Bizarro World

The most amusing thing about last month’s idiotic Dubai port nonsense was that it exposed that neither party is the party I remember from 1984. At what point did the Democrats turn into xenophobic chicken little’s? Isn’t that the job of southern redneck Republicans, like, say, the evil and racist (and all things bad) Ben Domenech?

At any rate, it looks like we are on to round two, as the news that the US is hiring a Hong Kong firm to help scan cargo for nuclear material has some on the left in the vapors again:

Here we go again… Welcome to round two of “Who’s Minding our Ports.”

In the wake of the Dubai ports deal dispute, the Bush administration has given a no-bid contract to Hong Kong conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa Ltd., to “help detect nuclear materials inside cargo passing through the Bahamas to the United States and elsewhere.”

Here we have just another big F.U. from the Bush administration when it comes to the security of our ports. It was not so long ago that Bush “reassured Congress that foreigners would not manage security at U.S. ports,” however AP News reports “the Hutchison deal in the Bahamas illustrates how the administration is relying on foreign companies at overseas ports to safeguard cargo headed to the United States.”

At this rate, by next week I fully expect Duncan Black, Jane Hamsher, and Howard Dean to join hands with Tom Tancredo demanding that a 50 foot wall with laser beams, concertina, and landmines be built on our border with Mexico.






83 replies
  1. 1
    OCSteve says:

    demanding that a 50 foot wall with laser beams, concertina, and landmines be built on our border with Mexico.

    Works for me.

  2. 2
    Marcus Wellby says:

    Works for me.

    For me too, quite frankly.

    This ports deal doesn’t bother me as much. The fact of the matter is China already owns our ass, thanks to both parties.

  3. 3

    At this rate, by next week I fully expect Duncan Black, Jane Hamsher, and Howard Dean to join hands with Tom Tancredo demanding that a 50 foot wall with laser beams, concertina, and landmines be built on our border with Mexico.

    Well, it would explain where Pat Buchanan got to after his nemeses the neocons took over the WH…

    It may well be standard xenophobia to worry about foreign firms taking over security detail on our nation, but I have these concerns (and it looks like a majority of Americans have the same concerns) that *our national security ought to be handled by our own nation*. I was as upset to learn that a UK company had security over our ports as much as learning that Dubai company was going to buy them out. Don’t we have US-based companies that handle security details that could include port security? I mean, our we going to start privitizing our armed forces out to, oh, the Swedes next?

    Oh, and here’s the other thing about that notice:

    the Bush administration has given a no-bid contract to Hong Kong conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa Ltd.

    There go the Bushies again, doling out ANOTHER No-bid contract. Out of all those no-bid deals, how many of them turned out to be serious money-wasting holes of corruption, ‘mislaid funds’ and other nonsense?

  4. 4
    Andrew says:

    The difference between this issue and DPW is that HW would be the only entity involved in the security process, from my limited understanding. There is no Coast Guard or DHS oversight. None.

  5. 5
    TeaJay says:

    It looks like the GOP must have recovered nicely from its fit of the vapors inspired by this particular company:

    Trent Lott went so far as to call Hutchison “an arm of the People’s Liberation Army.”

    From TPM today.It’s really important to keep your demagoguery tip cards handy. Remebmer, before the GWOT the Chinese were the targets. I guess since they have all the treasuries they need to hold us hostage they can keep an eye on the ports that they basically own. I see the strategy now, go in debt, then have your creditor watch out for their newfound interests. Brilliant!

  6. 6
    ppGaz says:

    So, is it a requirement of this thread that we ignore the fact that we basically have no port security at this point?

    In politics, which means in theater, points are made tangentally. The Dubai case was not about Dubai Ports, it’s about a government — ours — that happily employs fear-mongering for its own purposes whenever convenient, but pays little attention to critical things that really affect the safety and security of Americans. Like borders, like ports.

    And then, of course, turns around and employs color-coded “threat level” warning systems in order to bamboozle the public into thinking that our officials are actually capable of watching the store.

    The DP issue was simply a vehicle for exposing this situation to the bright light.

  7. 7
    Doug says:

    The Democrats are merely out Bushing Bush. Potentially bad policy, but probably effective politics. As Edward Luce wrote about the Dubai Ports deal:

    [I]t is clear leaders of both parties lack the confidence to challenge the mood of xenophobia that exists outside Washington. Instead they are fuelling it.

    In some respects the Democrats are now as guilty of stoking fears on national security as the Republicans. Their logic is impeccable. A majority of Americans believe there will be another large terrorist attack on American soil. Such is the depth of anxiety that one-fifth or more of Americans believe they will personally be victims of a future terrorist attack. This number has not budged in the last four and a half years.

  8. 8
    Zifnab says:

    The Dubai case was not about Dubai Ports, it’s about a government—ours—that happily employs fear-mongering for its own purposes whenever convenient, but pays little attention to critical things that really affect the safety and security of Americans. Like borders, like ports.

    I remember back in the early ’90s when privatization was the golden child of the Republican Revolution. Now that chicken is coming home to roast.

    ppGaz has it exactly right. The Republicans had us peeing ourselves over illegal aliens, the new axis of evil, and brown people in general for the past five years. Now they want to sell our ports to one nation that openly sponsors terrorism and another thats COMMUNIST! If only Joe McCarthy could see us now…

    On the top side, it looks like the WH is selling us out to the same people he promised to defend us from. On the flip side, as has been pointed out over and over again, this is another case of classic NO-BID Corporate backscratching and undercover campaign fundraising. How much corporate “$free speech$” will the RNC be receiving from this Hong Kong government if it goes through? How much would they have received from the Dubai deal?

    The Democrats are playing the same xenophobia game that the Republicans so generously set out to take a stab at Republican security-mongering. I don’t like it. But at least “the bad asian commies are coming to get you!” resonnates with the people. Better than screaming “corruption!” and “graft!” and being completely ignored.

  9. 9
    Davebo says:

    Hutchison Whampoa …

    Where do I know that name from?

    Oh yeah, that’s the company that got the contract to run both ends of the Panama Canal.

    I seem to remember folks got all upset over that one as well.

