ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Friday, March 10, 2006

Dubai Ports World - The Conspiracy

Ok, we aren't supposed to disclose our conspiracies while they're still in play, but I'm bucking The Architect on this one and am going to lay it on the line for all of our fans. (I guess I'll just have to sleep with the loaded 9mm under my pillow for a few months until this blows over...)

You want to know what the whole Dubai Ports World thing was about? Well, here you go... sssshhhh

Why do you think it was Dubai? Why not a Chinese company (which would've had no political brouhaha from Congress, because everyone loves the little totalitarian, communist buggers - as long as they've got the cash. Well, once the Dubai deal blows up, it gives Dickie C. and Chimpy W. McBushitler the opportunity for a little padding in the retirement fund, if you know what I mean? You don't?

Well, lemme spell it out for you: The two firms that will bid on the ports deal will be:

  1. H A L L I B U R T O N !!!!!!! (shouting like a "progressive")
  2. The Carlyle Group (whispered in hushed tones like the conspiracy nuts do)
Of course, even the Carlyle Group knows that the wise ones from the conspiracy camp will figure it out in short order, so they might just forego the bid:
It is not clear what U.S. company is willing to buy DP World's North American properties. Some 75 percent of containers that enter U.S. ports go through terminals that are foreign owned. Officials at SSA, a Seattle company that is the largest U.S.-owned terminal operator, said they have not been contacted. Several private equity firms are trying to determine whether to put forward bids. Some potential bidders may seek to join forces with firms that already operate American ports. But the process is in its very early stages and DP World appears to be determined to avoid a fire sale.

One potential private buyer would be Washington's Carlyle Group, which bought the U.S. container shipping business of CSX Corp. in 2002 for $300 million, selling it two years later for $650 million. Also, the Dubai government has been an investor in Carlyle's investment funds, and put $100 million into its latest, $7.85 billion buyout fund.

A source at Carlyle, however, said the firm would probably not be interested in P&O's port operations, given the political scrutiny such a deal would invite.

Of course, everyone knows that Carlyle was involved from the beginning anyway.

And surely Halliburton knows that in the eyes of Progressives, some American companies are more worthy than others. They'll scream for protectionist b.s. all day, then scream even louder when the "wrong" American company gets the business. The DUers are all over it. Smirkymonkey recognizes that we've run this play before:
smirkymonkey
Thu Mar-09-06 02:04 PM
Response to Reply #2
18. Is this another "Harriet Meyers-esque" bait-and-switch?

Wouldn't surprise me one bit.

But, no worries... the "progressives" have a solution for everything!

NATIONALIZE THE PORTS!!!
kentuck
Fri Mar-10-06 11:10 AM
Should our ports be "nationalized" if we cannot get a credible buyer?

Rumors are that Halliburton or Bechtel or Carlyle Group might take over the ports from DPW...But, can either of those "entities" be trusted? How would we know there is not an under-the-table deal already made? In fact, it probably has. These folks have proven themselves willing to steal from the American taxpayers.
To which this DUer raises the ante:
gunsaximbo
Fri Mar-10-06 11:32 AM
Response to Original message
6. Absolutely!!!

And so should the major airports.

Ah, the twisted turns that one of our Rovian ploys takes... and these folks are all on top of it.

Is there any economic activity which couldn't be connected to national security (or national economic security) in some way?

Final statement regarding this whole kerfluffle. It's bad business to sign a contract and then pressure your partner to pull out - whether it's a small transaction like mowing someone's lawn or a large, multi-billion dollar ports deal.

And anytime these two jokers are smiling, I know that we've made a big mistake.



Chuck Schumer on
Dubai Ports World


Pat Buchanan on
Dubai Ports World

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Ted Rall Idiocy, Vol. 6,972

Well, what can we infer from Ted Rall's laugh-out-loud cartoon from today?



