March 31, 2006

If I Were President - Part 2 - Illegal Immigration

This is the current hot button issue in American politics. Illegal immigration has become the new Republican/Conservative mantra, finally overthrowing Gay Marriage on their list of battle cries. I of course, have my own opinions, so I might as well get on my soap box. First some background…

Who are the Immigrants?

First of all, let’s take a step back and look at immigration in general. The way I look at it, if you’re not a Native American, you’re either an immigrant or a descendant of an immigrant. That means pretty much all of us (who aren't getting rich in casinos).

So, for anyone of us to say that people should not be allowed to immigrate into our country, in my opinion, is just plain hypocritical. America is a melting pot of immigrants, and there’s no way we can just put a huge fence up around the country to keep them out. They’re going to come in, one way or another, so why don’t we address the root of the problem instead of trying to lock down our borders and exhaust our energies to return them from whence they came.

The Smoke Screen

Conservatives like to rant & rave that the illegal immigrants are stealing American jobs and draining the economy. The truth is that American businesses have been outsourcing American jobs for years. By and large our jobs have been shipped overseas because the labor is cheaper and free trade agreements have unleveled the playing field by withdrawing import tariffs. So, if you’re really concerned about the loss of American jobs, you should be rallying for import tariffs and against free trade agreements (CAFTA, NAFTA, etc.). If you’re really concerned about the loss of American jobs, you should be buying products which are strictly made in America. If you're really concerned about the loss of American jobs, lobby your Senator, Representative, and President for Universal Health Care, which will help to 'level the playing field'.

However, big business, which we know manages, controls, & operates our government, is not at all concerned with the loss of American jobs. They’re concerned with making profit and they can do that better with cheaper labor. The labor is cheaper outside of this country (as well as with illegal immigrants whom they pay very low wages and often no taxes). The 'playing field' is not level.

If anyone should be concerned with illegal immigration, it's the American worker. S/he's the one whose payrate is as low as it is because s/he has to compete with people who'll accept payrates that are bottom-of-the-barrel because they're desparate.

The Real Reason

Illegal immigrants, as well as everyone else in this country, consume the benefits that our country provides. They are protected by our defense, they ride on our roads, and they’re arrested by our police. They learn 'the system' and scam it for free education, emergency health care, welfare, and a whole host of tax-payer funded services. The real reason illegal immigration is a problem is that they don’t substantially contribute to the commonwealth of our community. Simply put - they don't pay their fair share of taxes (if any at all).

Now, if you’re really concerned about people paying their fair share of taxes, there are many, many, many other people and entities you should be directing your attention to… namingly the umpteen thousands of companies which maintain Post Office boxes in the Cayman Islands, to funnel their profits through, in order to avoid paying US taxes. Ask George & Dick about that sleazy scam - they’re very familiar with it. If you’re really concerned about people paying their fair share of taxes, take a good long look at the Bush tax cut initiatives and how their strategic plan is to shift the tax burden from the rich to the middle class. And if you’re really concerned about people paying their taxes, take a good look in the mirror and think about the last time you hired someone to clean your house, cut your lawn, or baby-sit your children. Did Uncle Sam get his cut?

My New Illegal Immigration Plan

Instead of exhausting so much energy trying to keep these people out of our country, I would crack down on businesses to ensure that if they employ them, they’re doing it ‘on the table’ and paying appropriate taxes on the services provided. In fact, if these people don’t have Social Security numbers and aren't paying their own taxes, I would enact legislation to make sure that businesses pay both the payroll taxes and the income taxes of these guest workers. I would level the playing field. You can't just target and blame the illegal immigrants for this 'problem'. American businesses have created this problem by providing the market that attracts them.

Furthermore, I would enact a multitude of legislation to close the loopholes which enable businesses to get away without paying their fair share of taxes. This Cayman Islands shit has got to stop. As well, businesses should not be awarded with tax breaks after shipping jobs out of the country. My understanding of the Republican's "Trickle Down" economic plan is that helping businesses be more profitable and giving them tax breaks is supposedly good for the economic health of the county. However, that only works if those businesses keep the jobs domestic. If they're going to continue to outsource jobs, either overseas or to illegal immigrants, then it's America's workers and the American economy that suffers.

