchs, sympathetic to Taliban and Al Qaeda, unable to stem the flow of nuclear equipments through its ports, and one that refuses to recognize Israel be trusted with 21 ports? What does that say about their values and their beliefs and sympathies?

Or is this whole post 9/11 security thing just a sham to grab power?

Posted by: bt on February 28, 2006 at 2:46 AM | PERMALINK

Just to reframe a point I made upthread: what is lost if the US simply refuses to allow the UAE to go ahead? Does the security of the US suffer?

I think the plain answer to the last question is NO -- our security would NOT be impaired -- it may indeed be enhanced with the UAE completely out of the picture -- why indeed not?

Why then are so many Democrats, especially, insisting that it's important that this deal go through unless some smoking gun of peril be discovered?

My suggestion: they are such process weenies and/or goody two shoes that they refuse to entertain a larger picture.

Posted by: frankly0 on February 28, 2006 at 2:53 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin, you are welcome to stick to your guns just as Bush sticks to his.

However, watch how Dubai Ports World tried to silence Lou Dobbs (http://www.crooksandliars.com/2006/02/27.html#a7324). What do they have to hide and what do their supporters in the Bush administration have to gain from this deal?

Posted by: bt on February 28, 2006 at 3:02 AM | PERMALINK

Frankly:

"They" went hunting with Osama.

Nice.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 28, 2006 at 3:11 AM | PERMALINK

Bush will gradually worm his way out of supporting the port deal.

Just like Kevin.

Posted by: reef the dog on February 28, 2006 at 3:15 AM | PERMALINK

The hyperventilation of my friends on the left here has become completely off the wall.

I agree with KathyF and Calton Bolick. The left is just *salivating* to use the very same weapon of unreasonable fearmongering we've been trying to deconstruct since the lead-up to the Iraq war, because we think we've found an easy 'n' cheap wedge issue of our very own.

The UAE doesn't recognize Israel? GOOD FOR THEM.

The UAE swapped spit with the Taliban pre-9/11? SO DID WE.

Jesus effing Christ -- LISTEN TO YOURSELVES already.

I support the Congress looking into this deal as deeply as it deems necessary. And I'll be damned if I'm going to waste my time reading that idiot Richard Cohen.

It's not about anti-racist nobility for Bush. It's about peterosexual depravity -- we all know this.

But let's give the process a chance. I can see an argument that the UAE would provide better screening against al Q than we would, because they have more experience with radical Islamists.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 28, 2006 at 3:18 AM | PERMALINK

They refuse to recognize Israel.

Posted by: frankly0 on February 28, 2006 at 2:40 AM | PERMALINK

Only Yemen and Egypt recognize Israel.
Even Palestine doesn't recognize Israel and they were having peace talks once.

If that's your criteria for Muslim countries, you's have issues with all of them.

Posted by: McA on February 28, 2006 at 3:18 AM | PERMALINK

peterosexual depravity = petrosexual depravity

Posted by: rmck1 on February 28, 2006 at 3:21 AM | PERMALINK

Bush, the anti-bigot -- a lone voice crying out for justice. Pirandello lives!

Posted by: Kenji on February 28, 2006 at 3:53 AM | PERMALINK

McA wrote (presumably among Arab countries) "Only Yemen and Egypt recognize Israel." What about Jordan?

Posted by: Joel Rubinstein on February 28, 2006 at 4:27 AM | PERMALINK

Cohen is a joke. The absurdity of his comparison with Germany says it all. Who is this Cohen? Is he a liberal, or a progressive? Does he know that the UAE bans unions and strikes, and has a dismal human rights record, as well as very limited in duration time being our key ally in the war on terror?

I appreciate our allies, but you need to work with me for awhile before you gain trusted status, and unless you have trusted status, I don't see why we shouldn't examine and investigate whether it's in our best interests for a UAE state-owned business (i.e. plutocratic enterprise) to be running critical American infrastructure.

Posted by: Jimm on February 28, 2006 at 4:36 AM | PERMALINK

No self-respecting American union worker should agree to work for a UAE state-owned enterprise either. If this deal goes through, they should all walk out.

Once you cater to these kinds of companies controlled by these kinds of regimes, who hate and suppress collective bargaining and free speech, you are only digging your own and your brothers and sisters' grave by being a union member and being happy you keep your union job working for these scumbags.

Posted by: Jimm on February 28, 2006 at 4:38 AM | PERMALINK

In my mind, if you do not support unions and collective bargaining, in terms of domestic politics, you are not a liberal or a progressive.

Period.

Half-assed support of unions by patronage politics in the form of excusing the Dubai deal by saying that the Longshoremen will keep their jobs under this UAE company is bullshit.

The Longshoremen themselves should never work for this company, if they have any sense of strategic direction and vision, and anyone who supports unions and collective bargaining would clearly not give trusted status to a nation that gravely treads and suppresses these basic human and economic rights.

I'm drawing the line on this one, and I hope many of you do the same.

Posted by: Jimm on February 28, 2006 at 4:43 AM | PERMALINK

Quite simply, not even considering the collective bargaining issue, the UAE has an atrocious human rights record. They clearly show little respect for our founding and enduring values. With this in mind, that's great if they are our ally over there, but they don't get to run our critical infrastructure with their state-owned enterprises over here.

Talk about moral relativism.

Posted by: Jimm on February 28, 2006 at 4:47 AM | PERMALINK

McA wrote (presumably among Arab countries) "Only Yemen and Egypt recognize Israel." What about Jordan?

Posted by: Joel Rubinstein on February 28, 2006 at 4:27 AM | PERMALINK

Swop Yemen for Jordan. I think Yemen doesn't recognise Israel. I know its only two.

Posted by: McA on February 28, 2006 at 4:57 AM | PERMALINK

Jimm:

I am completely not with you on this issue.

Color me a proud moral relativist.

It's not fair to expect the UAE to be a clone of America, values-wise. I think that has about zero bearing on whether DPW can sucessfully manage ports.

The only worse than moral relativism is moral absolutism.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 28, 2006 at 4:58 AM | PERMALINK

the UAE has an atrocious human rights record.

Posted by: Jimm on February 28, 2006 at 4:47 AM | PERMALINK

Sure...but then bust them for it at the WTO and refuse to trade.

But don't get suprised when Europe uses death penalties as an excuse to hand some help to Airbus over Boeing or SAP over Oracle.

If you were going to object, doing so before they bid would be the sensible option.


Posted by: McA on February 28, 2006 at 5:01 AM | PERMALINK

Jimm:

I mean, by your reasoning the US should bocyott all oil pumped from Saudi Arabia -- a human rights abortion that stones adultresses and cuts the appendages off of petty theives -- right?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 28, 2006 at 5:02 AM | PERMALINK

human rights abortion

Posted by: rmck1 on February 28, 2006 at 5:02 AM | PERMALINK

Hmmn, abortion. Can't we do something about that insane country whose interpretation of their constitution insists that brain sucking babies who are partially out of the womb is a 'right'?

Posted by: McA on February 28, 2006 at 5:04 AM | PERMALINK

Jimm:

I hate to agree with McA, but this kind of puritanism really *does* lead to the worst kind of counterproductive trade warfare.

And where do you expect the Longshoremen will work?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 28, 2006 at 5:05 AM | PERMALINK

Honestly, may I suggest a solution. Let DPW buy the ports.

But grant no work visa to UEA citizens for security/port/border/defense work without a ridiculous security check involving lie detectors and a CIA audit of their bank accounts.

Most of their staff are Indian Citizens anyway so they won't be practically inconvenienced. They'll just send their foreign employees in.

If you are going to racially profile, may as well do it the old fashioned way.

Posted by: McA on February 28, 2006 at 5:10 AM | PERMALINK

McA:

Speaking of playing Values Roulette: Which do you think is more monstrous: Late-term D&X or full clitoridectomy?

I pick the latter.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 28, 2006 at 5:11 AM | PERMALINK

"Look, I happen to think that the Dubai port deal is probably OK."

based on what evidence?


Thought so.

Posted by: pluege on February 28, 2006 at 5:19 AM | PERMALINK

Late-term D&X or full clitoridectomy?

Posted by: rmck1 on February 28, 2006 at 5:11 AM | PERMALINK

Apparently the modern muslim countries don't use the full clitoridectomy.

But assuming the person is treated by a doctor, the later-term D&X is totally sick compared to the clitoridectomy.

God knows what that thing is good for anyway.

Posted by: McA on February 28, 2006 at 5:40 AM | PERMALINK

By the way, female Muslims in Malaysia apparently still go through some kind of procedure equivalent to circumcision.


