Politics as (un)usual: Now discussing the Dubai Ports World Deal

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by KnightWriter, Dec 21, 2005.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    By all indications, this was a very routine sort of thing until people started to make a big fuss out of virtually nothing.

    Keep in mind that "people" in this case refers to the conservative right. Bush was betrayed in this case by right wing radio. Michael Savage I think gets the credit for stirring the pot first.
  2. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    This whole issue is just stupid. An Arab company is buying a Brittish company, and the company is at 6 American ports. The problem is... ?





    -Why would they know about it? There is no reason for it. Do you want the government to control our economy and become communist or something?

    -Saudi Arabia has terrorist activity. Britain has terrorist activity. France has terrorist activity. We have terrorist activity. We trained Osama bin Laden in US intelligence during the Cold War, when they were fighting off the Soviet Union in Afghanistan.

    -Two hijackers came from there, big deal. Didn't the rest come from Saudi Arabia? If they all came from Britain, would we stop dealing with Britain? They don't represent their country.

    -Osama is also the son of some rich guy from Saudi Arabia, who he got most of his fortune from. So should we stop dealing with Saudi Arabia?

    -How does this make our seaports less secure? The company is chaning owners. It will still be the same workers. Bayer is a huge German-owned company, running many different factories and offices. Should we close them? I'll tell you something, the US didn't even close them during WW2.


    Please tell me, what is the problem? How does this make us less safe? Do you want us to completely isolate ourselves from Arab nations out of distrust and suspicion? What a great example America is showing to the world: "We're stupid, ignorant, fat hypocrites!" This is ridiculous.
  3. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    The very best thing about the issue is the entirely unique path it winds through party/ideologic affiliations. I'm pleasantly surprised.
  4. BenduHopkins Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 7, 2004
    star 4
    Does the President have to be involved and make the final decision in every sale of a foreign company that does business in the US? Should the President make the decision every time a foreign airline wants to set up shop in several US airports?

    I see your point, and I think that in a perfect world, we would have an oversight comitte the president could trust. But the fact that Rumsfield didn't know anything about it, who is on the committee who was said to review this, tells me that it is unlikely that anything was considered but the cash. Also, you fail to factor in that reform is needed in order to make our borders secure. Relying on the status quo won't help us.

    Or, is it just possible, that this sort of deal is a fairly routine thing that doesn't really warrant the President (or even the Secretary of Defense's) attention? The President and various cabinet members don't have to be the ones to approve each and every business deal that affects US commerce.

    There are different leadership styles. Bush, as evidenced by katrina and 9/11, is not very proactive when it comes to protecting the country before it is too late. A president in a post 9/11 world could indeed approve all foreign purchases of ports. Bush is not exactly the model of what you'd want in a post 9/11 world.

    By all indications, this was a very routine sort of thing until people started to make a big fuss out of virtually nothing.

    It is a bipartisan concern. Who really are you to say that it is meaningless without an extended review that includes all concerned parties? Are we not a government of the people? If so many people are bothered by this, is it not an indication of the worthiness for inquiry? The people, congress, and the Senate make the agenda. The president must lead but also follow.

    There is already a proven track record of the US executive branch unfairly favoring Saudi Arabia over other dangerous countries. Our chummy relationship with the House of Saud has compromised our national security far more than staying out of Iraq would have. I'm not an isolationist, but I don't sell out my country for pocket cash either.

    Only the most rabid believers in the virtue of the current ruling party would give them a free ticket on this issue.
  5. BenduHopkins Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 7, 2004
    star 4
    There's nothing wrong with opening up free markets to the world, but whay isn't it ok for the US to be in charge of, say, its own borders?

    And if we do want to sell them to some other countries, then...why not just the ones who don't aid and harbor terrorists?

    Just some thoughts for those who are flaying straw men.

    As usual, Bush supporters are following his own bad example and trying to extinguish debate based on one principle. "Trust me."
  6. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    Bendu, get your facts straight, please. They are not buying the ports. They are going to be operating some of the terminals, no different than a foreign company operating some of the gates at an airport.

    What makes your factual blunders worse is the fact that DPW is a holding company. The actual employees working at the ports will not change at all (except for the normal turnover in any employment). The people actually managing the operations will still be Americans.

    Let's cut through all of the conspiracy theories about this, and why don't you tell me, specifically, why the deal should be denied or delayed after it has gone through the appropriate review.

    Also, while officially CFIUS is made up of cabinet-level individuals, operationally, the responsibilities are delegated to deputies (for example, Richard Perle was on CFIUS, even though he was only the Assistant Secretary of Defense). It's not unreasonable in such a case that Rumsfeld (or any other cabinet-level official) honestly wasn't informed of it any more than they would have been informed of any other routine matter delegated to a deputy. What is the point of deputies if you insist that their boss has to approve each and every decision that they make?

    Kimball Kinnison
  7. BenduHopkins Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 7, 2004
    star 4
    Hey Kimball. I know that they are not buying the ports. I already used the other wording before that, so you should have known.