Finally, I would work with the Mexican government to seek out new and inovative ideas for building the Mexican economy. That's really the root of the problem - you don't see an illegal immgration problem involving Canadians, do you?

My point is that solving the 'illegal immigration problem' is not about cracking down on them or people who aid them. As I've preached before, you have to look beyond the effects of the problem and get to the root casue(s). The root of the problem is that Mexico's economy sucks, their government is corrupt, and their poverty & unemployment levels are high, while at the same time American businesses love to hire cheap labor to keep their costs down and their profits high. That formula is a recipe for immigration (legal or illegal).

March 24, 2006

If I Were President – Part 1 – Foreign Policy

Anyone can sit back in their easy chair and criticize the President or the Administration or any of the politicians for their decisions or their policies or their actions. Anyone like me with a big mouth and a lot of attitude, can second-guess those who’ve made the decisions, with 20/20 hindsight. But how many of us can step up and propose new ideas? That’s been the Republican mantra all along – that the Democrats don’t have any ideas of their own, they just criticize the Republican’s ideas. Of course we know that’s not true – the Democrats have plenty of ideas, they just don’t have any of the power. For example, Universal Health Care is a widely popular Democratic idea, but the Health-Care-and-Pharmaceutical-industries-backed Republicans saw to it that that great idea fell by the wayside. Oh, but I digress…

In today’s “Shtick”, I want to express what I would do with foreign policy if I were president. I, of course, don’t have the gumption, background, or chutzpah to run for president, but if I did and won, I have plenty of ideas about what I’d do. By the way, this is a fair question that every American should ask of themselves, particularly if they have the wherewithal to criticize the President, as I do.

The War on Terrorism

I believe we’re going about this ‘War on Terrorism’ all wrong. Our illustrious government has exhausted soooo much energy fighting this ‘war’ on what is essentially a tactic, rather than trying to get to the root of the problem. Terrorism isn’t an entity you can identify. Terrorism isn’t our enemy. Terrorism is the act of our enemies attacking us. So, instead of blindly waging war on a tactic, we should instead identify not only who our real enemies are, but more importantly, why they’re our enemies in the first place. The only true way to address ‘terrorism’ is to ask ourselves the question… “Why do we have these enemies who want to hurt us?” Or more succinctly, "Why do they hate us?" First, lets lay some groundwork by taking a look at the basic reasons for global conflict.

The Reasons for Conflict

#1 - Territory

Over the years and over the centuries, after scores of wars and countless casualties, there have been but a handful of true reasons for conflict. I believe the single most prevalent reason for conflict has been over territory. (btw… I find it utterly ironic that the word ‘territory’ sounds so much like the word ‘terrorism’.) But, that’s what it’s all about – territory. Over the years the divisions of people have been exasperated by the claiming of land that they believe belongs to them. The conflict starts of course, when multiple factions claim the same land.

#2 – Hatred & Fear

As tensions mount between disparate factions around the world, a perverse mixture of cultural, societal, and religious brainwashing ensues, teaching their people to hate & fear those who are different. Yes, it’s brainwashing when children are taught to hate & fear ‘our enemies’ (who of course are defined by our government). It’s brainwashing when our government and media consistently bombard us with threats and 'intelligence' that "our enemies" want to hurt us. And it’s pure brainwashing when an ignorant teenager is coerced into killing him or herself, along with a bunch of other people, in a misguided effort to be with their God and a boatload of virgins. (Someone needs to 'splain me the lure of killing myself, and others, to be with a bunch of people who've never had sex... long after I'm dead.)