Posted by: McA on February 28, 2006 at 5:52 AM | PERMALINK

I mean, by your reasoning the US should bocyott all oil pumped from Saudi Arabia -- a human rights abortion that stones adultresses and cuts the appendages off of petty theives -- right?

No, are you drunk tonight Bob?

Just as comparing the UAE to Germany is absurd, so is comparing buying oil from Saudi Arabia to enabling a state-owned plutocratic enterprise to run critical American infrastructure.

I'm disappointed in you Bob, because we are not talking about restraint of trade...indeed, there is no trade to speak of here. We're talking about key and critical American infrastructure, and the notion that we should just do this without any formal investigation of security issues because the UAE and its state-owned companies deserve "trusted" status because they are allies in the war on terror.

I'm calling bullshit. Not in my house. I never said we shouldn't deal with the UAE, or downplay their contribution as allies in the war on terror. I'm fine with trading with them and Saudi Arabia and whoever else does not share our values.

What I am saying is that they DO NOT share our values, and should not be trusted with keys to the house. We are talking about critical infrastructure here, and TRUST.

Beyond that, we are also talking about an enterprise owned by a government that bans unions, strikes, collective bargaining, the right to petition government for grievances, and free speech.

Forgive me for not wanting to give them the keys to the house, or for suggesting that any self-respecting union member who values the continuing existence of unions should agree to work for such an enterprise.

Get it together Bob, because you are not a progressive if you don't get this. There's "free" trade, which is really layers of favored trade, and then there's critical security and economic infrastructure.

And, for the record, one reason for being opposed to our oil addiction is that we are forced to depend on corrupt tyrannical regimes to keep our economy going, so that instead of pressuring them to show some respect to their people, or face isolation from us, we are forced to make up all kinds of doublethink and bullshit about how it's perfectly okay to give favored status to state-owned enterprises that would gladly do away with worker protections, collective bargaining, unions, petitions, and free speech.

I'm not buying that crap, so along with ecological, design, and materials efficiency reasons, I advocate and promote alternative and renewable and most of all local energy production and infrastructure research and development so that we can remove this impediment to our honor, character, and integrity.

And, no union member should support this deal, or agree to work for the UAE, which is a separate issue that has nothing to do with Germany or Saudi Arabia (since these union members aren't being asked to work, and look the other way, for these two).

Posted by: Jimm on February 28, 2006 at 5:54 AM | PERMALINK

Also, the notion that my arguments are any strain of "puritanism" is a joke. Instead, they are classically liberal and social-economically progressive.

Anyone who has any integrity, and testifies to civil liberalism and progressivism, cannot countenance this deal on several levels, most of which I've mentioned if you don't buy the asshole from Malaysia's spin, or the idiots like Cohen and Friedman who are throwing the xenophobia card (as if this isn't a card I've been turning over and exposing, along with hate, racism, and fear, for some time in these threads).

Posted by: Jimm on February 28, 2006 at 6:00 AM | PERMALINK

If you are so afraid of Arab culture & governments, how can not confronting it be justified?

Posted by: McA on February 28, 2006 at 6:52 AM | PERMALINK

This is a very simple matter, which boils down to big oil and big money.

Posted by: stink on February 28, 2006 at 6:59 AM | PERMALINK
JIMM: What I am saying is that they DO NOT share our values, and should not be trusted with keys to the house. We are talking about critical infrastructure here, and TRUST.

Beyond that, we are also talking about an enterprise owned by a government that bans unions, strikes, collective bargaining, the right to petition government for grievances, and free speech.

Forgive me for not wanting to give them the keys to the house, or for suggesting that any self-respecting union member who values the continuing existence of unions should agree to work for such an enterprise.

Get it together Bob, because you are not a progressive if you don't get this.


Sorry, Jimm, but I don't think you are a progressive if you don't get this: They do share our values, if by "our" you mean our government.

All of your talk about unions and human rights implies some sort of commitment to these institutions on our government's part. Unions are as dead as democracy in this country. The percentage of the labor force protected by them has been shrinking for decades with the government's blessing. Corporations have been given full reign to force out those in existence and to prevent their formation. Do you actually suppose they will begin to grow again in a sweeping movement spurred on by Democratic leadership? They'll continue to disappear, surviving in pockets for a time, but as always, only among the highest paid workers. So maybe major sports and Hollywood will have them for a decade or so yet.

You mentioned freedom of speech. We don't have freedom of speech; we have the freedom to pay for speech. Even then, it's subject to approval. As soon as feathers are ruffled or, more pertinently, as soon as pocketbooks are threatened, freedom of speech is revoked. I've posted statements on these pages that are more inflammatory--more easily judged subversive--than those made by countless others for which they've been interrogated and detained.

What Republicans will never understand, what Democrats will continue to deny, what liberals won't face, and what progressives fear admitting is that we are now, at this moment, living in a fascist state. Jimm, what you don't get is they already have the keys to the house.


Posted by: jayarbee on February 28, 2006 at 7:20 AM | PERMALINK

My friends daughter is being deployed to Iraq. This is just terrible and senseless, but it is being replayed all over our country. I am sick about this, because I have no power alone to do anything about it. Together we can make a difference. Now that Bushs approval rating on the handling of Iraq is only at 30%, we need to push Murthas plan:

To immediately redeploy U.S. troops consistent with the safety of U.S. forces.
To create a quick reaction force in the region.
To create an over- the- horizon presence of Marines.
To diplomatically pursue security and stability in Iraq

The people need to speak up against continuing this war. It is over. Iraq is close to or in a civil war. A civil war is not our fight. We can pray about this issue, but, if you read the Bible, you will see that God uses people to right wrongs and make changes in our world. Please write to everyone you can think of and push them to end this madness. We need to bring our troops home before we lose anymore of our true treasure our men and women.

Posted by: debbiehamil on February 28, 2006 at 7:35 AM | PERMALINK

There are a couple of points worth pondering:
1. Will the new port operators have access to security plans for the ports? Is that a good thing?
2. Why did the coast guard object to this plan? What do they know that the Bush chorus on this board doesn't know?
3.Why did the customs agency's anti-terrorism head object to the deal (as reported by the WAPO)
4. Finally, after 6 years of watching this administration's total incompetance, why would anyone trust them on issues like this? With the Bushies' track record, the mere fact they are for it, is good enough grounds for sensible Americans to be against it.

Posted by: molly bloom on February 28, 2006 at 7:47 AM | PERMALINK

It is also possible, as Gary Hart has suggested, that Bush is trying to protect some covert operation involving the UAE that we know nothing about.

Posted by: bob h on February 28, 2006 at 7:54 AM | PERMALINK

You know, my biggest fear on this issue is not that our ports will be infiltrated by sneaky terrorists. It's that the left will learn to win by the means that the right has used all along, namely by utilizing arguments that lack the nuance we're so famous for.
-- KathyF @ 2:00 AM

instead we get a bunch of people who ought to know better screaming "Boogedy boogedy boogedy! Arabs! Arabs! Boogedy boogedy boogedy!"
-- Calton Bolick @ 2:35 AM

That's funny.

My biggest fear is that your PC idolatry will preclude you from ever acting effectively or rationally in the world, and the Dems from ever taking national security issues seriously, condemning themselves to ridicule, dwindling support, and a quick death.

Nuance?! Nuance!!!??? Is that the same nuance with which Democrats have won election after election lo these many years now? John Kerry had nuance -- but then the word sounds kinda Frenchy, when ya thinka bout it.

Dems have nothing to fear but your biggest fear itself -- and not it's purported cause. You are incorrect to presume Dems are adopting Bush's tactics. Unless you count Lieberman and Hillary, who learned those tactics long ago!

I deeply resent and categorically deny that progressives who object to this deal are using scare tactics or hate or hysteria to argue their point or take this position.

Crooks & Liars report that UAE/DPW is twisting CNNs' arm to shut Lou Dobbs up. Censorship, anyone? Is blacklisting next?

Is THIS the way the "civilized," "modern," "shopping haven" of the United Arab Emirates respects and cherishes the core American values of liberty, free speech, fair and open debate?

YOU are the ones who stereotype Arabs if you have the gall to tell us that "Oh, you know they're very modern -- they shop!" Get off it. How patronizing could you be?

I'll ask again -- and this time, catch the reference to the McCarthy hearings.

In stomping Lou Dobbs:
Is that the same attention to and respect for the values of free speech, a free press, and open debate -- as you (UAE/DPW) have used in maintaining security at your ports, and in the future in American ports?

But I guess showering K Street lobbyists & elected officials with unheard-of amounts of gold coin is a time-honored American tradition, isn't it?

