Tuesday, February 21, 2006

No no I don't smoke it no mo'

There’s a good battle going about whether to allow the United Arab Emirates (UAE, also known as Dubai) to control about six major port terminals in the U.S. The biggest are several locations in the New York area. The deal was part of a sale by P&O Ports to a UAE consortium for approximately 5.6 billion dollars and includes terminals in New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Miami, New Orleans, and Baltimore. As such, “Dubai Ports World” would take over all assets, leases, and operations from P&O. These are very profitable cruise ship and containership terminals and apparently it was a sweet deal.

The U.S. government approved the sale but apparently forgot to ask local politicians and the Congress if that was alright with them. According to the latest New York Times article on February 21, big names like Bill Frist (Senate Republican leader), Dennis Hassert (House Speaker), Michael Bloomberg (New York City), and George Pataki (New York State) have accused the executive branch of some major misconduct. The reason for a second take was because of the potential for terrorist activity.

Now let’s step back for a minute and see what this is all about. Ninety percent of the ships are owned by overseas companies and over half of the port terminals are already owned by foreign interests. Why are all the major Republicans joining in the tirade? Doesn’t the Coast Guard or Homeland Security provide the protection? On the West Coast hardly any facilities are really “American” except for some Alaska tanker lines and a route to Hawaii. I just don’t get it.

In spite of common sense, this has become such a huge issue that Shrub Bush intends to veto anything coming out of the U.S. Congress on the matter. So you know there are some legislators just wanting to see if they had a vote to over-ride a Presidential veto or find some other constitutional remedy. The viewing could not be much better, folks! My thinking is that Shrub did cut a deal with the UAE but that some people still remember that two of the 9/11 terrorists were from that place, a coalition of seven warrior tribes.


mleahy said...

Correct me, if I am wrong. I realize that two of the terrorists on 9/11 were from the U.A.E. and that money for the terrorists was laundered through their banking system. However, this does not mean that we are handing over security to them ie. Homeland Security, Customs or Coast Guard duties. Right? After 9/11 I dont think that port ownership should belong to any foreign government. When the sale get's shot down I fear that there may be severe reprocussions as this will give extremists more reason to call the U.S. ARAB HATERS! MLeahy

Sam said...

Hey Mike, it is a complex issue but as I said, foreign interests already own most of the port terminals in the US. I have a list below, but before signing off, it is true that each terminal must have a Facility Safety Officer (FSO) certified to Coast Guard standards and yes, they have to have security and do surveillance.

P&O Ports - Great Britain
Maersk (A.P. Moller) - Denmark
APL - Singapore
China Shipping - China
Costco China - China
Evergreen - Taiwan
Zim - Israel
BP - Great Britain
Shell - Holland
Yang Ming - Taiwan

Everett said...

What's the matter? "don like waking up on the floor"?

Sam said...

Sheesh, Everett, what did I do now?

Ex-Manissean said...

Even after hearing many different takes on this, its still a complicated issue. One guy, who has worked in UAE and was in charge of audits for two of its largest companies said bribery is a way of life for everyone there, the Port of Dubai operates like a modern day pirate den, where anything is available for the right price. On the flipside the UAE is one of the strongest allies in the area. We have a naval port and airbase there. And the daily operation would be handled by prescreened and closely monitored contractors, We would handle our own security. But when so many dems agree with republicans, and Jimmy Carter supports the President, why its enough to make ones head spin.

Sam said...

Well said, sir. And, it should be said that these port terminals are "dens of corruption" from the get-go, anyway. Remember all the stories about union stevedores shipping contraband and killing people? Why, at Port Neward last year they nabbed five employees had figured out the railcars with the expensive TV and computer equipment and actually hikacked trains! Why should Abu Dubai be any different?

THIS JUST IN: Tom Delay, our beloved Texan we love to hate, has just said that the President "made a big mistake" on DPW and that his actions are "ridiculous."

Oh, and Everett, I missed it that you were singing the Ringo song. I'm having a big DUH moment here!

Sam said...

Not to belabor the issue, but testimony today confirmed that Dubai was the major trans-shipment port for nuclear products and centrifuges bound for Libya and other middle eastern countries. Great, now we have WMD to think about, the real smoking gun that never came to light after all that boogie about Saddan and Iraq.

The US government approved the deal even though only Port of Newark has radiation testing machinery.

The House and Senate return next week after yet another freaking "recess." What is this, kindergarden or something? Do they get naps after lunch?

Maybe I should lighten up?

Everett said...

Glad you figured it out about the song. Been trying to think of the rest but can't. Maybe, "no thank you please, it only makes me sneeze?" I never really did know the whole song as you can tell.

No lightening up now. It's nice to hear someone else besides myself ranting about stuff you "old yeller dog". How did that term of endearment come about?Bye Now

Sam said...

Yellow dog Democrat is both a term of loyal Southern courtesy as well as a term of derision. The expression was "I'd vote for a yellow dog if he was on the Democratic ticket." However, "yellow dog" also was used to say somebody was a cowardly mongrel. The term dates back to the 1920's.

A more recent (and hardly used) version is "blue dog Democrat." That is a Democrat with conservative values who is open to debate. Hey, that sounds like me!

But in reality, it was easy for many to switch from Democrat to Republican in the 1990's because Yellow Dog Democrats down here in the South were already pretty darned conservative.