Back to previous post: Open thread 66

Go to Making Light's front page.

Forward to next post: Hurricane Season

Subscribe (via RSS) to this post's comment thread. (What does this mean? Here's a quick introduction.)

June 1, 2006

How much Bush & Co. don’t care about terrorism
Posted by Teresa at 03:47 PM * 124 comments

This just in from ABC News:

New York has no national monuments or icons, according to the Department of Homeland Security form obtained by ABC News. (Click here for the actual document.) That was a key factor used to determine that New York City should have its anti-terror funds slashed by 40 percent—from $207.5 million in 2005 to $124.4 million in 2006.

The formula did not consider as landmarks or icons: The Empire State Building, The United Nations, The Statue of Liberty and others found on several terror target hit lists. It also left off notable landmarks, such as the New York Public Library, Times Square, City Hall and at least three of the nation’s most renowned museums: The Guggenheim, The Metropolitan and The Museum of Natural History.

Jim Macdonald has a superior system for assessing the likelihood that a building, monument, or other distinctive area will be on the receiving end of a terrorist action: How many times over the last ten years it’s been used as an establishing shot in a Hollywood movie. Terrorism is about the violence that takes place inside our heads when we hear about a bombing or murder.

This is only one of the many factors that make New York a big fat target for terrorism.

The form ignored that New York City is the capital of the world financial markets and merely stated the city had four significant bank assets.

New York City is home to Chase, JP Morgan, Citi Group, The New York Stock Exchange, The Commodities Exchange, American Express, George Soros funds, Michael Gabelli’s funds, Lazard Frere and Salomon Brothers, to name just a few of the more prominent banking interests located there.

The formula did note a commuter population of more than 16 million around the city twice struck by fundamentalist terrorists and twice more targeted in plots halted in pre-operational stages. It noted the more than eight million residents and the largest rail ridership in the nation - more than five million. It is those commuters and rail riders who are expected to suffer most from the cuts since mass transit is listed on most DHS alerts as the top terror target. (Click here for the Strategic Threat Document obtained by ABC News.)

The report lists as classified “visitors of interest destination city,” immigration cases, suspicious incidents and FBI cases. New York City is home to the largest FBI field office in the country, which actively monitors 24/7 the Iranian Mission. The city has also had the most significant terror trials in the nation and is home to one of the largest air hubs in the nation.

It’s commonly known that a great deal of anti-terrorism money has essentially been porkbarrel spending, lavished on areas that aren’t in the top thousand list of likely terrorist targets. Meanwhile, NYC’s waterfront is barely patrolled, and the administration thinks nothing of putting the Port of New York in foreign hands.

If you voted for Bush because you’re frightened by the threat of terrorism, you’re a fool. Sorry about that. Don’t mean to be rude, but you oughtn’t be allowed out without a minder. The Bush People have made appalling inroads into liberty at home and abroad, and taken huge amounts of money out of the public pocket for themselves and their friends, all without making you one bit safer. In fact, you’re now considerably less safe than you were on 9/11, and that’s a direct result of their actions and policies.

Considering the amount of energy they’ve put into the whole anti-terrorist thing, when you’ve got a spare moment, you might want to consider the question of what they are trying to do.

Comments on How much Bush & Co. don't care about terrorism:
#1 ::: Beth ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2006, 04:54 PM:

I voted against Bush because of the threat of terrorism -- the terrorism he wages upon my Constitution and my civil liberties, the terrorism he wages upon innocents throughout the world.

He's an idiot. A dangerous deluded idiot who--

*takes a deep breath*

Sorry. Sorry for the rant. It's just that this man and his gang of thugs terrify me. I could never write a set of characters as callous as them.

#2 ::: Jackie Kessler ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2006, 04:58 PM:

I wish I could say I was surprised by this, but I'm not. What does surprise me is how the hell the man hasn't been impeached. Please, dear God, let the 2006 midterm elections show that change is on the way!

#3 ::: Christine ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2006, 05:01 PM:

Nope, totally voted for the other guy. Hate Bush -HE'S the real terrorist. "Nah, I'll just do what I want, I don't give a rat's patootie what the people think."

Thinking about this makes me sick.

#4 ::: Alex Cohen ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2006, 05:07 PM:

Boston and DC both received deep cuts as well.

Officials helpfully explained that the funds are also intended for reacting to natural disasters, too, which explains why cities all across the country got increased funding.

Which makes it hard to understand why New Orleans, also, got radically reduced funding.

#5 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2006, 05:15 PM:

A cynical wager on my part is that the higher percentage of people who voted for Shrub, the more dough they get. And vice versa. Need to look at hard figures to correlate.

My 2 cents, ymmv.

#6 ::: JeremyT ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2006, 05:20 PM:

Is it really as simple as "blue state" vs "red state?" It sure seems that way to me.

#7 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2006, 05:22 PM:

Even if you were to go by some very narrow definition of what constitutes an icon or monument, the National Parks Service lists the Statue of Liberty as a Monument.

http://www.nps.gov/stli/

So at the very least, that report seems to be inefficiently compiled.

I wish the reporter would cite his source for the funding being cut by 40% and why or how he knows that's tied to the monuments issue. That said, I don't find it hard to believe that this government is porkbarreling their way through our security funds. It's like having your sister or mother or some other relative buy a present for you that you don't particularly want, but they really do. And them raiding your piggy bank to do it. Meh.

#8 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2006, 05:22 PM:

Paula Helm Murray : June 01, 2006, 05:15 PM

Can't say I disagree, 'cause that's the feeling I have also. (Los Angeles, third busiest port in the country. Security? What's that?)

After reading the first full page online of the Rolling Stone article on the 2004 election, it's clear how we got Shrub back. It won't be easy getting rid of him and his buddies.

#9 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2006, 05:23 PM:

(BTW, can somebody point me at links to information about the funding for security? Even better if it shows how security funding has been allocated over several years....)

#10 ::: Dolloch ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2006, 05:33 PM:

I read the pdf and it's all clear now.

"Asset risk is the numerical value that is the product of consequence, vulnerability, and threat associated with a specific asset. Asset risk is calculated for each unique asset as well as being summed for all assets associated with a specific candidate in a given grant to determine candidate asset risk. The Asset-based Risk percentage indicated the relative risk to assets for the Urban Area based on the results of the risk analysis"

It's not that NYC doesn't have monuments and icons, it's that they are invulnerable due to the Heckuvajob™ that's being done by HLS.

Or

The iconic sites, if attacked, would have no consequences. So Lady Liberty gets blown up? Nobody has offices in Lady Liberty and it's out in the water, far away from any other buildings.

Or

The iconic sites didn't apply for the grant. Unless that is just a term they use the term "canidate" to subsititute for "region". It seems rather odd to me.

#11 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2006, 05:33 PM:

Oh, hehe...I was linking my friend to this story and he said, "Obviously the Bush administration doesn't play Civilization. Everyone else knows that the Americans' starting city is fuckin' New York. What more do they need to go on?"

#12 ::: Joe J ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2006, 05:38 PM:

I think I知 most disturbed now at how little this surprises me. The Bush administration has been such an absurdist play for so long that this only feels like more of the same. The only times I知 truly surprised by them are when they do something even slightly not evil. (Take appointing Henry M. Paulson Jr. as Treasury Secretary for an example.)

Despite not being surprised I am very angry and sickened. I suppose I知 safe from apathy as long as I can feel awful about what is happening.

#13 ::: Janice E. ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2006, 05:43 PM:

*delurking*

Out here in flyover country, the Feds are awarding Homeland Security grants to suburban shopping malls. Apparently they are "Critical Infrastructure."

The terrorists hate our Crate & Barrels.

#14 ::: Michael ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2006, 05:49 PM:

PiscusFiche :Even if you were to go by some very narrow definition of what constitutes an icon or monument, the National Parks Service lists the Statue of Liberty as a Monument.

Clearly, Homeland security has recognized that the Statue of Liberty is in New Jersey...

<G,D,Rlh>

#15 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2006, 06:06 PM:

Not to mention the fucking STATUE OF LIBERTY.

I know, I know, she's not important to Republicans. She's pro immigration, after all.

I swear to god, I'm getting to expect BushCo to manage to offend everything I stand for on a weekly basis.

#16 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2006, 06:08 PM:

Oh good. One more reason to get completely and totally pissed off at the Bush administration. I suppose it means something that I can't even produce a good rant. Give me a little time to consider it, though, and I will.

This is the sort of behavior that the phrase "What Were They Thinking?", abbreviated hereinafter to WWTT?, was created to address.

I can't imagine a response that would make sense to me.

"What city has two names twice..."

Somebody should tell these idiots that New York, NY IS a national icon. The folks who destroyed the World Trade Center certainly thought so.

#17 ::: Kevin Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2006, 06:16 PM:

The formula rightly includes large population areas, government buildings and financial centers, but doesn't include one thing I think matters to Islamicist terrorists: a goodly sized Jewish population.

If that's a factor, places in Connecticut and New Jersey might prove attractive, plus Southern Florida and Beverly Hills.

If media centers are also factored in, NY, DC and Hollywood/Beverly Hills would still be the top three, with the Miami-West Palm Beach corridor a distant fourth.

Population + publicity + key government officials + symbols of capitalism or of America + decadent lifestyles + sizable Jewish populations = my best guess at a formula.

One could make two arguments against that formula:

1) Terrorizing where it's least expected adds an element of surprise, but it's a dubious gain to piss off more of the country that feels relatively safe now. What do they gain if the country says 'screw it, let's go nuclear?'

2) Not wishing to engage more US military or add more allies to our ranks, they're largely containing their global attacks to the US and UK, and maybe Pakistan. But a second attack has to do more than terrorize; it has to cause crippling losses. Which means they wait till they've acquired WMD capacities. Despite lots of speculation about suitcase nukes, that's one of the hardest to achieve, but a dirty bomb spreading radioactivity, or a bio attack (perhaps adding to the spread of the avian flu when it mutates into a h2h transmissible form).

Chilling stuff to contemplate, and hard to defend against the unknown, yet most of Manhattan's targets certainly should be on the list. I do consider Ms. Liberty an unlikely target simply because loss of life would be minimal there.

#18 ::: Anna Feruglio Dal Dan ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2006, 06:19 PM:

It's got Goldman Sachs central offices as well. Speaking of which, they will very proudly tell you that they lost the whole NY office during 9/11 (it wasn't in the towers, so I don't know exactly what they mean by that) and carried on doing business as usual, because they were prepared.

Big Business hasn't got all that many good points in my book, but at least they really are a meritocracy. Now New Orleans in international banking.

#19 ::: JC ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2006, 06:21 PM:

Does anyone know if any areas got increased funding? Or perhaps having spent years threatening us with the fear of terrorism, the Bush administration has decided to cut funding for terrorism prevention across the board? (All I learned from NPR this morning is that Boston lost about a third of its funding.)

#20 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2006, 06:24 PM:

It's also the symbolic value of the target. More points if your target actually means something: Miss Liberty, almost any monument in DC, the Golden Gate Bridge, Independence Hall....
Of course, symbolic value is intangible, so the folks at DHS/FEMA can't measure it in dollars and can't factor it in.

#21 ::: Lis Riba ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2006, 06:38 PM:

Yeah, but the President's brother is governor of Florida, so clearly that state needs the money more than New York or Louisiana...

</sarcasm>, in case anybody couldn't figure it out

#22 ::: Lis Riba ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2006, 06:54 PM:

Does anyone know if any areas got increased funding?

Scanning the news, Atlanta's annual grant increased by $5 million over last year to $18.7 million, but funding for Georgia dropped to $44.4 million, roughly $10 million less than a year ago.

The AJC article says this year saw a nationwide decline of about 25 percent. Atlanta was awarded the 9th highest grant of any American city.

