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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The Arabs Have Captured our Ports!

SUMMARY: The President is being ridiculous, but somehow the Democrats, his sworn enemies, have found a way to be even more ridiculous. This happens every day in the GW Bush presidency.

THE ISSUE: According to this Washingon Post article (and you know how we love the Post), a firm from the overnamed country United Arab Emirates (UAE, not UAB, which stands for U. Are Bad) has purchased the British company that was running the terminals at 6 of our ports. Terminal security is currently being handled by the anachronisticly named Longshoreman's Union, and the UAE firm says that will not change. Regardless, the Bush administration's approval of this deal has caused an uproar among Democrats, the cities involved, and even some of his own Republicans. They want to pass a law that forbids firms owned by foreign governments (note that it doesn't say "all foreign firms") from operating US Ports. Bush has vowed to veto such a bill, and in doing so has taken a stand that will make him extremely unpopular. Must be his second term. Anyway, the fight goes on today. I'm sure CNN and Fox News will be all over this rugby scrum*.

WHAT THE ISSUE IS REALLY ABOUT: Simply put, it looks bad to have our ports managed (and I don't mean the managers who are here running things -- I really just mean "owned") by Arabs. People in Turbans. Muslims with money. The Post article I linked to up there actually does a great job of explaining this. Relevant paragraphs:
Stephen E. Flynn, a specialist in maritime security at the Council on Foreign Relations, noted that although the company is state-owned, several members of its top management are Americans -- including its general counsel, a senior vice president and its outgoing chief operating officer, Edward H. Bilkey, who is a former U.S. Navy officer. And since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the United States has increasingly depended on such foreign port operators to cooperate in inspecting cargo before it heads for U.S. shores.
Robert C. Bonner, who until November headed U.S. Customs and Border Protection, agreed. Although U.S. dock workers have occasionally been caught colluding with drug traffickers, the possibility that terrorists or their sympathizers would end up working in U.S. ports is remote because of the strong role of unions in hiring, he said.
You see, nothing changes but the letterheads. So what's the problem? Perception. Democrats can hit the President with the issue and appear to be on the right side of the terror issue. Republicans don't want to be seen as being soft on terror, so they're slamming this too.

MY PROBLEM: How did we let it get to this point? Why did we let our Ports sell out to that British company in the first place? Is this saving us that much money? Why didn't we discuss Port Security until people with Turbans got involved? Why can't USA companies run all our Public projects?

MY OTHER PROBLEM: I clearly don't know enough about the issues here, as you can see by my elementary questions. My only source for information is the news -- the news that wants me to think a certain way. It doesn't matter if its network, cable, local, internet, blog-riffic, etc. They're all biased. This is why people turn to absurd ideas like "Nobody can truly know anything" and "Everything's relative" and "All opinions are equally valid." We're either too busy or too lazy to do a proper investigation.

It's not that complicated, after all. The only reason the Dems can attack this company is because its owned by the UAE government. If it were a private firm, they could be charged with being racist against Muslims. This bill does nothing for US Port security, and harms our diplomatic interests around the world. If we pass this law, maybe the UAE people get bitter and let some Dubai dubage through some foreign port aimed at us. Maybe some of you might like that, actually.

More importantly**, Maybe some other company, one that's not our lapdog, will get involved. Then the issue would really get barnacle-encrusted.

*Super-Unrelated side note: Speaking of Fox News, last night I was delivering pizza to a house that had either a CD or DVD of a Don Henley concert blasting so loudly I felt like I was delivering to the concert and not a house. While I was standing there waiting for a roadie or something to answer the door, I heard Don Henley say, "This next song is dedicated to Rupert Murdoch." The band then launched into "Dirty Laundry." As soon as I realized what song it was, I totally L'ed OL. Anyone who thinks Fox News is more biased or dirty or unprofessional or more of a mouthpeice for a big shadowy organization than CNN or CBS News or any other US news outlet in 2006, they need to examine themselves to figure out why they're so ignorant. Wolf Blitzer?

**Oh no I di'int.


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