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Should a United Arab Emirates-based company be allowed to run six major U.S. seaports?

Asked at Borders, 700 N.H. on February 22, 2006

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Photo of Wendy Picking

“I think that if U.S. companies have the right to own businesses and properties abroad, then foreign companies should have the same right.”

Photo of Michael Munro

“No. It’s bad public relations. : We should spend public money on companies that will keep their profits in the states, especially when it comes to a sensitive issue like port security.”

Photo of Andrew Piekalkiewicz

“Absolutely not. I think it’s insane to allow a company from a country that is the financial source of so much terrorism to have any control over our ports.”

Photo of Lyda Irfan

“We probably shouldn’t be giving out control of our ports when we don’t really have enough control over them ourselves.”

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Comments

Fishman 8 years, 10 months ago

Very well said Lyda. It's unfortunate, because they might just do a good job. However I can't stand the thought in a couple of years "I told you so". Then who looks like fools. I vote NO.

enochville 8 years, 10 months ago

Why in the world would Bush do this and feel so strongly about it that he would veto any bill designed to keep him from doing it? That is what I don't get from the news reports.

I know someone will offer the lame excuse: "because he is stupid, etc". Even mentally challenged people have motivations. If he wants this that bad, why has he not given a speech outlining why he thinks it would be good for America? Is he being blackmailed?

I don't have a problem with certain foriegn companies operating in the U.S. But, given the climate since 9/11, this move seems reckless and hasty. Has he not considered how easy it would be for terrorists to bribe this Arab company to smuggle themselves and supplies in through those ports? The company has no loyalty to us. If paid well enough, they could afford to lose their contract with us and be no worse for the wear.

Thankfully, I can't imagine that the House and Senate will not be able to override Bush's veto. That will make Bush look impotent. Surely, he knows this. Why would he risk everything on something that not even his most loyal Evangelical supporters would back him on? I hope some reporter gets to the bottom of this.

Fangorn 8 years, 10 months ago

The UAE has been an ally in the War on Terror. Still...one can be forgiveness a certain sense of uneasiness about the arrangement.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 10 months ago

This is but one example of how bad privatization can really really stink?

These Saudis have business relations with the Bush family. So is "Reckless Spending George" gaining a kickback? Seems right up his alley.

Write several senators and demand that we put port security in the hands of the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard will never be for sale. Remember it's not only George it's the republican party that supports this absolute nonsense. The republican party is in dire need of replacement. Until the repubs tell George no from now on they are the problem.

The Coast Guard know USA law therefore is most practical. Heroin dealers can buy off civilians. Beef up the Coast Guard and put them in charge. I believe citizens would feel far more secure with the Coast Guard.

How many times do we want the Nations security bought and sold?

http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

enochville 8 years, 10 months ago

Here (http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/02/21/port.security/index.html) is a little more information about the motives involved.

I understand that it would be the operation of the ports that would be turned over to this company, not the port security. But, frankly, that is playing awfully close to the curb for my taste. I don't trust that our law enforcement officials can catch everything that the company might let through.

Then, there is the bigotry argument that those of us who do not want the deal to go through need to explain ourselves - why we would treat this company different just because they are Arab. First of all, no one outside the administration had even heard that this deal was taking place until recently because it was all done in secret. (I hate this kind of manipulative secrecy). So, no one has had a chance to investigate this company to determine whether they are more of a threat than other companies. Secondly, the company is based in a very small country that has been the source of known terrorists. (I also dislike careless behavior decorated in the guise of tolerance).

I am not promoting bigotry either. There is some middle ground between the two extremes. We have to use some common sense. The stakes are too high to trust the wrong people. It is appropriate to err on the side of caution and run the risk of being labeled bigots. Reasonable people can understand our hesisitancy even if they believe it is unnecessary.

KsjKC 8 years, 10 months ago

I think Enochville poses a fascinating question. Of all the times for the Bush administration to demonstrate its bravura, arrogance, or even hubris, this seems the most unusual.

Looking from the outside in, the administration can't be so arrogant as to think that they can withstand an override vote. This looks to be a potentially embarrassing episode for Bush and friends.

They may need to send Cheney back to the woods with a gun to garner some deflective news coverage...

Richard Heckler 8 years, 10 months ago

Apparently most all of our ports are owned by foreign nationals. The Coast Guard does provide security to all USA ports.

So why all of the secret back door activity as it has aroused much suspicion?

I read that the Bush family has business ties with this company however have yet to relocate that source.

Discovered also that this company allows U.S. Coast Guard to dock in its mideast ports to observe ships destined for the USA.

There also is/was a Singapore company that was submitting a bid but do not know the outcome.

So what's up with the President's personal involvement?

Looks like Homeland Security is where much of this was approved.

trinity 8 years, 10 months ago

this impending move makes me a little nervous. but what're the alternatives? serious question, i'm not informed enough to really know.

read the pancake article to lighten the tone a little-it made me hungrrryyyy.

RonBurgandy 8 years, 10 months ago

I am not sure that we should allow the UAE to control six major ports, however, they were already controlled by the British and many ports are controlled by foreign countries, according to the cbs evening news last night.

