Doing Advance Work

News that doesn't receive the necessary attention.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Americans are born in bondage to the endless war industry. It's not just that US military is being volunteered by other countries but that Washington has been happy to volunteer the US military as the de facto expeditionary force for the "international community." Who doesn't enjoy volunteering other people? Mark Steyn, March 2011

Libyan intervention cost $1.1 billion US taxpayer dollars as of Sept. 2011, ABC News

Image, James Cagney with US soldiers headed to a foreign war sings, "the Yanks are coming," in the movie, "Yankee Doodle Dandy," 1942


March 28, 2011, "MARK STEYN: WHY IS IT AMERICA NEVER WINS WARS?" (originally published in National Review), 

"The Art of Inconclusive War" 

"Why is it that the United States no longer wins wars? 

It is tempting and certainly very easy to point out that Obama’s [Libyan] war (or Obama’s “kinetic military action,” or “time-limited, scope-limited military action,” or whatever the latest ever more preposterous evasion is) is at odds with everything candidate Obama said about U.S. military action before his election. And certainly every attempt the president makes to explain his Libyan adventure is either cringe-makingly stupid (“I’m accustomed to this contradiction of being both a commander-in-chief but also somebody who aspires to peace”) or alarmingly revealing of a very peculiar worldview: 

That’s why building this international coalition has been so important,” he said the other day. It is our military that is being volunteered by others to carry out missions that are important not only to us, but are important internationally.”

That’s great news. Who doesn’t enjoy volunteering other people? The Arab League, for reasons best known to itself, decided that Colonel Qaddafi had outlived his sell-by date. Granted that the region’s squalid polities haven’t had a decent military commander since King Hussein fired Gen. Sir John Glubb half a century back, how difficult could it be even for Arab armies to knock off a psychotic transvestite guarded by Austin Powers fembots? But no: Instead, the Arab League decided to volunteer the U.S. military. 

Likewise, the French and the British. Libya’s special forces are trained by Britain’s SAS. Four years ago, President Sarkozy hosted a state visit for Colonel Qaddafi, his personal security detail of 30 virgins, his favorite camel, and a 400-strong entourage that helped pitch his tent in the heart of Paris. Given that London and Paris have the third – and fourth-biggest military budgets on the planet and that between them they know everything about Qaddafi’s elite troops, sleeping arrangements, guard-babes, and dromedaries, why couldn’t they take him out? But no: They too decided to volunteer the U.S. military. 

But, as I said, it’s easy to mock the smartest, most articulate man ever to occupy the Oval Office. Instead, in a non-partisan spirit, let us consider why it is that the United States no longer wins wars. 

Okay, it doesn’t exactly lose (most of) them, but nor does it have much to show for a now 60-year-old pattern of inconclusive outcomes. American forces have been fighting and dying in Afghanistan for a decade: Doesn’t that seem like a long time for a non-colonial power to be spending hacking its way through the worthless terrain of a Third World dump? If the object is to kill terrorists, might there not be some slicker way of doing it? And, if the object is something else entirely, mightn’t it be nice to know what it is? 

I use the word “non-colonial” intentionally. I am by temperament and upbringing an old-school imperialist: There are arguments to be made for being on the other side of the world for decades on end if you’re claiming it as sovereign territory and rebuilding it in your image, as the British did in India, Belize, Mauritius, the Solomon Islands, you name it. Likewise, there are arguments to be made for saying sorry, we’re a constitutional republic, we don’t do empire.

But there’s not a lot to be said for forswearing imperialism and even modest cultural assertiveness, and still spending ten years getting shot up in Afghanistan helping to create, bankroll, and protect a so-called justice system that puts a man on death row for converting to Christianity. 

Libya, in that sense, is a classic post-nationalist, post-modern military intervention: As in Kosovo, we’re do-gooders in a land with no good guys. But, unlike Kosovo, not only is there no strategic national interest in what we’re doing, the intended result is likely to be explicitly at odds with U.S. interests. 

A quarter-century back, Qaddafi was blowing American airliners out of the sky and murdering British policewomen: That was the time to drop a bomb on him. But we didn’t. Everyone from the government of Scotland (releasing the “terminally ill” Lockerbie bomber, now miraculously restored to health) to Mariah Carey and BeyoncĂ© (with their million-dollar-a-gig Qaddafi party nights) did deals with the Colonel. 

Now suddenly he’s got to go — in favor of “freedom-loving” “democrats” from Benghazi. That would be in eastern Libya — which, according to West Point’s Counter Terrorism Center, has sent per capita the highest number of foreign jihadists to Iraq. Perhaps now that so many Libyan jihadists are in Iraq, the Libyans left in Libya are all Swedes in waiting. But perhaps not. If we lack, as we do in Afghanistan, the cultural confidence to wean those we liberate from their less attractive pathologies, we might at least think twice before actively facilitating them. 

Officially, only the French are committed to regime change. So suppose Qaddafi survives. If you were in his shoes, mightn’t you be a little peeved? Enough to pull off a new Lockerbie? A more successful assassination attempt on the Saudi king? A little bit of Euro-bombing? 

Alternatively, suppose Qaddafi winds up hanging from a lamppost in his favorite party dress. If you’re a Third World dictator, what lessons would you draw? Qaddafi was the thug who came in from the cold, the one who (in the wake of Saddam’s fall) renounced his nuclear program and was supposedly rehabilitated in the chancelleries of the West. He was “a strong partner in the war on terrorism,” according to U.S. diplomats. 

