Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Remember COSCO?

It was 1998 or so, and we had a President who was suspiciously cozy with China. It was then that I heard of a plan involving China Overseas Shipping Company (COSCO) and the port of Long Beach, CA. It was all over various right-wing outlets at the time, such as Michael Reagan's show and WorldNetDaily.

I don't recall the details, but it was hard to believe that anything could be as bad as the lurid descriptions I heard (and at the time I was willing to believe just about anything about then-President Bill Clinton). Most of it had something to do with the fact that COSCO was effectively owned by the Chinese army. But most of all what I do recall is that the right wing outlets were the only sources of the story - I never saw anything about it in the MSM.

Now it's a few years later, and there's another company associated with a foreign nation doing a deal involving our ports. The difference now is that 1) we have a Republican President for the press to sucker punch (nope, no racial profiling here!), and 2) A new Congressional race has some Republicans are seeking ways to distance themselves from President Bush - that's always hot news, and 3) like monkeys flinging their feces, the Dems are following their usual throw-anything-and-see-what-sticks attack strategy, and anytime a Dem raises an accusation it's newsworthy.

Whatever the truth is, there's no question that the Bush Administration looks maladroit here. Sorry, but this doesn't sound like a good time for foreigners - Middle Easterners no less - to have a lot of influence on our ports. It's natural to expect lots of serious honest questions, and to have well-reviewed answers ready for the faxes. (If someone thought that this could slip by just because Clinton got by with murder, well - how naive can you get?)

And we have answers from a number of respectable outlets. Short answer - it's not a big deal.

In particular, note that there was a comment period on this deal, and it has expired. So be sure to ask the loudmouths why it took them so long to start bitching. If Congressmen are reading about this stuff in the paper, what does this tell us about Congress?

OK, I'm satisfied. Next story, please...

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