The problem is the security of the ports is controlled by the US, but the US Coast Guard is not large enough to provide adequate security, only 5-6% of containters are inspected. Hopefully, this will push this issue back into the limelight and we can fund port security better.

RonBurgandy 8 years, 10 months ago

trinity - I like it!

I should rephrase my statement to say "I am not sure that we should allow a UAE company to control".

Ok, is anyone else having trouble with the ljworld this morning?

nut_case 8 years, 10 months ago

No we shouldn't - because the money could be used to support terrorist activities. But then again, we already send billions of dollars to the middle east for oil, so what the heck difference does a few grand more make. Might as well let them control our energy supply and the ports that deliver it...yes?

beatrice 8 years, 10 months ago

Is it possible that our President finally ran out of friends locally to give jobs to and has now resorted to giving out jobs to his international friends?

Bush has a pattern of doing things without really thinking of the long-term consequences. This is another example. Since he also has been rewarded by voters for refusing to compromise - that whole "you're with us or against us" attitude - that when he makes a bad decision, his bravado won't let him admit it, and we all must then pay the price.

This is the second time recently that his fellow conservatives are calling him "nuts," the first being his attempt to make his cleaning lady, er, I mean personal lawyer a Supreme Court justice. Now he is asking his Arab buddies to control our ports, and his fellow Republicans don't like it. There will be a feeding frenzy, as Congressman want to appear strong back home during this election year.

christie 8 years, 10 months ago

Unbelieveable. Selling the security of our Ports to terrorists. Denying Americans the priviledge to the lowest bidder, in this case a bunch of Terrorists. G.W. Bush is the biggest idiot on the planet.

If you want to move forward, put your car in (D)emocrat. If you want to move backwards, put your car in (R)epublican.

glockenspiel 8 years, 10 months ago

Companies like P&O don't provide security at ports. Customs and the Coast Guard do. This is a perfect example of the media glazing over the details. The press have repeatedly reported this as "Taking Control" over ports. This could not be further from the case.

Barring trade with Arab countries at a time when almost every Arab country in the world hates America would send a very bad message. If you want to blame Bush for dropping the ball on security, blame him for the fact that only 10% of shipping crates coming into the country are inspected. Blame him for not securing the northern and southern borders of the country.

RonBurgandy 8 years, 10 months ago

I wonder how things are going w/ TOB and Mrs. TOB...

Chris Tackett 8 years, 10 months ago

Beatrice and Merrill (and others that are interested),

There are certainly financial motives behind this deal.

From The Raw Story:

"A senior executive from the company looking to manage several key U.S. ports was appointed by President Bush to a key transportation appointment reporting directly to Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta, RAW STORY has found."

The rest of the story is here: http://rawstory.com/news/2005/Bush_nominated_executive_from_Dubai_port_0221.html

This is certainly cronyism, but it's more than just that. There is the old adage "it's not what you know, it's who you know." This is thrown around to make people feel better about not getting certain jobs. But as one of my favorite talk radio hosts explained yesterday, there are times when it is WHAT you know, like in an emergency.

It's somewhat understandable that a President can appoint certain cushy gigs to friends upon entering office. But handing over control of FEMA to his inexperienced friend was unacceptable. And this is simply beyond unacceptable.

This has little to do with the fact it is a company based in the middle east. This is a company that is controlled by THE STATE. Our ports wouldn't just be run by a company based in another country. No, they would be run BY ANOTHER COUNTRY.

What are their hiring practices? What are their security measures? How do they screen current and future employees?

The UAE helped launder money connected to 9-11. Two of the 19 hijackers came from UAE. Bin Laden stayed in a Dubai hospital AFTER 9-11: http://www.guardian.co.uk/waronterror/story/0,1361,584444,00.html

This is simply unacceptable. And the fact that Bush is threatening to use his first veto EVER on this shady deal should be a wake-up call to anyone that has yet to realize that this is a dangerously incompetent President.

trinity 8 years, 10 months ago

i'm glad you like it RonB! :) mindless occupation...

i'm getting ever more wary of this port deal; the only curiousity lingering in my mind is, can we really put it all on bush? or, are there others in his crony network who've influenced this also?

oh and lotsa luck&blessings to mr&mrs TOB!! hope we hear some great news soon!

Aiko 8 years, 10 months ago

Christie says "G.W. Bush is the biggest idiot on the planet." I am curious what your portfolio/resume looks like? If you do not like the man (who you do not know) that is fine but to say what you said makes the entire United States look bad for allowing him to this position. I did not risk my life on several tours and may have to contract for the US in 4 months for an "idiot". I hope I did not offend anyone but these types of statements seem to be "shot from the hip" and cause more harm than good. Just my opinion...

Linda Aikins 8 years, 10 months ago

You mean the second original Bob or Bobbi is on his/her way? Cool!

Universe 8 years, 10 months ago

Here's something I find ironic; for years liberals have made the accusations that Bush was a liar who's US military terrorized women & children in Iraq (not to mention how terrible we treated the wonderful 'freedom fighters' at abu ghraib). In other words, WE were terrorist occupiers who wanted nothing more than OIL.

