My gut tells me it’s probably a good thing the Department of Homeland Security
is feeling the heat again. I hated that communist sounding
Slavs-in-a-wheatfield name anyway. Americans have celebrated their
country for 231 years, but hardly their homeland. You don’t see Yanks dropping to their knees to kiss the ground of the homeland when they get off airplanes. Mostly they’re just relieved to still have their shoes and the belt-buckle they got on with.


Kissingtheground
My gut tells me it’s probably a good thing the Department of Homeland Security
is feeling the heat again. I hated that communist sounding
Slavs-in-a-wheatfield name anyway. Americans have celebrated their
country for 231 years, but hardly their homeland. You don’t see Yanks dropping to their knees to kiss the ground of the homeland when they get off airplanes. Mostly they’re just relieved to still have their shoes and the belt-buckle they got on with.
So, Michael Chertoff’s shortchanging of America’s cities, as
reported in today’s papers, is okay with me. The sooner we get back to
letting the FBI and local police guard our well-being, the better I’ll
like it. I admit Patriotact
I’m not a big fan of Mike’s. Co-author of the foolish, rushed and ill thought-through USA Patriot Act, Chertoff has almost nothing to recommend his heading the 215,000 people who bump into each other in the halls at the Department of Homeland Security.
Ugh, that name just chills my blood.
Anyway, in a reversal of last year’s decision to eviscerate New
York’s and Washington D.C.’s security funding in favor of theme parks
and shopping malls, the nation’s Patriot-In-Chief (PIC) boosted those
key areas to almost 20% less than they got in 2005.

“Less is more,” architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Nysteamexplosion
Wow. Was that eruption in mid-town Manhattan yesterday just the city blowing off steam?
The PIC admitted in an interview in the Washington Post that

"his
announcement was meant to tamp down criticism that erupted last year
when DHS reduced aid by 40 percent to the two targets of the Sept. 11,
2001, attacks. DHS allocated more funding this year to the cities
considered at the highest risk of attack and also stopped basing grants
on such considerations as the location of national monuments, tall
buildings and shopping malls — a much-derided formula whose main
creators have resigned."

Chertoff
It’s surprising that Patriot-In-Chief Chertoff even noticed those gone
missing, what with resignations fairly spinning the doors at DHS, which
currently has 138 vacancies among its top 575 positions. This
administration, unlike almost any in memory, is made up of the most
flagrant opportunists, and amateurs at that. Opportunists bail when the
boss becomes unpopular. No wonder PIC can’t find willing designees this
late in the game.
If DHS was a horse, you’d have to take it over to the side of the road and shoot it.
Cobbled together from 22 separate agencies and approved 45 days
after 9-11 by a Congress that hadn’t even the vaguest notion of what
they were doing—but was steadfastly determined to do something significant—this new and strangely named organization failed its first test.
Bushkatrina
No terrorist act required, every single departmental response (or lack
thereof) failed during Katrina. The PIC soldiered on as if he knew what
he was doing and he hasn’t yet got it right, two years after the fact.
Nor does his boss seem to have a clue.
The most embarrassing part is that he still doesn’t
understand or acknowledge the failure. Chertoff is a bona fide, magna
cum laude Harvard law graduate, pot-lickin’ yes-man who can’t find his
ass with both hands. As head of the Justice Department’s criminal
division, he advised the CIA on the outer limits of legality in
coercive interrogation. Advice based on you catch ‘em, we’ll waterboard
‘em. Torture, plain and simple. Additionally, the PIC

  • lead the prosecution’s screwed-up case against terrorist suspect Zacarias Moussaoui
  • prosecuted accounting firm Arthur Andersen for destroying documents relating to Enron
  • resulting in the collapse of the Anderson firm
  • and the loss of 26,000 Anderson jobs.

The Supreme Court overturned the Anderson conviction, but the
company was already bust, so it was a meaningless reversal,
particularly for the pink-slipped.  The mishandling of that Chertoff
prosecution resulted in new legal guidelines preventing just such
attack-dog conduct before juries.
Bushchertoff2
Unfortunately, it is beyond the jurisdiction of the Court to make the PIC go to the blackboard and write “sorry I lost your jobs” 26,000
times. But it would be an appropriate lesson to thuggery, huh? Like so
many in the Bush administration, Chertoff’s reward for failure and bad
judgment was to elevate him to the job of Patriot-In-Chief.
It was a gut call. Another confirmation of the Peter Principle.

Seven
high-risk cities received a total of $410 million, or 55 percent of the
money set aside for an Urban Area Security Initiative, while 39 other
cities shared the remaining $337 million.

But Chertoff warned
that he does not consider the annual grants an entitlement and said
that high-risk cities should not assume they will continue to receive
large amounts. The Overall state and local grants have declined by
about $1 billion, or by roughly one-third, since 2004.

Well, certainly the PIC wouldn’t want to give the impression that high-risk cities will continue to be included in the homeland he purports to protect. That might make them think he and Bush were serious. With a $45 billion annual budget, the PIC Scrooged $747 million (less than 2% of their dough) to the most at risk 46 cities in the country.
The Decider wastes that amount in four days in Iraq.
This mis-administration headed by Cheney’s office took a reasonably
configured and half-ass successful intelligence community and turned it
into something that

  • pisses away $45 billion each and every year,
  • advises the nation on ‘gut’ feelings,
  • elevates threat levels to support political moments,
  • under-funds the nation’s anti-terrorist infrastructure and
  • gathers so much information it hasn’t the vaguest idea of how to sort through and use it. Or even find it.

Separately,
DHS and the Commerce Department announced $1 billion in grants
yesterday to fix longtime emergency communication problems underscored
by troubled responses to the 2001 terrorist attacks and Hurricane
Katrina in 2005.

Almost six years after 9-11, the PIC is finally going to help firefighters talk to police.
And they call that a program.
We are saddled with a Congress made up of romantics. Not intellectually capable of making themselves conversant with the Constitution of the United States, they shoot from the hip with ill-advised reorganization. It’s romantic, this Department of Homeland Security. Hollow, but sounds solid. The USA Patriot Act.
What could be more inspiring than a subversive piece of user-unfriendly
law that configures each and every word to inspire lip-trembling
allegiance?
Davidaddington
An Act. We’re acting,
by god. Whether or not we’re acting in your individual (or collective)
best interests is another matter, you’ll just have to trust us. We’re
not only acting, we’re acting as Patriots. Not a single Representative or Senator read the entire USA Patriot Act before it was muscled through the machinery of government by David Addington. Not one!
Nor did they read it after it was passed. Nor did they read the
revised, new and improved version that Alberto Gonzales shoved in front
of their campaign-weary eyes before these nit-wits reauthorized it.
By that profound malfeasance in office, the Congress itself spawned the
current fired-attorney flap that embarrasses everyone but George Bush
and (presumably) Congress.
Michael Chertoff is an incompetent manager, a party hack and a
danger to the United States, as is his ridiculously named organization.
Rather than trying to fix what was (and is) a tragically conceived and
mistaken response to a very real terrorist threat, the Congress needs
to take back its failed effort. Chertoff’s 215,000 employees throwing money is a prescription for fraud and thievery as well as terrorist attack.
Firefighter
Congress needs to immediately flush the DHS toilet and redirect money
and support to existing agencies whose long-term employees know where
and how to tighten security. There’s not a mayor, port authority, fire
or police chief in the nation who wouldn’t benefit from that approach.
Who would you trust with your family’s safety, the PIC or your local authority?
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