    “I don’t think we’re in this situation by happenstance,” Rep. Bob Barr, a Georgia Republican, tells Insight. “Two things are at play here. One, the Clinton administration, from a strategic standpoint, doesn’t care about the Panama Canal. They don’t have an appreciation of its importance or its history. They flat out don’t care. There is a connection with other policy goals, namely appeasing the Communist Chinese and getting money for them and, at best, not standing in the way of the Chinese gaining a strategic foothold in Panama — and very possibly assisting them in that effort.”

    http://www.findarticles.com/p/.....i_55821630

    Groundhog day indeed.

    h/t Josh Marshall

  10. 10
    feral1 says:

    Look, it is ridiculous to throw the xenophobia card at people who have problems with a Dubai company handling US port operations or a Chinese company handling any aspect of security around nuclear weapons detection. I don’t want any foriegn company or government involved in national security endeavors such as these.

    And I think Dubai and China would be just as justified to reserve these security responsibilities for their governments or UAE and Chinese companies. This is just common sense.

  11. 11
    Mr Furious says:

    On the one hand there is something to be said for screening ship cargo for radioactive materials before they are sitting in NY/NJ harbor, not that the Bhamians should be pleased to be the staging ground. But as was pointed out above offshoring this stuff as it seems to be presently proposed eliminates all Coast Guard or DHS involvment and/or oversight.

    We would be reying solely on the word of a private Hong Kong company that the stuff is clean. Which would likely only lead to relaxed security downstream—which is here in our ports.

    Christ. At this point, I’d almost feel better giving this stuff to Halliburton….

  12. 12
    Steve says:

    Is this really what the globalization/free trade crowd has been reduced to? Accusations of xenophobia and racism?

    China may be a major trade partner, but they are not our friend. They are the closest thing to a competing superpower we have, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being wary about them where national security is concerned.

    Apparently there’s absolutely no difference whether Americans scan incoming cargo for nukes or Chinese nationals do it. That’s news to me. Should we let them guard the nuclear silos, too? Should we let them do security checks at our airports? Should we privatize the Secret Service and subcontract it to a Chinese security firm? After all, if you think someone can’t be trusted to guard the President just because they’re from another country, you must be a racist!

    I really don’t know what possesses someone to sit behind a keyboard and argue that it makes absolutely no difference whether an American firm or a Chinese firm gets to SCAN INCOMING CARGO FOR NUCLEAR MATERIALS.

    I thought there were reasonable arguments to be made that the Dubai ports thing was no big deal. Maybe such arguments can be made in this case, too, but John doesn’t even bother. He characterizes the issue as whether a Chinese firm gets to scan incoming cargo for nuclear materials, and says if you have a problem with that then you must be racist or xenophobic. I’m just stunned by this argument.

  13. 13
    ppGaz says:

    I really don’t know what possesses someone to sit behind a keyboard and argue that it makes absolutely no difference whether an American firm or a Chinese firm gets to SCAN INCOMING CARGO FOR NUCLEAR MATERIALS.

    Fine rhetoric, but seriously, we both know what possesses them. It’s partisanship. If their precious King arranges it, it’s a good thing. Security be damned. Sovereignty be damned. Remember when “sovereignty” was a right-wing mantra? That’s gone … because it is no longer convenient to our new rulers.

    These fucking people actually believe in nothing, and care about nothing, except their own interests. How many times do we have to be reminded of it before we get it?

    If Bush calculated that giving port security to Al Qaeda was a good business deal that would please his patrons, we’d be hearing about how THAT was a good idea.

  14. 14
    scarshapedstar says:

    There go the Bushies again, doling out ANOTHER No-bid contract.

    Republicans love the free market, except when there’s real money involved…

  15. 15
    ppGaz says:

    As if we needed another reason to believe that this government is basically just a corrupt corporation out to sell every shred of liberty, privacy, security and justice to the highest bidder ………

  16. 16
    neil says:

    So, the Dems object to no-bid deals to the President’s cronies, and we’re xenophobes because they happen to be foreign. Well, no more! You fucking foreigners can bribe the President all you want! Do it on live TV, we don’t care any more, OK? This is how we show tolerance, people, tolerance.

  17. 17
    OCSteve says:

    So, is it a requirement of this thread that we ignore the fact that we basically have no port security at this point?

    Not for me. My biggest disappointment with this administration is the piss poor job they have done with securing the country. The borders are wide open, port security is a joke, DHS is a (expensive) joke, and not a damn thing has been done to secure our nuclear and chemical plants. Four plus years after 9/11 this state of affairs is a disgrace. We are strip searching old ladies at the airport while the Mexican Army makes regular incursions across our border and OBL himself could stroll across either border with little effort. Wankers.

    That’s pretty much all it would take for me to vote for Democrats across the board: field a candidate that says they will finish the job in Iraq, and cut spending across the board to use the money to secure our borders, our ports, and our nuc/chem. plants. If I seriously believe them, I’ll vote not just for them but for the whole damned D slate. I won’t even cry (well maybe just on principle) if they turn around and raise my taxes to do it (provided I see some substantial cuts at the same time).

  18. 18
    GOP4Me says:

    Great. So now you people have a problem with Hong Kong, the island of freedom in a Red sea of tyranny? Unbelievable.

    You obviously don’t have any faith in your government at all, do you? Don’t you think if there were ANY possibility this deal could compromise our national security or our national interests, the Bush Administration wouldn’t stand for it? Bush is protecting our freedom. He knows we need friends abroad for us to do it effectively. He knows China is a strong friend to have, and he knows from the history of the Cold War that bringing prosperity to China is the surest way to bring freedom to China. This deal is a poison pill for the Communist regime. The Chinese Communist Party is in a shambles. The peasants are revolting. This is all part of a brilliant plan to husband our resources, to foment democracry abroad, remove the fangs from a dangerous rival, and make strategic friends at the same time. It’s a brilliant plan, which is undoubtedly why you kooks can’t comprehend it. I’m sorry for you.

  19. 19
    metalgrid says:

    You know, as a libertarian, I consider providing security (ports or otherwise) as one of the few legitimate functions of government. You can be assured that contracting national security functions to trade competitors and foreign national companies rubs me the wrong way as well, and not because I’ve been influenced by xenophobic rhetoric from the right or the left.