Now (all of a sudden) liberals are somehow worried about the President allowing Arab companies to run the seaports?? Sounds a bit hypocritical, not to mention racist...

You people care nothing of 'security' until something major happens (which I remind you has NOT happened). Then you throw a benefit as if it somehow made you 'feel' you've done your part. Pathetic...

Linda Endicott 8 years, 10 months ago

Our ports being operated by a company from England would have been just as disturbing to me, if I had known it at the time. However, it seems that the government has been lax about what information it divulges for quite some time.

And there IS a difference. While the company currently running the ports is based in England, it is not owned or operated by England. UAE does own the new company, and who runs it isn't clear to me.

Some say that our ports aren't run by a U.S. based company because there aren't any. Why? And if there were, is this a matter of the lowest bidder getting the job?

Why weren't we informed of the English company running our ports? How long has this kind of thing been going on, and how long have our ports been operated by foreign companies? How far are they willing to go in their quest for outsourcing?

Ceallach 8 years, 10 months ago

If only I could speak a thousand languages so that I could voice NO in a thousand different ways!!

Georgie and I have definitely split the blanket on this one.

Chris Tackett 8 years, 10 months ago

Universe, your logic is really lacking. Liberals and conservatives alike have legitimate questions about our prison camps. The photos and videos from Abu Ghraib and reports from Guantamamo have made those questions unavoidable.

And you're comment, "Now (all of a sudden) liberals are somehow worried about the President allowing Arab companies to run the seaports??" makes ZERO sense.

"all of a sudden"? Well, people are just now hearing about this deal. It would be hard for people to oppose this deal prior to our knowledge of its existence.

The liberals I know have long criticised Homeland Security for not beefing up security at our ports. To this day, in this "post-911" world, only 5% of the cargo that comes through our ports is inspected. 5%.

The hoopla over this particular deal has nothing to do with racism. People had less issues with the London-based company handling the ports because they have been an ally for 200 years.

The UAE has not.

I agree people critical of this deal must choose their words carefully, because it can appear to be based on bigotry or racism, but once enlightened with the facts of this deal, it's easy to see it is a bad idea.

And love him or hate him, it's hard not to find it strange that Bush is so gung-ho about making this deal happen.

All Frist, Hastert or any of the other people opposing this deal want to do is simply slow down the train and re-evaluate what's going on. Our safety is worth that extra analysis.

Or are you not concerned about our security? I am. And the "liberals" here on this site (which in your mind includes conservatives, moderates or anyone disagreeing with Bush) are also worried about our safety. And we want to make sure we remain safe by examining this deal even furthur.

james bush 8 years, 10 months ago

U S should rethink any foreign operator of our ports---too much opportunity for doing bad things.

bankboy119 8 years, 10 months ago

shakedown I have to agree with Universe on this one. It doesn't matter what Bush does the libs find something wrong with it and call him an idiot or moron or anything else they can think of. If you go back through the comments look at the people who said we shouldn't have invaded Iraq, Afghanistan, rounded up Arabs overstaying their visas after 9/11 and sent home...blah blah blah. We shouldn't have because it was being racist...blah blah blah. They were giving those people a free pass. Now, when Bush decides to let an Arab company buy the ports they're screaming no because of security. It is complete hypocrisy. They never cared about security before.

I completely disagree with allowing the UAE to run the ports. It's an awful idea.

badger 8 years, 10 months ago

I don't particularly like the notion that our ports are run by foreign companies. However, certain countries are more palatable than others. For example, it's my understanding that (aside from the fact that they've generally taken our side for more than a century) the British government is not disposed to meddling intensely in the running of a private company. There seems to be a relationship between government and business by which (unless business is doing something illegal or dangerous to the citizens) government mostly minds its own business. It's unlikely that a British company is really just a shill for the British government.

However, I don't know enough about corporate structure in the UAE to be sure that a UAE company will be running autonomously and not simply as the frontpiece for their government. I seem to recall that a number of companies in the Arab world have done things with the price and availability and shipping of their oil that had decidedly political motives and implications. Can we afford to bank that much of our safety and economy on the hope that a company won't take 'suggestions' from its government about how efficient or inefficient an American port should be, or how much business should or should not go through?

On the larger question, "Should the US permit foreign companies to operate significant hubs of shipping and transport as long as we maintain responsibility and authority for security?" I give a qualified yes, the qualification being that we need to be able to have some faith that the corporation will act autonomously and not in its government's political interests.

It's a global economy, and foreign companies will own things here just as American companies own things in other countries. If an American-owned company wanted to take the contract to operate all the rail transport in Germany, and they had the capacity and capabilities to do it well, would we think they should be able to, or would we think the Germans were wise to guard their own transportation and shipping from a country that's invaded them twice in the last hundred years?

lunacydetector 8 years, 10 months ago

this reminds me of the japanese wanting to buy up all the concession stands at the major u.s. parks and also rockeffeller center.

can anyone name a u.s. shipping company that can handle these ports?

i can see both sides of the issue, but doesn't this pertain to leasing the rights to run the ports. that is confusing in itself.

