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Good Lord. My previous essay on the port deal was my better half writing. Fine, whatever. Now let's get a little pissy, shall we?

When you can't differentiate between a race and a specific government, that makes you a racist, by definition. When you declare that every government must be treated equally, regardless of their actions, that just makes you an idiot.

Over and over, these last few days, I've been seeing the argument that racism is driving liberal opponents of the port deal. Over, and over, and over. Once such luminaries of American race relations as Rush Limbaugh and Michelle Malkin are on the case, David Brooks predictably snuffled around to the same point, in the Times, showing that the talking point has now reached the ears of the Officially Enlightened Ones. Now we have Tom Friedman (for whom corporatism and Free Trade has reached the status of the One True Millennial Religion) and even David Ignatius (who nobody pays enough attention to to come up with an insult for) repeating the same points.

It doesn't bother me to see right-wing blowhards like Malkin and Limbaugh humping the argument -- after all, intellectual consistency is looked at as positively cootie-infested, among those barely-glowing matchsticks of American thought, and the idea that foreign policy can contain nuances beyond the only two they know -- bomb the crap of of someone, or do not bomb the crap out of someone -- causes them to look upon the rest of us with a deep mistrust and confusion.

And it doesn't particularly bother me when the predictable Brooks or other obviously agendized pundit draws up yet another obvious and transparent talking point as if it was his oh-so-ingenious bit of gained wisdom. A man who has brought, in the past, arguments taken from white eugenics into his columns does not particularly impress me as a guiding light on these matters.

It makes me a bit more frustrated, though, to see those on the left mouthing similar arguments: that avoiding "racism" means turning the cognitive functions of our brains fully off, and dismissing any conflicts between nations, governments, corporations, or groups as being race-based dalliances posited only by lesser beings, and that we could rise up to an unlimited and higher multiracial peace, as Icarus did, if only we would ignore that uncomfortable smell of burning wax.

Let's talk, for a moment, about the emotional baggage of this debate. You know what? Yes. This UAE "deal" makes me angry.

But it makes me angry because of the specifics of the deal, the specifics of the country involved, and the specifics of the infrastructure we're talking about. And I don't have a problem being irritated about it, because it is part and parcel with the five-year Republican insistence upon blocking any national security considerations at our ports, under the arguments that such security measures would be overly onerous towards corporate interests. This is simply the latest in a string of similar boneheaded dismissals -- it just happens to be the one that is considered the most emblematic, on both right and left, of the actual security problem.

I have to remove my shoes to get on a damn plane, in the name of national security, but a country whose royals met with Bin Laden in an Afghanistan-based "hunting" camp in 1999 gets to manage how the shipping containers move around at six of our nation's ports. And I'm supposed to be damn glad for the corporate-state inclusiveness.

I'm expected to put up with the notion that my phone may be tapped by my government -- without warrant or recourse -- because some guy who once called his cousin who once visited Afghanistan may have called the takeout desk of a Pizza Hut ten minutes before I did some random Sunday, thus "linking me with potential terrorists" -- but a nation whose assistance in stopping the financing of terrorists has been, historically, lukewarm at best is alarmed that they might be barred from financial profit in one specific sector of American industry with substantial national security implications.

I'm expected to understand that the War on Terror requires executive powers unlimited by check or balance, but one of the three nations on the entire planet to recognize the horrific and loathsome Taliban government of Afghanistan, while continuing to not recognize the state of Israel, is going to be upset if there are, God help us all, financial and diplomatic consequences for those actions upon one of their state-owned businesses.

Yeah. Notice a running theme here? If I or anyone from my family met with Bin Laden in 1999, I'd be in an offshore prison camp right now, with a bag over my head and recovering from the latest glowstick session. But if I'm a multinational corporation owned by a monarchy with those same ties, I'd have Republicans, pundits, hired consultants, financial advisors and erectile dysfunction spokesmen singing my praises in every newspaper, television show, and governmental body -- and telling folks like me that we're goddamn racist pricks for even bringing the issue up.

To use a term that is not used in our ever-so-insufferable political debate:

Bullshit. I'm calling shenanigans on that. Everybody get your brooms.

Despite the alarm and bluster over supposed liberal anti-Arab nationalism creeping into what might be a really, ripping good second quarter profit statement for the companies involved: the concerns here are specific to that country, and more specific still, to that government. This is what is known as "making distinctions".

It is possible to separate the actions of a state from the actions of all Arabs. It is even possible to separate the actions of one particular set of royal families from all Arabs. And an effective strategy in the craptacularly named "War on Terror", as we have all been pointing out to each other for a very, very long time, requires exactly that distinction. Distinction between the actions of governments, and of their citizens. Between the actions of extremists, those that harbor those extremists, and the vast majority of people that have no connection to either.

UAE is hardly a terrorist safe haven. But neither has it been fully cooperative, and neither does it have a recent history nearly as one-sidedly glowing as the unending stream of don't-look-behind-the-curtain Free Trade apparatchiks currently maintain. And that counts for something.

Yes, I know, UAE is a moderate Arab government. In this specific case, "moderate" means that some of the members of the monarchy have hosted Bin Laden at their camp and met with him, and other members of that same government have not. Some members of the royal family promote anti-Semitic conspiracy and hate literature, and others are more neutral on the matter. Well, that's just peachy, and that definition of "moderate" may be good enough for generally good relations and diplomacy, given the shoddy state of terrorism cooperation in the region. But it doesn't then follow that that definition of "moderate" requires the rewarding of that monarchy with this particular slice of national-security-tainted financial pie.

So I don't buy the notion that this is anti-Arab. (And especially not the logic that this is anti-Arab American. By that inane logic, opposing Columbian drug cartels would be bigotry against Mexicans.)

It is certainly possible to not be bigoted towards Iranians, and still not want an Iranian state-owned business managing and operating a nuclear power plant in the United States.

It is certainly possible to not be prejudiced against the Chinese, and still think that perhaps outsourcing the supply chains of the Pacific Fleet to a Chinese state-owned business might be a bad idea.

And it is possible to recognize that port security is a current and ongoing fiasco that is going to require significantly tightening port controls -- and that those controls are going to represent security and intelligence difficulties that may, in fact, preclude "Free Trade" in critical areas of domestic American infrastructure from being quite so Free, when it comes to states with a past record of divided loyalties in supporting the precise government and individuals responsible for worldwide acts of terrorism against the United States and other interests.

That really shouldn't be a difficult concept to grasp.

Originally posted to Hunter on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 02:31 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Something else I want to mention... (4.00)
    It is perfectly legitimate to recognize that true racism does play a part in this debate, which is (alas) one of the reasons it is resonating with individuals for whom "port security" before this point wasn't just off the radar, but hermetically sealed and buried in an unmarked grave. But the racism is in the usual racist locations, peddled by the usual racist subjects -- there is nothing the slightest big surprising about it.

    On the right, Fear of a Brown Planet reigns supreme, as it always has, and we have perennial nutjobs like Malkin who are using this deal as supposed proof that their entire continuum of racism and ethnic profiling is suddenly legitimized. Because if those nasty liberals agree that a government with past ties to both the Taliban and Bin Laden shouldn't be given the keys to critical chokepoints of American infrastructure, they must naturally now agree that locking all the brown people in race-based internment camps is a pretty good idea too.

    Um, no. Bull and hokum. Malkin uses the port deal as part and parcel of her defense of race-based internment camps because to Malkin, there's not a flying bit of difference between having targeted national security concerns about a specific nation, and having a national bout of ethnic cleansing. She didn't understand it the day 9/11 happened, she didn't understand it for the last five years, and she's not about to understand it now. This is because She Is Stupid. The ongoing stupidity on the right is not sufficient reason for rejecting all premise of gradation, differentiation and distinction on the left.

    To hell with the notion that because those people are predisposed to prejudice in every circumstance, those of us who are not have to shut up and accept even the most ridiculous corporatist claptrap, if couched in a sufficient pile of transparent race-baiting sighs and wails.

    •  Thanks for taking the time (4.00)
      Even though I don't think the pious, pompous, obnoxious idiots deserve the courtesy of a response to their insults and blather.
      •  I freely admit (4.00)
        I made that exact mistake for about an hour when I was first reading about this issue.  But, when I fuck up I admit it, and that was a fuck up.

        "In the beginning the universe was created. This has been widely criticized and generally regarded as a bad move." -- Douglas Adams

        by LithiumCola on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 04:32:39 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You were quite gracious (3.85)
          There are people who are xenophobic. We are all surrounded by racism in our culture and we can't escape being influenced by it. There is a need to watch out for that.

          Thanks for the chance to acknowledge that, in the middle of this tempest.

          •  Hmmm (none)
            As an outsider it seems to me that the USA has racism issues a wee bit closer to home that are a lot more pressing and worth shouting about than any anti Arab sentiments that may arise as a result of this business deal.  
        •  This is important (3.71)
          There is an undeniable strain of anti-Arab racism running through this debate. And while Bush can be blamed for having whipped some of it up, it has deeper roots than that and it is something that a lot of liberals partake of a little too easily.

          My first reaction when I heard about the deal was "hooray! this is going to blow up in Bushes face" but after hearing one person after another talk about the danger of our ports "being owned by Arabs"  I realized that despite the damage it is doing to Bush this issue is fueling some pretty ugly thinking. I disagree with Hunter in his attempt to neatly separate out the bigots from the people with "legitimate concerns about port security."

          These "legitimate concerns" are really just another aspect of the generalized hysteria that exists in this country about the threat of terrorism. I live in NYC and I got to see 9-11 up close and personal, so I have some appreciation of the reality ofthie dangers, but framing this question largely in terms of "security" is foolish. Unless we want to live in a checkpoint and surveillance state like Israel there will always be holes in our security big enough to carry out significant attacks. The "national security" meme serves no other real purpose than whipping up hysteria to support overseas military adventures and domestic assaults on our civil liberties. Thinking  that progressives should attempt to demonstrate their greater commitment to "national security" only feeds the beast as we are seeing right now in the massive wave of xenophobic garbage being shameless spewed over the airwaves around the ports deal. I got no love for the plantation owners who rule the UAE, but count me out of this witchhunt.

          "Tell no lies. Claim no easy victories" -- Amilcar Cabral

          by Christopher Day on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 05:13:02 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Your response (4.00)
            made me feel that you didn't read Hunter's diary carefully. You make it sound as if I oppose the deal for any reason I am participating in anti-Arab racism.

            It is far different to say "I oppose the deal because the company is owned by Arabs" or "I oppose the deal because the company owned by the government of UAE, a country whose actions concern me." If that distinction isn't clear to you, I think discussion will be difficult since any amount of evidence won't outweigh your conviction that I'm really motivated by racism.

            Incompetent, dishonest, and corrupt--it chants well

            by bently on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 07:31:20 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  THIS comment illustrates the problem for (4.00)
            the left, and why the right knew that their charge against us would have legs. They know our nasty little secret. The right shares this not-so-secret-in-my-community nastiness. Notice how the right always mouth platitudes, make promises of color/religion blindness, and install tokens as gatekeepers?
            The right does these things to paper over a racism which they are well aware of. Every now and then, their inner bigot slips out, but that doesn't matter within their base; they all know it is a game to defend their sovreignty. In classic projection, the right assumes that a fair number of white leftists are also really racist. In fact, the right knows this.
            Yes. It is true. There actually are [sorry, Hunter] racist lefties, and they're not all white either. In all fairness to lefty racists, the poor dears DO struggle against the invidious monster, the beast of bigotry which the right embraces with hidden or open glee [depending on whose cameras are rolling].
            In fact, that is the best identifier of lefty racists, with their [they WISH] "hidden" flaw. The benighted, hag-ridden deniers-of-their-own-reality parse everything which might be questioned against them in terms of how they will appear to the minorities of their world. Racists of the right chuckle over this. They have the vulnerable among us right where they want us, if they need to use it.
            This is one of those times, and they ARE using their knowledge of our weakness. It is working, too. They are confident that we guilty ones will shout down us non-guilty ones. [JC to mob, after drawing the six-shooter of His righteousness and fixing them with His eye of wrath, "All right, I want every last one of youse to drop the stone. NOW!"]
            Just about every lefty, on this blog and off it, who is using words like "witch hunt" and "slap to all Arab-Americans" is secretly fighting this demon hidden [but never deeply enough] in their souls. It isn't really their fault that they have the racism infection, a disease picked up in childhood from their environment. It is only a lefty's fault if s/he fails to acknowledge his/her R+ [for racism "virus"] status.
            It is like child molestation; victims of it as children are favorably disposed to succumb to the syndrome by becominmg molesters in their turn, as adults. A victim, once grown, has a much better chance of breaking that cycle if s/he is conscious of, and eternally vigilant against the propensity.
            That's how it is with lefties infected by the R virus. They, unlike the right, know it is a horrible, humanity-killing disease, one they are deeply ashamed of having, and for which they long for a cure. Many R+ lefties simply deny to themselves that they are infected. Still others, whose souls park farther from the Nile, will use desperate strategems, against their and their childrens' interest, to avoid anyone discovering their horrid little secret.

            Think I'm exaggerating, or being snarky? Forbid it, Almighty God! I am serious as cancer about this. And I won't traumatize you with personal experiences and examples from my interestin' life.
            I invite every kossak to instead recall how often liberal males here get sexist and then hyper at liberal females. Then recall all the times that female kossaks have returned the "favor," with or without interest. We all, if we're being honest, have seen instances of unintended cruelty toward non-straight kossaks. And every non-straight kossak worth our salt knows how to return measure for measure. Here at daily Kos, I find only a minimum of actual color bigotry, because we all know what to watch out for on that one, lol. But it, too, is there.
            I mean here. And, OMFG! the religion vs atheism wars! I --we all-- have seen days, and even whole weeks, when the site was "frothing at both ends." Many of us vets routinely condescend to non-vets on and off this site. And I personally have awakened to say to myself, "I can hardly believe you pulled that ageist shit on those nice young people; and you should know better [yeah, I have a conscience too, a SMALL one; but sometimes I gag it].

            So walk to your mirror, look yourself in the eye, and repeat after me: "It is all right to find foreign monarchies, of the left OR the right [China, UAE] unacceptable as port masters, while adoring their people."
            I for example happen to find Arabs just about as hermoso as I find Latinos. But I wouldn't give an emir or a politboro member the time of day, if I could avoid it. You see, I'm a class bigot; rich Princetonians, even the one I'm related to, have an extra hurdle to jump, in order to reach my friendship.
            I really like Commonwealth commoners, frequently more so than some of my fellow Americans. If their queen had controlled P & O, I'd have had an even bigger problem with that company running our ports than I did and do. Bottom line: unless you've pledged some form of allegiance to me, you can't control my body's ports. If you aren't bound by our Constitution, courts and Congress, [for what THAT'S worth anymore] you have no business controlling my country's ports.

            And for all you colleagues who are terrified of encouraging racism or seeming racist, relax. We already know the real deal about your frightened and childhood-infected soul, and you are officially cool. Despite [or because of] your R+ condition, you became a lefty. On the Day of Judgement, you are going to kick the Feather Of Maat's ass. As long, that is, as you don't sell out your children's safety for political correctness.

            •  Right on.... (4.00)
              Testify brother! We don't have to lock up all the Muslims like we did the Japanese, but neither do we have to let this particular deal go thru, for the reasons mentioned.

              Bush lied, people New Orleans.

              by SleeplessinSeattle on Sat Feb 25, 2006 at 12:04:07 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  it seems to be there are those who post who (4.00)
              appear to leave common sense at the front door. i don't have anyone person in mind when i say this. take any sensitive subject. the rethugs use many tools to demonize the left. they accuse us of their very failings. fear of combat, racism, fraud, and lack of patriotism. i could go on and on here. but one thing i have noticed is that some over react to these attacks. oh, we are so racist. how can we be like that. they run on and on in their posts about it, yet there is little evidence that is true beyond what the right wing is saying. yup, there are some who are biased, but the great majority in my humble opinion are not. unfortunately their responses play right into the right wing game. they don't mean to do it and their itentions are the best i think. but still they do it. i tried to say in an earlier post on another issue that we might consider keeping our powder dry and thinking about how to frame our campaign. and geez, you would have thought i had been caught try to throw tomatoes at governor dean. passion is very important and we desperately need it. but when we let others have tools to beat us, it is not necessary and can be a real hindrance.
              •  So (none)
                Why the hell haven't the Democrats taken Bush and the Republicans to the cleaners over the blatant racism of the Katrina response?
                •  that is a good question. but why just (none)
                  leave at the katrina response and why just question their lack of regard of races. their lack of regard includes gender, privacy, and well damn the whole middle class. they use the fear and sometimes dislike or hatred in us against us to our detriment. so it is a lot deeper than that.
                  •  I (none)
                    honestly do not understand how so many of the middle classes in America have been hoodwinked into believing that Bush and the rest of the corporate pirates he represents are actually doing anything that's in their interest.  Similarly I can't understand how the likes of Ann Coulter / Rush Limbaugh / Insert applicable ignorant talking head here get so much traction with the general public in the USA.  
                    •  i feel your outrage X 10. (none)
                      what i think is the the sheep are waking up, but i believe it will take time for real change to come. it is a tough, vicous machine we are fighting. but they can't keep it up due to the terrible mistakes they made. when joe sixpack sees his salary going down, his son fighting a war without end and his grandchildren cheated of their birthright, all hell will break loose.
            •  Davidincleveland- You got just one 4! (4.00)
              One of the best posts and you get one 4! I am beginning to believe that many Kossacks are here only for fun (who can blame them now that our MSM has turned so insipid), and have their own agenda (many will not fit into definition of liberal). As an immigrant living in this country for more than 10 years, I can confidently say that I have rarely ever faced 'racism' in US. It is my belief that some fear of people who don't look or talk like you is natural to humans. This is neither racism nor xenophobia. Tag of 'racism' has been used by R+ personalities as a whip to browbeat people with different points of view when they run out of ideas during a debate. American vulnerability to being called a racist has been often abused.

              Mushroom cloud for mushroom crowd.

              by Ruffledfeather on Sat Feb 25, 2006 at 05:59:54 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Bravo David! (none)
              Nice analysis.

              I wonder if we all just admitted - for argument's sake - that we are ALL racists, period, then, with that behind us, we said "so what"?

              Could we then look at the port deal without being diverted from the central question of whether or not it is smart policy?

              Malkin and Coulter be damned, even if we are racists, that isn't the point (neglecting the fact that Arab isn't a race). The point is the bill of goods we were sold by Bush who said he didn't believe in turning over American authority to foreign governments (in response to global courts, treaties, and pacts); Who said he would fight all who aid terrorists; etc., etc., etc.

              I AM in fact a racist. I was born in America and I've been conscious of race my entire life - especially growing up in the south.

              So what?

              Has nothing to do with calling an administration on a hypocritical deal that requires an admission that their previous mono-focused military strategy lacked nuances.

              David put it better, but that's my 2 cents.

              Your thoughts are welcomed at!

              by rahelio soleil on Sat Feb 25, 2006 at 08:47:54 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  what bullshit (none)
              Just about every lefty, on this blog and off it, who is using words like "witch hunt" and "slap to all Arab-Americans" is secretly fighting this demon hidden [but never deeply enough] in their souls.

              What utter, self-rationalizing bullshit. This is like saying Americans who are against homophobia are actually homophobic.

              In fact, Arab American sand Muslim groups in the US were the first to raise the issue. The idea that liberals who agree with them, as opposed to liberals who do not, are "racists" is absurd.  

              I don't see xenophobia involved in this. --Peter Brookes, Heritage Foundation.

              by markymarx on Mon Feb 27, 2006 at 05:48:31 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  "This is important." Racism seems to be (none)
            a constant in all your posts.  I guess you must have reason...or maybe you just see everything in chromatic tones.   Ya me...Arabs=Muslims=a theocratic set of laws that offer no protection for the rest of us.  If some nutcase Mullah declares a fatwa (Islamic jurisprudence) saying you oughta be a dead guy for somehow insulting their beliefs, and if you live in an ARAB/MUSLIM state...some weenie can just off you with no fear of punishment.  We infidels can't testify in a trial ia a Muslim controlled state be cause we are "untrustworthy."
            Spend some effort finding out about Jizya, and what a Zimmi is...and how you, as a non believer fit into the "brotherhood of Peace."  

            When someone says ARAB to me I don't think about skin color.  I think about men with beards sawing off people's heads and blowing up buses filled with school children.  i also think about the really great (Arab) guy from Lebanon my wife and I met on an airplane flight...and who gave my wife his prayer beads as a gift for her kindness in helping him with something.  I also think both about how Arabs have been mistreated and how Arabs have mistreated others.

            So...I'm conflicted.  But being a bit skeptical and scared of ARABS/Islam isn't irrational, racist, or's prudent.  And in this case, it concerns our national security and strategic assets.  I'd rather err on the side of caution than be trusting and get a nuclear screwing.

            "Suppose you were an idiot,and suppose you were a member of Congress, but I repeat myself." -- Mark Twain

            by Persiflage on Sat Feb 25, 2006 at 06:00:01 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  speaking of (4.00)
        pompous idiots, did anyone else hear Phyllis Schlafly bitch and moan about this crap on NPR?

        Before I knew who was speaking I thought to myself, "man, what a doofus, she's getting all worked up using the 'no foreigners (except the English) should ever have control of anything American!' argument" and then some really whiny person says back "that's so hurtful to me as an Arab". Then the host said, "back to Mrs. Schlafly" and I went "oh, I see" and changed the station. It was bizarre. Both people absolutely missed any of the points Hunter just mentioned.

        Goddam pompous idiots.

      •  the juicy part about this (none)
        is that these ninnies are also calling GOP leaders bigots, in the process of trying to discredit Dems.  It's NOT a winning strategy for the WH, any way you look at it.

        He may look like an idiot and talk like an idiot but don't let that fool you. He really is an idiot - Groucho Marx

        by AlyoshaKaramazov on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 05:12:34 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Are you listening shinsetsuguy? (none)
        He's probably thinking that the fact that Armando is arguing that he's not a racist conclusively proves that he is a racist.
    •  I love you hunter... (4.00)
      Seriously, you rock. I have had the same frustrations over this but you seem to word is so exquisitely it takes my breath away.

      Thanks for being you.

      Join the We the People Project. National healthcare program designed by Americans for Americans.

      by DawnG on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 03:14:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Great Diary (4.00)
      But IMO all that you say only underscores the need for us to make arguments that are, in fact, about the specifics of the deal and of the UAE, rather than, e.g., posting images of 9/11 as an argument against the port deal.

      First they came for the human-animal hybrids...

      by GreenSooner on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 03:15:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Racism and Xenophobia (3.83)
      are terms that certainly apply when there is enough bias present to be obvious and unwarranted.

      But when threatened, all humans trust a smaller and smaller group of people as the threat level increases. Even someone who is very unbiased and liberal will start trusting only people that they know, or even just their own family, under the right conditions.

      This is a complex issue. When it comes to survival, there is a lot of behavior that makes sense that is inappropriate in normal times.

      I am not trying to justify racism in any way here, in case you read my comment that way.

      This is CLASS WAR, and the other side is winning.

      by Mr X on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 03:21:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly right (4.00)
        I've done business in various Asian countries. It is universal among Asian business people that one looks after one's own relations first, one's own tribe second, one's own nation third, and beyond that it depends on the past exchange of favors.

        Being on the other end of this, I don't find it racist in any objectionable way. It comes off as pretty damn wise. If you know someone's heirarchy of loyalties, you can do business with her or him. Over time, you can develop reputation with each other, and even become in some honorary sense "family."

        But starting out with some fantasy that if we just treat everybody in the world as "family" it'll all be fine, and that anything else is racism ... bzzz, wrong! If you don't make people earn that status, you're a total fool to trust them, and you will let your real family, your real tribe, your real nation down.

    •  Hey Hunter. (3.06)
      It's pretty simple actually. If you've been worried about the state of port security for a while, that's fine and dandy. But if you're new to the game, just because they're arabs, then  you know something.

      You wern't serious then and you're not serious now. There's a huge difference.

      This is our story...

      by Karmakin on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 04:01:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  that is the most ridiculous... (none)
        ...thing I've ever heard.

        So if someone hasn't been paying attention until now their racist and have adbicated their right to be concerned?

        Is that what you're saying because I'd really hate to misinterpret that.

        Join the We the People Project. National healthcare program designed by Americans for Americans.

        by DawnG on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 04:08:16 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  What I'm saying... (4.00)
          Is that all those right-wingers who've downplayed and ridiculed our focus on port security probably don't have the best intentions at heart. Those that were unaware, of course, were just unaware.

          But there's quite a few who openly ridiculed us, and now suddenly they've had a "change of heart"?

          I don't buy it.

          BTW. I'm not accusing ANY Kossack or progressive blogosphere patron of any of this. We talked about port security. Even before this we did from time to time.

          This is our story...

          by Karmakin on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 05:06:00 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Rate this up (4.00)
        Karmakin is making a perfectly legitimate point. It's Democrats like Dean and Kerry and Boxer who have been trying to get the public to pay some attention to port security for the past four and a half years. In other words, they -- and not Republicans, who have been too worried about protecting tax cuts for the rich to fund any real security -- have earned the right to criticize this shady deal.
      •  You were using the general YOU (4.00)
        Not making personal attack on diarist. I get it now.

        The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.--Winston Churchill

        by Sunqueen212 on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 07:48:11 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  ya, there are different types of racism (none)
      and there are different aspects to how it is interpreted.

      Sometimes, some of us use the label all too readily, as in this recent diary ..

      "Rovus Vulgaris Americanus" nasty, soon-to-be-indicted co-conspirator -7.63, -9.59

      by shpilk on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 04:12:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Hunter (4.00)
      I hate to dispute a point with you but, the President of the UAE is not from Dubai and is not a member of the same family.

      The UAE is made up of seven shiekdoms, each ruled by a seperate family. Two of the shiekdoms are Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

      It was the Dubai family that went hunting in Afghanistan with the Taliban and probably Bin Laden. The question is though, had they been paying similar visits before the Soviet invasion in 1979 and were simply re-instating a family tradition once Afghani rule was restored?

      Ask yourself this question. How much do you really know about the UAE, Dubai and the whole Gulf area?