A few points:

1. No more faint-heartedness in grappling with issues on our part. Your avoidance of the crux of the matter and willingness to attack your allies rather than those who abuse power speaks volumes about what's wrong with the DemParty.

2. Bush's assertion that profiling Arabs, torturing and rendition of innocents, suspension of civil liberties, illegal wiretaps, and Preznitial War w/o authorization or end -- ALL THAT IS OK because of security, terrorism, fear, Muslims -- BUT NOT EVEN basic common sense evaluation of a policy that cedes leases of terminal operations to ANY foreign govt/corp.

3. This is about a policy that outsources American the operation of US assets /infrastructure to whomever. Not bright. It's about the privatization of govt functions. Not bright at all. It's about making inherently political decisions based on an economic ideology that can't stand to see the light of day, operating in secret, with zero transparency. Really, really stupid.

You two would eat your own young if it allowed you to avoid thinking seriously about an issue, rather than grasping at the most convenient and stereotyping answer, applied to your political brethren. Take back your acccusations -- or debate this on the merits.

The UAE has been and is a nexus for smuggling and money laundering. That's not going to change. The issue is whether a global finance system that allows/encourages such money laundering, globalization at the expense of OUR national economic engines and national security is bright, patriotic, or in the national interest. WE OWE THEM NOTHING. EVEN if there's no security risk. Same for the Brits: they resisted increasing security in terminal operations -- rescind their lease, shut down P&O's operations, and slap an exorbitant tax on their tea until they come around.

Posted by: SombreroFallout on February 28, 2006 at 8:00 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe because Bush is a Bush -- son of a president who got to know many Arabs -- or maybe because he just naturally recoils from prejudice, his initial stance on this controversy has been refreshingly admirable.

Naturally recoils from prejudice? The same administration who said that we went to war with Iraq because it was part of the "geographic base" of the terrorists?

If the Bush Administration can extend the collective guilt for al Qaeda terrorism to Iraq, then it can logically be extended to the United Arab Emirates as well, which is roughly the same geographic distance from Saudi Arabia--home to Osama bin Laden and virtually all of the 9/11 hijackers.

Posted by: Moonlight on February 28, 2006 at 8:07 AM | PERMALINK

These are the type of Arabs Bush likes, the type of people that he had whisked out of the US imediately after 9/11 even though the FBI would have liked the opportunity to interrogate the members of the Bin Laden family.

These are rich people.

Even if you agree with the decision, the veto threat was the wrong response. It was a petulant little tantrum from a guy who demonstrates every day that his critics are entirely right, he isn't up to the job.

I think the real reason Bush's poll numbers are in free fall (34% is probably not the floor) is because people suddenly started to realize that what they had misinterpreted as 'strength' is actually weakness.

Posted by: Phill on February 28, 2006 at 8:26 AM | PERMALINK

Here in the home of private enterprise is there a concern about using a government run company for this service? In addition to security concerns how about such traditional private/government issues as "unfair competition" with the private sector; inevitable inefficiencies of a government owned organization; loss of tax revenues by allowing an overseas company to keep profits offshore?

That of course in addition to that fact that the UAE is not a democracy and is run by a bunch of hereditary sheikhs accountable to no one. Are these are the guys we want running our ports?
Have we become such a feeble economic system that we need overseas expertise to run our basic systems?

Posted by: cycledoc on February 28, 2006 at 8:29 AM | PERMALINK

the most hilarious argument made above by a lady is that she is afraid that the left will learn to appeal to the masses by not doing nuances. And that's bad?

Posted by: lib on February 28, 2006 at 8:43 AM | PERMALINK

Let's start a letter-writing campaign to get the WaPo to put Cohen behind a subscription wall. The world would be so much better off.

Posted by: Doofus on February 28, 2006 at 9:33 AM | PERMALINK

You think the dealis "okay"? Jeebus. I see our reasoning skills haven't improved, Kevin. When are you going to work for the New Republic?

Posted by: Ivor the Engine Driver on February 28, 2006 at 9:36 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin, good point, but you really should elaborate what security problems are coonected to DP World. Like the fact that DP World obviously doesn't want to play by US rules as it has shown by trying to silence Lou Dobbs and the CNN news reporting. Well, if they try to prevent the media from reporting about DP World issues, how can we ever be sure that they comply with US rules and the obligations from that deal? Who would give a guarantee that DP World won't turn out to be as criminal as that other (in)famous UAE multi billion dollar enterprise, BCCI?

Posted by: Gray on February 28, 2006 at 9:45 AM | PERMALINK

atrios is reporting that the DPW parent company boycotts Israel. Nice catch. Wonder how Richard Cohen feels about that? Just asking.

Posted by: moe99 on February 28, 2006 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

I think there's a tendency among liberals to stretch to find things to agree about with the right. It's touching and in some ways appealing, but just because you're splitting with the majority of other liberals doesn't add credibility to the position.

Nobody defending the deal has explained why the babysitter-who-used-to-hang-with-child-pornographers analogy is not salient. Nobody has explained why we should ignore the UAE's history of dallying with terrorists. In a less politically charged context, no one would say we should ignore an applicant's history so long as the last five years have been OK.

The best anyone has come up with is Bob's "we swapped spit with Al Queda, too" point. Nice point, so far as it goes. But of course we stopped our idiotic involvement with Al Queda after the Soviets left Afghanistan. The UAE continued its cloudy relationship even after the first twin towers bombing, after the bombings of US embassies, and around the same time as the Cole bombing. Bob might want to fill out his argument a bit more.

Before you lecture the rest of us about losing our intellectual integrity, you need to finish making your argument. And you might want to take some time to explain why we should ignore the point that this security review (in which 2 security agencies initially objected) was conducted by an administration distinguished among all administrations for its incompetence, and for its cronyism. And you might want to account for the fact that your own assessment of the security risk is based -- since you don't have investigatory powers -- on a poverty of information.

But please don't let any of this get in the way of sermonizing about how the rest of us are turning into Karl Rove.

Posted by: tom on February 28, 2006 at 9:53 AM | PERMALINK

I'll say it again: export control. All of the Middle East has a caution flag on it for high-tech shipments. If that's racism, take it up with the State Department. A high-tech company, shipping to Dubai, would need to be especially careful who they were shipping to, and how it was handled. It seems slightly insane to put a good chunk of our trade (including our high-tech trade) in the hands of a country to whom our own state department forbids free export of high-tech goods. Remember why (version 1.5) we started the Iraq war? Weapons of mass destruction program-related activities? Aluminum tubes and all that? Such aluminum tubes are the sort of items that exporters must be careful with, so that they are not "accidentally" "lost" in transit.

Hanging out with Al Qaeda and the Taliban is just another nail in what ought to be this deal's coffin.

Posted by: dr2chase on February 28, 2006 at 9:53 AM | PERMALINK

Remember maybe a dozen years ago when conservatives were all in a dither because a big part of the port of Long Beach (near Los Angeles) was being sold to mainland China? Clinton was all for that deal and, yes, Chinese money did find its way to his campaign coffers via Indonesia.

Posted by: Michael L. Cook on February 28, 2006 at 10:03 AM | PERMALINK

Bush is not a bigot????????????????????????????
Kevin, what has happened to you?
Get out of Washington immediately! Do not pack, do not pass go, do not collect $200 dollars. Obviously the place has something in the water that causes a softening of the brain.

No need to list Mr. Bushs' bigoty. The post comments do have a limit of the number of characters and I do not want to exceed that.

Posted by: ETnGuy on February 28, 2006 at 10:05 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin, et. al. are claiming that since they can't find a compelling reason to halt the sale, it should go through. Everyone else is saying that since they can't find a compelling reason to approve the sale, it needs to be stopped. That's why Kevin and the other Bush-enablers seem to be dumbstruck at the outrage.

Posted by: Constantine on February 28, 2006 at 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

Ah, the reincarnation of Thomas Edward Lawrence - someday a new movie, "Drum of Arabia"

Posted by: thethirdPaul on February 28, 2006 at 10:26 AM | PERMALINK


George Bush has used racial politics to advance his agenda from day one. It started when he allowed Rove to bash McCain's "black daughter".
He saw thousands of poor black refugees stranded by Katrina and his first thought was to send in the military to defend against looters.
He incarcerated over a thousand middle easterners after 911 in secret and without charge or hearing for months, just to be sure. He deliberately confabulated Iraqis and Al Qaeda to push his war never worrying that tens of thousands of civilians would be killed.

He may not personally hold racist views, but if he acts like a bigot he is a bigot.

Posted by: Mike on February 28, 2006 at 10:28 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, and Hutchison Whampoa, Ltd.(a mainland Chinese front company) owns 90% of the ports at both ends of the Panama Canal, another Clinton deal.