...then again, where was the outcry when the clinton administration wanted to lease ports to the red chinese government a.k.a. (his presidential campaign political contributors)? whatever happened with THAT anyway? did the deal ever go through? i know the chinese got the panama canal, but i think there was at least one port in california possibly others....i don't have the time today to look it up......anyway.....i feel your pain regarding this port deal....it's a tough one.

avhjmlk 8 years, 10 months ago

Any news yet on the pitter-pattering of little bobs?

avhjmlk 8 years, 10 months ago

BTW--is TOB a Lawrence guy? I totally can't remember...

If so, we'll have to start looking in the birth announcements!

badger 8 years, 10 months ago

One other note:

'Security' to me doesn't just mean keeping terrorists from blowing stuff up.

A 5% reduction in the effiency of funnelling goods through six ports would be almost negligible, day to day. One less shipment gets through, one more manifest gets mislaid for a few hours, and the smiling man behind the counter says, "My deepest apologies. These things do happen." However, because of the prevalence of lean manufacturing, companies running on minimal inventory and depending on the timely arrival of parts down to the hour, that 5% could have massive economic effect - and be a threat we never really saw coming until we started having serious problems. A missed deadline here causes a stock price to drop a few cents, or a late shipment there means half a day of plant shutdown and thousands (or hundreds of thousands) of dollars lost. Since the touch-and-go of the last few years, many companies are literally running production on the knife edge of profit and inventory, and it would only take two or three slowdowns or lost days to cripple a lot of small companies.

It's naive to just look at it from,the standpoint of whether or not someone will have access to shut down or destroy the port of LA. It would do significantly longer-term damage to slow the flow of goods into this country than it would to choke it off entirely.

Chris Tackett 8 years, 10 months ago

bankboy,

you can't say opposing the war is the same as not caring about security. People oppose the war and oppose torturing prisoners because that DOES jeopardize our security.

And with the port deal, the point i was trying to make is that it's not just liberals complaining about this. It's overwhelmingly bi-partisan. So where is the hypocrisy? Is it hypocritical for Frist and Hastert to oppose Bush?

What you're saying (at least what i took away from your comment) was that because "liberals" were opposed to certain actions targeting Arabs that we should (with your logic) still be blindly supporting Arabs or the UAE in their attempt to gain control of our ports. You seem to be saying that our past actions should dictate our present stance, hence your accusing liberals of hypcrisy.

maybe i just don't get your point. Are you trying to say that you aren't hypocritical because you were anti-Arab before and you're anti-Arab now?

I'm missing your point.

(Oh, and regarding the idea that liberals don't care about security, check out The Randi Rhodes show. You can listen on XM 167 or online for free. She is the biggest advocate for port security I've ever heard.)

Universe 8 years, 10 months ago

Here's my point: I'm anti-terrorist (regardless of race), pro-liberation, pro-military.

Democrats are soo predictable.. All this is about is hating Bush. Your soo damn worried about homeland security, yet forget WHERE the terrorists were when they flew those planes into our buildings.

Ironically, your also the same party who (for the most part) lobby for illegal immigration.

Have a nice day.. :)

Shooter 8 years, 10 months ago

I don't understand what all the fuss is about.. Why is this such a big deal? When we went to war with Iraq because of 'weapons of mass destruction' you cheered the president on. Illegal wiretaps, you go Mr. President! A bit slow in responding to Hurricanes, no problem Mr. President. Problems communicating with the American people, fine with us, I'd have a beer with this fellow! Just remember the President & Vice President both share the honor of driving under the influence as young people and in the Presidents case a self confessed 'drunk' until the age of forty. Cheney took five deferments to keep out of Viet Nam, President Bush served 'honorably' in Alabama, these chicken hawks took us to war.. So why are you guys suddenly concerned that President Bush might have erred on this one? Seems to me this is the gang that can't shoot straight.

Hong_Kong_Phooey 8 years, 10 months ago

I can't imagine what possessed the President to do such a thing. What made him wake up and say, "You know what I'm going to do today? I'm going to give control of six major U.S. seaports to a country that has helped finance International Terrorism. Yep, that's a good idea."

As Jay Leno said last night - the reason we can't find Osama Bin Laden is because he's working in the basement of the White House.

Chris Tackett 8 years, 10 months ago

Looks like it wasn't just a brain-fart decision to give the UAE this port deal, it was also illegal.

http://thinkprogress.org/2006/02/22/legally-required-investigation/

beatrice 8 years, 10 months ago

Aiko: I absolutely agree with you. Saying Bush is the world's biggest idiot gets us nowhere, and it is silly. I think many will agree that he isn't the brightest bulb on the marquee, but he clearly isn't the dimmest, either. To argue against his policies, however, is something different, and it should be encouraged. If we listened to each other, it would strengthen our nation, not weaken it.

