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Old 24-02-2006, 11:05   #16
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GordMay once whispered in the wind:

2divers
cites the “Mob” as a third line of defense ... I’m speachless. You make it difficult to support your basic argument (which I’d like to).

The mob is not exactly who or where I would want to place my faith in protecting this country. This was meant partly to poke fun at the organized crime in our shipping system. Sorry if it was taken completely literally Gord

Realistically speaking, a criminal organization would be almost as likely to allow said material through for suffient enough price. I would hope not, but it is realistic. The prevention factor for any major terrorist act by a criminal organization is really more based in the fact that if it moved through THIER territory it will bring a lot of unwanted attention and make thier illicit activity that much more difficult after the event has occured.

I truely believe that the last and best line of defense is the American longshoremen and other dock workers. It's the guy who makes sure the gate or door is closed and locks when he ends his shift. the man or woman operating the crane noticing that a particular container is odd somehow, the truck driver who sees someone try to sneak in with his truck... Those people, who are Americans (immigrants and born here), will be the ones who will be the people that find the 'bad' container.

Those are the people you need to make sure stay on-site and not get outsourced. In the end it comes down to a judgement call by each and every person. You support this country and speak up, or look the other way to try and stay out of trouble when you see hanky panky on the pier.
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Old 24-02-2006, 15:35   #17
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2divers - good thing I remained speachless, eh ...
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Old 24-02-2006, 15:59   #18
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It's good to see that reason and more facts are emerging in the comments and discussions, and that emotional gut level reactions and comments are receding.

Like so many, my initial was very skeptical; but I feel like I still don't have enough info to make a knowledgable judgement about the port management situation.

Long term, the more economically interdependent all countries become, the greater will be everyone's incentive for peace, and the more interested every country will be in every other country's success.

And ... the safer it will be for us to sail in all the world's waters!!

Mario, THANK YOU for your service!
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Old 24-02-2006, 19:20   #19
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I too served in Viet Nam 68-71... So what? I lost my high school buddy in Viet Nam back in '68... He died in a senseless war? No Way! To keep South Viet Nam free from the Commies! If our gutless government officials would have gotten into that war to WIN and not care about their votes for the up and coming term - The Commies could be driven back to North Korea...

India counting my tax dollars? WHY? Just shows that our jobs are going to foreigners... WHY can't American jobs stay within USA? MONEY! Big Bucks... Going into people's pockets but not the typical American paying for foreign aid up the a$$... WHY do we pay for foreign aid? The monies spent to other countries programs SHOULD BE GOING TO EDUCATE OUR CHILDREN, CARE FOR OUR SENIOR CITIZENS, PREPARE LOW COST HOUSING, LOW COST MEDICAL TREATMENT TO EVERYONE AND PREPARE JOBS TO OUR EMPLOYABLE YOUNGER GENERATION...!

Now that someone blasted a religious temple in Iraq our dear sweet president has offered USA assistance to rebuild their temple??? What about our own country? What about the Gulf States? Oh, yea the Gulf States.... Remember them Mr. President? OH, there's not enough votes to worry about them...Right MR. President I forgot about displaced families not being there anymore. Maybe when we get the temple rebuilt they can go there?

I'M SICK OF MY TAXES BEING SPENT TO OUTSIDE COUNTRIES WHILE MY KIDS CAN'T FIND A JOB! My daughter is a certified teacher - can't find a job - My son (who is in labor union) works part time because the MINORIES get hired first! IF YOU ARE WHITE MALE AND MIDDLE INCOME - YOU WILL BECOME/ARE
MINORITY!! I am lucky that I have a good job but than again I been there 20 years... BUT in the last two years MY corportation has cut out retired medical coverage after I retire, so I will only have medicaid or medicare... No supplument insurance anymore,, GEE if my tax money was staying home instead of rebuilding someone's temple's 8000 miles away maybe we would all have better medical coverage. Money spent elsewhere could be used here to promote jobs and education, housing, business opportunines for ourselves...