A couple of possibilities spring to mind:

  1. We lose the War On Terror and the Islamic Caliphate is restored (Osama Bin Laden or his successor). He directs the local Imam in Washington, D.C. to erect a memorial to the martyrs of Guantanamo. Unfortunately for you and I, we'll get to hear the likes of Rall & Michael Moore finally have a point about "actual" oppression as they're fed into plastic shredding machines. Oh, the irony...
  2. The Democratic party is elected to power (Congress & Presidency) and in order to demonstrate their solidarity with the oppressed in the Middle East, they move to create a memorial for the cruel treatment imposed on illegal enemy combatants. (Of course, some actually have seen improved living conditions at Gitmo.) Apparently, the Muslims in Gitmo (sworn enemies of America) are the only Muslims who the Dems are afraid to offend. If you're a Muslim ally and friend, you're of no use to the Democratic Party.
  3. Ted Rall seizes power through the use of his mesmorizing 'toon skills, which harken everyone back to their days in 4th grade art class... When no one is noticing, Ted decrees that his favorite 'toon subjects should have a memorial erected in their honor.
Just saying...

You know, in order for something to be funny, there has to be some degree of truth in it. Which is why Rall is often so unfunny. Of course, the scenarios I outline above aren't exactly far-fetched.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Alas San Francisco

A cross-post from California Conservative

Enough of San Fran Freako

Filed Under: Liberals, San Francisco, Culture, Author: John Wilson, Op-Ed

I am a San Francisco native. I love the town, or at least what it once was. When I had an opportunity to come back to California after many years “out there,” I was thrilled. Home to Northern California, my heart soared.

My brother, a few years older than me, recalled fondly the fleet’s homecoming after World War II. The parade of the glorious ships parading under the Golden Gate. San Francisco had had such an important role in that time. It was a history in which we all took pride.

I even took a sort of perverse pride in the San Francisco of the 60s. The Summer of Love, The Filmore, The Jefferson Airplane all were a testament to what a welcoming place the town was. The birth of gay political power with Supervisor Milk, though he held political views way to the Left of my own, was a welcome coming forth of an abused segment of the population. The years of the 49ers brought another side of the community to light. It seemed Joe Sixpack and the aging hippies co-existed. Dirty Harry… ah, Dirty Harry! And then the was Zodiac, something dark and terribly frightening. All of it was part of my town. Colorful, cosmopolitan, beautiful, forward-thinking.

But what do we have now under Major Nuisance and the Stooges?

Let’s look at some recent votes of the Board of Stupivisors:
1. They recently voted to seek the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney;
2. They voted to keep military recruiters out of schools;
3. They have officially dis-invited the U.S. Navy from using the city’s piers;
4. They rejected a museum for the USS Iowa,
5. They have voted to demand that FOXNews fire Bill O’Reilly.

They can not get the bums off the streets, but they can worry about who works for Fox Broadcasting.

San Francisco has become the laughing stock of the entire country. What once was open and inclusive is now boorish and elitist. I am embarassed by my hometown.
What is it going to take to change things? When are the citizens of this once great city going to get rid of these clowns? When are they going to appreciate the harm that is being done?

Alas San Francisco!

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: MontereyJohn

Thursday, March 09, 2006

There's more to seizing opportunity than re-wording slogans

From the Washington Post, there is an article about the sad state of the Democratic Party. Some highlights:

Democratic leaders had set a goal of issuing their legislative manifesto by November 2005 to give voters a full year to digest their proposals. But some Democrats protested that the release date was too early, so they put it off until January. The new date slipped twice again, and now House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) says the document will be unveiled in "a matter of weeks."
How bad must it be that your much vaunted "legislative manifesto" slips not one date, but several times, over a period of months. Sort of a "the checks in the mail" from a political party.
Some Democrats fear that the hesitant handling is symbolic of larger problems facing the party in trying to seize control of the House and Senate after more than a decade of almost unbroken minority status. Lawmakers and strategists have complained about erratic or uncertain leadership and repeated delays in resolving important issues.
You don't say? I guess that answers the question. "Pretty bad."
The conflict goes well beyond Capitol Hill. The failure of congressional leaders to deliver a clear message has left some Democratic governors deeply frustrated and at odds with Washington Democrats over strategy.
Uh-oh, you mean its a party-wide thing?