      I have the increasing feeling that many Americans view Washington politics as just another TV soap opera.

      by NeutralObserver on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 04:32:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  hey (none)
        don't bother us with inconvenient FACTS that might undermine our self-righteous insistence that our participation in this bit of mass hysteria has only the purest motives.

        "Tell no lies. Claim no easy victories" -- Amilcar Cabral

        by Christopher Day on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 04:59:59 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  what do YOU know? (4.00)
        Ask yourself this question. How much do you really know about the UAE, Dubai and the whole Gulf area?

        I'm unwilling to just let this slide just because MMAYBE I don't know enough about this culture and MMAYBE al-Maktoum totally doesn't like bin Laden and totally just hangs out with him 'cuz he's got great home brew at the otherwise nasty smelly terrorist camp.

        I am trying to ask this goddamned question, but I have yet to see a single answer to it. I DON'T know all the in's and out's of this deal, this culture, this family, this business, any of it, but what I have found out is this:

        The only guy I've seen named in association with hanging out with bin Laden is the only one of the seven emirates who is DIRECTLY CONNECTED to the company. PLEASE EXPLAIN TO ME WHY that should not be of concern to me. Prove to me he DOESN'T support terrorism, because, you know I think most if not all people who have been hanging at terrorist camps at ANY point, especially just 2 years before 9/11, are considered somewhat of a security risk. Personally, I'd wiretap their ass.

        And a company with leadership that has a tradition of hanging out in terrorist camps with a guy who had already declared war on America and had already bombed the US Cole would make me seriously examine whether I want to give port rights to them. I'd like a thorough examination of how doing that could affect port security even in the slightest way. I'd like an explanation for this report of the hunting trip. Has it been disputed? Disproven? Has this guy denounced Bin Laden? Are there other ties that haven't been reported? Is this company, at MINIMUM, funding terrorist activities if not the worst case scenario of providing access to port terminals?  All the answers to these questions might be: no problem. checked it out. it's cool. But I'm not trusting Mr. "Nobody Could Have Predicted The Levees Would Be Breached"  at his word that he DID ask all those questions.

        Anybody who doesn't at least ask these questions strikes me as irresponsible. Call me crazy.

        "Why can't you and the idea of separation of powers just hug it out, bitch?" Wonkette

        by Hollywood Liberal on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 05:13:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Be sceptical (4.00)
          Be questioning

          Don't believe anything Bush says.

          I don't dispute those.

          But people have been reacting to "sound-bites" and "blog-bytes" for the last 10 days and many were based on a dearth of facts.

          "Takeover of 6 ports", nope, management of one of several terminals in each of 6 ports.

          "6 ports", nope, P&O has operations at 21 ports in the USA, 6 terminal management operations and stevedoring (labour/wharehousing) in the other 15.

          Too many people have been dependent on what they read on the blogs, hear on the MSM and general water-cooler hearsay.

          I at least have been going round the company websites, looking at what they do. I have been to the US Borders and Customs website to check out what each port looks like. I know better than to totally rely on Google to bring me all the information I need.

          I am a Brit. DP World would be taking over 2 major container terminals and ferry operations in the UK
          (Southampton and Tilbury the container port for London). It is also taking over management of terminals in Le Havre, Marseilles and Antwerp.

          There are also the four terminals in Australia, in the ports of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Freemantle. Not to mention China, India, Argentina and Africa.

          The same furour that exists in the USA, has not surfaced in either the UK, France, Belgium or Australia so far.

          I blame GWB. He has sown the wind and must now reap the whirlwind, for hammering the on the fears of Americans post 9/11.

          I don't blame any American for questioning the deal, but I do blame Americans for getting their facts wrong and not looking at the other side of the question.

          I have the increasing feeling that many Americans view Washington politics as just another TV soap opera.

          by NeutralObserver on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 05:49:08 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The Arabs have been (4.00)
            demonized since Bush wrapped himself in the flag and resorted to using 9-11 as an excuse for all manner of unconstitutional acts.  Americans don't discern between good Arabs and bad Arabs.  They see them as "against us" thanks to Bush.  Your research and knowledge of the UAE is of no use to them.  They've already made up their minds.  

            "He that sees but does not bear witness, be accursed" Book of Jubilees

            by Lying eyes on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 06:07:08 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  you may be right about part of that (4.00)
              Arabs HAVE been demonized since 9/11, but to say that Americans in general are UNABLE to discern between "good arabs" and "bad arabs" is total and complete utter bullshit. Thanks for painting us all with that same brushstoke.

              I may not agree with what you say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it. -Voltaire

              by baracon on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 10:06:01 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Actually... (none)
                ...the tenor of this debate, both here on Kos and in the popular press, has convinced me that Americans cannot distinguish between "good" and "bad" Arabs. Have you looked at the political cartoons around this? Have you seen the diaries that point to -gasp!- the proximity of the UAE to -gasp!- Iran? (Erm, not saying that Iran's Arab.)

                This, in particular, is what's rankling me about how this debate's worked out here and elsewhere. This diary's unusual and commendable in that it works to make those distinctions (although I think he's still wrong), but frankly nearly every other one here stinks of overt or covert racism.

                The true irony of this Dubai-owned, but London-based business is that its daily operations are entirely run by expatriots, like nearly everything else in the UAE (the country's population is less than 20% Emirati). It's a multi-national company. Now, true, maybe that fact alone should make you uncomfortable, but as for the rest of this "debate," well, it's utter bullshit.

                •  any port storm (none)
                  I can't dredge up any sympathy for the oil-rich, Arab or otherwize.  I delight in Bush and the GOP leadership in a hair-pulling turd fling. Throw as much gas on that fire as possible.    

                  Who is the constituency for this deal? Who is going into the voting booth to support arabs, oil-rich, mega-dealers, selling another piece of America. Bush must owe the English sellers, Arab buyers, or the fee-swilling bankers his genitals to walk on this bed of fire.  

                  And for the right wing wind storm to call the left fear-mongering rascists must be bewildering to red voters. Reds suckled on the GOP for that. To see "redrock" values trumped by just another corporate sellout, must leave them cold.

                  See you in November.

              •  I don't have a poll (none)
                to back up my statement but I'd be willing to put money on how such a poll would turn out.  If I could write it again I would include "masses" after "Americans" and it goes without saying that doesn't include Kossacks who almost to a person are intelligent, educated, informed and discerning.  I would never include them in a reference to "Americans in general".

                "He that sees but does not bear witness, be accursed" Book of Jubilees

                by Lying eyes on Sat Feb 25, 2006 at 05:15:41 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  The effects of globalism are coming home (none)
            and we (america) are circling the issue with convoluted tactics.  That's because the effects are convoluted.  

            For some, globalism hitting us at home  triggers xenophobia, for some it triggers rational fears about security issues, for some it sets off fears that this discussion could lead to doubts about how this nation functions economically.

            It appears to me that a high number of those who are making accusations of xenophobia are then making veiled (or not so veiled) defenses for globalization.  This is, well, interesting.  Why not just say "I strongly support globalism and worry that the brand of nationalism I'm seeing will end up disrupting our ecomomic infrastructure"?  

            Support for globalism seems to be hiding behind accusations of xenophobia, and that bothers me.  Maybe I'm wrong, but after reading the comments over the last few days, I have to say that I think that this is the less than honest dynamic we are witnessing.  

            "In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder, a secret order" Carl Jung

            by Unduna on Sat Feb 25, 2006 at 10:52:25 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I've been supporting this deal (none)
              and yes, I do support global free trade. From my economics class, I know that true free trade by definition benefits both parties. Yes, opposition to this is protectionism, or per the FT (who supported Kerry): "one of the uglier faces of US protectionism--the one with the slightly racist tinge."

              The point isn't just about globalization though. It's about why this company can't buy P&O's assets, when everyone knows that if the government of Singapore bought the company (they were strongly thinking about it, and they had already bought 4.5% of the company). The real question is, why the double standard? And of course the answer is, because those people attacked us!

              The point is, this stuff has been going on forever, and just now people are claiming "oh I had no idea," and I just can't believe this.

              You cannot depend upon American institutions to function without pressure. ---Martin Luther King Jr.

              by Opakapaka on Sat Feb 25, 2006 at 11:17:40 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  off topic but (none)
                I had to respond because sentences like this really bother me: "From my economics class, I know that true free trade by definition benefits both parties."

                If an economic theory defines itself as beneficial no matter what, then there is no way to prove it wrong. Any time true free trade is not beneficial to both parties, it cannot (by this definition) be true free trade.  The circular logic employed here is dizzying.

                But what is the usefulness of a theory that cannot be tested in the real world, using the scientific method?  Supporters of free trade have already decided that their hypothesis is correct, so when real world results don't fit they make excuses. Either the deal in question was not really true free trade, or in the long term the deal would have been beneficial for both parties, but they abandoned it too quickly.

                Though most of us pride ourselves on being members of the reality-based community, many have a blind spot when it comes to free trade.  So many believe in market forces with the same supernatural faith with which Marx believed in a Communist utopia and Christian fundamentalists believe in a vengeful God who hates Democrats and women.

                As a history major, I am naturally distrusting of grand theories that propose to explain how the world works.  The social sciences (like economics & political science) have adopted the terminology of the hard sciences without the methodology needed to test hypthoses and draw conclusions based on evidence.  Perhaps a pure form of free trade really would benefit both parties if it were adopted globally. And perhaps we could eliminate poverty through a world commune where everyone would be motivated to work hard for equal compensation. But how likely is it that we'll ever be able to test these hypotheses?

                Why worry about which unrealistic hypothetical is more likely to be beneficial to mankind when there are all sorts of actual problems that need to be addressed?

                (this is not meant as an attack on anyone in particular, just venting my frustrations at free trade ideologues)

                "All the freaky people make the beauty of the world." - Michael Franti

                by SFprogressive on Sat Feb 25, 2006 at 12:22:34 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Well I guess it goes like this. (none)
                  To my knowledge, if it wasn't beneficial, the parties involved wouldn't trade, right? If the trade wasn't beneficial by both parties, then it wouldn't be carried out (assuming they both know exactly what they're getting into).

                  Different areas of the world produce different things, and different people have different skills. It benefits you to be able to trade income from your work for a bag of chips from the Frito Lay company if you want to. If I say you're not allowed to trade income from your work for a bag of chips, or if I say you have to give me 50 cents every time you do, it hurts you and the Frito Lay company.

                  If Malaysia is an ideal climate for producing natural rubber, and Japan doesn't have natural rubber but is excellent at making the oversized tires for the truck Malaysia need to cut down the rubber trees (grown sustainably, of course), they both would benefit by trading one for the other. If they didn't both benefit, they wouldn't trade. And if I step in and say they can't trade, they're both worse off.

                  Of course, powerful countries can exploit weak countries, and the rubber tree may not be replanted, and you may not realize how bad those chips are for your health, but those are other issues.

                  These theories can be tested. Witness the rise of Singapore and Hong Kong, two of the wealthiest countries in the world--both free trade ports. I'm sure the reason Dubai is so wealthy is because of free trade, only 7% of their income is from oil. The same goes for Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Australia, etc. Even China has I believe raised its per capita income by a factor of ten over the past 25 years due to free trade.

                  You cannot depend upon American institutions to function without pressure. ---Martin Luther King Jr.

                  by Opakapaka on Sat Feb 25, 2006 at 12:43:28 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I understand the theory (none)
                    and I don't doubt that free trade can be beneficial. What bothers me is the assumption that it is always beneficial. In today's world, where the most economically powerful nations practice protectionism through subsidies and/or tariffs (two examples: US & EU), I can't see how opening markets can benefit less economically powerful nations.

                    A small point: some of the examples you gave aren't actually examples of countries that gained economically through free trade.  For example, Japan used high tariffs to protect its national industries from foreign competition. That is the antithesis of free trade.  South Korea's economic growth cannot be separated Cold War politics, as it was directly connected to the country's role supplying the US during the Vietnam War.

                    The problem with trying to test economic theories accurately is twofold: there are too many variables at work and too much disagreement of how to measure results. Did a hypothetical nation's economy grow because it lowered barriers to free trade, or was it the end of the civil war, the strengthening of civic institutions, or the influx of foreign capital due to geopolitical concerns?  And how do we measure economic success? Is the economy with double-digit growth and an ever expanding gap between rich and poor healthy? How about the economy with stagnant growth but high living standards?

                    "All the freaky people make the beauty of the world." - Michael Franti

                    by SFprogressive on Mon Feb 27, 2006 at 08:35:59 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

        •  Crazy, hell. I call you and Hunter beautiful. (4.00)
          When both you and he are as on as you both are on this thread, it is damned near orgasmic. Rarely does clear thought and pure singing passion combine so sweetly in the same writer. It is a privilege to read either one of you. Both of you at the top of your form in the same thread.. I'm gonna need a shower. A cold one.

          Although I've already read some excellent comments from other kossaks here, Hunter's diary, and your comment, Hollywood Liberal, should, by themselves, suffice on this subject, anywhere in the world that rational thinkers comgregate. Thank you both.

    •  Leaky hose arguement....ridiculous (4.00)
      Find me a goverment with entirely clean relations.

      Like the US's when Saddam was Rumsfeld's favorite host as compared to OBL visiting the UAE or our own CIA visiting OBL.

      I am afraid you lack the whitewash to cover all the fences here and no cutesy convolutions are going to cover the fact that the dems, like the repubs, have descended to using "fear and loathing" as a political tool. You can yad,yada,yada all day long about how we have long been concerned about Port security but there is no denying that this little bandwagon is aimed directly at making political hay by inflaming the little folks. While some of us may be grown up enough to distingush between states and people, some people aren't grown up enough to distingush between the actions of some people of some states.

      And who should know that better than those here formerly opposed to the actions of some in the USA.

      Einstein said weak people become what they hate.

      Hypocrisy in anything may deceive the cleverest and most penetrating man, but the least wide-awake of children recognizes it....

      by Cal45 on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 04:55:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  We most certainly have not. (4.00)
        We merely point out hipocrasy.  And what the hell does "lack the whitewash" mean?

        If you can't see how the administration lets its friends get away with horrible security lapses all while using the GWOT as a tool to cover up incompetence and punish its political enemies, you're not very perceptive.

        Einstein was a great physicist.  He tended to overreach when outside his field.

        Egads, what a trollfest.

        Never play leapfrog with a unicorn.

        by Cream Puff on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 05:08:41 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  dems descended into (4.00)
        I agree. I just got this from Bill Richardson:

        "I have an urgent question on my mind, however. It's dominating conversations this week from coast to coast. How, Mr. President, can you stand up for handing major American ports over to a foreign power?"

        This seems pretty clearly an appeal to fear of the foreign, a great old American tradition, and now top dems are pandering to it, for now. Also, it's still a big corporation that runs basically independently of Dubai, who's trying to shift its earnings from dwindling oil supplies to something else that they do quite well. Where's the American company that can do this?

        I have shifted on this. I no longer think that the dubai company running ports is itself a huge deal. I do think that port security is a huge deal, and that ignoring the required 45 day review period are huge deals. When Hillary pointed out this 45 days was a requirement, some administration lacky said "we did not view that as a mandate." Same old imperial presidency shit. That is something I would like to see the Dems make hay of.

        All currency is neurotic currency. --Norman O. Brown

        by MikeRayinBerkeley on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 06:30:38 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  agree (none)
          ..if they had stuck to the questioning of departing from the usual requirements by BushCo...I would be backing that line of objection...but choosing to use the same fear tactics as the neo's and Bush as a political tool for their "party", without regard to the damage it actually does to the US internationaly, smacks to me of the pre Nazi meandering of Hitler...and we all know how that "patrotic" abberation ended.

          Hypocrisy in anything may deceive the cleverest and most penetrating man, but the least wide-awake of children recognizes it....

          by Cal45 on Sat Feb 25, 2006 at 04:15:06 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Dude . . . (none)

      The polls don't tell us how a candidate is doing, they tell us how the media is doing. And Diebold tells us who won.

      by Thumb on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 05:01:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  it's the "Clarence Thomas" defense (none)
      You remember: The only reason for opposing Thomas for SCOTUS can be racism, this proves that Democrats are the real racists and hypocrites to boot.

      This is part of the larger meme, that Democrats generally are triangulating poseurs, hypocrites who only pretend to care about women, minorities, gays, the environment, you name it, in order to gain votes, which has been so effective in discrediting Democratic politicians in the "squishy center" and particularly since the poll-ridden and weathercockish Clinton administration.

      The problem with that is, that like all the Dark Side's lies, it's a half-truth...

      Given that plenty of people here use "Islamic" as a perjoritive, and say things like "gosh, we've become as bad as those people," when talking about torturing people in jails, be it Syrians, or Mexicans, or Serbs - rather than saying "we're behaving the way we always have throughout history, we're just not getting away with it this century/decade" I would say that there is a lot of racism/xenophobia/cultural imperialism on the Left.

      Maybe not as much as there is sexism, but enough to make this ex-Conned think grimly that it wasn't all lies in the National Review in the 1970s, when they slammed liberal hypocrisy.

      "Don't be a janitor on the Death Star!" - Grey Lady Bast (change @ for AT to email)

      by bellatrys on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 05:52:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Do you think (4.00)
        the fact that "there is [indeed] a lot of racism/xenophobia/cultural imperialism on the Left" might have something to do with the fact that, no matter how far left you go, it's still the American left?

        We may not be the most racist culture in the world, but we certainly are the most xenophobic and the most culturally imperialist. And it takes more than having your heart in the right place to rid yourself of a lifetime of brainwashing. Still, when I think of who brought us feminism, the Voting Rights Law, gay rights legislation and more, I think I'll stick with Democrats.  

    •  I think we should chuck this altogether (4.00)
      and focus like a laser instead on the far larger question of Corporatism in general--that you brought up in a previous diary. In general before this story broke, many Americans didn't even know the Brits were running our ports. The outsourcing of ports is a story in and of itself and as you rightly note, points to the larger and very much class based sell off of American interests.

      Along the same lines maybe the progressive community could emphasize some rather unsavory characteristics of UAE above and beyond its so called ties to terrorists. See here:

      Human Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery in Good Ole UAE

      I personally think this deal should fail based on the sordid human trafficking information alone. A corportatist might argue that a business entity should ride free from its supporting country. That in my view is problematic in the same way most of our so called 'free trade' deals are problematic. Corporations need to be responsible to their nations and nations needs to hold the corporation's feet to the fire in terms of worker rights, decent pay, etc. UAE has an horrific history of human trafficking practically 'pay free'. Why should we support such a country?

      This isn't racist, but it might very well be classist. Those are the kind of lines we should be drawing in my view. Racism, as you note, is a rightwing canard.

      •  MyDD has an excellent post on nearly the same (4.00)
        ...topic here...

        As Matt noted earlier today, the sale of control over six American ports to a company owned by the government of the United Arab Emirates has done much to show Americans the real priorities of the Bush administration: corporatism above all esle -- including protecting and defending our homeland.

        Earlier in this Congress, Repbulicans twisted a sufficient number of arms to secure ratification of the Central American Free Trade Agreement. It's not at all inconceivable that thousands, if not millions, of American jobs will speed up their flight out of the country. These are not just blue state factory jobs, though many of them will likely be lost, too; it is forseeable that jobs in agriculture and textiles, which are essential to the economies of red states, will be shipped off to Central America.

        Time after time, President Bush and the Republican Congress have shown that they believe in one thing above all: the primary role of government is to make the business of corporations -- American or not -- easier. Whether the company is owned by the United Arab Emirates, Dr. Mahathir or Randy "Duke" Cunningham's buddy Mitchell Wade, it's clear that the Republican Party will stop at nothing, including ensuring America's security, to help out corporations. So much for the party of strong national defense.


        I don't know if I mentioned it in my previous comment, but Hunter had an excellent diary up on the recommended a day or two ago that was all over this as well: Corporatism vs. Statism or something to that effect. Great work, that's the angle we need to hammer I think.

      •  And there's no human trafficking in the US of A? (4.00)
        This is the problem: all the accusations of awfulness against the UAE as a nation, can equally truthfully be turned around and leveled at us. We just are blind to the things in our own eyes - we'll sneer at other countries prisons and police brutality, while making "Oz" jokes about prison rape and "Can't we all get along?" sneers about a man beaten by the cops, knowing on one level that we have a greater percentage of people in prison - many by virtue of their ethnicity - than any other "civilized" country in the world, knowing that our courts are biased and corrupt, and yet never thinking of ourselves as a police state. Government officials in this country supported terrorism openly for decades - yes, along the East Coast - and arms transactions take place in NYC no less than London and Paris. And as far as supporting terrorists and drug trafficking on the federal level - um, hello, CIA? Pot calling kettle, pot calling kettle...

        And as far as incompetence - home grown vs. foreign - how could anyone possibly do worse than the entirely-American-as-Apple-Pie FEMA did last September, when it comes to port security and city safety?

        The proper thing to do is not to make this a case of Virtuous Westerners Representing Civilization vs Those Corrupt Shifty Orientals Over There, but to look at the particulars of the case - real specifics, not careless generalizations.

        The suspicious things, like - why was Bushco shoving this through on the downlow? Cui bono? Does this have anything to do with future plans for conquest in the Persian Gulf, which is why we expect to need our aircraft carriers docked so handily a couple miles across the Straights from Iran? Where does money laundering and Republican cronyism and the Carlyle group come into it?

        That's where the money goes, that's where the story and the danger is, just as with Watergate. What it is is the curtain ripped off a welter of machine politics on an international scale - the old men with the bank accounts whose loyalty is only to their own small circles of elites and retainers, dealing out the resources of the world among themselves and squabbling over them as if it were all a baccarat table, while pretending to care about the countries they "belong" to.

        "Don't be a janitor on the Death Star!" - Grey Lady Bast (change @ for AT to email)

        by bellatrys on Sat Feb 25, 2006 at 08:42:47 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  More questions to ponder... (4.00)
          I'd like to see an analysis comparing/contrasting Bush's stated economic policies for us and the working policies for UAE. For instance, Bush wants a subclass of "guest workers" who have no rights--he has proposed importing Mexican workers at low wages to perform jobs that Americans don't want to do and then shipping them back when we don't need them. What percentage of the UAE/Dubai population is made up of foreign workers who have no citizen rights? In 2003, it rose to 90%; even the rulers have begun to worry about the numbers, but not the practice:

          Nearly 10 million foreigners, most of them unskilled or semi-skilled migrants, work in the Gulf states and the majority of them are from Asia, welcomed here during the oil boom years and now doing a lot of basic services for the country. The breakup of this foreign presence is a startling revelation of the country's dependence on migrant workers -- Indians 53.7 percent, Pakistanis 18 percent and Arabs 10.6 percent.

          The wealthy rulers have recently become afraid that such a high percentage of "outsiders" in their midst will water down the "purity" of their ethnicity. It's pretty clear that this is a racist policy akin to the kind that existed in South Africa when Ghandi was an imported worker there. They don't mind cheap labor as long as the foreigners don't intermarry with the home boys.

          The United States has long promoted immigration with the right to become a U.S. citizen. Bush's model resembles Dubai's--import workers at slave rates, but don't let them gain access to permanent rights or true integration. We had this system in the past. It was called a "bracero work force," and it was meant to benefit the corporate wealthy, not to help the little guy.

          This is but one queston to put to the BushCo policy test. There are plenty of others: who gets the tax breaks in both of these countries? what is the gap between rich and poor? where does one look to find corruption? what are the policies regarding world climate and environment? where are the sweatshops? what about human trafficking? who keeps the minimum wage as low as possible? If the leadership in Dubai are members of the extremely wealthy elite, how do the current leaders in the U.S. stack up? You got it. Royalty over there, and royalty over here.

          So it boils down to the same questions for which we Democrats have always wanted better answers. It is not a matter of xenophobia or racism on our part; it is a matter of who values what and who puts his money where his mouth is. Read Joe Conason's article from yesterday at Salon--follow the money, and it leads to King W's bad boy brother Prince Neil, a great friend of the royal family in Dubai.

          I simply don't see how we should be faulted for not wanting to import more of the same. It's time for change.  

          "That story is not worth the paper it's rotten on."--Dorothy Parker

          by martyc35 on Sat Feb 25, 2006 at 10:10:38 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  This is a brilliant analysis, thank you (none)
      It absolutely crushes the ridiculous propaganda that the Bushies -- including GOP Stalinst David Brooks -- are pushing to justify the unjustifiable.

      Bless you.  You've laid it out perfectly.  Now I hope some of our more honest journalists and politicians address this exactly like you have.  

      With the goddamned TRUTH.

    •  that's why the term... (none)
      ..."politics makes strange bedfellows" was coined.

      i get the distinct feeling that many (not all) republicans who are angry about this issue are doing a slow burn because "towel heads" would be in charge at our ports. many dems (not all) are angry because the uae condones barbaric practices...

      an uncomfortable aliance, at best...

      Crime is contagious....if the government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for the law. -- Justice Louis Brandeis

      by FemiNazi on Sat Feb 25, 2006 at 01:16:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  thanks (4.00)
    Once again, you've verbalized--quite eloquently--many of my own thoughts on the matter.
  •  As usual, great diary. (4.00)
    I, too, am sick and tired of being called a racist.  I, too, don't like the deal because it smells just like another Bush rip off and felony in the making.  

    Dean speaks for me!

    by dkmich on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 02:37:19 PM PST

  •  Paul Krugman... (4.00)
    ...had an excellent point today, which is that to the extent that xenophobia or distrust of Arabs plays into this controversy, that it is President Bush who stoked and fostered that fear and prejudice among Americans.

    The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

    by Jay Elias on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 02:38:18 PM PST

    •  That's true to a certain extent. (none)
      Don't underestimate the effect of the declining oil reserves, high unemployment among young people, and the resulting explosion of Arabian government financed madrasas. If you can't give them a job, feed them hope with extreme religious training. We do the same thing in the US to a lesser degree.
    •  Krugman pointed out that the UAE (4.00)
      was "one of only three countries that recognized the Taliban as the legitimate ruler of Afghanistan." So why doesn't Bush mention that fact?