    You like to omit that it is a state-controlled company, but I don't call you to the carpet because I know that we all have read the details.

    What is the point of deputies if you insist that their boss has to approve each and every decision that they make?

    Do you really trust the deputies at this point? The system of checks and balances and oversight is by cronies at this point.

    Only after something goes wrong, and an independent review committee is appointed, do things actually get figured out these days. And they usually figure out that the powers-that-be were inept and corrupt. It is totally out of control.

    Like I said. This is not a normal state for the nation to be in. You can't just go by the status quo. The executive branch is a complete failure, and you can not blindly trust anything they are remotely involved with at this point.

    Lemme put it this way. If you found out that Yosemite Sam was in charge of guarding your fortune, would you trust his associate to tell you how much money you had left? Or would you put a freeze on your account until you got your money in a safe bank?

    Bush has painted himself as no friend to the Democrats, and increasingly Republicans. And at worst, he has painted himself as a villain.

    The people actually managing the operations will still be Americans.


    But whoever owns something has the right to visit with their friends. And they have the right to put up their feet and demand a few cocktails from the staff. The point is, they have influence.

    And regardless of the local operators, distant government influence is powerful enough to get a contract specialist fired for raising questions about the legality of no-bid contracts in Iraq.

    If our own country can not even be trusted to run a fair operation when they are intermingled with corporations, why should we think UAE are better than us?

    And to make a sci fi analogy, were the Jedi stupid or not for thinking Jango being involved with both the Seperatists and the Clone Army made the clone army totally trustable? Somewhere, you gotta draw the line and stop trusting. Where has your faith in Bush and UAE gotten you?
  8. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    Categorically false. Osama bin Laden had no contact with US intelligence. See also; bin Laden expert Peter Bergen, ex-CIA writer Milt Bearden (who ran the Afghan operation), et al.

    This is a repeated lie and has never been closer to the truth each time it's spoken. Research is not a dirty word.

    E_S
  9. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    Bendu, would you please list how many stevedores or whole ports Dubai Ports has been directly or indirectly responsible for compromising the safety of?

    Bendu; political and economic analysts think the US reaction is so hilariously primitive and knee-jerky, so they're actually with me on this. Hack pundits and journalists - 92.6% of the US media - are writing fear pieces to sell copies. I'm happy sticking with the experts rather than the paper tiger reactionaries. :)

    E_S
  10. Darth Mischievous Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 12, 1999
    star 6
    If something does go down through our ports after this deal is sealed, then the fallout will be severe.

    I tend to dislike the deal anyway, because I rather American companies running American ports. We've had enough outsourcing.
  11. BenduHopkins Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 7, 2004
    star 4
    political and economic analysts think the US reaction is so hilariously primitive and knee-jerky, so they're actually with me on this.

    I'd be interested in reading their thoughts on this. Can you provide some links? I'm not sure who doesn't count as a political and economic analyst in your view.
  12. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    Here's the deal:

    1. The Bush bureaucracy got it right. There are no legitimate reasons for blocking this kind of foreign acquisition as opposed to the many other kinds of foreign acquisitions that occur on a daily basis. American national security is not implicated at all.

    2. The Bush machine got it horribly wrong politically and from a PR standpoint. This kind of public relations debacle has become the hallmark of Bush's second term.

    3. This PR mistake has now exposed the real holes in our port security to widespread national public debate, and every journalist in the country is now running with it. OUtmaneuvered at every step, John Kerry tried and failed at getting any real airtime for this debate during his election campaign. Now the debate is going to be thoroughly overkilled, and the Bush administration will be helpless to stop it.
  13. Jediflyer Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 5, 2001
    star 5
    Nice summation, Jabba. I agree with you 100%.

  14. J-Rod Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2004
    star 5
    Sonovabitch. Me too!
  15. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    Well now I've seen everything. I guess we can close this forum down and all go home. ;)

    But anyway. The last thing the Bush administration needs right now is a public airing of real port security issues. And that's exactly what they're going to get as a result of this slip. One more thing to make the Department of Homeland Security look like the big pointless hopeless mess that it in fact actually is.
  16. J-Rod Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2004
    star 5
    Yeah...close the boards...[face_mischief]

    Anyway, I actually did some reading on how the UAE came into the contract as well as some reading on the UAE themselves and have concluded that there isn't really a concern.

    The concern is yet another PR blunder by the Bush administration.
  17. BenduHopkins Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 7, 2004
    star 4
    Guys, you can't just write off the security concerns. It is lack of imagination that allowed 9/11 to happen. Are we really going to say that imagining possible security weaknesses in our ports is "paranoia?"

    A few people who I trust far more than any of you, far more than the Bush administration, are saying the same things I am coming up with. So don't be so quick to put security concerns aside:

    "The fact that you are putting a company in place that could already be infiltrated by al-Qaida is a silly thing to do," said Mike Scheuer, who headed the former head of the CIA's Osama bin Laden unit until 1999.