And what did Washington do? They overthrew him anyway. 

The blood-soaked butcher next door in Sudan is the first head of state to be charged by the International Criminal Court with genocide, but nobody’s planning on toppling him. Iran’s going nuclear with impunity, but Obama sends fraternal greetings to the “Supreme Leader” of the “Islamic Republic.” North Korea is more or less openly trading as the one-stop bargain-basement for all your nuke needs, and we’re standing idly by. But the one cooperative dictator’s [Qaddafi] getting million-dollar-a-pop cruise missiles lobbed in his tent all night long. If you were the average Third World loon, which role model makes most sense? Colonel Cooperative in Tripoli? Or Ayatollah Death-to-the-Great-Satan in Tehran? America is teaching the lesson that the best way to avoid the attentions of whimsical “liberal interventionists” is to get yourself an easily affordable nuclear program from Pyongyang or anywhere else as soon as possible. 

The United States is responsible for 43 percent of the planet’s military spending. So how come it doesn’t feel like that? It’s not merely that “our military is being volunteered by others,” but that Washington has been happy to volunteer it as the de facto expeditionary force for the “international community.” Sometimes U.S. troops sail under U.N. colors, sometimes NATO’s, and now in Libya even the Arab League’s.

Either way, it makes little difference: America provides most of the money, men, and materiel. All that changes is the transnational figleaf. 

But lost along the way is hard-headed, strategic calculation of the national interest.

They won't come back till it's over/Over there!" sang George M. Cohan as the doughboys marched off [to World War I] in 1917. It was all over 20 minutes later and then they came back."...

[Ed. note: "Ninety years ago, it seemed like a good idea to fight and die “over there.”"..."In 1942, this view of America's global duty was further immortalized in the movie, Yankee Doodle Dandy."]

(continuing): "Now it’s never over over there — not in Korea, not in Kuwait, not in Kosovo, not in Kandahar. Next stop Kufra? America has swapped The Art of War for the Hotel California: We psychologically check out, but we never leave." 

"Mark Steyn, a National Review columnist, is author of America Alone. © 2011 Mark Steyn."


Added: 4/22/2011, McCain is cheered in Benghazi, Libya, says US taxpayers should buy even more weapons for Benghazi "rebels:"

April 2011, McCain cheered in Benghazi

Added: Blood-drenched neocon McCain is given hero's welcome in Benghazi, Libya in April 2011 for his role in diversion of millions of US taxpayer dollars to weapons for Libyan "rebels." "Mr McCain called on critics of intervention to tour Benghazi to see a 'powerful and hopeful example of what a free Libya can be.'" On Sept. 11, 2012, heavily armed Islamist militants in Benghazi, Libya, attacked the US Consulate and a nearby CIA compound, killing 4 Americans. 

4/22/2011, "'Let's get this thing over with,' says McCain as he calls for more help for rebels in Libya," Daily Mail

McCain said more "help" is needed, ie, US taxpayers should buy even more weapons for Benghazi "rebels." 



August 17, 2017, "Refusing to Learn Lessons from Libya," Consortium News, James W. Carden

"Exclusive: Official Washington never likes to admit a mistake no matter how grave or obvious. Too many Important People would look bad. So, the rationalizations never stop as with the Libyan fiasco, observes James W. Carden." 




No one said it was 'divisive' when George W. Bush was burned in effigy after his Nov. 2004 re-election. ZombieTime photos of San Francisco 'divisiveness'

11/3/2004, "Bush being burned in effigy, at a November 3, 2004 post-election anti-Bush rally in San Francisco." photos by zombietime 

"These photos were taken at the post-election anti-Bush rally in San Francisco on November 3, 2004. The rage and frustration of another Bush victory was more than many San Franciscans could take. As soon as Bush's re-election was confirmed in the middle of Wednesday, November 3, people started gathering at Powell and Market streets. By 5pm the crowd had swelled to several thousand.

The photographs below were taken at the rally and at the march that followed. Captions are provided only where needed."... 

Hateful mobs appeared continually for 8 years of George Bush. Bush and the Republican Establishment never complained about "divisiveness" of these often televised events, thus inviting the perception that it's normal to hate Republicans, that they must be bad since they never defend themselves.


Many protesters there simply could not accept what had happened. They paraded around with their election messages calling for Bush's defeat. I call them "November First people."

Still living in denial.

One group carried signs depicting famous revolutionaries and communists.

The most incomprehensible sign of the evening.

After night fell, around 6:30pm, the rally turned into a march to Mission and 24th streets. I heard murmurs that it might degenerate into a riot.

I fell in with the "Black Bloq," a group of anarcho-fascists whose only goal is to commit violence and incite chaos. I marched with them for hours as they chanted, "Tonight, We're gonna, Fuck! Shit! Up!" and "Hey hey, Ho ho, this civilization's got to go!" and "Shoot Bush, not dope!" and "No Bush, No Kerry, Revolution's necessary."

The Black Bloq folks hate San Francisco's touchy-feely leftists as much as they hate George Bush.

Luckily, the police came prepared, with officers lining the entire route, so the riot never materialized -- until the end, at the intersection of Mission and 24th, when the Black Bloq could no longer contain themselves. One of them threatened to attack a policeman, and was immediately arrested. The rest of the crew surrounded the cop in an angry mob.

Other cops swooped in and drove back the crowd. Here, the arresting officer drags the offender backwards toward the safety of the adjacent BART subway station.

As soon as the police descended the stairs into the station, the Black Bloq swarmed over the railing and rained firecrackers, rocks and traffic diverters down on the officers.