Here are a couple of similar comments for you. Universe states - "You people [liberals] care nothing of 'security' until something major happens..." Right. Liberals don't care about national security. An obviously ridiculous assesment. Next.

bankboy writes: "If you go back through the comments look at the people who said we shouldn't have invaded Iraq, Afghanistan, rounded up Arabs overstaying their visas after 9/11 and sent home...blah blah blah. We shouldn't have because it was being racist...blah blah blah. They were giving those people a free pass. Now, when Bush decides to let an Arab company buy the ports they're screaming no because of security. It is complete hypocrisy. They never cared about security before."

Actually, boy, most liberals I know were in favor of invading Afghanistan, given their rule by the Taliban -- the people who attacked us on 9/11. Hardly a "free pass," as you claim. Iraq, however, is a different story. They didn't attack us, and now that we are there we find that there are no WMDs and the place has become a breeding ground for terrorists. I believe it would have been best to focus our attention in Afghanistan and in finding Bin Laden. It has nothing to do with race. Again, a silly comment.

But of course you wouldn't know this, because you refuse to actually find out what people think when they have a view that isn't yours. You prove this by claiming to only hear "blah, blah, blah." Not exactly an inquiring mind being displayed with such a comment. Finally, to say liberals never cared about security is silly and ridiculous and a lie.

See, Aiko, it comes from both sides. If you do go back to Iraq in four months, I wish you a quick and safe tour, and that we achieve all the success we hope to come of this war.

Chris Tackett 8 years, 10 months ago

Oh, and just so we're all on the same page, the White House is saying Bush didn't even know about this deal. (which would be a pretty good defense to all these Bush-Bashers)

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060222/ap_on_go_pr_wh/ports_security

EXCEPT.....

for the fact that Bush appointed the UAE company's executive to a maritime position in the transportation department ONE MONTH AGO. Hmmm, coincidence.

http://rawstory.com/news/2005/Bush_nominated_executive_from_Dubai_port_0221.html

My back itches...

angelofmine 8 years, 10 months ago

I'm just not comfortable with it. I realize that security would still be in the hands of the Coast Guard, and all foreign freight would still be inspected by U.S. Customs agents. It would just be owned and run by a company from the UAE. Even with that, I'm still not buying it. Sorry GW, can't do it!!!

Universe 8 years, 10 months ago

Howdy Shooter: Wasn't it Kerry AND Kennedy who agreed Iraq HAD WMD's? Are you worried about being wiretapped sharing recipes with gramdma? Is it at all you were misinformed by CNN? Hmm. Last I heard it's 'international' communication... Isn't like this exactly what Clinton/Carter both did? (remember, we weren't at war when Clinton did it). Which obviously you knew nothing of or you would have DEMANDED a court order, no?

Driving under the influence as young people while avoiding the Viet Nam draft, eh? Wait! Wasn't Clinton was on the high road while off to France at that time?? Wasn't he noble by not inhaling?

John Kerry was definitely a us honor by marching with good ole' Jane Fonda. John's portrait must look lovely over at the N. Korea's hall of heroes.

Slow to hurricane response? I must be missing something; as I thought Louisiana had been run by liberals for the past 60 years, no?

Wow! Ya got me there; Bush should have never been president for 2 terms huh!

lovenhaight 8 years, 10 months ago

Does anyone know what the recourse would be if the UAE did something questionable with our ports? Does the contract leave us with no "out"? I think it might be interesting to know what the possible situations would be.

Aiko- I just wanted to say that I respect the members of the military for what they do, I was raised in a military family. But to say that calling Bush an idiot reflects poorly on the entire U.S. is slightly wrong. There were quite a few people who didn't want him in office, and we voted accordingly. People elsewhere knew how polarized we were and still are.

badger 8 years, 10 months ago

Great post, Most Estimable Beatrice.

lovenhaight 8 years, 10 months ago

"Slow to hurricane response? I must be missing something; as I thought Louisiana had been run by liberals for the past 60 years, no?"

I think Universe forgets that its not just Louisiana in ruins down there, its Mississippi too. Do you want to call Mississippi liberal? If you do, you are sorely mistaken. If you can logically defend what this administration has done (or not done) regarding Katrina, you are living in a dream world. Do you have any idea how many people are without homes, without money and effectively without lives down there? Its a little different when you see the place that you grew up in totally destroyed. The response to Katrina is a JOKE. I did more from Lawrence in the first week after the hurricane than FEMA did in that first month.

Use real information to back up your arguments, not b-s you pull off of Fox News.

Chris Tackett 8 years, 10 months ago

Universe,

I love your "blame everyone else" defense. Instead of critically thinking about an issue, you revert to old, false talking points.

Well done, Freeper.

Shooter 8 years, 10 months ago

Well Universe you sure told me off, yes I'm so sorry for ever doubting our 'Commander in Chief' what was I thinking? Lets go with George on this one folks, Universe has done his spinning and I guess we should all throw in the towel, way to go Universe!

Chris Tackett 8 years, 10 months ago

He is the "universe" after all. How could he be wrong?

Oh wait, all they lying.

badger 8 years, 10 months ago

Wow.

It amazes me how it just really takes a couple of cheap shots to turn pretty much any discussion into "Why Bush Sucks vs. Why Clinton Was Worse Than Bush."