Los Angeles and its crucial Long Beach port area were awarded $80.6 million, a big jump from last year when the area received $69 million in Homeland Security grants.

And, as mentioned elsewhere, huge cuts to DC and NYC, the cities who've actually been hardest hit by terrorist attacks...

#23 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2006, 06:57 PM:

How is the Bay Area faring where those cuts are concerned? Do they consider the Golden Gate Bridge as imporant? Hell, collapse the Bay Bridge and that takes care of maritime traffic out of the whole place.

#24 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2006, 07:02 PM:

Kevin Hayden: Not wishing to engage more US military or add more allies to our ranks, they're largely containing their global attacks to the US and UK, and maybe Pakistan.

So I gather the 2002 Bali Bombing and the 2004 Madrid train bombings and the murder of Theo van Gogh by a hanger-on of the Hoofdstad cell (who appear to have had the World Cup in mind as a target) didn't happen or weren't aimed at "adding more allies to our ranks"? And the tube stoppage in London on 7/7 last year was just a maintenance incident?

Sorry, I should make allowances for the crap coverage of non-domestic affairs in the US news media. But it never ceases to amaze me just how bloody ignorant people trapped by the world-view of CNN and USA Today can be.

Bluntly: if Al Qaida can hit NYC again, they will. Ditto if they can hit Anchorage, Alaska, Qom, Iran, or anywhere that isn't run in accordance with their weltanschaung. But if you think they're smart enough to handle nukes or bioweapons, that's also nuts. These guys are not the sharpest knives in the box, and the hazard they pose can mostly be contained without having to defend against Bruce Schneier's full spectrum of movie-plot threats.

#25 ::: Tully ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2006, 07:11 PM:

2005 overall HSGP funding report including UASI allocations is here. The condensed 2006 HSGP allocations are here. The UASI urban area eligibility list for 2006 is here. The 2005 list is incorporated into the first report.

NYC got $210 million in 2005, some of which was payment for previous city security expenditures lobbied into the bill by Chuck Schumer. Likewise, DC's 2005 allocation contained "payback" funding also. (The 2004 UASI allocation for NYC was about $50 million.) The 2006 UASI for NYC allocation is $128 million. My understanding is that applications were reduced somewhat to adjust for previous year's drawn-down funding that was not spent on included project proposals within the stated project time limits, and that overall UASI spending authorized by Congress was $119 million less than 2005.

There's the data. Have fun with it.

#26 ::: Rich ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2006, 07:22 PM:

Anna Feruglio Dal Dan

It's got Goldman Sachs central offices as well. Speaking of which, they will very proudly tell you that they lost the whole NY office during 9/11 (it wasn't in the towers, so I don't know exactly what they mean by that)

The destroyed World Trade Center complex was more than the two towers, it had five(?) other buildings, including the commoditities exchange. Goldman's officees (I think) were in one of the other buildings.

#27 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2006, 07:25 PM:

Thanks, Tully. That's what I was looking for.

#28 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2006, 07:32 PM:

"the funds are also intended for reacting to natural disasters, too,"

Considering that Hawai'i is threatened by hurricanes on an annual basis, and that we just had 40 days of rain which caused several dams to wash away with 7 dead as a result, how then would they explain the 38% cut in DHS funding to us?

Florida did get an increase, I gather. Remind me whose brother is governor there.

#29 ::: Fred ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2006, 07:32 PM:

I am continually amazed by Bush's supporters -- not because they seem to want a big daddy protector to keep them safe from terrorism, but because, against all logic and evidence, they've somehow convinced themselves that Bush is that. We are fundamentally less safe from terrorism because of this administration.

#30 ::: Christine ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2006, 07:35 PM:

I was gonna say that too... the SoL is in New Jersey, thank you.

Yeah, we need less money for education and security, and more money for giant noisemakers - tanks, anti-aircraft missles, guns, bombs...

Sick.

#31 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2006, 08:04 PM:

Is the Statue of Liberty really in New Jersey? (According to the site I linked above, it says it is in the New York Harbor and under the jurisdiction of New York State.)

(Or was that sarcasm? Couldn't tell over zee interweb.)

#32 ::: Red ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2006, 08:23 PM:

Oh, my dear ghod. Please tell me this pdf is just a summary of some much, much more thorough piece of work? Somethig that actually demonstrates that someone in DHS has some trace of a clue what they're doing?

What this form is pretty clearly trying to be is a risk assessment. It's a pefectly normal process caried out thousiands of times a day in businesses all across the country. There are nice, simple calculations to make. Standard procedures. Terms of art. Single Loss Expectancy equals Asset Value times Exposure Vactor. Annualized Rate of Occurance equals Threat Rate times Vulnerability. It's all simple stuff, if complicated in execution; a bit like double-entry bookkeeping, perhaps. The authors of this show no sign of familiarity with any of it. They seem to be considering most of the right factors, but nothing's called by the usual name, and all the calculations are described from back to front. It's like opening the books for a megabuck corporation and finding them all written in the format and terms from your home check register

I wish I could be convinced that the differences are just a matter of prospective. There's no reason there couldn't be a completely different way to describe the necessary information and and relationships, as long as the tight numbers went through the right calculations in the end. Unfortunately, they've managed to ignore, apparently without even realizing it, the most basic requirement: a definition of value.

Those of us who deal in business risk have a simple way of measuring what we can afford to lose. We count dollars. I assume that those unfortunate or brave enough to balance life and death the same way have some more sanguinary metric. And of course we all have to cheat and fudge and estimate, because the real answer to "how much is this computer worth" isn't just "$3,000 from Dell" but "$10k in unbacked data during production, any outage will cost us 4 days productivity to these three departments, and if we the data on it gets hacked we face at least a hundred thousand in fines" Including all the factors is hard enough for those of us who measure dollars, far worse for those who weigh bodies and blood, and has to be nearly impossible for those who have to try to understand which images of carnage or missing pieces of skyline will more severly traumatise the country.

Unfortunately, that doesn't mean that the need can be ignored, and that's exactly what whoever wrote this has done. All they've bothered to do is count up the total number of 'assets'. There's no differentiation at all. A neighborhood Post Office in Staten Island is weighted the same as Mt. Sinai hospital. Any of 4,000 'Commercial Assets' is as heavy a loss to the country as Chase Manhattan. There are two nuclear plants listed, but any of 111 other energy facilities is just as much in need of protection.

I don't even begin to know what to make of this. Is it deliberate? Assigning the same value to every post office, medical facility, and electrical plant in the country is certainly one way of seeing to it that that the pork dollars flow to to those who need them least. On the other hand, if they were going to try and cheat, you'd think they'd have at least bothered to hire someone who knows the rules of the game. More than anything else, this looks like the work of another "Hevkuva Job" Brown, who not only doesn't know or care how to do his job, but hasn't bothered to discover that there are other people out there who do.

#33 ::: paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2006, 08:34 PM:

If anyone can come up with gummint documents, Tully can. If I have the same kind of day tomorrow as I had today, I'll compare notes.... thank you, Tully.

#34 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2006, 08:44 PM:

Red: The vast majority of the Bush administration is staffed by incompetent idiots who got through college because mommy and daddy bought them a free pass. Even the smart ones are actually not all that bright.

They're nasty fucks who'll do anything to win. Other than that, no real competence.

#35 ::: Berry ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2006, 09:04 PM:

According to Wikipedia, the Statue of Liberty is in New York, and has been since 1664. If you use Google Maps to find it, it's clearly on the New York side of the state boundary.

#36 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2006, 09:37 PM:

"The terrorists hate our Crate & Barrels."

If only.

I know, I know. But, really, is anyone surprised? The only way the Bush administration will take real action against terrorism is if the homes of its senior members are attacked.

Hey, but they may have pissed off Wall Street. We may hope.

#37 ::: Writerious ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2006, 09:41 PM:

Berry, I think your fingers slipped. The statue was completed in France in 1884, shpped to America in 1885, and dedicated in 1886.

Included in the recent cuts were Seattle and Portland (OR) -- both large port cities, both in Blue states.

#38 ::: Bill Altreuter ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2006, 09:41 PM:

Liberty Island is New Jersey. The Constitution makes the Supreme Court the trial court for cases between the several states-- in this instance (it was within the last ten years) the Supreme Court appointed a Special Master, pursuant to stipulation between the parties, and the ultimate finding of fact wa in favor of the Garden State. (1997 WL 291594 if you are interested-- the Supremes affirmed the finding.)

#39 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2006, 09:47 PM:

Lis, the Pentagon is in Virginia. In particular, the emergency teams of Arlington, VA, took most of the brunt of the Pentagon attack.

The reason DC's money got cut is because supposedly there's a lot of federal anti-terrorist money there. But the feds say they don't have to have as much because DC has anti-terrorist money.

#40 ::: JC ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2006, 10:07 PM:

The vast majority of the Bush administration is staffed by incompetent idiots who got through college because mommy and daddy bought them a free pass.

I think this may be true for only certain values of "Bush administration." Most of the people who work in the Federal Government (like say, my sister and brother-in-law) are not political appointments. Or at least when we change administrations, much of the Federal Government remains constant. This gives the country quite a bit of continuity between administrations and it gives the government an institutation memory and the country a relatively peaceful transfers of power. This is at least one of the reasons why it's disturbing when there is a mass exodus from any given agency, like, say, FEMA.
(I do wonder though if we will have a peaceful transfer in January 2009 if a Democrat should win the Presidency though.)

Of course, the positions up near the top which happen to have the most power and are ultimately responsible for guiding the direction of government are indeed political and they are undoubtedly responsible for any current hiring decisions. e.g., George Deutsch, the presidential appointee to NASA who lied about having a college degree and as a public relations worker did stuff like order web designers to use the word "theory" every time they used "Big Bang" because he felt the Big Bang was merely an opinion.

So if "Bush administration"="people appointed by Bush or Bush appointees", then you might have a case. If "Bush administration"="everyone who works in the Federal Government", then it's probably an overstatement. (I'd like to think that the Clinton administration, at least, did a competent job of hiring people and those people have stayed around.)

I don't know if the Bush administration has more or less political appointment positions than previous administrations. There's probably a way to find this out.

BTW, wrt to the NY/NJ thing, the only border skirmish I know about was over Ellis Island which the Supreme Court ruled belonged to NY but the extra land NY created on the island belonged to NJ (since it was in NJ territorial waters.) According to Wikipedia anyways, Liberty Island belongs to NY.

I did a quick Google and 1997 WL 291594 looks like it refers to the Ellis Island case. (I can't find a reference to NJ having sued NY over Liberty Island.)

As for allocation of anti-terrorism funding, in theory anything the government creates is in the public domain so one ought to be able to get the documents which justify the funding levels. In practice, I doubt that they make this easy.

#41 ::: Carl Dershem ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2006, 10:16 PM:

Here in San Diego we had our anti-terror funding cut to $4 million. That's the #2 naval area in the country, with 34 bases, and only a stone's throw from the Mexican border. Apparently we're not a target.

Pfui.

#42 ::: Bill Humphries ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2006, 10:43 PM:

The Bay Area's allocation was cut as well.

I'll hope that any potential terrorists confuse a torrent of X-3 for real life, and think that Magneto beat them to the Golden Gate Bridge.

#43 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2006, 10:54 PM:

I do wonder though if we will have a peaceful transfer in January 2009 if a Democrat should win the Presidency though.

If by peaceful you mean without violence, I hope so. However, should the Democrats win back either the House or the Senate in 2006 I expect there to be much glee and partying, and should they (we) win the WH in 2008 I and many of my friends plan to dance in the street, sing, wear a funny hat, and frighten as many horses as I (we) can. Peacefully.

