02-19-2017  3:18 pm      •     

Americans have every good reason to be aroused by the deal to hand over management of 21 U.S. ports to a company owned by the United Arab Emirates. But don't get trapped in the hot, xenophobic anti-Arab rhetoric of politicians scrambling for cover. This isn't about hating Arabs. This is about the disgraceful failure to secure our ports and our borders.


When Dubai Ports World bought out the British company managing six of our major ports, the administration treated it as business as usual. The 45-day review required by law was ignored, and the deal was rubber-stamped. Neither the governors of the states involved nor the Congress was informed. When the furor erupted, the administration defended the deal, saying that we had a big stake in "robust trade" and couldn't discriminate against a company owned by an Arab emirate.


Bush said we shouldn't worry because the security of our ports is under U.S. control. Unionized Americans workers will still man the ports. In fact, that isn't true — the company will hire and oversee the security personnel. And it is more than ironic that an administration that has tried to stamp out unions in the Homeland Security Agency and elsewhere now evokes them as key to our security.


The real problem here isn't who manages the ports; the real problem is that our port security stinks. We currently inspect less than 3 percent of the containers that come into our ports. We scan less than 40 percent for radiation. The tracking process that starts when the containers are loaded is fragmented and outmoded. Four years into the War on Terror, and we're still not in control of our borders or our ports.


Americans are naturally suspicious of a company owned by the UAE, one of the few countries to recognize the Taliban and home to two of the Sept. 11 terrorists. But the real threat to our ports isn't the presence of Dubai Ports World — it is the absence of a serious U.S. commitment to secure our ports and our borders.


President George W. Bush says we're at war and under attack. He's spent four years raising domestic fears about terrorists. Sept. 11, he says, changed everything.


Except it isn't true. Sept. 11 didn't change all the president's priorities. He threw money at the military but didn't supply either the troops or the equipment needed for the bloody occupation of Iraq.


He is headed towards spending $1 trillion on the war in Iraq but won't ask either the wealthy or the corporations to forgo any of their tax cuts. He says our security is his focus but stuffed the Homeland Security Agency with cronies and political hacks.


And no matter what, he won't interrupt business as usual. When the chemical companies didn't want to bear the cost of providing security for their dangerous plants, Bush blocked legislation to require federal review of their security plans. And when Dubai Ports World bought out the British, Bush treated it as a normal commercial transaction.


Worried about Arab or Chinese ownership of our ports? Get used to it. When Michael Chertoff, the hapless director of Homeland Security, says we don't want to interrupt "robust trade," he is tacitly recognizing our new vulnerability. We have racked up over $2 trillion in foreign debt, running unsustainable trade deficits and hollowing out U.S. industry. Foreign creditors have been holding U.S. notes, but inevitably they will start buying U.S. assets. We already have a difficult time making high-tech weapons without using Chinese and Indian companies.


This is the new reality. Under President Bush, we've wasted lives and resources on a war that made us weaker. We've squandered hundreds of billions of dollars on tax cuts for the few and subsidies for the corporate lobbies, while failing to invest enough to control our ports and borders. And we've hollowed out our manufacturing sector while going deeper in debt to foreign creditors.


The president is good at trampling American laws and liberties in the name of the War on Terror. He just isn't very good at providing basic security for Americans.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. is founder and president of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition.

