Saturday, March 04, 2006

Question of the Day

What are you more afraid of,

what is in this old man's sock...

or what is in one of these containers?

The amount of money spent on airport security is exponentially higher than the money spent on port security. Now our President is attempting to sell several large ports to a business that has been know to fund terrorist organizations which is from a country where two of the 9/11 hijackers came from.

What are your thoughts?


BlackLabelAxe said...

Yeah, airport security is a joke. They hassle grandparents, children, and soccer moms, but they're too PC to dare to ask a man to take off his turban.

Political correctness will be the death of mankind.

But yes, our president has botched the holy hell out of that port deal. Those containers are impossble to search, and could easily be used for transporting large items for people who really want to kill a lot of civilians.

Bush said that we should reward our countries who engage in peaceful commerce. That's great, but it's totally hypocritical of our Israel policy. The U.A.E. does not recognize Israel, nor President Karzai's government in Afghanistan. How about we reward countries who recognize Israel, and not the Taliban?

BigNewsDay said...

I agree Axe! Airport security is a joke. This administration has done very little to make me feel any safer than I felt on 9/11.

I actually feel that the Bush adminstration has increased the danger to our counry by creating more enemies in the world, and by not giving a crap about the position of he world community.

BlackLabelAxe said...

I just feel like the administration (and congress) has wasted millions of our wealth and resources by employing thousands of metal detector maids and pointless security equipment. Sure, creating jobs is great, but they're not high-tech jobs, and they don't actually do anything for society. They're low-paying jobs that create endless hassle for the people that travel and make our economy work.

I don't mind that Bush doesn't care about world opinion. Apologizing to the arab world is not going to make us safer, or make them hate us any less. They hate us because they're poor. They're poor because they have a natural resource-based economy. I'd rather take care of our business and let them fume and shout about it if they want to. You can't be worried about everybody's feelings, because every single thing that you do is going to make somebody mad. We can, however, debate about what our business is...especially as it relates to the middle east.

While we're giving the U.A.E. control of our ports, we might as well toss them the keys to our ICBM silos to "fatten the package".

BlackLabelAxe said...

..and I totally agree that we are NOT in any way safer from terrorism since 2001.

Terrorism is not person, a political party or a country. Terrorism is an idea, and it will not go away nomatter how many metal detectors we have at Hartsfield or O'Hare.

Anonymous said...

Let’s not forget that the UAE in the post-9/11 world has become a strong American ally. They were one of the first nations to join the U.S. initiative to inspect cargo in foreign ports and have greatly strengthened their anti-money-laundering and terror-financing clause. They also accept U.S. aircraft carriers and subs at their deep-water ports and dry-dock facilities. Among these facilities is the DP World administered Jebel Ali port in Dubai. More, they allow U.S. military planes to land and refuel at their air bases. If the UAE ever retaliated and cut off U.S. military access, we would never be able to conduct operations anywhere in the region.

Yes, DP World is a state-owned enterprise, but if that criteria were used to oppose an economic relationship, we’d have to terminate all activity with communist China and state-owned oil companies in Saudi Arabia, Russia, Venezuela, and Mexico. Instead, I would argue that increased economic connectivity, supported by the free flow of trade, investment, and labor, makes for better political relations between nations.

BlackLabelAxe said...

Arab states that call themselves allies are as fickle as the wind.

Turkey has been a great ally since they let us put Jupiter missiles on their soil that threatened the Soviet State, and we lobbied to admit them into NATO, and protected them from Soviet aggression.

Fast forward several decades, and now when need something from them, this alliance has been forgotten so fast that they refused their soil and ports to let us bring 4th Infantry south through Iraq to invade, for fear that Kurdish seperatists might unite and form a Kurdish state carved out of Iraqi and Turkish terroritory.

Lesson learned:

Arab states aren't really our allies, even if they say they are. England is an ally. They will help us out when we need them even if the UK has very little to gain from the deal. Arab states will be an ally so long as we keep paying them. Something about fundamental Islam won't let them effectively join the world community. Go ask Pakistan why we can't catch Bin Laden. What a great partner in the world fight against terror!