Party leaders, for example, have yet to decide whether Democrats should focus on a sharply negative campaign against President Bush and the Republicans, by jumping on debacles such as the administration's handling of the Dubai port deal -- or stress their own priorities and values.
Well so far they've only been doing the negative campaign bit, and while that may reduce Bush's poll ratings, it won't necessarily win any house seats. So if they decide to stress their own priorites and values, what pray tell would those be? More on that later.

How is the image of the party doing to those middle of the road voters, those voters that you were trying to win with the attacks against Bush?
"It could be a great year for Democrats," said Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.), but the party must present a more moderate face and distinguish itself more clearly from the GOP on issues such as ethics. "The comment I hear is 'I'd really like to vote for you guys, but I can't stand the folks I see on TV,' " Cooper said in a telephone interview from Nashville.
Oooh... Sorry, guess those attacks haven't been helping. It just shows the party is a party without any "priorities and values."
The Democratic leaders in Congress -- Pelosi and Sen. Harry M. Reid (Nev.) -- are the party's chief strategists and architects of the agenda, which they view as a way to market party ideas on energy, health care, education and other issues. They have held countless meetings to construct the right list, consulting with governors, mayors and just about every Democratic adviser in town.
Hmm.. Ok, so there are the priorities. Wait, what's missing? Oh yeah, national security. That must be lumped in there with "other issues." Surely the party is not so blind as to see that national security is the true national issue facing the country today. The last elections were certainly focused on that issue, since they democratic party decided that they had to nominate a military veteran to highlight the issue.

So Reid is one of the architects, huh? So Senator Reid, where is that manifesto you've been promising us?
"By the time the election rolls around, people are going to know where Democrats stand," Reid said.
Oh, ok. We'll just check in with you before November 2nd then. When should we expect to see it? Sometime around before then I would hope? A question for you Senator Reid.... Um... Why do you need an election to tell us what you stand for? Have you maybe thought about checking with members of your party (say some of the governors) for what you might want to stand for?
But many in the party have their doubts. On Feb. 27, Reid and Pelosi appeared before the Democratic Governors Association. At one point in the conversation, Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, noting that the two leaders had talked about a variety of themes and ideas, asked for help. Could they reduce the message to just two or three core ideas that governors could echo in the states?
Sounds like a reasonable plan, how about it, Mr. Reid, Ms. Pelosi?
According to multiple accounts from those in the room, Reid said they had narrowed the list to six and proceeded to talk about them. Pelosi then offered her six -- not all the same as Reid's. Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski said later: "One of the other governors said 'What do you think?' and I said 'You know what I think? I don't think we have a message.' "
Oooh... Perhaps Mr. Kulongoski's been reading Another Rovian Conspiracy.
Even the party's five-word 2006 motto has preoccupied congressional Democrats for months. "We had meetings where senators offered suggestions," Reid said. "We had focus groups. We worked hard on that. . . . It's a long, slow, arduous process."
It's a long, slow, arduous process to come up with a 5 word motto? I'd hate to see them with the majority in either house. How long, slow, arduous a process is the legislative process?
That slogan -- "Together, America Can Do Better" -- was revived from the 2004 presidential campaign of Sen. John F. Kerry. It was the last line of Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's response to President Bush's State of the Union address, and Reid, Pelosi and Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean have used it in speeches. But there is an effort afoot to drop the word "together." It tests well in focus groups and audiences, Democratic sources said, but it makes the syntax incorrect.
Nothing should be revived from the campaign of John F. Kerry. That's their first problem.
Governors privately scoff at the slogan. They also say the message coming from congressional leaders has been too relentlessly negative. "They want to coordinate. They want to collaborate. That's all good," said one Democratic governor who declined to be identified in order to talk candidly about a closed-door meeting. "The question is: Coordinate or collaborate on what? People need to know not just what we're against but what we're for. That's the kind of message the governors are interested in developing at the national level."
So why the lack of developing a unified message? Or at least a unified approach to the biggest issue addressing the nation today, national security?
Perhaps the Democrats' greatest dilemma is how to respond to the Iraq war. It looms as the biggest question mark over Bush's administration and the Republican lawmakers who have backed him on the conflict almost without question.
And why is it a dilemna? Pick a side and stick to it?