NOW you know what Ross Perot meant when he said "that giant sucking sound you hear is American jobs going out of the country"

And one more thing I DON"T drink but I will GLADLY have a Coke with you!

jimini® WOW I needed to vent - thanks - I feel better!!!
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Old 25-02-2006, 07:27   #20
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A few additional data points to illuminate the real issue (which seem to be relevant to sailors with marine interests and are I believe non-partisan):

1. Since 9/11, the U.S. has spent $29.1 Billion on airport security measures; over that same period, we've spent $.9 Billion on port security.
2. We currently physically inspect (normally via external monitoring, rarely by opening containers for visual inspection) 5% of all goods entering U.S. ports
3. The U.S. has dispatched Customs and other U.S. govt. inspectors to work at ports abroad which send us 80% of the goods received in our ports. The remaining 20% of foreign ports are the least secure and present the greatest risk.
4. High-speed container scanning (xray and radiological) is not state of the art; Singapore has been doing this since 1994 and processes today, in each lane, 300 containers an hour, including matching manifest to xray images. U.S. scanning is mostly radiological only, and is hand-held while someone walks around a container
5. Employees with port security responsibilities are the lowest paid, least trained employee class currently working in U.S. ports; this is true in every region of the country.

The only productive outcome of this current political tangle is that perhaps we'll end up focusing a bit more on the kind of information mentioned above.

Jack
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Old 25-02-2006, 07:34   #21
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Hey Jack.

This scenario sounds like one big tug-of-war. Doesn't it?
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Old 25-02-2006, 12:21   #22
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Lightfin you make a good point, you said “Like so many, my initial was very skeptical; but I feel like I still don't have enough info to make a knowledgable judgement about the port management situation.”
The key words here are knowledgeable judgment -IMHO what is clouding the issue here is Xenophobia: fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners or of what is strange or foreign (Merriam-Webster dictionary)

My point is you have to know what you don’t know before you can learn. So find some way to invite into your comfort zone somebody that is not like you. The problem is We go through our days hemmed in by comfort zones, cloistered by our perspectives, surrounded by people who look and sound like us. But, They live down the street, around the corner and just down the block and all we know is that they are, in superficial obvious ways not like us. Sit and talk with a black person who has experienced the downside of reality in America. An immigrant who risks his life to provide the simple necessities for their family.

One can only wonder what is happening to humanity, can it be that we have learned nothing from the painful and deplorable conditions of Apartheid in S.Africa, the lessons of Nazism, or inclusive the inhumane treatment of the Black population in The U.S. What good are the advances in sience and technology if instead of growing, understanding, and respecting each other we seem to be doing the opposite. A human by virtue of being born is citizen of the world and has certain rights, and as such deserves respect.
“And ... the safer it will be for us to sail in all the world's waters!!”

Jimini, About that coke … with pleasure, just add a lime and some good rum to mine !!
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Old 25-02-2006, 15:07   #23
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Wise words

My neighbour up the road was the nicest guy in Canada. At a neiborhood get together most of us would avoid George a loud talking foreinger that none of us had told to not use the F word in mixed company, especially when some of our more religious type neighbours were there. Well Lance, the nicest guy, talked with George and extracted from George an incredible story about his youth, communism, escaping, comming to Canada and the many challenges. I resolved to try and be more like my neighbour Lance and go out of my way to talk with folks I would normally avoid. I still have a long way to go but I am trying. This attidute has helped me with my work. I could write more but it might ramble.
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Old 25-02-2006, 17:14   #24
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I think a big cloud hanging over this issue is GWB's reaction to it. A deal negotiated in secreat makes people nervous and then to profess not to have known about it ...

Aside from that, whatever percent of containers are inspected is almost irrelevant, because even that percentage will be inspected with less diligence as time goes on, that's just human nature. Anyone who has been in the military knows how a sentry on "high alert" can only stay that way for a limited amount of time before he/she reverts to a "normal" state of alertness ... and that's even when the consequences can be extreme.

Besides that, most containers are not and will not be inspected because they will be deemed - for whatever reason - to be unsuspicious. But, then, terrorists work in obvious ways, right?

