Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Department of Homeland Patronage

The New York Times (remember them, the traitorous al-Qaeda sympathizers) published an article today about something that the Department of Homeland Security calls their 'National Asset Database'.

"The database is used by the Homeland Security Department to help divvy up the hundreds of millions of dollars in antiterrorism grants each year, including the program announced in May that cut money to New York City and Washington by 40 percent, while significantly increasing spending for cities including Louisville, Ky., and Omaha." (NYT, 7/12/06)
The Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security published a report (.pdf) Tuesday that criticizes the database as containing many seemingly anomolous or outright head scratching oddities in the Deaprtment's site priorities. Some of the 'assets' listed in the report are among others, 'Old McDonald's Petting Zoo', 'The Amish Country Popcorn Factory', 'the Mule Day Parade', 'The Sweetwater Flea Market', 'Nix's Check Cashing', 'Anti-Cruelty Society' and 'Bean Fest'. From a higher level, New York is listed as having only 2% of the nations banking and financial sector assets, ranking it just behind North Dakota. Of total assets, New York ranks as number 3, behind Indiana and Wisconsin. Nebraska ranks at number 7, just ahead of California, our most populous state.

The Times quotes Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), “Now we know why the Homeland Security grant formula came out as wacky as it was. This report is the smoking gun that thoroughly indicts the system.” The 2006 budget for the Department of Homeland Security in $41.1 billion. Usually when a system for handing out that amount of money makes absolutely no sense, it isn't an accident.

Why would Indiana get so much of that money? Well, the Republican governor of Indiana is a man named Mitch Daniels. Up until June 2003, Mr. Daniels worked in the White House as Bush's Director of the Office of Management and Budget. During his tenure as the administration's budgetary watch dog, a $236 billion federal budget surplus evaporated into a $400 billion deficit. From 1993 until his administration appointment, Mr. Daniels served as an executive at Eli Lilly & Co. Interestingly, Daniels's name was mentioned as being involved in the insertion of the "Midnight Rider" of the Homeland Security Act in 2002. The bill contained a provision added at the last minute that would block lawsuits against Eli Lilly and Company over the production of a controversial vaccine preservative called "thimerosal" which is 49.6% mercury. Parents of autistic children claim this preservative has caused autism in thousands of children (source, Not exactly something related to 'homeland security'. What a guy! Huzzah for bringing integrity back to the White House!

The other oddity in the database, Wisconsin, is also interesting. Tommy Thompson served as Bush's Secretary of Health and Human Services until 2005. Prior to that he was governor of - you guessed it - Wisconsin. Thompson is currently working in the private sector, no doubt building up a war chest for a Presidential run in 2008. In August 2005 he announced that he was considering forming an exploratory committee for a possible Presidential campaign.

The Department of Homeland Security's asset database, doesn't publish a complete list of all sites, but I bet if a map of those sites was put next to a national Congressional district map, there would be a lot more of these interesting 'coincidences'.

At this point it's fairly obvious that the four year old Department of Homeland Security is nothing more than another political patronage machine. Then again, Bush and company are running things like a 21st century version of Tammany Hall on a national level, complete with election tampering, so why are we surprised. I guess once the people in states like California and New York start voting Republican in national elections, then they'll be able to feel as safe as the 5 employees of the Amish Country Popcorn factory in Berne, Indiana.

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