Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Any Port in a Storm, from Reason Express

Executive summary: there's nothing a Port Operator can do in the way of mischief which the other parties using that port (shippers, ship operators, Longshoremen...) can't also do. T'ain't that there's not a problem in the ports, it's that requiring port operators to be U.S. companies won't fix that.

So it takes a lot to stoop to the level of stupidity shown by the politicos and shysters killing themselves -- not that there's anything wrong with that! -- to get in front of cameras to denounce the port operation deal.

News flash: Chuck Schumer -- who's a politico and a shyster -- isn't even entitled to have an opinion on this issue.

Economic phrasing: what, in the way of terrorism or mischief, can a port operator do which a shipper or operator can't do? Hint, the answer is: nothing.

The point, friends, isn't that our ports aren't security problems it's that you haven't solved any security problems by blocking this deal and you may very well have created some. For example: the U.S. is the country who abandoned the Shi'a and Kurds the the murderousness of Saddam Hussein after the 1991 Gulf War. The people of the gulf are entitled to think of us, U.S., as untrusworthy.

And now, demonstrating the tone-deafness for which this branch of the Republican party is so justly famous, the White House is announcin that the Prez didn't know until it was a 'done deal.' See:

Herewith some wisdom from emphasis added:

This just in, foreign ships dock in American ports! On one level, the Bush administration is the victim of straight-up hysteria over the sale of some U.S. port functions to a state-run United Arab Emirates company. But it is also political tone-deafness of the first order not to anticipate that hysteria would bubble up given the current seal-the-borders climate.

On the issue of port security, yes there are legitimate anti-terrorism concerns. But port ownership (sic. The issue is port operations, not ownership. The ownership won't change) does not guarantee good or bad security. In fact, the assumption that international airline traffic was somehow more dangerous than domestic flights was a big hole in pre-9/11 airline security. Not even national directives in Washington can guarantee good security procedures at the local level, at each individual port or airport.

Finally, there is the question of money. If the UAE relationship can provide the kind of deep pockets needed to finance security upgrades, then overall port security might be better off. Until that can be demonstrated, however, the howling will continue, particularly from a Congress in full mid-term election mode.

Saturday, February 11, 2006


I have Danish relatives who risked an early departure from this veil of tears working in the Danish resistance in the 1940s. Least I can do is sound off.
Here's a great link to something by an Egyption called "The Big Pharoh" who whomped up a variation on the Ten Commandments:

I can sum these commandments up very briefly: "Hey diaper loaders, are you interested in accomplishing something or do you just want people to laugh at you?"

Specifically, here's what the BP wrote. Italicized comments are mine:

1.Thou shall not have westophobia. The west is not plotting against Islam, they don’t give a hoot about your religion nor the religion of this old Hindu man walking in downtown Calcutta, India. The West is busy with far more important things.

2.Thou shall remember that millions of Muslims in Europe have far more rights than non-Muslims in Arab/Muslim lands (for more info, contact the Christian villagers of el-Udaysaat) So quit playing the victim here. I simply don’t buy it.

3.Thou shall understand that the West is a pool of ideas and people. In the west you will find: Non-muslims who love Islam (Karen Armstrong and Prince Charles), non-Muslims who hate Islam (J-Posten and Oriana Fallaci), converts to Islam who love Islam (Murad Huffman, Roge Garoudi), converts out of Islam who hate Islam (Hirshi Ali and Ibn Warraq). So for heaven’s sake, you can’t paint the West with one brush.

4.Thou shall understand that the West gets their info on Islam not from your preaching nor from the books you translate to them but from your actions.

5.Thou shall riot and protest when Muslims kill other Muslims (for more info, contact the Shia families of Iraq and Darfur Sudanese)

6.Thou shall try to riot and protest when Muslims kill non-Muslims. If that’s not possible, at least try to do commandment 5.

7.Thou shall NOT riot over cartoons published 4 months ago. Try to riot over cartoons published 2 months ago. At least it might make more sense that way.

8.Thou shall not boycott an entire nation because a single newspaper, TV channel, radio station, politician, actor, actress, etc, etc, in that nation said or wrote or drew something that offended you. Why? Because its stupid and childish to do so and it fur