Thursday, February 23, 2006

On Second Thought...

I formally retract the statements I made in my previous blog entry. Having fallen into the trap of mass hysteria and fear monograms by the media, I failed to give this story time to breathe, and therefore posted my opinion in ignorance. The ports deal is simply a business transaction that is becoming commonplace in today's global economy. The fact is most of our ports are at least partly managed by foreign companies, including China. The case against this ports deal has turned into little more than ethnic bigotry and pure ignorance of seaport security and management. There will be no changes to security procedures at the six ports that DPW is buying from P&O. U.S. Customs and Border Protection will still be screening what goes in and out of the country. There will be no terrorists being hired or sneaking into our country through these ports as a result of this transaction. One legitimate argument is that DPW is a government controlled entity and not publicly traded, but that has little affect on how the business will operate.

Sorry folks but President Bush is right about this one. Unless a legitimate security concern surfaces during a Congressional investigation into this deal, there is no reason to believe that this Administration is jeopardizing our national security in allowing this deal to happen. The president may have been out of the loop on this, since he only found out about this deal a few days ago, but it appears the necessary steps have been taken to ensure that there were no national security issues with this deal. Nonetheless, Congress is doing its job by calling for greater transparency and further scrutiny of this transaction. It is a global economy; multinational corporations and foreign investment are necessary components of globalization and inter-dependence. Outsourcing is also a major characteristic, and continues to be a concern. However, Americans must learn to adapt to the realities of the global economy no matter how painful the transition because nothing can stop it. This controversy over ports management should shift to a discussion on how to deal with globalization effectively without sacrificing our ideals or national identity while maintaining our security. In other words, a concern about seaport security is an issue separate from a simple business transaction, although greater transparency is necessary.

Monday, February 20, 2006

National Insecurity

The Bush Administration have approved the sale of the British firm Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Co., which managed six U.S. seaports in New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New Orleans, and Miami, to Dubai Ports World of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). In case you didn't get that, ask Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff how the administration could allow the management of our national security to be sold to a company in Dubai, which was used as an operational and financial base by terrorists, and is directly adjacent to Saudi Arabia, home to 15 of 19 of the 9/11 hijackers. Chertoff claims that after a classified review of the national security implications of this sale, it was determined to be safe. This is coming from the same man put in charge of the bureaucratic boondoggle known as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

No one has forgotten what happened during Hurricane Katrina, when the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) failed to act quickly to the disaster unfolding in the gulf coast. However, many are not aware that FEMA is under the umbrella of the DHS and Secretary Chertoff, whom former FEMA director Michael Brown reported. A recent report by a Congressional committee on Hurricane Katrina found that the response by the DHS and Sec. Chertoff to the disaster was inadequate and lacked initiative among other things. The DHS is responsible for the federal response to both natural disasters and acts of terrorism on our soil, requiring decisive leadership, and a quick response with immediate resources made available to the affected area. Unfortunately, the level of red tape in the newly created DHS is a terrible hindrance on its effectiveness. Nonetheless, there is no excuse for poor leadership in the face of a disaster at any level of government, and accountability is crucial to a healthy democracy. Chertoff could use some leadership advice from the former mayor of New York City Rudy Giuliani.

In any case, I do not believe many Americans would be comfortable with any foreign entity given the responsibility to manage seaport security in the U.S., let alone a company based in the Middle Eastern country of the UAE. Additionally, I do not believe many will care that the Bush Administration considers the UAE to be allies in the war on terror, especially given the track record of that part of the world. Is it necessary to mention that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are also “allies” of this administration, who are known to have extensive terrorism activities within their own borders? Do we really want to put our trust in a company that could potentially be infiltrated by members of al-Qaeda? Perhaps President Bush feels overconfident with the National Security Agency (NSA) illegal wiretapping program to stop any such occurrence. Happy President's Day!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Bush-Abramoff Photo Op

Today the Kickapoo tribal leader from Texas, Chief Raul Garza, released the first photo with President Bush and Jack Abramoff in the same room to The New York Times. Abramoff was seeking a contract with Garza and his Casino, and set up the opportunity for Garza to attend a meeting at the White House for state legislators on May 9, 2001 supporting the Bush tax cut. Abramoff appears in the background as the President is shaking Garza’s hand.

