Royally Kranked

Thursday, June 01, 2006

The Biggest Threat To US Lives & Property Is President Bush Jr

W obviously delights in watching US citizens die and property get destroyed, that's the only logical explanation for the Dept of Homeland Security's decision to cut funding levels for targets at risk from terrorism or natural disasters

4 stories examined here, with each differentiated at the end of the paragraph or text block, and with the NY Times & Washington Post stories, click the newspaper's name for the link that bypasses registrations

NY Times:Security Cuts for New York and Washington

Washington Post:Anti-Terror Funding Cut In D.C. and New York

Associated Press:N.Y., D.C. to get less anti-terror funds

So to keep us safe from future terrorist attacks, the Administration is CUTTING DHS grants to help centered on counter terrorism and natural disasters

The two cities targeted in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks will receive far less counter terrorism money this year in what the
Homeland Security Department described Wednesday as an effort to spread funding to other communities facing threats.(AP)

After vowing to steer a greater share of antiterrorism money to the highest-risk communities, Department of Homeland Security officials on Wednesday announced 2006 grants that slashed money for New York and Washington 40 percent, while other cities including Omaha and Louisville, Ky., got a surge of new dollars. (NYT)

The Department of Homeland Security yesterday slashed anti-terrorism money for Washington and New York, part of an immediately controversial decision to reduce grant funds for major urban areas in the Northeast while providing more to mid-size cities from Jacksonville to Sacramento.

The announcement that the two cities targeted on Sept. 11, 2001, would suffer 40 percent reductions in urban security funds prompted outrage from lawmakers and local officials in both areas, who questioned the wisdom of cutting funds so deeply for cities widely recognized as prime terrorist targets. The decision came less than five months after Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff unveiled changes in the grants plan intended to focus funding on areas facing the gravest risk of attack.

Potential targets outside the Northeast also took painful hits, including New Orleans, San Diego and Phoenix. New Orleans's grants for security and disaster preparedness were cut in half even as it struggles to rebuild after Hurricane Katrina.

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New York's grant plummeted from about $207 million to $124 million. A DHS risk scorecard for the city asserted that the home of the Empire State Building and the Brooklyn Bridge has "zero" national monuments or icons.(WPost)

Representative Peter T. King, Republican of New York, who is chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, said the allocation formula was flawed.

"This is indefensible," Mr. King said. "It's a knife in the back to New York, and I'm going to do everything I can to make them very sorry they made this decision."

He said senior department officials who had briefed him about the grants made clear that they were unimpressed with the city's plan.

For example, New York spends a large share of its grant money to cover overtime costs for police officers who are guarding high-risk targets, like bridges or the subways, a recurring expense.

New York, in the coming year, also intended to spend about $80 million in grants to install a security camera system in the Wall Street area, allowing the police to monitor details as small as license plates, an approach similar to the so-called Ring of Steel in London, said Paul J. Browne, the deputy police commissioner.

But the emphasis on spending on recurring costs — like overtime — was cited as a factor in the relatively low rating the city's application received, one federal official said.

New York officials were given a one-page tally that explained, in part, how the region's risk-based standing was calculated. The document said the region had no "national monuments or icons," four banking or financial firms with assets of over $8 billion, 28 chemical or hazardous material sites, as well as nearly 7,000 other possible important, high-risk targets, like hospitals or major office buildings, a tally that some city officials said had major omissions or errors.

"It's outrageous that these bean counters don't think the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building and Brooklyn Bridge are national monuments or icons," said Jordon Barowitz, a spokesman for Mayor Bloomberg.(NYT)

So, according to DHS, the Empire State Building, the Brooklyn Bridge, Broadway, the Statue of Liberty and the NY Subway System aren't national monuments or icons, and New York, already struck twice by terrorists, shouldn't worry it's pretty little head about getting hit again

That attitude is so mind-boggling, so at odds with reality, that by itself, it completely undercuts the very existence of DHS itself

And overtime for cops guarding high-risk targets is apparently thought of as a luxury, and since it's not a one-time only expense, apparently those who decided about these grants feel it's a waste of money

Is there any logical way to spin this Administrative attitude as actually INCREASING protection from terrorism or natural disasters for those in NYC & DC?

