By on August 20, 2008

What\'s in those boxes? (courtesy ericstone.com)You'd think "just-in-time" production techniques wouldn't extend to, say, Korea (Aveo) or China (Equinox engine). But you'd be wrong. And The National Association of Automakers view new anti-terrorism legislation– that's been six years in the making— as a threat to their business. "The U.S. Customs and Border Protection Bureau wants shippers to collect 10 new categories of data for U.S.-bound cargo 24 hours before it's loaded on ships in foreign countries," The Detroit News reports. "As well as to provide data about the physical location of cargo aboard a U.S.-bound vessel and status messages that report container movements… Automakers say the rule could upset the delicate 'just in time' shipping of parts to arrive at auto factories as they are needed for vehicle production, which saves the companies the cost of stockpiling parts… The automakers argue the rules would do little to make the country safer." And might be extended to Canada and Mexico. "Automakers argue in their letter that 'there is a better way,' saying that CBP [Customs and Border Protection] should focus 'on importers, exporters and countries that pose a risk.'" Isn't that exactly what they're trying to do?

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35 Comments on “Carmakers Fight Anti-Terrorism Import Law...”


  • avatar
    Airhen

    I’d put Canada and Mexico on that list too as countries that pose a risk. LOL

    But really, let some WMD into this country and that will wreck a lot more then the auto industry.

  • avatar
    KatiePuckrik

    Let’s be honest here, it’s really going to affect Toyota.

    And this law will either:

    1. Force Toyota to work WITH the law.
    or
    2. Force Toyota to source more parts from the United States, which is what they should be doing if they want to keep their “Just in time” process flowing.

    If they are successful is fighting this law, then what’s next?

    Jack Bauer’s job will get more difficult!

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    If you really cared about fighting terrorism, you’d address the reason people do it in the first place. By and large, happy people with a future don’t go blowing themselves (and others) up.

  • avatar

    psarhjinian :

    If you really cared about fighting terrorism, you’d address the reason people do it in the first place. By and large, happy people with a future don’t go blowing themselves (and others) up.

    Not to go TOO far off-topic, how exactly do your propose increasing the sum of human happiness to the point where no one feels the desire to commit a terrorist act? And why do I think it’ll involve more of my tax dollars?

  • avatar
    Airhen

    Robert Farago :
    August 20th, 2008 at 10:04 am
    Not to go TOO far off-topic, how exactly do your propose increasing the sum of human happiness to the point where no one feels the desire to commit a terrorist act? And why do I think it’ll involve more of my tax dollars?

    Promote and teach free enterprise as it does wonderful things when people work and prosper. Anyone willing to blow themselves up must feel that they have no future (at least here on Earth). Our government already spends a lot of our tax dollars on wasteful things and worthless people here, just to be fair.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    Maybe it would be a good thing to levy more taxes. You don’t hear much about Norwegian and Swedish terrorists and their tax rates are pretty high.

  • avatar
    Adub

    Nah, but their motorcycle gangs use rocket launchers against each other. When was the last time you heard about one of those being used in the U.S.?

  • avatar
    bunkie

    I’ve always thought that the best way to fight suicide bombers is to make fun of them for being stupid enough to let someone else (who, strangely, doesn’t want to blow themselves up) talk them into it. And, yes, I think we could spare a few tax dollars for this effort.

  • avatar
    Detroit-Iron

    I’m with Bunkie on that one. Same with school shooters. Instead of plastering their faces all over the news and reading their crappy writing, the anchor(wo)man should just say “some loser just shot up a school. What a douche.”

  • avatar
    Scottie

    I’m Pretty sure Aveo’s and GM OHV 3.4L are WMD.

    I’d kill myself if i owned either one.

  • avatar
    Orian

    Airhen,

    Inspecting everything that comes into this country will not stop a determined individual from creating a bomb. Just ask Timmothy McVeigh. Oh, wait…you can’t any longer.

    The point I am making is that no matter how much security they waste money on they will not stop someone determined enough to do it. All it does is waste tax payer money and treat every individual as if they are a terrorist and revokes most of our freedoms granted by the constitution and the bill of rights. Everyone is presumed guilty until proven otherwise in this country now.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Robert,

    Yes, this would be way off-topic, and yes, it’d involve spending your tax dollars, so an email exchange would probably be best.

