August 21, 2007

Homeland Security

Interesting article in the Buffalo News over the weekend about New York State receiving supplemental Homeland Security funding to the tune of $55 million with a whopping $311,000 coming to Buffalo/Erie County/Niagara County and the rest going to New York City.

Of that small portion for Western New York, you can bet very little of that will find its way to Niagara County. According to the article, most will go for Maritime Security.

Now follow my train of thought on Homeland Security, and note this really gets me angry:

1) The Canadian border represents such a terrorist threat that we must make it damn near impossible for people to cross the border, creating delays that last several hours. We don't care if we kill tourism and impact trade, we must protect Western New York from all the terrorists who want to shop at the Outlets....BUT......

2) Western New York is not really at any risk for terrorism so we don't see any reason to make any significant investment in the region when it comes to Homeland Security dollars.

This inconsistency is typical bureaucratic doublespeak and yet I don't see any federal elected officials calling them on the carpet over this nonsense.

We get government agencies making decisions that sound good in press releases yet have zero appreciation for the huge ramifications they have on border communities such as ours.


Turk 182 said...

More nonsense from the bozos in the White House and throughout the federal bureaucracy who have no idea of the difference between the North and South border and no idea how to develop a rational homeland security policy.

I'm less concerned with the $$$ than the border crossing issues. Tell me why an enhanced driver's license isn't the answer?

Bob Confer said...

Great observation! The federal doublespeak is offensive. To them the border is dangerous enough that they want to ram the passport program down our throats, but when it comes to real defensive and preventive applications they balk.

A report was issued last week indicating that the Northeast is a hotbed for Islamic fundamentalist activity. Couple that with the Toronto metro area's population of the same and we're surrounded!

Save metros like NYC and Boston, Niagara County is truly unique in the Northeast as to what it offers as targets. We have three international bridges, the GI bridge, nuclear waste galore, one of the largest hydroelectric plants in the US, a military base, an airport, international craft and shipments moving across our lake, millions of tourists, bunches of chemical plants and so much more. I could go on and on.

We need the ability to stave off the whackos. If we can see it, why can't our fearless "leaders"?

Mr. Pink said...

I agree with all the postings on this and especially like Bob's observations about Niagara County's uniqueness in all of this.

One would think that an border security and border efficiency could both be gained by investments in technology and some good logisitics planning....but that would take effort.

I guess it's just easier to force everyone to get passports to cross the border.

Larry Castellani said...

We could explain this by excusing the bureaucrats as incompetent. We could explain it by accusing them of an error in judgement. Or we could suspect that they simply don't represent our interests. By all evidence and appearances, they really don't represent us. If Katrina was any indication of unforgiveable bureaucratic failure to represent the dire need and interests of a local area and they overlook all the concerns that they should have for us (as Bob Confer so clearly pointed out), then it seems we could only suspect that their lack of objective concern for this area reflects the fact that they essentially and historically have not represented us for some time. Nevertheless it is we who are really at fault. How have "we" appraised our situation and demanded that our interests be protected? To what extent have "we" really gotten that if we aren't prepared and organized to value ourselves and make our worth known, "they" obviously are not going to do it??? "We" are still poised to hope and expect Big Brother to take care of us. And so we get "doublespeak" at best and irrational, insulting action at worst. No, I don't pretend to have an immediate answser as to how to address this in action, but complaining about the ongoing bureaucratic travesty in America isn't the solution either. Yes, we need to stay aware and informed, but for what? Until the next bureaucratic fiasco that frustrates and infuriates??? But with a virtually totally unprotected southern border, why shold I take the whole Homeland Security paranoia seriously? Personally I don't. It's smoke and mirrors, Sportsfans! We're upset about the wrong things.

Mr. Pink said...


It's a lot to read through your posts, but I find your philosophy interesting. Agreeing that the bureaucracy cares little about real problem solving, I can understand how "we" are at fault in a representative democracy for not taking the necessary actions to hold our leaders accountable. Quite frankly, the self-imposed disenfranchisement of much of the American electorate will be the eventual end to this country as we have known it for the last 200 years.

But if you don't believe the border to be one of the top issues facing us...given it's importance to both security and commerce...I'm curious as to what issues you think we should be addressing.

Larry Castellani said...

MR. Pink,
It's not that I don't take border protection and national security itself seriously; it's that I don't take the administration's framing of the issue seriously. Obviously an unprotected southern border is serious in light of likely terrorist incursions at that that border. But the point is that it's blatantly contradictory, is it not, that such a border would be unprotected while the populace is being induced to hysteria about terrorists? Well certainly we should be concerned and possibly hysterical, but only because the administration unabashedly perpetuates the conditions under which terrorists have free rein to enter the country. If we could honestly believe that Bush and Cheney were serious about "terrorism", then possibly I could be concerrned on their terms. But the southern border is the 800 pound gorilla in the middle of the living room that nobody wants to seriously talk about. Business is more important. Cheap labor in the California fruit and vegetable fields is more important, than American security and integrity. My issue is how to return political power to people such that they can restore to themselves the individual and cultural freedom, autonomy and integrity that the American political idea symbolizes and can still realize. However, America is presently being turned into a tool of a capitalist class, that does not respect the real virtues of capitalism, the power and beauty of democracy nor the well-rounded fulfillment of the individual personality as the measure of social abundance and progress. They want to reduce America to a consumption oriented breeding ground of automatons who will follow their every command. America is for them only a launching pad to complete the project of global empire. We don't have over 700 military bases around the world for nothing. And Bush & C0. are not will to spend billions for nothing. America will be used up for the purposes of this New Class of bureaucratic-technocratic mangerial elite power brokers and militarists. Unfortunately, they are also likely to create the conditions for absolute war on a global scale. Only a return to the sanctity of self-determining neo-populist community can restore people to the kind of democratic power that can take back our country and restore it to its place as our home. The people should be understood as having intrinsic value within the cultures of communal living and not as the instrumental value of being useful as workers, warriors and the whores of an expansionist capitalism out of control.

Mr. Pink said...


Very fair retort. Capitalism is an important tool in democracy and freedom, but in many cases it is being bastardized in an effort by a few to create enormous wealth at the expense of others.

Government action to create conflicts that cost us lives but enable the power elite to financially benefit is not part of any theory on capitalism that I ever learned.