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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

SAFE HARBOR?
Is it just me, or has the discourse become very, well, Republican since this "Port storm" erupted a few days ago? It seemed as though even some of the most progressive places on the cybernets suddenly became very narrow-minded, even slightly racist, in the early hours of this controversy. Thankfully, the people I've come to greatly respect and rely on for daily sanity checks amidst the craziness that is Bush's America are now giving the issue the deeper thought it deserves. But really, that first day it seemed as though everyone had turned into Ann Coulter, picking up on the all-too-simplistic meme that 'Bush was handing over our ports to terrorists.' It was Bizarro Blogosphere.

Kind of looks like Hannity, no?

That said, please understand that I'm not defending the Bushies here. Not at all. But I think it's important we don't get lumped into the 'all Arabs are terrorists' crowd. This deal still stinks to high heaven, and there are plenty of legitimate questions to be asked about it without propagating the image of America as irrational, xenophobic and racist. Let's ask why the deal was done in such a shady, backroom way? Why weren't proper vetting procedures followed? How much of this is cronyism and back-scratching? Why didn't the president even know about the deal until after it was done? And if he didn't pull the trigger, who did? Why is Bush so insistent now that it gets done, and why so fast? What does the administration owe the UAE and why? And perhaps the most important question, what is being done to fix the gaping holes in our current port security operations, something this deal has absolutely nothing to do with.

These are all proper questions. But let the idiots on the other side ask questions like 'why is Bush handing over the keys to Osama and his pals?' That's the one thing that side can be counted on to do, ask stupid questions. There are innumerable things Bush has done to jeopardize our security (Iraq, torture, speaking in public), but this isn't one of them.

'See, I'm keeping us safe -- these are safety goggles!'

Honestly, I don't think we have to do anything here, we can just sit back and watch this panicky pack of pachyderms devour themselves over this issue. This really may be the straw that broke the elephant's back for the Bush kingdom. Simply put, this deal is politically retarded. Whoever made this decision had one too many highballs or something (ya listening Cheney?). Seriously, how could they not see the firestorm this would create? In an election year, when so much has already gone wrong for the Republican party and when their grip on power is tenuous at best, the Bushies engage in a deal that directly damages the party's falsely-earned reputation as being tough on national security, the one thing they could still cling to as a strength? Spectacularly idiotic this move is.

I mean really, if they owed something to the UAE, why did it have to be the ports? Couldn't they have turned something less obvious over to them? I don't know, sell them an ice cream franchise or the syndication rights to American Idol or something. Seriously, why the ports? Did Rumsfeld lose them in poker game or something?

'Damn. A pair of 6's? What was I thinking??'

Speaking of, does it worry anybody that your average blogger knew about this a week before the Secretary of Defense? I mean, I know he doesn't use e-mail, but does he have a phone? You'd think someone would've called him or something. Of course, the Bushies have hoisted the art of incompetence to levels never thought possible, so nothing should surprise us at this point. Hell, next week we'll probably learn that Wolfowitz sold the state of Arizona to the Saudis, Gonzales handed federal law enforcement over to the Gambino family, and Bush handed over the ports just to get Michael Jackson back. He still thinks that moonwalk thing is really, really cool.

Operation Recover Jacko is underway.

MORE
Kos: Trust Them?
David Cole: Are We Safer?
Progress: Two Ships Passing in the Night
Alan Elsner: Terror Fears, Stoked by Bush, Now Bite Him
Joshua Holland: The Untold Story of the Ports Deal (Added)

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