    The ten-cent version: for what it costs to invade, bomb or shoot someone, you can buy a lot of a) food, b) housing and/or c) hookers and blow.

    Well, ok, maybe c) is a poor choice of words, but the truth is that someone determined to blow themselves/others up will find a way to do it. The bulk of the front-liners, though, are doing it because they have nothing to live for. Give them a real life, and the value equation changes significantly.

    I’m reminded of the “suicide barrier” on the Bloor-Danforth viaduct bridge in Toronto. One year, a number people jumped from it to their deaths in the Don Valley below. The knee-jerk response saw the city government erect a kind of netting to prevent people from doing that; the netting cost millions of dollars. And yes, it stopped people from jumping from the bridge.

    Of course, for what it cost you could have had paid social workers to man the bridge 24x7x365 for several years. It also fails to address the Leaside bridge, just a few kilometers north, or the many subway stations where people could jump in front of the train, or, well, the bottle of sleeping pills. Perhaps it might be worth asking why fifty people a year are killing themselves and put a program in place to address that?

    I feel the same way about antiterrorism measures and carte-blanche incarceration of criminals for poverty-related crime (theft, gang violence, drug crime). You’re treating the symptom, not the disease, and the treatment is often problematic in and of itself.

  • avatar
    menno

    psarhjinian, I have to respectfully disagree with your feelings/emotions about Muslim fanatics (because, honestly, that’s what is being discussed here).

    Perhaps if you stop to study the religious beliefs of those in the Muslim religion who actually blow themselves up – and the things they say amongst themselves in their own language (obviously, translated to English) – you’d have some understanding.

    My understanding is that they simply do not think like Westerners; they cannot necessarily be reasoned with with thoughts we might regard as rational; and they are NOT blowing up Jews, Americans, English, Spanish and cutting heads off of Dutch folks just because they live in conditions other-than-hollywood-style-living, as the knee-jerk liberal ideals might foolishly think.

    Those are the sad facts. What we do about it in response, as in the rest of the world, is the point.

    As for just-in-time, I’ve always thought – well, that’s an awfully long supply chain to ship engines and components from another continent…kind of seems obviously dumb to me.

    Meanwhile, yet another small car parts factory is closing in northwestern Michigan (I heard it when I put the weather on this morning, on TV).

  • avatar
    CarnotCycle

    Its all a joke anyways. The War on Drugs has basically created a huge black-market smuggling infrastructure that ships tons and tons of stuff into the country every night, and its all off the books no matter what the bureaucrats specify should be in the books.

    If I was sitting in the Sandbox with a nuke and wanted to get it in the States, I’d call my Taliban heroin smuggling buddy and ask if I could use his “hook” into the USA….problem solved.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    My understanding is that they simply do not think like Westerners; they cannot necessarily be reasoned with with thoughts we might regard as rational;

    I’ll keep this short because it’s wickedly off-topic: they haven’t always been like this. It got bad after about 1600AD, dramatically worse after WWII and terrible in the last fifteen years.

    Prior to that, Muslim societies were fairly open and tolerant. But then, Muslims were also very, very wealthy compared to their current state.

    I’d also point out the IRA and ETA did the same sort of thing until fairly recently. A lot of the reason they stopped is because, quite frankly, Ireland is doing fantastically well economically, and the Basque autonomous region isn’t exactly an economic backwater anymore, either.

    and they are NOT blowing up…cutting heads…because they live in conditions other-than-hollywood-style-living, as the knee-jerk liberal ideals might foolishly think.

    Liberal and conservative are the wrong words for this kind of discussion, because they’re effectively meaningless: liberal should just means “doing things differently” and conservative means “accepting the status quo”; they do not (and should not) define what the status quo is. American political discourse has so perverted their true meaning that they’re useless except as a slur against someone you don’t agree with.

    The idea that happy people don’t, by and large, become terrorists isn’t “liberal” for the above reason, it’s a basic tenet of sociology and if nothing else, it’s a conservative principle. People generally want things to stay the same, day to day. Crime and poverty reduce this sense of comfort, and act to increase violence in extremis.