Apparently, there are additional photographs, which have yet to be released that suggest some contact between Bush and Abramoff. However, since there is no proof former lobbyist Jack Abramoff had any influence in policy making for the Bush Administration, the presumption of innocence is justified. Any intelligent person must recognize the fact that the President of the United States will have his picture taken thousands of times with various individuals whom have no connection with him. However, a conspiracy theorist would presume that since there are photos that have Bush and Abramoff in the same room they must have had dealings with one another. That line of thought is completely ridiculous in the context of today’s open society that includes the tabloid saturation of virtually all mass media content. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but what they are saying is in the eye of the beholder absent any definitive proof.

Click on the title of this blog entry to see the photograph for yourself and the source article.

Friday, February 10, 2006


I am sorry to disappoint all those liberal readers out there, but the recent news of Ex-Cheney Staffer I. Lewis Libby allegedly testifying he was ordered to leak classified information may not be what it appears. As in most cases of a legal nature, it is much more complicated then that. Like it or not, the way many of the major media outlets are reporting on this story is sensational in nature, and without any solid proof to back up the claims. In fact, it is almost as if every journalist has taken a page out of Michael Moore's book on how to juxtapose and arrange information in a way that portrays the "bad guy" in a bad light. For all of you have seen any of his films, I urge you to also watch "Michael Moore Hates America," a film by Michael Wilson of Minneapolis, MN. The negativity and sensationalism must end, and real positive solutions to obvious problems need to be brought forth in its place.

The five big corporations may indeed own most of the major media, but they hire liberal journalists whose only job is to sell the product of information to the public. Unfortunately, the cheapest and most efficient way to do that, thanks to the free market, is sensationalism. Making judgments before we have all the facts is irresponsible, and the public should be allowed to reach their own conclusions once those facts are available, not be force fed it by half-baked sensational stories filled with half-truths, innuendos, and an assumption of guilt until proven innocent. The court of public opinion has been hijacked by those who want you to believe what they believe, and do not want you to draw your own conclusions, because that would be dangerous.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

State of the News

Yesterday was a big news day: Alan Greenspan's last day as Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Judge Samuel Alito confirmed as Associate Supreme Court Justice, and the President delivered his sixth State of the Union address. What you may not have heard was that anti-War activist Cindy Sheehan was invited to attend by Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Cal. and had a ticket for Gallery 5, Seat 7, Row A. She was removed from the chambers because she was wearing a T-shirt that read “2,245 Dead, How Many More?" She was charged with a misdemeanor for violating House chamber rules, but the charges of "unlawful conduct" were later dropped by the police.

In addition, as is tradition, the Democrats responded to the President's State of the Union, this time with newly elected Virginia governor Tim Kaine. The obvious message being conveyed by Kaine was "there is a better way," and supposedly, the Democrats are the ones to provide it. Unfortunately, Kaine never gave specific alternatives, only criticism, for the Bush Administration's policies, giving credibility to President Bush's jab at the Dems in his address that "hindsight is not wisdom, and second-guessing is not a strategy." The clear lack of leadership and a positive message will continue to cripple the Democratic Party, no matter how much the President's Administration mismanages its foreign policy or domestic agenda. (P.S. Pay no attention to Bush's proclamation of the American addiction to oil; nothing will be done to begin addressing it under this Administration.)

Samuel Alito replaces Justice Sandra O'Connor, the first woman appointed, and often the decisive vote on a split bench of the U.S. Supreme Court. Alito's nomination was opposed primarily because it was feared the balance of the court would be shifted towards a strong conservative direction, away from a moderate court under Chief Justice Rehnquist and Justice O'Connor. John Robert's nomination was not as highly contested because he was a conservative replacing another conservative in Rehnquist. Nonetheless, the President of the United States is granted the duty in the Constitution to appoint justices to the Supreme Court, with approval of the Senate. In fact, President Clinton appointed two liberal members to the court, Justice Ginsberg and Justice Breyer, with near unanimous support by the Republican controlled Senate.

Alan Greenspan, who served 18 years as Chairman of the Federal Reserve, was appointed by Ronald Reagan, and reaffirmed by Presidents H.W. Bush, Clinton, and W. Bush. Ben Bernanke was appointed by President Bush to replace Greenspan, perhaps the most famous Fed. Reserve Chairman and considered to be on of the best ever to have served at the position because of his laisseze-faire philosophy to the free market, and his record of short recessions, and the longest economic prosperity interval in the 1990s thanks to his timing of interest rate manipulation. Bernanke is expected to follow a similar approach to the economy. Stay tuned for a return to the gold standard after a collapse of the Reserve system due to massive debt! (Read Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged", Greenspan's favorite novel.)