The BART staff panicked and decided to close down the station entirely. I ran to the other station entrance and saw that all the passengers were being quickly evacuated.

After a while the main entrance quieted down -- all that was visible were three traffic diverters that had been hurled at the cops.

Still frustrated, the Black Bloqers cried out, "Get the McDonald's!", but again the police were waiting for them. After seeing this row of cops protecting the building, the Black Bloqers backed off.

Their blood lust was satiated when someone started burning George Bush in effigy.

The crowd howled and screamed in excitement.



After the effigy was burnt to a crisp, the evening came to a shattering conclusion as the protesters ignited an upside-down American flag and cheered in ecstasy while the flames leaped into the night sky."


Comment: During 8 years of George Bush, hateful mobs were televised almost nightly no one said the mobs were "divisive." Obviously, "Republicans" were fine with it since it went on for 8 years.



Saturday, October 21, 2017

FBI meddled in US 2016 election by using US tax dollars to pay expenses of Golden Showers Anti-Trump dossier compiler-CNN, March 1, 2017...(UK businessman Anti Trump dossier compiler was silent when Obama brazenly intervened on UK soil ahead of June 2016 Brexit vote, threatened economic harm to UK if they didn't vote as Obama wanted. London professor: "The biggest intervention I can think of by an American president who has turned up in this way and intervened directly in the politics of a Western democracy" since end of Cold War-Reuters)

"Golden Showers" anti-Trump dossier

3/1/2017, "FBI reimbursed some expenses of dossier author," CNN, Evan Perez 

"The FBI reimbursed some expenses of the former British intelligence operative who produced a dossier containing allegations of President Donald Trump's ties to Russia, people familiar with the matter said.

The short-lived arrangement before the US election ended abruptly in part because of the frustration of [UK businessman] Christopher Steele, the former MI6 spy, that the FBI wasn't doing enough to investigate the Trump-Russia ties.

The Washington Post first reported Tuesday that the FBI and Steele had sought to reach a payment arrangement.

An official familiar with the discussions said the FBI didn't hire Steele as an informant, but that the arrangement instead allowed for expenses to be paid. It couldn't be learned how much he was paid and for how long."...

[Ed. note: Meddling in the 2016 election, the FBI gave US taxpayer dollars to "a former foreign spy who in the pay of private parties, compiled a report of salacious accusations intended to harm the reputation of then-candidate Donald Trump." This article's laughable spin is the FBI "didn't hire" Steele, "instead" gave him US taxpayer dollars for "expenses." It "couldn't be learned" how many US taxpayer dollars were spent by the US government (of which intel agencies are part) to throw the election to Hillary.]

(continuing): "The FBI obtained a version of Steele's dossier last summer and investigators there used it to compare to some of their own work related to Russia's attempts to influence the US election."...

[Ed. note: No suggestion or links to what is meant by US taxpayer funded "own work" of the FBI. The usual excuse that it's "classified" doesn't hold when the matter is the US government trying to throw a US election. Voters and taxpayers are entitled to the truth--unless of course the US has been overthrown and is now a dictatorship.]

(continuing): "The FBI used its own sources and worked with US intelligence agencies to try to check aspects of Steele's work. The FBI was able to match some communications that the dossier described as happening between people described and on the dates the dossier described."...

[Ed. note: Was able to match "some communications?" Heavy. Rubes are left panting, wondering if prostitutes really did urinate on a bed in Moscow.] 

(continuing): "[UK businessman] Steele had previous paid deals with the FBI and with other US government agencies dating back years, according to people familiar with the matter. He had helped uncover information that aided the FBI's corruption investigation of FIFA, the world soccer governing body.

In the case of the Trump-Russia dossier, Steele initially had been hired by a Washington research firm working on behalf of Trump's political opponents -- initially in the Republican primary and then later Democrats." 


"It is the biggest intervention I can think of by an American president who has turned up in this way and intervened directly in the politics of a Western democracy since the end of the Cold War....It is above and beyond what people do in Western democracies," said a Kings College London professor. "Obama was urging Britain to pool its sovereignty with other nations in a way that the United States would never countenance for itself.""

Fri., 4/22/2016, "Obama exhorts Britain to stay in EU, warns on trade if it leaves," Reuters, Roberta Rampton, Kylie MacLellan, London

"President Barack Obama made a bold intervention into the politics of Washington's closest ally on Friday, exhorting Britons to stay in the EU and warning that if they left they would be at "the back of the queue" for a U.S. trade deal. 

Obama's plea to British voters ahead of a June referendum on membership of the European Union was welcomed by Prime Minister David Cameron and other supporters of the EU, but denounced by those campaigning to leave as meddling in British affairs.

Britain's influence on the world stage was "magnified" by its membership of the 28-member bloc, Obama said at a press conference alongside Cameron, who has bet his political future by calling the referendum to put to rest an issue that has divided his own Conservative Party for generations.

Rebutting criticism that he was interfering, Obama invoked the cherished "special relationship" between Washington and London. "If one of our best friends is in an organization that enhances their influence and enhances their power and enhances their economy, then I want them to stay in it," Obama said. "Or at least I want to be able to tell them: 'I think this makes you guys bigger players.'" 

On trade, he took aim at one of the main "Out" arguments -- that Britain could easily negotiate deals and get better terms on its own. The United States would regard a deal with the EU as a higher priority than a separate agreement with a much smaller market such as a stand-alone Britain, Obama said."...