Foreign management of the ports doesn't present a security risk per se, but it does open the doors just a bit wider. It adds another level of (foreign) bureaucracy - one that the U.S. will have no control over because it resides on foreign soil and is subject to foreign legal jurisdiction. Remember: the intel for preventing a terrorist act is often in the pipeline somewhere along the national security pipeline - it is often the bureaucracy that somehow buries that information or at least keeps it from getting to the right person.

Secondly, the motivation of that bureaucracy may be suspect. Call me bigoted if you like, but Americans probably are more likely to put urgency into security matters that concern the U.S. than will people from another country. Imagine the situation reversed: Would the urgency of a security issue concerning UAE be equal to one concerning the U.S. if it were you in charge?

Thirdly, even if the Coasties and the HS dudes run the customs checks, one presumes (and correct me if I'm wrong) the management company will be responsible for physical security of the port itself. With that lowered sense of urgency mentioned above, the possibility that someone could be swayed by ideology, money or other favors comes into play. Security guards aren't exactly the best paid and are often bored by their jobs (no offense intended here, it's just a fact). That opens up lots of possibilities. Could something happen with red-blooded Americans manning the gate? Sure it could. More or less likely? I don't know, you be the judge.

I have lived among "foreigners" for the past decade. So, I have to ask myself: is this bigotry and hatred of foreigners or are these legitimate concerns?
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Old 25-02-2006, 22:38   #25
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I don't trust our government officials when it comes to my security or my family. They are all money sluts looking to make a big score with the American public paying the bills... What other job besides our high rating politicians in America pays full salary and full benefits AFTER retirement? None. EVERY TIME a politician vows to make changes they don't. They go a 180° in the other direction shortly after being elected. I shouldn't worry about the foreigners as much as the people I vote for office come to think of it...

Someday there will be a horrible event on our homeland that will make 9/11 look like a kiddie show. It's coming as sure as the sun shines tomorrow... We just as well open all our borders to all. Remove our arm forces for our shores. And print out invitations to our enemies to come and live the good life until then... I hope my kids or grandkids don't see it in their life times but I doubt it will take that long...It's been over five years since 9/11 and after spending billions of taxpayers dollars we are NOT any closer to prep for disaster than we were 5+ years ago... Hurricane Katrina proved that! God have mercy on our souls when the $hit hits the fan next time...

God save the Queen!

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Old 25-02-2006, 23:04   #26
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This whole situation is the most hipocritical thing I have ever seen.
Point one: we have turned our ports over to foreign companies a long time ago. It is only because it is an "Arab" company that people are making it an issue, yet we have Arab companies doing business in every other facit of business in this country, and we have US business's doing business in the middle east.
Point two: this deal was put together by the Bush administration behind closed doors. What? That surprises you?
And my final point: It makes no difference who is running the ports when it comes to security. Do you honestly believe that American citizens can not be bribed?
I have no problem with an Arab corporation buying a port operation, what I have a problem with is any foreign corporation controlling our international commerce. It should be all or nothing. When it comes to control of our commerce, be it wall street, ports, or security, privatization is a bad decision. These things should be publicly controlled like the park service and the military. Granted the government is not known for making good decisions, but they are still our government, and are, by way of election, controlled by the American people. These critical assets, such as our ports, should not be controlled by private corporations that have the ability to deny access to US citizens.
Consider this, a Chinese corp purchases the port of San Francisco. They go bankrupt, and close the doors. We now have one of the major ports in the US, inaccessable for weeks, months or longer. The impact ot our economy would be devistating.
That's my 2 cents.
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Old 26-02-2006, 08:45   #27
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Sam:

To offer you the correction you requested, a port operator does not solely control the physical security of the area in which they conduct their business (on/offloading and storage of containers). Consider it a discrete subset, for their area, of the physical security of the port, which in managed by the Port Authority.

As for your statement that the % of containers undergoing some level of inspection is irrelevant, I couldn't disagree more. Even IF disinterest mounts over time - hardly guaranteed; have you had to deal with the TSA lately, 3 years after 9/11? - more is going to be better than less. In an imperfect world, more good still beats less good.

