Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Oil is Thicker Than Water

The Dubai firm that won Bush administration backing to run six U.S. ports has at least two ties to the White House.

One is Treasury Secretary John Snow, whose agency heads the federal panel that signed off on the $6.8 billion sale of an English company to government-owned Dubai Ports World - giving it control of Manhattan's cruise ship terminal and Newark's container port.

Snow was chairman of the CSX rail firm that sold its own international port operations to DP World for $1.15 billion in 2004, the year after Snow left for President Bush's cabinet.

The other connection is 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.
— White House Has Ties to Dubai Firm
By Michael McAuliff
The New York Daily News (via)



Should a foreign-owned company be managing U.S. ports? Sorry, but the ports and shipping business is already dominated by foreign companies. And as long as we keep buying cheap foreign products, China and Middle Eastern countries are going to be buying in to other businesses here.

Don't like the Arab-government affiliation? How about going with another big player, AP Moller-Maersk, a Danish company, to show that we Americans won't cave in to censorship. That'll show them Arabs.

I'm not going to engage in paranoid speculation about Bush family connections to Middle East Oil, the Carlyle Group, etc. Others will be running than stuff down, and there's plenty enough to worry about right in front of our noses.

The management team that gave us the social security privatization plan (John Snow was the guy selling that one, too), the Medicare drug benefit plan, the Iraq rebuilding contracting scandals and the bungled Katrina response wants us to trust them that they've done their due diligence on the ports deal? And a President who's simply ignored the intent of legislation he didn't like will now exercise his first veto on any attempt by Congress to modify his decision?

The biggest worry for me here is that the Administration's hubris, secrecy and power mania have gotten so far out of control that it isn't even bothering to spin any more. And the Republicans are finally starting to notice. In a year, Bush & Co. may be looking back with nostalgia on the good old quail hunt flap.

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