Sharpening our wits on the grindstone of Life: He <i>is</i> a uniter after all... .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Sharpening our wits on the grindstone of Life

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

He is a uniter after all...

But it's a pyrrhic victory when he's united everyone against him.

The issue, of course, is the sale of the contract for the operation of six of America's ports to an Arab Emirate company. The sale apparently passed CFIUS's criteria, and therefore obtained the Bush Administration Seal of Approval.

But that wasn't enough for some folks. Apparently, the Treasury Department's version of "See-if-us" didn't satisfy the national security concerns of Congress and the Senate in regards to protection of our nation's borders.

Bill Frist, Senate Majority Leader called Tuesday for the Bush administration to stop a deal permitting a United Arab Emirates company to take over six major U.S. seaports

Dennis Hastert, Speaker of the House asks for a moratorium on the Dubai port deal.

At risk is the operation of maritime ports in: New York, Newark, Philadelphia, Miami, New Orleans, and Baltimore.

The issue has landed our administration firmly in the category that we've always suggested - that of self-preservation.

Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff strongly defended the decision, which, given his decisive abilities during Katrina, should be roundly disavowed.

In contrast, Rep. Pete King (R), Homeland Security Chairman, is strongly against this transaction.

Interestingly enough, support for the president's position came from unexpected quarters - former Presindent Jimmy Carter (not likekly to gain dubya points with his base), and Senator John McCain, who, although he has been critical of the administration's actions, remains true to the principles.

CFIUS' economic based rulings have disapproved only one of the 1500 foreign investement cases brought before it. Yet dubya has full confidence in their ruling. Kinda like when he told Brownie he was doing a great job on Katrina, then canned him.

The current ruling affects the sale of the operating contract at six U.S. ports. They're currently operated by a privately held British company, and the contract is pending sale to a Middle Eastern company, which is owned by the Emir of Dubai.

When the Bush administration takes the high road, you know you can't trust them, because their actions have always belied their words.

Is it possible that Bush is generating this kind of publiciy to draw attention away from the Cheney fiasco? Or maybe to divert our doubts about the sincerity of his statements about converting America to alternate sources of energy?

Nah, there's something afoot here, and it probably can be traced to campaign contributions or some polaroids in the Emir's posession.

Proponents of the deal are claiming that the details have been public since November. It reminds me of when Arthur Dent claimed ignorance of plans to demolish his house, and the bureaucrat informed him that it was prominently displayed. No matter that it was displayed in the basement of the planning department, in the bottom of a locked locked file cabinet, tucked into an unused lavatory with a sign on the door that said "Beware of the Leopard".

Bush threatened to veto any legislation that would attempt to block the transaction. White House Counsel Dan Bartlett explained that dubya only did this because he was asked by a reporter if he would do so. Just because he said he would doesn't mean he really would, especially since his handlers didn't have a chance to cull the reporter out of the crowd prior to asking his question, which is kinda difficult to do aboard Air Force One.

It all boils down to whether we want state-sponsored companies in charge of our ports. Sure, it's a limited number of ports (suspiciously in Democrat dominated areas), and the controlling comapanies are not responsible for security (although the contract includes security responsibilities).

I'm getting a little nervous here. Is the government of Dubai sympathetic to our cause (protection from terrorist attacks)? Or are they interested in their own agenda (economic relations with the U.S.)?

Does fear play a part in this drama? Yes! Absolutely!

The question is - are there less benign areas of our economy in which Dubai can play a part that would allow them a profit? - Yes. Energy comes to mind.

And it would provoke a much lower level of anxiety than that which the Bush administration is trying to involve them in.

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