    I’m all for open borders and free trade and the free exchange of labor as well. But the buck stops when it turns into a security issue. We need someone to be held responsible when it gets screwed up, and just what do you propose we do to a Chinese or Dubai firm when they screw up? Vote them out of office?

    Then on top of that, they hand out no-bid contracts to overseas campaign and business contributors so they don’t need to held answerable to campaign finance reform laws we have in place here.

    In all honesty Mr. Cole, I’d advise you to take a deep breath and re-examine this before you allow rhetoric from either side to inflame you. It’s very apparent that when you read opinions from either side, you tend to have violent responses to those opinions instead of addressing the facts of the matter.

  20. 20
    Mr Furious says:

    Bush and brilliant in the same ‘graph? Now I know you are a joke, GOP4Me.

    And for the record, no, I have NO trust in this Administration anymore, not necessarily the whole governement. After the last five years, I’d say that makes me the logical one, and you the fool for still having any.

    Your brainwashed post is what’s revolting.

  21. 21
    salvage says:

    50 foot wall with laser beams

    Um I’d actually like to see that, add a Pink Floyd soundtrack and some herb and I’d pay money.

  22. 22
    ppGaz says:

    That’s pretty much all it would take for me to vote for Democrats across the board: field a candidate that says they will finish the job in Iraq, and cut spending across the board to use the money to secure our borders, our ports, and our nuc/chem. plants. If I seriously believe them, I’ll vote not just for them but for the whole damned D slate. I won’t even cry (well maybe just on principle) if they turn around and raise my taxes to do it (provided I see some substantial cuts at the same time).

    On this we are largely in agreement.

  23. 23
    ppGaz says:

    In all honesty Mr. Cole, I’d advise you to take a deep breath and re-examine this before you allow rhetoric from either side to inflame you

    That’s right, it’s time to just simmer down

  24. 24
    ppGaz says:

    Now I know you are a joke, GOP4Me.

    Nutty as a fruitcake. Seriously.

  25. 25
    Jack Roy says:

    John, come on. The president pretended that the only reason one could oppose the port deal was naked racism, and he might even have believed it—but only if he’s truly as stupid as Leno et al. have been joking. But it’s far likelier that this is one of those moments where the president was arguing against a position so stupid that no one ever took it, like objecting against those that think Arabs can’t have freedom.

    Serious people on a moment’s reflection could see that there’s a real issue at stake—namely, port security is precisely nowhere on our government’s agenda, and the relative ease with which a dirty bomb could be shipped into a port city on a ship that wasn’t even inspected makes this very disturbing.

    Yeah, no one noticed when it was a British conglomerate that managed the ports and suddenly everyone cared when it was an arm of the Dubai government. Maybe that’s racist, maybe not. But the fact that the government never had an objection when port management was run by a foreign (British) wasn’t a terribly good thing, and it doesn’t wash clean the allowance of a Dubai agency running them.

    At base, this crying of racism has a necessary presumption that there’s no good independent reason to be worried enough about port security to think maybe the U.S. government should be involved, not private contractors. That’s an unwarranted presumption. It’s probably a tired comment around here that “I would have thought better of you, John,” and I hate be repetitive, but… well, I don’t know how else to end this comment. I woulda thought better of ya.

  26. 26
    GOP4Me says:

    And for the record, no, I have NO trust in this Administration anymore, not necessarily the whole governement. After the last five years, I’d say that makes me the logical one, and you the fool for still having any.

    You might want to adjust your hat, spring’s coming and it’ll be hot if you wear it outside too much.

    Nutty as a fruitcake. Seriously.

    Those hats are cheap, and easy to manufacture, pee-pee. If you make yourself one, it might protect you both the CIA’s mind-control satellite project AND from the aliens’ telepathy. You should try it out.

  27. 27

    John

    The definition of xenophobia is: “fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything that is strange or foreign.”

    No where in my post did I say anything about fear or hatred of strangers or foreigners. Calling it an example of xenophobia is off base. The majority of the post is direct quotes from the AP story.

    The Bush administration has proven repeatedly that port security is not a concern. There’s been plenty of evidence of this before the Dubai deal. No bid contracts are the standard as well for the Bush administration.

    Please don’t put words in my mouth or assume you know my fears.

  28. 28
    ppGaz says:

    You should try it out.

    Uh, yeah, I’ll be taking headgear fashion advice from you. And my Foreign Policy advice from Tall Dave and Mac Bucquets.

  29. 29
    demimondian says:

    Those hats are cheap, and easy to manufacture, pee-pee. If you make yourself one, it might protect you both the CIA’s mind-control satellite project AND from the aliens’ telepathy. You should try it out.

    Anti-psychotics aren’t as cheap, but they actually work.

    In your case, GoPeeForMe, this is a great example of how the government has failed you, personally. Since you’re not eligible for Medicaid, and ou don’t have insurance which will provide you with your needed meds. Instead, you’re reduced to your hallucinated solutions. Sad, really.

  30. 30
    Steve says:

    The argument that there’s no difference between the UK and the UAE was tough to swallow, although there were some valid points made once we got past the “no, YOU’RE a racist” stage.

    On the other hand, the argument that there’s no difference between American radiation screeners and Chinese radiation screeners, and that you’re racist if you believe otherwise, needs to immediately be sent back to the drawing board.

  31. 31
    GOP4Me says:

    In your case, GoPeeForMe, this is a great example of how the government has failed you, personally. Since you’re not eligible for Medicaid, and ou don’t have insurance which will provide you with your needed meds. Instead, you’re reduced to your hallucinated solutions. Sad, really.

    Butt out of this, demi. This is between me, pee-pee, Mr. Furious, and the black helicopters from the evil, wicked Bush Administration they’re so afraid of.

  32. 32
    ppGaz says:

    the black helicopters from the evil, wicked Bush Administration they’re so afraid of.

    Those incompetant poopyheads? If they had black choppers, they’d be using them to spray laughing gas on us … if they could find the flight manuals and actually get the things off the ground.

    Weapons of Mass Distraction.

  33. 33
    Mr Furious says:

    Butt out of this, demi. This is between me, pee-pee, Mr. Furious, and the black helicopters from the evil, wicked Bush Administration they’re so afraid of.