On the other hand, there are otherwise sane folks out there who sincerely, genuinely believe that Bush and his friends will find a way to eliminate either or both elections. To my great sorrow, there are days when I find I can believe it too. Should that happen, I do not think we will have peace.

#44 ::: Steve Buchheit ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2006, 11:14 PM:

Okay, well, I知 possibly going to upset a lot of people, but I need to say this. Maybe a bit of background first. I am an elected official (hi, I知 from the government I知 here to help). When 9-11 happened, it wasn稚 just a catastrophe in NYC and Washington, the collateral damage went far and wide. Ask me how I致e spent several weekends reading documents about how the DoHS Department of Homer Simpson is here to help us, learn these terms, appoint this position and then don稚 call us when a problems happens because we can稚 help anyway. These documents are mandatory reading for officials, BTW.

When the DoHS was created, what was a slow siphoning of grants and assistance to local governments (county, township, village and city) became a huge sucking noise. Then NY complained two-years ago about how they weren稚 getting enough money, after all they were attacked. Federal grant money is now damn hard to come by and block grants from the fed are nil and EVERYTHING is a DoHS Grant. Everybody talks about how bad 兎armarks are, but let me tell you they are Godsends to those of us out here in the hinter-lands. We had one, $75000 from our local congressman. There was no bribes, no pledges of fealty, but an honest need to upgrade our water system to support a new school (for just the infrastructure improvements we needed to make, total cost to the village, $2.5million for everything, that doesn稚 include the cost of the school which is handled by the school board). I could give you a whole laundry list of things our village needs that five years ago we had good chances of finding federal grants for, not anymore. And all of the federal funding to help sheriffs and police forces is gone. We no longer have a drug enforcement unit for our county (or the neighboring counties). We know where the meth labs are (big problem here in rural US), but they池e out of our jurisdiction and our sheriff痴 office is down to Barney Fife and we can稚 afford the one bullet (exaggeration, they rake us over the coals for 911 service and central dispatching, so they have 1 person on duty in that office 24/7).

Guess where all that money, our taxes, went? New York and Washington. Now we are seeing some readjustments, but much of the money is going out of the grant programs and on to pay for things like Katrina/Wilma, the War, and doughnuts for all those people crunching the numbers on the world痴 largest databases.

So, I can稚 get that worked up about NY loosing grant money. Welcome to the rest of the US economy, we have jackets (Made in China). We致e had two 鍍errorism events here (nothing happened, but we all had to run around like mad making sure it was just a 鍍hreat) and I知 not even including the occasional bomb-threat. And we are frickin nowhere (just look at a map). You probably wouldn稚 believe everything we致e had to do to harden sites, and what we致e had to protect.

For those people scoffing at 都hopping malls being terrorist targets, here is a fun exercise. What would the effect be if somebody flew a 747 out of Minneapolis Airport into the Mall of the Americas at 9am on the Friday after Thanksgiving? Wouldn稚 that be great TV for the Holidays.

#45 ::: Steve Buchheit ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2006, 11:16 PM:

As a side note, Bush & Co. not only don't care about stopping Terrorism, they don't care about much of anything unless you add the word "Evangelical" into your mission statement.

#46 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2006, 11:28 PM:

Has anyone done a point to point of the Schmuck against Evil Overlord Stereotype?

Schmuck appartchik appointees to agencies like the Mine Safety one, put unqualified industry hacks (or people who have no background other than being Schmuck fund raisers... see "Brown" and "FEMA" for example, appointed a rightwing whacko VETERANARIAN! as head of women's health in the health agency, appointed as surgeon general a quack whose prescribes prayer for pain relief from menstrual cramps... and gets rid of federal workers who raise too many questions and try to investigate things like mine safety violations and tag the owners with big fines, dump federal workers who do science instead of massasing everything to match Schmuck Greedy Corporate whoring of the environment and such, gag orders federally employed scientists (THREE federal people are allowed in NOAA to talka about salmon, all the scientists (the three are appartchiks with no cognizant scientific training...) who known anything by training and study about salmon, have been -banned- from saying anything, because Schmuck's ukases about diversion of water the scientists say will massively hurt the salmon stocks... the gag order on the NASA climate expert about global warming....

What was the name of the religious fanatic who got control in Florence after the di'Medici? Is Schmuck his reincarnation?

===========

I want the lot of Schmuck and everyone down his chain of command who is a Republicrap appointed by his misadministration who has acted to gag order anyone, remove federal wetlands protections, weaken mine safety, remove environmental protection, push faith-based ANYTHING, restrict the availability of abortions, promote Christianity in federally funded endeavors and the way it was promoted at the Air Force Academy, change DACOWITS into an organization with excrement like Elaine Donnelly and her force everyone except herself who is female into a June Cleaver injection mold, etc, etc. to be brought up on charges of corruption and treason, and tried by people who are the victims of industrial pollution, oor were severely beaten by criminals who were abused children, by women who were denied abortions and were locked into the bottom of the economic ladder thereby, by disabled veterans unhappy with VA care, by medically disabled people, by the families of people dead from a lack of medical care or from being shoved out by corporate profit hospitals...

And oh, yeah, stinking Congresscrap put into the Immigration legislation a DOUBLING of H1B visas....

#47 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2006, 11:36 PM:

"Guess where all that money, our taxes, went? New York and Washington."

Um, you know, New York and Washington pay more taxes per-capita than your small town. Look it up.

#48 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2006, 11:41 PM:

Grant's tomb is in New York City... but given the level of organic corruption involved in Facist Dictator Gorge's regime, the name "Ulysses S. Grant" is indelibly connected with "govenment corruption in high places" as President... his cabinet was full of crooks and thieves and bagmen on the take enriching their pockets.

There are museums, lots of them. New York was one the seat of federal government I think, no, can't possibly have national monument in such a city. There are universities, there is the economic center of the USA and a key center in the world.. there are foreign country representatives, there's the UN--oh, that, Schmuck's handpicked bigot John Bolton shows how much respect Schmuck has for the UN... there's that retired aircraft carries, and one of the handful of surviving SR-71s on the deck...

Schmuck is over and over and over responsible for a wide ranges of crimes against humanity. Why hasn't he been fingered as war criminal by the Hague for creating the atmosphere which facilitated massive looting and destruction of museums, libraries, archives, educational facilities, archaeological sites, the destruction of bridges and waterworks and power facilities... conditions of rampant kidnapping, rape, murder, denial of rights to women and sectarian homicidal maniac violence... massacres by US nationals of unarmed groups of people in not just Iraq but Afghanistan, international secret kidnappings and incarcerations and no legal oversight allowed, invasion of Iraq on false pretense

#49 ::: Janice E. ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2006, 12:02 AM:

Steve Buchheit:

For those people scoffing at 都hopping malls being terrorist targets, here is a fun exercise. What would the effect be if somebody flew a 747 out of Minneapolis Airport into the Mall of the Americas at 9am on the Friday after Thanksgiving? Wouldn稚 that be great TV for the Holidays.

I'm not talking about the Mall of the Americas, just average suburban shopping malls. And while, yes, terrorists could strike anywhere, suburban Milwaukee's not likely to be on their radar.

Funding is finite. It should go where the greatest threats are.

New York and Washington aren't to blame for your dwindling federal grants; the culprits are the Republican Congress and administration. They'd like you to blame it on 9/11, though.

#50 ::: Vian ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2006, 12:15 AM:

What was the name of the religious fanatic who got control in Florence after the di'Medici? Is Schmuck his reincarnation?

You mean Savonarola? (he's after Lorenzo il soi-disant Magnifico, but before the Medici Dukes) The one who convinced Botticelli to burn a bunch of his nudes? The Bonfire of the Vanities guy?

He was burned at the stake, once people awoke from the nightmare he created. There's a little celebratory (well, OK, commemmorative) plaque in the Piazza della Signoria and all. I took great delight in jumping on it. Repeatedly.

You know, I think DC needs a little celebratory plaque of its own ...

So, when Jeb makes his inevitable run, is he going to have to base his campaign around the slogan "I'm not with Stupid"? Not that anyone will believe him, of course ...

#51 ::: Scorpio ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2006, 12:21 AM:

Well they certainly aren't spreading Democracy.

#52 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2006, 01:08 AM:

Out here in flyover country, the Feds are awarding Homeland Security grants to suburban shopping malls. Apparently they are "Critical Infrastructure."

Of course they are! Didn't Shrub say right after 9/11 that everyone should go shopping?

#53 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2006, 01:16 AM:

After a terrorist event, folks will have to survive by looting their local malls, since FEMA won't be able to provide aid, and troops will keep the people in (and the Red Cross out). Sounds to me like the malls really are vital infrastructure for the War On Terrorism. They're pre-positioned food-and-clothing depots.

Good planning!

#54 ::: tavella ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2006, 01:46 AM:

Yes, 1997 WL 291594 was about the Ellis Island dispute, not Libery Island.

"The National Map Accuracy Standards (NMAS) were identified in the recent controversy
surrounding the Ellis Island dispute. The controversy involved establishing the accuracy of
a map representing the portions of the island accorded to New York and New Jersey. See
New Jersey v. New York, 1997 WL 291594 (Mar. 31, 1997) (report by Special Master to the
United States Supreme Court); see also Wallace v. Oklahoma, 935 P.2d 366, 374 (Okla.
Crim. App. 1997) (using the NMAS to determine that the convict痴 murders occurred in the
state in which he was prosecuted)."

#55 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2006, 01:54 AM:

Domestic terrorism in Florida.

Clearly influenced by the Taliban (They Hate Us For Our Dildoes). In response George should invade Sri Lanka.

#56 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2006, 02:07 AM:

Speaking of the potential for peaceful transfers of power and elections in the fall of this year, have y'all seen RFK Jr.'s article in the current Rolling Stone? It's entitled "Was the 2004 Election Stolen," and he makes a pretty good case that it was, particularly in Ohio.

I hope the MSM finally starts to look into that; the article almost throws its facts in their faces. It's heavily footnoted with cites from the press's own stories and various other documents.

#57 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2006, 02:15 AM:

Perhaps the Strategic Malls Defense Initiative [STRATMALL] is from the National Office of Movie-Plot Threats [NOMOPLOT], the movie in this case being Dawn of the Dead [purely coincidentally, DoD].

Though there is some evidence that the North American Strategic Cranial Appendage Reserve [NASCAR] remains untouched, possibly becuase of acronymic confusion.

#58 ::: tavella ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2006, 02:17 AM:

I'm afraid that my opinion of RFK's analysis of anything has been badly, perhaps fatally damaged, but his involvement in the vaccines-cause-autism scam/delusion.

#59 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2006, 03:36 AM:

Oh, I agree, but his citations appear to be pretty solid, and he's telling a story more than performing analysis.

#60 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2006, 05:06 AM:

Considering the amount of energy they've put into the whole anti-terrorist thing, when you've got a spare moment, you might want to consider the question of what they are trying to do.

Obtain vast amounts of money and power, duh.

Sorry, not duh. It was a rhetorical question.

In other news, I didn't even know the UK had a Health Protection Agency. Well, we do, and they can apparently have you shot. Presumably they are the military wing of the NHS.

#61 ::: Francis ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2006, 05:47 AM:

Steve Buchheit ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2006, 11:14 PM:

Okay, well, I知 possibly going to upset a lot of people, but I need to say this. Maybe a bit of background first. I am an elected official (hi, I知 from the government I知 here to help). When 9-11 happened, it wasn稚 just a catastrophe in NYC and Washington, the collateral damage went far and wide.

But, being the department of Homeland Security, its duty should be to protect the targets - to prevent the catastrophes spreading.

Ask me how I致e spent several weekends reading documents about how the DoHS Department of Homer Simpson is here to help us, learn these terms, appoint this position and then don稚 call us when a problems happens because we can稚 help anyway. These documents are mandatory reading for officials, BTW.

