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If Only

I dunno, they talk like letting an Ay-rab company manage our ports would be some gross breach of security.

If only.

Everyday I get up and mark another day on the calendar -- one more day without the 32-foot Chris Craft motoring into the marina at Battery Park City and letting go with A Big One.

Don't get me wrong. I'm glad this thing has blown up in Bush's face, but only because it brings the issue of port security back onto the front burner.

But Bush is right. It doesn't matter.

The reason it doesn't matter is not the reason he gives for it not mattering, though.

The reason it doesn't matter is because people are behaving like we're putting the local Saturday-Night-Specials dealer in charge of the metal detector at school when there isn't any metal detector. What the hell difference does it make who we put in charge of something that isn't even there?

For six years the "adults" have been in charge. Wow. Am I glad, or what?


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I think this whole business is mostly just people who have been, in the past, firmly in Bush's corner taking advantage of the chance to display their disillusionment with all his words and acts (of those of his minions/controllers, take your pick) without appearing Wishy-washy and Weak on Defense, as well as Clueless about the War on Terra. They've been waiting for the chance to have what people with parliaments call a vote of No Confidence, and here's their chance. High-minded conservatives whose only concern is the Welfare and Safety of America can now sink their teeth into his ankle without fear.

However, I'm not sure we can really do all that much about port security. For one thing, a lot of it has to take place where cargoes are loaded, and there's not too much we can realistically do about that. For another, the sheer volume at the ports of entry makes checking things insanely difficult. I'm not sure a thorough check on every container could be done, in the universe we live in, without stopping activity in the ports altogether. How many containers enter the various sites in the New York/New Jersey Port Authority realm in a single day? How long does it take to check a container thoroughly, and then repack it? I get the impression you'd need a good chuck of the population of your conurbation to do that in a timely manner, and I suspect most of them would prefer to be doing other things.

Exactly. That various congresscritters are making such a big deal out of this is laughable given that they basically threw up their financial hands years ago by agreeing to go along with the administration's head-in-the-sand approach to securing the country's ports. The same people that were spending billions of dollars to take away my 94-year-old grandfather's nail clippers to secure our great nation's airways are now squawking madly because some men wearing keffiyehs might make our unsecure ports, er, unsecure.

In a way, this is wonderful poetic justice for this administration and its fetishism of privatization. Port security? Underfund it Grover Norquist-style to prove that the corporations running the ports should be in charge of security. And corporations are fungible, so it doesn't really matter that a British company is running things instead of an American one; Free Enterprise and the Invisible Hand will ensure our safety. And now Bush finds himself painted into a corner. How to get out this in a non-hypocritical way that doesn't undermine the privatization fantasy while still giving the appearance that it's not just because the new corporation is run by Ay-rabs?

How to get out [of] this in a non-hypocritical way that doesn't undermine the privatization fantasy

Well, there's the first impossibility right there. There are no non-hypocritical ways out of this, or any of the other problems the Cheney adsinistration's "Adam Smith said it, I believe it, that settles it" attitude has gotten it into, that don't undermine Grover Norquist's marketbation fantasies.

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