    Ooo, mano y mano with a braindead kool-aid-addled jackass. Please don’t go demi—I’m frightened!

    I never said anything about “fearing” the Bush Administration, and not trusting an Administration that has clearly demonstrated time and time again that they cannot be relied upon to do anything but serve their own immediate political goals or corporate patrons isn’t fucking paranoid, you fucking idiot, it’s realistic.

    What color is the sky in your world?

  34. 34
    ppGaz says:

    never said anything about “fearing” the Bush Administration, and not trusting an Administration that has clearly demonstrated time and time again that they cannot be relied upon to do anything but serve their own immediate political goals or corporate patrons isn’t fucking paranoid, you fucking idiot, it’s realistic.

    It’s amazing, isn’t it, how completely the righty bonesmokers have co-opted language? If you question the actions of this corrupt bunch of lying rats, you are just “hating Bush.”

    They’ve turned this little drug addict alcholic born-again crackhead business failure into some kind of off-limits icon of untouchability. In their own minds, of course.

    Really, you couldn’t write a sitcom about those guys and have it be believable enough for anyone to watch it.

  35. 35

    The most amusing thing about last month’s idiotic Dubai port nonsense was that it exposed that neither party is the party I remember from 1984. At what point did the Democrats turn into xenophobic chicken little’s? Isn’t that the job of southern redneck Republicans, like, say, the evil and racist (and all things bad) Ben Domenech?

    See, you’re suffering from pre-9/11 thinking.

    9/11 changed everything.

    Well, seriously. This issue makes far more sense from a national security perspective than invading Iraq ever did. On 9/11 we had a bunch of guys from a foreign country get over here and stay illegally on questionable visas and ram planes into the towers. So to a great extent, the way to prevent that in the future is to tighten up border security.

    At this rate, by next week I fully expect Duncan Black, Jane Hamsher, and Howard Dean to join hands with Tom Tancredo demanding that a 50 foot wall with laser beams, concertina, and landmines be built on our border with Mexico.

    Works for me, although I’d suggest a moat with sharks that have frickin laser beams.

    Again, I’m not sympathetic to the argument made by some Democrats that being against illegal immigration makes you racist. They seem to have this ill-informed belief that national borders are against human rights.

    I’m totally against illegal immigration, and it’s not cause I’m racist. I’m a believer in following the rules, and I’m against anybody who thinks they can get ahead by ignoring them. I think it demeans the hard work of thsoe who do follow the rules.

  36. 36
    Mac Buckets says:

    Wait, so are we all going to pretend en masse that no-bid contracts and foreign port deals are inventions of the Bush Administration?

    I mean, I’ll have to drink an awful lot to forget that much history, but if that what it takes to join with the Partisan Ignorance Brigade, I guess I’ll have to start now. Grey Goose Cape Cods are a nice early-in-the-day drink.

  37. 37

    I think it’s time we outsourced the Secret Service Presidential Security to United Arab Emirates.

    If you can’t trust the UAE to protect the President, who can you trust?

  38. 38
    ppGaz says:

    Don’t be silly, Steve of the Other Variety.

    It isn’t about the immigrants. They are just people doing what they need to do, and have the opportunity to do.

    It’s about the policy.

    In the case of illegal immigrants from Mexico, the situation that we have now exists entirely because both governments want it to exist. We want the immigrants, and they want to ship them here.

    The existence of a “rule” is meaningless, if the infrastrcuture is not there to support the rules.

    That’s true whether we are talking illegals at Nogales, AZ, or NSA wiretaps. Right?

  39. 39
    ImJohnGalt says:

    Should we privatize the Secret Service and subcontract it to a Chinese security firm? After all, if you think someone can’t be trusted to guard the President just because they’re from another country, you must be a racist!

    “There are some who say that the Chinese aren’t capable of learning how to secure the safety of the President of the United States. Well, I just don’t agree with that.”

  40. 40
    Mac Buckets says:

    There are some who say that the Chinese aren’t capable of learning how to secure the safety of the President of the United States. Well, I just don’t agree with that.

    A Chinese security firm would definitely ensure Bush’s safety… and fill many, many unmarked mass graves with the corpses of lefty protesters. Bush would automatically become the least-protested president in history! Hear that, Karl (we know your minions are reading these, if you can’t directly hear our thoughts)?

  41. 41
    tb says:

    You obviously don’t have any faith in your government at all, do you? Don’t you think if there were ANY possibility this deal could compromise our national security or our national interests, the Bush Administration wouldn’t stand for it? Bush is protecting our freedom.

    Shit, G really is faking. I thought he was a real wingnut. What are you up to with this, guy? Is this some kind of academic exercise? You don’t seem to be in it to amuse yourself like DougJ.

  42. 42
    Steve says:

    Wait, so are we all going to pretend en masse that no-bid contracts and foreign port deals are inventions of the Bush Administration?

    Well, no, but everything changed on 9/11, after all.

    I think maybe people today have a little better understanding of what the risks are when we let a country like China take over the job of radiation screening. Before 9/11, those criticisms would have been equally valid, but people simply didn’t care enough. Didn’t seem like it really affected them.

    At some point, it probably behooves us to stop playing the game of “Clinton did it too.” Either this deal is right or it’s wrong. If it’s wrong, and Clinton did the exact same wrong thing, maybe it dampens the usefulness of the issue as a partisan point somewhat. I don’t really care about that, I’d just like our country to do the right thing, and the partisan attacks can sort themselves out later.

  43. 43
    GOP4Me says:

    Shit, G really is faking. I thought he was a real wingnut. What are you up to with this, guy? Is this some kind of academic exercise? You don’t seem to be in it to amuse yourself like DougJ.

    Enough with the accusations, Lunger. Answer the questions you quoted!

  44. 44
    neil says:

    Wait, so are we all going to pretend en masse that no-bid contracts and foreign port deals are inventions of the Bush Administration?

    You only have to do that, Moe, if you’re going to continue to pretend that no political party would ever criticize an opposing party for doing something that they also would’ve done in the circumstances.

    I know that since the judicial wars, Republicans have been ver devoted to pretending this, but really, you can let it go.