#3 – The Grab for Power

This is the one that pisses me off the most. I can understand that territorial issues can cause wars. Sad as it is, it makes perfect sense that different factions would fight for the same property, both claiming that it’s theirs. I can even understand (although I don’t agree with it) the hatred that’s built up over time as an effect or ramification of the conflict. But, what I what I just can't phathom is the grab for power. The grab for power is essentially a world leader saying that “I’m not satisfied with just my own territory, I want yours too!”

This has basically been United States policy since the end of WWII – American Imperialism. We’ve been building up the American presence all over the globe, installing military bases in over 160 countries, and pushing our weight & power around in a strategy to dominate the world. Instead of adhering to Gene Roddenberry’s brilliant concept of “The Prime Directive”, we’re constantly interfering in other country’s processes to govern themselves***.

Even worse, some dipshits in the Bush Administration heard that old adage that “The Best Defense is a Good Offense” and decided to go on the offensive. So, instead of just protecting our country, now we preemptively strike and provoke wars in far-away nations. And to sell it to the American people, they fabricate the 'intelligence' and brainwash us with hate & fear

The Root of Terrorism

And this all comes back to us in the answer to that question “Why do they hate us?” Let me tell you why they hate us. They hate us because of our arrogance. They hate us because our grab for power has essentially been terrorism to them. Look around sheeple. Anyone who thinks Americans are loved around the world is simply not paying attention.

My New Foreign Policy

So here’s my new foreign policy if I were president. I would maintain & protect our embassies around the world, but redirect our energies into commerce and humanitarian initiatives, and turn all the military bases over to the hosting countries. I would bring 2/3 of our troops home to protect, defend, and serve our own homeland (you know, like shoring up the levees in New Orleans and strengthening our ports & borders).

I would apologize to the international community for our decades of arrogance and plead for forgiveness and a new beginning of peace and cooperation.

I would work with the United Nations as a partner and contributor, instead of as an arrogant manipulator.

I would negotiate with world leaders as a neighbor, without telling them how to run their governments. However, I would insist on adherence to a universal standard of human rights as a condition for partnership with America and the rest of the world.

The ‘War on Terrorism’ shouldn’t be about killing all the terrorists. It should be about understanding why they hate us. It should be about being partners in this world instead of trying to take over the world.


***By the way, as we're pushing our weight & might around in all these countries, don't think for one minute that our interest has been the proliferation of Democracy. I know Dubya said "Democracy is on the march!", but Democracy has never been our objective. Oil has never been our objective either. Nor has human rights, or even national security. All of that is just a smoke screen, as we've historically used those as tools. We've overthrown democracies for dictatorships (remember the Shah of Iran?). We've put up with Saudi Arabia, another dictatorship with a deplorable record on human rights, and the origin of 16 of the September 11th 'terrorists'.

Nope. Our objective has always been friendly governments who help to serve our business interests. Sure, we want their oil. But, have we ever been unwilling to pay for it? Have they ever been unwilling to sell it to us? Noooooooo. The only questions have been "who profits?" and by "how much?".

March 20, 2006

“Baby Killers” by Mike Whitney

As if the carnage and bloodshed we hear about daily in Iraq wasn’t bad enough, this one will make you lose your lunch.

I had heard about this incident in bits-and-pieces last week, but I was still trying to piece together the facts. This is truly disturbing. It hasn’t really made it into the mainstream media, but as you know, I keep my ears close to the blogosphere. Mike Whitney articulates the story very well, in this article I found on the Smirking Chimp.

Executive Summary

From what I can gather, apparently, in an attempt to crack down on those terrorist evil-doers in Iraq, American (yes, AMERICAN) soldiers, whom we support so much, managed to decimate a house and its 11 occupants. The kicker? Five children… four women… two men… shot execution style in the head. No al Qaeda or terrorists, just innocent civilians.

I invite you to read the article below… if you have the stomach.

Mike Whitney: 'Baby killers'
Monday, March 20 @ 10:19:56 EST

What goes through George Bush's mind when he sees the dead bodies of Iraqi women and children loaded on the back of a pickup truck like garbage?