Recently Published by The Skanner News

  • Default
  • Title
  • Date
  • Random
  • WASHINGTON (AP) — One month after the inauguration, the stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of Donald Trump's White House still is a hard-hat zone. Skeletal remains of the inaugural reviewing stands poke skyward. Random piles of plywood and cables are heaped on the ground inside crooked lines of metal fencing. The disarray outside the president's front door, though not his fault, serves as a metaphor for the tumult still unfolding inside. Four weeks in, the man who says he inherited "a mess" at home and abroad is presiding over a White House that is widely described as itself being a mess. At a stunning pace, Trump has riled world leaders and frustrated allies. He was dealt a bruising legal blow on one of his signature policies. He lost his national security adviser and his pick for labor secretary to scandal. He's seen forces within his government push back against his policies and leak confidential information. All of this has played out amid a steady drip of revelations about an FBI investigation into his campaign's contacts with Russian intelligence officials. Trump says his administration is running like a "fine-tuned machine." He points to the rising stock market and the devotion of his still-loyal supporters as evidence that all is well, although his job approval rating is much lower than that for prior presidents in their first weeks in office. Stung by the unrelenting criticism coming his way, Trump dismisses much of it as "fake news" delivered by "the enemy of the people" — aka the press. Daily denunciations of the media are just one of the new White House fixtures Americans are adjusting to. Most days start (and end) with presidential tweets riffing off of whatever's on TV talk shows or teasing coming events or hurling insults at the media. At some point in the day, count on Trump to cast back to the marvels of his upset of Democrat Hillary Clinton in the November election and quite possibly overstate his margins of support. Expect more denunciations of the "dishonest" press and its "fake news." From there, things can veer in unexpected directions as Trump offers up policy pronouncements or offhand remarks that leave even White House aides struggling to interpret them. The long-standing U.S. policy of seeking a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Trump this past week offered this cryptic pronouncement: "I'm looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like. I can live with either one." His U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley, the next day insisted, "We absolutely support a two-state solution." Trump's days are busy. Outside groups troop in for "listening sessions." Foreign leaders call or come to visit. (Or, in the case of Mexico's president, cancel out in pique over Trump's talk about the planned border wall.) After the president signed two dozen executive actions, the White House was awaiting a rush order of more of the gold-plated Cross pens that Trump prefers to the chrome-plated ones used by his predecessor. Trump hands them out as souvenirs at the signing ceremonies that he points to as evidence of his ambitious pace. "This last month has represented an unprecedented degree of action on behalf of the great citizens of our country," Trump said at a Thursday news conference. "Again, I say it. There has never been a presidency that's done so much in such a short period of time." That's all music to the ears of his followers, who sent him to Washington to upend the established order and play the role of disrupter. "I can't believe there's actually a politician doing what he says he would do," says an approving Scott Hiltgen, a 66-year-old office furniture sales broker from River Falls, Wisconsin. "That never happens." Disrupt Trump has. But there may be more sound and fury than substance to many of his early actions. Trump did select Judge Neil Gorsuch to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, a nomination that has drawn strong reviews from conservatives. But the president is regrouping on immigration after federal judges blocked his order to suspend the United States' refugee program and ban visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries, which had caused chaos for travelers around the globe. Some other orders on issues such as the U.S.-Mexico border wall and former President Barack Obama's health care law are of limited effect. Trump says his early actions show he means to deliver on the promises he made during the campaign. "A lot of people say, 'Oh, oh, Trump was only kidding with the wall,'" the president told a group of police chiefs recently. "I wasn't kidding. I don't kid." But the Republican-led Congress is still waiting to see specifics on how Trump wants to proceed legislatively on top initiatives such as replacing the health care law, enacting tax cuts and revising trade deals. The messy rollout of the travel ban and tumult over the ouster of national security adviser Michael Flynn for misrepresenting his contacts with Russia are part of a broader state of disarray as different figures in Trump's White House jockey for power and leaks reveal internal discord in the machinations of the presidency. "I thought by now you'd at least hear the outlines of domestic legislation like tax cuts," says Princeton historian Julian Zelizer. "But a lot of that has slowed. Trump shouldn't mistake the fact that some of his supporters like his style with the fact that a lot of Republicans just want the policies he promised them. He has to deliver that." Put Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in the camp of those more interested in substance than style. "I'm not a great fan of daily tweets," McConnell said Friday, referring to the "extra discussion" that Trump likes to engage in. But McConnell was quick to add: "What I am a fan of is what he's been actually doing." He credits Trump with assembling a conservative Cabinet and taking steps to reduce government regulation, and promised: "We like his positions and we're going to pursue them as vigorously as we can." The challenge may be to tease out exactly what Trump wants in the way of a health care plan, tax changes and trade policy. At his long and defiant news conference on Thursday, Trump tried to dispel the impression of a White House in crisis, squarely blaming the press for keeping him from moving forward more decisively on his agenda. Pointing to his chief of staff, Reince Priebus, Trump said, "You take a look at Reince, he's working so hard just putting out fires that are fake fires. I mean, they're fake. They're not true. And isn't that a shame because he'd rather be working on health care, he'd rather be working on tax reform." For all the frustrations of his early days as president, Trump still seems tickled by the trappings of his office. When New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie visited the White House last week to discuss the national opioid epidemic over lunch, the governor said Trump informed him: "Chris, you and I are going to have the meatloaf.'" Trump added: "I'm telling you, the meatloaf is fabulous." ___Follow Nancy Benac on Twitter at http://twitter.com/nbenac
    Read More
  • FDR executive order sent 120,000 Japanese immigrants and citizens into camps
    Read More
  • Pruitt's nomination was strongly opposed by environmental groups and hundreds of former EPA employees
    Read More
load morehold SHIFT key to load allload all
Carpentry Professionals
Calendar

PHOTO GALLERY

Reed College Jobs
His Eye is on the Sparrow