Of course not, it's yet another example of breath taking hypocrisy from an Administration filled with the most unethical and spineless hypocrites in US history

It also is apparent that other cities which were connected to the September 11 Attacks aren't considered to be high-level target potential

In addition to Washington and New York, the grant decisions included a 46 percent drop for San Diego, where several of the Sept. 11 hijackers lived; a 61 percent decrease for Phoenix, where an FBI agent suspected that terrorists were taking flight training; and a 30 percent reduction for Boston, the point of origin of the two jetliners that crashed into the World Trade Center.

Phoenix Mayor Phillip Gordon called the grant reduction from $10 million to $3.9 million "outrageous." He said that Phoenix, the nation's fifth-largest city, includes a network of dams, a nuclear power plant and numerous other potential targets.

"Shame on them," Gordon said. "They are literally stripping the ability to protect this area by actions that are incomprehensible."(WPost)

But surely, if no other city does, New Orleans will get a big boost in funding, seeing as how it's still looks as dismal now as it did immediately after Katrina struck, right?

Well.....

Potential targets outside the Northeast also took painful hits, including New Orleans, San Diego and Phoenix. New Orleans's grants for security and disaster preparedness were cut in half even as it struggles to rebuild after Hurricane Katrina.(WPost)

"At the end of the day our job is to make sure that we apply resources in an appropriate manner across the full breadth of this nation so that we get the maximum benefit out of those dollars," Homeland Security Undersecretary George Foresman told reporters in Washington.

State and local officials also need to budget for disaster preparations, Foresman said, calling the federal grants "designed to help us address the extraordinary, not the ordinary."

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Hurricane-ravaged New Orleans will receive half of what it got last year — $4.6 million, down from $9.3 million — although Homeland Security said the money was to help cities grapple with catastrophic disasters from Mother Nature and terrorists alike.(AP)

For those who survived Katrina with no thanks to the Govt at any level, the description of DHS funds being spent "to address the extraordinary, not the ordinary" must be absolutely galling to read and hear

But really, why should those in New Orleans worry about Hurricane Season, just because it starts today and because the city was almost wiped off the map last year while President Jr dithered about on a fund-raising vacation for an additional three days while New Orleans drowned and people died?

Obviously, since it's happened before, the Administration thinks it won't happen again, ala the old chestnut canard of "lightning never strikes twice in the same place"

Perhaps another look at one statement above will be helpful here, especially as it relates to DHS's financial stewardship

"At the end of the day our job is to make sure that we apply resources in an appropriate manner across the full breadth of this nation so that we get the maximum benefit out of those dollars," Homeland Security Undersecretary George Foresman told reporters in Washington.(AP)

Then pay no attention to FEMA wasting unGodly sums of Katrina relief funds, that would only undercut further any Administrative claims of being better prepared to handle another major disaster, natural or deliberate

And definitely pay no attention to the Administration's massive amount of missing funds in Iraq, as that would also call into question ANY part of this Administration talking about spending funds "in an appropriate manner" "to get maximum benefit of those dollars"

Look at that galling paragraph again, then note the next stand-alone sentence

State and local officials also need to budget for disaster preparations, Foresman said, calling the federal grants "designed to help us address the extraordinary, not the ordinary."

The money generally pays for training and equipment for emergency first responders.(AP)

Let's understand that the MAJOR problem from the 9-11 attacks, and also a big problem in New Orleans after Katrina was the lack of a single communications system

From the 9-11 Commission Report

Radio Communication Challenges:The Effectiveness and Urgency of Evacuation Instructions. As discussed above, the location of the NYPD ESU command post was crucial in making possible an urgent evacuation order explaining the South Tower's full collapse. Firefighters most certainly would have benefited from that information.

A separate matter is the varied success at conveying evacuation instructions to personnel in the North Tower after the South Tower's collapse. The success of NYPD ESU instruction is attributable to a combination of (1) the strength of the radios, (2) the relatively small numbers of individuals using them, and (3) use of the correct channel by all.