I'm also amazed at how there can be a conversation in which liberals, conservatives, and moderates have common ground, and someone's response will always be, "Oh, sure, NOW you see reason, but it's totally meaningless because you haven't been agreeing all along with me."

President Bush is not the brightest bulb in the box, and no one disputes it or wants to give him honorary degrees in rocket science. However, I'm not so sure he doesn't represent, mentality-wise, a pretty solid stubborn chunk of people from every philosophical outlook. In other words, I'd hesitate to call him the biggest idiot because he has so very much company.

Seriously, people, you have here a topic on which almost everyone says, "Yeah, I don't think I particularly like that." I would love to know why the overwhelming response to finding a point of common ground seems for both sides to bring in other issues until they have enough reasons for the same tired partisan fights they've been having for years.

beatrice 8 years, 10 months ago

aw, shucks fellas.

In all seriousness, this current issue makes me think of what I posted recently regarding scientists' claims about global warming. Like the scientists, I hope the critics of this recent Bush decision don't ever get to say, "See, I told you so."

Shooter 8 years, 10 months ago

Yes badger you it the nail on the head with your comment "..sure he doesn't represent, mentality-wise, a pretty solid stubborn chunk of people from every.." he does have much company, but in this case even the 'yes I'll have another' crowd is turning against him. Anyone think he'll back down like hes done before? You bet!

Aiko 8 years, 10 months ago

Hey B, very positive and Thank you!

christie 8 years, 10 months ago

My resume does NOT include being a business partner with Osama Bin Ladens brother... that's a start.

No, you didn't risk your life on 4 tours for an idiot, you risked your life on 4 tours for HALIBURTON.

Christie says "G.W. Bush is the biggest idiot on the planet." I am curious what your portfolio/resume looks like? If you do not like the man (who you do not know) that is fine but to say what you said makes the entire United States look bad for allowing him to this position. I did not risk my life on several tours and may have to contract for the US in 4 months for an "idiot". I hope I did not offend anyone but these types of statements seem to be "shot from the hip" and cause more harm than good. Just my opinion...

corisunshine 8 years, 10 months ago

I find it quite ironic that the "high almighty President" that is doing such a great job on fighting terrism is now allowing a connected company, that has had direct relations with the 9-11 attacks, to opperate one of our country's ports.

I also find it ironic, that Bush stood his ground with the phone tapping case, within our own country, and then all of a sudden he is pleading a case as to why we should not discriminate against other countries. It's not like we are talking about "just another country". We are talking about a country with direct links with major terrorists!

acg 8 years, 10 months ago

Everyone agrees that this is a bad idea, so stop bashing each other for your differing political opinions. Also stop b**ching at each other about stuff that past presidents have done. Sure, they all had bad points, made bad decisions and had times of utter stupidity. I can imagine that the presidency is the hardest job in the nation because no matter what you do roughly 50% of the people are going to hate you for it. I am not a supporter of Dubya and his administration but I had to make myself shut up about it and now I'm just waiting it out, hoping that I don't go bankrupt or die by terrorist attack in the interim. Today is a happy day, people. There's a new bobette on the way!

badger 8 years, 10 months ago

Geez, acg, I can't believe you.

The CORRECT term is 'bobling', not 'bobette'.

You Etteians are all alike.

bobettes, corvettes, rockettes, raisinettes...

WHERE WILL IT END WITH YOU PEOPLE?!?!?!

avhjmlk 8 years, 10 months ago

Ooh, badger, "bobling" is good!

Though, to give some support to poor acg, the discussion yesterday was as to whether there would be a "yet another bob" or "yet another bobbette."

But, bobling is an adorable, non-gender specific term.

acg 8 years, 10 months ago

okay, that's great, I stand corrected. A bobling. I like that. :)

beatrice 8 years, 10 months ago

"It must be painful to despise one's self." I thought that since he was winning and the team is now ranked that everyone is now in love with our Self. I'm confused.

Linda Aikins 8 years, 10 months ago

Love "bobling"!!! It sounds like an Olympic Sport, as I'm sure Mrs. Bob feels like she's in or been in one.

jonas 8 years, 10 months ago

BRRRRRRAAAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNNNSSSSSSSS!!!

(stuck)

Linda Endicott 8 years, 10 months ago

Badger, Yes, it's a global economy, and American companies may do business in other countries, and own things in other countries, but I don't think control of their ports is one of them.

Can you see China letting a U.S. company control its ports? Iran? France?

If I'm wrong about this, I humbly apologize. And I'm pretty sure someone will point it out to me quickly. These boards have been pretty viscious the past couple of days.