Posted by: Michael L. Cook on February 28, 2006 at 10:31 AM | PERMALINK

Well, this is it -- we're officially through the looking glass.

Five years after 9/11 the president is giving Al Qaeda control of security at 21 U.S. ports. Including New York!

And liberals are defending the decision.

Possibly more liberals than conservatives, I might add.

Posted by: Jim J on February 28, 2006 at 10:34 AM | PERMALINK

Michael L Cook,

Still afraid to wear your "cowboy gear" as you stroll through Volunteer Park?

Posted by: thethirdPaul on February 28, 2006 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

Is Richard Cohen still alive?

Posted by: brewmn on February 28, 2006 at 10:41 AM | PERMALINK

"You mean "BCCI" who Senator Feinstein's husband was involved with? At lease there you have proof of illegality - did DWP do anything illegal with this ports deal in general or with CNN specifically?"

Hmm, not sure, Dick, I am talking about that BCCI that was involved in Iran/Contra. The BCCI that made Business with George W. Bush, maybe you know the guy? The BCCI that was described by the CIA as the "Banks of Ctooks and Criminals". That's the same?
It became a multi billion dollar business in the 70s and it crashed in the 90s because of its involvement in multiple crimes. Where are the guarantees that the DPW will respect the laws, unlike that other UAE company? Did the Bush administration do some careful vetting of DPW, did they attest that, for instance, no DP World owner or employee is known having a connection to Al Qaeda? Did I miss something?

P.S.: Thx for giving the cue, Dick! Good job.

Posted by: Gray on February 28, 2006 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

"It is also possible, . . .that Bush is trying to protect some covert operation involving the UAE that we know nothing about."

Exactly! Next time high-ranking UAE officials go hunting with Osama, we're going to sneak Cheney in with them and . . .

"Obviously the place has something in the water that causes a softening of the brain."

lead.

Posted by: Dan S. on February 28, 2006 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

"Oh, and Hutchison Whampoa, Ltd.(a mainland Chinese front company) owns 90% of the ports at both ends of the Panama Canal, another Clinton deal."

Panama Canal is increasingly becoming irrelevant. Modern Cargo ships and tankers can't use it.

Posted by: Gray on February 28, 2006 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

Yep, Mr. Bush has carnal mentality, which is why I admire, and revere him. He is the only one who will say to the terrorists, that he will blow up your (terrorist's) country if you dare mess with him, and furthermore, he will destroy your neighbours (Iran, Syria) and friends too along with it. What a guy! The world remembers conquerors. And he is definitely one, for he conquer terrorists, kill all of them. And he will forever be remembered as one who destabilizes middle east to bring about democracy. He will be a hero, just you watch. The making of a powerful conqueror from America is at work here. That's why I vote him, becuse he means War. And I want war on all terrorists, wherever you are.

Posted by: Mini Al on February 28, 2006 at 10:49 AM | PERMALINK

Cheney: The reporting I've seen is that Homeland Security and Coast Guard initially objected to the deal. Then they changed their minds.

If you're right -- and I'm skeptical -- that the US state department was aiding Al Queda right up to 9/11, then so much the worse.

But we're stuck with ourselves. We're not stuck with the UAE.

Nice to know you would limit how much control a foreign state (or its wholly owned subsidiaries) would have over our ports. I tend to think, though, that the people who bring managers and other folks over on work visas, who set policies and practices for the handling of shipping containers, who oversee and implement the handling of containers, etc. have plenty of opportunities -- some known to our experts and some perhaps not -- to work mischief.

The Drum/Cheney side of this seems to be relying heavily on the idea that the rest of us are engaging in "guilt by association." That's a thin reed. Guilt by association is not enough to send someone to jail. But it's enough to choose not to hire someone to babysit your kids, drive them to school, or to operate a piece of critical infrastructure at which a little bit of mischief could kill many thousands of people and devastate a region and the national economy.

I'm pleased that you get what's wrong with guilt by association. Now if you could just distinguish between contexts in which it's salient and contexts in which it is not, we could move this debate along.

Posted by: tom on February 28, 2006 at 10:54 AM | PERMALINK

Hehehehehe! Funny troll :D

Posted by: Gray on February 28, 2006 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

"Hehehehehe! Funny troll :D"
Mini Al, of course, not tom :)

Posted by: Gray on February 28, 2006 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK
Look, I happen to think that the Dubai port deal is probably OK.

Gratuitous concessions on substance in order to make your stylistic criticisms somehow more relevant don't work.

And, again, why should be increasing our dependency on foreign, nondemocratic regimes to provide services critical to our economy and security?

Posted by: cmdicely on February 28, 2006 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

Is Richard Cohen still alive?
Posted by: brewmn

It would appear so. Although 'alive' in only the strictest sense of the word. "Pickled in his own juices" might be a more accurate description.

I haven't troubled to read the jerk since he fell into a deathlike swoon after Colin's little farce.

"Chirac! Buy us back!"

Posted by: CFShep on February 28, 2006 at 11:10 AM | PERMALINK

I ould like to see Kevin defending his position in the light of these breakig news:
"Exclusive: Dubai ports firm enforces Israel boycott"
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1139395502196&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Now, regardless if you're a big fan of Israel or not (I'm not), don't you think a company that refuses to do business with one of Americas most important partners automatically disqualifies as a contractor for US port operations?

Hat tip: Think Progress

Posted by: Gray on February 28, 2006 at 11:11 AM | PERMALINK

I don't care who likes this deal, I don't. And cmdicely puts it succinctly and correctly:
And, again, why should be increasing our dependency on foreign, nondemocratic regimes to provide services critical to our economy and security?

Posted by: Ace Franze on February 28, 2006 at 11:12 AM | PERMALINK

don't you think a company that refuses to do business with one of Americas most important partners automatically disqualifies as a contractor for US port operations?

Posted by: Gray on February 28, 2006 at 11:11 AM | PERMALINK

Only two Muslim countries I know of recognise Israel and not recognising Israel means you can't import/export to it.

I'm all cool on this even if it hits my home country. But I wanna know when you are going to stop using oil from all Muslim countries.

By the way, why should all foreign countries agree to use US technology for the internet, isn't that stategic? Or allow US banks licenses? Or buy US wheat and get dependent on them for food?

Trade war with the world then! More brilliant American strategy.

Posted by: McA on February 28, 2006 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

Look, I happen to think that the Dubai port deal is probably OK.

Kevin Drum

A "deal" that made by middle-level bureaucrats, that broke the law, involved hardly a cursory review of its security implications, that Defense knew nothing about, and involved a foreign state-owned company tied to terrorist activities "is probably OK?"

You are a hypocritical, self-aggrandizing moron. Period.

Posted by: Econo Buzz on February 28, 2006 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

I just saw that Atrios is commenting on the very same Cohen column as Kevin. Pls compare his stance with Kevins:
http://atrios.blogspot.com/2006_02_26_atrios_archive.html#114110287102753789

OK, Kevin is pro deal, Atrios is contra, sure. But don't you think, too, that the Eschaton column scores better against Cohen by pointing out the incoherency of his stance?

And at the same time, Kevin critizises Bush, even though they are on the same side of the issue and without offering any explanantion where the difference in their positions is. Does Kevin really think that his own pro opinion isn't stubborn, even though lots of additional arguments against the deal have turned up?

Posted by: Gray on February 28, 2006 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

Bush has sent a clear message to people
FEAR. Fear this fear that I am the fearless
leader who will keep you safe.
Well it boils down to this he pushed
us into a war on false fear. He now
collects data without a warrent to keep us
safe. Everything is classified to keep us safe. The enemy can not find out what tools we use.
Unless they need them to run our Ports.
What this deal tells america is it was never
about safety it was about MONEY. HE is warning
us that Iran may be buliding nucular weapons
well duaaa. They got the parts through U.A.E.
Ports. He said there is no differance between a
british owned company and DUBIA. Bull one is
a public company the other is Goverment owned.
Bush wants to spread Democracy at gun point
if required yet U.A.E. is not a Democracy
the people of U.A.E. do not vote. They are owned by 7 Men. This is no better than any other Dictatership.
BREAKING NEWS this deal is done. The 45 day
review is smoke up americas BU**. On march
2 they have control of 6 Ports with the upper
hand and all the documentation on the remaining
15. So here is the Facts on what we lost.
We lost control of our goverment we turned it
over to a little man who walks around like
he is Napoleon and refuses to hear anyone
but the warped voice in his head that tells him
he has the power to make his own laws and make
the public bow to his will. Yes we have enough
to Impeach the little monster but not one Republican will step up and take the bull by the horns. They fear loseing the almighty republican
dirty reelection finances. Because Bushs crooks
hold the purse strings. So yes by the time the
45 days are up you will be convinced the U.A.E.
is Americas best friend. America is no longer
the great nation it once was the years of Misinformation has left so many brain dead that
they no longer recognize lies from facts or
Dog doo from lilacs. If you doubt this ask yourself this. How much money did the Republicans
spend for Ken Starr to find out about a BJ?
Were they really concerned about the law or
who had the power?
Why are they not holding this man to the same
letter of the law. Because they are all members
of the same gang no not the crips or the bloods they are the Republicans. They are not funded by drug money they are funded by corporate money. Is there a difference no not really they both leave the little man poor and dependent.Who is watching out for us?
NO ONE. The Democrates do not have enough seats
to represent us and call a criminal a criminal.
The pusher I mean the corporate influance will
continue to prop the Republican party up and
feed them more drugs I mean money. King George
will never be called on the lies he has told or
the laws he has broke. America has no Ports.
The Goverment of some other country now has
part of America. Is this approved Goverment Invasion. Our Founding Fathers and the Fallen
Vets of All our Wars must be so Proud.