KN:

Yes, it is hypocritical - especially in a racist sense. And no, this review was hardly done in secret; rather the reverse. Last I read, 8 separate departments had this change under review and none of them were 'hiding it'. What changed is that the news media came to learn about it, the kind of thing (most especially in this Administration) for which we should be ever thankful.

Finally, you've failed to grasp one the key distinctions in this debate. A port operator has no control over the port; that is normally the function of the Port Authority, which in turn answers to a mix of govt'l, public and private entities. If a SF Bay port operator becomes insolvent and unable to function, it is that operator's *contract* for the rights to use those specific port lands and docks that is at risk. Default will result in those being purchased by another vendor, while meanwhile the other SF Bay port operators continue to serve the port. Moreover, to the extent that reduces service in the port, the nationality of the port operator is hardly the issue; any company can become insolvent.

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Old 26-02-2006, 09:19   #28
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I understand that a port operater does not control port access, but what is controlled is equipmant and facilities. When Port of Oakland shuts down for a couple of days in the case of a strike, which happened recently, shipping nationwide is affected. While the real estate may be open, without cranes and personell, the ships sit at the dock. I agree that any company can become insolvent, and that is why I stated that this is one place where privatization is a bad idea. I firmly believe that port operations should be operated by a government entity. It is not fool proof, but provisions could, and should be put in place as with the NY transit authority, preventing port employees from striking, and assuring that ports stay open.
Not having seen the contracts, I am just guessing here, but I am sure that there are provisions that mandate a corporation allow access to all cargo through their facility as a condition of using port property, however, that does not mean they can not lock the gates and shut down that piece of real estate for a period of time.
Here is another what if. A middle eastern corporation comes in and purchases 10% of port operations. During the month of Ramadan (spelling?) they shut down operations for religious reasons. Even if other operations could pick up half of that, international commerce would be affected by 5%. We are talking billions of dollars here. There ae just certain facets of the operation of a country that should not be turned over to private industry IMHO.
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Old 26-02-2006, 11:49   #29
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Ports again

Euro Cruiser continues to provide the most logic, no disrespect to anyone. A US company just bought Canada's oldest company, The Hudson Bay. HBC will still be staffed by Canadians and will operate under Canadian law. If US companies want to be able to buy foreign, then Foreign companies will be allowed to buy US companies. The US can not have it every which way they want. The port contract is already foreign owned by P&O. There is nothing secrect about it. Our goverments are having meetings on a variety of things that you and I may not be aware of. That is not secret. That may be apathy on our part. Calling the folks in charge a bunch of idiots may make you feel better, but it does nothing to further the discussion. It is usually US folks that are doing this. I was not in favour of our previous government. Did you hear me say one word about that ? All governments have done things they may not be proud of. To list them here does not serve much purpose. The US may have concerns with China, so why do the citizens buy so much stuff from them. It makes the trade balance worse. These are complex issues that will not be fixed by an occassional rant. The unemployment rate in the US is the envy of the rest of the world, yet they complain the most. The current use of resources by the US is likley not sustainable so obviously things have to change. If Chindia used a fraction of the resources and had a fraction of the vehicles on the road there would be big problems. Should we blame Chindia for wanting to do what we do ? We need to lead in North America, not set a bad example. I think George W is saying the correct things on many issues. They are: estate taxes, dividend and capitol gain taxes, foreign oil imports. Meanwhile the blue eyed Arabs to the North thank you for your $$$ for oil and gas and wood. Thank you, Merci.
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Old 26-02-2006, 12:48   #30
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Just to be clear, I am not critisizing the government's decision to sell to an Arab country here. I am critisizing the decision to allow private industry in general to have so much control over the ports. And as much as it pains me to say so, I also think Bush is giving the proper response to this issue. The immediate issue is the hipocracy of critisizing the sale of a port operation to one corporation while allowing it to another based soley on what country it is based in, and not on the background of the corporation itself. Things might be different if it were a Cuban corporation, or some other country that we currently have sanctions against, but it's not.
Additionally, I am in complete support of reciprocation. If US corporations expect to continue operations in foreign lands, it is an absolute must that we allow foreign business's to do business on US soil. As a general practice, I am fully in favor of this.
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