  45. 45
    Mac Buckets says:

    You only have to do that, Moe, if you’re going to continue to pretend that no political party would ever criticize an opposing party for doing something that they also would’ve done in the circumstances.

    Good. Since we all understand that this port/no-bid nonsense is all useless political rhetoric and fake outrage, then I’m fine.

  46. 46
    demimondian says:

    Butt out of this, demi. This is between me, pee-pee, Mr. Furious, and the black helicopters from the evil, wicked Bush Administration they’re so afraid of.

    Aww. I can’t play with the big kids? [snif]

    OK. I’ll go away now.

    Or something like that, anyway…

  47. 47
    GOP4Me says:

    Aww. I can’t play with the big kids? [snif]

    I didn’t mean to imply that. Sorry. All I meant was that I wasn’t the one having psychotic delusions. Mr. Furious and pee-pee gas were, for being afraid of the big, bad government. Or, in the case of Mr. Furious, “not trusting” the government. In terms of tin foil hattery, that’s basically the same thing.

  48. 48
    Steve says:

    Since we all understand that this port/no-bid nonsense is all useless political rhetoric and fake outrage, then I’m fine.

    I won’t stipulate to that for one second. Do you have any actual defense to offer for this deal?

  49. 49
    Mac Buckets says:

    Well, no, but everything changed on 9/11, after all.

    You know, I can’t tell who means that earnestly, and who’s being sarcastic anymore, since the left used it as a joke for so long (before reversing and admitting its core truth during the port deal).

    Did 9/11 change the no-bid contract policies, too, or is that still an easy example of transparent Democrat hypocrisy?

    I think maybe people today have a little better understanding of what the risks are when we let a country like China take over the job of radiation screening.

    What risks would those be? I guess I’m not seeing the Chinese terrorism against the US that others must be seeing. If they wanted to inflict real damage to the US (which in turn would devastate them, by the way, so there’s just no motive for hostilities), the Chinese have much better weapons than, well, weapons. Actually, having been there a couple of times and having friends there, I’m a big fan of the direction that China is headed.

    At some point, it probably behooves us to stop playing the game of “Clinton did it too.”

    It’s not a game — it’s just the easiest way to show the hypocrisy and non-seriousness of the partisans. It cuts both ways. You think the next time a Dem is President, if the GOP used harsh rhetoric about a port deal, the Democrats wouldn’t bring up Bush? Of course, they would.

    If it’s wrong, and Clinton did the exact same wrong thing, maybe it dampens the usefulness of the issue as a partisan point somewhat.

    You’d think so, but not really — because the sympathetically-lefty media will never mention the hypocritical contradictions, so the bulk of the public will never know about them. You think Big Media ever mentioned Clinton’s no-bid deals with Halliburton? Riiiiiiight.

  50. 50
    demimondian says:

    Putting aside the evil clown hattery for a while…

    Mac, I’m worried about any foreign entity controlling security for US ports — and that includes Wackenhut, just as much as HW. I think that the China-bashing is gratuitous xenophobia, which is only good for trying to wedge the Republican black-helicopter brigade away from the R’s — that is to say, I think it’s reprehensible.

    Are you comfortable with any foreign entity controlling seaport security?

  51. 51
    VidaLoca says:

    With the Bushster’s popularity in the mid-30’s and falling his remaining die-hard followers adopt the devotion of a cargo cult:

    Or, in the case of Mr. Furious, “not trusting” the government. In terms of tin foil hattery, that’s basically the same thing.

    GOP, what will you be thinking about “the government” after the Hillary admistration moves into town?

    On another topic, just read that there’s an opening for an energetic young right-wing blogger at the Washington Post. I think you’d be the perfect guy for the job — got your resume in yet?

  52. 52
    neil says:

    Sorry for calling you Moe, Mac. I’ve been over at redstate.

  53. 53
    Mac Buckets says:

    I won’t stipulate to that for one second. Do you have any actual defense to offer for this deal?

    I was responding to neil, who essentially said, “Sure, we’re being hypocrites, but Republicans did it, too.”

    This particular deal is beyond my understanding of port operation. I’m still wondering why the US is contracting for security services at a Bahamian port. Has our government been paying people to live in the Bahamas and assist in port security there? If so, I am in the wrong racket.

    On the recent port brouhaha in general, I think the onus is on those who didn’t mind that foreigners (including the Chinese) operated 80%-90% of US port terminals for years, but who all of a sudden in the last two months decided that we should pass laws that American firms take over these operations (which they couldn’t even do — they’re just way too small), because foreigners can’t be trusted now.

  54. 54
    Al Maviva says:

    The first choice is to screen stuff when it’s lading abroad, or alternately screen it when it arrives. Arrival is too late if you are worried about diseases, nukes, and fragile/sensitive port operations like LPG terminals, ecologically dangerous chemicals, etc. There’s no way to do in-process shipping; container ships are crammed full of sea-land vans atop one another, and no shipper is going to permit an underway inspection process. So by definition we’re going to farm it out to lading countries and intermediary ports. “Bush farms out security inspection operations to Panama, Singapore, Hamburg” is the best headline the administration can hope for there, and even when a host government is helping on an official level with establishing security (e.g. Dubai) the Administration gets slammed for it.

    The second choice is how in-depth your screening will be. From the looks of the equipment discussed in the linked article, the administration has chosen to focus on preventing nuclear threats as its main focus. I suppose you can criticize that they aren’t emptying containers and eyeballing every piece of goods coming into the U.S., but with 11 million tractor trailer van-sized sea-land containers entering the country each year, that would take a huuuuge workforce. You’d also have to figure out how you could con other countries to allow you to station thousands of U.S. law enforcement agents on their sovereign territory. That would be interesting.

    The third choice is whether you want it to be government, or private. If you want it to be government side – sovereignty issues notwithstanding – the best headline Bush can hope for is “Administration hires tens of thousands of new Customs agents to perform security screening of incoming cargo abroad. And God help the poor bastard running the Singapore office when the GAO figures out how nice that city is, and calls the U.S. mission there (with maybe 2,000+ customs officers) a boondoggle.