Is there ever a flicker of remorse; a split-second when he fully grasps the magnitude of the horror he has created?

March 15 was another defining moment in America's downward moral-spiral in Iraq. Eleven members of an Iraqi family were killed in a wanton act of slaughter executed by the American occupiers. Photos taken at the scene show the lifeless bodies of young children, barely old enough to walk, lying motionless in the back of a flatbed truck while their fathers moan inconsolably at their side.

What parent can look at these photographs and not be consumed with rage?

The US military openly admits it attacked the house in Ishaqi where the incident took place. Reuters reports that, "Major Ali Ahmed of the Ishaqi police said US forces landed on the roof of the house in the early hours and shot the 11 occupants, including five children."

"After they left the house they blew it up", he said. "The bodies, their hands bound, had been dumped in one room before the house was destroyed," (policeman) Hussein said. Police had found spent American issue cartridges in the rubble." (Reuters)

The autopsy report at the Tikrit hospital said, "All the victims had gunshot wounds to the head".

Iraqi policeman Farouq Hussein noted, "It is a clear and perfect crime without any doubt".

The evidence provided by Reuters suggests that we have entered the "My Lai phase" of the Iraq war, where the pretensions about democracy and liberation are stripped-away and replaced with the gratuitous butchery of women and children. The carnage in Ishaqi illustrates the growing recklessness and desperation of Washington's failed crusade.

Military spokesman Major Tim O' Keefe justified the attack saying they were searching for "a foreign fighter facilitator" for Al Qaida in Iraq. He added, "Troops were engaged by enemy fire as they approached the building. Coalition Forces returned fire utilizing both air and ground assets....Two women and one child were killed. The building was destroyed."

In fact, 11 women and children were killed and there's no evidence to verify that the house was being used as an Al Qaida safe-house.

The US military made similar claims after bombing raids in January and December when a total of 17 family members were killed.

The grim fact is that is that the lives of Iraqi women and children are of no real consequence to US officials. As General Tommy Franks boasted, "We don't do body counts". The victims of American aggression are simply dismissed as collateral damage undeserving of any further acknowledgement.

The story has received scant attention in the establishment media, which prefers to highlight the stumbling oratory of our Dear Leader as he reaffirms our commitment to western "pro-life" values.

In truth, George Bush is as responsible for the deaths of those children as if he had put a gun to their heads himself and shot them one by one.

At present, we have no way of knowing how frequently these attacks on civilians are taking place. The Pentagon strategy of removing independent journalists from the battlefield has created a news-vacuum that makes it impossible to know with confidence the extent of the casualties or the level of the devastation. The few incidents like this that find their way into the mainstream create a troubling picture of military adventurism and brutality that is no longer anchored to any identifiable moral principle or vision of resolution. It is simply violence randomly dispersed on a massive scale; traumatizing the Iraqi people and bringing the United States into greater disrepute.

There were no Al Qaida fighters in the home in Ishaqi. The attack was just another lethal blunder by a blinkered military fighting an invisible enemy.

"The killed family was not part of the resistance; they were women and children," said Ahmed Khalaf. "The Americans promised us a better life, but we only get death."

March 17, 2006

“What Kind of Message Does It Send…?”

In the aftermath of 9/11 mostly everyone rallied behind the President. It was the worst attack on US soil since Pearl Harbor, and we were thrust into our biggest conflict in decades. Not since Vietnam have we had so many troops deployed in active fighting, being killed and maimed on a daily basis.

Back in 2001 I wasn’t as politically astute as I am now. I wasn’t paying attention enough to comprehend the corruption of the political machine known as the Bush Administration. I recall The Dixie Chicks were the first to openly criticize the President, voicing their shame having emanated from the same state. They were harshly criticized for not rallying behind the President in time of war. After all… “What kind of message does it send to our enemies when our country isn’t fully behind the President in time of war?”