Congressional Democrats have been split over the war since 2002, when many voted to authorize military action. The ground shifted last November when Rep. John P. Murtha (Pa.), a leading Democratic voice on military matters, called for U.S. troops to be withdrawn as soon as possible. Two weeks later, Pelosi endorsed his stance.

Although Pelosi said she was not speaking for her caucus, some colleagues complained that she was handing Republicans a gift by enabling them to tag Democrats as soft on terrorism and forcing Democratic candidates to explain whether they agreed with their House leader.

And so we get to the core of the problem. Democrats want it both ways. They want to be against the War on Terror, but also for it. Just like John Kerry's position in 2004. And as we saw in that election, that stance only alienates both sides, and doesn't conjure an image of leadership.
"There are lots of skeptics," Schumer conceded. But the polls look better and better, he stressed. "There may be some inside-the-Beltway babble, but it's not affecting the voters," said Schumer, who wants the agenda delayed again -- until summer.
Well at least they'll get to the job of leading the country. Sometime. Just not today.


Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: Brian

But, but, but I was set to make politics out of this!



Expose the Left has the video of Harry Reid calling for an up or down vote on the Dubai Port deal even though its no longer a "deal", as Fox News puts it quite well in their lead paragraph.


WASHINGTON — A United Arab Emirates-owned company said Thursday it would give up its management stake in a controversial ports deal that has taken Washington by storm and has caused massive upheaval in the president's own party.
Guess they'll have to come up with another way to get that killer issue that will win them back the House and the Senate, so that they can impeach Chimpy McBushHitler.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: Brian

Not Much

Deroy Murdock has a GREAT article in today's National Review Online, suggesting that Republicans can make the African-American vote competitive by campaigning on issues where the Democratic platform is counter to the wishes and desires of this crucial voting bloc, such as:


[...]
At this writing, the unemployment rate is 4.7 percent, its lowest level since July 2001. The bad news is that black unemployment is 8.9 percent. The good news is that it is down from a 10-percent average under President Clinton.

Meanwhile, with white unemployment at 4.1 percent, there is a 4.8-percent gap between white and black joblessness. That gap averaged 5.5 percent under President Clinton and 6.9 percent over the last 30 years. So, despite howls of Democratic protests, President Bush's tax cuts have helped create the best black-employment picture in a generation.

On Social Security, President Bush tried to bridge the Dividend Divide, the nearly 11-1 asset-ownership gap between white and black households. Voluntary Personal Retirement Accounts would let black individuals and families build nest eggs and bequeath them to their loved ones. This is excellent for black males who, on average, die at age 67.8 after collecting from Social Security for less than a year, while average white males enjoy seven years of benefits. President Bush's proposed accounts offered an alternative to this mess, but Democrats wailed, and his plan died of rejection.

On education, President Clinton vetoed a voucher program for students in Washington, D.C.'s dismal, predominantly black government school system — twice. President Bush, in contrast, signed that bill into law.

Imagine what would happen if the 2008 Republican presidential nominee could campaign on these issues in inner-city Baltimore, Detroit, Cleveland, and Philadelphia with fellow Republicans who have been elected statewide and also happen to be black.