Posted by: Honey P on February 28, 2006 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

Cohen is surely senile.

The call of racist is just a cheap card that Bush plays - just like every other cheap and crooked trick the Bush administration plays.

When Bush first started pushing blanket amnesty in his illegal immigration policy - Bush again played the "raciest" card - congress was merely being "raciest" if they don't agree with Bush of blanket amnesty.

Now, once again it's "raciest" if congress fails to accept the United Arab Emirates deal - it's a cheap card Bush plays over and over again.

It's time for Cohen to retire if he seriously believes the United Arab Emirates deal has anything to do with "racism".

What an truly embarrassingly stupid column for the Washington Post. Does Cohen expect anybody else to be this utterly retarded?

And this means either one of two things - Cohen is taking brides or gifts from the Bush administration or it means that Richard Cohen is one seriously obtuse man - and so much so, that Cohen has no business at all in continuing to write for an establishment like Washington Post.

NOBODY would be this stupid except a senile old man or gullible 5 year old child.

Posted by: Cheryl on February 28, 2006 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

"next time high ranking UAE officials go hunting with Osama, we'll sneak Cheney in with them"

Now, how the hell is he supposed to know the difference between shooting bustards and bastards?

Posted by: thethirdPaul on February 28, 2006 at 11:32 AM | PERMALINK

I don't think Bush is a bigot,

No, he just traffics in bigotry for his own gain. Which makes him worse than a bigot, actually. He knows better but doesn't care.

but the reason he stuck to his guns on the port deal is because his first instinct is always to stick to his guns.

That's his first instinct. His second instinct is to abandon his guns, flip-flop and backpedal furiously, insisting that that was what he meant to do all along. See, e.g. setting up a Department of Homeland Security, holding a Security Council vote on Iraq, Bernie Kerik as head of DHS, Social Security, Harriet Miers, etc.

When Bush is attacked, he attacks back, whether he knows anything about the issue at hand or not.

What's that "whether" doing in there? Does Bush EVER know anything about the issue at hand? Is there one single issue you can think of that you can reasonably call Bush an expert on? Besides the different varities of bourbon, that is.

Posted by: Stefan on February 28, 2006 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

OK, I don't want to be unfair to Kevin, it's great that he defends those who have reasonable doubts. But he really should tell us more about what his ideas are on resolving those doubts. What additional investigations does he want? Does he think vital informations may be missing? Does he propose additional safeguards beyond those (huahaha) that the Bush administration negotiated? Does he think the demands of foreign policy outweigh a higher security risk in the home country?
Really, where are the details, Kevin? If you want us to respect your opinion, you should at least clearly define what your position is!

Posted by: Gray on February 28, 2006 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, and Hutchison Whampoa, Ltd.(a mainland Chinese front company) owns 90% of the ports at both ends of the Panama Canal, another Clinton deal.

As far as I know the Panama Canal runs through Panama, a sovereign nation. Despite the imperialist pretensions of some on the right, Panama is not actually a part of the United States, and therefore comparisons with our own domestic port security are besides the point.

Posted by: Stefan on February 28, 2006 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

Cheney, if you and Kevin are going to make your case using the argument, "We need to do this deal as a fig leaf to the UAE," then go for it. It's more honest than arguing, "I don't see what the big deal is or why it should be rejected." What proponents of the deal need to do--and they don't seem to understand why people are upset--is make a compelling case for doing this deal, not claim that the reasons for nixing the deal aren't compelling.

And if you listened to Carter, his endorsement of the deal was completely back-handed-- "I have confidence that this was vetted by the administration, so there's no reason it shouldn't go through." Of course, the deal wasn't vetted and Bush, defending himself, said he only found out about the deal after the story broke.

Posted by: Constantine on February 28, 2006 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

Very good points, Constantine, 100% ack!

Posted by: Gray on February 28, 2006 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK
By the way, why should all foreign countries agree to use US technology for the internet, isn't that stategic?

While there is a benefit to using common specifications, who has argued that foreign countries should agree to be dependent on US suppliers?

Or allow US banks licenses?

Who says they, categorically, should? The whole "opening up capital markets" thing is a big fetish of the "free movement of goods and capital, subservience for actual people" Right. I don't really have strong preferences over whether foreign countries choose to allow US banks to operate, only allow domestic banks, or make banking a government monopoly.

Or buy US wheat and get dependent on them for food?

They probably shouldn't if they see a strong likelihood of conflict over divergent values; controlling a country's food supply can be a powerful lever. Nevertheless, all your examples are of private industry, and not germane to dependence on a foreign government to provide critical services, particularly a government with widely divergent fundamental ideology.

So, how about dealing with the issues raised by the deal at hand, rather than responding with questions that are at best tangentially relevant to the issue and that presume positions that no one has taken?

Posted by: cmdicely on February 28, 2006 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

"What proponents of the deal need to do--and they don't seem to understand why people are upset--is make a compelling case for doing this deal, not claim that the reasons for nixing the deal aren't compelling."

Exactly! That's what I wanted to say in much more words :envious:

So, come on Kevin, pls make your case! Put the facts on the table and show us how you weight them.

Posted by: Gray on February 28, 2006 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

SombreroFallout: You have proved my point. Thank you.

frankly0: Did you actually read the article I pointed out in the Booman Tribune before you assumed we were not "reality-based"? Or did you inadvertantly leave out the word "alternate"?

Posted by: KathyF on February 28, 2006 at 12:04 PM | PERMALINK

Gray,

Kevin will have to get back to you - He's at the cleaners right now picking up his laundered burnoose.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on February 28, 2006 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

Good point, Constantine. Why do we have to do this deal? Why do we even have to go there? Why take the risk?

None of the supporters of the deal have answered the question, other than to preach political correctness, and to point to our need to bolster our image in the Middle East.

Bolster our image? We can start by stop torturing Muslims.

Posted by: kimster on February 28, 2006 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

Gray,

Kevin will have to get back to you - He's at the cleaners right now picking up his laundered burnoose.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on February 28, 2006 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

You're wrong on this, and so is Silber. This port deal is a loser for all involved. It's time to throw the cards in and start over. This deal is much more about aggregating the influence of an elect few Bushmen, than anything else and as such deserves to go down in flames. If you are doing an excellent job and you want some personal rewards fine. But when you are f-ing up as bad as Team Bush this isn't about rewards its about looting.

As usual Kevin you are trying to impose some logical reasoning onto a deal that has nothing to do with policy or anything else. Like all Bush operations this was decided on first, and reasons were applied after the decision. You and the Monthly will continue not to matter as long you continue to enable this game.

Not to Monthly Staff: You want not to look like TNR in a year? No? Then its time to be aggressive. The people from the Weekly Standard didn't get to play the game because the tacitly agreed with the administration's line. They also don't project their own reasoning onto the actions of their adversaries. Rather they project their most vile thoughts onto the intentions of their adversaries, and they do it compulsively. Your current line of rhetoric is nothing more than asking for vaseline after the fact. Wise up before your hemmoroids cause you to join the washed up TNR.

Posted by: patience on February 28, 2006 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

i rolled through 90+ comments, many of them astonishingly silly, to see if anyone would cite an actual useful authority, but since no one did, i will:

Joseph King, who headed the customs agency's anti-terrorism efforts under the Treasury Department and the new Department of Homeland Security, said national security fears are well grounded.

