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.


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