      Although tangential to the ports issue, my favorite part of Krugman's column was his citation of 9/11 notes recently unearthed by an blogger's FOIA request:

      Let's go back to the beginning. At 2:40 p.m. on Sept. 11, 2001, Donald Rumsfeld gave military commanders their marching orders. "Judge whether good enough hit S. H. [Saddam Hussein] @ same time -- not only UBL [Osama bin Laden]," read an aide's handwritten notes about his instructions. The notes were recently released after a Freedom of Information Act request. "Hard to get a good case," the notes acknowledge. Nonetheless, they say: "Sweep it all up. Things related and not."

      So it literally began on Day 1. When terrorists attacked the United States, the Bush administration immediately looked for ways it could exploit the atrocity to pursue unrelated goals -- especially, but not exclusively, a war with Iraq.

      Perhaps Krugman's next column will address the most curious page of notes in the FOIA release, dated 9:53 p.m. on 9/11/2001, in which Rumsfeld's assistant Stephen Cambone apparently makes reference to Flight 77 hijackers already under government surveillance:

      2) AA 77 - 3 indiv have been followed
              since Millenium + Cole
               1 guy is assoc of Cole bomber
               2 entered US in early July
                (2 of 3 pulled aside and interrogated?)

      Though I'm not up to speed on Able Danger, I note that both Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar, two hijackers on flight 77, have been frequently mentioned as part of the Al Qaeda cell previously under U.S. goverment surveillance through the Able Danger program.  Mihdhar is widely believed to have been involved in the Cole bombing.

      On the top of that page is the header "VP report". Was a report on Able Danger to Cheney the source for this itemized information on 9/11? Lots of stuff is blanked out, of course....

      "And I hope you'll understand if any of us come before a court and we can't remember Abramoff, you'll tend to believe us." - Senator Lindsey Graham.

      by QuickSilver on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 03:51:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I've been hesitant... (4.00) weigh in on the Able Danger program or the information that was gleaned from it.  Perhaps you are correct, and the information collected as part of Able Danger may have been able to avert or mitigate the attacks of September 11, 2001.  But there seems to be an underexplored angle of Able Danger - namely, that it was an illegal surveillance and data mining operation.  I hesitate to endorse investigating how the Bush administration used Able Danger because I worry that endorsing and accepting Able Danger implicitly endorses the NSA intercepts and other illegal surveillance programs.

        I wonder if the reason more mainstream columnists haven't weighed in on the subject is because they share my concerns.

        The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

        by Jay Elias on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 04:58:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I've ignored a lot of Able Danger stuff (4.00)
          since it seems so tinfoilhattish, particularly the notion that Atta and others were taken off of surveillance so that the plot, whatever it was, could continue. Many Able Danger conspiracy theorists maintain that the Al Qaeda attack was allowed to happen, so that a pretext could be found for justifying the Iraq invasion (which, after all, was in the works since January 2001 as we know from Paul O'Neill's book). Able Danger conspiracy theorists insist that for Bush, the only surprise about 9/11 was its severity and scale. The CIA didn't know about multiple Al Qaeda cells, for example. Perhaps they expected a conventional bomb attack, similar to the attack on the WTC in 1993....

          Was the surveillance of Able Danger legal? I couldn't begin to answer that question, but in any case I don't think the current warrantless wiretap revelations should dissuade us from asking questions about the program. Why, for example, is there no mention of the Able Danger program at all in the 9/11 Commission report? Why, late in the day on 9/11/2001, is Rumsfeld apparently bringing up Able Danger(ish) connections to the hijackers of AA Flight 77? Why was the 2.4 terabyte Able Danger database on Mohammed Atta and others later (apparently) ordered destroyed?

          I hope someone more familiar with Able Danger can look at this recent FOIA release and contextualize its new information. It seems like a catch to me, but again, it's not familiar turf.

          "And I hope you'll understand if any of us come before a court and we can't remember Abramoff, you'll tend to believe us." - Senator Lindsey Graham.

          by QuickSilver on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 05:43:54 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  yes, but the fact that we recognize... (none)
      ...that Bush has expolited xenophobia for years, and yet embrace this tactic (or should I say not shoot down) because it can be used to hurt Bushco politically, I ask, what does that make us?

      I don't think Kossacks are racists.  I do however believe that the majority have all too quickly embraced the standard GOP m.o. of fearbaiting  for short-term political gain.

      There has been no shortage of consciously switching the term "port operations" with "port security," no shortage of invoking 9/11 with the "2 hijackers were from UAE" meme, no shortage of utter disinformation like "own our ports," and certainly no shortage of the the words "terrorist ties" next to "UAE."  

      This is all garden variety KARL ROVIAN fearmongering, and what genuinely saddens me is how quickly Kossacks embraced this tactic. It is the exact same bullshit that GOPbots used to sell the public on invading Iraq, right down to the "mushroom cloud over a major city" bit.  What's so creepy is many of you know this and don't care.  

      Hurt Bush at all costs.  Check your soul at the door.

      •  It is more complicated than that... (none)
        ....did you notice the intercept revealed yesterday where al-Qaeda threatens the UAE with having infiltrated their government?

        I don't know how we separate the xenophobia from the legitimate threat.  But it is becoming clear that whatever the reason for the elevated initial concern, that no one in the government can really tell us why this deal was approved or how this doesn't pose a risk to Americans.  And it needs closer study by serious people.

        There is an argument that can be made, with good reason, that nothing this administration approves of can be considered wise.  Whether or not the cause for the initial fear was merited, we are all seeing real reasons to fear this situation now.

        The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

        by Jay Elias on Sat Feb 25, 2006 at 02:37:52 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  very simple (4.00)
    When Republicans play the Race Card, they are truly, truly desperate to save face.

    The fact that they have no idea that they are rascist, is HUGELY demonstrated by their inability to empathize with suffering of any kind. the fact that they cannot empathize with suffering (in fact kinda enjoy it in a Car Wreck, American Idol sort of way) shows that their whole lives are attempts to insulate themselves from Reality in an artificial Buubble of Bubba

    Noffense to the Sane Bubbas out there, of course! Bubba and Buddha are very similar!

    You can't lick the system...but you can give it a damn good fondling!

    by buhdydharma on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 02:38:46 PM PST

    •  Shame on you! (4.00)
      They're sympathizing with the suffering of Abu Dhabi billionaires right now!
      •  Actually (4.00)
        to go really Zen Compassiony

        It is very easy to feel sympathy and empathy towards those who are visibly suffering, IF you have a Heart.

        It is much more Challenging to have Compassion for those who Appear to have everything. They experience the suffering and pains we all experience, inside. But if you believe in the  consience and the soul, then these people are suffering in another way! They are the ones who are destroying the Planet for their own selfish pleasures and illusory Security.

        What Toll does that take on your Soul?

        You can't lick the system...but you can give it a damn good fondling!

        by buhdydharma on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 03:12:27 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks for the reminder (none)
          This is for me the biggest challenge: to realize that the "powerful" and cruel are suffering; that their actions make sense to them and are actually compelling because they are trapped in ignorance; and that I am not fundamentally different from them.
          We all need loving-kindness.
    •  Yup, I agree (4.00)
      When Republicans play the Race Card, they are truly, truly desperate to save face.

      You are absolutely correct.

      As a side note, the Bush Administration has gone  from A = al Qaeda and a now officially failed war in Iraq to Xenophobia accusations regarding this current port deal (and everyone knows Xenophobia starts with a consonant which sounds like a Z), does that mean impeachment is just around the corner?

      •  xenophobia (none)
        two weeks ago me, george w bush, and 280 million americans had no idea such a word existed.  the presumption is that those with the largest vocabulary win.  this is a didactic paradigm of supercalifragilistic proportionality.
        we are now living in a global, globular, round, spherical, universal, ball-shaped  annular, arced, arched, arciform, bent, bowed, bulbous, circular, coiled, curled, curved, curvilinear, cylindrical, discoid, disk-shaped, domical, egg-shaped, elliptical, globose, looped, orbed, orbicular, orbiculate, oval, ringed, rotund,
        rounded, spherical, spheroid world.

        "welcome to the monkey house" vonnegut

        by realheathen on Sat Feb 25, 2006 at 04:16:34 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I saw this (4.00)
    Fine, whatever. Now let's get a little pissy, shall we?

    at the top, and combined with the author, knew that one hell of an essay was coming.

    You didn't disappoint.



    •  Hunter, gettin pissy on the mountain (4.00)
      praise be jeebus.  

      Dean speaks for me!

      by dkmich on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 02:43:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  dmsilev (4.00)
      When Hunter wrote the other diary was by his "better half" I thought for a moment he shared an account with his spouse like I do. When we first signed up, most of the "Carnacki" diaries were by her and about of the quarter of the comments still are. One of us has a much better record of getting on the recommended list though. ;^>

      We can make the world a better place by laying them by the heels. -- Sherlock Holmes

      by Carnacki on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 02:56:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Now I understand! (4.00)
        I've been wondering how someone writing about Blood Sucking Monsters can appear so nice . . . about a quarter of the time.

        Actually, I think I must like both of the Carnackis as we seem to agree on almost everything.

        It is a well known fact, that those people who most want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it. - Douglas Adams

        by SeattleLiberal on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 03:30:17 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  SeattleLiberal (4.00)
          If you ever see posts from "Carnacki" drooling over John Edwards, it's her and not me.

          We can make the world a better place by laying them by the heels. -- Sherlock Holmes

          by Carnacki on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 03:41:55 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  That's very convenient! (none)
            I've got to try that myself...

            So whenever you post something stupid, you can always blame your wife?  Excellent.

            Hmm, let's see... yea I just want to let everyone know that sometimes my drunk friend uses this account and may or may not say something completely pathetic with lots of f words.  Whenever you see that happening, make sure to hold off on the ratings because that's not me =)

            Thank you John Kerry.

            by diplomatic on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 10:24:07 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Carnacki, I'm shocked (4.00)
        I've always been very impressed with how in-touch you are with your feminine side.  Now the cat's out of the bag.

        Oh well, we still love you.

        -4.50, -5.85 Lies are the new Truth.

        by Dallasdoc on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 04:12:34 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I get it now (none)
        I have always wondered if Carnacki was a man or a woman, LMAO - When I think one thing then I come accross a post that makes me change my mind.

        One thing is certain though: I like both Carnackis :-)

  •  Correction (4.00)
    I have to remove my shoes to get on a damn plane, in the name of national security, but a country whose royals met with Bin Laden in an Afghanistan-based "hunting" camp in 1999 gets to manage how the shipping containers move around at six of our nation's ports. And I'm supposed to be damn glad for the corporate-state inclusiveness.

    I thought it was 7 but its more like 21 ~ 22.

    "Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground?" -George Washington

    by House on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 02:45:34 PM PST

    •  If we wait a day, it might be 50 n/t (4.00)

      Dean speaks for me!

      by dkmich on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 02:47:36 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Hmm (none)
      Gotta a cite for that?

      Lat I read:

      Acquiring P&O's 29 container terminals and logistics operations in 19 countries will enable DP World to better cope with tough competition from global port operations.

      If DP World wins P&O it would be the second victory over Singapore in less than two years. It acquired CSX Corporation for $1.15 billion in December 2004, beating a $1 billion bid by PSA.
      Source: Gulf News

      The soul that is within me no man can degrade. - Frederick Douglass

      by Kimberley on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 02:50:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Cited in the link n/t (none)

        "Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground?" -George Washington

        by House on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 02:58:12 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  After doing some legwork, I found this (4.00)
          According to UPI
          P&O is the parent company of P&O Ports North America, which leases terminals for the import and export and loading and unloading and security of cargo in 21 ports, 11 on the East Coast, ranging from Portland, Maine to Miami, Florida, and 10 on the Gulf Coast, from Gulfport, Miss., to Corpus Christi, Texas, according to the company's Web site.

          According to P&O Ports North America website, its assets are located at:
          Portland, Boston, Davisville, New York/New Jersey, Camden, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Wilmington, Norfolk, Miami, Gulfport, New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Lake Charles, Beaumont, Port Arthur, Houston, Galveston, Freeport, Corpus Christi.

          The soul that is within me no man can degrade. - Frederick Douglass

          by Kimberley on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 04:15:57 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  You think you were bothered before? (4.00)
    Check this out then there will be no question why Bush is doing this. Look right across from UAE

    James M Joiner or

    by jmsjoin on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 02:46:17 PM PST

  •  Would you let Iran run the ports? (4.00)
    If not, then to paraphrase the old joke, we're just haggling over price.

    Observant folks know that this is far from the first time Republicans have played the race card.  If you oppose school vouchers, you're a racist.  If you oppose Social Security phase-out, you're a racist.  Heck, if you opposed the invasion of Iraq, that made you a racist, because you were saying that "those people" weren't capable of democracy.  Yawn...

    •  Don't forget (4.00)
      appointments.  Anyone who opposed Clarence Thomas was a racist, not simply concerned by the fact that he was not terribly bright, a demonstrated liar and a first-order right wing nutcase.

      I believe similar accusations of anti-Latino bias were thrown around during the Gonzales AG confirmation hearings.

      I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it. -- Thomas Jefferson [-4.25, -5.33]

      by GTPinNJ on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 02:52:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  And even more recently (4.00)
        We were branded as racists - anti-Italian racists - for referring to Justice Alito as Scalito.  Ay yi yi.

        Talk about through the looking glass...

        •  Y'all forgot (4.00)
             If you support Civil Rights legislation, you're a racist.  Because it's "demeaning" to suggest that blacks, Hispanics, or Native Americans can't pull themselves up by their own bootstraps in the face of some little thing like officially sanctioned legal discrimination.
  •  you're right (4.00)
    I'm concerned about the people of Fallujah, and the Iraqi intellectuals killed by death squads, and the Palestinians living in occupied zones. Why should I be concerned about offending a multi-billion dollar corporation owned by the royal family of ANYWHERE?

    It's not xenophobic to argue that our ports should be owned, controlled and managed by public entities that put safety before profits.

  •  Extremely well-said. Thanks. (4.00)

    Francine Busby for Congress -- CA-50 -- Honesty and Progressive Values

    by socal on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 02:47:53 PM PST

  •  Hysterical xenophobia, in my book (3.75)
    ... and poetic justice for W's fearmongering ... but silly season as far as security implications are concerned.

    BTW, "xenophobia" is not confined to racism.

    None Dare Call It Stupid!

    by RonK Seattle on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 02:47:59 PM PST

    •  It's absurd to suggest (4.00)
      that any objections people may have to this deal are xenophobic in nature.

      I'm not automatically suspicious of foreign countries or their populations and I have a huge problem with foreign direct investments at our strategic strongholds. I don't even think they should be owned or operated by private interests - US or otherwise.

      Hasn't it ever occurred to you that many people were simply unaware that America's seaports were owned or operated by foreign investors, let alone foreign government owned investors? Do any of the folks pushing this xenophobe angle foresee the possibility of a worst case scenario event that could be disastrous for our security?

      So, what? You think people like me are xenophobes and I'm starting to think many of my fellow Americans are too credulous about business and security for our collective well being.

      The soul that is within me no man can degrade. - Frederick Douglass

      by Kimberley on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 03:01:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Worst case scenario? (none)
        I've invited folks to pose worst-case scenarios under conditions maximally favorable to adverse results. No takers so far.

        And yes, I think this hullaballoo would scarcely be audible if the buyer were the Republic of Iceland ... or even the People's Republic of China (which already owns comparable on-dock operations).

        As for "people like you", you may all speak for yourselves, and for your own reasons.

        None Dare Call It Stupid!

        by RonK Seattle on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 03:15:33 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Your comment (4.00)
          appeared to suggest that xenophobia, "hysterical xenophobia" no less, is the only reasonable explanation behind objections to this deal. Did I misread the thrust of it?

          I can foresee a number of worst-case scenarios, some of which are bad enough not to gamble with no matter what the probability. The most obvious drawback, however, is one of erosion of the public interest at America's strategic strongholds - which, until the DP World flap came down, I was completely unaware of.

          It never occurred to me that our elected officials could be so derelict in their duty to manage America's assets with so little regard for potentially catastrophic consequences.

          I am adamant in my opposition to DP World naming US seaports among its assets. I am adamant that P&O never should have been allowed to name these ports among its assets, and so it goes, certainly, for any other foreign direct investment at these ports. But my objection goes beyond foreign acquisition of these assets. My objection is firmly grounded in the argument that American seaports are not for sale, in part or whole.

          Enslaving the public's interest in security at seaports to the private good, sets the public good up to fail whenever matters of defense/security and matters involving profit-seeking motive conflict.

          It was a damned stupid thing to do. If we can throw an emergency brake on this, we have a duty to do that. At least, as far as I'm concerned.

          The soul that is within me no man can degrade. - Frederick Douglass

          by Kimberley on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 03:45:57 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Not the only explanation, no ... (none)
            ... but the dominant explanation, which your comment reinforces.

            You are concerned about any and all foreigners owning US assets. Should people in one country never own things in another country? Is there an economic argument behind this posture? A security argument? I haven't seen one, so I tend to suspect xenophobia (and/or nativism).

            BTW, DPW doews not propose to buy US ports. They propose to buy an existing UK company. That company doesn't own US ports either -- they "own" contracts for leasehold concessions to operate cranes etc on terminal docks within US ports.

            When discussants can't confine themselves to accurate description of the evils they're opposed to, I tend to suspect hysteria.

            None Dare Call It Stupid!

            by RonK Seattle on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 04:05:39 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  two bit sophist bullyboy (4.00)
              Any giant bushco port deal being run thru under cover of darkness would have set me off.  And it only took a little daylight to show this one to be worth a second look.  You can count on bushco criminality about 110% of the time. So as far as I am concerned you can take your politics of xenophobia and shove it so far up your ass that it'll pop out your snout.
            •  Christ sake (4.00)
              So you can no longer be concerned at all with matters of national defense because that automatically indicates a weakness of character known as xenophobia? What, are you kidding me?

              National defense, by it's very nature, requires being conscious of the security needs and welfare of one's own nation. You don't need to think America's the only country worth protecting or preserving to understand that. And seaports are a fundamental aspect of our defensive network.

              We're not talking about buying a chain of theaters or hotels in the US. Foreign investors are more than welcome to make a buck off Americans in the private sector if they can. What do I care, so long as they're being good corporate citizens and paying taxes?  But encroaching on vital defensive networks to turn a dime? No.

              Look, if other countries want to allow foreign direct investment in areas clearly related to their defensive network, that's their business. But if they opt to tell foreign investors to find some other asset(s) to buy into or go suck eggs, I'd certainly understand it.

              It's not smart to hand a foreign investors the keys to your national security - particularly foreign government owned investors - unless you absolutely have to do it. We are fortunate enough not to be in that situation. I think we have a duty to keep it that way.

              If that makes me a xenophobe - so be it.

              The soul that is within me no man can degrade. - Frederick Douglass

              by Kimberley on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 04:57:51 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Don't you 'Christ sake' me, missy! (3.00)
                That's just a weak variant of the "Gimme a break" or "Oh, puh-lease " arguments.

                Did I say security wsn't important? No.

                And I left you (and anybody else) an open invitation to pose a concrete case in which US interests would be jeopardized if Osama himself were operating the cranes.

                Yes, our ports are sensitive and vulnerable. It's been a daily concern of mine, going back years before 9/11.

                I reserve judgment. If anyone has a case to make, let them make it.

                But so far, the whole case consists of "Ports! Arabs! Christ sake!"

                None Dare Call It Stupid!

                by RonK Seattle on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 05:18:40 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Way Too Simple (4.00)
                  Let's face it.  This issue has risen to the level of national awareness because very few knew that our ports could be owned operated and managed by any other than Americans.  The so called "hysteria" is the most reasoned response of those who think WTF???-this is too dumb even for the Bushistas-but no, not too dumb.  Many in the security sector have been upset about this for some time-so folks, take a deep breath here.  Not Rascist.  This is not an either/or question.

                   I wanna see hands here. How many of you knew that our ports were in some foreign owned hands?  Yea yea sure sure.  And just for the record "hysteria" means of the uterus which, for all its bad press, has been known to sniff out a rat from thirty paces. There are well meaning folk, with rational , loving souls who don't want any country, not Sweden, not Ireland, not the Ukraine, not the UK to have anything to do with our ports. And you know what?  Some of those well meaning folk are charged with keeping our ports safe and have been disregarded and ignored for years now.  So Kumbaya ya'll and let's clean up this ports' mess.

                   It is not rascist to say that there are some people -pick a color- any color and country of origin- who would like to cause trouble in our ports.  For godsake, let's at least hold them to the same standard as we do domestic companies who have to present their papers to domestic courts if so charged.  Sheesh. Do we have to argue about everything at Kos? Say, the sun is warm! Rascist!! Wanna fight about it? Well reasoned debate is one thing, but there sure have been a lot of FUs here of late. When emotion is engaged and dominant, the debate is dead. Those with the highest level of affect are the biggest losers for they have disengaged the higher faculties in deference to the overpowering emotions.  You lose. Ding ding ding.  There are great minds here, minds who can disagree. Minds who can be wrong.  And it takes a highly developed mind to say "Sorry, I was wrong."  We are here to learn from each other.  Be gentle.

                  •  I assume you meant to respond to dome other cmt (none)
                    But since you're here ...

                    Who said anything about "racism"? (Other than the diarist, who did so in a bait-and-switch from the title's "xenophobia".)

                    How did it happen that you just now heard about foreign enterprise terminal concessions? Decades of business as usual, and suddenly it's an "issue". Does that suggest anything?

                    I've given the alarmists an opening they could drive a container ship through. Nobody's made a move ... just kept mumbling about a bogey man somewhere out there in the dark.

                    None Dare Call It Stupid!

                    by RonK Seattle on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 07:01:45 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  You Doth Assume Too Much (4.00)
                      1. Lots of comments about "Arabs" and fear mongering-it is but a short hop skip and a jump from xenophobia to rascism. Fear of the foreigner or stranger- or race.
                      2. What makes you assume I just heard about foreign owned companies managing ports?  Old news to me but I have an inside track that most do not.
                      3. And, yes, it suggests that many have been woefully asleep when they...hey is that Martha and The Donald on together?? Sorry gotta go. Is that a "Slap-snap out of it!" that you intimate? By the way that is an intriguing nickname you have for yourself,"dome other cmt"! Very evocative in a majestic mountainous, Zen koan fashion.
                      •  Still 0-fer (none)
                        1. Skipping and jumping, are you? You are putting words in people's mouths, and then taking umbrage. That's not ordinarily considered fair play.

                        2. Would your "inside track" by any chance give you an axe to grind? Specifically, do the increased efficiencies typical of foreign ports put you at a competitive disadvantage? Are you capitalizing on runaway xenophobia as a lever to eliminate competition?

                        3. You must be asleep at the switch. You've had every opportunity to suggest a concrete threat, and you've whiffed. Good night, and good luck.

                        None Dare Call It Stupid!

                        by RonK Seattle on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 09:29:13 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

            •  Imagine (none)
              .....their hysteria if they actually had any idea or facts on exactly how much of America has already been sold, leased, shared, given away or stolen, from the DOD to security contracts in the hands of private foreign companies...aided and abetted by the very same politicos the little folks are now cheering on this non issue, emotion driven only, port deal.

              Hypocrisy in anything may deceive the cleverest and most penetrating man, but the least wide-awake of children recognizes it....

              by Cal45 on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 05:14:40 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Hi, Ron, (none)
              just thought I'd give you a chance to have the last word, which I know you love to have: Would you include protectionism within nativism or simply as the two being parallel? Does xenophobia encompass both, or is there some distinction among them? A side question would be, does nativism equal nationalism? I'm working on a paper on this whole question, so I'd like to know what an expert thinks about it, because I hope to get an A on this paper.

              "That story is not worth the paper it's rotten on."--Dorothy Parker

              by martyc35 on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 09:58:53 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Some quick stabs (none)
                Protectionism is somewhat parallel to nativism: protectionism pertaining to goods & services, nativism pertaining to persons.

                Protectionism is not necessarily xenophobic ... but it can easily adopt xenophobic sentiments as an auxiliary rationale.

                Nativism and nationalism are potentially quite distinct. Recent immigrants are often the most nationalistic among us. (But cf protectionism and xenophobia.)

                Don't you miss the Good Olde Daze when our worst enemies were The French?

                None Dare Call It Stupid!

                by RonK Seattle on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 10:09:53 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  P.S. Don't forget Chauvinism (none)

                None Dare Call It Stupid!

                by RonK Seattle on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 10:13:12 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  in all kindness (none)
            "It never occurred to me that our elected officials could be so derelict in their duty to manage America's assets with so little regard for potentially catastrophic consequences"

            If you knew nothing of the outsourcing and selling of America's assets, stragetic and otherwise before, you are really going to be upset if you ever find out the true extent.

            Hypocrisy in anything may deceive the cleverest and most penetrating man, but the least wide-awake of children recognizes it....

            by Cal45 on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 05:25:47 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Iceland, China (none)
          Well, it's like this. Iceland we can totally trust because (1) their Scandinavian culture is far less corrupt than most one Earth, (2) their culture is in many respects continuous with our own, (3) they couldn't afford to screw with us (what with there being all of a few hundred thousand Icelanders and the other Scandinavian powers being capable of not much more than threatening cartoons).

          China's dock operations are largely handling Chinese goods, which were largely manufactured for or by American firms. China is not known as a source (or transshipper) of (1) heroin, (2) illegal arms, (3) terrorist volunteers.

          Then take Dubai. It is a source or transhipper of all three that China isn't. Its purpose in owning (the lease on) the port operations has nothing to do with the transit of its own goods. Its culture is one of the most corrupt on Earth, largely discontinuous with our own (the very continuities are points of friction), and they can well afford to screw with us because the Saudis and Iranians and others who depend on Dubai as a major port, a place for to invest their oil fortunes, and a place for transshipping heroin, slaves, illegal arms, terrorist volunteers, and funding for terrorists, would be ready to cut off the Western world's oil supply if we looked the wrong way at Dubai's management of our ports.

          If you think every nation on Earth is the same, and people the same everywhere you go, you either haven't travelled, or you've travelled in a caccoon. I love many of the nations on this Earth; but there are only a few I trust to any great extent. It's only a dangerous fool whose attitude is otherwise.

          •  I learn the most amazing things here every day (none)
            DEA: "This increase in the use of China as a transshipment center can be attributed to an increase in ethnic Chinese influence in the heroin trafficking trade; China's trade and commerce with neighbors in Southeast Asia; a loosening of travel restrictions in China; and the development, in the last 15 years, of a more consumer-oriented society."