    Yes, there are exceptions (ideologues like Osama bin Laden or Theodore Kaczynski come to mind) but on a large scale you see comparatively little crime in countries with a high median net income, and much more in countries where the median drops. The US has more crime than the rest of the G8 because it has more desperately poor people.

    Now, having said that, the solution’s actual implementation could be construed as liberal, if the solution was a massive, comprehensive welfare state. Personally, I think that’s equally as valid (and thusly equally stupid) as playing military whack-a-mole and bailing when it doesn’t work. You need a hybrid of the two, and you need commitment over the long term to make it happen.

    Playing said ‘whack-a-mole” games with security threats, as the article above states, is not going to fix the problem.

  • avatar
    hwyhobo

    The US has more crime than the rest of the G8 because it has more desperately poor people.

    Sorry, but without discussing cultural differences in a society as diverse as the US, city and rural life, congestion, values, and dozens of other factors, the above is such an oversimplification as to be completely meaningless. You could come up with lots of examples to prove and to utterly disprove the above premise. It’s like discussing the Bible – pointless.

    Can we get back to cars now?

  • avatar
    Areitu

    Maybe a security or logistics company who would profit from such a bill has been lobbying for it?

    Statistically, it doesn’t seem like the country would be much safter. After all, how many cargo containers pass through our major ports, and how many ports have been attacked? Judicious CIA work may be enough to keep the security of US ports. To me, inspecting thousands of cargo containers serves to annoy people to the same way the TSA makes you take off your shoes when you fly (I started wear sandals)

    Aside from that, people need to be assuaged of their fears, by their representatives, via actions like this. When people hear the effects of, for example, an attack on the Port of LA, fixate and get worried about how gasoline reserves will be gone in less than a week. On the bright side, closure of one or both of SoCal’s ports would result in a lot less smog.

  • avatar

    psarhjinian :
    The US has more crime than the rest of the G8 because it has more desperately poor people.

    ‘Poor’ people in the US wouldn’t know desperate if it bit them in the face.

  • avatar
    menno

    We have the fattest poor people in the world, here in the USA!

    No, I’m not an unfeeling philistine. I actually work (behind the scenes) for a church food pantry to help folks who fall between the cracks and who can’t get enough help from the “social safety net”.

    We also have poor people who live in 1500 to 2000 sq foot homes, have running water, electricity, modern sewage systems, cable TV, often satellite TV, color TV, often HDTV, sometimes have more than one (running) car per adult person in the household, plenty of clothes to wear, propane or natural gas to heat their homes and hot water, shoes, washing machines, dryers, microwaves, even dishwashers.

    In reality, calling any Americans poor is only relative to comparison within the country, not the rest of the world.

    Most folks in virtually any countries of the world you could name would be all too glad to have the amount of material wealth and opportunity that is daily taken for granted by we Americans.

    I’ve lived in the UK in times when the economy was not doing so well, and can tell you that from first hand experience. I’ve also heard others talk about how things are in the Caribbean, and rural Mexico, after our church youth went down to help build small hovels which were luxury homes to those receiving them (in rural Mexico).

    Interestingly, I was just visiting with a co-worker this morning about how, 29 years ago, my wife and I (then newlyweds) managed to snag a (rental) 3 bedroom house on the Air Force base in Michigan (now closed). We had – quite literally – a used car, one 100 year old side table which held a 13″ B&W TV (used), an old bed with mattress and box spring, 1 set of sheets, 1 card table, 2 folding chairs, a few pots and one frying pan, some used plates and silverware, our clothes, one small very cheap couch and one cat. Which was free. The place echoed. Literally. After leaving the USAF, we moved to an apartment in Traverse City which we couldn’t even afford to drive 150 miles to check out – my sister had to find it and tell the landlord “they’ll take it” on our behalf. It had a gas stove which probably came over with the ark, no hallway (you walked through our meager bedroom to get to the kitchen from the front room), and the toilet was literally just off the kitchen, but we did have a shower!

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    It doesn’t matter what you do for people to make them happy unless you are simultaneously improving their access to private property rights, freedom, a fair judicial system, and self determination.

