Thursday, March 09, 2006

The bill just came due

Dubai is threatening retaliation against American strategic and commercial interests if Washington blocks its $6.8 billion takeover of operations at several U.S. ports. As the House Appropriations Committee yesterday voted 62-2 to the ports deal, the emirate let it be known that it is preparing to hit back hard if necessary.

A source close to the deal said members of Dubai’s royal family are furious at the hostility both Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill have shown toward the deal. "They're saying, ‘All we’ve done for you guys, all our purchases, we’ll stop it, we’ll just yank it,’" the source said.

Retaliation from the emirate could come against lucrative deals with aircraft maker Boeing and by curtailing the docking of hundreds of American ships, including U.S. Navy ships, each year at its port in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the source added. Boeing has been made aware of the threat and is already reportedly lobbying to save the ports deal. The Emirates Group airline bought $9.7 billion of Boeing 777 aircraft last fall and will decide later this year whether it will buy Boeing’s new 787 Dreamliner or its competitor, Airbus A350. The UAE military also bought Boeing’s Apache helicopters. Meanwhile, Boeing has been in talks with the emirates to try to sell its AWACS planes.

When it comes to the emirates’ cooperation in the war on terrorism and in intelligence gathering, there is concern that some help may be pulled. Dubai is a critical logistics hub for the U.S. Navy and a popular relaxation destination for troops fighting in the Middle East. On many occasions since the ports story erupted, the Pentagon has stressed the importance of the U.S-UAE relationship. Last year, the U.S. Navy docked 590 supply vessels in Dubai, plus 56 warships, Gordon England, deputy secretary of defense, said in a Senate hearing last month. About 77,000 military personnel went on leave in the UAE last year, he added. During the hearing, he warned about the implications of a negative decision on the ports deal: “So obviously it would have some effect on us, and I’d not care to quantify that, because I don’t have the facts to quantify it. It would certainly have an effect on us.”

W's position is to threaten to veto legislation that hasn't even been passed yet and if he did, it would the first, repeat, the first veto W has used in six years as president. W hasn't vetoed a single dollar of federal spending, giveaways to the oil industry or tax breaks for billionaires. But now he's going to use his veto power to protect a foreign corporation's business deal. The "war president" thinks terrorism and protecting the American public are the most important issues -- unless of course it gets in the way of a business deal with a foreign undemocratic oil sheikdom.

We got another bill today when the new record trade deficit number for the month of January came in at $68.5 billion. The previous record was $67.84 billion in October. So we are borrowing billions from the Chinese and Japanese to buy their stuff. When that bill comes due China may ask for Taiwan back or the enabling of this borrow and spend policy will end. Just another Asian pied piper that will eventually get paid.

And speaking of numbers in the aftermath of Dana Reeve's death from lung cancer it was startling to see federal yearly funding of lung cancer research is $250 million with breast cancer reesearch getting $570 million. Add prostate cancer and colon cancer research and the U.S. government spends less on yearly research for those cancers than we spend in Iraq in a week. Not even $1.5 billion a year cancer research and we are tab in Iraq will be nearly $400 billion by the end of this year. Another bill that came due too early and too cruely for Dana Reeve and her orphaned 13-year old son and maybe someday, someone you know. Pay your bills now or really pay them later.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

So are you for or against the deal? w might right on this one.

1:18 PM  
Blogger Crankyboy said...

Good question. I think I lean against it but if a thorough vetting, which was not done, shows that there is no real threat to security then fine. My point is that W claims he knew nothing about the deal but knows he is for it and will use a veto the only time in his presidency to protect a foreign government owned company when there have been numerous other things he should have vetoed. The other is that there is always a price to pay for the dependency of oil and cheap loaned money. And what he done on those fronts? Nothing except make it worse. So this is a blip but we will be paying for W's tenure in office for decades and the bill will be enormous and humiliating.

1:50 PM  

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