    If you choose private, there is a relatively small community of international maritime logistics services companies to choose from. Yep, there are a couple hundred corporations that do a bit of maritime logistical work, but to screen 8-11 million containers a year or even a substantial chunk of that coming through the couple dozen major ports worldwide, you need a giant of a company or a couple giants to handle it. So much moreso if you are trying to limit the flow of goods (for security reasons) to ships traveling from a handful of ports owned by allies. That means you are talking about the likes of Hutchinson-Whampoa, Maersk, Evergreen, Hanjin, Lloyd, Mitsui, Cosco and a few others (including formerly P&O). Go look where the major maritime logistics companies are headquartered, and when you have a good private option, or alternately an easy way to get several tens of thousands of U.S. law enforcement officers stationed in places like Hong Kong, Singapore, Panama, Pusan and so forth, let me know. There aren’t a lot of big American companies in this line of work, just as there are very few American commercial sailors.

    Pretending that there are clear & easy choices here and then doing our partisan dance about how screwed up Bush is (and then the same dance Republicans will do over the next Dem president) is kind of silly.

  55. 55
    jg says:

    Did you know that there are patrols pulling people over and asking to search vehicles driving from San Diego to Yuma? Traveling from Cali to Arizona and you have to pass inspection. I can understand if you came from mexico but california? Next we’ll need to show papers when travelling from state to state.

  56. 56
    Mac Buckets says:

    Sorry for calling you Moe, Mac. I’ve been over at redstate.

    No apology necessary, neil, but thanks. “Moe” is actually one of the nicer things I’m called here.

  57. 57
    GOP4Me says:

    GOP, what will you be thinking about “the government” after the Hillary admistration moves into town?

    It’ll never happen. God watches over America and its people. He would never allow something that horrible to happen to us again. At least, I HOPE we don’t become that sinful.

    On another topic, just read that there’s an opening for an energetic young right-wing blogger at the Washington Post. I think you’d be the perfect guy for the job—got your resume in yet?

    No, but thanks for the compliment!

  58. 58

    In the case of illegal immigrants from Mexico, the situation that we have now exists entirely because both governments want it to exist. We want the immigrants, and they want to ship them here.

    Fundamentally the reason why the immigrants from Mexico come here, is because we have an economy and they do not. Why is that?

    To give you an example, here is how mortgages work in Mexico:

    – John borrows money to buy house
    – John decides he really doesn’t want to pay back loan
    – Bank can do nothing, there are no foreclosure laws

    The Bank has two choices:

    A. Call John’s father and tell him his son is ruining the family name. This has some effect as the relationships are important.

    B. Call John and say that unless he pays up, the bank is
    going to sell his loan to a bank owned by the Cartel from Columbia. Usually just the threat works, otherwise the Cartel will give you the best rates on selling a distressed loan because they have an excellent collections agency.

    Why are their no foreclosure laws? Because foreclosing is cruel! You can’t be mean to people who borrowed money and then don’t pay you back.

    But apparently breaking a few kneecaps isn’t cruel, because that’s generally how it works.

  59. 59

    It’ll never happen. God watches over America and its people. He would never allow something that horrible to happen to us again. At least, I HOPE we don’t become that sinful.

    Wonderful. The Pat Robertson “We made them do it to us” victim mentality.

    fucking freak

  60. 60
    Mac Buckets says:

    Demi–

    Are you comfortable with any foreign entity controlling seaport security?

    As Robert Reich (no Bushie he) said, the security operations were never leaving US hands (Coast Guard, US Customs, etc.) in any of the deals for US-based port operations. He said that if something evil gets into the US through the ports, it will be because of the lack of scanning equipment, not because foreigners own the operations of 80% of the ports.

    Now in this Bahamian case, I’m not sure what level of control the US can be expected to have at a foreign port (I’m starting to hate my old guidance counselor for not mentioning the “Bahamas port management” field), but the automated scanning equipment that Reich mentions is coming online, and the US apears to be hooked up to the system remotely.

  61. 61
    ppGaz says:

    Fundamentally the reason why the immigrants from Mexico come here

    But again you are talking about them, the immigrants.

    The issue is the policies and practices of the two countries. If the two countries did not want the immigration to be happening, it would not be happening.

    Simple as that.

  62. 62
    GOP4Me says:

    Wonderful. The Pat Robertson “We made them do it to us” victim mentality.

    I didn’t set up the rules of Heaven, I just try to obey them. You would be wise to do the same.

    fucking freak

    “Mock on, mock on, Voltaire, Rousseau;
    Mock on, mock on; ’tis all in vain!
    You throw the sand against the wind,
    And the wind blows it back again.

    “And every sand becomes a gem
    Reflected in the beams divine;
    Blown back, they blind the mocking eye,
    While still in Israel’s path they shine.

    “The atoms of Democritus
    And Newton’s Particles of Light
    Are sands upon the Red Sea shore
    Where Israel’s tents do shine so bright.”

    -William Blake

  63. 63
    Mr Furious says:

    GOP4Me-

    Hey dumbass, try reading what I wrote. Several times. I never even used the word government. I repeatedly stated that I don’t trust the Bush Administration, nothing about a black helicopter-fear of the government.

    And the reason I “don’t trust” Bush and his Administration? Not because of fear or paranoia, but because over and over they have demonstrated themselves to be greedy, corrupt, selfish and incompetent. Oh, that, and they fucking lie all the time.

    If that makes me a tin-foil hat wearer in you book, fine. I know I’ll get a good price on it, because there’ll be a bulk rate on ’em.

  64. 64
    GOP4Me says:

    Hey dumbass, try reading what I wrote. Several times. I never even used the word government. I repeatedly stated that I don’t trust the Bush Administration, nothing about a black helicopter-fear of the government.

    Same difference.

    And the reason I “don’t trust” Bush and his Administration? Not because of fear or paranoia, but because over and over they have demonstrated themselves to be greedy, corrupt, selfish and incompetent. Oh, that, and they fucking lie all the time.

    Well, mostly it’s because they’re Republican. When Clinton did it, it was fine.

    If that makes me a tin-foil hat wearer in you book, fine. I know I’ll get a good price on it, because there’ll be a bulk rate on ‘em.