    I simply can’t think of a historical example to the contrary. The band aid of material improvement eventually wears off without those ingredients.

    I will agree with Psar on one point though. I learned in my military studies that there is good evidence that lack of access to female companionship for men under 25 GREATLY increases the likelyhood of violence and belligerence.

  • avatar
    NeonCat93

    The trouble with CBP is that they see every country and every person as a threat.

    Every container that enters this country is scanned for radioactive materials. Containers are opened at random to check for contraband (and if anything irregular is found, the company which is taking delivery of the container will have all their containers scrutinized thereafter).

    I’m sorry, but this move by CBP comes across to me as just proof that they are Doing Something. Frankly, their paranoia, and the paranoia of the Federal security agencies, is tiresome and probably counterproductive. How many people who were well disposed towards the US have been infuriated by their treatment by CBP or TSA? How many people who could have come here and learned, hopefully, that Americans aren’t ogres set to conquer the world won’t come because of the terrible reputation the US has from its security practices?

    Finally, given the shakiness of the US economy, can we afford the delays and costs of the extra scrutiny CBP wants on Every. Single. Container? That ship in the picture is carrying maybe 2500 containers, maybe more. Dozens of such ships, maybe more, dock in US ports each day. If you want to know who will pay for it, go look in a mirror (US residents only).

  • avatar
    50merc

    psarhjinian: “they haven’t always been like this. It got bad after about 1600AD”

    That would be a surprise to the peoples of Arabia in the seventh century; of north Africa, the Middle East, South Asia and Spain in the eighth century; of southern Europe in the 1400’s; or Vienna in 1529.

    Landcrusher: “there is good evidence that lack of access to female companionship for men under 25 GREATLY increases the likelihood of violence and belligerence.”

    Right. And demographic data predict certain societies will be factories for fanatics into the foreseeable future.

  • avatar
    Mullholland

    Thank you Scottie. Effing brilliant!

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Off topic, feel free to delete.

    psarhjinian: “they haven’t always been like this. It got bad after about 1600AD”That would be a surprise to the peoples of Arabia in the seventh century; of north Africa, the Middle East, South Asia and Spain in the eighth century; of southern Europe in the 1400’s; or Vienna in 1529.
    Think about the standards of the time, and the context of those conflicts. Within the Muslim states, many people benefitted greatly from their role as intermediaries of trade between Africa, Europe, the Indian subcontinent and East Asia. You’ll hear this called the Muslim Renaissance or Enlightenment.

    Now, think about Europe in the 13th or 14th century. See the point?

    Now, interstate war (the Baltics, Spain and Austria, the Indian subcontinent) during the expansion of the empire was bloody, but that’s the nature of war and separate from “the home front”. It’s like the distinction between the intellectual acheivements in Rome, the Italian Peninsula or Greece versus what the Roman Legions or Alexander were actually doing in Germany, the Middle East or Northern Africa.

    What’s happening in the Muslim world now is different. There are no centres of learning, trade and culture on par with Renaissance Baghdad, Cordoba, Cairo or Mecca. It’s a sectarian, brutal, violent mess now, and it’s not getting better.

  • avatar
    rob

    @Orian: well said.

    There are certainly more cost effective ways to deter terrorism than increasing inspections of containers. For example, we could attack a country that trains terrorists, and then instead of finishing the mission in said country, we could get distracted, fabricate evidence, and start a deadly and expensive war in a different country for absolutely no viable reason. That should reduce terrorism and take care of that huge surplus that’s been burning a hole in our government’s pockets (shaking my head in disappointment/disbelief).

    @menno: As for just-in-time, I’ve always thought – well, that’s an awfully long supply chain to ship engines and components from another continent…kind of seems obviously dumb to me.
    Shipping is incredibly efficient and is becoming increasingly efficient (in terms of transport efficiency*). This is true despite the rapid increase in energy prices and the exchange rate fluctuations over of the past several years. While components may have a long way to travel, if the end product can be made cheaper, companies will do it.
    *Transport Efficiency = SpeedxWeight/Power

    @Areitu: agreed, for the most part. However …
    On the bright side, closure of one or both of SoCal’s ports would result in a lot less smog.
    Yes, but it would also cripple the US economy. It’s a global market, and SoCal happens to have good port facilities. As stated above, ships are extremely efficient. I’m not trying to make excuses –reduced emissions from ships would be fantastic – but shipping is the best way to move crucial goods over long distances. I’m sorry about my nit-picking, but I hate well people complain about the pollution created by shipping [full disclosure: I’m a naval architect & marine engineer, so I’m kind of into the whole shipping thing]

  • avatar

    Scottie:

    I’m Pretty sure Aveo’s and GM OHV 3.4L are WMD.