    Thomas Kean, a former Republican governor of New Jersey who led the bipartisan probe of the Sept. 11 attacks, said the deal was a big mistake because of past connections between the 2001 hijackers and the UAE.

    "It shouldn't have happened, it never should have happened," Kean said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.

    "This just proves that no real investigation was ever conducted, and it's unfortunate that he and the other 9/11 commissioners were not contacted before the government approved this."
    ---------------------------------------

    These are people with credentials. The system is not running as we thought it would after 9/11. Who has been asleep at the wheel, running business as usual? Whose interest lies not in reforming homeland security, but in maximizing profit within the industries who placed him into power? Is it not valid to ask the question of who really controls the United States, when congress is finally screaming and no one is listening? The Bush administration said Friday it won't reconsider its approval for a United Arab Emirates company to take over significant operations at six U.S. ports. Who exactly does he serve, may I ask all of you worshippers of capitalism-at-all-costs-over-domestic-concerns? I think you take for granted the integrity of the United States. We are not invincible - economically, or physically. Rome did not fall in one day.

    And to say that port weaknesses are unrelated to the security threat posed by this deal is just plain missing the big picture.

    These arguments I give you are the same ones Bush gave when promoting caution in dealing with Iraq. But I am not proposing an invasion that will kill thousands of innocent people if we are wrong. I am just proposing good management practices, and the worst that can happen is a few feelings get hurt. With a good explanation, damage will be minimised. The positives of blocking this deal far outweigh the negatives. That is, unless you really think Americans should consider the feelings of rich arabs before their own.

  18. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    Bendu,

    What security concerns?

    DPW might learn how our security operates? Both the Coast Guard and Customs have stated that they don't give that sort of information to the companies running the ports (in fact, the Coast Guard's operations tend to take place off-shore, while Customs takes place once you reach the land. What do the off-shore activities of the Coast Guard have to do with loading and unloading the cargo on land?

    Al Quaida might infiltrate DPW? DPW is a holding company, and not one US employee is going to be changing. Basically, the operations will continue exactly as they are right now.

    Only 5% of cargo is inspected? That has nothing to do with DPW, and definitely isn;t a reason to deny the deal.

    2 hijackers came from the UAE? So? Richard Reid came from the UK. Jose Padilla and Timothy McVeigh were from the US.

    Hijcakers and money travelled through the UAE? Again, so what? They also travelled through Germany, the US, and several other countries. That's hardly a reason to deny the deal.

    "There was no investigation?" Yes, there was. Again, by all indications it is a routine deal, and there is no evidence (paranoid, xenophobic knee-jerk reactions and fears aren't evidence) that it would create a security risk.

    So, what security concerns, exactly, are there? Be specific.

    Kimball Kinnison
  19. Obi-Wan McCartney Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 17, 1999
    star 5
    I also agree with Jabba. This blunder will allow the democrats and many republicans fed up with Bush to put a microscope over his securing of our coastal boarders.
  20. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    I guarantee that over the next few weeks we're all going to learn much more about container shipping, radiation portals, customs inspections, etc., than the Bush administration ever wanted us to know.
  21. BenduHopkins Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 7, 2004
    star 4
    So, what security concerns, exactly, are there? Be specific.

    Tell me first that you won't reject scenarios motivated by fear, nor conspiracy theories. Because detailing possible conspiracies, and fearing unforseen weaknesses in security is the only way to protect the country. If you can agree to this, I'll go forward with some possible scenarios.

    You seem to be saying that looking beyond the surface is overly cautious. I would not want you working in my government. I already know that you trust that a totally free economy without government oversight would result in a clean game. Knowing this about you, I can see why you would be slow to accept that there could be any problems. For it would shatter your entire world view of "seeing the best in everyone."
  22. BenduHopkins Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 7, 2004
    star 4
    I also agree with Jabba. This blunder will allow the democrats and many republicans fed up with Bush to put a microscope over his securing of our coastal boarders.

    There's nothing wrong with that. Bush deserves whatever microscope is put on him. He has been deemed untrustworthy.
  23. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    I have looked beyond the surface. However, when you look at the facts behind it, there's nothing to worry about.

    DPW will have nothing to do with security. They aren't changing the US operations of P&O at all. It's simply a case of the profits from the operation get passed on to someone different.

    If the actual operations of the ports aren't changing, and DPW has nothing to do with the actual security of the ports, what is there to worry about?

    Kimball Kinnison
  24. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
  25. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    I feel it's worth mentioning that al-Qaeda had an operative in the US military's special forces training school, an Egyptian called Ali Mohammed, until 1996; and that it's not like al-Qaeda guys couldn't get into P&O if they tried. It's a simple form of false hoc prejudice; al-Qaeda is made up of Arabs, DPW is an Arab company, from the United Arab Emirates - :eek: zomg terrorism!!!!!111!!!one! [face_flag]

    E_S
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.