In Pennsylvania, which Kerry won by just 128,000 votes, if, say, Rudy Giuliani could stump with Lynn Swann and swing 64,000 more votes than did President Bush, all things being equal, the Keystone State and its 21 electoral votes go GOP. If Swann and Ken Blackwell can double the black vote for their nominee from 10 percent to 20 percent, it's nearly impossible to see how Hillary Clinton wins with neither Pennsylvania nor Ohio.

The best way to get blacks to consider voting Republican is for GOP candidates to ask them this basic question: "What have the Democrats done for you lately?"

Deroy, the answer to your question is, "Not Much."

Now, if they can only get the message out over the howls and chicanery of the "hustlers, bigots, and crooks" that often are considered the "leaders" in the African-American community.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Danger - Discriminating Professors Inside

From USA Today... (Yes, that means I'm traveling.):

Court upholds military recruiting law;
Schools denying access could lose funding

By Joan Biskupic
USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — The U.S. government can withhold funds from universities that protest the Pentagon's ban on gay men and lesbians by denying military recruiters access to campuses and students, the Supreme Court ruled Monday.

In a unanimous opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts, the court rejected arguments from a group of law schools that claimed a federal law that allows the government to withhold funding in such situations violates colleges' First Amendment rights of free speech and free association.

The law, known as the Solomon Amendment for its original sponsor in 1994, U.S. Rep. Gerald Solomon, R-N.Y., allows the U.S. government to deny funding to colleges that do not give military recruiters the same access and campus privileges that are given to other recruiters.

Most law schools that host recruiters insist that they sign a statement saying they do not discriminate based on sexual orientation. The law school consortium that brought the case, the Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights, said requiring schools to accept military recruiters undermined their opposition to bias and forced them to adopt a message they oppose. The military's “don't ask, don't tell” policy bars anyone who reveals his or her homosexuality from serving in the armed forces.

Hmmm... when someone joins the military, do they have to say that they're openly heterosexual? What does sexuality have to do with fighting in the military?

Perhaps the Progressives would prefer it if we go back to the old policy - forcing people to state that they're hetero in order to get to boot camp.

The Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy implemented by Clinton was a pragmatic solution to a difficult issue.
Joshua Rosenkranz, who represented the law schools challenging the law, said he did not expect universities to decline federal funds so they could block military recruiters. However, he said he expects faculty members and students will accelerate their public opposition to “don't ask, don't tell.”

“Schools are not going to give up the money,” Rosenkranz said, noting that billions in college funding are at stake. “But there are other ways to get the message across. You are going to see banners over military interview rooms and signs that say, ‘Danger: Discriminating recruiters inside.'

Well, it's good to know that their principles can be undermined with some cold, hard cash.

And frankly, I want military recruiters to be discriminating. Unfortunately, the meaning of the word has been twisted so effectively... The universities would be well advised to post similar messages above the recruiting offices of employers visiting for job fairs. "Danger: Discriminating Employers inside." It might help the college kids stay focused.

Or perhaps they could post this over the doors to their classrooms: "Danger: Discriminating Professors Inside."

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

National Security and the Ports

Interesting article regarding the steps that the Bush administration is taking (and has taken) regarding national security and the flood of container ships from overseas. Of course, when you look for news on this topic you turn to....

CIO Magazine:

Customs Rattles the Supply Chain
The government wants you to secure your supply chain. Right now, its program is voluntary. It won’t stay that way for long. And the responsibility for collecting the data Uncle Sam wants is going to fall on—you guessed it—the CIO.
BY BEN WORTHEN

Between 2002 and 2005, the Department of Homeland Security spent $75 million to track several companies' cargo containers coming into the seaports of Seattle/Tacoma, Los Angeles/Long Beach, and New York/New Jersey. The project, called Operation Safe Commerce, used GPS technology and radio frequency identification to monitor cargo from a handful of major importers (including Sara Lee and Motorola) as it made its way from overseas factories to its final destination in the United States.