            IAGS: "Of particular concern are China's sales to Iran of anti-ship cruise missiles, which pose a threat to oil tanker traffic and American naval vessels operating there. This arms trafficking presents an increasing threat to U.S. global security interests, particularly in the Middle East and Asia. "

            When discussants go to extremes of distortion and denial, I tend to suspect hysteria.

            None Dare Call It Stupid!

            by RonK Seattle on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 05:40:28 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  I would love to travel to (none)
            Dubai, though I've never been. I could stay in the world's only seven-star hotel. I could visit the world's largest indoor ski park, in the middle of the fucking desert. It's a damn cool place. It ain't some third-world terrorist-infested backwater, as you describe it.

            You cannot depend upon American institutions to function without pressure. ---Martin Luther King Jr.

            by Opakapaka on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 05:48:54 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  You have (4.00)
                 A really wacky idea of what's cool.

                 Using the income from a finite resource, extracted as if there's no tomorrow, sold at extortionate prices, and used to massively pollute the environment, in order to turn your own country into a giant mega-mall isn't exactly coolness in my book.  You can get swank hotels (and who needs 'em?) in any other major city on the globe.  And if you want skiing, wouldn't Switzerland or Norway be better?  Dubai sounds like materialism and consumerism gone mad: the victory of massively excessive wealth over both good taste and good sense.

              •  You're wrong. (none)
                Per the Financial Times editorial board:
                (Dubai) long ago decided to invest its (relatively modest) endowment of oil in other ways of making a living. So far, it has done very well. By creating excellent infrastructure and Emirates, one of the worlds most profitable airlines, it seeded not just a regional but international air transport, transhipment and tourism hub. It has also become a regional financial and services centre. Oil revenue now amounts to only 7 per cent of Dubai's income, although it benefits from its federal ties with oil-flush Abu Dhabi.

                You're welcome to believe that claptrap, just don't call yourself reality-based. Investing your income in productive assets--what a horrible thing. I only wish our own government were managed this well.

                You cannot depend upon American institutions to function without pressure. ---Martin Luther King Jr.

                by Opakapaka on Sat Feb 25, 2006 at 10:24:31 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  Sounds like classism to me... (none)
              They've got boatloads of money and live in style... what the hell does that prove?
              •  I hope it helps to prove that (none)
                1. they know how to run businesses,
                2. they're an international transhipment hub, they know how to run ports, apparently, and
                3. we have little reason to fear them managing a few dockside terminals next to those already managed by the Dutch (Maersk).
                The comment stated that travelling to Dubai, or even travelling at all, would leave one with the impression that such places were untrustworthy to do business with, this proves exactly the opposite.

                You cannot depend upon American institutions to function without pressure. ---Martin Luther King Jr.

                by Opakapaka on Sat Feb 25, 2006 at 02:05:05 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  It's *cocoon* (4.00)
            I guess you don't share "our" culture all that much yourself.

            Yes, I know spelling flames are petty - but when someone points to a country and says that they're more likely to be trustworthy because they're more like us - when we're in the throes of yet another era of massive government corruption, and when it's arguable that there has never been a non-corrupt US government, just sometimes more incompetent and/or brazen (hullo? Teapot Dome, anyone? What about the Bureau of Indian Affairs!?!?) and this is true on many local levels across the country too, to the point that I certainly don't trust us, and would recommend that anyone count their fingers after shaking on a deal with us, and besides that claiming small weak countries guaranteed not to fuck with us or deal with those that do - remind me again, how large and rich and powerful pre-9/11 Afghanistan was?

            Anyway, dealing with someone as stupid as this witless wytcld, how else to answer them?

            "Don't be a janitor on the Death Star!" - Grey Lady Bast (change @ for AT to email)

            by bellatrys on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 05:59:04 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Well said. Two comments... (none)
            I'm convinced that the reason Iceland is such a peaceful place has less to do with their Scandanavian heritage than the fact they have almost unlimited free energy. This is purely a presumption, based on densly informed -but ultimately limited- experience with some Icelanders I knew.

            No real content there; just a presumption about someone elses culture. Fodder.

            I have travelled to other countries. Mostly south and central american countries, our fine (and sane, until recently) neighbor to the north; East, if you live here in Alaska. Been ALL OVER the 'states. And I've been alive for a while. And still it surprises me, though mildly these days, that most people living in what we would consider horrible poverty would rather stay where they are and make things better, than come to the U.S. and uncertainty. The more people-responsive governments (and these are still corrupt, just not as repressive) such as Venezuela, Panama, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, at least allow for some hope of betterment. It's not like they don't know what they're missing either. They all have satellite tv.

            No real point other than to say, that if more people got off the tour bus and actually spent time with the brown folk, they might find out that they are just like us: some good, some bad, all of us seeking redemption in one way or another.

      •  Speaking of Gedankenexperimente ... (none)
        ... what is W's exit strategy from this untenable position?

        Can he broker a buy-out of Dubai Ports World by an acceptable acquirer, and let the deal go through with Dubai out of the loop?

        Eureka! How about if we arrange for the PRC to buy out the whole Emirate of Dubai -- lock, stock and barrel -- from the UAE? Problem solved!

        None Dare Call It Stupid!

        by RonK Seattle on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 03:52:54 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  W's (puppet master's) strategy, (none)
          I've been wondering who has financial liability for the infrastructure. Who insures?

          What I was thinking about was the risk of owning coastal based land. What with the (who the hell knows when and how high) model predicted rise in sea level....Who is liable for all the cranes, buildings, machinery, warfs, cargo sitting around....who profits if it is all washed away ala NOLA during a hell of a high tide nor'easter 10 years from now?  Or from a coordinated multi-port attack that demolishes the whole kit&kaboodle?

          Who would profit?

          •  You have a vivid imagination, not well grounded (none)
            The essentials of a port are deep water, level ground, and some degree of shelter from open ocean wave action.

            None of these are easily destroyed in one port, much less many. The rest is replaced easily enough.

            None Dare Call It Stupid!

            by RonK Seattle on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 09:50:05 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  lol, such is life (none)
              for a gemini! At least none dared call it stupid.
              Still want to know who would profit from port destruction.
              btw, raised around the Ports of NY, Jersey, up and down the coast by do have some idea of what the ports look like. Have not researched just what kind of sea level increase would damage them, but keep hearing the 20 foot rise figure. Makes sense to me, having stood at the wall in Battery Park, and looked down.
              •  For a get rich quick scheme ... (none)
                You'd have to assume an exhorbitant profit from adding add a few feet of concrete to existing terminal platforms, over the course of the 100 years it'll take for climate change to raise mean sea levels.

                None Dare Call It Stupid!

                by RonK Seattle on Sat Feb 25, 2006 at 07:25:30 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

      •  This is the point. (none)
        In fact there was a bidding war for P&O, between DP World and PSA, which is owned by the Singapore Government. So would you be complaining if PSA, owned by the Singapore government, was buying P&O? Would you complain if the Singapore government was buying management of operations of these terminals in our ports? And you do know that the Port of Singapore is one of the most efficiently run in the world?

        I can't imagine this response if it was Singapore instead of the UAE, and this is due to the ethic background of the UAE in very large part. At the same time, this xenophobia has been promoted by Bush for years and I applaud us calling him on his hypocrisy. Just let's not stoop to his level.

        You cannot depend upon American institutions to function without pressure. ---Martin Luther King Jr.

        by Opakapaka on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 04:08:58 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Actually (4.00)
          DP World engaged in what is known as an aggressive takeover to derail bidding by PSA. But that's neither here nor there, as far as I can tell.

          I can understand why DP World and PSA would want to acquire these assets. Bully for them, they tried. But it would not be in America's best interests to let the deal go through. Just as it wasn't in the best interests of America to let P&O's bid go through.

          I've written this several times on this thread alone - my principal issue here is one of pitting the public good against the private good. The altruism that public good requires must necessarily be sacrificed by profit-seeking businesses for the private good when conflicts arise. That's just the way it works. I don't hate the players or the game. I'm saying they can't play in every room of the house. This really isn't as sinister or unfriendly as many of you seem to believe.

          For the public's welfare, we need to be able to draw boundaries in which the private sector is allowed to operate. US seaports goes too far for me. Had I known our ports had been exposed to private investors before this, I'd have added that to the ever-growing list of things I regularly cry havoc about.

          The soul that is within me no man can degrade. - Frederick Douglass

          by Kimberley on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 05:12:58 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  That's fine. (none)
            It's important that whatever standard we choose, it apply to all companies equally, i.e. we don't discriminate against countries in the Middle East. I would just say two things:

            1. I disagree. I did a presentation in college on Singapore's transportation system, and their ports are automated and ultramodern, they're way beyond us in terms of efficiency and throughput. They have to be, they are a transshipment hub, they don't produce or consume much themselves, yet they're the world's busiest port in terms of shipping tonnage. I would gladly have the Singaporean PSA run our ports. I'm really not so terrified of terrorism anyways, there are so many other greater threats we face everyday, especially considering US Customs and the Coast Guard are in charge of port security anyways.

            2. I think the vast majority of people who are complaining about this merger do not agree with you, i.e. do not think we should have government-owned port operation companies in the US and exclude private companies or foreign companies from this business. It seems at least the three largest port operation companies are foreign-owned anyways. This would likely lead to inefficient port operations and higher priced imports, and we still wouldn't be that much more secure.

            You cannot depend upon American institutions to function without pressure. ---Martin Luther King Jr.

            by Opakapaka on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 05:37:11 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  One last thought experiment: Can anyone here ... (none)
        ... pose a worst-case scenario under which widespread US disapproval of a foreign government -- plus exaggerated perception of that government's threat potential -- combine to result in adverse consequences to US interests?

        None Dare Call It Stupid!

        by RonK Seattle on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 04:29:05 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I wouldn't have wanted (none)
             A company controlled by Saddam Hussein in charge of American ports.   Call me xenophobic if you like, but that's just the way I feel.

             Nor, at the present, would I be any more comfortable with control of our ports by Cuba, Syria, Iran, North Korea, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Zimbabwe, Pakistan, Belarus, Russia, or the People's Republic of China.

  •  The greatest Patriot (4.00)
    I happen to believe that Martin Luther King, Jr is one of the greatest, if not THE greatest patriot of the past 200 years.  If I am not mistaken it was this great patriot's dream that we should be judged by the content of our character and not the color of our skin.

    Why must that change now?

    The color of Dubai skin is irrelevant.  It is the content of their character which makes them a threat to national security.  It is not the color of British skin that makes us trust them; it is the content of the character as evaluated over a 200+ period of cooperation and exclusive intelligence agreements.  It is not the whiteness of skin that makes the British company a publicly traded company; it is not the brownness of skin that makes DPW a state controlled company.

    It is the content of character and choices that form these circumstances totally divorced from race.

    If one cannot recognize that obvious distinction then his or her opinion is not only uninformed, it is beneath derision.

    How do you eat an elephant? A piece at a time.

    by electricgrendel on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 02:48:15 PM PST

    •  200+? (none)
         Not sure what you mean by that, but the United States has really only trusted the British since World War I, and the British and Americans have only been hand in glove since World War II.
      •  History (none)
        But we have a history of political and diplomatic interactions.  This may not be of the privileged status it is today, but we haven't been hand on throat since 1812.  That sort of relationship and trust is the sort fostered over centuries and the private nature of the British business is another consideration that goes beyond diplomatic history.

        To believe for a moment that the relationship between America and Dubai is on par in terms of history, trust or warrant of trust as derived from history is to egregiously overstate American/UAE relationships and to denigrate a diplomatic relationship that is, in terms of American history, second only to our relationship with France.

        How do you eat an elephant? A piece at a time.

        by electricgrendel on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 04:23:30 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Oh, I agree (none)
             I just thought you were pushing the relationship back a little bit further than was warranted.
        •  More history (none)
          FDR did not trust the British (Churchill). He planned to see an end to their (and other European) colonial escapades in Asia after the war. Sadly, he died at the close of WWII and that didn't happen. We'd be living in a much different world had FDR lived another 10 years.

          Roosevelt's understanding of the threat posed to world peace by the continuation of imperialism, was recorded by his son Elliott in his book, As He Saw It. FDR told his son,

              "The colonial system means war. Exploit the resources of an India, a Burma, a Java; take all the wealth out of these countries, but never put anything back into them, things like education, decent standards of living, minimum health requirements--all you're doing is storing up the kind of trouble that leads to war. All you're doing is negating the value of any kind of organizational structure for peace before it begins.''

          At the Casablanca conference in January of 1943, Roosevelt was even more emphatic:

              "I'm talking about another war. I'm talking about what will happen to our world, if after this war we allow millions of people to slide back into the same semi-slavery! Don't think for a moment, Elliott, that Americans would be dying in the Pacific tonight, if it hadn't been for the shortsighted greed of the French and the British and the Dutch. Shall we allow them to do it all, all over again? Your son will be about the right age, fifteen or twenty years from now.''

          Roosevelt understood the danger that British imperial policies posed to the world, and he was acutely aware that he would have to deal with this threat, in a forceful manner, at the conclusion of the war. In 1942, Roosevelt quipped, prophetically, to one of his advisors:

              "We will have more trouble with Great Britain after the war than we are having with Germany now."

  •  If a smackdown can be called ... (4.00)
    ...beautiful, Hunter, then this one is gorgeous. I agree with all of your points wholeheartedly.

    However, as the Danish cartoons debate proves, we often find in the midst of a perfectly reasonable stance some elements of incredibly ill-informed ethnocentrism. Not everybody lays it out so clearly and reasonably as you.

    •  I think it may have needed more swearing. n/t (4.00)
      •  Fuck, no. (4.00)
        It was just fucking great the way it was.

        I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it. -- Thomas Jefferson [-4.25, -5.33]

        by GTPinNJ on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 02:56:05 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  It may have needed more artful redundancy, (none)
        but I was certainly willing to do without that. You don't want to overdo the power of repetition. It worked with white phosphorus, but it wasn't needed here. Good job, and keep it up.

        "That story is not worth the paper it's rotten on."--Dorothy Parker

        by martyc35 on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 10:17:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I've been wondering (4.00)
      what your take on this would be but haven't been able to wade through the diaries calling us all racists here.

      I'm also curious about your step-son's take on it.

      "I was Rambo in the disco. I was shootin' to the beat. When they burned me in effigy. My vacation was complete." Neil Young. Mideast Vacation.

      by Mike S on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 03:05:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  My stepson sees it both ... (4.00)
        ...ways. He knows that too many Americans see this through a prism of ethnocentrism, and he worries about what this means for him personally as an Oregon-born, Libyan-raised Arab. But he completely agrees that there is a security issue and views with disdain the corporate backslapping aspect of the port story. On the Danish cartoons, he and I found ourselves in far less agreement.
        •  I worry about that too. (4.00)
          While I do get some perverse pleasure in watching people who have equated Arabs and/or Muslims with wanting to destroy this country attempting to walk it back some, I'm still conserned about the over all direction it is heading. That's why I prefer to see the argumant stated with facts.

          People like us who live in cities where we interact with a wide range of cultures and races are far more able to differentiate than Bush's base in places where people are either white or have a farmers tan. I always try to keep in mind 9/11 and the rage I felt at all Arabs until I went into my local store and saw the anguish on the owners face. It was the only thing that stopped my decent into an abyss of hate.

          "I was Rambo in the disco. I was shootin' to the beat. When they burned me in effigy. My vacation was complete." Neil Young. Mideast Vacation.

          by Mike S on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 03:56:19 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Wow. (4.00)
    Hunter, way to put the nuance and the righteous indignation into this issue.

    Soup for you, sir!


    "Dick Cheney: just a big bowl of bad."

    by Ari Mistral on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 02:49:48 PM PST

  •  Peter King is spewing venom against Arabs... (none)
    ...which is only to be expected.

    But, with Schumer at his side? Oy - I'm gonna be sick...

  •  Thanks, Hunter. (4.00)
    But it's even closer

    ... but a country whose royals met with Bin Laden in an Afghanistan-based "hunting" camp in 1999 gets to manage how the shipping containers move around at six of our nation's ports. And I'm supposed to be damn glad for the corporate-state inclusiveness.

    It's the same alleged bin Laden-hunting ROYAL FAMILY who is not just a part of the same COUNTRY,but the COMPANY ITSELF. I am completely willing to be wrong about these reports but I have yet to see a full satisfying explanation of it, and I can't quite get how it could be possibly construed as racist to ask for one.  

    "Why can't you and the idea of separation of powers just hug it out, bitch?" Wonkette

    by Hollywood Liberal on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 02:53:42 PM PST

  •  All arguments denigrating libs on this issue (4.00)
    Need to accommodate why pubs hate the port deal, too.

    And vice-versa.

    It goes against reason to assume that two diametrically opposed groups will be guilty of the same crime in the act of agreeing with one another that a threat in common is good reason to act in common against that threat.

    I submit that some people have made their blogging bones being contradictory and argumentative, and right now being passive-aggressive against anything that creates a pause in the bipartisan hatefest is bad news to their fortunes.

    I see a few Kossack heavy hitters going the wrong way on this issue, some because they just don't get it.

    Others because they get it, but see advantage in being obtuse.

    Once again, with feeling

    It's. Not. About. Dubai.

    It's about an out of control executive that makes bad decisions in secret, then denies any knowledge of doing so once it's clear that the decision really was as badly received as they knew it would be ahead of time.

    There are people who just won't change, just because change is beneficial to the people who trust them to do the right thing.

    In fact, they get off on being bad.

    And these people currently run the United States of America.

    Rather, they have all but run it into the ground, one major U.S. city at a time.

    And they really like running up the score on America, I think.

    And I find myself amazed at the strange support that crops up, every so often, in defense of Bush in his time of greatest need.

    All because it is better to give Bush a pass than to endure any common cause, however fleeting, with the right.

    But maybe it's just me.

    Maybe I've got it all wrong.

    Maybe there's a principled reason to support the ports deal.


    I'm waiting.


    I was invited to be pissy. :)

    It's not that they don't know Jack. It's that they don't know him on a first-name basis. :)

    by cskendrick on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 02:55:17 PM PST

    •  As I scrolled through your beautiful (none)
      and brutally frank comment, my first reaction was "right on!" My second reaction was "This poster called out fellow kossaks worse than me on this thread!" My third reaction was "I know this deadly and beautiful truthteller! I've read this kind of comment before."
      And then I got to your user name, and shouted "CsKendrick! Of course! Of course!" Thanks. You are always an inspiration, even on pedestrian threads. This beautiful diary, one of Hunter's finest in a while [which is really saying something] is truly worthy of your comments.

      You know, one gets so used to rightwing hypocrisy, the nose gets a little numb. But the last few days the stench rose up so strongly, here in my little eyrie, that I repeatedly emptied the garbage, checked to make sure I had flushed, checked the trousers for accidents; all the things old people do on such occasions.
      Then it hit me. It was the increased oder emanating from my computer! I was smelling lib hypocrisy mixed with wingnut hypocrisy! Well, I'm a glass-is-half-full guy, so I tried stuffing my monitor into a dracena which needs fertilizer. Wouldn't fit. So I hit on the idea of printing out Bushco statements and some of the riper drivel here and on other threads, mixing them in my blender, and feeding my dracena plant. Now I need a new blender, but the plant is flourishing as if I'd replanted it in a pasture...

      •  It's like objecting to oxygen (none)
        Just because Tom DeLay needs it, too.

        And that's just crazy talk. :)

        Thanks for the props

        I took a bit of a chance, speaking to power (Hunter) like I just did.

        But that's why we come here, I suppose.

        If we're ever afraid to slap our local luminaries when they ask for it, we're pretty much done in the big game, I think.

        It's not that they don't know Jack. It's that they don't know him on a first-name basis. :)

        by cskendrick on Sat Feb 25, 2006 at 04:20:49 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Perfect (4.00)
    Nobody debunks the right better than you Hunter!

    The racism accusation is mind numbing hypocrisy coming from the crew that set it up that way. The fact that it is now biting BushCo in the ass is a form of irony unknown to those that are wringing their hands now.

    I am worried about this deal because it is corporate globalization ushered in under the most venal, secretive administration ever. I do not trust them to do the right thing and I want this deal rescinded and congressional oversight put in place. The fact that other people don't like it because they are anti-Arab does not mean that my dislike of this deal is unalterably tainted by that. Bush knows this is a bad deal for average Americans that't why it was double-ultra supersecret to begin with.

    Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought- John F. Kennedy

    by vcmvo2 on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 02:55:27 PM PST

  •  whoa!! (4.00)
    This is all a little too gray for me (or grey, depending if you are one of them foreigners).  I like mine issues either in a nice bright white or a nice dark black.  How'm'I supposed to be able to hate properly with all this nuance? You're confusing me.  I'm not so good at the geography and I like to be able to hate using simple symbols, like turbans, or the always handy skin color.  Are you trying to say someone can think through an issue and make a decision on the facts of that very same issue!?   I don't take kindly to that. Someone pass me a glowstick....nah...get me a used one for this commie trickster.  
    •  that's exactly the problem... (none)
      The only reason they use such a ridiculous tact (the "if you don't approve this deal it's because you hate Arabs" one) is because we live in a country where a frightening number of people have a "love it or leave it" mentality. If our government wants to have a war or do anything else pretty much, we're traitors if we don't agree with them (unless the President's a Demmicrat). If say...people in Nazi Germany had the same mentality about THEIR government...well...they were just wrong.

      Being born in the geographical location of The United States means your leaders are by definition correct in all they do: to disgree is treasonous.
      The very fact that they'd try to argue this "you're racist if you argue against US port control by a state-owned company in a state whose government has ties to terrorists" concept proves how little regard they have for brainpower of the American people. It's insulting they think we're so stupid and even sadder that many of us might fall for this ploy.

  •  Don't forget Kevin Drum (none)
    over at Washington Monthly. Nothing to worry about here, must be xenophobia.
  •  Excuse me (none)
    I've insulted David Ingatius plenty thank you very much.

    The SCOTUS is extraordinary.

    by Armando on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 02:57:56 PM PST

  •  I know racism (4.00)
    But concerns about this deal from where I sit are hardly racist. I happen to be a black woman who lives in one of the port cities. I work across the street from the Port of Miami, where drugs manage to come through fairly regularly already.

    I do care who runs port operations, and resent the idea that any foreign government gets the opportunity. I would have been just as pissed had I known the Brits were running the show till now.

    For Dubya to play the race card is silly. Well, no it isn't. He's used race to scare his base whenever they threatened to get out of line.

    The only good thing about this particular mess is that the race baiting is biting him in the ass -- big time.

    -7.38, -5.23 One day we ALL will know the truth about the 2000 presidential election. God help us all.

    by CocoaLove on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 02:58:57 PM PST

  •  Thanks, good to know I'm neither racist or nuts (4.00)
    I was stunned today when I jotted a quick diary on how we now have 21 ports in the deal. The first major response was that this was xenophobic and equating all Arabs with terrorists.

    This friggin government has paid squat attention to port security, approves the port deal without any major outside questioning of security risk, cuts the deal three weeks prior to entering the fourth round of negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement with the UAE, and when I ask if this is in the best national security interest, I'm a racist.

    But the UAE is moderate, you say? Sorta. But on the question of the cartoon fiasco, Dubai has this to say:

    In the UAE, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that it would be forced to impose a boycott on all Danish and Norwegian products if the Federation of GCC Chambers of Commerce and Industry in Saudi Arabia agrees to coordinate boycott action regionally.

    Moderation is a thin line when religious fervor takes hold, affecting both political and business decisions alike. We know this here. Why -- particularly at this point in history -- would we expect the absence of any conflict of interest from a state-owned corporation from another country whose historical alliance with us is, at best, irractic?

    If we don't ask the question, then we are racist.

    •  So a BOYCOTT (none)
      means that they are terrorists?

      Maybe I'm missing some point in your post.
      I don't get it, sorry.

      "Rovus Vulgaris Americanus" nasty, soon-to-be-indicted co-conspirator -7.63, -9.59

      by shpilk on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 03:56:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No, I think they have conflicting loyalties. (4.00)
        The article I cited was showing differing interpretations as to the effectiveness of a boycott, as stated in the lead-in:

        "While Islamist clerics and regional trade groups have called for a boycott of European goods in reprisal for the caricaturing of Prophet Muhammad, leading Arab academics and intellectuals say this could only boomerang on the religion and its followers."

        In spite of this difference of opinion among respected members of the community, Dubai would support a boycott had it been regionally coordinated.

        Politics and religion make for strange bedfellows and even more difficult politics. What if there is a call for reprisals against the US intervention in the mideast and it were to regionally coordinated? Where will Dubai side and how will it direct its state-owned corporations?

        How do we know the outcome? What assurances do we have?

    •  There's a lot of knee-jerk (4.00)
      self-righteousness accusing others of knee-jerk racism.

      This above all: to thine own self be true,... Thou canst not then be false to any man.-WS

      by Agathena on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 06:08:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  my main problem is the contradiction (4.00)
    of why it is okay for a foreign government to run several of our shipping ports, yet it is somehow unthinkable for our government to run our own healthcare industry.

    i'm an agnostic, i'd be an atheist if it weren't for mozart

    by rasbobbo on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 03:01:24 PM PST

  •  Yeah... (4.00)
    We're racist and the GOP isn't...

    That's such obvious political spin that nobody in their right minds (which admittedly only looks to be about 65% of our population) could even listen to it without cracking up laughing.

    Conservative talkers are desperate.

    Rush... calling us racists... that's the funniest thing I ever heard.

    Hey, if they want to put billions of dollars for corporate crooks over the safety of our people, that's no surprise.

    Conservatives do that for a living... but to try to excuse it when they got caught with their fat fingers in the cookie jar by saying all the liberals who are willing to admit how corrupt the UAE is... the GOP is going to call us? the racists now?

    Rush and his ilk are double desperate. That's just laughable... and even maybe half of his braindead listeners will even know that...

    •  Rush? (none)
      Calling me a racist? Isn't this the same man who referred to the horrendous torture of Iraqis by Americans as "letting off steam" and a "prank"? I guess OK'ing the torture of Iraqis is good and objecting to the UAE being given control of our ports is bad and makes me a racist. Do I have this right? I'm so confused. Help me understand this, putz.