He said a company the size of Dubai Ports World would be able to get hundreds of visas to relocate managers and other employees to the United States. Using appeals to Muslim solidarity or threats of violence, al-Qaeda operatives could force low-level managers to provide some of those visas to al-Qaeda sympathizers, said King, who for years tracked similar efforts by organized crime to infiltrate ports in New York and New Jersey. Those sympathizers could obtain legitimate driver's licenses, work permits and mortgages that could then be used by terrorist operatives.

Dubai Ports World could also offer a simple conduit for wire transfers to terrorist operatives in the Middle East. Large wire transfers from individuals would quickly attract federal scrutiny, but such transfers, buried in the dozens of wire transfers a day from Dubai Ports World's operations in the United States to the Middle East would go undetected, King said.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/22/AR2006022201609_2.html?referrer=email

This is putting aside the question of whether we should trust the bush administration's cursory "review," and whether an administration and political party that have opposed increased funding for port security for the past 4.5 years deserves the benefit of the doubt on anything.

Posted by: howard on February 28, 2006 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

When Bush is attacked, he attacks back, whether he knows anything about the issue at hand or not

Since most of the attacks on Bush, like this one, are ill-considered, his counterattacks are appropriate and effective.

Thoughtful criticisms of his policies are generally more effective.

Posted by: republicrat on February 28, 2006 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

I have a friend who is in charge of the port operations for his energy company in Puget Sound and on the Columbia River. He says: I can't believe how arrogant this administration was in making this decision without Congress.

I mean, if we had a democracy, wouldn't these decisions be joint? Why is it up to Bush alone to make such important decisions? He thinks he has way more power than he should have - declare war, check, illegal surveillance, check, unilateral all the way. This is wrong. It is not got to agree with him because it just feeds his imperial tendencies. These decisions are not made unilaterally in this country, period.

Posted by: MaryAnne on February 28, 2006 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

One other point to add to the mix here.

From the Jerusalem Post, via TAPPED:

The parent company of a Dubai-based firm at the center of a political storm in the US over the purchase of American ports participates in the Arab boycott against Israel, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

The firm, Dubai Ports World, is seeking control over six major US ports, including those in New York, Miami, Philadelphia and Baltimore. It is entirely owned by the Government of Dubai via a holding company called the Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation (PCZC), which consists of the Dubai Port Authority, the Dubai Customs Department and the Jebel Ali Free Zone Area.

Yes, of course the boycott is still in place and is still enforced," Muhammad Rashid a-Din, a staff member of the Dubai Customs Department's Office for the Boycott of Israel, told the Post in a telephone interview.

"If a product contained even some components that were made in Israel, and you wanted to import it to Dubai, it would be a problem," he said.

A-Din noted that while the head office for the anti-Israel boycott sits in Damascus, he and his fellow staff members are paid employees of the Dubai Customs Department, which is a division of the PCZC, the same Dubai government-owned entity that runs Dubai Ports World.

Moreover, the Post found that the website for Dubai's Jebel Ali Free Zone Area, which is also part of the PCZC, advises importers that they will need to comply with the terms of the boycott A-Din of the Israel boycott office confirmed that his office examines certificates of origin as a means of verifying whether a product originated in the Jewish state.

Now consider that we are being lectured at by advocates of the Dubai deal that we must approve it because it will be in the interests of free trade, and we can't presume to "punish" the UAE for its fraternizing with the Taliban and Osama.

And yet here we have the Dubai company BOYCOTTING Israel (our ally) over ITS behavior.

Please tell me, someone, why two can't play that game?

Please?

Posted by: frankly0 on February 28, 2006 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

Mr./Ms. Republicrat -

Thoughtful criticisms of his policies are generally more effective.

Bush has only one "policy": accumulate power and enrich his friends. This is his world view but is not policy in the normally accepted sense.

Bush could never say, "It is the policy of the U.S. Government to outsource to foreign governments all critical U.S. national security operations because we believe it is in the best interests of the U.S.".

No, he hides behind, "We have reviewed this deal and are certain that it is a good one", without offering a word of real explanation but hinting that those who oppose it are racist.

The whole thing is outrageous of course. Why should it be acceptable to outsource critical national security operations? Is it really not that important? Are there no U.S. companies who could do the job, or want to?

And why was P&O doing it in the first place? Whose decision was that?


In such circumstances "thoughtful criticism" is meaningless.

Posted by: JB (not John Bolton) on February 28, 2006 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

While I'm still searching for what UAE sheikhs own shares of PCFC, the DP World holding co., I stumbeld across this info:

"The award for Outstanding Contribution to Regional Liner Activities was presented to Capt. Hamzeh Keshavarz, General Manager, Container Div., Asia, Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines, by Mr Mohammed Al Muallem, DP Worlds Senior Vice-President and Managing Director, UAE."
http://www.exim-india.com/link/htmls/spotlight.htm

Hmm, ok, DP World is doing Business with Iran. Yeah, why not? Who cares for that US embargo against Iran?
http://www.ustreas.gov/offices/enforcement/ofac/sanctions/t11iran.pdf

And I'm sure it's no big deal that every US citizen who is working for DP World is in danger of violating US treasury santions:
"U.S. persons, including foreign branches of U.S. depository institutions and trading companies, are prohibited from engaging in any transactions, including purchase, sale, transportation, swap, financing, or brokering transactions related to goods or services of Iranian origin or goods or services owned or controlled by the Government of Iran."
http://www.treas.gov/offices/enforcement/ofac/programs/iran/iran.pdf

Well, I guess I have only misunderstood this whole santions thing...

Posted by: Gray on February 28, 2006 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK
All of those "so-called" tangents are directly relevant to an unintended (by you, I assume, of course some like Pat Buchanan are hoping for it) consequence of a massive global trade war being sparked over this deal being killed, not to mention any classified UAE arrangement going down the drain.

What rational basis do you have for expecting a massive trade war resulting from this deal being blocked? It would hardly be the first time a government has prevented a foreign government from controlling a part of its infrastructure, and that usually doesn't spark a trade war. So your tangent is relevant only to a fantasy that you've presented, as yet, no reason to believe has any connection to the real situation.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 28, 2006 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

Since most of the attacks on Bush, like this one, are ill-considered, his counterattacks are appropriate and effective.

That's hilarious. His 'counterattack' has him around 34% but yeah, keep making suggestions how the Democrats should react to a shady sweetheart deal made outside of prying eyes and congressional oversight.

Are you really that clueless or are you just terrified that your idiot's chickens are coming home to roost?

The Coast Guard has questions about security. The former head of the customs office has questions about security. Many Republicans and most Democrats -- who have been bringing up port security for years now -- have questions about security. Port Authority in NY and NJ have questions about security. Officials in Maryland have questions about security.

But instead of gettting these questions answered and/or publically discussed, the sycophants have chosen to dismiss concerns as xenophobic.

What the hell is your rush? What is the upside to this deal that can't wait? Is it simply because you want a shady sweetheart deal rubber stamped? Can you be that sycophantic?

Some of you support torture torture! in the name of security, but feel that public airing of the issue of port management is somehow beyond the pale?

Pathetic.

Posted by: n.o.t.l.f. on February 28, 2006 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

Dick, and what do you think, should the US administration engage in deals with a company who is undermining US trade sanctions against Iran?

Posted by: Gray on February 28, 2006 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

If so, then you should know that massive trade wars (as well as actually, you know, shooting wars) throughout history have been set off by less.

And how about the fact that Dubai Ports World has ALREADY started the process of refusing to do business with allies of the US by BOYCOTTING Israel?

Why do THEY get away with such actions without starting a "massive trade war", but the US absolutely cannot?

Posted by: frankly0 on February 28, 2006 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

Really, who the hell is Dubai Ports World to act like an injured party if it's kept out of business because of its country of origin, when it is ALREADY doing EXACTLY that with regard to Israeli businesses?

Posted by: frankly0 on February 28, 2006 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

American-owned SSA Marine currently operates port terminals in Mexico, Panama, and Chili

Want fries with that moron?

Posted by: n.o.t.l.f. on February 28, 2006 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

And, before you guys get your panties in a bunch about all these other U.S. companies that can pick up the slack on the U.S. ports - please name them - the one I am aware of, SSA Marine is not as big as DWP and as far as I know, no U.S. company has DWP's level of operational experience in the industry.

I think most Americans can be made OK with the idea that a company owned by SOME foreign country can be accepted as a port operator.

Just not a country like the UAE, which is only one of three in the entire world who recognized the Taliban.

And it's simply unimaginable that NO COMPANY will be willing to take up the slack if Dubai Ports World is denied the contract.

Why? Because money talks.