I’ll tell you what kind of message it sends. It sends a message that our country puts the very highest value on freedom. In particular - the freedom of speech, the very first amendment of our Constitution. Our forefathers had the foresight to understand that dissent and debate is not only allowed, but encouraged. Only through exhaustive internal struggle would we have policy and decisions that are the very highest quality.

Iraq and the 2004 Presidential Campaign

Flash forward a few years and George is up for re-selection. Let’s not forget that we already knew there were no weapons of mass destruction, no connection between Osama bin Laden/al Qaeda and Sadaam Hussein/Iraq, and no real justification for his preemptive war on Iraq. Most progressives already knew Bush lied us into this war, but the Downing Street memos hadn’t come out yet. Some level-headed Democrats were calling for an end to the war and to bring our troops home. “What kind of message does it send to our troops?” I heard Mr. Bush say as he debated Senator Kerry.

I’ll tell you what kind of message it sends. It sends a message that we care about our troops. We value their lives enough to not have them in harms way for foolishly contrived, arrogant, selfish, greedy reasons. What kind of message did YOU send our troops Mr. Bush, when you sent them into harms way without the proper preparation, intelligence, planning, and equipment? What kind of message did YOU send our troops when you slashed their benefits and combat pay?

The Arab People

What kind of message did you send to the Arab people around the world when you bombed the shit out of a sovereign Arab nation and killed tens (perhaps hundreds) of thousands of their innocent civilians? What kind of message did you send the Arab people when it was revealed that you tortured thousands of their brethren, refused to accept responsibility for any wrong-doing, and refused to discontinue the internationally-condemned practice? What kind of message did you send the Arab people when you occupied Iraq and gave the plum reconstruction contracts to your buddy’s (American) companies instead of first-and-foremost allowing Iraqis to rebuild their own country? What kind of message did you send the Arab people when you gave India the “nucular” green light while threatening Iran about their nuclear program?

The Katrina Debacle

What kind of message did you send the American people when you heard the warnings, you knew the Gulf coast was being flooded, and you still flew off to photo-ops and fundraisers for four days while poor people either drowned or saw their lives washed away. AND THEN you had the tenacity to say that no one anticipated the breach of the levees.

The Dubai Debacle

Most recently, Dubya again dug his heels in and threatened to veto any contrary legislation to the Dubai Ports deal. Fortunately, Republicans in an election year trying to distance themselves from an unpopular president, finally had the cajones to stand up to the Bush Administration and forge a veto-proof block. But, not before George got in his signature dissent-squashing rhetoric… “What kind of message does it send to the world when we’re willing to do business with one country and not another?”

Well George… since we know you’re a pathological liar, since we know you’ve never had the interests of the American people in your heart, and since we know you couldn’t care less about what our international allies think, we know you’re not at all concerned with what kind of message you’re sending.

March 10, 2006

Essay Question - How Might History Rate George W. Bush?

My oldest son is a freshman in college where he’s currently taking a course in Government. On a recent exam, he had a take-home essay question which I found particularly provocative:

Q) Two standards in evaluating effectiveness in the presidency are the President’s performance as Commander-In-Chief and his handling of the economy. With the nation dealing with two wars and an economy still in recovery, how might history rate George W. Bush?

Firstly, I wouldn't rate George W. Bush as "... one of the worst presidents...", I would rate him as "…the absolute worst president ever...". No president has ever had such a magnitude of negative impact on not only our country, but the entire planet. I’d like to break up the question into two separate parts… One, his performance as Commander-in-Chief, and two his handling of the economy. So, let's look at the two parts individually:

1. Performance as Commander-in-Chief

George W. Bush has been an utter failure as Commander-in-Chief of the United States of America. Having been asleep on the job on September 11, 2001 (there were no fewer than 50 intelligence indications of the impending attack) and then using that terrorist incident as justification for pre-emptive war on sovereign Middle Eastern nations, he has inflamed the entire, world-wide Islamic community. This has not made America safer as he and his Administration suggests. Instead, he has fueled & incited a new generation of America-haters.