Translation: the DoHS is a joke. Who's arguing?

When the DoHS was created, what was a slow siphoning of grants and assistance to local governments (county, township, village and city) became a huge sucking noise. Then NY complained two-years ago about how they weren稚 getting enough money, after all they were attacked. Federal grant money is now damn hard to come by and block grants from the fed are nil and EVERYTHING is a DoHS Grant.

You mean that your town is no longer getting subsidised by places like New York?

Everybody talks about how bad 兎armarks are, but let me tell you they are Godsends to those of us out here in the hinter-lands. We had one, $75000 from our local congressman. There was no bribes, no pledges of fealty, but an honest need to upgrade our water system to support a new school (for just the infrastructure improvements we needed to make, total cost to the village, $2.5million for everything, that doesn稚 include the cost of the school which is handled by the school board).

Translation: the government is not doing its job here. DoHS can give us money for doing things that aren't what they are supposed to do. Therefore because DoHS are corrupt, they are a good thing,

I could give you a whole laundry list of things our village needs that five years ago we had good chances of finding federal grants for, not anymore.

Which way did your village vote in 2000 and 2004? Republican?

And all of the federal funding to help sheriffs and police forces is gone. We no longer have a drug enforcement unit for our county (or the neighboring counties). We know where the meth labs are (big problem here in rural US), but they池e out of our jurisdiction and our sheriff痴 office is down to Barney Fife and we can稚 afford the one bullet (exaggeration, they rake us over the coals for 911 service and central dispatching, so they have 1 person on duty in that office 24/7).

So protest that.

Guess where all that money, our taxes, went? New York and Washington.

Correction: Guess where all the taxes from New York and Washington went? They got to hang on to a bit more of their own taxes.

Now we are seeing some readjustments,

You mean you're seeing some subsidies coming back?

but much of the money is going out of the grant programs and on to pay for things like Katrina/Wilma, the War,

I trust you'll join with the blue states in getting rid of Bush then.

and doughnuts for all those people crunching the numbers on the world痴 largest databases.

No one is defending Bush and his abuses.

So, I can稚 get that worked up about NY loosing grant money.

You mean that you're in favour of another US government department being corrupt when this helps you get more money?

And it's not NY losing "grant money". It's NY being further made to subsidise the rest of the country.

Welcome to the rest of the US economy, we have jackets (Made in China).

You're confusing two issues. 1: should poorer areas get subsidies? 2: should government departments do their job? The Republican party (or at least the Bush administration seems to think that the answer to (1) is no, and to (2) is no. I'm pretty sure that most of those round here think that the answer to both is "yes" - but that won't stop them complaining about point (2) when it exposes corruption and lies even if some of that corruption is pork-barrelling to poorer areas.

(Actually, you've implied that you are confused on a third issue - whether you are getting subsidies to build infrastructure, the answer to which is certainly "yes")

We致e had two 鍍errorism events here (nothing happened, but we all had to run around like mad making sure it was just a 鍍hreat) and I知 not even including the occasional bomb-threat.

You mean that nothing actually happened?

And we are frickin nowhere (just look at a map). You probably wouldn稚 believe everything we致e had to do to harden sites, and what we致e had to protect.

DoHS is being even more stupid? Right.

For those people scoffing at 都hopping malls being terrorist targets, here is a fun exercise. What would the effect be if somebody flew a 747 out of Minneapolis Airport into the Mall of the Americas at 9am on the Friday after Thanksgiving?

Mall of the Americas != an ordinary shopping mall. I don't think that anyone is claiming that it isn't a national monument or icon. Now, stop playing Bait-and-switch.

Wouldn稚 that be great TV for the Holidays.

About as great as 9/11. Only thing is 9/11 happened in New York which supposedly has "no national monuments or icons".

#62 ::: Melody ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2006, 06:43 AM:

"Mall of the Americas"...*snicker*. Gets it right in your head alongside the School of the Americas, don't it? Actually, it's "Mall of America", and here in Minneapolis we hates it, yes we does. An American icon? How revolting.

#63 ::: Steve Buchheit ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2006, 08:14 AM:

Francis and Randolf Fritz, You池e right that NY and Washington pay more per capita than my little burg, this is only because you have a higher concentration of individuals earning over $100,000 than Orwell. While we are sticksville, if you remove government payroll (county and schools) we have the highest concentration of employment in our county (Ashtabula is the largest county in Ohio). It may come as a surprise, but we also pay Federal income taxes here, it isn稚 just NY and Washington. Last number I saw was over $5million per year (2001 I think). For a community of roughly 2500 individuals, that痴 a sizeable chunk. So, yeah, I have looked it up.

So when we ask for grants totaling less than $100,000 a year (on average), you aren稚 subsidizing us. By 途eadjustments I mean that the funding profile is becoming more balanced (but the funding pot continues to shrink). No, we aren稚 seeing any increase in federal grants. Our State痴 own 鏑ocal Government funds have shrunk below the cost of compliance.

When I say that I can稚 get upset about NY痴 funding getting cut, I知 not saying DoHS is corrupt. I知 saying everybody else got cut to increase funding to NY the past 3 years. And by cut, I mean zero弾d out, not just reduced. This is for all grants, not just what I would consider 滴omeland Security.

As for the terrorism events, many things happened. First was a high profile arrest of an Al Qada fund-raiser. Whiel the arrest wasn稚 a problem, the resulting (required) investigations and patrol soaked up a chuck of our police budget, only to produce no other leads or arrests (of which we said that would happen at the beginning of the event). For the other even we had a threat against our water supply over Thanksgiving. The result was a three-state manhunt, over-time and expenses above $10,000 (total Village budget is around $650,000) just for that incident. We have since had to harden our water supply and sewer plants. I don稚 have a total cost on that. Just a quick mental count on projects would be over $60,000 (contract costs for some of it). So no, these costs aren稚 the DoHS requirements, of which we have. These are costs to fight the 展ar on Terror.

Just for your information, my community voted for Al Gore and for John Kerry in the 2000 and 2004 elections. All of our State representatives are Democrats from this part of Ohio, and the only reason our Congressman is Republican is because my Democratic Party floated Cafaro as a solution (shades of Trafficant only with less intelligence and drive). Not all of Ohio is Republican, and we fought like hell in the last election. It was the SW of Ohio that got out the Evangelicals to vote. We also have several turf wars going on right now (Churches turning each other in for violation of their tax-exempt status by their political activism).

And we have protested the lack of police funding. Very vocally and forcefully. We have robbed other departments to increase our budget for our police force and have been asked by our sheriff痴 department if we could patrol the southern county (we already have mutual aid agreements, but patrolling is illegal).

And Melody, yes, you池e right, I added the 都 by mistake. I have a sister-in-law in Minneapolis so I know how the locals feel.

#64 ::: Steve Green ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2006, 09:42 AM:

Unbelievable. That said, how else is Bush going to fund his army of anonymous thugs wandering around public libraries and schools in search of potential thinkers - sorry - terrorists?

Btw, using Jim McDonald's criteria, the only iconic buildings in Europe would be the Houses of Parliament, the clock tower which incorporates Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower and the front door of Richard Curtis' former home (as seen in Notting Hill, Four Weddings, etc).

#65 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2006, 10:08 AM:

Folks, Ohio is one of those states that sends more tax revenue to the government than it gets back. Our elected officials bewail this constantly in the press.

If I were a terrorist, the Mall of America would be a very attractive target. Why? Because it's very close to a very permeable border. I wouldn't bother with a 737 -- there's farm country nearby, so fertilizer in quantity should be plentiful...

And yes, the Friday after Thanksgiving would be the date I'd pick as well.

Just because we're in flyover country, doesn't mean we aren't a target. Here in Columbus, the Battelle Memorial Institute would do nicely.

You know, with all the fireworks for sale for the upcoming 4th of July, they might provide a convenient screen for moving something with a little more force...

#66 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2006, 10:55 AM:

Steve, cutting our budget in order to increaqse yours is *not* the answer. You'd *never* have had any NYers telling you you deserved *no* budget.

No one here is protesting that you were granted a budget. What is upsetting us is that NY had it's budget decreased to fund other states, while the threat against us is *not* decreased, that the DHS lied in order to do so, and that the funding is going to 'red states' far in excess of actual threat.

#67 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2006, 11:02 AM:

DC is reported to have had cuts as well.

WTF?

The Department of Homeland Security has ranked the District in a low-risk category of terrorist attack or catastrophe, putting it in the bottom 25 percent of U.S. states and territories, as part of a decision that will cost the city millions in anti-terror funds, according to city and federal officials.

Is there *anyone* at the helm right now? Seriously. It's like we have no President, and it's all being run by a bunch of drunken frat boys who think they're playing some sort of mega-Sims game.

#68 ::: Berry ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2006, 11:09 AM:

Clarification: when I said that the Statue of Liberty had been part of New York since 1664, I meant that Bedloe's Island (now called Liberty Island) on which it stands had been. I did not mean to imply that the statue was that old. It was a mistake; sorry guys.

#69 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2006, 11:40 AM:

It's the idea of there being ao few American Icons in New York which is risible.

The Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building are places which are known across the world. There are other significant buildings in New York, but the Guggenheim and the Flatiron building, famous though they are in some circles, don't shout out "America!" in the same way.

The United Nations should be considered a target. That doesn't make it an American Icon. And any office building or shopping mall in America which hasn't reviewed their emergency plans after 9/11 has been arguably negligent.

Patrick, Teresa, when the firealarms go in the Flatiron, where do you go to? Where does somebody count who got out? Has that changed since 9/11

#70 ::: Steve Buchheit ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2006, 12:05 PM:

Josh, actually, NY did argue to increase their funding and did so by including the argument that funding to other parts of the country should be cut because we weren't "targets" (three years ago, was a 都ound-byte on the national news). I'm not arguing to increase "our" funding (祖ause it ain稚 gonna happen), I'm making the argument that for two years the funding has been skewed to NY and Washington DC and the rest of the country (except for coastal big cities and some mid country big cities, but even those were cut) got nothing, and I mean $0. About the only existing program that funds "rural" areas is for wild fire suppression, and even that is half what it was. While Federal Government Budgeting is no longer a zero-sum game, grants are. So now NY is feeling the crunch, well, welcome to our world. And if you want to argue for increased DoHS funding for NY, your are at least implicitly arguing for someone else to have a decrease.

I agree that the DoHS is lying. They are also playing us against each other, i.e. NY is "subsidizing" the rest of the country, and I've had political appointees tell me that NY and Washington were draining the rest of the country. Neither story is true. We致e already been told that our requests for help funding a 渡ew fire-truck probably won稚 be seriously considered for another three years. We致e been trying for funding for the past four years as well, we致e been finalists, but guess where we were told the money went to? So to be clear, they are cutting your (and DC痴) funding but they aren稚 giving us squat either. As a side, our 鍍errorists experts (read those who come up with potential targets and theories) really have no idea what they池e doing and are making 田onference room choices.

I've also been trying to make the point that NYC and Washington DC aren't the only targets. We have domestic (the water threat) and international (Al Qada fund-raiser who was selling black-market cigarettes and sending the money back through the various charities that have been closed, something like $2.5m for 2000-2001, I'd have to recheck) threats and we池e small town. On 9-11 Cleveland shut-down, evacuated. And the fourth plane flew over our heads, that hole in PA could have been a hole in Orwell just as well. There are other high-profile targets that have a greater chance of being hit than many spots in NYC. Terrorists will strike at the weak point.

#71 ::: Mark DF ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2006, 12:07 PM:

While I don稚 disagree with much of what is being said here, I thought I壇 share an increasingly growing unease I have about terrorists.

I don稚 think they exist.