BigNewsDay said...

"Yes, DP World is a state-owned enterprise, but if that criteria were used to oppose an economic relationship, we’d have to terminate all activity with communist China and state-owned oil companies in Saudi Arabia, Russia, Venezuela, and Mexico."

I don't think anyone is "Opposing an economic relationship", but we are rightfully concerned about the sell of our ports to a country that has historically funded terrorism.

Anonymous said...

Opposing President Bush are those with a vision of pessimism, defeatism, and fear. Supporting the president are those with a Reaganite vision that brims with opportunity, victory, and success in the spread of freedom and democratization. Can there be any serious question that the resounding conservative Republican ascendancy and success of the past 25 years launched by Ronald Reagan and advanced by George W. Bush is built on optimism -- and positive results? I think not.

BlackLabelAxe said...

Okay, good point about optimism. Here's something for you to be optimistic about:

Israel is a prosperous, peaceful state. By far the most prosperous in that part of the world, even, although it's one of the smallest by area and population. With the formation of the Kadima party, moderates seem to be making a break towards peace and stability in the region.

Why would we do business with somebody who wants them destroyed?

BlackLabelAxe said...

Oh, and I'm also optimistic that an American business would do it better!

Anonymous said...

Port security specialists say much of the rhetoric has been focused on the wrong questions.

Allowing Dubai Ports World to control up to 30% of the port terminals in New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New Orleans and Miami shouldn't really be a cause for concern, says James Loy, former deputy secretary for the Department of Homeland Security and a retired commandant of the Coast Guard. “We're making a mountain out of a mole hill here."

He and other analysts say that instead, politicians should focus on gaps in port-security programs that have left the global shipping system and the nation's 360 ports vulnerable to terrorism. The vulnerabilities extend from companies that load cargo containers abroad and the inspection process at overseas ports, to the need to install radiation detectors at most U.S. ports.

So far I haven't seen any experts saying DP World poses some sort of additional security threat - though I've heard plenty of politicians say it. As you can see from the above quote, experts do say there are port security issues that need to be addressed that have nothing to do with which company operates which terminal, so perhaps the silver lining in this entire affair is that Congress will focus its attention and energy where the experts say it matters most.

Anonymous said...

I pulled info from this.
I think you should understand how our Ports work.

BlackLabelAxe said...

Anonymous makes a good point on the relevancy of this issue.

I don't know much about day-to-day port operation, but it's a no-brainer to NOT outsource to a state-run company that is a public enemy of Israel. I think that would be a good start at least.

It's tough to believe that there isn't an American outfit that can't do it. Port security is nearly impossible anyways, at least not without extreme costs and delays. The last thing we need is for the shipping ports to end up like our airports.

BlackLabelAxe said...

Your link is broken. Please re-post it somehow as it seems informative.

Anonymous said...


to complete the url above

BigNewsDay said...

"Opposing President Bush are those with a vision of pessimism, defeatism, and fear. Supporting the president are those with a Reaganite vision that brims with opportunity, victory, and success in the spread of freedom and democratization."

Now that is complete unsubstantiated bullshit!

I believe that those who are buying into the Bush Administration's terror fear bullshit are the ones with a vision of pessimism, defeatism, and fear! You are as about as likely to be killed by a terrorist as you are to be struck with two bolts of lightning at the same time.

But to claim that you are attempting to strengthen our security, while weakening our borders, is absurd.

BlackLabelAxe said...

It seems to me like radiation screening would be fast and effective. You can't hide from a radiation detector, that much I know. I also know that you wouldn't even have to open the container to screen it for such, so to screen containers for radiation wouldn't turn our cargo ports into another FAA airport disaster.

I am still not happy about the U.A.E. having anything to do with our cargo.

This is just a symptom of a greater problem, of course. The worse our trade deficit becomes, the more we'll have to worry about our goods coming through insecure ports. If we could crank up our manufacturing sector again, those ships would be taking our stuff over there, and they'd have to worry about what we're sending them. Same thing with our petroleum addiction. The more we rely on imported petroleum, the more we'll have to deal with the issues of the people we're buying it from. Fair Tax, anyone?

Anonymous said...

Now you’ve done it!
What’s wrong with OIL?
My Exxon stock is doing great.

BigNewsDay said...


SCREW OIL!!!!!!!!!!!!

BigNewsDay said...

That was one of those blabbermouth style shout-outs.


BlackLabelAxe said...

There's nothing wrong with oil. oil is a valuable resource. The only thing wrong with oil is the people who have worked for generations to turn the business into a monopoly that only diamond exporters have matched in terms of price control.

OPEC and its collaberators, the "Seven Sisters", have been price-gouging the world for over 30 years now while perpetuating lies about shortages that drive the price up to astronomical levels. You've clearly made a wise investment in purchasing stock in Exxon-Mobil. The economic success of the oil giant is placing a very large and unecessary burden on its consumers, but capitalism is the law of the land so it is up to consumers to reject the OPEC conspiracy price if they choose. I strongly oppose government efforts to force the Sisters into "good" behavior. Money talks, and big oil will walk one day very soon when alternatives become practical. Once we do that, they can run around and yell at each other all day in Iran, and we won't give two sh*ts about it because then they won't have the money to fund their nuclear research. If you don't think that $60+/barrel oil prices aren't building nukes in Iran then you are a bigger fool than the wacky president of that country.

As we're finally waking up to see, the middle east is an inevitably unstable region, and not even democracy is going to calm it down. The more money that flows into it from oil importing nations, the more chaos will be stirred up. The wise choice for America is to start persuing energy alternatives such as bio-fuels. To patch the gap in the meantime, our petroleum thirst can be slaked by the tar sands of Canada, whose $44 per barrel price tag already beats the cartel's.

Real conservatives favor American-made fuels and renewable alternatives (and the research that will make them possible). Self-proclaimed "conservatives" that are apologists for the oil industry account for 96% of why we care at all about the middle east.

BlackLabelAxe said...

By the way, gasoline should cost between $0.79-$1.15 per gallon of regular unleaded. The only reason we pay more than that is because everybody in the oil business knows that we'll pay for it anyways.

Alternative fuel companies will make them compete again like real businesses do.

BigNewsDay said...

"Real conservatives favor American-made fuels and renewable alternatives (and the research that will make them possible)."

So do us real liberals! Especially when they are clean-burning fuels that will help us make real progress in cleaning the environment. An added bonus to alternative fuels is JOB CREATION!

BlackLabelAxe said...

You're right, BND. In fact, I'll credit liberals for making noise about it way before it was cool.

Unfortunately, the technology isn't all there yet for us to be driving around on ethanol-only, or even E-85 just yet. Some automakers have vehicles ready, but the distribution and production is very very far behind. If we turned all the corn in the US into ethanol, we could still only knock about 1/3 of our petro demand out of the marketplace.

The solution? We're just going to have to create more jobs in the farming sector like BND said, and more jobs for new infrastructure to transport the new fuel. We'll start spending money on farms in Iowa instead of Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, and Nigeria. What a great day that will be!

BigNewsDay said...

Hats off to GM for putting out cars that will now run on either gas or methanol.

Did you know that you can produce at least twice as much cellulose to make methanol using a hemp stalk as opposed to a corn stalk? I believe Henry Ford's early methanol tests were done using hemp.

I'm not a pot smoker, but I think the advantages of growing hemp outweigh any disadvantages.

BlackLabelAxe said...

I'm not a smoker either, but we should do whatever is the most cost-effective. If there's nothing but some irrational fear of hemp plants holding us back, then we need to get over that if it'll help us break the petro addiction. That's an interesting fact BND, I was not aware of it.

Besides, musicians need drugs to write better music (Re: Metallica, Megadeth).