      Hostage smiles on presidents, freedom scribbled in the subway. It's like night and day. - Joni Mitchell

      by jazzlover on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 04:50:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Looks like (none)
    our platitude president's fear mongering has worked too well.  Now he is stuck with the consequences of his "be-afraid" rhetoric. The Cult of Bush is revolting against him.  

    Who would have thought that it would be the port situation that caused the rift?  The tide is turning, so to speak.

    I think we are at the tipping point - not only with the port fiasco, but also with the religious war in Iraq.  It is becoming more apparent everyday that his policies have been nothing but failures.  

    Once trust is lost, it is difficult to get it back.  And it looks like he has lost the trust of his base.

    The government should not be in the business of saving souls.

    by LynChi on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 03:05:01 PM PST

    •  The tide began to change with Katrina. (none)
      Thinking Republicans - there are a few - really began jumping ship after the total incompetence of the administration's handling of that disaster. Now the wingnuts with jobs are beginning to question him. It looks like the snake handlers are the only ones left who have confidence that Dumbyah can "protect the American people from the tareists."
  •  Um, respectfully... (4.00)
    First, David Brooks is a racist bastard, so I'm definitely not defending anyone who has been criticizing liberals for being racist. They ought to be pointing in their own faces.

    However, here's how I see racism and anti-Arab sentiment playing into this: The problem is associating whatever it is we see as a problem with the UAE - meeting with bin Laden in 1999, not recognizing Israel, al Qaeda money going through the private banking system there, etc. - as being as being sufficient evidence of an increased chance that they are likely to commit terrorist acts or allow terrorist acts to occur. If your arguments aren't strong, then it looks like you're just relying on the old stereotypes of Arabs as prone to terrorism and violence. And that'd be racist.

    As I see it, the U.S. is too much of a terrorist threat to run these ports. We funded bin Laden as recently as, what, 1996? And plenty of terrorist money is flowing through our banks, I'm sure. Not to mention terrorist cells operating here. John Walker Lindh was born here, and Jose Padilla is a citizen. Hell, we taught the 9/11 hijackers how to fly, for chrissakes!

    When this story broke, I felt that people on the left were much, much too quick to oppose this deal before they had enough facts about it. They couldn't have had enough facts about it immediately because half of them were classified. And some of the characterizations about it - that Arabs were buying the port, that we're outsourcing security now - were clearly ill-informed. That makes it look like base racism. That concerned me.

    In the past few days, much has come out that looks as if this deal was not reviewed sufficiently, and Congress should no question be reviewing that. There are legitimate arguments to be made against this deal, but I do believe that a number of people on the left were relying at least a little bit on their racist assumptions. That's enough for concern in my book.

    Mr. President, have pity on the workingman...

    by Esgie on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 03:05:39 PM PST

    •  David Brooks (4.00)
      stated on Imus this morning, presumably with a straight face although I can't say for sure since it was radio, that "they" meaning the UAE were "just trying to make a buck".  I nearly ran a stop sign.  

      So, we are to feel sorry for the poor struggling United Arab Emirates.  No one should be buying the crap argument that this is a third world coutry trying to find it's place in modernity.  They have more money than they know what to do with.  They just don't take care of their people.  Hope I find a transcript for his blathering appearance (it could hardly be called an interview with Imus running things).  It was truly amazing.

      "Just because your voice reaches halfway around the world doesn't mean you are wiser than when it reached only to the end of the bar." Edward R. Murrow

      by justrock on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 03:46:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  If the DKos community is so racist (4.00)
    Why are 90% of us sympathetic towards the Iraqi

    We do more than give lip service to them, we actually CARE and protest a war we are forced to pay for with our paychecks which is contributing to countless civillian deaths and even more unrest in the area.

    Dubai is a government. Its okay to jugde a government based on past actions and affiliations.

    Dubai is not a person.

    Not mention they may be behind some of the insurgencies in Iraq.

    MATTHEWS says Bush sometimes "glimmers" with "sunny nobility" (Hardball, 10/24/05)

    by Krush on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 03:05:49 PM PST

    •  Says you (4.00)
      If we REALLY cared about the Iraqis, we'd support the efforts to liberate them.  Instead, we all wish there had been no war and Saddam was still in power, etc, etc.

      Code Pink held a fundraising drive for the residents of devastated Fallujah and Michelle Malkin claims to this day that they "raised money for the terrorists."

      It's not easy to show you care in a world where caring about people means invading their country and blowing up thousands of them.

      •  I would suport any effort to actually liberate (none)
        Iraqi people instead of the US setting up shop

        MATTHEWS says Bush sometimes "glimmers" with "sunny nobility" (Hardball, 10/24/05)

        by Krush on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 03:33:09 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  black-and-white thinking. (4.00)
        liberate them to what?

        Bill O'Reilly made the classic mistake of assuming that the US government can actually control people by his comment on those uncontrollable "crazies."

        I think some people need to look at our own government.  There was internal strife at the creation of our republic, but it ultimately worked because people agreed to the principles of the government.  They were equal humans before they were servants to Uncle Sam.

        In Iraq we have tried to enslave people in a democratic system using the Iraqi army.  Without the self-determination, they will forever rest on our military as a crutch to save them.

        I've never seen a single person claim that Saddam wasn't bad.  But it doesn't matter how bad he was if we can't replace him with something better.  What's worse is that once we leave, a new dictator could emerge that could be magnitudes more brutal than Saddam--simply because more force will be needed if this civil war gets out of hand to force them into this artificial box of a nation.

        Here's the basic problem with empathy and helping others.  People like to donate money to charity or those TV campaigns for African children or whatever.  But they do this not because they actually want to help, but they just want to feel good about themselves.  The idea of helping others makes people (or at least certain Americans) feel good about themselves.  But do you really care to help anyone at all?  Do you follow-up to see if the money actually gets to the intended people?  That's a rhetorical question.

        Politicians give lip-service to "liberation" because they know the masses are gullible soft-bodies.  They know all the heartfelt strings to pull.

        The situation in Darfur is bad.  People wonder "how can you sit around and not do anything?"  Do what exactly?  And this is the problem.  To promote any positive change, it must always come from the inside.  We do not know enough about the Iraqis to solve all their problems for them.  We can take out dictators, but at some point it's up to the people to gain a sense of self-determination.  And it won't always be in our arrogant self-interest, as is the case with Palestine and Hamas as well as Iran.

        The best we can do is to inspire people to follow us by leading by example.  That's going to be an uphill battle as long as we are invading countries for economic purposes with a "do as we say, not as we do" mentality.  And that's the dirty little secret of Western civilization.

    •  Ironic, isn't it? (none)
      They accuse us of being racist. I've lost track of how many times I have heard wingnuts raving against "ragheads" and "sand n*ggers". Then these same people accuse us of being racist.
  •  Tell it. Amen. (none)
    The racist remarks were and are unfortunate and I disagreed with them as much as most... but being attempted consistency in regards to race and minorities was likely at the root of those comments, I hope people can forgive their transgressions and not humiliate or intimidate when some start writing again.

    I think Hunter's statement on it was fair yet terse, almost simply an acknowledgement but definitely underlying the whole premise of the argument (Taliban-recognizing countries shouldn't have any knowledge of port security).

    I couldn't have said it better.

    Why did Jesus overturn the Church money exchange and say to "Destroy This Temple?"

    by a gnostic on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 03:06:48 PM PST

    •  the "racist" remarks are driving me (4.00)
      absolutely MAD!  

      having grown up in a segregated south and lived (thankfully) during desegration - and realizing that NOT being a racist means you decide which person you like or dislike based SOLELY on that individual and his/her character.  period!

      i fought many battles with people who blurted out "YOU ARE A RACIST!" because i disliked an INDIVIDUAL - i fought frequently to explain that civil rights means EQUAL rights - the right to judge and evaluate EVERY individual AS an individual!

      this port deal is not a racist issue, but bushco would muddy the waters in their attempt to bully left/liberals/fair minded individuals into accepting what is a very bad miscalculation!

      the evidence is growing that dubai and the UAE are very questionable in their record-keeping, their associations, and their intent - as is bushco!

      randi rhodes did an extraordinary show tonite listing why the UAE royal family should be very afraid of doing business with bushco.  she compared the "coziness" of our government with hussein until it no longer served our purpose to be "friendly" with him - she listed much more - stating that the minute another attack takes place here - that they will all be "toast" - literally!

      i simply cannot fathom how this nation could even consider sharing classified port security information with ANY nation from an area so unstable!  it is beyond comprehension - and it has absolutely NOTHING to do with race!  would bushco share this information with north korean companies? chinese national (translate communist government) companies? or even venezuela, for that matter!

      the racist cry is an attempt to shut down disagreement from the liberal and democratic side of the fence - after all!  name call and many run and cower in fear of being "misunderstood"!


      •  step up to the altar, edrie my dear (none)
        "Step up and confess! Your heart is encrusted with the barnacles of race hatred! Confess, you inferior, faux, phony-baloney liberal, you've been caught in the act! Strip away your beards of altruism and confess your inner Klansperson, the ruler of your heart all along..."


        It's like a secular version of the classic hell-fire revivalist sermon, ain't it? "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry Leftist." A few Kossacks who have raised race concerns have managed to maintain a minimum presumption of goodwill in this debate, but the majority are just firing into their own ranks with high liberal pieties blazing. What's your analysis? Could there be more going on than meets the eye?


        Is nothing secular?

        by aitchdee on Sat Feb 25, 2006 at 09:05:02 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  my first chuckling response to ya was (none)
          to quote good ol' professor quirrel  and yell....
          trooOOOOOLLLLLLLLLLlllllllllllll!  - (remembering what HE had to hide!) - but then i thought about it for a minute and realized that maybe, perhaps just MAYbe some people really DO think this is based on prejudice!

          many people were so sensitive to the inequities of blacks in the sixties that they were trying desperately to make amends (and, god knows!, amends NEEDED to be made!) - to the point of refusing to criticise behavior in fear of criticising blacks.  my position was then and is now - each situation stands alone.  one should decide on a course of action based of the specifics surrounding that situation!  if a person is trafficing heroin in harlem to other blacks - it is NOT a racial issue (except for the white mob bosses bringing the dope INTO harlem - but to them, it is JUST about money!) this is a DRUG issue!

          and THIS issue is a SECURITY issue!  i think this is what is going on to a degree here - and the republicans are seizing this sensitivity to full advantage to push a horrific deal that would never stand if the country involved were n. korea, china, heck - even venezuela!

          can you imagine that this would have been done during the reagan years - putting the ports in the hands of nicaragua or el salvador- no, forget them - too obvious, rather in the hands of the government of costa rica? (they were very much in business with u.s. interests during those days and very sympathetic to us!)

          no, wait - better example:  what would have happened if we had put the area in the hads of the shah of iran?  we had VERY close ties with him - better example.

          the shah's government was secular - very successful (with the backing of the u.s., of course) with a very large presence of u.s. citizens in iran at the embassy.

          look how quickly that changed!  imagine now, the emir and family are overthrown by a violent uprising (since that region is REALLY stable, right?) and suddenly, all those classified issues are now under control of a NEW group!

          sigh... sometimes i really see the clarity of the school system failing this generation!  teaching to test results has almost wiped the slate clean in teaching applied logic, critical thinking, civics, government, world history, etc.

          i wonder some days if it will ever change - then i remember, this is what EVERY older generation says - so i have hope, again.




  •  Bingo.... (none)
    "By that inane logic, opposing Columbian drug cartels would be bigotry against Mexicans.)"

    and this is just hilarious...sad that you actually have to make that clear to someone...but a great example of the illogic that's plaguing us lately.

  •  Bravura performance, Hunter! (none)
    I'll admit right now that I don't have a handle on this port deal.  Yeah, I 'instinctively' don't like it, but I haven't researched it independently (gawd, there are soooo many scandals to keep up with.) This post makes me feel incredibly lazy because you've laid out such a persausive argument to ditch the deal that I feel relieved that I don't have to look into this one.  That's not like me!

    But you know what?  I'm going with your analysis, Hunter.  Makes damn good sense and is funnier in its vitriol than Dave Chappelle.

    Now THIS is what I come to dKos for!

  •  Add this - (4.00)
    From the village voice:

    A Russian arms merchant funnels money, guns, and dope through the United Arab Emirates

    by James Ridgeway

    An excerpt:

    "The UAE is not only the center of financial dealings in the Persian Gulf, it is switching central for dope and arms dealing. The dope comes out of Afghanistan into the UAE where tax monies are collected and used to buy arms, which were sent back in for the Taliban. Some of this money is thought to have helped finance the 9-11 attacks. A money trail is set forth in the government's filings in the Moussaoui case."

    and: "In fact, the United Arab Emirates have been viewed as hub for trade going and coming to Afghanistan, with drugs coming from Afghanistan on their way to the West, and weapons from Bout, going back. While transportation was via Bout's different air cargo interests, it also involved the Afghan state airlines, called Ariana Airlines. The airline was controlled by Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda agents masquerading as Ariana employees flew out of Afghanistan, through Sharjah, one of the emirates, and on to points west. "

    This about guns and drugs, just watch the opium pour into our ports. I am disgusted that we don't have more press working on the past dealings of this company.  

  •  And all this time (4.00)
    Boy was I mistaken.  All this time I thought zenophobia referred to an irrational fear of convergent sequences.

    this message is intended to inform. any annoyance, abuse, threat, or harassment is solely in the perception of the reader, not the intention of the poster.

    by horsewithnoname on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 03:13:13 PM PST

  •  Yes (none)
    You, Hunter, are my leader.
  •  A simple rule (none)
    I've posted this several times in the last few days and I will keep posting it until it sinks in ("got to catapult the propaganda").

    There is a simple rule to follow in this discussion:

    profiling people = not so good

    profiling countries = not so bad

    The UAE is a country. It is not a person. It is literally impossible for suspicion of a country to be racists because a country is not a race.

  •  Ann Coulter is a trans sexual (1.00)
    We on the left have known for a number of years that ann coulter maybe a trans sexual.  Her atoms apple is a give away.  Here are a few links that confirms what we have known for a while.  Pass this around and no i am not wearing a tin foil hat.

  •  You know what? (1.90)
    This diary and the many decrying the calls of racist are complete bullshit.

    What I've seen for the most part (and there have certainly been exceptions) is that intelligent peopel have questioned why the UAE deal would be so closely scrutinized when the British role was not.

    Now, maybe it really was a reaction to the fact the UAE company is owned by the UAE government.  But thats not how I saw the reaction develop.

    What I saw was a mostly subconscious "Oh, hell no!" reaction to a Middle Eastern entity running port security.  I had the same reaction viscerally.  Then I pulled back and have changed my mind.

    There are plenty of legitimate reasons to opose the UAE deal.  But I think it is completely disingenuous in 2005 in America to pretend that the Middle Eastern/Arab connection didn't enter into the initial emotional reaction to the deal.

    Liberals are racist.  Conservatives are racists.  Libertarians and Greens and everyone are racist to some extent.  It's the culture you were raised in.  One of the overwhelming themes of American history has been race and bigotry.  We've fought against it since Plymouth Rock when the Pilgrims starved rather than eat weird food.  We fought aginst it during the witch hunts, and the Civil War and the Civil Rights movement and the backlash against Mexican immigration.  It's part of our culture.

    Maybe you were lucky enough to be raised by Mahatma Ghandi and Rosa Parks, but most of us weren't. We were raised by good people with some bad notions in their heads who passed them on to us to one extent or another.

    The difference between most of the people here at DK and most of the people on the right wing sites who were raise din similar families is that we pause, examine our possible prejudices, and correct for our principles before we take a stand.

    So I can support you if you oppose or support the UAE deal for rational reasons.  But don't pretend that much of the INITIAL REACTION to this deal wasn't tainted by race and xenophobia.

    RULE OF LAW. That's all the reason you need to oppose Republicans.

    by nightsweat on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 03:19:27 PM PST

    •  D'oh (none)
      2006, of course.

      RULE OF LAW. That's all the reason you need to oppose Republicans.

      by nightsweat on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 03:26:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  speak for yourself with the labels, sunshine (4.00)

      "Rovus Vulgaris Americanus" nasty, soon-to-be-indicted co-conspirator -7.63, -9.59

      by shpilk on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 03:58:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  You are SO wrong. (4.00)
      I don't have to pretend, and I don't think others do either, as you suggest, because it is not true. I did not think about race ONCE in the hours I spent thinking about this DPW deal. I thought about the security issues, how China would not let America manage its ports, and how ridiculous it was that any Mideast company should manage ours. I think changes should be made.

      And as I thought about the implications and read more I found that there were many questionable relationships connected with this deal, Bush, Snow etc. that reek of the croneyism that saturate the Bush administration. For that reason alone I would be against it.

      •  Parse your own statement (none)
        "how ridiculous it was that any Mideast company should manage ours."

        Would you include Israel in that statement?  Are they not as loyal an ally as Britain?

        If you would not, then think about what "Mideast" means in the quoted statement.  What about the geography of the country makes it unpalatable to run an operation another foreign ally ran?

        This is exactly what I mean.  It's not obvious and I don't doubt at all, Gorette, that you are an essentially good person who does not let race enter her daily decisions.

        But racism is an insidious evil that we bathe in every day, and it can be hard to shake all the drops of it off.

        RULE OF LAW. That's all the reason you need to oppose Republicans.

        by nightsweat on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 06:52:08 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I would include Israel in that bunch (4.00)
          Haven't you ever heard of the USS Liberty? And for the record, what got me was the fact that DPW is a state owned coroporation which in turn has ties to al-Qaeda. It doesn't matter if they are muslim, christian, jewish, or buddist for that matter. What do the actions of the people invovled tell you? They tell me that this deal stinks to high heaven!

          I may not agree with what you say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it. -Voltaire

          by baracon on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 11:25:03 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Have you heard of Dolly Madison (none)
            And the burning of the White House by the British?

            So how far back does an ally have to be friendly, and how far from Jerusalem and Mecca does an ally have to be to be trustworthy?

            RULE OF LAW. That's all the reason you need to oppose Republicans.

            by nightsweat on Sat Feb 25, 2006 at 04:12:56 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Umm... (none)
              How about a bit longer than 4 years?
              •  OK (none)
                From the Department of State website -

                U.S.-U.A.E. RELATIONS
                The United States has enjoyed friendly relations with the U.A.E. since 1971. Private commercial ties, especially in petroleum, have developed into friendly government-to-government ties which include security assistance. The breadth, depth, and quality of U.S.-U.A.E. relations increased dramatically as a result of the U.S.-led coalition's campaign to end the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait. In 2002, the U.S. and the U.A.E. launched a strategic partnership dialogue covering virtually every aspect of the relationship. The U.A.E. has been a key partner in the war on terror after September 11, 2001. The United States was the third country to establish formal diplomatic relations with the U.A.E. and has had an ambassador resident in the U.A.E. since 1974.

                How's 35 years?

                RULE OF LAW. That's all the reason you need to oppose Republicans.

                by nightsweat on Sat Feb 25, 2006 at 02:31:03 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Nice cherry picking. (none)
                  You forgot to mention how our president, his family and business partners have a really chummy relationship with the UAE. That right there should completely ease everyone's mind about this deal, shouldn't it?

                  There's a huge difference between being commercially friendly vs. politically friendly. How about digging a little deeper and reporting on their not-so-friendly activities prior to 9/11? That would be much more honest, wouldn't it?

                  Just out of curiosity, are there any countries you WOULD have a problem with taking control of our ports?

          •  But I do agree (none)
            As I said above that there are legitimate reasons to oppose this deal.

            I'm just saying the idea that race didn't enter into anyone's pure skulls here for even a split second is nonsense.

            RULE OF LAW. That's all the reason you need to oppose Republicans.

            by nightsweat on Sat Feb 25, 2006 at 04:19:13 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  your comment(s) makes no sense (none)
              First of all were we EVER at war with Israel? To my knowledge, the answer is no. Therefore your comparison is irrelavent and bogus. Also, the company being bought out is NOT state controlled like the one trying to do the buying.

              Second, not everyone is a racist like you.

              Third, what race are arabs?

              I may not agree with what you say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it. -Voltaire

              by baracon on Sat Feb 25, 2006 at 12:29:13 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Um (none)
                Were we ever at war with the UAE?  My comparison is in reaction to the assertion that no country from the Middle East should be involved in port security.  I want to know if that includes Israel, which is in the Middle East, and is an ally of the U.S. to an even greater degree than the UAE is.

                You've totally missed my point on racism.  Do you prejudge any group at all?  Do you not have a flash of thinking that the big black guy in the hoodie might be dangerous, or that the white guy can't dance, or that the Asian guy near you might just be smarter than the average bear?

                The good people don't act on these flashes and work to get rid of them. Most of us are pretty good about not acting on these prejudices. If you're actually completely pure of both deed AND thought then I'd like to meet your mother Mary, Mr. Jesus.

                RULE OF LAW. That's all the reason you need to oppose Republicans.

                by nightsweat on Sat Feb 25, 2006 at 12:55:02 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Actually, no. (none)
                  "Do you not have a flash of thinking that the big black guy in the hoodie might be dangerous, or that the white guy can't dance, or that the Asian guy near you might just be smarter than the average bear?"

                  Actually, no. But it seems pretty obvious that these types of things are constantly flashing through your head. That explains a lot about your line of thinking.

                  •  Very holier than thou of you (none)

                    RULE OF LAW. That's all the reason you need to oppose Republicans.

                    by nightsweat on Sat Feb 25, 2006 at 02:25:43 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  No. Not holier than thou. (none)
                      You asked a question and I answered it truthfully. You just automatically assumed that everyone reacts to people of different races the same way you do. They don't.
                    •  Not really (none)
                      You are the one that is assuming that everyone goes thru the same thought process as you. We don't. Because everyone else has had different experiences and upbringing. The only person you can speak for is yourself, and yet you have constantly said that everyone does it because you do. You don't know me. You have never walked in my shoes. So please stop telling me that I went thru the same feelings of racism that you did, ok? I draw the line at Human Beings and go to how you treat me from there.

                      I may not agree with what you say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it. -Voltaire

                      by baracon on Sat Feb 25, 2006 at 07:55:28 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

    •  Sorry, but... not necessarily (4.00)
      My reaction was OMFG -- THOSE HYPOCRITES!

      Yeah, we all deal with our built-in prejudices, all the time... I'm no different than anyone else.  However, I had already known that the UAE was a creepy regime with ties to 9/11 financing - that was no secret.

      Xenophobic reaction?  Don't mistake the desire for sovereignty over the commonwealth as xenophobia -- I'm still unhappy knowing that the Brits had management control over those ports.

      So, yes, I certainly reacted.

      But, no, not in the way you claim.

      Trying To Maintain Rationality
      econatheist's bloggity blog blog

      by EconAtheist on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 04:07:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  This is a rational reply (none)
        But I can't really reconcile it with the "1" rating you gave my post.  I'm glad someone here is willing to recognize they may have prejudices.

        What I saw on Kos was a change from "We can't let Arab foreigners run our ports" to "We can't let foreigners run our ports" to "We can't let this particular set of foreigners because of x, y, and z."

        The response has gotten far more rational, but that's not what it looked like in the very beginning.

        That's all I'm saying.

        RULE OF LAW. That's all the reason you need to oppose Republicans.

        by nightsweat on Sat Feb 25, 2006 at 09:07:55 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  ummmm nope (4.00)
      you may be racist but the initial reaction was about a country that we have no particular reason to trust.  
      England we have every reason to trust.  It's in the history dude. Dubai has not been a loyal friend for 200 years, Brittain has.
      •  Of Course (none)
        The UAE has been one of our best allies in the recent problems.  We run communications and naval operations from there.

        I'm not saying there are no reasons to oppose the deal, and I'm not saying Every Single Person in the World reacted with race as an influence.

        But I am saying most (by FAR most) people had a visceral reaction to the deal that was informed, in part, by race.

        RULE OF LAW. That's all the reason you need to oppose Republicans.

        by nightsweat on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 06:48:23 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Oppose the deal, then, (4.00)
          because King George wants it to please his little brother, Neil. Oppose it because it's bad business, meant to make the rich richer and the poor poorer.

          There. Now you can oppose it on principle and stop calling everyone a racist. I worked with a person like you once, and arguments such as the above fell on deaf ears while the postcolonial charges of racist and sexist just kept on coming. Maybe some of us can get your point and still leave the postcolonialist part of ourselves out of the arguments and move forward on the merits of the case. Did that occur to you?

          "That story is not worth the paper it's rotten on."--Dorothy Parker

          by martyc35 on Sat Feb 25, 2006 at 11:25:54 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  A person like me? (none)
            That sounds pretty prejudiced.

            Look, I'm saying it flashed through people's minds.  You are deliberately twisting this to turn me into some race crusader.

            I'm amazed at the number of saints I run into in threads on this issue.

            RULE OF LAW. That's all the reason you need to oppose Republicans.

            by nightsweat on Sat Feb 25, 2006 at 02:28:03 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  You just reaffirmed what I was saying. (none)
              You seem to be so intent on supporting your own assertions that you can't even see when someone is agreeing with you. This is what I said: "leave the postcolonialist part of ourselves" behind us and move on.

              Nearly every person in American society, especially if born on U.S. soil, has that taint of postcolonial, ingrained racism, both white and black--I hope you admit that much. Okay. Nothing wrong with admitting that, facing it, rising above it, and then getting on with the business at hand. Sometimes that taint may flash through our minds, too, but some here have said it doesn't, or didn't in this case, and you have said, oh, yes, it does and it did. So you are calling them liars, which is what they take exception to. You are not a mind reader, and you are making some pretty outrageous assertions that you are.  

              You are stuck on one note. It's as if you have discovered a big secret about Americans that NO ONE else has ever seen and that's where you stop just before you start yelling at them. They are probably giving you low scores because you are making a nuisance of yourself. Your own point, when taken, doesn't even get acknowledged by you. You just keep on arguing. You dig?

              Give it a rest, please. You are not the only person who has seen it. Lots and lots of people have seen it, but they don't choose to dwell on it at the expense of trying to solve other problems. There are other issues involved in the politics of the Bush administration's actions, and that is what Hunter was pointing out. If you want to write a diary about how everyone is a bit of a racist, then do it on your own thread, where you can set the topic and make your own main point. That was not Hunter's point.

