News that doesn't receive the necessary attention.

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."...
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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
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"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.""

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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," sfgate.com, 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.
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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."

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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."...

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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 aawsat.com

"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
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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."...

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

11/8/2006, "Republicans Lose House, Senate," outsidethebeltway.com, 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."..





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