    All you need is a scrap of foil. How much could THAT cost? 3 cents?

  65. 65
    Mac Buckets says:

    GOP, what will you be thinking about “the government” after the Hillary admistration moves into town?

    Ironic that Hillary’s name would be brought up by a lefty, when her husband and Co-President allowed multiple port terminals to be sold to the Saudi government, other Arab companies, and the Chinese.

    I frankly don’t think Hillary wants her name anywhere near this topic.

  66. 66
    ppGaz says:

    Are you serious? She posed in front of a port to get exposure on the topic.

  67. 67
    GOP4Me says:

    Ironic that Hillary’s name would be brought up by a lefty, when her husband and Co-President allowed multiple port terminals to be sold to the Saudi government, other Arab companies, and the Chinese.

    That’s an excellent point, Mac Buckets. Thank you.

    I frankly don’t think Hillary wants her name anywhere near this topic.

    Agreed.

  68. 68
    neil says:

    I was responding to neil, who essentially said, “Sure, we’re being hypocrites, but Republicans did it, too.”

    Wrong. I said that if the party in power takes an action which is unpopular with the people, the party out of power will attack them and point out how they would have done it differently, rather than explain that they would have done the same thing too. If this is hypocrisy then it’s pretty clear why only hypocrites can get elected in a representative democracy.

  69. 69
    Mac Buckets says:

    If this is hypocrisy then it’s pretty clear why only hypocrites can get elected in a representative democracy.

    I believe it was Rousseau who first said, “Hypocrites are teh su>

  70. 70
    Mac Buckets says:

    I believe it was Rousseau who first said, “Hypocrites are teh su>

    Well THAT didn’t work. It previewed OK. “No sux0rs allowed,” I guess.

  71. 71

    As Robert Reich (no Bushie he) said, the security operations were never leaving US hands (Coast Guard, US Customs, etc.) in any of the deals for US-based port operations.

    Wait a minute. You expect me to now believe Robert Reich when every other time you mention his name it’s to say how bloody stupid he is?

    Get a grip, will ya… or at least some consistency in your arguments.

  72. 72
    Steve says:

    I don’t think you can have both (1) the argument that no one on the left cared when Clinton did it, and (2) the argument that the left is a bunch of racist xenophobes.

    You can certainly have the argument that it’s all a bunch of political posturing, but since I know that to be untrue at least in my case and presumably in many others, I’m forced to ask what else you have.

  73. 73
    The Other Steve says:

    It’s a reasonable argument to say nobody cared about it pre-9/11.

    Unfortunately the Bush Administration is exhibiting pre-9/11 thinking, on top of their pre-1776 thinking.

  74. 74

    Late to the thread, but there were a number of reasons not to like the Dubai ports deal besides “xenophobia.” For ex, the deal included an agreement that a lot of information of who shipped what where would be kept in Dubai, far away from any prying eyes and subpoenas in the U.S.

    Now, this isn’t an abstract problem. The van that eventually blew up the dissident politician in Lebanon (whose name escapes me; Hariri?), and whose death has been blamed by the U.S. on Syria, was stolen in Japan and passed through the port of Dubai. And guess what? The Lebanese officials can’t find out who was shipping it. Now why do you think that the folks in Dubai wouldn’t want the folks in Lebanon to know who was shipping a stolen van that was eventually the murder weapon in a political assassination? If anything, it’s proof of the kind of competence we could expect with Dubai Ports’s recordkeeping.

    The the overarching question is why are we selling off America, and there’s where you get to the real problem with our Homeland security. We are running massive trade deficits. Thanks to Bush, and before him Clinton and the GATTs and the NAFTAs and such, industry is dying in the U.S. Corporations are still making money, but America is no long making anything. Anyone who thinks that this will eventually not bankrupt America needs to explain to the rest of us how the U.S. can keep borrowing and buying without selling and lending.

  75. 75
    stickler says:

    Scrutator/Gop4ME:

    I didn’t set up the rules of Heaven, I just try to obey them. You would be wise to do the same.

    Big words from a Hell-bound schismatic. March to a mirror, look for motes in your eyes, and then repent. Pharisee.

  76. 76
    Make7 says:

    I really must object to this:

    “They’ve turned this little drug addict alcholic born-again crackhead business failure into some kind of off-limits icon of untouchability. In their own minds, of course.” – ppGaz

    Was crack even around when Bush was partaking? It would be more factually correct to say “cokehead” or “coke fiend” instead of “crackhead“.

  77. 77
    ppGaz says:

    It would be more factually correct to say “cokehead” or “coke fiend” instead of “crackhead“.

    Noted!

  78. 78
    ppGaz says:

    TOM DELAY AND THE RUSSIANS….Last year the Washington Post reported that in 1997 Tom DeLay and Jack Abramoff went on a lavish golfing junket to Russia that was paid for by NAFTASib, an Abramoff client with “tight connections to the Russian security establishment.”

    A couple of weeks after the Post story appeared, NBC got hold of actual hotel records from DeLay’s stay at the Moscow Country Club. The records showed that room charges for DeLay and Abramoff were mingled together and then paid for on the credit card of Alexander Koulakovsky, general manager of NAFTASib.

    But it turns out the junket is the least of the story, because after the trip NAFTASib also gave money to the U.S. Family Network, an advocacy group closely associated with DeLay. Lots of money. A million dollars, in fact. And just what did the Russian security establishment want from DeLay? Did they really spend a million bucks via NAFTASib just to influence DeLay’s vote on an IMF bailout — as one of DeLay’s associates admitted to the Post? Who knows.

    But whatever it was for, Peter Stone has a new piece in the National Journal today informing us that even more money was involved than we thought. Through a front company, NAFTASib also donated $250,000 to the U.S. Family Network before DeLay’s trip to Moscow. That payment came shortly after a lunch meeting in Houston, and Stone reports that “the meeting has attracted the attention of federal investigators.”

    I’ll bet it has.

    From WaMo.

    Stormy?

  79. 79
    KoC says:

    One of my favorite political cartoons had W about to be bit in the ass by a giant snake labeled POLITICS OF FEAR.

  80. 80
    JWeidner says:

    Late to the party, but I had to note this, from GOP4Me:

    So now you people have a problem with Hong Kong, the island of freedom in a Red sea of tyranny?