[Ed. note: Obama would be out of office in a few months so had no idea how the US "would regard" an EU trade agreement.

(continuing): ""It's fair to say that maybe some point down the line there might be a UK-US trade agreement but that's not going to happen anytime soon because our focus is negotiating with a big bloc, the European Union, to get a trade agreement done," Obama said.

"And the UK is going to be in the back of the queue, not because we don't have a special relationship but because given the heavy lift on any trade agreement, us having access to a big market with a lot of countries rather than trying to do piecemeal trade agreements is hugely efficient."

4/21/16, Reuters
Cameron said Britain should listen to its friends, and he could not think of any close ally who wanted a Brexit. Obama set out his case in a newspaper article that invoked the interlinked history of the United States and Britain and the tens of thousands of Americans lying in European war graves.

"As your friend, I tell you that the EU makes Britain even greater," the headline read."...

[Ed. note: Apparently
UK voters didn't go limp at "friend" Obama's threat that "the UK is going to be in the back of the queue"]

(continuing): ""Together, the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union have turned centuries of war in Europe into decades of peace, and worked as one to make this world a safer, better place," Obama wrote.


But those campaigning for an "Out" vote in the June 23 referendum were dismissive.

London's New York-born Mayor Boris Johnson, a leader of the "Out" campaign from within the Conservative Party widely seen as angling for Cameron's job, said Obama's advice was "incoherent, inconsistent and downright hypocritical".

Obama was urging Britain to pool its sovereignty with other nations in a way that the United States would never countenance for itself
, Johnson wrote in a newspaper column....

Other "Out" campaigners said Obama's views did not matter because this is his last year in office.

"Obama doesn't have the authority to deny us a (trade) deal, as he will be long gone before any such proposals are on the table," said Richard Tice, co-founder of Leave.EU, one of several "Out" campaigns. 

Experts struggled to find a precedent for Obama's direct appeal to British voters. 

"It is the biggest intervention I can think of by an American president who has turned up in this way and intervened directly in the politics of a Western democracy since the end of the Cold War," said Anand Menon, professor of European politics and foreign affairs at Kings College London. 

It is above and beyond what people do in Western democracies. And if you think as I do that it is a fear thing, then it works."

Opinion polls suggest that "In" is ahead, but the race is tight and the number of undecided voters is very high.

Many U.S. banks and companies fear a Brexit would cause market turmoil, diminish the clout of Washington's strongest European ally, hurt London's global financial hub status, cripple the EU and weaken Western security.

The "Out" campaign says such fears are exaggerated, and Britain would profit from greater control over its regulation, the ability to make bilateral trade deals and the right to restrict immigration from EU neighbors.

Many in the "Out" camp say they are passionate supporters of the special relationship with the United States and think Britain would open itself up to America and to the world if it cut loose from what they regard as the dysfunctional EU.

Before talks at Cameron's Downing Street office, Obama and his wife Michelle congratulated Queen Elizabeth, who celebrated her 90th birthday on Thursday. [L5N17P4BN]

Prince Philip, Elizabeth's 94-year-old husband, took the wheel of a Range Rover to drive the Obamas to lunch on the territory of Windsor Castle, a royal residence that traces its history back over almost 1,000 years to William the Conqueror."


Added: UK Prime Minister Cameron resigns after losing the Brexit vote: 

6/24/2016, "David Cameron resigns after UK votes to leave European Union," UK Guardian, Heather Stewart, Rowena Mason, Rajeev Syal

Note about my Google babysitters: Key portions of text in this post are so tiny as to be almost illegible. This is the handy work of my google babysitters. They've been with me for many years. Susan


Friday, October 20, 2017

30 years ago Trump was speaking up for us. Larry King to Trump, 9/2/1987: "We are kind of the world's keeper, are we not?" Trump: "I don't believe we should be"-CNN interview...(30 years ago Trump knew no country's taxpayers should be expected to bear the burdens of all other countries)

9/2/1987 CNN interview:

At 3:19, Larry King to Trump: "We [the US] are kind of the world's keeper, are we not?"

Trump: "I don't believe we should be."


Comment: 30 years ago Trump began giving us permission to release ourselves from bondage to the "international community." We wish to have friendly relations with everyone and help as much as possible, of course. Other countries put the interests of their citizens first as they should. Americans must be able to do that as well.



Larry King on CNN asks Trump in 1988 if he's a Rockefeller or Bush Republican, Trump replies, 'No, the people I do best with drive the taxis.' Trump was invited to 1988 RNC by Presidential candidate George H.W. Bush-Aug, 1988, CNN interview on You Tube

Aug. 15-18, 1988, "Donald Trump Interview 1988 Republican National Convention," from New Orleans, CNN, You Tube

Larry King interviews Donald Trump from RNC on CNN, introduced by Mary Alice Williams

At 1:05: Larry King asks Trump what kind of Republican he is, is he a Rockefeller Republican, is he a Bush Republican?:

At 1:12: Trump: "No, I'm...the people that I'm really, the people that I do best with are the people who drive the taxis. You know, wealthy people don't like me, because I'm competing against them all the time...and I like to win."

*Trump was invited to the 1988 RNC by GOP presidential hopeful George H.W. Bush:

At 2:36: Larry King: "Why are you here?"

Trump: "I'm here because I'm a guest of Vice President Bush, Mrs. Bush, the Mosbachers, and some others."

Larry King: "As an observer?"

Trump: "As really an observer, and it's an interesting system, and I wanted to see really how the system works. It's the first time that I've been involved in a convention. I came down, I wanted to see how it works. And it's fun."