Now, of course, they do. But, terrorists have always been with us and always will be. More and more I have this sense that the current flavor of terrorists are not who they are made out to be and probably no more extant than they ever were. It痴 just that they have become effective cover for a broader political agenda so they are front-burnered as a problem. The result: nothing really effective gets done (think how it痴 a given by everyone that another terrorist attack will happen no matter what we do) and defense contractors and security firms---administration fans all---get billions of dollars.

While everyone focuses on who gets what security funds, the real questions aren稚 asked: who are these terrorists (really)? How many (really)? What are they likely to do (really)? What is the best way to prevent that (really)?

John Allen Muhammad, the DC sniper, did a pretty effective job of terrorizing people. He didn稚 do it by shooting the Statue of Liberty.

#72 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2006, 12:24 PM:

The DC Sniper was not a terrorist, he was a serial killer.

Here in NYC, I swear to god we're using those security funds. The amount of cops out on the street is awe inspiring, we're paying for the national guard to watch our ports and railways, we're still upgrading communications, and the amount of readiness exercises in midtown during busy times of the day (when terrorists would attack) is actually something I'm used to. About 50 squad cars converge in about 15 minutes, a mobile command center or two is set up, and cops swarm all over. It's impressive.

We've got people hired to just walk around and inspect street areas for potential targets of opportunity. I know one of them. He's retired military, and has a goodly amount of experience in doing just that in US bases overseas.

I'm not saying some money isn't being wasted. It may well be. But we are really taking this seriously, because it is a real threat, and yes, Virginia, real terrorists are probably interested in hitting us again.

NY is *not* scaring people for money. We're preparing for the *aftermath* of an attack as well as prevention, because we know we're at high risk.

#73 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2006, 12:36 PM:

Steve, if you need more funding, you should get more funding. We can cut corporate subsidies. We can cut the SDI program. We can cut the 'bridge to nowhere' in Alaska type programs. There's tons of pork. Cut some and put it into funding for your protection.

Underfunding NY is a huge problem, because we *are* the most likley target. You are not.

I'm not armchair quarterbacking, I'm following what the experts (not the DHS experts) say. We have a good idea of wht the threat level is here. If you've got someone you can cite as credible that your area is a probable target, go ahead and share. I'm going by what local ind international experts say.

#74 ::: Tully ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2006, 01:20 PM:

Federal grant money is now damn hard to come by and block grants from the fed are nil and EVERYTHING is a DoHS Grant.

Well, not everything. I spent a long mad month this spring getting HUD grants prepped for the Homeless/SuperNOFA and CSBG/CDBG. A lot of stuff got folded into DHS, but that's not the only thing going. BUT...much of the entire federal grant system has been "rationalized" over the last few years, a direct result of Gore's "electronic government" initiative. Grant apps that used to call for comprehensive project narrative and discretionary scoring by the agencies are now two-page fill-in-the-blank checklist apps--to get project narrative you almost have to attend the public hearings, a true PowerPoint Hell, where the applicants explain their projects in agonizing detail. Which takes many times as long as just reading a project narrative, of course.

This is good in some ways--removing the project narratives and using automated grants scoring also cuts out a lot of the opportunity for slipping in pork and/or bureaucratic favoritism at the agencies. (Part of the reason for the boost in earmarks--old routes got choked off.) Makes life a lot tougher at the local level, though. You get a 60-day window from time of NOFA to apps due. In that period you have to publish notice of the public hearings, hold the hearings, then get the apps approved by every relevant elected layer of government in the food chain, from housing board to state legislature. If you misplace a comma the app comes back, and the clock keeps ticking.

You can not double-count items in the weighting--if you do, they throw out both line items for double-dipping. If a cultural icon (Brooklyn Bridge) is counted as a bridge, it can't be additionally counted as an icon. Icons get much lower weighting anyway. "Cold equations." Max weighting goes to highest probability of loss of life and destruction of infrastructure and disruption of national commerce.

At the same time the NOFA is released you get the instructions manual for the grant pool. It's hundreds to thousands of pages, depending on the grants program, and details exactly how the grants will be scored and weighted. Most cities have teams of pro bureaucrats who immediately leap on the instructions, plug the weighting structure into their computers, and produce the maximum-funding weightings. Then they ride herd to make sure what goes up the food chain is constructed to get every pool-share $ available.

States getting more UASI $ in 2005: New York. All others got cuts. States getting more UASI $ this year: Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, Wisconsin.All others got cuts. States getting more overall HSGP $ this year (includes UASI): none. All got cuts.

"Liberty Island is federal property located within the territorial jurisdiction of the State of New York...Ellis Island is Federal property within the shared territorial jurisdiction of the States of New York and New Jersey." (Nat'l Park Service.)

#75 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2006, 01:32 PM:

I think Omaha got a big funding increase.

New York State and Massachusetts and other northeastern states are typically getting 80 - 85 cents back in federal spending for every dollar of federal taxes paid by people in those states. Mississippi and Texas and such are getting back $1.20 or so...

I don't think that Ohio has an LNG port in a crowded urban area--the Chelsea terminal in Boston involves LNG tankers not only coming into the inner harbor region of Boston, but up the relatively shallow Fore River I think the name of the river is, under bridges that have to be opened I think it is to let the tankers through and at timing based on tide being high enough for ships to get in and to get out... it's not like having a quite deepwater port on an island a half mile away from where people live or offshore at a platform.

It;s bad enough when there is an accident with an LNG carrying truck--when one hit the centerrail on route 128 in Boston coming off from I-93, killing the driver and tipping over the truck, the road was shutdown for most of 24 hours while emergency workers and hazmat crew came out to block off the road for a mile or more and evacuate everyone with a quarter-mile either side of the road... had the truck exploded there would have been a huge crater. The hazmat and emergency workers succeeding in dealing with the situation without additional loss of life, without explosion, etc. The commute the morning the accident occurred was horrible, traffic was backed up for hours and miles, all the way to New Hampshire, on multiple roads. The commute home wasn't quite as bad, because people were already aware of how bad the traffic situation was.

A few days ago, there was an LNG tanker truck disabled on a different road, causing major traffic problems.

Tanker ships carry a lot more LNG than tanker trucks... Massachusetts and Boston officials have been extremely unhappy with the federal government about the security arrangements, or lack thereof, regarding LNG tankers since at least 9/11.... and there are reports that undocumented aliens had been coming into Boston onboard LNG tankers.

Meanwhile, if Ohio wants more police, why can't it raise some taxes... what's the income tax rate there? It's 5.3% here, and there are high property taxes, and there is a 5% sales tax, etc.

#76 ::: Steve Buchheit ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2006, 01:37 PM:

Tully, most certainly true, was making a generalism for breavity. There certainly are HUD, USDA, and a few other alphabet soup grants out there, but much of it got rolled into DHS. Also, we don't have the budget to have a "teams of pro bureaucrats" to leap on opportunities. We outsource to the county development company (NGO) and get help from an engineering firm. FYI, we councilmen get $200 per month for our troubles ($170 after taxes) and our Mayor gets a whoping $400 a month (other municipalities pay more, few pay less). So as you can tell, we are all part-timers and have day jobs (or are retired, as our Mayor is now).

Right now we're working the state system for grants and loan packages. While some grants do have that abbreviated form, our application to the Ohio EPA for a water-tower involved 3 3-inch binders full of applications, justifications, research, and enviromental reports. For a seperate grant we had to have an Indiana Brown Bat survey (cost of $2500, filled a 1" Binder, delayed construction/grant funds by 3 months, and basically said, we're out of their range and no individuals were found).

Why did I agree to run again (walks off muttering under breath)?

#77 ::: Tully ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2006, 02:23 PM:

Why did I agree to run again (walks off muttering under breath)?

Sense of civic duty, Steve? We know it's not the paychecks! (Been there...)

I'm in a mid-size city (500K metro) that isn't on the UASI list (nothing else in the state is either). The closest I've come to HSGP grants apps was CERT/MMRS, which is not exactly a lotta money, and we knew from the beginning that particular program would be a reducing (and then vanishing) money pool. We are blessed with very professional bureaucrats. And with our HUD grants the NGO's coordinate with each other, which is a major help. They know how big the pie will be, they settle pie-cutting arguments in advance so that everyone gets their piece and the pie doesn't shrink.

I don't ever want to have to deal with the EPA if I can avoid it.

#78 ::: Mark DF ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2006, 02:42 PM:

Josh: My point is that I think money is better spent figuring out who terrorists are and not what they might do. The things you mentioned---more cops, readiness exercises, inspectors---really do nothing to stop terrorism. Managing the aftermath of an attack is obviously important, but it痴 not managing terrorism擁t痴 managing its victims.

Again, I think this a situation of the administration framing the debate: they want us to think spending money this way helps stop terrorism, when in reality it drives dollars into the pockets of supporters while simultaneously using the same arguments to undermine civil liberties.

Hardening every shipping port, airport and building will not stop terrorists. It just gives them an incentive to a) figure out a way around it or b) find a different target. It痴 the hacker/software situation.

And for what it痴 worth, I think calling John Allen Mohammed a serial killer and not a terrorist is semantics. It痴 like calling the 9/11 hijackers mass murderers instead of terrorists.

#79 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2006, 02:55 PM:

For a seperate grant we had to have an Indiana Brown Bat survey (cost of $2500, filled a 1" Binder, delayed construction/grant funds by 3 months, and basically said, we're out of their range and no individuals were found).

The company I work for has people to deal with the environmental stuff. The maps alone are a major pain; we only have to deal with half a state, or it would be much worse. There are enough threatened and endangered species in that half (and we have a state list as well as federal) to make it major tracking.

#80 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2006, 03:11 PM:

Mark My point is that I think money is better spent figuring out who terrorists are and not what they might do. The things you mentioned---more cops, readiness exercises, inspectors---really do nothing to stop terrorism.

I'm sorry, but you're (a) moving the goal-post, and (b) wrong. Inspectors and added police presence deters terrorism. Perhaps not airplanes hitting buildings type terrorism, but cars with bombs in them driving into buildings, yes.

And we were hit with a car bomb in the WTC. We know this. This is a known tactic. It will be used again, and it is being used overseas.

Look, I'm not saying it would be better to address the problems of terrorism overseas, or even with federal agencies in the US tracking down terrorists. Chances are, we're doing that in NYC too. They don't talk about it, and if I knew what they were doing, *I* wouldn't talk about it.

Moving the goal-post back where it belongs, if you think NYC was over-funded, break it down for us how they were. I'm not arguing about the underfunding of other cities. If you're underfunded, by all means, get more funding. Just don't pretend you're a bigger target than NYC in order to get funding from us that we need.

And for what it痴 worth, I think calling John Allen Mohammed a serial killer and not a terrorist is semantics. It痴 like calling the 9/11 hijackers mass murderers instead of terrorists.

By that logic, John Wayne Gacey was a terrorist. This is not a semantics game. There *is* a difference here between terrorists and serial killers. If you disagree, by all means, show me some defining charicteristics that seperate serial killers from terrorists. Otherwise, it's you who is (again) changing rules that seem fairly clear to me, and can be easily mapped to the way the media, the courts, the government, and other groups define things.

#81 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2006, 03:16 PM:

Josh: I thought then, and think now, that sniping is as good as bombing for terrorists. If people are afraid to use a road, or go out at all, because someone is randomly shooting people on a road, or in an area, how is that not terrorism? (The OKC bombing was terorism, also.)

#82 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2006, 03:18 PM:

Yep. Omaha got a big increase. Gotta protect that corn. Plus Mutual Of Omaha. And, uh... corn. Oh, and ConAgra and Qwest. And corn.

Yeah. Big time, baby. I doubt if most Al Qaeda members could point to Nebraska on a map unless it was labeled. hell, I bet most US higschool students could do that either. Hell, *I* have to do it through elimination.

