I'm sure every one read this yesterday:
New York has no national monuments or icons, according to the Department of Homeland Security form obtained by ABC News. 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.
Today, the administration explains why the Statue of Liberty won't be defended. You see, it's not because they don't think it's worth protecting, it's because they didn't like NYC's application.
The federal agency distributing $711 million in antiterrorism money to cities around the nation found numerous flaws in New York City's application and gave poor grades to many of its proposals.
Federal officials said yesterday that the city had not only done a poor job of articulating its needs in its application, but had also mishandled the application itself, failing to file it electronically as required, instead faxing its request to Washington.
Okay, that makes perfect sense. New York didn't say "mother may I" or follow the instructions on e-mailing their application, so we have to leave them vulnerable to terror attacks. Otherwise, they'll never learn to follow directions. It's tough love.
I think the Republican mayor of New York has the real reason.
"I think the facts are clear," Bloomberg said. "What they've really done is taken what was supposed to be threat-based and just started to distribute it as normal pork."
New York City isn't the only place to get cut. There is a clear pattern of shifting Homeland Security money from blue states to red states. Are we really to believe that all of the inland states got gold stars for neatness on their applications while all of the coastal states turned in messy homework?
New York, represented by Hillary Clinton, had their budget cut. Washington DC, which always votes Democratic and has no voice in congress, had their budget cut. Washington state, voted for Kerry and has two Democratic Senators, had their budget cut. Florida, run by Bush's brother and with a couple of tough elections this cycle, had their budget increased. Fort Lauderdale, home wild spring break videos, will get more money than Seattle, home of Boeing, the main military aerospace contractor in the US, and Microsoft, the largest manufacturer of computer operating systems on the planet.
Bloomberg is right on the money, the Bush administration has cynically seized a budget, that is supposed to be earmarked for protecting all Americans, and turned it into election year pork, earmarked for protecting Republican seats in congress.
While this isn't the only source of pork in the budget, and pork isn't the only type of support that the administration can offer endangered Republicans, this is very high visibility pork and certainly outweighs many other types of support. When Republican incumbants go before their constituents and ask to be re-elected, what will they say: "sure, I left you more vulnerable to death by bomb-weilding maniacs, but I got funding for the Potato Growers Hall of Fame, and Dick Cheney says he likes me." I think this can be viewed as a kiss-off from the administration to endangered Republicans in the regions that got cut. That, at least, is how I think Democrats should treat it. From now till election day, every Democratic challenger and supporter in a region made more vulnerable should not let a day go by without reminding the voters of that fact and quizzing their Republican opponent on it.
In my neighborhood, Dave Reichert, a Republican of very little brain, represents the district that is home to Microsoft headquarters. I hope his challenger, the very bright Darcy Burner, ponds on this issue. I intend to.