Larry King: "How about financing now. What can you give to George, you've already contributed to him, haven't you?"

Trump: "I've contributed to him, and I've helped him a little bit, and I guess I'll help him a little bit more, and I'm not sure he needs anybody's help. So far I think he's conducted himself brilliantly."....

At 3:28: Trump: "It's not hard to raise money for Vice President Bush. I mean he's a very formidable guy, and people like the man."


Thursday, October 19, 2017

George W. Bush thought we were deplorable long before Hillary did. In 2006 Pres. Bush called us racist for not wanting to turn over inspection of US ports to UAE despite that UAE banks have long funded Islamic terror. He even said failure to approve Dubai ports deal would increase terrorism-NY Times, March 10, 2006...(Needless to say, Bush lost both the House and Senate in Nov. 2006)..."Is This the George W. Bush Version of Hillary’s Deplorables?" Rush Limbaugh, 10/19/17

When George W. Bush's "Dubai Ports Deal" failed in 2006 he called us racists for not wanting to turn over inspection of our ports to an Islamic monarchy. Bush is back spewing hate speech again. 10/19/2017: "Is This the George W. Bush Version of Hillary’s Deplorables?" Rush Limbaugh

March 10, 2006, "Under Pressure, Dubai Company Drops Port Deal," NY Times, David E. Sanger 

"What appeared to set off Democrats and Republicans this time, against the backdrop of concern about possible terrorist attacks was that the buyer was a state-owned Arab company. Mr. Bush and his aides issued a strong defense, suggesting that racial bias lay at the core of the objections and warning that an undercurrent of isolationism would ultimately harm American efforts to enlist efforts other nations in antiterrorism campaigns."...

Added: Full NY Times article: 3/10/2006, "Under Pressure, Dubai Company Drops Port Deal," NY Times, David E. Sanger

"A vast majority of containers that flow daily into the United States remain uninspected."...The current operator of US terminals is a British company, Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation located in Singapore
"The state-owned Dubai company seeking to manage some terminal operations at six American ports dropped out of the deal on Thursday, bowing to an unrelenting bipartisan attack in Congress that swept aside President Bush's efforts.

The company, DP World, said that at the direction of Dubai's ruler it would "transfer" to a still-unnamed American company the leases to manage some of the busiest terminals in the United States, including some in New York, Newark, Baltimore and Miami.

Under questioning, the company declined to say whether it planned to sell the American operations or had some other transaction in mind.

The action averted a showdown with Congress that Mr. Bush was all but certain to lose, as signaled on Wednesday by a 62-to-2 vote of the House Appropriations Committee to reject the transfer, because it allowed the sale of some terminal operations to an Arab state company.

Senator John W. Warner, Republican of Virginia, announced the change on the Senate floor two hours before the Senate had been scheduled to vote on a motion that could have paved the way for a Democratic proposal to scuttle the deal....

A delegation of Republican Congressional leaders told Mr. Bush on Thursday morning that his threat to veto Congressional action against transferring control of the terminals would not stop Congress from blocking the deal.

The outcome did nothing to solve the underlying issue exposed by an uproar that has consumed the capital for weeks. A vast majority of containers that flow daily into the United States remain uninspected and vulnerable to security gaps at many points.

Some experts suggested that DP World's quick surrender might take pressure off the administration, Congress and nations around the world to solve that problem.

DP World announced its decision after the White House appeared to signal that Mr. Bush wanted a face-saving way out of the shift by declining to repeat his veto threat.

The company said the decision had been made by the prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, who is also the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum....

In Dubai, a senior political official with intimate knowledge of the deliberations, said: "A political decision was taken to ask DP World to try and defuse the situation. We have to help our friends."

The official sought anonymity because he was not authorized to speak for the record. He was referring to Mr. Bush, who backed the initial deal, and several Republican senators who did as well. 

The company's decision drew sighs of relief from officials in New York and other cities where the imminent transfer had stirred cries of alarm. But the announcement left those officials wondering which American companies might want to buy the American terminal operations. The company that DP World outbid to buy the current operator, Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation, a British company, for $6.8 billion, is Singaporean. 

"If it's a U.S. company, it should alleviate some of the concerns about security which have been talked about over the last few weeks," Charles A. Gargano, vice chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, said. "I don't know how successful they'll be."

The Port Authority owns terminals in the New York metropolitan region. 

Foreign companies have long dominated the business of loading and unloading cargo ships, and few American operators remain. "This is a case where we were arguing about the wrong part of the problem," said Stephen Flynn, a former Coast Guard officer and port security expert who has argued that the nationality of the port operations manager has little to do with the gaping holes in security.

"Americans were shocked to learn that the vast majority of port operations in this country are handled by foreign firms. But transportation is a global network, and we're not going to own all of it."

Private equity firms, including the Blackstone Group in New York and KKR, have been named as potential buyers of the American terminal operations, which are a small and not particularly lucrative slice of the $6.85 billion Dubaian purchase. 

The collapse of the deal is the second time in less than a year in which a foreign acquisition raised protests about the economic security of the United States. Cnooc, a Chinese government-owned oil company, dropped a bid to buy Unocal in July, after it was clear that opposition would run high. Chevron took over the company instead, for $18 billion. 

What appeared to set off Democrats and Republicans this time, against the backdrop of concern about possible terrorist attacks, was that the buyer was a state-owned Arab company. Mr. Bush and his aides issued a strong defense, suggesting that racial bias lay at the core of the objections and warning that an undercurrent of isolationism would ultimately harm American efforts to enlist other nations in antiterrorism campaigns. 