    I’d kill myself if i owned either one.

    I wouldn’t blame you…

  • avatar
    Potemkin

    Promote and teach free enterprise as it does wonderful things when people work and prosper. Anyone willing to blow themselves up must feel that they have no future (at least here on Earth).
    Here we go again, applying Western values to a culture that is about as far from our’s as you can get. They have nothing in common with the West and they are still pissed off about the crusades. Think Europe in the Dark Ages and you get the idea where they are at.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    What makes you think that property rights, etc. are something that are exclusive to “western culture.” They exist to some degree in every culture. The more they exist in any given place, the better off the people are.

    There is no culture that values oppression, theft, injustice, etc. They may be in the Dark Ages. That would be the part of our history where we forgot what we knew about these concepts and had to relearn them. They should too.

    I still haven’t heard the culturally sensitive solution. I hear we should try to understand them, I hear about all the things we do or did wrong, but I never hear a solution that has any sort of objective success as part of the plan unless it’s simply remove Israel’s ability to exist which I find a bit insensitive to the Israeli culture.

  • avatar
    Potemkin

    Again we need to quit applying our own value system to the terrorists. Giving them high def TVs, big cars and the internet won’t make them like us more or stop them from wanting to convert us to Islam. There is not, nor ever will be (in the near future) any common ground between Islam and the West or for that matter Islam and any other group. The Koran teaches that you are either Muslim or dead. Like the Catholic Church of the Inqusition Islam imposes its will on the people and they can choose to follow or end up dead. Until the people overthrow their religious leaders there can be no peace with them. Israel is simply a rallying point, Islam’s stated aim is that all people of the world be Muslim.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    So, if getting these people to break with their religious leaders is the ONLY solution short of killing them all. How do you propose we proceed?

    I think the people won’t break with them until you take away the mullahs’ power through installing a reasonably fair judicial system seperate from their religion.

  • avatar
    capeplates

    Such concentration on importing “terrorism” – they should look more inwardly – terror will strike from within!

  • avatar
    Potemkin

    There is little we can do to break the mullah’s power. Any attempts to aid factions that oppose the radical Islamists will will give them more proof of western interference in their religion. History teaches that lasting change must come from within. The Muslims themselves must take control from the militant jihadists. We need to stand back and let things unfold. If we are attacked again, as on Sept 11, we need to respond financially. Any government that harbours terrorists gets financially ostracized with no trade with the west. Anyone supporting the terrorists, like the Saudi princes and the Chinese gets their western assests frozen. The difficulty here will be to get the west working together.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    ” Any government that harbours terrorists gets financially ostracized with no trade with the west.”

    Right, you will get the EU to go along THIS time?

  • avatar
    Potemkin

    Okay, we can’t bomb them out of existence, rooting them out on the ground is only fattening Haliburton’s bank account, their own oil rich cousins bribe them out of fear and the world can’t agree to punish those who help them. What to do. Hunker-in-the-bunker until they sort things out, in say 500 years?

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    What we don’t do is limit ourselves to believing that we are doomed to failure because we don’t understand their culture. You have to take your best shot, no matter what. You also can’t let them know you aren’t prepared to simply start killing them all if they really go to far themselves. You need them to realize that behaving one way gets positive results, but behaving others gets bad ones.

    My best guess is that we go wrong when we fail to go to war against the people of a country rather than just their government. We should let everyone know that all peoples are self determining. If you live next door to the presidential palace of a criminal, or even the hut of an international terrorist, you might want to do something about that before they cross the line with us. Our laws allow us to go after people who conduct acts of war on other countries and we enforce those laws. We should expect them to do the same.

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