Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Pledge Now and Get Michael Chertoff’s Excuse-a-Day Calendar

It has been almost a week since Michael Chertoff announced the new allocations of Department of Homeland Security anti-terrorism aid money that cut New York’s funding by 40%. This cut left many around the country, and practically everyone in New York City, scratching their heads as to how DHS had arrived at this formula.

Apparently, it left some at DHS scratching their heads, too. . . or so it would seem. Let’s look at the ever-changing list of reasons given for the new allocations (in roughly chronological order):

Yes, that’s right, that’s a new excuse for every single day the new allocations have been public. And, what’s extra-special about this Pu Pu platter of prevarication, is that it’s not a bunch of aides to undersecretaries going off half-cocked—most of this garbage came straight out of the frighteningly thin lips of DHS chief Chertoff, himself.

Add to the “official” reasons listed above New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s radio comments that the cut was “payback” for his and police chief Ray Kelly going public with a terror “threat” last fall (just two hours before the Mayor was to be a no-show for an election-year debate with his Democratic challenger Fernando Ferrer) despite federal officials protestations that the threat was unsubstantiated, and Senator Charles Schumer’s contention that the DHS cuts, when viewed in tandem with CDC cuts to New York, show that “politics are involved” (gee, Chuck, you think?), and you have more different justifications than there are days since the May 31st announcement.

Of course, there are some real issues to go with the surreal idiocy that is Michael Chertoff’s Department of Homeland Security. I actually think it is possible that Ray Kelly and his crew delivered a substandard application, and we have had very little leadership from the White House (I’m sorry, I meant to say “NO leadership”) as to prioritizing threats, and that leaves all applicants a bit at sea. There likely is some political payback for Bloomberg and Kelly’s election-year stunt, and so it is the mayor and police chief that must share some of the blame. And, it is hard to believe that politics aren’t involved in some way.

But, the real issue, the elephant in the room, is that DHS grants were cut overall—to $1.7 billion from $2.4 billion—in order to provide tax cuts for the super-rich, and “pay” for the Medicare drug debacle and that sinkhole known as Iraq.

"That speaks volumes about the president's priorities," said New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg. "The president is drastically cutting homeland security funding at home at the same time we are spending over a billion dollars a week in Iraq."

And, speaking of presidential priorities. . . defending the homeland doesn’t seem half as important as "defending" marriage.

Obviously, Bush does have his priorities screwed up. After all, you can’t get married if you’re dead.

(cross-posted over at Daily Kos)


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