Those objections were washed away in a tidal wave of opposition in which Republicans and Democrats competed to position themselves as greater protectors of American security. 

Democrats like Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York warned that the port operations could be "infiltrated" by terrorists exploiting the ownership in Dubai, an emirate known for its open trade. Dubai had been the transfer point starting in the late 90's for nuclear components shipped by the largest illicit nuclear technology network in the world.

The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Representative Duncan Hunter, Republican of California, introduced a bill that would require American ports and other strategic assets to be returned to American hands. 

"Our longer-term goal is to identify long-range foreign investment in our critical infrastructure, reform the process for approving foreign investment in the United States and ensure 100 percent cargo inspection," Mr. Hunter said on Thursday. 

From the start of the controversy, the White House appeared to have been caught flat-footed. Mr. Bush and his top advisers said they learned about the transfer late last month, one month after the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States, an interagency committee that passes judgment on foreign acquisitions, approved the shift, after resolving minimal objections raised by the Coast Guard, part of the Homeland Security Department. The uproar over the deal, fanned in part by talk radio, led the White House and DP World into concessions. Ten days ago, DP World agreed to a more thorough investigation by the interagency group and said it would hold the American operations separate from the rest of the company until the review was completed. 

By Thursday morning, Mr. Bush's press secretary, Scott McClellan, appeared to signal that the White House was backing away from its position, by refusing to repeat the veto threat.

At the time, Mr. Bush was meeting with the Senate majority leader, Bill Frist, and Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, both of whom had vocally split with Mr. Bush on the deal. 

"It was a tactical discussion by that point," a participant said....

Another participant, the House majority leader, Representative John A. Boehner, Republican of Ohio, was unapologetic about the uprising.

"House Republicans," Mr. Boehner said, "were obligated to take action to respond to the concerns Americans have expressed about the proposed deal." 

It was unclear who a buyer might be for the assets now on the block. Experts said ports businesses threw off a predictable amount of cash, a quality often attractive to private equity buyers. 

Because DP World is desperate to sell, some experts said, the terminal leases could be dumped at a bargain price.... 

Three private equity firms named as potential suitors, Blackstone, KKR and the Texas Pacific Group, had no comment. 

DP World issued its decision hours after its side won a round in a legal dispute with the Port Authority. The authority had asked a New Jersey state court in Newark to allow it to break quickly its 30-year lease on the Port Newark Container Terminal, half operated by P and O Ports North America.

Judge Patricia K. Costello of Superior Court in Essex County ruled that she did not know enough about the transaction to make an immediate decision about whether the transfer was a transaction that required the consent of the Port Authority. Judge Costello ordered an expedited review of the complaint because of the "high level of public interest" in the "security and workings of the port.""


Added: Bush made the world safe for globalism, SF Gate, 3/8/2006:

"Much like previous administrations, the president (George W. Bush) is simply making the world safe for transnational corporations.... 

The president [George W. Bush] is weak on his right flank, and whoever is smart enough to take advantage of that is likely to succeed. If the administration had not left itself open to criticism on issues such as homeland security and illegal immigration, the Democrats would not have a foothold....In addition to being politically tone deaf, the Bush administration has reacted to critics with arrogance and dismissiveness."... 

March 8, 2006, "Bush and the Ports: The Honeymoon Is Over,", Cinnamon Stillwell

"When the story broke that the Bush administration had approved a British-owned company's sale of U.S. port operations to one headquartered in the United Arab Emirates, all hell broke loose. 

The company at hand, Dubai Ports World, is owned by the United Arab Emirates, so not only would we be handing over operations of our ports to yet another foreign company, but also to a foreign government. The fact that the deal was approved without the legally authorized 45-day investigation normally required when acquisition by a foreign government and security concerns are involved, certainly doesn't help. Then there was President Bush's claim that he knew nothing about the deal until after it had been approved, which wasn't terribly reassuring.

On top of it all, the original report that only six ports were affected by the deal turned out to be misleading. It is in fact terminal operations at 21 ports that are at stake, which would give the United Arab Emirates control over almost every major shipping terminal on the Eastern Seaboard. For some reason, much of the media continues to report the lower figure. 

The firestorm over the ports deal has exposed a rift on the right and a political opportunity for the left. On the one hand, you have the Bush administration and loyalists in the Republican Party and conservative media defending the ports deal. On the other, you have Democrats, Republicans, conservatives and liberals all justifiably concerned about a Muslim country, ally or not, having control of 21 U.S. ports in a time of war. According to polls, the majority of Americans fall into the latter category, putting them at odds with the Bush administration. 

With this in mind, the accusations of "hypocrisy" and "demagoguery" against Democratic opponents are a bit pointless. Whether they're doing it for partisan reasons or not is immaterial. The president is weak on his right flank, and whoever is smart enough to take advantage of that is likely to succeed. If the administration had not left itself open to criticism on issues such as homeland security and illegal immigration, the Democrats would not have a foothold. 

In addition to being politically tone deaf, the Bush administration has reacted to critics with arrogance and dismissiveness. Bush's threat to veto any legislation put forward to stop or delay the ports deal is amazing, considering that he's never once vetoed a bill. Forget any and all spending bills, the president's sole concern seems to be benefiting the United Arab Emirates. Since Dubai World Ports has requested a 45-day investigation to address critics' concerns, Bush's bluff will not be called just yet.