#83 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2006, 03:22 PM:

PJ: Terrorism usually has a purpose, serial killers are not trying to make a point about anything that makes sense, unless you share the madness. This is the way the words are used.

And yes, the OKC bombing was terrorsm. Domestic terrorism. I can start in on how the DHS is dropping the ball *bigtime* on domestic terrorism because it would upset the remaining 30% of the country who approve of Bush.

I'm all for increasing funding to Oklahoma nad states with large millitia presence. Just not at the cost of decreasing funding for NY.

#84 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2006, 03:28 PM:

Ohio income tax is on a sliding scale and maxes out at 7.5%. (I'm paying 5.2%)

Sales tax for Franklin County is 6.75%.

#85 ::: Chris W. ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2006, 03:41 PM:

Mark DF-

For an examination of the types of questions you're asking, check out Robert Pape's "Dying to Win". It's a little technical, but it's a great examination of the strategic logic of suicide terrorism. He explodes a lot of myths:

1) That suicide terrorism is unique to islamist radicals (even most of the suicide terrorism in the middle east has historically been carried out by nationalist and marxist groups, who draw their attackers from a pretty representative cross-section of society. The single biggest user of suicide terrorism is the Tamil Tigers, a marxist/ethnic separatist movement in Sri Lanka)

2) That suicide terrorism is irrational. (It occurs generally in distinct campaigns, has a distinct punitive strategic logic, with distinct goals [almost always the removal of an occupying force from territory the terrorists value])

3) That suicide terrorism is ineffective. (Suicide campaigns work about as often as not, and are especially effective against democracies, for reasons that are not entirely clear)

Of course all this is specifically focused on suicide terrorism, and the logic of the organizations that use it as a strategy, not necessarily the individuals who carry it out.

[Disclaimer, I'm an undergraduate at the department where Pape teaches, and just finished taking a class from him, so I think he's dreamy.]

#86 ::: Mark DF ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2006, 04:10 PM:

Josh: If changing the discussion from 塗ow to allocate funds to 鍍his is not really fighting terrorism is moving the goal post, then, yes, I am. That痴 my point.

Mere police presence does not deter terrorism in the same way it would deter regular crime. If that were the case, Israeli checkpoints would not get blown up (and that痴 *army* presence). Police presence makes citizens *feel* safe. It doesn稚 *make* them safe. Sorry, I知 not wrong. A deranged terrorist isn稚 going to hit the brakes on his explosive laden u-haul because a cop痴 standing on the corner.

I have not once discussed NYC in my posts, so I don稚 know why you think I am.

And I agree with PJ: By definition, terrorists inspire terror. JAM inspired terror. Not all serial killers do, but this one did. So did the anthrax mailer. And the Unibomber. The idea that one must have a purpose to be called a terrorist is, imho, a bit strange.

#87 ::: Steve Buchheit ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2006, 04:22 PM:

Mark DF, was going to say similar things. Just a thing to keep in mind, McVeigh bombed the Murrah Building because the FBI was there. The WTC Police, Port Authority, and NYC痴 Finest didn稚 stop the blind sheik from having his people drive a Ryder into the garage and light it off. As we used to say (and I don稚 mean this to be mean or degrade our police officers, this is a part of that dark humor those who have to deal with these things develop, be a fly on the wall in any fire-hall/police station/station point after a bad call/night/event), increased police presence just means the body count is higher.

John Wayne Gace was a serial murderer, he selected his victims carefully, and enacted his crimes in a different manner than JAM who selected victims completely at random and had the goal of ransom in his mind.

#88 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2006, 06:13 PM:

I'm sure this is an exaggeration, but it seems as though it generally takes a war to dislodge Major Malevolent Dictators and their evil cronies (and such a war can still turn out badly -- viz Iraq after the fall of Saddam). Some of the baddies just die, and then the poison of fanaticism may slowly drain out of the system; others fall to revolutions, rarely of the "velvet" kind.

Nixon's fall was helped along by the media (Woodward & Bernstein, televized Watergate hearings) amid what seemed for a while like a cultural revolution, back in the early Seventies. But I don't know if whistle blowers or impeachment moves or international sanctions would have much effect on the current misadministration.

For all my ranting pessimism, I still hold some hope in changes at the congressional level during the next elections, and Republican infighting might help as well. Scary as it definitely is, this isn't the Reich -- so far. If it does go further in that direction ... well, a lot of SF scenarios have already dealt with the bloody mess that could result.

#89 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2006, 06:30 PM:

Mere police presence does not deter terrorism in the same way it would deter regular crime.

I'm not claiming it would. But it will deter things like the London Tube bombing. It *might* have stopped the first WTC bombing.

Again, I'm going by what professionals in the business say, who is informing you on this issue?

#90 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2006, 06:52 PM:

Mere police presence does not deter terrorism in the same way it would deter regular crime.

I don't care about deterence. I care about affecting actual outcomes. the presence of an air marshal might change the outcome of certain events.

I was at a US airport a while ago, and saw a state trooper in a flak vest, helmet, with a H&K MP-5 slung across his chest (9 mm submachine gun). That guy might be able to alter the course and outcome of a terrorist attack there.

not that boots on the street are the only thing that will have an effect, but to look at terrorist attacks as completely without warning, completely without any signals that guys on the ground might pick up, isn't realistic

#91 ::: Mark DF ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2006, 07:03 PM:

Josh:

I'm not claiming it [police presence] would [deter terrorism].

then your next sentence:

But it will deter things like the London Tube bombing.

Don't these two thoughts contradict each other?

If I may role play for a moment:

Police Officer: Hi. I'm a police officer on a subway platform.
ShadyCharacter: Hi. I have a bomb.
Police Officer: You're under arr....
!!!!BOOM!!!!

So, exactly how does a police officer stop terrorism?

Do I really need an expert to frame my point?

#92 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2006, 07:21 PM:

Mark,

you've made "deterence" you're holy grail measure. What deterence is there in buying your police and other emergency responders gas masks? How will the presence of a mobile, tactical communications center deter terrorism? They don't. Those things are about responding to and dealing with a terrorist act after the fact.

Just because it doesn't "deter", doesn't mean it isn't effecting in responding to a terrorist act.

If you want to talk about deterence, what exactly, deters a suicide terrorist? The only thing you can do that I know of is try to stop them before they strike. Either through intelligence and nab them in the planning stages, or in the act of striking, but before they've succeeded. Cops on the street might stop an attack, or at the very least, lower the damage done, or failing that, would be on hand to help manage the situation, help the injured, evacuate adn direct people, whatever.

#93 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2006, 07:39 PM:

BTW, according to this site here:

http://www.glasssteelandstone.com/US/NY/NewYorkStatueofLiberty.html

The Statue of Liberty and the immigration station are considered part of New York and the land they are on is considered part of New Jersey. Of course, they could be wrong in their interpretation of the ruling...I don't know.

#94 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2006, 07:58 PM:

Yes, the DoHS budget is preposterous, and yes, they're trying to play us off against each other.

I'd like to point out that the reason Steve Buchheit's town is still on a waiting list for a fire truck is not because of DoHS spending on NYC: no, it's largely because of George Bush's attack on Iraq.

The small town of Orwell, Ohio (pop. 2500) has already contributed something like $2,500,000 to Washington expressly for this disaster, to be handed out to Halliburton and other Pentagon contractors. The state of Ohio has kicked in something over $11 billion dollars to date. The nation as a whole, something far over $300 billion. The bill for our attack on Iraq has already topped $1000 for each American.

(And note that there is no end in sight.)

This is money that would obviously be better spent here, on actual efforts to defend ourselves. Instead, we have the Bush Junta squandering it.

#95 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2006, 08:08 PM:

And Liberty Island is now and forever New York.

According to its colonial charter, New Jersey ends at the water's edge, and all of the islands in the harbor are New York. There's talk that Liberty Island might now belong to the federal government, but it certainly does not belong to New Jersey.

Wars have been fought over less.

#96 ::: Mark DF ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2006, 09:24 PM:

Greg:

you've made "deterence" you're holy grail measure

It is. But I didn稚 make it so. It just is. (g)

As I said in my initial post, I知 not disagreeing with most of the opinions here. But I think the security discussion is framed as a security discussion when in reality it is disaster response masquerading as security. Preventing something is security. Telling me that I am secure because there are police on the street, cameras on buildings and scanners everywhere is a lie. They will stop nothing.

Just because it doesn't "deter", doesn't mean it isn't effecting in responding to a terrorist act.

Absolutely agree. But response is not deterence. It痴 apples and oranges. The government wants to tell us that they are apples and apples. Until the day something happens and they値l say, 泥amn, that痴 an orange. We were ready for apples.

And btw, the armed security guard may deter something happening in his vicinity, but not in the next one. Malvo testified at the sniper trial that they skipped several locations for various reasons. They were deterred. Right to another location where they weren稚.

#97 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2006, 09:44 PM:

Actually, ways of stopping terrorists are irritated citizens who seeing someone acting oddly, tackle the person--as was done with the "shoebomber" over the Atlantic.

The best defense, and deterrent, against terrorists, are citizens who regard the status quo as acceptable, and take an active interest in defending the status quo against religious fanatics, gangsters, revolutionaries, and others intent on changing the culture particularly by used of intimidation and violence and atrocity, and stomp on those who get out of line and act up....

The situation with Iraq is that Schmuck went into a situation where Saddam was the meanest SOB in the valley and stomping on the religious fanatics/militants of several different stripes. Invading Iraq and permitting the former government and military and officials to vacate the premises and torch the records and loot the libraries and schools and museums and melt invisibly into the general civilian population, provided every wannabee thug, militant, extremist, religious fanatic, criminal, and psycopath in the country and within hundreds of files, open access to Saddam's huge stockpiles of conventional explosives and ammunition and free rein to commit looting, robbery, arson, rape, kidnapping, murder, and every other violent crime going, without the Schmuck goon management invasion heads lifting a finger or ordering a finger lifted, to provide any -policing- of the streets... just think what would happen in New York City if the police and the government left town, no police, no firefighters, the mayor gone, all the people working for the city gone and the jails opened up letting the inmates out... what would happen? That was Baghdad, and the rest of Iraq, wide open for any thug, looter, criminal petty or large, religious fanatic, to go hogwild...

The lawabiding Iraqis didn't have the guns and wherewithal all to defend themselves and protect their national heritage--museums, ancient archives, historical records, their businesses, the water and power distribution system...

Schmuck committed war crimes, look at the provisions of the Geneva Convention about invading army responsibilities to civilians and for conserving the "commone heritage of humankind" or similar words.

Schmuck and Cheney and Rumsfeld and the generals belong in front of a tribunal at the Hague chargd with war crimes.


Iraq is now a place creating new fanatics and revolutionaries, who despise the USA (with cause...) for turning their country into someplace where wearing shorts gets people murdered by religious fanatics, where being female and going outside the house renders one vulnerable to kidnapping and rape, where having a business means being subject to kidnapping held for ransoming if of the same sect as the kidnappers, or being murdered...

#98 ::: Tully ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2006, 09:56 PM:

"Liberty Island is federal property located within the territorial jurisdiction of the State of New York...Ellis Island is Federal property within the shared territorial jurisdiction of the States of New York and New Jersey." (Nat'l Park Service.)

Just because it bears repeating.