Posted by: frankly0 on February 28, 2006 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK
American-owned SSA Marine currently operates port terminals in Mexico, Panama, and Chili - do you think it is fair to assume those operations will be termination in retaliation for DWP?

"Fair"? No, its insane. First, SSA Marine is not a US government-owned company, so the cases aren't parallel -- though that's less important, if there was some actual motive for retaliation. Second and more importantly, Mexico, Panama, and Chile aren't controlled by the government of the UAE or any of its subdivisions, or tightly allied to the UAE, so have no particular motive to "retaliate" against the US for an action perceived to target the UAE.

If so, then you should know that massive trade wars (as well as actually, you know, shooting wars) throughout history have been set off by less.

Well, I agree, that if Mexico, Panama, and Chile -- three countries with which the US has especially close trade ties through special regional trade arrangements -- were to inexplicably jointly "relatiate" against a US decision to block the takeover of its ports by a port operator run by a Middle Eastern government that none of them have the kinds of ties with that they have with the US by throwing US companies out of existing contracts, it might provoke at least a significant regional trade war.

OTOH, there is no rational reason to expect anything even remotely resembling that.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 28, 2006 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

Somehow, that's precisely what the conservatron believe will happen if the U.S. puts the kibosh on the Dubai deal.

Why wouldn't Chile enter into a trade war and side with the UAE over the U.S.? They're natural allies. Same with Mexico.

Meanwhile, on planet Earth, I find it interesting that the freemarketeers who are a'twitter are being conspiciously silent, or at least conveniently forgetful, over the protective tariffs Bush slapped on to protect U.S. steel (after previously agreeing to let the magic of the market determine the steel price in the U.S.).

Bush collaspsed on that one, yet the world still trades with us.

Posted by: n.o.t.l.f. on February 28, 2006 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

i hate it when cmdicely is on the job, because there's never any good lines left. so later for cheney (other than the pathetic little white house press release: were the bush administration interested in improved port security, they would not have resisted 4.5 years of dem efforts to...improve port security).

so let's turn to republicrat: ill-considered attacks indeed! that's right: it was ill-considered to point out that the iraq adventure was a bad idea. it was ill-considered to point out that the president's wiretapping progoram is breaking the law. it was ill-considered to point out that cutting taxes while icnreasing spending is guaranteed to cause us problems at some point. it was ill-considered to point out that tax cuts that favor the wealthy don't, in fact, contribute as much to the economy because high income individuals don't have the same marginal propensity to consume. it was ill-considered to note that social security is doing fine and doesn't need to be destroyed. it was ill-considered to oppose the medicare prescription drug fiasco.

and now, supposedly, it's ill-considered to wonder why the white house is so stubbornly dug in about a decision that, as i noted from the wapo. one of its own experts thinks is a bad idea.

or maybe, republicrat, it's ill-considered to spout stuff like how ill-considered it is to attaack bush.

Posted by: howard on February 28, 2006 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

Here's the daily re-fix of some points about the ports deal (well, I'm waiting for a cognizanti to give us the legal scoop.) I know, DPW isn't taking over a defense contractor (per what definition?) per se, but it may be related:

DPW taking over US Army port operations at Beaumont and Corpus Christi, TX, may be illegal.
For direct description of laws see http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/search/display.html?terms=2170&url=/uscode/html/uscode50a/usc_sec_50a_00002170---a000-.html with excerpt below, and compare http://www.softinfusion.com/gpoaccess/Bill_103-s1337es

US Code 50a

2170a. Prohibition on purchase of United States defense contractors by entities controlled by foreign governments

Release date: 2005-03-17

(a) In general

No entity controlled by a foreign government may merge with, acquire, or take over a company engaged in interstate commerce in the United States that

(1) is performing a Department of Defense contract, or a Department of Energy contract under a national security program, that cannot be performed satisfactorily unless that company is given access to information in a proscribed category of information; or

(2) during the previous fiscal year, was awarded

(A) Department of Defense prime contracts in an aggregate amount in excess of $500,000,000; or

(B) Department of Energy prime contracts under national security programs in an aggregate amount in excess of $500,000,000.

(b) Inapplicability to certain cases

The limitation in subsection (a) shall not apply if a merger, acquisition, or takeover is not suspended or prohibited pursuant to section 721 of the Defense Production Act of 1950 (50 App. U.S.C. 2170).

(c) Definitions

In this section:

(1) The term entity controlled by a foreign government includes

(A) any domestic or foreign organization or corporation that is effectively owned or controlled by a foreign government; and

(B) any individual acting on behalf of a foreign government,

as determined by the President.

(2) The term proscribed category of information means a category of information that

(A) with respect to Department of Defense contracts

(i) includes special access information;

(ii) is determined by the Secretary of Defense to include information the disclosure of which to an entity controlled by a foreign government is not in the national security interests of the United States; and

(iii) is defined in regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Defense for the purposes of this section; and

(B) with respect to Department of Energy contracts

(i) is determined by the Secretary of Energy to include information described in subparagraph (A)(ii); and

(ii) is defined in regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Energy for the purposes of this section.

~~~

There's some interesting update stuff at the indirect link, which references laws back to 1994.

Posted by: Neil' on February 28, 2006 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

"Still, it's good to see some "Lieberman Dems" come around and finally see the light."

Let's put an emphasis on "finally"! I hope they'll switch to "independent" after the elections this year, this wouldn't be so misleading as the oxymoron "Lieberman Dem's".
Support Ned Lamont!

Posted by: Gray on February 28, 2006 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

Here's the daily re-fix of some points about the ports deal (well, I'm waiting for a cognizanti to give us the legal scoop.) I know, DPW isn't taking over a defense contractor (per what definition?) per se, but it may be related:

DPW taking over US Army port operations at Beaumont and Corpus Christi, TX, may be illegal.
For direct description of laws see http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/search/display.html?terms=2170&url=/uscode/html/uscode50a/usc_sec_50a_00002170---a000-.html with excerpt below, and compare http://www.softinfusion.com/gpoaccess/Bill_103-s1337es

US Code 50a

2170a. Prohibition on purchase of United States defense contractors by entities controlled by foreign governments

Release date: 2005-03-17

(a) In general

No entity controlled by a foreign government may merge with, acquire, or take over a company engaged in interstate commerce in the United States that

(1) is performing a Department of Defense contract, or a Department of Energy contract under a national security program, that cannot be performed satisfactorily unless that company is given access to information in a proscribed category of information; or

(2) during the previous fiscal year, was awarded

(A) Department of Defense prime contracts in an aggregate amount in excess of $500,000,000; or

(B) Department of Energy prime contracts under national security programs in an aggregate amount in excess of $500,000,000.

(b) Inapplicability to certain cases

The limitation in subsection (a) shall not apply if a merger, acquisition, or takeover is not suspended or prohibited pursuant to section 721 of the Defense Production Act of 1950 (50 App. U.S.C. 2170).

(c) Definitions

In this section:

(1) The term entity controlled by a foreign government includes

(A) any domestic or foreign organization or corporation that is effectively owned or controlled by a foreign government; and

(B) any individual acting on behalf of a foreign government,

as determined by the President.

(2) The term proscribed category of information means a category of information that

(A) with respect to Department of Defense contracts

(i) includes special access information;

(ii) is determined by the Secretary of Defense to include information the disclosure of which to an entity controlled by a foreign government is not in the national security interests of the United States; and

(iii) is defined in regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Defense for the purposes of this section; and

(B) with respect to Department of Energy contracts

(i) is determined by the Secretary of Energy to include information described in subparagraph (A)(ii); and

(ii) is defined in regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Energy for the purposes of this section.

~~~

There's some interesting update stuff at the indirect link, which references laws back to 1994.

Posted by: Neil' on February 28, 2006 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

cheney: it may or may not be true that port security has been "increasing" since 9/12/01 - when you're searching 5% of cargos, it's possible to claim searching 5.01% of cargoes is "increasing."

but the simple fact is, the dems have tried, and tried, and tried again, to increase funding for port security and been resisted and defeated by the majority party and the white house.

as for the law of unintended consequences, don't be frickin' ridiculous. there are unintended consequences to anything.

for instance, see my 12:18 quote from Joseph King. Those are examples of unintended consequences of the deal going through....

Posted by: howard on February 28, 2006 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

Did you notice my point on US trade sanction against Iran above, Neil? What do you think?

Posted by: Gray on February 28, 2006 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

Cheney,

Personally, I don't care if you supported the original Bush position on steel tarrifs or his second position in favor of them -- my point was that Bush caved to 'protectionist' pressure, reneged on previous arrangements and global trade continued.

Even if this thing fails, I tend to suspect the same.