In response to concerns raised by opponents, the Bush administration has pointed out that the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection and the Coast Guard will continue to control port security. However, the Coast Guard has complained of intelligence gaps in trying to determine whether Dubai Ports World might be vulnerable to terrorist operations. While the company itself may be reputable, what's to stop infiltrators from securing jobs and smuggling in weapons of mass destruction? 

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey was so concerned about this possibility that it filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government to block the ports deal. New Jersey filed a similar suit the day before. 

Dubai and Sept. 11

While the pros and the cons of the ports deal have been much debated, certain facts remain that should give pause. Troubling links between the United Arab Emirates and Islamic radicalism are among them. 

It's been widely reported that along with Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates was one of only three countries to formally recognize the Taliban. But according to a recent article by journalist Paul Sperry, the relationship went much further than that. Dubai acted as banker and travel agent for the repressive regime. This cozy relationship extended to the Taliban's "guest," al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden. He and the Dubai royal family maintained close ties, with a 1999 visit to one of his camps in Afghanistan courtesy of an official United Arab Emirates airplane. 

In fact, Bin Laden used Dubai as a launching pad for the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States. Thirteen of the 19 hijackers entered the United States from Dubai. Two were United Arab Emirates citizens, and one, Marwan al-Shehhi, served in the army. Dubai also became al-Qaida's financial base, with more than $100,000 in funds channeled through its banks.

As for the worry that terrorists might get their hands on weapons of mass destruction, the United Arab Emirates has done its bit in that department as well. Two Dubai companies were involved in shipping illegal nuclear components sold by Pakistan's nuclear scientist Dr. Khan to North Korea, Iran and Libya

Paul Sperry, author of "Infiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington," also points to a possible conflict of interest involving the Council on American Islamic Relations and the United Arab Emirates. CAIR, which has had five officials convicted of ties to terrorism, has defended the ports deal and accused critics of "Islamophobia." But it just so happens that General Sheik Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, the emir of Dubai and point man for U.S.-based executives of Dubai Ports World, owns the deed to CAIR's headquarters in Washington. One has to wonder if that has just a little something to do with CAIR's endorsement. 

Skyscrapers and Repression

Despite the glittering skyscrapers and excessive wealth of the United Arab Emirates, it is a society that has very little in common with our own. According to the State Department, "There are no democratically elected institutions or political parties ... [and] there are no general elections." Freedom of the press does not exist in the United Arab Emirates, nor does unrestricted Internet access. Sunni Islam is the official religion and non-Muslims are prohibited from proselytizing or distributing religious literature to Muslims. Human trafficking involving foreign women used as prostitutes and young boys as camel jockeys is rampant.
While the United Arab Emirates would hardly be the first human rights-compromised ally of the United States, is rewarding such countries with lucrative business deals really the best approach to pushing democratization?

Furthermore, the United Arab Emirates is a participant in the Arab boycott against Israel and refuses to recognize the country. A certificate of origin has to be checked on all imports, lest they come from the Jewish state. When asked about the boycott, Muhammad Rashid a-Din, a staffer at the Dubai Customs Department, stressed that "If a product contained even some components that were made in Israel, and you wanted to import it to Dubai, it would be a problem." The fact that American companies are prohibited by law from cooperating with Arab governments in their attempts to boycott Israel seems to matter little in this case....

Al-Qaida members have bragged about infiltrating the United Arab Emirates' security apparatus, among other agencies. This is the "valuable partner" President Bush insists has been so helpful in the war on terrorism? 

Security vs. Business

Just because a country is an ally does not mean that we have to jeopardize our security. Even supposedly moderate allies in the region, such as Jordan, are hardly pillars of progress beneath the surface. Others, such as Saudi Arabia, are given a free pass because of the United States' energy dependence. Isn't it time we started expecting more from our allies than lip service? 

Some have suggested that the Bush family has its own conflicts of interest with the ports deal. CNN's Lou Dobbs reported that United Arab Emirates investors provided funding to an educational software company owned by Neil Bush, the president's brother. But that's the least of it. A series of financial entanglements involving the Bush family, the Carlyle Group and Dubai investment entities owned by the United Arab Emirates are also raising eyebrows. 

Now we find that another dubious Dubai deal is on the table. Dubai International Capital wants to buy London-based Doncasters Group, which would put it in charge of plants in Georgia and Connecticut that make components for military aircraft and tank engines. Having learned a thing or two from the ports debacle, the Bush administration has launched a national security investigation of the Dubai-owned company. But much like the ports deal, the investigation is more a delaying tactic than an impediment. 

In response to such concerns, a bipartisan group of senators has put forward legislation that would require Congress be given the report from the 45-day review of the United Arab Emirates ports deal as well as final say on the arrangement. Additional changes involving oversight of the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States, the administration panel that approved the ports deal, and foreign ownership where national security is at risk are also being proposed. 

But the fact that such acquisitions are even being considered points to the larger problem of increasing foreign ownership. As it stands, China, Denmark, Japan, South Korea and Singapore have control over terminals in 36 American port cities. And now we're going to add the United Arab Emirates to that list? The strong reaction to the ports deal speaks to a growing dissatisfaction among Americans at the level of foreign ownership, outsourcing and illegal immigration in our country. If that's "protectionist," then so be it. 

There's also the small matter of being at war. Despite the politically correct pronouncements of our president, we are currently engaged in a war with elements of the Muslim world. Is simply acknowledging that fact and exercising the appropriate caution really tantamount to the "anti-Arab bigotry" alleged by Bush?

