Wednesday, March 01, 2006


The lib-Dem arm flapping over the Dubai Ports deal is one of the more opportunistic, cynical and asinine displays of late, which is to say that it's perfectly in line with what passes for American political discourse. The libs are dying to prove how "anti-terror" they are, how they, unlike the GOP, are the "real" guardians of American lives and property. From Daily Kos to Air America to Hillary Clinton to lib bloggers, trolls and squawkers in between, "Portgate" is all the rage, an opportunity to flex their fantasy muscles and jump on the Arab-bashing bandwagon. And just to make sure that this present state of mind is clearly understood by all the Right People, DNC Chairman Howard Dean, Mr. Progressive himself, while speaking before the Jewish Council for Public Affairs yesterday, said, "Today we see the specter, as reported in the Jerusalem Post, of a company who is about to take over American ports, which actively continues today to boycott Israel."

Well, I guess the Israeli state will have to squeeze by on the measly billions the US pumps into its coffers every year.

Of course, this rabid yowling has nothing to do with "national security" and everything to do with taking full advantage of a political opening, using the very xenophobic weapons that are part of the reactionary arsenal. Not only does this remind us that the War on Terror is a crock, it emphasizes all too well that no real opposition to the corporate status quo exists, at least in the ownership parties. Instead of examining the business-as-usual aspect of the Dubai Ports deal, and how the American ruling elite and their political lackeys benefit from such global financial arrangements, liberals prefer to fan nativist flames for domestic political gain, especially in a mid-term election year. Over the past few days, lib radio talker Ed Schultz has giggled and guffawed about how the Dems are poised to re-take the House and Senate this November, and how the Dubai debacle is one of the driving forces behind this potential electoral swing. In other words, the Arab booga-booga can work both ways and for the same purposes -- power, influence and control.

But what is truly amusing in all this pretend uproar is the heroic posture of those who don't want to deal with a state boasting "terrorist" ties. Whatever involvement the United Arab Emirates has in aiding terrorism, it doesn't approach the violent level of, say, Israel, or Turkey, or Colombia, or even -- gasp! -- the United States. Yet you'll never hear mainstream libs making this much noise over arms sales to these and other countries. Indeed, when the Clinton admin sold the UAE 80 F-l6 Block 60 fighters in 1998, I don't recall any outrage from the lib corner or concerns that their idol Bill Clinton was aiding and abetting "terrorism," and this was at the very moment when the UAE recognized the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, one of the criminal indictments that libs today are hurling at that oil nation while attacking the ports deal. (Arms sales was just one of the chummy features of Clinton's friendship with the UAE.) And should the Dems do well this November and win the presidency in '08, does anyone seriously believe that business dealings with the sheikdoms will be radically altered or eliminated altogether? Please.

"Portgate" is yet another domestic political ruse that says nothing about the global corporate power structure that makes such deals inevitable, nor about what truly constitutes terrorism in the here & now. It's simple, sleazy fear mongering, another reminder that the Dems and their lib mouthpieces have the same contempt for the populace as do GOP reactionaries.