Thursday, March 09, 2006

Gotta get my two bits in

So a friend of mine says of the ports deal that there's no question it will go through. He points out that this is just a money grab. $5.6B in cash is already in the accounts of somebody out there, just waiting for a few details before it becomes usable.

He's got a point. Not chump change. Furthermore, it's not as if the owners of DP World are increasing their capital. This is a rights deal. $5.6 billion for the right to operate what, six ports for twenty years? Something like that. For that kind of money, this thing is getting done.

The problem, though, is that this is inspiring cognative dissonance in the group Dave Neiwert called "transmitters" It's very hard for the demagogic, zinger-slingin' right-wing media agents to find an angle to work on this.

Their audience has been trianed for years to be bigots. The verbal onslaught puts the listener in a position of power by highlighting the target's otherness. Almost always. Now, with this deal, the "bad guy" is buying into the system, so you can't attack them from the same angle. The troops still want to, though. For the Fox News set, arab = bad.

But it's the other side of the equation that nobody really wants to talk about. The people who want this deal done are the sellers. By facilitating the diversification of the Sheiks' business interests many ends are being furthered, and none of them are germane to mainstream political converstaion in any U.S. demographic group. First and foremost is the vassal-state relationship (and cash flow) between the Sheiks and the financial hegemons of the West. Second is the gray- and black-market shipping that benefits so much of the political economy both outside and inside the U.S. Third is the further internationalization of trade and labor that so benifits the "ownership society."

There's more, I'm sure, but what's important is that the existence, power and aims of the beneficiaries of this deal make people uncomfortable. That's the elephant in the room. And it's why, even after some face-saving shuffle is worked out, that people all over the political spectrum will continue to point to it as a harbinger of W's decline.

What's interesting is that we have to assume that these "interests" are either politically indifferent to the Republican Party or that they don't mind maneuvering anybody over a barrel. Perhaps especially some boob who actually thinks he runs the show.