The president's record on homeland security doesn't exactly inspire confidence. In addition to the outsourcing of America's ports, Bush has left the country's southern border largely defenseless, while increasing illegal immigration with guest-worker proposal announcements. The Department of Homeland Security is one massive pork-barrel spending opportunity, with funds going mostly to the wrong people in the wrong places. At the same time, the Bush administration has allowed Saudi oil money to purchase far too much influence in American society, particularly in its educational institutions

Transnationalism as Usual

Much like previous administrations, the president is simply making the world safe for transnational corporations. It's no coincidence that former presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter are out pushing the Dubai deal. Administration after administration has brought America to the point it's at today, where everything is for sale to the highest bidder. When President George H.W. Bush introduced the concept of a "new world order," it was a harbinger of things to come. 

We have entered the era of transnationalism, otherwise known as globalism, and it is sweeping away national identity in favor of an international marketplace. America is becoming nothing more than a hub for the exchange of money, goods and cheap workers

Concern over this issue spans the political spectrum, including the anti-globalization forces on the left and the protectionists on the right. Each faction is opposed to the outcome, for different reasons.
Many of Bush's constituents have awakened to this reality, and the rumblings of discontent have greatly increased. Adding to a series of disappointments since Bush's re-election in 2004,
the ports deal may turn out to be the last straw.

The honeymoon is definitely over."


Added: WaPo praises George W. Bush when he says you're racist if you don't think Muslim world will become democratic:

George W. Bush: If you doubt Muslim world is on the road to democracy, you're racist: "They think people whose skin is a different color than white" are incapable of self-government," Bush has said.

Feb. 28, 2006, "Bush, Speaking Up Against Bigotry," Richard Cohen, Washington Post op-ed 
""The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam," Bush said back then -- and he has since repeated this message over and over again. That very year -- in November 2001 -- Bush invited 52 Muslim diplomats to a traditional Iftar dinner, breaking the daily Ramadan fast, and he has occasionally cited purported racism as the reason some people doubt the Muslim world will, as Bush so fervently wishes, make progress toward democracy. They think people whose skin is "a different color than white" are incapable of self-government, he has said....

Maybe because Bush is a Bush--son of a president who got to know many Arabs--or maybe because he just naturally recoils from prejudice, his initial stance on this controversy has been refreshingly admirable."...


Added: "President George W. Bush is implying that opposition [to the Dubai Ports deal] might be based on prejudice against Arabs." AP

2/24/2006, "Bush denies port deal endangers security, implies opponents show anti-Arab prejudice," AP via

"Seeking to calm a political storm, the Bush administration is rejecting criticism from Republicans and Democrats that U.S. national security would be endangered if a company owned by the Dubai government should take control of major U.S. ports. 

President George W. Bush is implying that opposition might be based on prejudice against Arabs, noting that the contract to control the...major ports is now held by a British-owned private company....

Sen. Carl Levin, senior Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, was incensed that the interagency government committee dealing with foreign takeovers approved the UAE proposal in 30 days. The law requires an extra 45 days’ consideration for any deal that could be a risk to U.S. security.... 

The emirates had a spotty record on terror, mainly involving its role as a banking and financial center. About half the $250,000 (¤210,000) the spent in the United States by the 19 Sept. 11 terrorists came from UAE banks. Money from Dubai banks also was linked to al-Qaeda attacks in 1998 against U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Sen. Levin, whose state, Michigan, has the second-largest ethnic Arab population in the United States, referred to such facts Thursday as he grilled the deputy secretary of the treasury about the procedures by which Dubai Ports won control of the six ports. 

Levin spoke of the UAE’s “uneven history” as “one of only a handful of countries in the world to recognize the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.” Millions of dollars in al-Qaeda funds went through UAE financial institutions, he said.

“Is there not one agency in this government that believes this takeover could affect the national security of the United States?” Levin demanded to know....

[Sen.] Warner sharply asked Kimmitt whether the reviewing agencies considered UAE’s role’s in the transfer of money to al-Qaeda and of nuclear components to rogue nations. Kimmitt said those factors were taken into account before the deal was approved."...


Added: Republicans lose both House and Senate in Nov. 2006 midterms:

11/8/2006, "Republicans Lose House, Senate,", James Joyner

"Some quick thoughts through bleary eyes: 

Several House races lost through individual scandals involving Delay, Foley, Weldon, Ney, Sherwood, and others....

The Republican leadership in both houses should, of course, be replaced with fresh faces. They have failed and must be held accountable. Newt Gingrich, who accomplished much more, had the good grace to resign for much less.

While Republican scandals, the war, and other issues set the stage for this turnover, moderates are the key. Most of the Republican moderates–i.e., those in states that trend Democrat–lost. Most of the Democrats who won, by contrast, were Blue Dog moderates. 

The running of war veteran, family values candidates was the key to the Democratic victory, not the ideology of the Kos Kids....

There are no good losses. While there is a silver lining in that the GOP will have to find its soul again, it’s mighty hard to climb back into power against incumbents....

UPDATE: Hugh Hewitt is still drinking the Kool-Aid, simultaneously spinning this loss as not a big deal and arguing that the reason for the wipeout was that the Republicans weren’t heavyhanded enough in governing and listened too much to the likes of McCain and Graham. Unbelievable."..




Blog Archive

About Me

My photo
I'm the daughter of an Eagle Scout (fan of the Brooklyn Dodgers and Mets) and a Beauty Queen.