Whatever will happen, Chile, Mexico and Panama won't get in a trade war with a private U.S. company and the U.S. govenrment on the behalf of the autocrats of UAE.

Posted by: n.o.t.l.f. on February 28, 2006 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK
LOL - that was just one possible example - another is that DWP approaches every foreign port where any U.S. company operates a terminal and make them an offer they can't refuse.

And...so? That's just routine competition. Dubai Ports World could do that anyway. Not that its likely they would do so if it didn't make direct business sense, and there is no reason to think, if it tried to, that would result in a global trade war.

You haven't posted anything resembling a credible trade war scenario where this is the major trigger rather than some other unlikely subsequent event -- probably because no such scenario exists.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 28, 2006 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

Cheney: you said before, why would the DoD sign off on something illegal (which I'm not claiming as sure, just bringing up 50a 2170a to hash.) Well, I don't trust their leadership, or the waffling Coast Guard (at least the controlled leaders/spokespeople) etc. under the current administration. In these times, run by such crooks and liars, arguments that "So and so wouldn't do...if [some impropriety] are worth as much as your namesake's shooting prowess.

Posted by: Neil' on February 28, 2006 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

jeez, cheney, here i thought that the coast guard had some other duties. silly me. we don't have enough money devoted to port security, it's that simple, and the point has been made clearly enough for 4.5 years, including by the 9/11 commission and john kerry.

as for the straw that breaks the global trade camel's back: go fuck yourself, as your namesake would argue.

you can't possibly be serious that a president supporting tariffs isn't as big a problem as to which foreign buyer gets to operate certain US ports (i don't think outsourcing port management is a particularly good idea, but that's not what's at stake here). there are a lot of difficultires that global trade is facing in the years to come, not the least of which is the backklash brewing amount workers seeing their jobs outsourced, but the idea that whether this deal goes through or not has any frickin' thing to do with the future prospects of global trade is, quite frankly, deranged.

and nice straw man about the nuclear device: why, i remember how vociferously you opposed the war in iraq on the grounds that bush was scaremongering about nuclear devices!

as 9/11 demonstrated, you don't need a nuclear device to have an impact. our ports are a source of prime vulnerability. fighting "them" "over there" so we don't have to fight "them" "over here" hasn't done a thing to reduce that vulnerabiilty. this deal shows every sign of incresing that vulnerability a little, which is moving in the wrong direction.

again, i direct your attention to Joseph King's remarks, given that he's a guy with actual relevant knowledge. do you have a counter, or are you just going to make foolish remarks about global trade?

Posted by: howard on February 28, 2006 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

btw, cheney, i don't know where you're getting your numbers. a quick search tells me that:

coast guard fy 2001 budget: $3.2B
coast guard fy 2002 budget: $5.7B
coast guard by 2006 budget: $6.9B

so i don't know where you're pulling your 64% from.

of that $6.9B, the amount for port security is a bfd of $1.9B. yeah, we really can't afford to increase that, lest the army get upset....

Posted by: howard on February 28, 2006 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

Cheney, your arguments are getting stupider by the moment. we haven't had a terrorist attack since 2001 isn't true, but even putting that aside and using the conventional defintion - we haven't had a terrorist attack by known jihadists since 2001 - doesn't in any sense obviate the weakness in port security.

we didn't have a jihadist terrorist attack for 8 years between the first and second wtc bombings: does that mean we were well-enough funded? that we were doing enough? is that really your argument?

your current quote from the coast guard does not answer the concerns that Joseph King raised. When we can see the answers - or at least, when congress can see the answers - then you're talking. that's why a real security review was needed. the actual words of your current coast guard official couldn't be emptier of meaning.

Posted by: howard on February 28, 2006 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

You know, didn't at least 2 of the 9/11 hijackers live and train and plan in Germany for a while? Yet you say a company owned by the German government would rate less scrutiny than the UAE deal.

I agree that what is needed is scrutiny of the UAE deal, not a knee-jerk, anti-Arab "NO!" to the deal that we have seen so far.

Posted by: pk on February 28, 2006 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

Well, I live in north Jersey and don't support the UAE port deal.

But I don't have a sense for how this will all play out. What do others predict? Will the port deal go through? Will Corizine and the NY-NJ Port Authority stop the deal?

Will the senate/congress introduce legislation to stop it? Would Bush veto it in an election year? Given 70% of Americans are against the deal, how can the Republicans up for re-election go along and win in November? If the Democrats take either the senate or congress or both, there would be oodles and oodles of oversight hearings on all of King George's shenanigans.

Any predictions?

Posted by: Jersey-Missouri on February 28, 2006 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

pk, the first rule of analogies is - that they be analogous.

it's not just a matter that 2 of the 9/11 murderes came from the UAE; it's that the UAE has a mixed track record on terrorism and it's clear that this deal wasn't sufficiently vetted.

people who want to complain about knee-jerk anti-Arab responses should direct those complaints at the president who says we have to fight "them" "over there" so we don't have to fight "them" "over here." that's a knee-jerk anti-arab response.

Posted by: howard on February 28, 2006 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

Jersey-Missouri, my bet now is the same one i made when the story first broke (indeed, you can look me up at kevin's first thread on this): we'll have the 45-day investigation, some cosmetic changes will be made, the likes of frist, hastert, king, and delay will say their concerns have been assuaged (as will others), and the deal will go through. Bob Dole will, of course, earn his lobbying fee!

Posted by: howard on February 28, 2006 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

Ann Coulter is against the port transfer. Who's side do you want to be on, Ann Coulter's or Bush? I agree with Bush on this one.

Posted by: Andy on February 28, 2006 at 3:49 PM | PERMALINK

"But I don't have a sense for how this will all play out. What do others predict? Will the port deal go through? Will Corizine and the NY-NJ Port Authority stop the deal?

Will the senate/congress introduce legislation to stop it? Would Bush veto it in an election year?"

Good questions. And I really can't see how republicans can stomp for state rights and yet try to patronize the states on that issue. Wouldn't this be a betrayal of one of their mayor ideological postulates?
And, afaik, if there's a change in the ID of the contract partner, the other partner has the right to cancel that contract. The feds may approve the change of ownership, but can they force the states to accept it? Hmm, Dick, what's your opinion?

Posted by: Gray on February 28, 2006 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

Bush supports this deal because the Bush family and other well connected politicos (Snow, Carlyle Group members, etc.) will make a ton of money in the process. The blending of government and corporatism is almost complete. Too bad it won't benefit any save a very few.

What was Mousolini's definition of fascism anyway?

Posted by: brisa on February 28, 2006 at 9:45 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, Cheney,

The US used to sanction those that boycotted Israel. But I guess we make exceptions for certian rich Arab countries. What do you think of the proviso that permits DPW to keep its books offshore where US auditors can't touch them? That's more than a bit offensive.

And, oh yeah, the Coast Guard said there ARE security problems w/ these guys. What clever rejoinder do you have for that?

In the main, the hypocrisy evident by this deal and the defense made of this deal by the current administration is a stench that no amount of room spray is gonna disguise.

Posted by: moe99 on February 28, 2006 at 9:52 PM | PERMALINK

Conservative sites are reporting that both Bill Clinton and John Edwards have made fund raising trips to Dubai and delivered speeches espousing a world view that the United Arab Emirates was pleased to hear. Apparently this has taken place both before and after 9/11. Only selected portions of their speeches are quoted.

Posted by: Michael L. Cook on March 1, 2006 at 9:59 AM | PERMALINK
I will be happy to answer your questions as soon as you stop ignoring mine to you. I already said a massive trade war could happen a thousand different ways.

Yes, you did. That's only true in the sense that "all life on earth could be wiped out if the deal is approved, in a thousand different ways" is true -- that is, there are a whole lot of highly improbable ways that it can occur, and not rational reason to think that the port deal being approved or rejected will substantially contribute to any of them.

You also ignored my point that some of the deal may be legitimately classified and will serve some specific purpose in the War on Terrorism.

It is equally possible that some of the deal may be illegitimately classified and involve a capitulation by the Bush Administration to Osama bin Laden, perhaps a quid pro quo for his conveniently timed missive that Bush credits with aiding his 2004 reelection bid.

But I don't see any reason to assume things that are merely "possible" for which there is no evidence.

What is clear and requires no speculation is that the deal involves the US becoming more dependent on foreign autocratic regimes for operation of key economic infrastructure that is of strategic importance, and that experts in the field of defended the deal by pointing to the US lack of skill in the area.

So, really, evaluation of the deal turns on the question of "do you think it is important that the US remain able to operate its ports without relying on foreign dictatorships to provide the skill to manage the operations?"

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