Ports Deal Stupidity

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There are many myths surround this apparently defunct deal. It's gotten to be very annoying.

  • We are safer if Americans own critical American infrastructure.

    Yeah, because it's not like Americans would ever commit or support terrorist acts against America, right, Oklahoma City?

  • Muslim Arab companies are more likely to support terrorists than British companies.

    Maybe. This isn't entirely clear. We have put a lot of trust into this particular company, and we've not regretted it. This only means we should perhaps provide more scrutiny (though I am not sure what "more" would be: we should provide as much as is necessary in every case, no matter who it is).

  • But some of the hijackers came from the UAE!

    And the shoe bomber came from London. And Tim McVeigh was from Buffalo.

  • Well, it only highlights the fact that Bush is not taking port security seriously.

    No, but it is being used to try to project that image.

    Worse, it's being used by Congress to project that image, even though the reason our port security is lacking is dearth of funds, which is the sole responsibility of Congress. Despite popular belief, the President does not have any budgetary authority. He presents a budget, but it is essentially worthless. Congress can junk the whole thing and do its own. The fact that the President wastes our tax money on a budget does not mean the Congress has to follow it.

  • At least Congress is listening to the American people for once.

    I heard Lou Dobbs going on about this today: "Someone once said, we're smarter as a group than we are individually." Perhaps, but that assumes that as a group, we are well-informed about the particular issue. As Edmund Burke said: "Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays instead of serving you if he sacrifices it to your opinion."

    Unfortunately, our representatives betray us all the time: if they didn't, they wouldn't win re-election as often. (Insert renewed call for a Constitutional amendment implementing term limits for the House and Senate HERE.)

Again, I don't know if this deal was a good one, or a bad one. The problem is that neither does pretty much anyone else who is up in arms against it.

But the American people don't care if they are ignorant, as long as they are angry enough, that's better than having facts. It's like the old SNL joke about First Citiwide Change Bank: "How do we make money making change? Volume."

So our representatives saw the writing on the wall: the people will not be swayed by any facts, no matter what they are, and most of them are up for re-election this year, so the deal died. It's that simple. slashdot.org

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