I don't see anything wrong with foreign companies doing business in America, within reason. I don't, however, think it's unreasonable to expect U.S. ports to be operated by U.S. companies. Though things might work out perfectly well, one mistake could be enough to threaten thousands of people. I really don't want to take the risk.

badger 8 years, 10 months ago

crazyks - ports currently are controlled by a foreign company, a British one. I would like to see a few things answered, specifically:

  1. Is it appropriate to have a US port controlled by non-US company under any circumstances?
  2. If so, what are those circumstances?
  3. Is it appropriate to designate certain countries and say they specifically may or may not do business in matters touching national security (be careful on this one)?
  4. What criteria will we use for determining which countries may do business in matters touching national security?
  5. How will we present that decision (if we say, "Mr. UAE CEO, so sorry you can't work with SparklyDyne Industries due to the Foriegn Entities Security Act," we've just confirmed that SparklyDyne Industries is a point we consider vulnerable where national security is concerned)?

As it stands, the Brits control some port access. We're pretty sure they've gotten over that whole 'impressment' habit, and we're reasonably certain that if we give them access to the Potomac they won't try to burn down the White House again. But I think that there is a perception in America that, usually, Arab nations are not our historical friends, and I don't disagree with it, really. We have a long history in that region of changing alliances and having alliances changed for us.

The question has been brought up, "Is there an American company that can and will take this on?" The answers don't seem overwhelmingly positive. I agree that a US company would probably be better, or at least less likely to be an agent of a foreign political power.

You ask, "Can you see China letting a U.S. company control its ports? Iran? France?"

I posed this same question earlier, with regard to Germany. What if a US company wanted to take over its rail transport? Now, with regard to China and Iran, both of those governments maintain very strict control of business and trade, and China especially uses trade as the 900-lb gorilla of its foreign policy. France or Germany might actually allow a foreign company to control some degree of transport for the same reason we have done it: if you believe that the company can be autonomous and not acting as an agent of its government, economic and political relations with that country are reasonably stable (meaning that you likely won't wake up tomorrow and find that a decree of Parliament bars British citizens from doing business with or traveling to the US), and you don't have a suitable option within your own borders, it makes better sense to trust that foreign company that you know will run your port better than you could with an unqualified company.

I'm not at all advocating giving port control to a company from the UAE. Just based on the history that's happened since I was born, that seems like a really really bad idea. I'm just looking at how we balance security with functioning in a world economy, and suggesting that a coherent policy might be a darn good idea.

Universe 8 years, 10 months ago

lovenhaight: Blau blau blau blau.. Who the hell brought up Mississippi? lol I was answering to a previous accusation of Bush being somehow responisble for the Katrina damage. If you care soo much, assemble a benefit concert to make you 'feel' like you care... By the way, wasn't the introduction to FEMA a BI-PARTISAN effort? Fox News, eh? Alright, if Fox IS considered conservative why do you feel threatened? Hells bells. lol

OnShakedown: Nice try, but that's sort of like the pot calling the kettle black. Keep your brothers Kerry/Kennedy.

Shooter: Of course I "told you off". It's a little hard to debate about something you think Bush is wrong for when your own wonderful Clinton did worse.

OnShakedown: Yea, it's pretty easy to be all knowing when democrats are predictably wrong (on everything), yet 'act' patriotic.

corisunshine: So in your misguided opinion Bush is allowing a "connected company, that has had direct relations with the 9-11 attacks" to our ports eh? How is it they're coming here but NEVER were in Iraq? Once again you don't understand this whole phone tapping situation. Previous Presidents did it (but you didn't know about it) at a time where there was 'no' war. And it's for international communication with 'suspected' individuals. Get it now??

Defender: Don't make me laugh!! LMAO! I was referring to back in the 90's where Kerry and all his hippy fringe buddies all believe Iraq had WMD's. I'm not referring to his obvious flip-flopping during an election year. And yes, Americans calling overseas have rights, but not at the expense of mass death. And it's not EVERYONE! It's SUSPECTED terrorist communication. (sigh). Osama is being sought after. And besides, why the hell do you care? Clinton had the opportunity to capture his ass, no? And if you truly despise hypocrites you'll get your head out of the sand and see what your liberal leaders are DOING instead of what they say. Because obviously your believing EVERYTHING.

If this were a democrat president you people would fight to the death defending him/her.

I think I covered everyone (and debunked) the typical ideology.

MasterBlue 8 years, 10 months ago

Andrew- I agree completely. Very well said.

badger 8 years, 10 months ago

Universe said:

"lovenhaight: Blau blau blau blau.. Who the hell brought up Mississippi? lol I was answering to a previous accusation of Bush being somehow responisble for the Katrina damage. "

You are aware, there, sparky, that Katrina did millions of dollars of damage elsewhere on the Gulf Coast, besides New Orleans?

People died in other states, people lost homes and livelihoods in other states. If you think it only hit Louisiana, I have a few friends in Mississippi who would like to talk to you about geography.

The FEMA response to Katrina has been criticized across all the affected states. The carnage was just worst in NOLA, and got the most press coverage. But to dismiss the millions of damage done to the rest of the Gulf Coast and those who lost their lives outside of Louisiana and the national spotlight, just because it doesn't fit your pet theory and let you blame 'darn liberals' for everything, that's just ignorant.

beatrice 8 years, 10 months ago

Universe - as in, your own little. Get over yourself already. "It's a little hard to debate about something you think Bush is wrong for when your own wonderful Clinton did worse." FYI: we are talking about the current President, not those from the last millennium.