In addition to George W. Bush killing literally hundreds of thousands of Muslims in Iraq by attacking & occupying that country and torturing their citizens, he has continually thumbed his nose at the international community in general by withdrawing from every major treaty, dissembling decades of diplomatic strides. The Kyoto Accord, the Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile treaty, and the International Criminal Court are just a sampling of the arrogance & hypocrisy he has shown, which continues to agitate the world against us. With an agenda of world domination, clearly articulated in the Project for the New American Century’s mission statement, the Bush Administration continues its imperialism scheme by provoking Iran, Syria, and North Korea into confrontations.

As civil war continues to break out in Iraq, the American community is squarely against the President in every aspect. A multitude of evidence has surfaced since the election of 2004 which clearly shows the President’s incompetence and preponderance for deceit. All this has led to a well-deserved approval rating in the low 30’s, and literally no confidence or respect, both domestically and abroad. Bush squandered support following 9/11, and now has none.

Bush was again asleep on the job in the summer of 2005 as a devastating hurricane demolished the Gulf coast. While tens of thousands of poor (and largely black) people were washed out of their homes, the hypocrisy & deceit of George W. Bush was clearly evident as he continued to stroll through photo-ops & fund-raisers, ignoring the devastation and dying Americans. He denied he was aware of the tragedy, but video evidence surfaced that showed he was clearly made aware of the impending disaster. Once again, he lied, deceived, misled, and cajoled. But, we’ve now grown to expect that.

2. Handling of the Economy

On the economic front there have been very few signs that the country has benefited from the Bush Administration. In the 5+ years since Bush took office, there has been a net loss in jobs created. A devastating recession started in March of 2001, soon after Bush originally assumed the presidency, which took an immense toll on the country. Only after reaching 'rock-bottom' has the economy started to slowly turn around, not because of Bush's economic policies, but because it had no place else to go.

Bush’s answer to virtually all economic woes has been tax cuts which largely benefit the wealthier populace - a holdover from the Reagan Administration’s “Trickle-Down” economic theory. As 45 million Americans suffer without health insurance, as a wedge continues to expand the divide between the upper class and the middle & lower classes, and as the deficit & debt of this country continues to balloon to unprecedented proportions, history will record Bush’s economic policies as disastrous. Instead of lifting Americans out of poverty and getting them to work, he’s increased the number of Americans in poverty and helped export jobs.

Bush’s pro-business / anti-regulatory policies have had a profoundly negative impact on our environment, our civil rights, and labor, while the Military Industrial Complex has flourished. Our dependence on foreign oil has increased exponentially, and his response is to open up the Artic National Wildlife Refuge for oil exploration. At the same time he relaxed achievable fuel-efficiency standards originally implemented during the Bush I & Clinton presidencies, which would have had a huge impact on consumption.


In the end, if George W. Bush isn’t impeached over one or more of his many scandals, he will finish out his presidency as a lame-duck, excuse of a president... ineffectual, disrespected, and largely hated both domestically & abroad. He (and his truth-challenged neo-conservative henchmen) will attempt to ‘spin’ everything to be positive or Clinton’s fault, forever failing to accept responsibility for their myriad of disasters.

Our descendants will inherit the mess this Administration has left them with burdens they don’t deserve. And level-headed, fiscally-responsible Democrats will take the heat for raising taxes to put the country back on the right track.

Son, I hope this gets you an A+


March 03, 2006

Balance & Tradeoffs - Where Do You Draw The Line?

Everything in this world has some kind of delicate balance, and everything we do has some kind of tradeoff which affects that balance.

There’s been a lot of noise made about this latest Bush Scandal – the Dubai Ports World deal, buying a British company (Peninsular & Oriental Steam) which has been operating 21 ports in 6 major cities along the eastern seaboard and Gulf of Mexico.