              "That story is not worth the paper it's rotten on."--Dorothy Parker

              by martyc35 on Sat Feb 25, 2006 at 03:35:00 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I can see (none)
                You didn't get it.  I understood Hunter's point.  I'm just sick of being called a Republican sympathizer for pointing out a truth.

                Those people who saw racism in the reaction are not the enemy.  And we're being treated like we are.

                RULE OF LAW. That's all the reason you need to oppose Republicans.

                by nightsweat on Sat Feb 25, 2006 at 03:53:13 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I will have nothing more to say (none)
                  to you. You changed the subject and chose not to respond to the core of my comment to you. I did not say one word about you being a Republican sympathizer, and I did not think it, either.

                  As for your having pointed out a truth, I simply noted that your truth was not as important as you made it out to be, because you were simply pointing out what a whole lot of others have already seen as obvious. If the unconscious racism of most Americans is blatantly obvious and we are all aware of it, then why dwell on it? And, more to the point, why preach about it?

                  I did not say that you didn't get Hunter's point, and I didn't think that, either. I just said that you preferred to talk about something else, and others did not want to talk about that.  

                  I agreed with you that some people may have had racist responses, but I defended those who said they didn't. If I cannot agree with some of what you said and still disagree with another part, which you will not acknowledge, then why should I keep talking with you?

                  Look at what you just said: "Those people who saw racism in the reaction are not the enemy.  And we're being treated like we are." In your delusion of escalating enmity, what in-group, what WE, do you belong to who saw racism in the reaction to the port story where no one else saw it? You left me out; I agreed with you that some people probably did either react out of racism or see that they had done so, as you admitted, and regret it. But I did not say those people are the enemy, and I did not think it, either.

                  You chose to ignore my point: You seem to have an overriding urge to be right on a trivial point, even when a whole lot of people disagree with you, and you get obsessively stuck on that point, insisting that you are misunderstood and everyone else is wrong. You see enemies where none exist. You have an "us against them" theme running through your posts. Who is persecuting you? Who is treating you like an enemy? Sorry, it ain't me.

                  I will take my argument to Monty Python, where I will have just as much chance of being heard BUT it will be funny.

                  "That story is not worth the paper it's rotten on."--Dorothy Parker

                  by martyc35 on Sat Feb 25, 2006 at 05:11:26 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  It ain't trivial (none)
                    ...and I didn't change the subject.

                    As for no one else seeing racism in the port story, you're nuts.  Look at the number of arguments in the UAE diaries.  There are plenty of other people who saw the racism in the reaction.

                    And then there are those who saw it, expressed it, and then denied it.

                    RULE OF LAW. That's all the reason you need to oppose Republicans.

                    by nightsweat on Sat Feb 25, 2006 at 09:46:19 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

        •  the race-based reaction (none)
          is your only reaction; maybe time to ask yourself why.

          Is nothing secular?

          by aitchdee on Sat Feb 25, 2006 at 11:41:32 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Look, man... (none)
          Just because YOU had an initial visceral, racist reaction to this deal doesn't mean everyone else did.

          Most of the diaries here that have been critical of this deal were based on factual information about the UAE and the Bush family's connection to them, not the trumped-up crap that was foisted on us about Hussein before we demolished Iraq. You people that continually draw analogies between the two issues are really stretching yourselves beyond credibility.

          I'm not discounting that race has something to do with some of the reactions to this deal, but if it does, from what I've read here, it's an awfully small part. Most of the outrage has to do with the Bush administration's blatant hypocrisy, cronyism, and putting corporate profits above national security. But, hey, it's pretty obvious that no matter what anybody says, there are some of you who are simply obsessed with the racial aspect of this argument and are unable to think past that one thing.

          •  The end of my main comment (none)
            "The difference between most of the people here at DK and most of the people on the right wing sites who were raise din similar families is that we pause, examine our possible prejudices, and correct for our principles before we take a stand.

            So I can support you if you oppose or support the UAE deal for rational reasons.  But don't pretend that much of the INITIAL REACTION to this deal wasn't tainted by race and xenophobia."

            I don't know that we're really that far apart on this based on your comment -
            "I'm not discounting that race has something to do with some of the reactions to this deal, but if it does, from what I've read here, it's an awfully small part."

            My point is that the inital reaction was not a purely intellectual exercise.  The diaries have gotten much more rational as time has gone on, and DK'ers have been very good at pulling back from any irrational initial reaction they had, but I think it's important to recognize the beast when you see it.

            RULE OF LAW. That's all the reason you need to oppose Republicans.

            by nightsweat on Sat Feb 25, 2006 at 02:37:57 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Just because.... (4.00)
      your initial reaction was racist and you "pulled back and changed your mind" doesn't mean that was everyone elses initial reaction was just like yours.

      The difference between he UAE deal being so closely scrutinized when the British weren't is actually very simple. The news reports said the UAE had ties to Al Queda, the Taliban, arms dealing/smuggling and the most important reason is some of the 9/11 highjacker/terrorists came from there!!!!

      Britian on the other hand is an ally for over 200 years, does not have ties to Al Queda or the Tailiban, arms dealing/smuggling and OH YEAH no terrorist highjackers on 9/11!!!

      I think it's up to our government to explain why I should support this deal rather than it being up to citizens to explain how their concerns aren't racist. People are bringing up very valid national security concerns and I don't like how people are trying to brush that aside.

      I agree with you that we have a very racist country and that some people might instinctively oppose the UAE deal for racist reasons. But even taking that into consideration, that doesn't dismiss the valid concerns people have about giving control over to a foreign company/country that has ties to who we are currently at war with.

      Let your conscience be your guide.

      by Jiminy Cricket on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 04:44:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Small nitpick: Not quite 200 (none)
        There was the War of 1812.

        It's safe to say for a long time of course.

        Any historians want to pipe up here?

        Don't be a fuckhead! HTH k thnx

        by kraant on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 05:01:16 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  And 1860-65 (none)
          There's been lots of evidence that if the SOuth had made a better show of it a bit longer, the Brits were ready to take their side.

          So Britain hasn't been an ally for 200 years.  But for the grandfather post, what's the cutoff? Would you let Israel run our ports?  France? Turkey?

          RULE OF LAW. That's all the reason you need to oppose Republicans.

          by nightsweat on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 08:26:20 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  The Middle Eastern/Arab connection (4.00)
      makes sense as part of what we'd react to in 2006. Not sure that is racist for anyone who would react that way, I suspect many Arab Americans reacted the same way.

      It's not seeing "them" as hateful, dangerous terrorists, it's seeing the reasons the United States has given them to hate us. If we want to make friends we don't start with this, we might start with not invading, torturing and killing them. Xenophobia or American action phobia?

      As far as the UAE the issues with them are not ancient history, though the powers there are rich businessmen, not terrorists.  The reasons to suspect this administration's connections with them aren't unreasonable as they are also rich businessmen, not patriots or simple terrorists.

      While we did not have a massive reaction when other countries have had or gotten similar deals, we largely didn't know. We do know more now. This port issue will open the door to look at the general issue on a much wider scale.

      I don't loathe the bush administration because they are white, I'd be against them whatever their color or pseudo-religion because of their policies, actions and history.

    •  I'll say right here about the "1" raters (none)
      You should debate the point with me rather than rate and run.

      RULE OF LAW. That's all the reason you need to oppose Republicans.

      by nightsweat on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 06:53:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I debated the point with you another (4.00)
        night.  It's like talking to a piece of cement or something.  You continue to post like you have never debated it with anyone, never read any posts here, or never heard any of what was said.  I've seen people reply endlessly to you  with rational comments, and still your response is the same to all of them, basically that no matter what anyone says they are really racist at their core if they oppose this deal.

        The other night you asked what the difference was between Britian and Dubai or UAE.  I tried to rationally explain all the points that made it different to me. It was part of the kind of debate you want.

        You're response to me was as such :  Yeah, I know the difference, it's brown skin.  I didn't leave a rating that night.

        Tonight I gave you a 1 because you are not debatable, been there done that.  Instead you have continued to insult people with good rational comments by calling them racist.  That is offensive.

        •  And then I said to my own comment: (none)
          That I was being too flip.  Look for yourself.

          I'm sorry, this is a legitimate f'ing issue. and rating it a "1" is just pissy.  You'll notice I havent' rated any 1's or 0's for content on this debate the last week, though it has driven me crazy.

          Like debating a piece of cement, indeed.

          RULE OF LAW. That's all the reason you need to oppose Republicans.

          by nightsweat on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 08:19:22 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  And this comment - (none)
          "Instead you have continued to insult people with good rational comments by calling them racist. "

          Implies a lack of reading comprehension that astounds me.

          RULE OF LAW. That's all the reason you need to oppose Republicans.

          by nightsweat on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 08:30:42 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Anyone, nightsweat, who tries to tar me (4.00)
            with his own racism, in probably some attempt to share out the guilt, will get a one. You are lucky I don't have zero power.
            Have you no shame, sir or madam?
            Are you so ignorant that you must assume all people share your maggoty reactions?
            The answers to those questions are, yes, and yes. Pathetic. Crawl back under your rock.
            Check out my comment near the top of this diary thread. I was describing YOU.

            Of COURSE you are racist. Your self-confessed reaction proves that. Your attempt to mire others in your own moral leprosy indicates how profoundly shamed you are by your unfortunate disease. Like an angry and half-crazed AIDS victim, you seek to assuage your self-loathing by inflicting your curse on others.

    •  Hey, look! (none)
      Diplomatic is following me around dropping zeros, exactly the action I wasn't doing to him that he accused me of the other day!

      How nice to see your smiling face, sparky.

      RULE OF LAW. That's all the reason you need to oppose Republicans.

      by nightsweat on Sat Feb 25, 2006 at 04:20:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Learning curve (4.00)
    Here's the other thing for me; I have learned things on this one that I didn't know when it started. I started out with an immediate reaction about the UAE Ports deal based on having heard George Tenet in person at the 9/11 hearings refer to them at the Bin Laden camp. That stuck in my head these past two years but I never looked into it. So I looked up the quote from Tenet and posted it. I remembered correctly.

    Then I started to hear that the control of the security for the ENTIRE PORTS have never been in question. DPW is only buying terminals, one of many companies and not the first foreign company. Fine. Good to know. If it was just an arab-owned company, or even a foreign government-owned company, MAYBE that's okay. But maybe NOT. I still don't know enough to be sure. Maybe I still don't have the full picture on where the vulnerabilities lie.

    But back to the royal family....and who really owns the company? I look it up, and yeah, it's a Sultan who is the CEO and I can't find anything bad about him. So maybe it's not a big deal.

    But there are 7 Emirates and they're separate families. I didn't know that either.  Learned something again. Plus, royal families in the middle east, and families in general, can be huge. (Bin Ladens?)  

    So they're not likely all connected to terrorism, or at least possibly not all connected.  But when I searched harder and found the name of the guy connected to Bin Laden in the press, well gee, that's the guy who IS connected to the company.

    I wanted to make sure my sources were not all loopy conspiracy theorists and find that the source of the story about al-Maktoum at the bin Laden hunting party is the LA Times and their source is possibly General Downing. Well gee, that's fairly substantial, and I'd like an explanation about that, please.

    I'm no expert in port security or international port business dealings, nor am I an expert in terrorism and al qaeda connections to world leaders. And hell, there have been reports like this about connections and meeting with bin laden that have been wrong. So yeah, maybe it's all bull crap.

    But for crying out loud, I think this is a fair question, and I'd like to have the consideration of an explanation of all this without being called a racist for asking.

    "Why can't you and the idea of separation of powers just hug it out, bitch?" Wonkette

    by Hollywood Liberal on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 03:19:30 PM PST

  •  That we are still.. (4.00)
    ...arguing this point is just exhausting...They scream RACE!!! and all debate is shut off like someone flipped the main circuit board. Enough!  
  •  Is There An Arab Race? (4.00)
    Seriously? What is race anyway? I've looked into this, read whole books about it, and haven't got any clue about "race" being valid.

    9/11 + 4 Years = Katrina... Conservatism Kills.

    by NewDirection on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 03:32:16 PM PST

    •  There is no such thing as race. I read that book (none)

      MATTHEWS says Bush sometimes "glimmers" with "sunny nobility" (Hardball, 10/24/05)

      by Krush on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 03:37:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Nope (none)
      It's an ethnicity, similar to being "Hispanic" which is also not an actual race.

      That's why you have such a variety of looks such as Sammy Sosa and Daisy Fuentes and Hugo Chavez.

      Likewise I've seen completely blonde arabs with blue eyes alongside the more stereotypical dark arabs with beards.

      Having said that, I think most people here understand that the accusations of being "racist" when it comes to Arabs is referring to the sociological, cultural, and stereotypical sense of the word.

      Thank you John Kerry.

      by diplomatic on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 10:42:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  What I Think Of (none)
        When I think "islamic," is Cat Stevens.
        When I think Arab, I think Ray Harryheusen's Sinbad.
        (First impressions. Neither bad. As irrelevant to the port deal as anything.)

        9/11 + 4 Years = Katrina... Conservatism Kills.

        by NewDirection on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 06:48:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Beautiful and brilliant, Hunter (none)
    as usual.
  •  Learning all the time (4.00)
    I get it now.

    Rounding up thousands of muslims and detaining them without due process isn't xenophobic.

    Rendering detainees to foreign countries to be tortured isn't xenophobic.

    Internment camps for Muslims certainly isnt xenphobic.

    Opposing a foreign Government with ties to terrorism running our ports IS xenophobic.

  •  Dubai/Dubya (none)
    Going out to dinner with the wife and daughter but when I get back, I'll be posting a real kick-ass post about the Dubai sale.


    Defending bad taste and liberalism since 2005.

    by jurassicpork on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 03:39:55 PM PST

  •  Ah the magic of KoolAide (none)
    once again.
    I do realize that in my world I have taken great pains to insulate myself from the bullshit that most people call media.  Almost all of the talking heads on TV have the credibility of a grubby intoxicated homeless bum.  This does though put me at a disadvantage here when someone says this one said that.
    But.  Did we or did we not spend the last six years demonizing Arabs.  And I distinctly remember a word used almost exclusively by right wing compassionate conservatives.  That word was Islamofascists and it was used soo much by soo many it started to take on new meanings all on it's own.  Even in my extremely limited political savyness when oh when did the right wing start to endorse such concepts as policital correctness.  Really, did I miss that much?  If nothing else this is just an exponential quantum leap straining ever more the boundaries of the definition of hypocracy.
  •  The missing distinction in this argument. (none)
    Yes, clear distinctions between the objections to the port deal have to be made.  Not all who are objecting are doing so on the basis of a knee-jerk anti-Arab reaction.  From the other side, however, the same distinction needs to be made among those arguing in favor of the deal.  There are some valid objections.  First, this is another case of the Bush administration being secretive and incompetent.  Why didn't they run this past more people?  How did they not see the objections coming?  Second, it is another example of Bush cronyism.  Many people with close associations to the administration are going to make boatloads of mone off of the deal.  The guilt-by-association argument in this diary is a weak objection, though.  Not only because all such arguments are weak but this one is stale - seven years old.  This one sounds too much like the iraq war argument about allaged Iraqi meetings with al-Qaeda.
    Whenever we take any position, we should always take the test.  How would I respond if a Democratic administration was doing exactly the same thing?  I can claim the moral high ground on iaraq because I know that I would have opposed the war even if a Democratic president had done it, and I know that all of the Republican supporters would have been against it.  So, how would you react to the port deal if it was done under President John Kerry or Al Gore?

    So I see only tatters of clearness through a pervading obscurity - Annie Dillard -6.88, -5.33

    by illinifan17 on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 03:43:57 PM PST

  •  It IS a hoot, isn't it? (4.00)

    Yeah, and let's profile every brown-skinned person getting on a plane or looking suspicioous while driving or taking photos of tall buildings.

    And, oh yeah, let's build walls at the borders to keep out the spics.

    You gotta' admire Karl Rove's sheer, hubristic inanity.

    He must be thinking, "The dumbfuck American public just might buy it!"

    Visit Satiric Mutt -- my contribution to the written cholesterol now clogging the arteries of the Internet.

    by Bob Johnson on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 03:49:20 PM PST

    •  "Sending the wrong message" (none)
      Like "Axis of Evil?" Like a "Crusade against Terror?" Like a "No-Fly LIst" that has over 20,000 names on it including some babies? Like a terrorist suspect list that has 325,000 names on it? Like arresting a successful physician named Mayfield in Seattle on a hunch because he converted to Islam? That was good.

      "That story is not worth the paper it's rotten on."--Dorothy Parker

      by martyc35 on Sat Feb 25, 2006 at 11:48:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I love it... (none)
    Hunter once again captures my own thoughts more eloquently I can myself.

    I've pounced on the xenophobia charge every time I see it.  I take such an accusation very personally because cultural relativity is a virture very close to my heart.  

    Nobody is worried about an invasion of brown people with white turbins and long black beards into our ports.  That's just stupid.

    What rational people fear is handing control of a potential weapon entry-point to a government that evidences an affinity for Bin Laden and anti-American sentiment (through their position in Israeli statehood).

    "In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act." - George Orwell

    by Five of Diamonds on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 03:49:34 PM PST

  •  Exactly, exactly, exactly. (none)
    I love the way you said all of it Hunter!! I sure wish you were on the tv news shows being interviewed!

    It's awful the way people seek to equate being against this deal and being prejudiced against Arabs or Muslims. The people saying that in my opinion are the ones thinking about race. Thanks for calling them on it so well.

    There are many reasons to be against this deal including the incestual relationships between Snow, the companies and Bush.

  •  State-owned (4.00)
    The key for me is not actually UAE but state-owned.

    I don't think any foreign government should run American ports. Not the British, not the Canadians, not the UAE, not the Chinese.

    I am not terribly comfortable with foreign corporations doing it either, but there is an enormous difference between a foreign-owned American corporation, a foreign-chartered corporation, and a state-owned corporation, in terms of their allegiances and our ability to oversee their actions.

    •  Someone here said it best yesterday (4.00)
      This administration wants to privatize as many of our government operations as possible, but doesn't mind turning over supervision of our ports to a foreign government.
      I'm with you. I was surprised that any foreign entity would be given control over any port's security.

      Don't Panic - Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

      by slatsg on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 10:02:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Xenophobe? (none)
    Well, I have to go to news sources outside of the US. Like this one.
    Do I have a fucking phobia about Americans?
    Well perhaps I do and if that's the case.
    Lasthorseman Knight of the Fifth Veil and
    Proud Xenophobe.
  •  Security (none)
    One part of the deal I don't understand is the security aspect. My understanding from a radio commentary is that the UAE was one of two MidEast countries that didn't condemn the US invasion of Iraq. The bill has come due and the Bush administration is paying back with interest.

    My understanding is that the Coast Guard, the individual states and cities where the ports are, and the DHS are responsible for security, not the country operating them. I think this is the same Coast Guard that actually not gained any money in the War on Terrorism and works with aging equipment and still have to patrol, rescue people, patrols hundreds of miles of waterways and shore lines, etc.

  •  Never Look A Gift Trojan Horse in the Mouth (none)
    I for one do not remotely understand why every red blooded American is not hopping mad at this. It absolutely makes my blood boil that this BENEDICT BUSH could sell our peace of mind, the freedom and the life we know as such for a few bills.

    This is a Trojan container horse in the making. These countries have never known freedom and would like to see ours destroyed. Every time the Repugnuts were in trouble they reminded us of the terrorists to take our minds off them and now they want to give them easily buyable (as in enough money will buy you anything) access to us.

    My husband would have said it's best to keep your enemies where you can see them but an ocean or two away and a few satellites is just fine by me.


  •  Good on ya' (4.00)
    for this diary.

    Accusations that our mistrust for a massive tax shelter calling itself a "nation"--built on worker shanty towns, misogyny, and princely servitude--are  somehow 'racist' is just ridiculous.  It's basically a country fueled by oil and slavery--a petrolium version of the U.S. plantation economy.  Honestly, I think we're all smart enough to distinguish between terrorists and capitalist vampires.

    Even without this port deal we should all be adamantly opposed to places like the UAE. The only reason that Bush feels warm and fuzzy over it is becaue they forgave $3 Billion in Iraqi debt that we inherited, because they agreed to buy $8 billion in overpriced Boeing jets, and because the Carlyle group--who Bush really works  for--makes a brazillion dollars off of "nations" like the UAE.

  •  but but ,, (none)
    "It is possible to separate the actions of a state from the actions of all Arabs. It is even possible to separate the actions of one particular set of royal families from all Arabs."

    Hey !
    That's hard work .. !
    It requires analyzing the situation, and actual thought.

    It's something totally unfamiliar to the kool-aid drinking ditto heads of the right wing, that are used to working off short phrases and bumperstickers.

    Karl Rove is hoping that he can flip all of this on it's head, by simply having Bush say "Trust Us".

    It's laughable. The same talking heads that called the French "surrender monkeys" are making the case that us 'libruls' are racists.

    Reality, meet Onion.

    "Rovus Vulgaris Americanus" nasty, soon-to-be-indicted co-conspirator -7.63, -9.59

    by shpilk on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 04:09:19 PM PST

  •  Our Best Friends (none)
       I caught a bit of David Brooks on the Lehrer show yattering on about how the UAE were our best friends in the Middle East, and were helping us fight the Grand Whomping Of Terrierists, and they were really nice people, and so on.

       That might be so, but I think it's beside the point.  The UAE could have the best will in the world to be friendly to us, but ultimately they are not in a position to give us the kind of security guarantees that we need.

       Part of that's because they're in a portion of the Arab world where al-Qaa'idah is relatively popular, and they have no easy way of telling who is an extremist mole in their organization and who's not.  After all, an employee of DPW who demands that a Muslim woman who marries a non-Muslim be whipped as a prostitute, or who calls for the destruction of Israel, would just be in line with the overall politics of the Emirates.

       And another part is that, as non-Americans, they simply don't have the same vital interest in American security as we do.  That's not to say they're necessarily hostile; they just are not likely to care as much.

       I think that the security of our ports is important enough to be in the hands of people who care.  We nationalized airport security.  Why can't we nationalize our seaports as well?

  •  Only 15% of UAE population (4.00)
    are actually citizens of that country. 93% of the workforce is foreign. So to be prejudiced against UAE people one would have to hate all the middle east and the far east.

    I am tired of the 'race-baiting' that frames the opposition to the port deal in terms of racism and xenophobia, beginning with the race-baiter-in-chief Bush.

    This above all: to thine own self be true,... Thou canst not then be false to any man.-WS

    by Agathena on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 04:15:43 PM PST

  •  Oh I get it (none)
    Because you are being inconvenienced by security screening, it's time that a logistics Company gets it in the neck. Well, that really is a solution I hadn't thought of. Are you seriously telling me that, because some Arabs met with Bin Laden that they shouldn't be able to run a shipping logistics Company? DPW has absolutely NOTHING to do with port SECURITY!! NOTHING!!! All they do is manage port operations. Are you seriously suggesting that DPW would willingly allow terrorists to ship containers full of weapons into this country? And totally fuck up the billions in assets they have in this country? Not to mention the fact that they operate 30 ports around the world. Talk about bad for business! Oh, right, I forgot; they are crazy Arabs, fanatics who hate our freedoms. Thanks for pointing that out.

    Walking. It's the new driving.

    by Batfish on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 04:16:26 PM PST

    •  Well (4.00)
         The idea that port operations are totally separate from port security has already been disposed of.

         I am not willing to let the safety of people in port cities -- or elsewhere in America that good brought in through our ports must be shipped -- be dependent upon the concern of the DPW for its "assets".

         I don't imagine that the Board of Directors (or whatever controlling body the DPW has) is going to sit down and say, "hey, how cool would it be to smuggle in a really big bomb in a shipping container"?

         But what I do have doubts about is the ability of DPW to keep people who do think that would be cool from finding medium-to-low positions in the company where they could bring that outcome about.

         Why can't we have somebody that has a stake in America controlling American ports?  Like, let's say, the American people?

      •  So really, what's the worst-case scenario? (none)
        How does this work? A container with a bomb comes in. It is scanned by customs. Is the worry that it will go off before it is scanned by customs? Or is it the worry that customs will skip it?

        If the worry is that it will go off before it gets through customs, the bomb destroys the port. If the worry is that it's a nuclear device, and that it destroys the whole city, I'm sorry, but that device could just as easily be in a ship offshore as in the port just onshore and it wouldn't make a bit of difference. Or it could just as easily be detonated just over the border from Detroit or San Diego or whereever.

        Honestly, if terrorists themselves control the port operations, how does that help them? I don't know too much about port operations, but I think if I controlled an airline, that doesn't mean there is any way you could get people around customs on your way out of the airport. It's the only way out by design, it's gotta be the same at a port I assume. As long as customs scans everything leaving the port, what is the worst that could happen?

        You cannot depend upon American institutions to function without pressure. ---Martin Luther King Jr.

        by Opakapaka on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 07:16:58 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  My understanding (4.00)
             Is that only a small fraction of the cargo containers that come in are actually inspected.  This is because it has been felt that the potential security problems are too slight to make it worth the difficulty of checking every single container of the vast traffic that comes and goes through our ports.  Some of us, however, think that for our safety we should be doing this, despite the logistical difficulties.

             If someone with a nuclear weapon (or, more likely, a "dirty bomb")  were to load it on a ship and detonate it in a harbor, it would certainly cause an awful mess -- but not quite as awful as if they were allowed to bring it inland and detonate it at the most favorable location.

             However, the more likely things that could be brought in are conventional explosives and other conventional weapons, biological weapons (like anthrax), and people.  There are probably more things of concern, but I'm rusty in trying to contemplate the workings of the criminal mind.

             If we are serious about security, we want to control all the points of entry to our land.  Airports are one.  Border crossings are another.  Seaports are another.  For whatever reason, the Bush administration doesn't seem to take seaport security very seriously.  Perhaps because John Kerry talked about it in 2004.

          •  But why not just fund the US Customs (none)
            to scan every damn container? I mean how does an Arabic country having control of the crane that offloads the container make us vulnerable to terrorism? You haven't even begun to answer that question.