    LOL. I don’t know what you’re smoking, but Hong Kong is no island of freedom – it belongs to China as what is called an SAR (Special Administrative Region). The former British colony was handed over to the Chinese on July 1, 1997. It is ruled under what China calls its “one country, two systems” formula whereby China’s socialist economic system isn’t forced upon Hong Kong (at least for 50 years), but all foreign and defense affairs are managed by the mainland.

    Maybe you were thinking of Taiwan, but you should endeavor to get your facts straight if you’re going to use them when flaming others…

  81. 81
    Jcricket says:

    ppgaz linked to an article about the IRS allowing private tax prep firms to selling your tax returns that points out the following:

    But there is a larger problem here, the force in Washington that is right now pushing for privitization of every government service

    There is a 100% unfettered belief in all echelons of the current Republican party (at least the elected representatives) that private firms are inherently better, cheaper, faster, smarter and are always the appropriate choice. And, that there is no consequence to outsourcing government work to private firms. To top it off, any regulations that “block” any activities of a private company are to be eliminated, even if those regulations are what prevent private companies from underfunding pensions, selling shoddy products, failing to safeguard our personal financial information, etc.
    As this article points out, outsourcing government work to private firms is not without consequences:

    Underneath today’s privacy controversy is this: Tax collection is a government job. Outsourcing it to aggressive, for-profit firms will have all manner of unintended consequences. This is only one of them.

    Once your tax return is sold by H&R block to some other firm, you’re screwed. You won’t even know who to go after after you find out you’re a victim of ID theft. And the Bush administration will have, in the meantime, passed laws that indemnify third-party firms from damages due to their lack of security.

    So, a pragmatist would say what the article says

    The best solution to today’s controversy is for the IRS to develop its own e-filing system and give consumers the chance to avoid all the mess. And the larger solution involves the federal government thinking twice before it outsources every critical function it performs.

    Basically, there are some things that the government should do, and rather than viewing the lack of profit in those enterprises as an obstacle/failure, view that lack of profit as the appropriate safeguard for consumers in those situations.

    But if you start from the idea that the government is always “the problem”, then you’ll come up with solutions like outsourcing port security to the lowest bidder (oh wait, there weren’t bids), regardless of the consequences.

    And, to indemnify myself against this criticism, any no-bid contracts handed out under any previous administration aren’t OK either. The government should not be in the business of “doing its best to increase the profits of a select few companies”. If the government does outsource something it should have the appropriate bidding along with congressional/judicial oversight built in.

  82. 82

    Late to this thread as well, but I noticed this comment:

    I don’t know what you’re smoking, but Hong Kong is no island of freedom – it belongs to China as what is called an SAR (Special Administrative Region). The former British colony was handed over to the Chinese on July 1, 1997. It is ruled under what China calls its “one country, two systems” formula whereby China’s socialist economic system isn’t forced upon Hong Kong (at least for 50 years), but all foreign and defense affairs are managed by the mainland.

    Speaking as a toy delivery expert of 1600 years experience, I can tell you that Hong Kong does, in fact, manufacture many, many cool toys. I can also inform you that, per capita, Hong Kong’s children are recipients of far more toys than the children of the People’s Republic of China. The politial border-shift is obvious to anyone who read a newspaper in 1997, but what’s more important than political squabbles between UK and China is the fact that since 1997, a significantly larger number of PRC children (outside Hong Kong, mind you) are toy-worthy candidates in the month of December. This is excellent news, and almost- almost- mitigates the devastating blow that the loss of Hong Kong represents to the greatest mercantile and civilizing empire since the Romans.

    The British Empire has faded away, alas and alack; but Christmas endures forever. Speaking from a large personal bias, that’s what counts for me. The outlook there is quite rosy, although GWOT must continue lest Islam destory toy deliveries altogether. The toys must flow.

    Ho ho ho, bitches.

  83. 83
    RedDan says:

    Control of port operations by foreign concerns has been with us for a while…and the results have not been particularly good…recall several major stories in the mid to late 1990’s and early 2000’s regarding the wholesale smuggling of Chinese illegal immigrants to the US west coast?

    Over the course of six months in the late 1990’s, hundreds of illegals were found in multiple cargo containers being shipped from Asia to ports in Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, San Diego, and Oakland.

    They were being shipped on COSCO container vessels destined for COSCO-controlled port terminals.

    How many containers were found? 20?

    How many were not?

    How many Chinese immigrants live and work in virtual slavery, indentured to Chinese Mafia-run sweatshops, owing tens of thousands of dollars to the smugglers who got them into the US via those containers?

    Extrapolate to acts of terrorism.

    Outsourcing security to ANY corporation is a bad idea – the profit motive does really have much room to add for “external costs” like inspection of containers for explosives when only 1% are likely to contain said explosives – the costs in the short term are prohibitive when compared to the risks (at least on an actuarial chart, or whatever they use).

    Outsourcing security to a foreign corporation is a worse idea.

    And outsourcing security to a foreign corporation wholly owned and operated by a potentially hostile foreign government, particularly when that government is totalitarian, dictatorial, theocratic, monarchical or any (or all) of the above.

    As for the hairsplitting about “controlling ports and controlling security” vs. “operating the terminal with security overseen by the Coast Guard” – let’s be clear: the terminal operator oversees thousands of container shipments a week, constituting millions of containers a year, crane, train, truck, ship, electricity, volatiles, chemicals, massive storage lots, hundreds of acres of industrial infrastructure, tank farms and more…not only that, but terminal operators are party to and apprised of emergency response plans, strategies, and policies undertaken by the Coast Guard and port authority, and in most cases, the ship manifests, crew lists, and etc are passed through the terminal operator before they reach the security oversight.

    It is not a secure or particularly sane/responsible situation, and xenophobia or racism need not enter the picture.

    I do not support British, French, Canadian, Australian, Chinese, UAE, or US corporate control over port security.

    Is the alternative expensive (e.g. massive investment in infrastructure, training, labor, organization, equipment, and etc; probably involving the creation of a “merchant marine equivalent” to run the ports)? You bet.

    Is it worth it?

    I think so.

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