#99 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 02, 2006, 10:29 PM:

Furthermore... terrorists who expect to fail in their acts of terror, tend to decide to not carry them out. If the 9/11 murderers had been stopped in their test runs, if the FBI agents hadn't been stopped from investigating as they told their bosses they wanted permission to investigate, if Logan had run the security exercise the airlines refused to cooperate with carrying out in August... had those documents that the translator fired by the FBI for whistleblowing and then denied justing the stinking federal court judge who threw the case out because it would show incompetence and maybe even malice on the part of the US Government Executive Branch protecting the previous FBI translator with the TERRORIST TIES, (the judge said something about revealing information to the publc that needed to remain secret--0the only thing that was in danger of being revealed and malfeasance and incomptent and protection of miscreants...) there were all sorts of tipping points where the Al Qaeda operation could have been uncovered and spiked... but the environment perpetrated by the Scmuck fascist dictatorship, blocked very possible avenue which could or would have led to recognizing the threat and investigating any and all of the clues leading to revealing the conspiracy and PREVENTING the disasters.

Translation--if Schmuck had intentionally set up protocols to promote the 9/11 horrors occurring, I expect that it would look little different from what the actual actions his misadministration carried out--refusing to allow anyone to present a briefing about ANY threat posed by Al Qaeda, squashing all concern within the FBI over Middle Easterners in the USA doing suspicious things and blocking investigation by field agents, failing to get documents sent from the CIA, was it? maybe DIA? for translation looked at by a second tranlator when the Middle Easterner or Middle Easter-born translator in the FBI they were assigned to, stamped a bunch of them not worth translated, and did mistranslations of others, and when a new translator looked at them and objected, she was told to shut up and toe the line/be a team player/stop casting suspicion on FBI family members.. she took her concerns up the ladder ad got brushed offk, went to Congress and got FIRED, went to the court system and the corrupt probably Rupbulicrap judge threw the case out claiming security needs....

The twin towers and other building in the World Trade Center went down, killing thousands of people, throwing tens of thousands out of work, destorying the livelihoods of probably hundreds of thousands of people, maybe millions--even I was affected by it, one of the companies which was evaluating the equipment the company I worked for made, had Twin Towers offices. The company cancelled all its previous interest in buying the equipment. Sales to that company could have prevented the company from going bankrupt when that and all other customer interst in purchase dried up. The company was out of business officially before 2002 was over, but the handwriting was on the wall after the first quarter of 2002.

It didn't have to happen. An Executive Branch that gave a damn about warnings from its own civil servants who were experienced analysts, from FBI field agents, from airport security heads.. and heeded their concerns and gave them permission to carry out operations their professional experience and expertise caused them to request permission to carry out, be it impounding with warrants foreign nationals' computers, flight training operations and who was footing the flight training payments, the Schmuck accepting advice and pleadings of civil servants to put the country to higher alert and on watch against Al Qaeda operatives, putting INS on alert to actually pay attention to the watch list of foreign nationals supposed to be banned from entereing the USA due to terrorist ties... ANY of that done, and the 9/11 operations would have unraveled.

Schmuck watch, or rather, complete lack of vigilance and interest in defending the USA against all REAL enemies, foreign and domestic. HE is an enemy, enemy of freedom, abrogator of the Constitution and Bill of Rights... he's no less a monster than Milosevic. And he's not the least bit repetent for creating the climate that prevented anyone from ACTING to prevent the 9/11 atrocities. Al Aqaead perpetrated the hijackings and attacks, but Schmuck stopped the federal government in it tracks from doing any effective deterrent preventative or investigative actions, to interfere with Al Aqaeda carrying out the atrocities.

Bottom line, it was preventable, but not with the Schmuck and his apparatchiks actively blocking any and all attempts to put the country on alert against Al Qaeda, blocking investigating suspicious Middle Eastern activities, blocking translating documents/accurately translating intelligence data sent to the FBI for translation, bulwarking the airlines' obstructionism for holding security exercises at Logan to where the head of security at Logan gave up and cancelled the planned exercise due to lack of cooperation....

The career civil servants were concerned, Schmuck's administration SQUELCHED every expression of concern, month after month after month every attempt by analysts to get a face to face meeting with Schmuck, every attempt to get the Executive Branch to pay any attention, failed. Months went by, then Schmuck went on vacation for the summer...

I call it "dereliction of duty" among other things, malfeasance, criminal neglect, criminally negligent homicide as the mass murder level, at the very least.

Schmuck was responsible for the climiate and atmosphere which blocked every attempt of the bureaucracy experts in terrorism to get anyone in authority to pay any attention and act to prevent disaster. Schmuck was WILLFULL ignorants, so too Cheney, Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, Condelisa Rice.. the whole lot of them, who failed to uphold their oaths of office

#100 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2006, 12:08 AM:

Preventing something is security.

Other than armored doors on cockpits, I'm trying to think of things that, say, New York, could do to prevent terrorism. Putting concrete rings around all the likely targets won't cost that much, will it? After you've done that, it would seem the best actual deterent would be intelligence, tracking any of the bastards down.

#101 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2006, 01:06 AM:

A carful of 9/11 hijackers stuck out in the mind of a passenger on a commuter flight to New York City out of Boston, the hijackers wanted the same parking place in a parking garage he wanted, and their level of ill-will about it caused him to write down the license plate, and call the authorities after he got to New York... that helped the search in the Boston are when every car parked at Logan was hauled offsite to be gone through looking for any evidence that could
possibly be connected with any of the hijackers.

=============

Hmm, it's been closing on five years since the disaster, and that clip that surfaced some weeks ago from bin Laden promising more attacks...
Had there been any warnings of heightened alert about attackers, the person reporting the car full of acting-peculiarly-huyped up Middle Easter males, likely would have reported his concerns in the airport in Boston, instead of reporting it later...

The level of vigilance is down, not that it was ever really all that more than eyewash and noise and Brownian motion--make it LOOK like "security," and ignore things like lethal attack equipnent that has a range of more than ten feet

#102 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2006, 12:08 PM:

I can start in on how the DHS is dropping the ball *bigtime* on domestic terrorism because it would upset the remaining 30% of the country who approve of Bush.

I have to wonder who the administration thinks those 30% are? It's certainly not the far right (which I read you implying would be upset over more emphasis on domestic terrorism); the evidence is that they're already pissed and ready to sit out.

BTW -- how many people who mention the "bridge to nowhere" know that it would connect Ketchikan to its airport, across a channel where that so-frequent ferry does not have right of way? The congressman who scored that bridge may be greedy (especially if he also voted for the rest of Bush's squandering), but the term has become synecdoche that leaves out facts.

#103 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2006, 12:22 PM:

Mark, *who* is informing you on the issues? Who's your source here for what works and what does not?

The USA is not Israel. We don't have a large population of hostile terrorists that are home grown. From what I've read, over at Intel Dump, and other Mil/Intel Blogs, and from the people I knwo in NYC who work counterterrorism, a larger police presence is effective as a countermeasure and a deterrent. Here and in Iraq.

What evidence do you have to the contrary, and who is informing you? So far you've sketched out scenatrios. What basis do they have in reality?

#104 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2006, 12:34 PM:

Chip: They're the churches who's leadership Rove has bought out through the faith based initiatives and through other means.

This is my best guess. There's a set organizational structure that Rove created to make sure pastors got out the vote to congregations in key areas. That's what the RFK Jr. story is not reporting, because it's not stealing votes (htough they did that too) it's just good electoral policy with bribery through the faith based initiative story.

#105 ::: Mark DF ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2006, 05:42 PM:

Josh: From my perspective, you want me to argue from within the framework of the administration, i.e., that these measures make us secure. I am arguing from *outside* that framework. Calling something a "security measure" doesn't make it so. The measures you've raised are all *disaster response* measures. They stop nothing. They all address the aftermath.

I am not citing any expert but logic. To lift an earlier point I made, you are citing exactly the people who benefit financially from saying these are security measures葉he military and intel groups. Consider your sources.

The USA is not Israel. We don't have a large population of hostile terrorists that are home grown. From what I've read, over at Intel Dump, and other Mil/Intel Blogs, and from the people I knwo in NYC who work counterterrorism, a larger police presence is effective as a countermeasure and a deterrent. Here and in Iraq.

Where do I begin? Aren稚 many of the USA enemies the same as Israel痴? Check. We don稚 have a large population of hostile terrorists that are home grown? I thought that this administration wants us to believe that? McVeigh? Padilla? Isn稚 this why we suddenly need a passport to get back in from a day trip to Canada? Check. Effective countermeasures? Where痴 *their* proof? They can稚 prove a negative. Name one large scale terrorist operation that has been stopped on US soil by US operatives. None in the last five years. Iraq? What about Afghanistan? Last I noticed, several hundred thousand US 菟resences have done little to deter terrorism and gone a long way to creating more.

I gave you one scenario, the subway one, which you ignored. I値l give you a disclaimer that maybe you池e not an expert, but try and give me a reasoned response to that scenario that demonstrates a police officer on a platform makes you secure. Isn稚 it obvious the London Tube bombings is the reality I知 basing this on? I can just as easily give you another good scenario that isn稚 based on 途eality in that it hasn稚 happened. Btw, that痴 how terrorists think up stuff. They go for the element of surprise. And then make it reality.

#106 ::: Mark DF ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2006, 08:31 PM:

Greg: Exactly what I've been driving at. Intel is security. Finding and stopping things before they happen is security. By its nature, we're not going to be privy to it. And that, in part, is why I find these other so-called security measures dubious. Those are things people can see, so they are lulled into a false sense of security. Even more so when they are told "yes, this is security."

#107 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2006, 09:19 AM:

Mark DF I am not citing any expert but logic. To lift an earlier point I made, you are citing exactly the people who benefit financially from saying these are security measures

That was insulting. Many of people I'm talking to are *residents* of NYC who're working antiterrorism locally, and others are military who're in Iraq, or were serving there.

You make them sound like crooks. That was uncalled for. These are note security contractors, they're civil servants, police, and soldiers.

I don't know you, and you don't (so far as I know) have any training in security, or any good reason for me to trust you. These people do. Who am I supposed to trust here? people who've actually worked in the area, some of them defending against attacks in Iraq, or some random guy on the internet who tells me they're crooks?

#108 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2006, 09:33 AM:

And no, compared to Israel or Iraq, we do not have a *large* population of terrorists living in our midst. There are actual population figures and polls and estimates on the number of Palestinians who're members of Hammas, Al Aqsa Martys Brigade and other spliner geoups who're dedicated to destroying the state of Israel. In Iraq, it's estimated by the government that between 3 and 10% of the population is actually aiding or part of a 'resistance' group. Numerous Al Qaeda members come through the borders all the time.

The UK upped security after the London tube bombings as well. Who was making a political career out of that. Please name someone.

#109 ::: Mark DF ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2006, 12:16 PM:

Josh: My intent was not to insult and if you took it that way, I知 sorry. We致e both been online enough to know this type of communication can slide sideways without meaning it to.

My original posit was this: security and disaster response are two different things.

As I look at our earlier posts, I think we actually agree on that. Where I am having trouble is how things like police presence deter terrorism. I think you池e saying it does, but haven稚 explained other than to say the experts say so. My question is: How?

Having a vested interest in something doesn稚 make one a crook. As an employee working in a major high-rise in a major city, I have a vested interest in security. When someone tells me 鍍his will make you secure (and I知 speaking of the government here, not you) and I ask 塗ow? and the best answer I get is 填m, of course, it does because we池e the experts, I start thinking maybe I知 not secure.

#110 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2006, 02:16 PM:

The UK upped security after the London tube bombings as well. Who was making a political career out of that. Please name someone.

The UK doesn't do security politics in the same way as the US. For one thing, police chiefs (the title "sheriff" is not used) are not elected, nor appointed by politicians; the police are supposed to be (and mostly are) politically neutral. There hasn't been nearly so much "security theater" as in the US.
The only people trying to make political capital out of security are a few national politicians, and they are being very unsuccessful at it.

#111 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2006, 02:39 PM:

Generally, having a police presence deters terrorism by having enough watchers to make in really inconveninet for terrorists to go for simple targets of oportunity.