The goal of Operation Safe Commerce was to identify weak links in the global supply chain. A report summarizing its findings was due more than a year ago, in February 2005. To date, for a variety of reasons, no report has been released. But sources close to the project have told CIO that Operation Safe Commerce revealed that companies actually know very little about what goes on in their supply chains.

Among common unsafe practices identified by these sources were: truckers dropping off containers without ever encountering terminal security, containers left in unsecured areas, and containers bypassing a port that's considered safe (even if scheduled to pass through that port) and traveling instead through a country that poses a greater threat—without either the company or U.S. Customs and Border Protection being informed.

According to Steve Schellenberg, a senior consultant at the trade advisement company IMS Worldwide who worked on Operation Safe Commerce for the port of Seattle, the project "showed us that there needs to be a quantum leap in the information we possess about the supply chain."

Companies will have to find a way to make that leap—possibly within the next year—because soon the government will make sharing this information a cost of doing business for every company that engages in international commerce.

The mechanism for the government's initiative is already in place: the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism, or C-TPAT, which requires that companies take responsibility for the security of their supply chains. C-TPAT is currently voluntary, but program members say that the benefits of compliance—which include reduced wait time at borders and fewer inspections—will make participation an unavoidable cost of doing business.

"There's really very little that Customs can do to speed things up," says Schellenberg. "But they can sure as heck slow you down."

Furthermore, members of the trade community believe that the government will eventually make C-TPAT participation mandatory, although a spokesman for Customs disputes that. CIOs need to begin preparing now, or they could find themselves facing a massive last-minute hurry-up, comparable to their Sarbanes-Oxley travails, if they don't want to watch their company's containers get held up at Customs while their competitors' crates sail through.

"There's no doubt that this is going to happen," says Kevin Smith, general director of global customs for General Motors. "This is an inevitability."
[...]

The Nightmare Scenario: When, Not If

Right now, information about any given supply chain is hard to come by. And that's by design. The goal of supply chains is to get something that's needed—a part, a product—to where it's needed as quickly and cheaply as possible. If a container arrives too late to be loaded onto one ship, it's rerouted and loaded onto another. And as long as the container arrives on time—or close to it—no one need be the wiser. In fact, historically, each person or entity that handles a shipment collects and shares information only to the extent necessary to guard against liability.

Similarly, Customs was created to enforce tariffs and calculate import taxes. And while Customs' role expanded to combat drug trafficking in the 1980s, regulating trade was the department's primary job until September 11, 2001. Now, says Robert Bonner, former commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (he resigned in November), "The priority mission of U.S. Customs is national security."

Experts say that Bonner, who was sworn in at Customs on Sept. 24, 2001, was right to change the agency's focus. Most agree that the likelihood of terrorists attacking the United States through the global supply chain is so high that it's a matter of when, not if. Such an attack (most analyses focus on a dirty bomb) won't primarily be designed to kill a lot of people, but to cause panic. "It isn't the event but the sudden lack of faith in the system that it causes," says Stephen Flynn, senior fellow for national security studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

If a bomb goes off, Flynn says, there will be huge pressure on the government to close all the nation's ports until every container on every site in the country is inspected. An October 2002 war game that mimicked that scenario found that closing the nation's ports for as many as 12 days created a 60-day container backlog and cost the economy roughly $58 billion. "Any incident would shut down commerce," Sen. Patty Murray of Washington told CIO. Murray is the ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on Transportation, Treasury, the Judiciary, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies.

Securing the Supply Chain: Sox and C-TPAT

Customs has developed a two-pronged strategy to prevent the dirty-bomb scenario. First, it's asking companies to assume responsibility for their supply chain security.