But, for argument's sake (ha,ha), let us assume you are correct. Lets say Clinton was far, far worse than Bush and all other presidents combined, and that we now know that he is the true son of the devil (or married to the devil herself, which ever you prefer). How does this change whether or not Bush is wrong on a given subject today? If one person murders another, does that mean we should ignore the one who just rapes or steals from others? You are defending Bush by looking backward, through historical lenses, so you clearly fail to see the present situation.

Finally, "If this were a democrat president you people would fight to the death defending him/her." Another ridiculous statement. All this proves is how you approach any questioning of the current administration, but says nothing of others. Instead of considerring the facts, you just want to "fight to the death defending him." That is an unreasonable stance to take, and it isn't good for the country. Now, were this a dictatorship where blindly following the leader is mandatory, you then might be on to something. It isn't, and you aren't.

J Good Good 8 years, 10 months ago

I think this is the first time ever Marion didn't defend Bush. A pig just flew by ;) I think they ran it up the flag pole and no one saluted. Wonder how they will try to take this back? Sorry folks we were just joking......

jonas 8 years, 10 months ago

Mo ichido Bobu: I was thinking earlier, and it could just as easily be:

BRRRRRRAAAAAAAAAAANNNNNNNNMUUUFFFFFFFFFFFIN!

jonas 8 years, 10 months ago

By the way, universe, I was looking at your argument and I counted so many straw men that I. . . just. . . drifted. . . .offfffff

. . . . ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

ms_canada 8 years, 10 months ago

I can't believe what I am hearing (on radio) and reading. How is it that a country like the USofA does not have a company capable of running the docks. This is very strange. Don't you wish you knew what all goes on in halls of your government. Why this company in particular? I cannot imagine the Canadian Gov. doing such a thing. Mind you they are capable of doing stupid things, but this is beyond stupid. Of course I alway knew that GWB was a pushover.

tpatric 8 years, 10 months ago

I would have little trouble if the company operating the port were from another country, but certaintly not a company owned by the government of that country.

Grundoon Luna 8 years, 10 months ago

American port operations put in a foreign governments hands? Hmmmmm . . . . No, sir. I don't like it!

Best wishes and congrats to Mr. and Mrs. TOB on their Bobino/Bobina.

I do like Bobling, Badger, way cool.

beatrice 8 years, 10 months ago

I believe it is a bobling if a male, and a bobble if a girl.

MississippiFrog 8 years, 10 months ago

I want to thank those of you who do remember that Mississippi was devastated as well. Whole towns are just gone, wiped off the map. I still have a lot of friends living in tents as the FEMA trailers are tied up in red tape. They are sitting in staging areas waiting on the various agencies to get in sync with each other to help people out. A lot of my other friends are just gone, never to be heard from again with no sign of where their homes once stood.

Being a Lawrence native and having transplanted to Mississippi, nothing made me proder than the much needed supplies, groceries and water that were delivered to us from Lawrence when days looked the most bleak. Thank you all for banding together and helping!!

Linda Endicott 8 years, 10 months ago

I think what's floored me the most about the whole thing, Badger, is that until last weekend I really had no idea that so many U.S. ports were operated by foreign companies.

Perhaps that was naive, but the thought never occured to me. It was just one of those things that obviously involves security of the country, just as airports do. It would be kind of like discovering that secret service agents are hired and trained by a company in Ireland, or that FBI or CIA agents are not required to be U.S. citizens. (Now that I think on that one, they ARE, aren't they?)

It makes me wonder how long this has been going on, why it's going on, and what other pertinent information is not being shared with the American people.

And it's not a racial thing at all, as has been suggested on other boards. I would be just as uncomfortable if it was a Russian company, or a Chinese company, or a Japanese one, or an Italian one.

Part of that comes from past history, and living through the cold war. Part of it is also that the middle east has not been stable for most of my years, and even when parts of it appeared to be, it turned out not to be true. Things can change so rapidly in the middle east. How would the administration feel if they had made this deal months ago, with a Palestinian company, and now found themselves having to deal with Hamas?

How many years is this deal going to be in place? Has anyone said? Is it a lease situation that has to be renewed every so often? I haven't heard any of the news channels answer that one.

What if we're locked into a deal with them for 10 years, and suddenly next year we're no longer allies? Because part of the problem is that this company is owned by the ruling families of UAE. It's not like when it was a British company, because the English government didn't own it. Though I would have been just as uncomfortable about that, if I'd known it at the time.

Maybe there isn't a U.S. company that can operate our ports, but I sure wish there was one.

Shooter 8 years, 9 months ago

As of today DOD confirms 2284 American dead in Iraq and as of 7 February 2006, 16,653 wounded [both in and out of action for both]. The big defenders of this "War" were Bush & Cheney, chicken hawks.. Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, Newt Gingrich, Karl Rove, 'Scooter' Libby, all chicken hawks and this is my short list! So Universe proud of your party? These are your guys Universe and they don't mind sending our children to war, they just had "other priorities" for themselves and their children!

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