            You cannot depend upon American institutions to function without pressure. ---Martin Luther King Jr.

            by Opakapaka on Sat Feb 25, 2006 at 10:31:40 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  What's so hard to get with this? (none)
      In our shiny new post-9/11 world, all Americans are assumed to be potential terrorists until proven otherwise. That's why they can scoop up our phone calls and e-mail without the courtesy of warrants or even probable cause, that's why you have to remove your shoes, belt and jacket before you can board an airplane.

      But it's A-OK for Dubai to take ownership of the major ports along the eastern seaboard and New Orleans? Dubai's government owns DPW - it's essentially an arm of Dubai's government - and the country's relations with the U.S. are guarded at best. They recognize the Taliban as a legitimate government, fergawdsakes, and deny Israel's right to exist. These are not objectives that align with those of the U.S.

      It doesn't matter that other foreign countries own control of other U.S. ports, but we're beginning to have a national dialogue on the subject and we may conclude that such ownership is generally unwise. We can, however, decide that this particular sale is not in our best interest. From what I'm reading, most people have already made a decision on that - and they aren't in agreement with Team Bush.

      Per the comment below: Here's the problem. We're supposed to feel good about this sale because DPW has agreed to certain security arrangements that are classified. DPW will be informed as to the specifics of how the Department of Homeland Security works in this area. I can't be given that information. Nor can you. Nor can any other American citizen without heavy security credentials. But we're giving that knowledge and access to the goverment of Dubai - and the U.A.E. by extension?

      Only 5 percent of port traffic in containers is physically inspected. Only a few ports can screen all traffic for nuclear materiel. So DPW would be in the exact position necessary to know precisely where our weaknesses and vulnerability are. Maybe they might use that information to our detriment. This is a risk that we need not bear. It's imprudent. This is the most generous, conservative argument available. If you wanted to consider how DPW might actually work to harm us in the event of a political schism between the U.S. and mideast region in general, the analysis only makes this deal look worse. Lots worse.

      Every day's another chance to stick it to The Man. - dls.

      by The Raven on Sat Feb 25, 2006 at 08:32:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hunter, (none)
    Will you marry me?  Just for the weekend or something?  I'm nuts about ya!
  •  Great diary. (none)
    Thanks. Perfectly framed.
  •  I agree. (none)
    Thanks for expressing formally what I've been thinking and saying.

    "Face it, we're as dead as corduroy" - Cat

    by TalkieToaster on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 04:24:02 PM PST

  •  This is my point (none)
    I don't like my neighbors ... their animals have broken my fences, run through my tilled gardens, trampled my lawn.  I "herded" their horses many times to keep them from getting to the highway to get killed or cause someone to get killed.

    We've lived on a privately maintained road for 30 plus years and the neighbors have seen fit to drive like a bat outa hell, tear up the road, never put down one single piece of gravel, and bitch to the town council about how WE treat them.

    I'm getting to my point (I do get on a roll about "those people", the ones we commonly call "The Leaches".)

    As furious as I get and as TIRED as I get of The Leaches, if I were to go out into the street and throw rocks at their passing car, I'd be arrested.

    That's the difference I see between where I live and many actions that I see in the Arab world, the Middle Eastern countries, Islamic people - whatever term least offends.

    I'm guessing that the vast majority of Middle Easterners are great people who want to live their lives in an appropriate manner, loving and doing for others, raising their families, trying to make ends meet, trying to get through life - just exactly like most everyone else in the world.

    It is the governments in that part of the world that I have a problem with, that do not seek to bring resolution to issues through peaceful means.

    Now, Americans have gone and bombed the s**t outa their countries, so I ain't pretending that we're a peace-loving bunch of goodie two-shoes, that's for sure!

    But like I said, if I decide to throw rocks and display my anger in certain ways, I go directly to jail, do not pass go!

    When I see the governments of the Middle East decide to enforce some laws of obedience, I'll be more inclined to "do business" with their countries.

    I don't think that makes me a racist.

  •  too bad (none)
    too bad we can't use this to argue against their own xenophobia, but we are always caught on the wrong foot, it would seem, prone to easy toppling.

    frankly, the answer matters much less than the question in this case, so this point can only fail if we give a damn about their specific answer and especially their accusations regarding opposing positions.

    politically, it may be best if the deals remain!  or better, that the president really would veto and attempt to stop the practice.

    what's best for national security is harder to fathom, I believe for system design reasons we should us American companies, OTOH, I don't really trust American companies that much either (case by case basis), and the last thing we want is to say other national businesses or even governments cannot invest in American ports --- that's the sort of thing that ensures we're in the middle of world trade.

    sometimes a moment comes where you need to get in touch with your inner xenophobe anyway, and deal with it.

  •  I think the best insult at those who claim (none)
    that we have racist prejudices against brown and beared Arabs in the context of the UAE deal would be to claim that they themselves are just too lazy-butt-Americans, too incompetent and undereducatet to take care of the US port security issues themselves. That should hurt their pride enough to feel ashamed and make them shut up quickly.

    I mean not that I would want to insult anybody, but the race card they played was so clearly a mean-spiritied claim from the administration to begin with that they deserve a cheap punch back.

  •  well said... (none)
    As soon as I heard dumbass saying that we were not going to perceived well etc, one group, etc...I could get his drift.
  •  Isn't there a difference (none)
    between a government owned company and a private company.  I thought Bush wanted to privatize America so why sell to a Foreign Government of any race?  And if Iraq's ties to terrorists merited a bombing why does this Gov merit big business deal?  Their "ties" are not just suspected.  Truth vs convenience.

    Those who sleep and dream do not know that they can wake up.

    by Gram E on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 05:11:32 PM PST

  •  Hunter (none)
    Where have you been?
  •  Removing shoes... (none)
    "I have to remove my shoes to get on a damn plane, in the name of national security, but a country whose royals met with Bin Laden in an Afghanistan-based "hunting" camp in 1999 gets to manage how the shipping containers move around at six of our nation's ports. And I'm supposed to be damn glad for the corporate-state inclusiveness." I especially like this line from your post. I have to agree completely with it.

    Amazing what we have to give up for "security" but the idiots in charge can do whatever they wish at ANY cost and think NOTHING of security!! They can do business with anyone they wish simply cause money talks with these bastards, but heaven forbid they stand up for our constitution!!!(4th Admendment-Spy program)
    Now that is anti-American right!?

    Would love for you to checkout

    by StormingAmerican on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 05:21:26 PM PST

  •  and the secrecy (none)
    It's like the body armor -- mistakes hidden in the name of national security. Or overcharging GIs for food -- it's okay if it's Halliburton. Crony capitalism replaces the free market.

    A friend recommended the following word:


     Government by the least qualified or most unprincipled citizens.

    Electronic voting is no vote at all. (-3.38, -6.56)

    by agoldnyc on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 05:26:03 PM PST

  •  Actually, it may be 21 ports... (4.00)
    not just 6.  At least that's what O'Lielly's buddy Olbermann said on his segment on the port deal tonight.

    Some men see things as they are and ask why. I see things that never were and ask why not?

    by RFK Lives on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 05:45:26 PM PST

    •  Yep. (none)
      From the tippy tip north of New York all the way down the coast line, around florida, and throughout the gulf.  Every coast line except the West.

      LetsFight. re handle: Fight the radical right is the sentiment!

      by letsfight on Sat Feb 25, 2006 at 04:41:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  No Quarter (4.00)
    Larry Johnson, the former CIA agent who many of you may remember from various TV appearances when the Plame scandal started to break, has a blog called No Quarter in which he writes about security issues (and the blockheadedness of the Bush administration), and he had this to say about the deal:

     Don't Do Dubai Dubya

    If Dubai Ports World (DPW) does as nifty a job of running our ports as it has done running the freeport in Dubai then we are screwed.  ... This is not about the fact that police and security officials from the United Arab Emirates have been helping us track down Al Qaeda operatives and other ornery jihadists.  The issue here is the fact that the port in Dubai is one of the major ports in the world involved with smuggling of counterfeit and contraband product. ...

    The inability or refusal to deal with the use of ports under the control of Dubai Ports World that are involved with smuggling is reason enough to stop this deal dead in its tracks.  ...

    The challenge of smuggling a dirty nuke is comparable to smuggling containers of cigarettes, liquor, and shoes.  If DPW will not stop the latter how can we be confident they will prevent the former?  That's a security bet we should not take or make.

    The question seems to be less about what DPW will do than what they won't bother to prevent.

    If this were to be considered an interview for the job of running ports, rather than a sale transaction to one of Bush's cronies, I don't think DPW would be hired.

  •  Just like Katrina (none)
     Just like Iraq and just like Plame we have to hear spin. Sean Hannity, Rush, Neil Bortz and the lot are all saying the same thing. They are playing the race card. It's amazing how idiotic they are..Add Bill to that also. The thing is that Republicans are complaining too so what are they? Haven't we seen this pattern before? There is outrage over something and then some silence from the spin masters and then within a few days they are armed with bullshit talking points.

    We are winning and now have them on the defensive. Now if we can only secure our votes and make sure they count we can take back America.

    This is good people because this will indeed wake up some sheep. They will finally see Sean and the bunch of nuts for what they are. Many of the sheep are closet racists and they will hate to hear Sean and Rush use that word!

    They are all reaching for straws, let them dig their grave just make sure to dig some for them lol....

  •  Well this gets more nitwittery every day (none)

    Someone up above, many someones in fact, says that ...oohhhhhhhh....UAE recongized the Taliban.....gawd!... "recongized" the Taliban!.. fricking horrors of's not like we gave the Taliban several million several years ago to stop growing poppy in hopes of an oil deal with them..right?

    At the same time I am sitting here listening to congressional hearings on c-span on China where  IBM and Goggle and Microsoft getting raked over the coals for their complying with China's rules on the internet restriction because according to our politicans:

    China forces women to have abortions
    China violates human rights
    China restricts free enterprise in China
    China restricts the press in China
    China may become our enemy someday

    Meanwhile -Our those same politicans granted China our most favored trade partner status.
    Meanwhile -Our goverment sells most of our debt to China.
    Meanwhile - Our largest employer in this country, WalMart's,inventory is 90% made in China.

    Excuse me if I fall down laughing over all this "outrage" on the part of the left, the right and all the politicans at the UAE "foreign" deal.

    And the "security" of it one needs to blow us up, they own us, all they have to do is wait till we go broke which shouldn't be too long now.

    And since I enjoy pissing in the avail yourselves of some facts on the UAE. to find one financial center in any country that isn't listed as a money laundering and drug center from UK to Paris to Italy to New York.

    Hypocrisy in anything may deceive the cleverest and most penetrating man, but the least wide-awake of children recognizes it....

    by Cal45 on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 06:23:39 PM PST

  •  Charles Krauthammer (sp?) got the memo (4.00)
    I read his variant of the same claptrap in The San Jose Mercury News over breakfast this morning. I guess that's the best the Bush shills can come up with in the absence of Bush. The headline was "Democrats are hypocrites, but right."  It was all a lot of baloney, of course, but it was nevertheless gratifying to see that bigot saying Democrats were right. Choke on it, Chuckie.  And go fuck yourself while you're at it. Meanwhile, thanks for the acknowledging we are right. (Maybe that's why most Americans (finally) agree.)

    As you say, the racists are with us on this one. So fine, let them eat their own. That does not mean that we are wrong to care about our ports, or that we have to choose between corporatist dominatation or xenophobia.  There are things in between, you know. Things like a free people taking reasonable care of their own affairs instead of selling off their most valuable resources to whomever James Baker says we should sell them to.

    Thanks for a great post.

    Wetmachine for your daily dose of technoparanoia.

    by j sundman on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 06:28:36 PM PST

  •  True Hunter (none)
    We are now seeing the exact point where neoconservatives (of the "right) meet with globalist communists (of the "left"), and the tactics they will use to justify everyone of their common motivations.

    If you've ever seen the Jet Li film "Hero", you will know what I'm talking about. In the film, assassins allow an emperor to live so that he can continue his distruction of "cultural factions" in the name of national unity which he describes as peace. Of course that peace would then be maintained under the  tyranny of the emperor.

    All of that sort of flies in the face of a piece of literature I've been reading lately known as "The Federalist No.10", written by one of the most influential forefathers of the US, James Madison, whom explains very poignantly the importance of factions in the defense and maintenance of lasting liberty.

    Neoconservatism and Globalist Communism is the new tyranny, and I can only hope that our generation is as strong in willpower to maintain what our forefathers fought so hard to attain. It's needless to say that I don't have much faith these days.

  •  Difference between PRIVATE and STATE-OWNED (4.00)
    In the media I heard them pose questions like "Should the U.S. allow an Arab country take over its ports?" and I think framing the question in such a way is dangerous and actually does sound racist.

    I do not think the outrage is due to race, at least on the Left anyhow (I am sure Coulter and Malkin, etc. were frothing at the mouth in rage over "A-rabs" taking over the ports...).

    I think the most important issue at hand was that DP World is STATE-OWNED, as opposed to the "Great British" company that is PRIVATELY OWNED.

    To me, that makes a huge difference and was the reason why I objected to this deal initially. That goes for ALL nations. I do not care if it was a STATE-OWNED British company, I still would not want it to run the ports.

    Secondly, what bolsters the argument against this deal was that this STATE-OWNED company was operated by a country with a terrible track record on terroris as many people have mentioned.

    In that light, it is not racist to object to this deal. Instead, people like Rush Limbaugh are trying to make it sound like Democrats and liberals are flip-flopping on the racial profiling issue. They are trying to make it sound like we do not want this company to take over the ports simply because they are Arab and that is simply not true. However, the spin machine is working as some uber-Bushies that I have come into contact with are turning the race-table around on us, calling us racist.

    I think this differentiation between PRIVATE and STATE-OWNED companies needs to be made part of the official Democratic opposition to this deal. I know they are not racist, but right-wingers and their leaders are desperate to save face on this and make us look bad somehow. Especially since more people trust a Democratic Congress to protect us than Bush.

  •  On the subject of Race (4.00)
    There is no such thing as "Race". The entire concept of "race" was a convenience dreamt up by Victorian era "anthropologists" to justify their Government's brutal subjugation and exploitation of nations and peoples. So, they took superficial physical characteristics which are mostly a product of climactic adaptation to "prove" the people they enslaved were somehow less than the mighty white Europeans.

    Normal, decent people would have course recoiled in horror at the things done to the people under the thumb of European empires, that is they would have had they perceived these people as people just like them in every fundamental way. Given the powerful myth of "race" and its implication of superior and inferior though, people could easily accept the unjust cruelty and thievery because after all, by doing these things we were raising these inferior races up to our level. White man's burden anyone?

    Last time I checked, every human being on earth, from a native Australian (been there for 40,000 years, btw) to you yourself has 46 chromosomes. There are no sub-species of humans, we are all capable of breeding offspring with one another, therefore we are all just Humans. Not Caucasoid, not Mongoloid not Martian, human. Period.

    As an aside and to show just how superficial our differences really are, if you take two of the darkest skinned people's on earth who also bear a strong resemblance to each other, the native Australian and a tribe in Sudan (sorry their name escapes me) then look at their patrilineal DNA, you will find the two peoples most distantly related on earth. To find a common ancestor among them you have to go back further than 40,000 years. The whitest person you know is far closer related to that Sudanese tribesman than any native Australian.

    Racism then boils down to nothing more than just not liking someone's looks. It's beyond ridiculous that something so stupid and erroneous, this concept of "race" has caused such suffering.

  •  A lot of interesting people on television (4.00)
    lately.  I saw a whole panel of Republikans on Scarborough last night, and Coulter was on with them.  She is at a loss(ha) to know what the president is up to and she thinks he is crazy.  She of course can't come out accusing everybody else of doing this for a racist reason, wouldn't that be comical and hypicritical?  So yes there will be some republicans who will not be able to accuse others of racism because their own is so blatant.  The others think that they have fooled us all into thinking that they aren't because they havent been quite so obnoxious about it as Ann.

    However, there was another author I saw a couple of nights ago who really left an impression, and whose name I can't remember for the life of me.  He says that for Dubya to have to admit defeat on this would change the course of Free Trade for sometime.  Dubya has to win on this one.  So far he and his bunch of criminal associates have had a free reign with every trade agreement they have decided.  They have run roughshot over all the things that people have attempted to put into agreements like environmental limits, human rights protections, etc.  If he doesn't win this one, and business doesn't triumph over national security as a concern, then coorporate business adn the Bushites are in deep shit for long afterwards. Especially if what stops it are National Security issues.  National Security can touch about every concern it is.  It is a little broader than the environment, human rights etc.  And gives the people here a more visceral reaction than any of those to.  To lose on this means that they were stopped by the god awful will of the people from putting Business above everysingle else for the first time ever.  Imagine that.

    Bush and his corporate budies have no gods other than money, certainly not us people.  

    To me this is more an economic war going on between me and my own president.  It is a civil war right here in these United States, and has little to do with anything else.

    •  You may be referring to David Sirota (none)
      who has Sirotablog and is outspoken against America's free trade policies of the past two decades, not just Bush. He was on Countdown with Keith Olbermann the other night. His new book, "Hostile Takeover," will be out soon. I was amazed and pleased to see him on Countdown.

      "That story is not worth the paper it's rotten on."--Dorothy Parker

      by martyc35 on Sat Feb 25, 2006 at 12:09:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Bush's America (4.00)
    This point was made earlier and I will make it again.  The over-reaction -- for those who are indeed over-reacting -- stems from the hateful manipulative emotional spin that this administration has used on almost every one of their policies.

    And for those who do have legitimate concerns (that may be resolved through thoughtful discussion & debate) -- they get drowned out by more of the Bush-style hysteria that has defined the neocon agenda.

    Let us not lose sight of where this sickness stems from.  The root of this evil is squarely with George W. Bush and this neocon administration.  

    Can we wait even a SECOND longer? SEE GRAPHIC...

    by STOP George on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 07:41:59 PM PST

  •  not about arab firm.. (none)
    media is astoundingly stupid even for this case which has really no grades of grey. the question to ask and discuss is what we have done to protect our ports after 9/11. do we have radiation detectors in place? how is the port security beefed up after 9/11? why in the world foriegn firms, let alone those owned by  foriegn govts, are doing port security handling?

    instead media reports that it is not a big deal since ports are already controlled by foriegn firms. but the question is why? do we have proper security oversight?

    that being said, i have no sympathy for xenophobes who in it just because it is about an arab firm. it sucks to agree with them on why this is a bad deal, but for different reasons.

    •  Lou Dobbs (4.00)
      On the situation room Lou debated Issey(sp) rep from Calif.  and made him look like a racist pig.  Lou was great.  Said something to the effect that theyonly raise the race card when their agenda is failing.

      The shrub needs to be pulled he is terrifying

      by libbie on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 08:55:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Your tax dollars not at work (none)
    Regardless of whether this deal is approved or not, we won't make the commitment necessary to improve port safety.

    Oh and Hunter, good read.

    "Mr. President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed." General Buck Turgidson

    by muledriver on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 08:35:17 PM PST

  •  Bill Maher (4.00)
    had a good point on this. He asked how Bush would feel if we said, "Ok, from now on we're going to hand over your secret service detail to UAE.
    If it's ok for us, why not you?"
    The most aggravating thing about this to me is the hypocrisy of it all. He's been blurring the lines since 9/11, which "changed everything." Now all the sudden, there's UAE money on the line, with questionable ties to his family interests (Carlyle Group, etc.) and he FLIP FLOPS!

    I dream of cherry pies, candy bars, and chocolate chip cookies. We used to microwave, now we just eat nuts and berries.

    by sadair on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 09:05:41 PM PST

    •  not a good point (none)
      because DPW, like every other port management company, has NOTHING to do with port security.

      If DPW were going to be in charge of the Coast Guard, US Cusotms, Homeland Security, and local port authorities, than yes, it would have been a clever comment and funny.

      He showed his complete lack of knowledge on the issue with his jokes tonight, and I was actually embarrased for him.

      And talk about hypocrisy?  You corectly say Bush has "been blurring the lines since 9/11."  But now you seem somehow disappointed that he's not blurring the lines...that this is a bad thing?  

      Ironically, the ones blurring the 9/11 lines are now omnipresent on dKos, and Bill Maher himself.

      •  you may be right (none)
        maher's analogy of the deal may not have been as good as i thought, and i'm glad you're calling out people on this site, because i hate a groupthink mentality, regardless of what side it is...
        but maher's criticism of bush's hypocrisy was good.
        i'm not disappointed bush is "not blurring the lines", i'm just disgusted with a president who has ZERO principles and who won an election based on calling his opponent a "flip flopper", while he drifts in the winds as bad as anyone, following the whims of global corporate elites.

        I dream of cherry pies, candy bars, and chocolate chip cookies. We used to microwave, now we just eat nuts and berries.

        by sadair on Sat Feb 25, 2006 at 05:51:52 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Blurred vision (none)
        because DPW, like every other port management company, has NOTHING to do with port security.

        Management of the ports has quite a bit to do with port security even if the Coast Guard and Customs remain responsible.

        And control of the company that manages the port has  a lot to do with how they manage the port.

        That the the UAE is essentially a monarchy surrounded by a hostile (to them and us) population is at least cause to proceed with extreme caution.

        •  oh. (none)
          Do you blame American and United Airlines for allowing 9/11 happen?  Or do you rightfully blame lax (and outsourced) security measures mandated by the FAA?

          What did the US do to fix gaping holes exposed by 9/11?  Kick out every airline owned by a foreign company or government?  No, that would have been idiotic. We federalized airport security, took oversight away from the FAA and gave it to a department whose mandate is national security, not corporate accommodation.

          I see ZERO difference here. Regardless of who or what manages US port terminals, it is still the mandate of the Coast Guard, Customs, and local port authorities to provide security.  

          Also, what exactly do you think is going to happen here?  DPW is going to come in, fire all the local dock workers and replace them with wild-eyed Muslim extremists, hellbent on blowing up your local shopping mall?

  •  Because the wingnuts always support (4.00)
    whatever Bush wants, they are the ones who are now on the awkward side of being ultra politically correct. I don't believe that these fine feelings are authentic at all.

    I had no idea that ports and trains were owned and controlled by foreign companies until this deal came to our attention. I don't think any foreign country or foreign company should be running our ports, especially after 9/11.

    Russians are Europeans. Do I think the Russians should run our ports? NO!

    Bush has never really protected the United States. He hasn't even thought about it seriously. All this talk for five years was to create an impression of our vulnerability. Well, it succeeded. He said constantly that the terrorists were everywhere and always plotting and planning against us. How did he expect us to react to him blythely ceding control of our ports to the UAE.

    And no matter what they say, they cannot control every person who works for this company. There is a much, much bigger chance of infiltration by hostile people if the ports are controlled by the UAE. How stupid do they think we are?

    Bush wants this deal because his friends want to do deals that are illegal and evade detection. That is what is going on here. Racist my eye.

    Cheney lied--you can see it in his eyes.

    by lecsmith on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 09:41:18 PM PST

  •  I believe it's called Projection... (none)
    the Republicans have used this tactic way too long.

    Good diary and highly recommended.  Thanks Hunter.

  •  What is xenophobia? (4.00)
    I respect many of the bloggers who claim to have security fears, and I am certainly not a Port Security expert myself...but I think I can answer this question--irrational fear of foreigners is xenophobia.  

    So how do we decide in this case what in the media and the blogs is xenophobia, and what isn't?

    If in our concern about foreign ownership of US ports we ignore the best evidence--whether it confirms our fears or not-- then we aren't being rational.  That would be xenophobic.

    Enter reporters like Paul Blustein and Walter Pincus in the Washington Post who interviewed real port security experts.  Obviously Walter Pincus and Paul Blustein acted rationally as reporters--trying to give their readers the best information about this topic they could by talking to people who actually know something about it. Kind of like if you want to know something about evolution you talk to a biologist, not a religious fanatic.  

    In this case all of the port security experts they interviewed said foreign ownership of our ports is either not a problem, or it is the least of our concerns when it comes to port security:

    (port security itself is, however, a big problem--just not foreign ownership).

    Do we claim they are wrong based on what? Hunches? Educated guesses? Deductive reasoning?  Sort of like the way the GOP dismisses the evidence for global warming or evolution?  Would that be rational?

    If not, there's a word for it.  xenophobic

    I don't see xenophobia involved in this. --Peter Brookes, Heritage Foundation.

    by markymarx on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 11:41:30 PM PST

  •  Rita Cosby is hoarse of course (4.00)
        I was looking for a diary to vent. After seeing her in a video segment on Crooks and Liars tonight. She was talking about how she disagreed with the Republicans having to probe
    Churchs for lists of their congregations as a way of reaching their base. She actually said that she believed in the seperation of religion and state. Yes, just pollute the Religious sphere with more of the divide and conquer strategy that has worked so well for the Republicans in the past. When she turned her drooling attention to Democrats I was intrigued. It didn't take long to realize that she was just another talking head who has been given her marching orders from on high to go on the attack with the supreme strategy of the Republican party. "PREJUDICE" And she came out with her bombshell statement that in fact Democrats were looking for the Hoodlum vote. Was she referring to the minority vote? Hispanics or blacks?  The democrats are not the ones having trouble with their base of loyal voters. It is the military recruiters that are now seeking people with a criminal past so that they can raise their quotas. I remember when Vietnam was being criticized by the youth and how I was not even interested in fighting for any war that seemed to be a sham. But to my incredible dismay I was drafted. I had 30 days to enlist so that I could escape the draft and the powerlessness over your future that comes with being drafted.  This seems illogical but I enlisted to get a school instead of a rifle. Today, I surely can understand the youth saying " fuck If I am going to Iraq so I can come back in a body bag. A war with no front lines, bombs buried in the streets, and realizing that Bush is the real Hoodlum that got us in this disasterous illegal war. The xenophobia mentioned in this diary is only going to get worse because the Republicans are finally realizing that they are going down.
    The potential civil war in Iraq, the insane decision to pass the security of our ports to the United Arab Emerate only reveals that Bush will sell his soul to the hightest bidder. Local or foreign corporate interests is irrelevant in his deluded denial of the massive harm he is doing to this country.  The democrats are not attacking this deal out of any prejudice, but as a desperate attempt to save this country from a potential disaster and from the pervasive insanity that the Republicans have brought down on our heads. Finally, after years of frustration that the American public could not see past the bullshit propaganda machine, they are awakening to the truth that America is being led down a very destructive path.  What we need is a free press to bring this truth to fruition , but I dispair that the press can free itself from its corporate censors. This is where the real crooks are. Anything for a buck, and fuck the rest.  Only speculating here, but maybe Rita Cosby is a mole implanted into MSNBC, by FOX? WHO the hell knows? who the hell cares?
  •  after all, it is still Black history month (none)
    such luminaries of American race relations as Rush Limbaugh and Michelle Malkin...

    thanks--it's been a really bad day and I needed that laugh!

    Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D. IMPEACH

    by TrueBlueMajority on Sat Feb 25, 2006 at 01:52:00 AM PST

  •  after all, it is still Black history month (none)
    such luminaries of American race relations as Rush Limbaugh and Michelle Malkin...

    thanks--it's been a really bad day and I needed that laugh!

    Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D. IMPEACH

    by TrueBlueMajority on Sat Feb 25, 2006 at 01:54:13 AM PST

  •  I love the "pissy" you, Hunter! (none)
  •  This essay only needs to be one paragraph: (none)
    When you can't differentiate between a race and a specific government, that makes you a racist, by definition. When you declare that every government must be treated equally, regardless of their actions, that just makes you an idiot.

    Cause, this will be my 'talking point' at work today to my boss -- who is definitely from wingnuttia.

    Two days ago, he actually agreed with me about the port deal. He had smoke coming out of his ears! He said his wife told him to ask me who the dems were running for President and for me to get him some 'info' on those candidates. I was in HEAVEN at the switch.

    Within one day -- or, really, one evening no doubt watching Fox News from sundown till he slumbered away for the night....something changed.

    I mentioned the port deal off-handedly to a coworker, and this boss makes this big 'joke' about me being racist.....

    Overnight. It was incredible.  They had taken his body and mind AGAIN.  In just a few short hours.

    What are they beaming subliminally on Fox News?  Maybe it is the crawler headlines that have serious degenerative impact on one's critical thinking skills.

    LetsFight. re handle: Fight the radical right is the sentiment!

    by letsfight on Sat Feb 25, 2006 at 04:37:02 AM PST

  •  Thank god you wrote this. (4.00)
    Because I was an inch from writing my own version, and all the profanity would have GOTTEN IN THE WAY OF THE MESSAGE, as I'm told so often.

    So thank you, thank you, thank you.

    •  I'd like to hear from you (none)
      Close up that inch.

      It sure looks like projection, these charges of racism, but I'm loathe to play armchair shrink. I mean, that's what what they're doing to me (to us) and it feels like shit. I hope you'll share your thoughts on this, er ... phenomenon, whether nightly-news or dervish style.

      Is nothing secular?

      by aitchdee on Sat Feb 25, 2006 at 08:42:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  lou Dobbs, worth repeating (none)
    From the Situation Room:  DOBBS: And when people introduce the race card, it is usually the last refuge of a person without argument for the position they've taken, and they are fearing for their agenda, not the welfare of the nation.
  •  This tactic isn't directed at us. (none)
    Bush and his media cronies are using this xenophobia tactic to shame the American people into not opposing them on this deal.  

    They know that a lot of Americans (and in particular white suburbanites) are, because of our history and our present race relations, very sensitive to being called racist.  Even the suggestion of being racist is going to get many Americans to back down a little.

    Bush and Rove and the rest know that if they keep repeating "xenophobia" and "racism" over and over again, many Americans will start wondering if they really are being racist, at which point they will tone down their dissent so that they don't appear racist.

    Once this tactic achieves the above effect, the administration will use the weakening of the opposition to this deal to get the Republicans in Congress to fall into line.

    I know we're all pissed at being called xenophobes, but we're not the targets of this tactic.  Their target is the average white American, their base, and unfortunately, it just might work.

  •  Distinction yes, in practice no way (none)
    There are some great claims here that one can "separate the actions of a state from the actions of all Arabs". In practice however, that is far from the truth. That fact is what is very much serving to fan the fires of this deal and overall anti_Arab sentiment.

    The average American is lost on such distinctions. The average American couldn't decide between Bush and Gore, nor Bush and Kerry. The subtleties of your argument are lost. One only needs to raise any connection to 9/11 and you pretty much have a walk in the park with the American people regarding most topics Arab.

    For example, note how quickly "2 of the 9/11 hijackers came from the UAE" and "money was funneled through UAE banks" came out in the discussion. One could have made many more credible arguments for this deal not to go through, but look what makes it to the headlines. People know what buttons to push to get the American people over the edge.

    Now, you can go off and deny all you want that this has nothing to do with xenophobia. In practice, "Arab" is at the heart of every headline and story on this port deal. Not that the company is state controlled or the the deal was passed through without the level of security assessment required.

    Make all the claims that you want, but the level of denial going on is tremendous. One only needs to look at people writing about wanting to "stop being PC". Lately I think being PC is actually pushing the anti-Arab, anti-whatever fears which fuel the war on terror and keep the Republican machine in power and control.

    These discussions have gone down hill fast...

    ...Whirlpools whirl, and dragnets drag...

    by dss on Sat Feb 25, 2006 at 06:48:07 AM PST

    •  I'm an average American (none)
      and you're talking about me as if I'm some kind of maroon. Why do you think that's okay to do?

      Have you met every average American in the whole of these United States? Then why do you stereotype us? We're all different you know. Sure, some of us act like lobotomy patients. Some others do not. But I guess when you see us walking down the street you automatically say, "Oh look, an Average American on whom all subtleties are lost." Umm, I hate to tell you this but your theory's shot: I actually do get some subtleties, average as I am. This is a good example of why it's always wise to get to know people before passing judgment on them.

      Average Americans like being diminished and dismissed and stereotyped about as much as Arabs or anyone else: that is to say, nobody likes it one bit. Your moral finger wagging is inconsistent. Ever hear the story about the guy who had this big fat beam stuck in his eyeball who went around town making a moral stink about lil motes in the eyeballs of his neighbors?

      Is nothing secular?

      by aitchdee on Sat Feb 25, 2006 at 10:18:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Just... (none)
    when I thought there was no new level of hate I could experience... far will it go with this crowd..?

  •  Hunter Speaks for Me (none)
    This is a brilliant piece.  Your work is always through the roof, talent-wise, and this is just another

    The utter insult to Americans of this port deal has had me boiling over inside.  It's been perfectly OK for this country, encouraged by its right-wing majority to demonize, scapegoat and dehumanize Arabs across the board for the past 5 years across-the-board in the name of ensuring Homeland Security.  But it's not OK for folks with specific concerns about security to point out that turning one's already-insecure ports over to a company wholly owned and operated by an Arab state with a dubious track record on enabling terrorist activity might just be a bit insane, because that would be "racist."  

    The hypocrisy is enough to make you gag.  But the ultimate supremacy of the almighty dollar, hell and be damned anything else, in the mind of our President and his cronies never as obvious as it is right now.  They know it, and we know it.  I damned sure hope that now the bulk of American people know it too, although I admit an unshakable pessimism due to the cult of personality that has had too many Americans in its throes now for 5 years.

    I swear, sometimes I just want to slap sense into somebody.  Anybody.  Hard.

    My separate place for mental meanderings: Political Sapphire

    by shanikka on Sat Feb 25, 2006 at 07:09:53 AM PST

  •  Professional "Victims" (none)
    The Conman-In-Chief and his admininstration seem to be using sheer demagoguery a lot lately, in terms of proclaiming themselves "victims."

    With the Alito nomination, it floored me that they trotted out some obscure "Italian-American"
    organizations shortly before the Senate voted, in a transparent attempt to insinuate that those of us who opposed him did so because of his ethnic heritage.

    You hear it a lot from the evangelical Republicans who are always insinuating that
    it is Christians of this country who are, somehow, being horribly oppressed (which would be odd, since the majority of Americas are Christians, so would, actually, be oppressing themselves to follow these wingnuts "logic" to is ultimate conclusion.

    And now, because of this administation's incompetence regarding this ludicrous deal by a company doing business with a questionable government (which is authoritarian towards in businesses, as well as its peopl, by the way)...this is positioned somehow as another act of "victimization" of Arabs.

    The blatan demagoguery of George Walker Bush and his unelected government in Washington is nothing less than shameful.

  •  Nice rant, Hunter (none)
    and I totally agree.

    Look people, we all know that Bush has been fanning the flames of anti-Arab racism since 9/11 in thousands of ways, and we've been rightfully repelled by it.  And yes, I'll even acknowledge that at least some of the anti-ports-deal commentary from around the spectrum does exhibit this bias.

    But you know what?  I didn't make this world, and I'm not going to elevate my opposition to anti-Arab racism so high that it trumps every other issue.  I'm not going to be paralyzed by the fear that my insignificant contributions to this debate put me on the slippery slope to Bushite racism.

    For all the talk that goes on here about Beltway Dems still trying to play by Marquis de Queensbury rules while the Republicans come at them with shivs, isn't that what you who are so worried by this are doing here?  You seem to want us to unilaterally disarm ourselves.

    There are other issues at play here, legitimate issues, that Hunter and others have raised.  There are VALID security concerns.  I won't repeat any of those.

    I mainly want to amplify another issue that also has been put into play here, which Hunter only touches on at a few points.

    That is the issue of economic nationalism, which is far too frequently conflated with racism by people who frequent this blog.  In this view, there is no legitimate sympathy whatever for complaints by Americans of the hollowing out of the job base of the country.  All such claims at least border on racism, in this view.

    This is wrong.  Kossacks need to understand that attempts the destroy the standard of living of Americans by multinational corporations is not done to "level the world playing field" but primarily to enrich a small group of global elites on top of the economic pyramid.  I'll accept a lower standard of living in the name of leveling the world playing field when these elites start talking and living the idea of shared sacrifice.

    Until then, there's nothing particularly progressive about allying with these elites because of fears that to complain about the standard of living erosion brought about by the "race to the bottom" are somehow putting one in the company of racists.

    Which leads me, at last, to my main point.  A significant subtext of the opposition that has grown around this port deal does not have to do with the Dubaian connection or fears about port security at all, but by the simple observation that I've shared with several of my workplace colleagues:

    "Why the hell is it that our country can't manage it's own damned ports?"

    This observation has been made to me by several of my colleagues, who work in an industry subject to the continual lurking threat of outsourcing.  There's nothing racist about it.  We work with people of all nationalities and are happy to do so, but we resent the hell out of the fact that concerns for quality have been thrown out the door by bottom line oriented decisions made by people who understand nothing but a short-term balance sheet.

    The Democratic party needs to get closer to these concerns and stop running away from them because of misplaced fears that to embrace them makes them racist.

  •  What I find extremely curious about this UAE (none)
    Government owned US port deal is that the Bushies AND the Neocons  are falling all over themselves to close the deal with a non-democratic hereditary monarchy/dictatorship, which at the very most, barely tolerates Israel, and here,  actively aids the fight for Palestine Autonomy against the 'Zionist Enemy'  and in the recent past has even cut off diplomatic relations with other Arab countries "who give aid and comfort to the Enemy", like Egypt , and betraying their Palestinian brothers by making formal peace agreements with Israel.

    And what's more, Israel is essentially  silent with the "Palestinian terrorist supporting, anti-Israel, anti-democratic, extremist Wahabi/islamofascist" rhetoric they usually  apply to neighboring muslim countries, and several of the  usually strident pro-Israel/Arab-bashing Kossacks on this site seem to be making approving noises in their comments about this UAE govmt US port takeover deal.

    Very Strange.

    •  You get the sense (none)
      that there are some huge ramifications at play with this deal... Something very fish must be going on behind the scenes.  I wouldn't be surprised if it has a lot to do with future deals/assurances against Iran.

      Thank you John Kerry.

      by diplomatic on Sat Feb 25, 2006 at 08:15:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Lieberman is also backing UAE Govmt Port deal (none)
      Here. Now how hypocritical and inconsistant of him is that?

      There is something dirty afoot here, and all of Lieberman's/Neocons'/Bush's  GWOT/Homeland security hogwash rhetoric is mere camoflage for the real game they are pulling on Americans.

  •  Even DHS didn't approve (none)
    This is looking more like a payoff to the Bush family every second.  Read this story and you get one more tidbit that this was pushed through by the President's men, and now he's trying to say he knew nothing.  Bullshit.  This deal is incredibly destructive to our security.  This is the shit that Kerry made a big deal about in 2004 and he got blown off.

    I bet a lot of people are wishing they'd voted for him now, given that the deal is so unpopular.  Who's the tough one on security now, eh?

    There is hardly a political question in the United States which does not sooner or later turn into a judicial one. -5.25, -4.67

    by wolverinethad on Sat Feb 25, 2006 at 08:08:40 AM PST

  •  The Lack of Oversight Rises to High Crimes (none)
    According to this consitutional framing, a high crime is described in a way that this lack of oversight becomes impeachable offense:

    Under the English common law tradition, crimes were defined through a legacy of court proceedings and decisions that punished offenses not because they were prohibited by statutes, but because they offended the sense of justice of the people and the court. Whether an offense could qualify as punishable depended largely on the obligations of the offender, and the obligations of a person holding a high position meant that some actions, or inactions, could be punishable if he did them, even though they would not be if done by an ordinary person.

    Offenses of this kind survive today in the Uniform Code of Military Justice. It recognizes as punishable offenses such things as refusal to obey orders, abuse of authority, dereliction of duty, moral turpitude, and conduct unbecoming. These would not be offenses if committed by a civilian with no official position, but they are offenses which bear on the subject's fitness for the duties he holds, which he is bound by oath or affirmation to perform.

    "These are the times that try men's [and women's] souls." - The Crisis, December 23, 1776

    by TPaine on Sat Feb 25, 2006 at 08:42:18 AM PST

  •  It ain't "Arabs." (none)

    It's not just "an Arab company." It's a company controlled by one (or more?) of the seven families controlling the UAE. Those families consorted with Osama after 9/11. They control banks which refused to trace the source of funds which flowed to Al Qaeda through them. The country was one of the few with diplomatic ties with the Taliban government of Afghanistan.

    There are proven connections here.

    On the other hand, there were no proven connections between Saddam and Al Qaeda. A case could be made for labeling that invasion as "racist" and a much stronger case for labeling much of the behavior of the occupation as "racist."

  •  What ever works in this irrational world (none)
    If it helps to bring down this administration, then use it. If helps the Democratic party capture one or both houses in November, scratch it till it bleeds.

    We are at the most critical juncture of history since WWll; we may not survive as a republic. Our world may have already reached a pollution "tipping point" that is irreversible. If the irrational cling to racism, helping to bring about needed change, the let the fuckers cower with their fear. It is time we recognize that the fight is for survival, as such everything but the soul is a weapon.

  •  Message to user "Diplomatic" (none)
    Just stop.  You accused me of following you around downrating your posts the other day when I merely responded to your responses to my posts.  I gave you one rating, that I changed within 2 minutes to a "4" when I found I couldn't reverse it.

    I've already sent one complaint about your ratings abuse to the Kos feedback address and I'm happy to send more if you don't quit abusing the ratings system.

    RULE OF LAW. That's all the reason you need to oppose Republicans.

    by nightsweat on Sat Feb 25, 2006 at 09:10:25 AM PST

  •  Racism (none)
    Hunter is my favorite diarist. This port thing is just too full of subtle nuance. There are valid arguments both for and against having the Dubai deal go through,political,military,and economic, but reasons to be in favor of the deal are frequently redolent of the odor of blackmail. We have to let this deal go through so that our Navy can still use the Dubai port. We have to let the deal go through in order to gain the good will of an ally in the War on Terrorism; we have to let the deal go through so that we don't look like racists. The wingnuts that I know are convinced that Hannity is nuts and Limbaugh is a wise man. Is there anything positive in this split? Is nuance going to cause the Democrats to cut and run from this issue too?
  •  Thank you for this diary (none)
    I am tired of seeing the charges of racism.  The only thing you can accuse us opponents of the port deal of having is simple common sense.  I have a feeling the right wing will try and break us with this talk of zenophobia.  But it is clear to me that we must and we will stand united on this issue.  

    Frankly, it's not such a conservative stance either.  I mean we liberals are constantly arguing against outsourcing and against private control of things that should be run by the public sector.  This case proves the dangers of what can happen.

  •  The Dubai Ports deal is a non-issue, IMO (none)
    The international shipping business involves people, companies and entities from all over the world.  The fact that a UK company, P&O, has been bought by a company owned by the emirate of Dubai should make no difference for port security, which is controlled by the U.S. government.  In this deal Dubai Ports World is also acquiring terminals in 18 other countries besides the U.S.  In no other country is anyone even questioning the deal.  In fact, the rest of the world is shocked by the negative reaction here in the U.S., according to an article in today's New York Times.  
         In India, the deal increase Dubai Ports' level of control to about half of that country's container operations, but no one is frightened about that.  Dubai Ports is acquiring 24 berths in Antwerp, Belgium (one of the world's largest ports), but Alexandra De Laet, a spokeperson for the port, notes that "globalization is nothing new in Antwerp.  Container traffic is dominated by foreign companies."  The editor of a publication for a container-industry research company based in London said that they have "been shocked by the level of animosity and xenophobia leveled at D.P. World."  A spokesperson for the U.K.'s Department of Trade and Industry sees the deal as nothing more than a commercial decision, noting that many ports in Britain change hands, adding that they "lay down regulations and expectations and standards and whoever owns the ports has to comply with them."  Dubai Ports is taking over port operations in Vancouver, British Columbia as part of the deal yet there has been no outcry in Canada.  Senator Colin Kenny of Ottawa noted that the United Arab Emirates provides important support for the interests of Canada and the U.S., noting "They are very engaged in the war on terror and we don't have a lot of friends in that part of the world.  These are the good guys."
         Richard Dibley, a director in a London company that advises port authorities, said he was struck by what seemed like "paranoia" in the American response to the deal.  The port and shipping business is international, he noted, adding "you don't get a business that is more so."  And David Whitehead, the director of a British trade group for port owners, said that while port security is a government issue, and every European port that ships to the United States has U.S. Coast Guard agents to check cargo, the "real issue is about international trade.  If you accept international trade, you have to accept international participants."
    •  True (none)
      but rather beside the point.

      This isn't a security issue. It's a political issue. BushCo has been riding the wave of Anti-Arabism since 9/11, and now, with this deal, they're effectvely jumping in front of their own runaway train, and giving us a chance to jump in the cab and take control. They've handed us a wonderful blunt instrument with which we can beat them silly, if, and only if, we have the will to use it. You have to look at it in the larger sense of, is it worth it to pick up that bat, as odious as it might be, and use it to win. If we're not willing to do what it takes to win, we should just roll over and give up on: healthcare. The environment. Reducing the horrendous, and growing, gap between wealth and poverty. Energy independence, and clean, renewable power. Getting our troops out of Iraq and acheiving lasting peace in the Middle East.

      The Rethugs and their corporate media stooges love to repeat the lie that Democrats don't have any solutions to offer. We know that's not true; we have much to offer. But we can't acheive diddly if we're not in power. And if we're not willing to do what is necessary to retake power, then we deserve to go on losing.

      Again, they've essentially just handed us the election, but only if we've actually got the balls to pick it up and take it. It's no help to parse this issue, to over analyze and intellectualize it, to use nuanced and reasonable thinking---that's what sunk John Kerry. We need less John Kerrys and more Howard Deans if we want to win. Please don't be a Kerry.

      Al Qeada is a faith-based initiative.

      by drewfromct on Sat Feb 25, 2006 at 11:44:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Fair enough (none)
        Using the issue as a club to batter this administration may be fun -- and God knows they deserve every last whack.  Believe me, I am loving the delicious irony of seeing the hammered as "weak on terrorism" by congresscritters of his own party scared to death of the coming campaign and furiously pandering to the very base whose fears W and Karl Rove had made a living off of whipping up into a frenzy.  Just thought I'd point out that the rest of the world is startled and a little disgusted at what they're seeing.  And there may be some of the less cynical who actually believe that there is some major port security issue at stake here.  
        •  I'm sorry but (none)
          I don't see "that the rest of the world is startled and a little disgusted at what they're seeing".  I see a few port owners, who may very well have a commercial interest in this deal going through, making comments about haw startled they are, tho the xenophobia canard is rather cheap, considering how many other business deals the American people have allowed to happen, including HUNDREDS WITH THE UAE.  
          Sorry, but I don't buy the fact that we have to turn over significant control of our ports to a UAE government to prove to the Arab world that we're not racist.
          •  How we look to the rest of the world (none)
            I don't think that it is just people with a financial interest in the deal who see this as a spasm of knee-jerk anti-Arab ugly Americanism. Fareed Zakaria said this morning on ABC's "This Week" program that he was in India last week when this story broke and that the universal viewpoint there (in one of the most pro-American countries out there) was that this is blatant racism and application of a double standard based on skin color.  The respected London-based newspaper The Financial Times said in an editorial on Tuesday that the "bluster about national security conceals one of the uglier faces of U.S. protectionism -- the one with the slightly racist tinge."  The Economist entitled an Intelligence Unit brief on the furor:  "Big Vision Collides With Little Minds."  
                 Given their experience of the last five years, the rest of the world is not careful to hold off and wait for every last fact to become available before concluding that the U.S. public contains a large percentage, possibly a majority, of xenophobic, know-nothing yahoos who are easily manipulated by cynical politicians.  This fits right into a sadly familiar pattern of behavior.  
    •  Politicians and businessmen spokesman (none)
      can be bought and sold by the dozen by this despicable organized criminal Bush regime. All this preposterous spin about HSA controlling port security is an obvious canard. Yes. They control it almost as well as they handled the Katrina aftermath.  

      The fact is privatized/outsourced US municipal port infrastructures the States are being forced to sell off at an accelerating rate to murky, ultimately unaccountable  shell corporations and foreign interests, because  of lack of funding base and federal support to meet growing operational costs and security mandates, is decreasing real domestic control and security over our entry points, and increasing our dependence on, and vulnerability to  profit-motivated non-domestic entities.  

  •  Port Operations is not security control (none)
    I worked at a port managing the States all the important work is done by American longshoreman. On the West Coast they even operate all the computer load/offload planning software, as required by their union contract. The security is done by the Port and Customs - not the terminal managers.

    Most of the managers (non-stevedores) will be American. And all foriegn managers will be vetted with security checks, actually, the Americans must have security checks as well, to get terminal access.

    Ports all have gates controlled by customs.  The containers are all sealed - and the longshoremen must check and verify the seals (too prevent theft liability, etc.)

    At our foreign operations the opposite was true - there were only a few Americans and all the important work was done by local nationals.  With local government providing security.

    etc., etc., so I tend to agree with the experts: as far as port security goes this is no big deal.

    It is funny (in a sad way) how fast the anti-profiling brigade wants to profile an Arab owned company - because they are Arab. Politics over principle, it seems that is the rule, no matter which side of the aisle folks are on.

    •  FINE (none)
      Then let's have an Iraninan company take over port operations in a joint venture with the North Koreans.
      Oh the difference is that they SAID they're an enemy, is that it?  
      Right, the only true enemies are the ones who scream it to the heavens right?

      And as you say, since it doesn't afeect port security, it doesn' matter, RIGHT?

      •  That would be different (none)
        The UAE is an ally of ours.  We just sold them an ton of sophisticated aircraft, for example, including 80 F-16 fighters.  They provide port facilities for our Navy and bases for the U.S. Army.  They have worked very closely with us on international anti-terrorist efforts since 9/11.  They are completely different relationship with us than does Iran or North Korea.
             We have port facilities operated by a company owned by the government of Singapore.  They work very well.  No one has suggested that this is a security risk.  Dubai Ports operates ports in countries all over the world.  Only here, in the last two weeks, has that become a political issue.  And that's because talk radio, Karl Rove and George W. Bush have turned the American public into know-nothing Pavlovian nationalists, salivating and frothing at the mouth on command whenever they hear the words "Arab!" or "terrorists!"
             I'm not suggesting that everyone who opposes this deal thinks that way.  Far from it.  I'm only saying that this administration is reaping what is has sown, and an over-reliance on the terrorism and nationalism cards has now had a lasting effect on our politics and culture.  Remember how reflexive anti-communism distorted our foreign policy and domestic politics for fifty years following WWII?  Something similar may be getting started on this issue.
        •  The UAE is *not* our ally (none)
          Just because the Bush regime treats them as an ally doesn't make them any better than an adversary.  This adversary has provided support to al-Qaeda, a sworn enemy of the U.S.

          That's all I need to reject this deal.

          When people advocate criminal actions by their country, they are, by extension, criminals. People who fight such actions are the true patriots.

          by stevietheman on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 11:22:17 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  UAE is on our side (none)
            Al Qaeda wants to overthrow the government of the U.A.E.  They're on our side in the struggle against Al Qaeda.  If we trust them enough to berth our warships and billet our troops there, and enough to sell them 80 of our sophisticated fighter aircraft plus assorted Apache attack helicopters, etc., that's a pretty good indication that they are not our adversary.
                 The fact that some of their citizens acted to harm us in the past does not make them an adversary.  
  •  Good job! This article is catching fire on the net (none)
    I continue to be astounded by my fellow Americans who seem to have easily bought into the strange idea (read: Bush regime meme) that UAE's management of the ports would have "nothing" to do with port security. That idea, my friends, is BULLSHIT. Who implements ongoing security measures? People who don't manage the ports? Give us a break!

    The UAE government has a history of supporting al-Qaeda (not to mention the Taliban), a sworn enemy of the United States.  Meanwhile, they are an "ally" in Bushthink.  What?!?  The UAE is an adversary at best, and the U.S. will allow them to manage our ports?

    This has nothing to do with any feelings for Arabs, who I think are good people for the most part.  Those who accuse opponents to this port deal of being xenophobes need to fully reexamine this issue.

    Another matter equally astounding is how the British people don't seem to be up in arms over this themselves, thinking that American action is all about xenophobia.  Could it be possible that the British are under more of a haze or mental block than Americans are?  It's like they're buying the government line hook, line and sinker with a passing assumption of "those ugly Americans."  In reality, the British need to wake the F up!

    When people advocate criminal actions by their country, they are, by extension, criminals. People who fight such actions are the true patriots.

    by stevietheman on Sun Feb 26, 2006 at 11:13:53 AM PST

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