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Monday, February 27, 2006


Once again the Bush Administration has successfully shifted the ground of debate in a key controversy, thus sparing the president from taking a fatal hit on his leadership flank.
As damaging as the Dubai Port controversy is, the situation has moved from ‘critical’ to ‘serious’ by a subtle shifting of the ground for debate from the real issue of his leadership to the question of the Dubai-based DP World contract itself. Scott McClellan now perfunctorily casts the issue in terms of “reassuring congress and the American people” about the transaction.

There are four critical issues that have been virtually ignored by the press and the public: the incompetence, lying, detachment and corruption revealed by this deal.

Incompetence is reflected when the president raises his hand to protect his face with one of his favorite rhetorical techniques: argumentis ad ignoramus: “I found out about this deal at the same time you did…” Bush told reporters in a rare news conference held on Air Force One on 02.21.06. This next point is a toss-up between the “lying” category or the “incompetence” category. But the lying one is long, so I am plugging it in this paragraph. The Bushniks in the White House Kremlin can’t even get their stories straight. On the one hand, we are told that the Committee on Foreign Investment was unanimous in it’s recommendation to move forward with the deal. On the other hand, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, a member of the Committee, told a press briefing on 02.22.06 that he didn’t know anything about it!
QUESTION: Are you confident that any problems with security — from what you know, are you confident that any problems with security would not be greater with a UAE company running this than an American company?
RUMSFELD: I am reluctant to make judgments based on the minimal amount of information I have because I just heard about this over the weekend.

Lying. Despite the fact that he never reviewed the deal, nor read the recommendation, nor even KNEW about it until hours before, on 02.22.06, Bush was threatening a veto of any legislation that would block the deal and was reassuring congress and America that if the deal had even the remotest possibility of compromising the security of the nation that he would be supporting it. I am never as reassured as when I am told that everything is taken care of in a document that the one providing the reassurance admits he hasn’t read…

Scott McClellan who has, of late, taken to intoning from his highly controlled sphincter muscles, acts as if this controversy is just a silly little oversight--like forgetting to send out legal notices of Aunt Hattie’s Estate Settlement to the rest of the family. In his press briefing of 02.27.06, McClellan intones:
Our interest is in making sure that congress has a better understanding of these transactions…we recognize that congress wants to look at the transaction and get additional facts, and that’s important too… I want to say that “It’s really White of You, Scott…”, but, In fact, the White House only cares about the political ass-kicking they have gotten, and they really don’t care about congress. The only time the Bush White House cares about congress is when congress gets in the way of White House agenda. And we all know that this congress gets in the way of the White House so rarely that president Bush has not used his veto power ONCE in SIX years!

Detachment. Remember when Bush took exception to the December 19, 2005 Newsweek Cover? The cover graphic shows Bush in a bubble floating over the Header: Bush’s World. “I don’t live in a bubble…” he commented defensively at a photo op after Newsweek hit the stands. I believe that was about the time Bush made a seasonal round of travel by Presidential Bubble-Jet to deliver speeches in aircraft hangers on military bases before the only audience he is guaranteed to outrank. The DP World deal raises the bubble issue anew. On 02.22.06, Reuters reported …Surprised by a backlash from Bush's own Republican Party, the White House said it erred in not explaining the deal to Congress where members have decried the sale of the company to a Dubai-based firm as a risk to U.S. security. Surprised? It makes me wonder how many OTHER deals have been done like this. Apparently this is standard operating procedure for the Bushniks. There has been considerable talk about this being “blowback” from his own 6 year subtext of the Evil Muslim Empire vs Christian America and the result is both ironic and predictable. Bush’s famous detachment is starkly revealed.

Corruption. It turns out that this deal was part of the good old boys network. That is why it didn’t need congressional oversight. We should rest assured because Treasury Secretary Snow, assures us that the deal is good for America. John Snow was the CEO of CSX when he was appointed Treasury Secretary on Feb. 7, 2003. CSX was subsequently purchased by DB World. David Sanborn, who was appointed by Bush to be the new administrator of the Maritime Administration was an executive with CSX and, then, a senior Dubai Ports World executive before coming on board the bush administration. Sanborn worked as Dubai Ports World's director of operations for Europe and Latin America. These connections are explored in detail in

I only hope in the next few days that the mainstream media and the Democrats hold Bush accountable for his failure of competent and moral leadership.

Saturday, February 25, 2006


President tries to defend ports sale to Arab firm
Feb. 25, 2006. 01:00 AM

Irony is a constant in politics.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, U.S. President George W. Bush has deliberately defined the world in the black-and-white, us-versus-them language of his war on terror. Now, the rhetorical demons he so assiduously promoted are coming back to bite.

They are doing so in the form of what should be a run-of-the-mill corporate takeover. A company based in the United Arab Emirates has bought another company based in the United Kingdom.

In a normal world, this would be a ho-hum event. However, in the fraught world of Bush's war on terror (or "long war" as he now likes to call it), the sale is anything but.

The ostensible problem is that the British company, Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co., manages six vital U.S ports, including those of New York, Miami and New Orleans.

The sale would put management of these ports in the hands of an Arab, state-owned company, Dubai Ports World.
What's more, critics of the sale say, two of the 9/11 terrorists came from the U.A.E.— a country made up of seven emirates, including Dubai.

What more need be said?

All of this has left Bush and Co. in the unusual position of decrying guilt by association.

The American president points out, correctly, that the arch-conservative and profoundly undemocratic U.A.E. government is a staunch U.S. ally.

His defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld notes — also correctly — that terrorists can come from anywhere, including the U.S. and Britain. Why condemn an entire nation because a few of its citizens made the wrong choice?
The editors of The Wall Street Journal, who find the entire episode distasteful, note that security at these ports will continue to be handled by the U.S. government.

The only effective difference is that profits made by running the ports will flow to princelings in Dubai rather than capitalists in the City of London.

But among Americans, none of this seems to matter. A citizenry whose fears have been so successfully exploited by this administration remains unconvinced.

"I'm a big Republican and I think Bush has lost his mind," Newark longshoreman Tom DiDomenico told a local news service here in New Jersey.

Those kinds of fears, however irrational, are echoed throughout the U.S. — which may explain why opposition to the sale is growing among both Democratic and Republican lawmakers.

New Jersey has filed a lawsuit to prevent the takeover. In Washington, Democratic senators want to ban any foreign, state-owned firms from operating U.S. ports.

Republicans are so uneasy about the deal that Dubai Ports has agreed to temporarily delay the U.S. portion of its takeover.

For his part, Bush has vowed to veto any Congressional bill blocking the transfer.

In effect, he is saying that his war on international terror should not be transformed into a war against international capital.

Americans are understandably confused by this.

In the wake of 9/11, they were told by this same president that it was just fine to arrest and lock up Muslim immigrants without charge.

They were told that when it came to taking prisoners of war in places like Afghanistan, it was necessary for America to abandon its long commitment to the Geneva Conventions.
They were told it was necessary for the U.S. to hold prisoners indefinitely and without charge at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba or other secret jails in Europe and the Mideast.
They were told it was crucial for American interrogators to be able to employ techniques against prisoners that both the International Committee of the Red Cross and the United Nations have said amount to torture.
They were told that the war on terror required Americans themselves to give up some civil rights — that it was necessary for the president to authorize illegal wiretaps; that in some national security areas, it was necessary for the courts to be denied jurisdiction.
They were told that they had to put up with government intrusion at an unprecedented level, that virtually everything they did, from using the Internet to reading library books was, and had to be, subject to FBI surveillance.
They were told that their soldiers had to invade Iraq and, if necessary, die there.

So, perhaps, it is understandable that so many Americans balk at the idea of their ports being run by an Arab company. It is irrational; it is even racist.

But in the topsy-turvy world that George W. Bush helped to create, it is sadly logical.

Additional articles by Thomas Walkom

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The Dubai Port Deal & The Ruination of Congress

COMES NOW CONGRESS in the throes of indignation and outrage; not just Democrats, who usually suffer that condition, but Republicans.

"In regards to selling American ports to the United Arab Emirates, not just NO — but HELL NO," conservative Rep. Sue Myrick, R-N.C., wrote Bush in a terse letter on Wednesday that she also posted on her Web site. No matter that no American port is actually being sold, Bush faces a spreading rebellion among Republicans, Democrats and port-state governors. "I think somebody dropped the ball. Information should have flowed more freely and more quickly up into the White House. I think it has been mishandled in terms of coming forward with adequate information," said Rep. Vito Fossella, R-N.Y.

Even Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee and House Speaker Dennis Hastert of Illinois threaten legislation to put the deal on hold.

Sorry, congress…you don’t matter anymore. Bush doesn’t care and your vaunted “core supporters” don’t really care all that much I am sure. The Rove Machine has the “core” all ginned up over immigration, gay marriage and child pornography initiatives. Furthermore, while Bush’s poll numbers are in the low 40’s, congress’ approval is in the low 30’s.

So who cares what you have to say? Certainly not the Whitehouse.

By allowing the Whitehouse to claim executive privilege, exercise War-Time powers of secrecy to the exclusion of congressional oversight for everything from Katrina to warrantless wiretaps, secret imprisonment and torture, congress has failed in its oversight and emboldened an already arrogant executive.

So now congress is wringing its hands. Like a jilted mistress, congress’ protests seem way too little and waaaay too ironic to take seriously.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Dubai , United Arab Emirates: A Winter Wonderland!

--UPDATE: My Cousin in Dubai confirms that this is true. Thanks for all the emails and comments confirming same. m2k--

These photos were emailed to me by a friend, Loren Young. The first, to the left, represents the building during construction phase and the second, above, after completion. The rest of the pics are inside. My question to you, this a hoax? If so, it's a clever one and quite awesome to behold!

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Powell's Former Chief of Staff Lawrence Wilkerson Calls Pre-War Intelligence a 'Hoax on the American People'

Friday February 3,2006


In an interview airing tonight on the PBS weekly newsmagazine NOW, Colin Powell's former Chief of Staff Lawrence Wilkerson makes the startling claim that much of Powell's landmark speech to the United Nations laying out the Bush Administration's case for the Iraq war was false.

"I participated in a hoax on the American people, the international community, and the United Nations Security Council," says Wilkerson, who helped prepare the address.

The NOW report, which airs days before the third anniversary of Powell's speech, examines the serious doubts that existed about the key evidence being used by the American government at the very time Powell's speech was being planned and delivered.

"I recall vividly the Secretary of State walking into my office," Wilkerson tells NOW. "He said: 'I wonder what will happen if we put half a million troops on the ground in Iraq and comb the country from one end to the other and don't find a single weapon of mass destruction?'" In fact, no weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq.

NOW, hosted by David Brancaccio, airs Friday nights at 8:30 on PBS (check local listings).