This is yet another egg-on-the-face moment for the Bush Administration. We know that there was some back-room deal made for Dubai to purchase this company, probably brokered by the Carlyle Group where Dubya’s daddy is a big honcho. So I don’t doubt that there are a lot of sleazebag, Republican, neo-cons who stand to get richer over this deal. The negotiation and investigation was all done in secret (as is most of the Bush Administration’s sleazy cronyism), and it was only after news hit the airwaves that the chimp came out and said there was no security risk and he would veto any attempt to stop the deal. Then the uproar ensued.

Soon after that veto threat, a number of interesting tidbits started trickling out:
  • Bush himself was unaware of the deal until after it was already decided by his own administration, yet he still dug his heels in and pissed off Congress with his veto threat, even before Congress had an opportunity to review it.
  • Donald Rumsfeld was also unaware of the deal until after it was already decided on, even though he is on the committee to make that decision (by the way, it was a ‘unanimous’ decision).
  • Support for this deal is few and far between, while opposition is squarely bipartisan. Even many Republican leaders are opposed to the deal, or at least raising some red flags to slow down the process for rightful oversight.
  • The extreme right-wing (you know – assholes like O’Reilly & Hannity), who support Bush in all his corrupt & crony endeavors, started chastising the ‘liberals’ for being hypocritical racists (although note in the previous bullet that opposition to the deal is abundantly bipartisan). Of course ‘liberals’ are against racial profiling in airport security screening, but now anti-Arab when it comes to an Arab country taking over our vital port operations.
  • Both the Coast Guard AND Homeland Security have been raising red flags about this deal.
  • At the Governors conference, five of the six governors in the involved states voiced objections to the deal. The only governor who did not object was from Florida. Yes, Jeb Bush – the president’s little brother.
  • I probably don’t need to go into the United Arab Emirates as a country… about how two of the 9/11 hijackers emanated from this country… about how this country was used for funneling terrorism finances… about how this country was one of only three to recognize the Taliban regime… about how this country does not recognize Israel and honors an Arab boycott of Israel… about how this country is a dictatorship with a deplorable record on human rights.
  • Dubai Ports World greased the Bush Administration palms with heavy donations to the Bush Presidential Library and to a Katrina relief fund.
20/20 Foresight

My take on this Dubai Ports deal is this – Where do you draw the line? So, let’s say the deal goes through and a ‘now friendly’ United Arab Emirates is controlling ports in six major cities. (btw… I chose the phrase ‘now friendly’ for very good reason. It is not unusual for Arab nations in the Middle East to toggle between friendly and unfriendly, depending on the political climate of the current regime, events that occur, and many intricate factors. Remember, BOTH Sadaam Hussein AND Osama bin Laden were friendly Arab leaders at some point in history. If you saw “Fahrenheit 9/11”, you’ll remember a scene with Donald Rumsfeld shaking hands with Sadaam Hussein - yes, we were the ones who gave him all those WMDs back in the 80’s. Osama too used to be one of our best friends when we were fueling his fight in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union during the Cold War.)

Looking forward, in a couple of months or years, the UAE then takes over ports and airport operations in another dozen major cities. Then… of course… since Saudi Arabia is a ‘now-friendly’ country to the US, and they have lots of money and ties to the Bush Administration, and the precedent is already set with UAE, they start taking over ports and airport operations in another dozen or so major US cities. And then Pakistan wants a piece of the action. Do you see where I’m going with this?

Balance & Tradeoffs

This has been a major fault in the Bush Administration in my opinion – knowing where to draw the line. I believe that the Bush Administration does not understand the delicateness and intricacies of ‘balance’. And they surely do not understand the impact and ramifications of tradeoffs. They’ve long since traded off environmental protections for profit, lives for power, peace for war, honesty for deceit, civil rights for security, democracy for theocracy, intelligence for arrogance, and long-term economic stability for short-term tax (cut) ‘relief’. Do you see where I’m going with this?

Where do you draw the line, George? In every case, and on every level, you’ve consistently drawn the line in the absolute worst place. That’s called bad judgment. And we are the ones who will pay for your tradeoffs.