Most terrorism (and this is what experts tell me) relies on a simple plan of attack, not comething complicated out of a Bruce Willis movie. A lot of what's going on in NYC is a vigilance thing. In Israel, there actually are a lot of terroists who're caught and killed before they can blow people up. Yes, they also kill soldiers. But the metrics are that a bomb in the middle, of say, a subway entrance is not as horrific as one of the under-river tunnels would be.

This is what the experts I know say. It's grim, but that's the best we can do, and doing nothing is an invitation.

If you really still think money is being wasted, talk to some of the people in the field and verify first, please. It's my city, and I'd want any money being used to protect it to be uset at maximum efficiency.

And thanks for the appology. It's appreciated and accepted.

#112 ::: Eve ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2006, 08:52 AM:

The level of vigilance is down, not that it was ever really all that more than eyewash and noise and Brownian motion--make it LOOK like "security," and ignore things like lethal attack equipnent that has a range of more than ten feet

This paranoid Brit just came back from 3 weeks in the US, doing a fair bit of flying, and noticed another security hole that you can drive a truck through and that nobody else seems to have picked up on. Most American airports (including LaGuardia, which is, you know, a fair-sized properly international airport in New York) have the baggage collection carousels outside the secured zone. There are lots of bags circulating, and usually a few big piles of bags just lying on the ground with nobody really taking much notice of them at all. Anybody off the street can walk up to that pile of bags and remove a bag from the pile, and/or add an identical bag (how many black Samsonites are there anyway?) to the pile. Boom.

#113 ::: Alan Braggins ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2006, 09:12 AM:

On Goldman Sachs: The destroyed World Trade Center complex was more than the two towers, it had five(?) other buildings, including the commoditities exchange.

I know someone who worked in one of the nearby buildings (though not for Goldman Sachs). The building she worked in was mostly standing after the towers collapsed, but unsafe, and has since been completely demolished. (She got a promotion for having said "we evacuate and get out of the area now", before the collapse, while other people were saying "maybe we should wait and see if anyone gives us any instructions".)

#114 ::: Peter ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2006, 01:36 PM:

While Jim's concept is entertaining, most of the terrorist targets in the US have been symbols:
The WTC being a symbol of US economic power projected onto the world.
The Murrah building being a symbol of US political power projected onto the US.
The Pentagon being a symbol of US military power projected onto the world.

Murdering folks for the sake of killing is usually justified by words like "justice" or "vengence." Which was a large part of the beltway sniper motivations.

While network attacks are more effective at hurting the economy (like the guy who allegedly was paid by alneda to attack the Alaskan oil pipeline, or the foiled IRA attack in Britain that would have taken out several substations, each of which take 6-9 months to replace), symbolic attacks are more useful for their own propaganda. OBL's attack on 911 was more theatre intended for his own followers and audience (from his own words on the tape after 911) rather than the effects it would have on the US. That the buildings collapsed was "the will of God" rather than his (followers') actions and designs.

Actual biowarfare is very hard to do. Even extremely wealthy and motivated organizations like Aum Shinrikyo and the Rajneeshi were unable to deploy working bugs. Graysmith's book Amerithrax goes into details on the 2001 letters that conveniently hit only targets hated by the US right wing: democrats, NY Times, among others, and mailed when the PATRIOT act was being debated in congress. FBI investigations turned 100% domestic when testing showed the substance was processed in the US fashion, and not the Soviet fashion. If it were Iraqi, as many people tried to claim, it would have contained bentonite, which was a key ingredient in the Soviet style of weaponizing the stuff. Observing the targets of the stuff, and to whom those differences were important leads one to the inescapable conclusion that it was both politically motivated and domestic dirty trickery.

It's not that NYC doesn't have monuments and icons, it's that they are invulnerable due to the Heckuvajob that's being done by HLS.
Hot lesbian sex makes things invulnerable? Who'd have thought? ;)
#115 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2006, 02:53 PM:

This paranoid Brit just came back from 3 weeks in the US, doing a fair bit of flying, and noticed another security hole that you can drive a truck through and that nobody else seems to have picked up on...

I actually hadn't thought of Eve's idea, but really, anybody with half a brain can spend half an hour and come up with at least 15 creative ways to conduct a terrorist attack against completely undefended targets, or gaping holes in existing defenses. Almost all of our "security" is for show - why on earth does everybody have to take their shoes off for airport security, after that's been shown to be a fairly useless approach? But yet I know a place where you wouldn't have to work too hard to derail a high-speed commuter train....

#116 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2006, 03:11 PM:

Mark DF:

Some percentage of the US population is not "sane." That doesn't make them "terrorists."

The overwhelmingly vast percentage of those domiciled in the USA go about their day not thinking about how to disrupt US civilization, and not wanting to disrupt it. Millions of people travel about in New York City, with a tiny percentage of untoward incidents. A million plus people go into and out of Boston everyday, seven figures of people travel around in the LA and Orange County areas of California, etc.

The "security" measures taken by the US Misadministration are mostly bad jokes, they're eyewash and sleight of hand magic tricks with false bottoms, mirrors, trapdoors... one doesn not have to go into a building to "neutralize" it. The three mile limit was the range that was enforceable with cannons; contemporary technology "line of sight" is hundreds of miles from a platform in the sky command-guiding systems at lower altitude, and much, much, much further using satellites. And then there's always, "Lawnchair at 14,000 feet," wherein someone lacking is certain levels of reasonability bought himself a bunch of blowup spheres, inflated them with helium, attached them to his lawnchair, filled his handgun or pistol with bullets, and went for a ride over LAX... he miscalculated just how much "life" he was getting from the balloons, and went up higher and faster than he intended. Airline pilots were reporting "lawnchair at 14,000'" and when the fellow got back down on the ground, the FAA was after him, with a big far fine for breaking all sorts of aerial navigations rules.

But, think of someone going up in that sort of rig armed with some Improvised Explosive Device, all the stupid metal detectors and such in courthourses, Boston City Hall, federal buildings, etc., aren't going to stop someone in something as screwball as a lawnchair aerostat passenger, from blowing a big hole in whatever building is within line of sight and range. Or, some trebuchet enthusiasts go feral guerrilla or some such. Or... there are a whole lot of ways to be destructive I can think of, that day after day after day are not much evident as things that get done intentionally to perpetrate violence and fearmongering and devastation in the USA.

The thing that occurred to me

#117 ::: HP ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2006, 04:37 PM:

Hot lesbian sex makes things invulnerable?

Not invulnerable, Peter. Just impregnable.

#118 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2006, 04:39 PM:

"lawnchair at 14,000'"

is an urban legend?

mythbusters showed the amount of helium needed to lift one man was a rather large volume (i'd describe it as a basketball court about ten feet or more high, and it kept folding up on them, so they could never get a person off the ground in it.

#119 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2006, 04:57 PM:

Not quite a myth:
From The New York Times 3 July 1982
LONG BEACH, Calif, July 2 (AP) A truck driver with 45 weather balloons rigged to a lawn chair took a 45-minute ride aloft to 16,000 feet today before he got cold, shot some balloons out and crashed into a power line, the police said.

He got fined $4000.

#120 ::: Paula LIeberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2006, 12:33 AM:

One of my all-time favorite lines out of a government document involved the threat posed by "Post-Attack Survivors," who posed a threat because they would be hungry and looking for food and shelter, and might be annoyed at the US Government for having been involved in a nuclear exchange.... I wrote down the exact line but mislaid the piece of paper long long ago. The phrasing was amusing, in matter of fact form, I have no idea if the author(s) was not or was not being intentionally ironic.

#121 ::: Eve ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2006, 05:42 AM:

I actually hadn't thought of Eve's idea, but really, anybody with half a brain can spend half an hour and come up with at least 15 creative ways to conduct a terrorist attack against completely undefended targets, or gaping holes in existing defenses.

That's exactly my point. This was just a random sleep-deprived idea that I had at an ungodly hour in the morning while waiting for the bags at LaGuardia, after a day spent being delayed and redirected all over the shop due to dreadful weather. (Hint: do not take photographs of your friends doing the YMCA with this Giant Jesus in Ohio the day before you fly anywhere. I've decided that it's just tempting fate.)

If I were a terrorist, I wouldn't even bother with airports at all. Water supplies are often very ill-guarded indeed, even in places that really don't have many water options such as Las Vegas or Phoenix. However, considering the current administration believes that all terrorist attacks must involve air travel, the unsecured baggage pickups at airports do seem oddly anomalous.

Actually, my current nutbar conspiracy theory is that American airport security isn't even intended to thwart terrorism. It's intended to keep up a constant baseline level of mild inconvenience and humiliation (it's pretty humiliating to stand barefoot in a public place while your breasts are groped) so that people can never, ever forget that THERE'S A WAR ON and we must SUPPORT THE TROOPS and SUPPORT OUR PRESIDENT and NOT ASK QUESTIONS because THERE'S A WAR ON.

I preferred the old Dr. Seuss cartoons telling people to Buy War Bonds, myself.

#122 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2006, 06:05 AM:

It's also worth remembering that terrorism exploits the perceptions of the target population.

Consider the reaction to a bomb exploding on a luggage carousel.

"My God! It was on the plane!"

As Eve points out, it needn't have been. But people will think a terrorist bomb had a fusing fault, and exploded after the flight, rather than it never was on the flight.

You can construct movie-plot-terrorists who scheme to encourage that illusion--identical luggage that can be tracked onto the flight, apparently faulty fusing--but why bother? Just put the bomb on the carousel. Nobody will worry about the technicalities as they write the screaming headlines. Keep it simple.

But it might be rather effective terrorism if it could be confused with a movie plot.

#123 ::: Lisa ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2006, 12:34 PM:

I can tell you what's in Omaha: The huge processing facility for First Data Corporation, one of the world's largest processors of credit card transactions (6.5 billion in revenue and global in reach). Two days after 9/11, FirstData offered up its data and the Bush administration relied heavily upon it. In his new book "The One Percent Solution", Ron Suskind writes, "The massive data sweeps [at FirstData] ... implicated the privacy of tens of thousands of Americans..." The first post-9/11 infringements upon our civil liberties and privacy rights by the current totalitarian regime were launched in Omaha - a "landmark" worth protecting by the secrecy-fueled Bush hegemony.

#124 ::: Wen Carrabine ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2014, 02:04 PM:

Short, cynical comment... but if it does happen this way, I don't think it will be free individuals who will be making the decisions, unfortunately.

Welcome to Making Light's comment section. The moderators are Avram Grumer, Jim Macdonald, Teresa & Patrick Nielsen Hayden, and Abi Sutherland. Abi is the moderator most frequently onsite. She's also the kindest. Teresa is the theoretician. Are you feeling lucky?

If you are a spammer, your fate is in the hands of Jim Macdonald, and your foot shall slide in due time.

Comments containing more than seven URLs will be held for approval. If you want to comment on a thread that's been closed, please post to the most recent "Open Thread" discussion.

You can subscribe (via RSS) to this particular comment thread. (If this option is baffling, here's a quick introduction.)

Post a comment.
(Real e-mail addresses and URLs only, please.)

HTML Tags:
<strong>Strong</strong> = Strong
<em>Emphasized</em> = Emphasized
<a href="http://www.url.com">Linked text</a> = Linked text

Spelling reference:
Tolkien. Minuscule. Gandhi. Millennium. Delany. Embarrassment. Publishers Weekly. Occurrence. Asimov. Weird. Connoisseur. Accommodate. Hierarchy. Deity. Etiquette. Pharaoh. Teresa. Its. Macdonald. Nielsen Hayden. It's. Fluorosphere. Barack. More here.















(You must preview before posting.)

Dire legal notice
Making Light copyright 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 by Patrick & Teresa Nielsen Hayden. All rights reserved.