For the past week or two we’ve been reading about the $ 4,500 strip-joint escapade by officials of the Port of Oakland. Chicken feed. The folks at the Port of Houston have a lot more to gripe about, but because announcements make the deals sound logical and above board, folks down in Texas will pay for the fleecing for years and years.

First, the Port of Houston Authority announced that the dredging of the Galveston Bay entrance channel has been completed and that the facility will now be enabled to handle the influx of post-Panamax ships following the opening of a wider Panama Canal in 2015.

It has occurred to exactly no one to ask the reason why that “influx” of huge container ships would be coming to the Port of Houston. There’s no great demand for goods from overseas right now because of the unemployment crisis, and because more and more are joining the jobless ranks every day, what will those leviathans be delivering when the unemployed are demanding less and less?

Because no one spoke out against that dredging project – and the oodles of money committed to it – authorities became even more confident that the sheep wouldn’t object to being sheared again. So the second of the announcements hit the headlines yesterday. According to

“The Port of Houston Authority (PHA) has ordered eight rubber tired gantry cranes (RTGs) from Finnish crane manufacturer Konecranes. The order represents the second Konecranes’ fuel-saving RYG delivery for PHA, which already has 49 Konecranes in its terminal …

“The latest order of cranes will be delivered to the Barbours Cut Terminal. The Barbours Cut equipment fleet will then include 30 Konecranes 16-wheel RTGs …” –

“The value of the RTGs, which are scheduled to be delivered in autumn 2013, has not been disclosed …” –

Right. Deals with overseas manufacturers cannot be thoroughly scrutinized, and that’s the reason why CEOs use foreign suppliers. “What they don’t know won’t hurt them” – “sweetheart deals” – or as the old Navy used to say, “cumshaw” deals – there seems to be no way to put an end to these illegal and immoral practices. And who pays? The dumbed down American taxpayer.

The folks at Houston know all about our patented storage, retrieval and delivery systems. But there’s no provision for under-the-table-payoffs connected with the use of our systems, so primitive port operations continue to be maintained and the taxpayer continues to pay billions for the scam.

RTGs, by the way, are not used in our patented system, and at about $ 2 million apiece those 57 RTGs have imposed an unnecessary cost of more than $ 100 million on taxpayers. What a waste.

And about the cost of the dredging project? – forget about it. That won’t be “disclosed” either.