Dubai defense purchase?

I truly DO NOT understand why we would leave ANYTHING having to do with our "security" in the hands of ANY foreign government.  Have we ever heard what is actually happening with the ports situation?

Bush to make decision on Dubai defense purchase -  By Jim Wolf

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. panel that reviews foreign investments behind closed doors was sending President George W. Bush a recommendation on Thursday on a Dubai-owned company's proposed $1.24 billion takeover of Doncasters, a British group with U.S. plants that supply the military.
        Among Doncasters' units is a plant that is the sole supplier of turbine fan parts for U.S. Abrams battle tanks (this is the M1 tank - me), according to a spokesman for Rep. John Barrow, a Georgia Democrat who represents a district that is home to the plant.

       more here...
        Yahoo news link

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Sen. Menendez (D-NJ) on Ports Security

This morning, Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) gave a great speech at the Center for American Progress on the subject of Ports, Politics, and Priorities: A Common Sense Plan to Strengthen Our Security.  The Senator noted that, regardless of anyone's opinion of the merits of the Dubai Ports World deal, it presents an important opportunity to close a gaping hole in our national security.

American ports are the major door to our country for import goods.  Though this is the case, Sen. Menendez said, most Americans don't really think about ports very often; unfortunately, neither does this administration. Menendez cited the administration's approach to security following the 2004 ABC report in which 15 pounds of depleted uranium were shipped into the U.S. two years in a row without being detected.  Rather than act to close the hole in security, the Bush administration chose to threaten the reporters who exposed the problem.  The security gap remains to this day.

That is going to change, though, if Sen. Menendez and a group of Democratic legislators have anything to say about it.  Menendez explicitly stated that "the status quo is unacceptable" and declared that he will be offering an amendment that will close the security holes in our nations ports by moving to a policy of 100% cargo screening.  Right now 95% or more of cargo coming into American ports goes unscreened.

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DPW Memo Contradicts Divestiture Claims

Here's a bit of free advice for Dubai Ports World and their enabler, George Bush.  If the country has serious doubts about whether or not you can be trusted, lying doesn't help.  The Associated Press is now reporting that DPW's decision to sell off interests in American ports to "an American entity" is nothing more than a thin smokescreen.

WASHINGTON - The Dubai-owned company that promised to surrender its U.S. port operations has no immediate plans to sell its U.S. subsidiary's interests at Miami's seaport, a senior executive wrote Monday in a private e-mail to business associates.

Even if DP World were to sell its Miami operations to quell the congressional furor over an Arab-owned company managing major U.S. ports, "that would probably take a while," wrote Robert Scavone, a vice president for DP World's U.S. subsidiary.

In about an hour, I'm going to hear Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) speak about ports and security at the Center for American Progress.  I'll be interested to hear his thoughts, especially in light of this most recent development.

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Posner Dispels GOP Talking Points on Ports Deal

Writing today, Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Richard Posner dispels most of the Republican myths about the Dubai Ports World deal.  Judge Posner is no Democratic partisan, and is often on the conservative side of issues.  I thought it was particularly interesting, then, that he wrapped up his post with his paragraph:

I have expressed concern before in this blog and in other media about what seems a crisis of competence in U.S. government. For reasons probably rooted in the sheer complexity of modern society, to which our governmental structure may not be well adapted, we have experienced in recent years a series of policy fiascoes, many of which seem to reflect an inability to plan ahead. In the case of the DP World deal, this inability was expressed in the failure to foresee the public reaction to the deal.

This is similar to statements being made by conservative economist Bruce Bartlett and conservative columnist George Will.  

The current breed of Republican leadership has shown time and time again that they are more interested in using government as a means of personal gain than for the proper administration of our nation.  The fact of the matter is, the Republicans are not able to govern competently - they just can't get the job done.

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Faith Based Homeland Security

While everyone was waiting with baited breath for the election returns from yesterday's Texas primaries, President Bush was busy doing the people's business.  Namely, issuing an executive order establishing a Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives at the Department of Homeland Security.  To wit:

Sec. 2. Purpose of Center. The purpose of the Center shall be to coordinate agency efforts to eliminate regulatory, contracting, and other programmatic obstacles to the participation of faith-based and other community organizations in the provision of social and community services.

My first response to this was disbelief.  What does Bush's "faith based initiatives" have to do with Homeland Security?  There are serious problems in DHS that have come to light, most recently, following the disastrous response to Hurricane Katrina.  But the solution, as far as I could tell, had nothing to do with faith, and everything to do with finding competent people who are more concerned with securing the homeland than the President's poll numbers.

Then it hit me.  This is a "faith based initiative" just like all the previous "faith based initiatives" - it's a boondoggle.  Bush's "faith based initiatives" program was, from the very beginning, a two-part program: (1) a strategic initiative to eliminate social services from the Federal government and (2) a means of ingraining Republican support into the structure of government.

As Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) has shown, there is a lot of money to be made in the security business.  And there has long been hard evidence that so-called "faith based initiatives" is little more than a political patronage program.  For the Republicans, they're two great tastes that taste great together.

George Bush and the Republican leadership are no more interested in homeland security than they are in protecting the Constitution.

If you're concerned about homeland security, I hope you have a lot of faith.  With the Republicans at the helm, it's the only thing standing between us and catastrophic disaster.

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