Legally, a company is responsible for a container only when it formally purchases it, which—precisely for that reason—usually doesn't occur until it reaches a port, either in the United States or abroad. Target, for example, typically does not legally purchase the clothes it orders from China until they arrive in the terminal. But the government wants importers to take responsibility for everything that occurs prior to purchase, even if the container is in the custody of a trucker in China or a longshoreman in Rio de Janeiro. The principle vehicle for this is C-TPAT. This so-far voluntary program gives certain benefits, such as reduced inspections, to companies that can show they meet a minimum level of supply chain security. The better a company's security (as judged by Customs auditors), the more benefits it receives. There are currently three tiers of C-TPAT compliance, and containers belonging to members in the top tier sail through Customs virtually uninspected.

If C-TPAT is the carrot, then the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (Sox)—which requires that companies put in place reasonable safeguards against events that could materially affect the company's value—is the stick. There's little doubt, experts agree, that events in the supply chain fall under the Sox umbrella.

With both C-TPAT and Sox, IT's job is the same: Secure the data, make sure that purchasing and security have access to one another's information, and collect more data about what is happening in the extended global supply chain.

The second prong of Customs' strategy is to collect as much information as it can about what's happening in the supply chain so that, through data mining, it can spot anomalies. The key to this is the Automated Commercial Environment, or ACE, a $3 billion-plus trade processing system begun in 2000, which Customs plans to complete by 2010. ACE has modules that do everything from serving as Customs' ERP system to targeting containers for inspection. Within the next six months, carriers entering the United States through land-border crossings in seven states will be required to send close to 100 data elements to Customs, including information about the vehicle, its driver and its cargo. If they don't, they don't get in. Customs is also piloting an ambitious ACE add-on called the Advance Trade Data Initiative (ATDI), which requires importers to share with Customs every bit of information about a shipment, including the purchase order, which ports it passes through, proof of delivery and its final destination within the United States.

"ATDI will make companies collect information that they haven't collected before, share information they haven't shared and provide information earlier than they've been required to provide it before," says GM's Smith. For example, it's the rare company that knows where on a ship its container is located, but ATDI will require it.
[...]
The Secure 10,000

After 9/11 there were calls by some members of Congress to inspect each and every one of those 9 million containers coming into the country. But the vast majority of those containers are filled with legitimate goods from legitimate sources heading to legitimate companies. "The question we faced was, Can you risk-manage for terrorism?" says Bonner. "If the answer is yes, you can spot-inspect." (For more on the issue of risk-managing onetime events, see "Managing the Terror Risk" .)

In July 2002, Bonner unveiled C-TPAT, which, by shifting that burden onto the importers, was designed to reduce the need for the government to inspect containers. Since then, over 10,000 companies have applied for C-TPAT membership. In 2005 C-TPAT members accounted for 42 percent of all imports by volume.

There are three tiers of C-TPAT membership, each of which comes with progressively fewer inspections. The first level simply requires an attestation that your company has performed a risk analysis of its supply chain and has taken steps to mitigate any vulnerabilities. So far, 5,757 of these attestations have been accepted by Customs. Tier-two members have had this attestation validated by Customs officials. Right now, 1,511 companies have achieved tier two (another 2,273 validations are in progress). Tier-three members are companies that Customs has determined follow supply chain security best practices (although Customs has not yet defined any). These are the companies that will be eligible for the Green Lane. Only 126 companies to date have qualified for tier three, including Boeing, General Motors and Target.

So, in July 2002 - less than a year after 9/11 - US Customs had developed a program to manage the risk associated with terrorist threat involving containers at our ports, essentially by forcing companies to be responsible not only for goods that they are in possession of (and which they have ownership of), but for those goods in their entire supply chain. This is a significant change in the world of business... and to date 42% of all imports are covered.

Now, I know the progressives don't like private sector being responsible for anything, since the word "corporation" is often preceded by the word "evil" in their lexicon. But I think it's interesting to see that, contrary to conventional wisdom, significant changes are being implemented and they don't get the recognition that they likely deserve. Simply saying on 9/12 that all containers need to be inspected is a simple-minded solution, unless your goal is not security, but rather the destruction of the US economy.

Read the whole article... it's too lengthy to post here in full and there is some interesting information which I unfortunately had to leave out.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler