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Bush will break out the royal veto pen to give ports to UAE.

Reported by Chrish - February 22, 2006

The possibility of six major US ports (clarification 2/22: the operations, not the real estate) being purchased by Dubai Ports World, based in the United Arab Emirates, has brought Republicans and Democrats in Congress together like no other issue thus far. The consensus is that the deal was made in secret and leaders and constituents want more information, in the form of a 45-day review period. In a move that glaringly exemplifies his imperial attitude, Bush has vowed to veto any legislation that comes his way that holds up the deal.

The segments on The Big Story today 2/21/06 that dealt with the controversey were some of the most one-sided I've seen in my time monitoring the show, which is really saying something, but for once they were all against the Bush administration. Could they finally have gone too far for even their biggest cheerleaders?

Host John Gibson reiterated his opinion voiced in his "My Word" segment Monday, when he called for Bush to fire Secretary of the Treasury John Snow and DHS Secretary Chertoff:

"It pains me to say it, but if Secretaries Snow and Chertoff don't get it, they really shouldn't be in their jobs. This is a potent political issue to be used against President Bush. And for two of his cabinet secretaries to be so tone deaf, to have such a tin ear for this kind of issue means they have somehow gotten too far out of touch to stay in those jobs."

In today's "My Word" he repeated the view that this deal is a political loser, unpopular with people of all political persuasions. We got all the way to the end before he had to throw in a jab at a Democratic leader:

"...still, nobody supports this except Bush's own team. Politically, that makes it a loser. And the proof is Jimmy Carter is for it. Need I say more?

In other segments, Gibson reported that Senate Majority Leader Frist was calling for a delay, several Congressman, Governors, and Mayors were "blasting it", yet Bush is threatening to veto any efforts to stop it.

Molly Hennenberg reported from the White House, an indication that the heavy-hitters were tied up in meetings trying to figure out what to do with this PR disaster. Of interest was a clip of Bush saying

"This is a company that has played by the rules, that has been co-operative with the United States, from a country that is an ally in the "war on terror", and it would send a terrible signal....to friends and allies, not to let this transaction go through."

Comment: Note that his concern lies with his corporate friends and allies and he is not concerned with the reaction and objections of the American people. He will, after all, bring out the virgin veto pen in defiance of strong bipartisan opposition to this corporate deal.

Speaking of corporate deals, I listened hard for a clear reference to Treasury Secretary John Snow's affiliation with the company in question. According to The Daily News Snow was chairman of a corporation which recently sold its own port operations to DPW. The proposed sale would make DPW the third largest port operator in the world, and one can assume, with all the corporate cronyism in this gang, it will make Snow a very wealthy man indeed. This was revealed by Caitlin Harrington of The Congressional Quarterly 45 minutes into the show, along with the other salient connection noted in the Daily News article: "David Sanborn, who runs DP World's European and Latin American operations and was tapped by Bush last month to head the U.S. Maritime Administration."

Unfortunately, according to FoxNews.com, "Questioning the United Arab Emirates' track record in the War on Terror, seven U.S. lawmakers said Thursday they want a committee led by Treasury Secretary John Snow to thoroughly review a deal that would let a UAE-based firm run six major U.S. ports." That article is dated 2/16/06 so presumably the revelations of his complicity in brokering the deal and the public outcry will seriously mute his influence on the committee.

Rep. Mark Foley, R-FL, was a guest (three minutes, no Dem, fyi) who said that Congresspersons want a 45 day review period to determine the threats to national security posed by the takeover. When Foley asked Snow (last week) to tell him some of the details that Snow went through to approve this deal, Snow replied "I can't. It's a private matter, a private transaction."

Foley said that wasn't good enough for him; he has to go back to his constituents and explain how an Arab nation that doesn't recognize Israel and who still "to this day" recognizes the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan deserves control of our ports. He also asserted that just last week the UAE asked Iran to do more trade with them, not less.

Comment: Alarm bells are finally going off about this administration's plans to privatize and corporatize everything, but everything, in this country so that their well-connected cronies can profit. Let's hope it's not too late.

Here's another doozy from Bush, later in the show :

" I can understand why some in Congress have raised questions about whether or not our country will be less secure as a result of this transaction. But they need to know that our government has looked at this issue, and looked at it carefully."

Comment: OMG, who is he talking about, "our government", that he's telling members of Congress to not be bothered? They ARE our government!! And the plain-spoken one is calling it a transaction, for once no b.s. - he and his Cabinet are cutting deals with our country as collateral.

Dan Bartlett came on after that clip and Gibson asked him why Bush is threatening to veto any legislation that stands in the way of his deal - "he hasn't vetoed anything!" Bartlett smoothly replied that the White House has had a "good working relationship" with Congress (rubberstamp) but if Bush is taking a principled stand on the issue (billions) so a veto would be a logical extension. The talking points were laid out: 1.) port security is handled by DHS and would not be affected. 2.) We have the safeguards. 3.) Proper review has taken place.

He claimed that procedures were followed that require any transaction that could impact national security be carefully vetted by national security experts, but the aforementioned Daily News article posits that because the company involved is foreign a longer review is called for. That's why Bush is standing up and "supporting the work of his government". Comment: again, aren't WE the government via our representatives?

Gibson let him finish, indeed made a point of it, but then said "people hate this deal, Republicans, Democrats..." No one seems to support it but the Bush Cabinet who made the deal. Bartlett went over the talking points again, adding some new ones: not uncommon to have foreign companies running ports; reputable company; they "have a relationship with DHS"; UAE is ally in "war on terror". Much like the illegal warrantless domestic spying issue, they address the points that viewers will agree with and totally ignore the sticking points: in this case, that we do not want people even remotely tied to 9/11 terrorism to be in charge of anything, much less our international ports. Jeez!

Brenda Buttner, Fox Business Analyst, was the final commenter on the topic. She divulged that the company is privately held and wholly owned and operated by the shieks who run Dubai, one of the seven emirates within the UAE.

Comment: So to summarize, Bush and "his government" cut a deal with shieks who have ties to not just terrorism but two of the hijackers of 9/11 which would authorize them to run six major ports into and out of this country. He is miffed at the audacious Congress who wants to delay the transaction while they review it and is threatening his first veto in over five years if they dare to come between him and his plan to privatize and own and rule the world. This is pure and unadulterated lunacy.

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