Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Port Report

by The Windjammer

Just last week I was dumber than a box of rocks concerning the controversial port deal in which a state-owned company out of the United Arab Emirates purchased or attempted to purchase from a British firm for more money than I could count in my lifetime the right to operate a portion of the process of offloading and onloading freight at some of our ports.

Today after listening to various media and Congresspersons and assorted other folk, I am almost twice as smart. Now I am dumber than a whole pile of rocks–just like nearly everyone else I have heard discussing it.

I was absolutely and unequivocally opposed to the deal. There was no way I was going to change my mind.

But I have. The one factor which exerted the most pressure in making that change was the negative coverage by the media and the negative response by certain members of Congress whom I had been led to disbelieve so many times before. Those aren’t limited to any one party, but the preponderance is with one of the three.

The media have generally raised such a hullabaloo about the sale of Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co. to Dubai Ports World that the rest of the public is almost half as smart as I am about the deal. Meanwhile, down behind the corral, the public has already made up its mind that any deal spelled with a capital "A" (as in Arab) can’t be good for anyone and has started taking potshots at the enemy with pistols loaded with blanks. No one has ever told me while my earpans were free of wax just who owns the selling company. It is London-based, but that doesn’t tell me it is England-owned and bred. Heck, they didn’t even tell me who owned the buying company. I had to find that out for myownself.

Pols read polls like yesterday’s newspapers. Those show that "common people" a.k.a. voters are opposed to the deal. I read one which claimed that an overwhopping 76% of the pollees were thinking just like the others. That thinking is based on what the TV talking heads told them to think. All of a sudden, politicians from both sides of the aisle who were likely only about half as smart as the people who matter most who were about half as smart as I (remember that I was totally and blissfully ignorant) started counting votes before they were cast and sided against Bush who was the guy all those pistols were aimed at down behind the high pole fence. If you think pols aren’t mathematicians, you had better believe they can count votes on both hands faster than you can get your shoes off to count your toes. They are scared of becoming ex-Congresspersons and will bend in any direction, including over, to avoid such a calamity.

There may be more to the deal than meets the jaundiced eyeball.

I have tried to inject a few other factors which I have determined to be true into my logic.

First: the freight in question doesn’t originate at our ports, it is coming into them from all over this little piece of universe. If it originates here, there isn’t likely to be any terrorists hiding in a bale of Alabama cotton or under a few thousand bushels of wheat. Lint gets in your nostrils if you try to breathe through a thick wad of unpressed cotton and little grains of wheat irritate your sinuses something fierce.

Second: this company which is owned by United Arab Emirates already conducts operations in ports all over the world. If they were interested in playing havoc with their own economy, they would have done it long ago to some poor unsuspecting nation such as France or Russia. I still don’t know who owns P&OSN. It might be Iran.

Third: the United Arab Emirates has been an ally since about the time way back there when that Notorious Democrat turned over the reigns to that Notorious Republican or a year or so later.

Still third, but with a different tack: I hesitate to blame all the other folk in a country for the actions of a few. That may be the very reason so much of the rest of the world thinks that the U.S. is nothing but a bunch of horse thieves, blackguards and sundry other dirty rotten scoundrels. They are the ones who make all the newscasts and when one comes along who is as honest as Honest Abe bragged about being, the media can’t believe such a person could possibly exist and set out to tear him limb from limber. Such misrepresentation is likely the only basis for making a judgment of our country that many of those people have readily available.

Fourth: and this is only hearsay, no domestic company appeared to be sufficiently interested in acquiring this business.

Fifth: the work will still be done by the same people who have been doing it. The security will still be done by the same people who have been doing it. I’m not at all sure of the efficacy or of the efficiency of that group. I suspect that there ain’t no such thing as a 100% solid guarantee that security will not be or even has not been breached.

Sixth and last, but certainly not least: the folks who first raised the objection are the same ones who have in the past opposed everything Bush has tried to accomplish and accused him of lying when subsequent events proved that he was the one telling the truth all along. It makes one think he is smelling a rat whether there is one or not.


Independent1 said...

What is interesting about this is that opposing this sale is basically racial profiling. If you are opposed to this sale, it is generally because the company is owned by Arabs, despite the fact that those Arabs are our best allies in the middle east.

What would shutting the door on this sale project to the Arab world? The US will never trust any Arabs, no matter how well they have demonstrated their allegance to us.

Your point about it being the same people on the ground in the ports unloading and loading the freight containers is particularly significant. The only thing that is really changing is who makes the money.

Anonymous said...

When I first heard about this situation, my first thought was No Way Jose. But like you, after hearing more and more about it, I have come to believe, that like everything else in the world, it boils down to money. There is no money in it for U.S. companies. If there was, Haliburton would probably make a bid and that would set the Democrats off to full power. most countries who might consider bidding just cannot make enough money from the contract because too many union people strike and cause problems. That big strike in CA a few years back was caused by 10 union guys who printed out digital information and wrote it out on paper by hand because there was no computer that could transcribe from some particular digital form to the US computer format. Ten guys caused all those weeks of everyone at the ports on strike-just before Christmas! So, the Dubai company with its stellar reputation for handling ports bid on it and won. Once again, Bush is looking out for our economic welfare. It is still American stevedores handling the mdse, it is still American Coast Guard Security, it is still American owned ports. It is merely the handler, the management, the payroll checkbook that will have changed. And basically, it is only changing from one foreign country (Great Britain) to another (UAE). If we don't want the foreigners, we'll have to make a law. If we make a law, we will likely have to put up with Haliburton or some such company, and that is not likely to happen without a whole lot of flack from the Massachusetts crowd. So in the end, the Massachusetts crowd doesn't like anything, but especially, they don't like Bush.
So, ----, once again I agree with you. Joni

Rebecca DeVendra said...

Ahhh that was enlightening; Thank you so much, I love your blog it's like a breath of fresh air. Iv come full circle with this issue. I heard the word "Arab" and thought "OH NO!" But now I know better; Im sort of ashamed.

Anonymous said...

Yes...thanks. I was hell-bent against it; but now I'm all for it. It just shows you how gullable I am.
(p.s. What ever happened to that wire-tapping thing?)