The same three factors worked against successful communication among FDNY personnel. First, the radios' effectiveness was drastically reduced in the high-rise environment. Second, tactical channel 1 was simply overwhelmed by the number of units attempting to communicate on it at 10:00. Third, some firefighters were on the wrong channel or simply lacked radios altogether.

It is impossible to know what difference it made that units in the North Tower were not using the repeater channel after 10:00. While the repeater channel was at least partially operational before the South Tower collapsed, we do not know whether it continued to be operational after 9:59.

Even without the repeater channel, at least 24 of the at most 32 companies who were dispatched to and actually in the North Tower received the evacuation instruction-either via radio or directly from other first responders. Nevertheless, many of these firefighters died, either because they delayed their evacuation to assist civilians, attempted to regroup their units, lacked urgency, or some combination of these factors. In addition, many other firefighters not dispatched to the North Tower also died in its collapse. Some had their radios on the wrong channel. Others were off-duty and lacked radios. In view of these considerations, we conclude that the technical failure of FDNY radios, while a contributing factor, was not the primary cause of the many firefighter fatalities in the North Tower.209

The FDNY has worked hard in the past several years to address its radio deficiencies. To improve radio capability in high-rises, the FDNY has internally developed a "post radio" that is small enough for a battalion chief to carry to the upper floors and that greatly repeats and enhances radio signal strength.210

The story with respect to Port Authority police officers in the North Tower is less complicated; most of them lacked access to the radio channel on which the Port Authority police evacuation order was given. Since September 11, the Port Authority has worked hard to integrate the radio systems of their different commands.(9-11 Official Report)

Washington's deputy mayor for public safety, Edward D. Reiskin, said possible cutbacks will include $25 million planned for communications infrastructure and $10 million for "mass care shelters" to house people displaced from their homes.

"I think it's shortsighted for the federal government to cut funds this way," Williams said at his weekly news briefing. "We remain a target area."(WPost)

So the quickest way to develop an easily-accessible single communications system for use by the first responders is to cut back on precisely such funding for New York, DC and New Orleans?

Better communications, ESPECIALLY a single communications system that can be accessed by all first responders-as opposed to the patchwork of such systems used on September 11-mean more lives saved, which means it's not something the Administration should try to fund on the cheap

Apparently, that view makes perfect sense to the Administration and those running the DHS

And with this Administration the most secrecy-obsessed in US History, apparently DHS thinks the "Just trust us" excuse should be a sufficient answer to any question about how this funding was arrived at and decided upon

Homeland Security's grant programs have drawn criticism from cities both large and small; many have felt slighted by what they maintained was a haphazard and unfair distribution plan. This year's round of grants was supposed to ensure that enough money goes to areas at highest risk of terrorist attack by employing risk scores, effectiveness tests and 17 "peer review" panels consisting of homeland security professionals from 47 states.

But department officials struggled yesterday to defend the latest outcome even as lawmakers in both parties denounced them. Most experts and many government officials had expected that the new review process would lead to more money, rather than less, for major terrorist targets such as Washington and New York.

Tracy A. Henke, assistant secretary for grants and training, told reporters that the new funding distribution was the result of a better review process and does not indicate lesser risk for cities such as Washington or New York. Officials noted that Congress had cut the program by about $125 million in 2006, to $711 million, and that New York, Washington and other major cities still would receive the largest shares.

"We have to understand that there is risk throughout the nation," Henke said. "We worked very hard to make sure that there was fairness in the process."

The department refused to release the names of panel members or other details about the review boards.(WPost)

Who you gonna believe, the Administration or your own lyin' eyes?

And lets take a look at those numbers regarding DHS grants

Breakdown: Homeland Security grants

The Homeland Security Department divided $740 million among 46 cities Wednesday as part of a $1.7 billion counter terrorism grant fund for 2006. While each state will get some money, the grants for cities make up the largest chunk of the funding, which has always been the subject of fierce lobbying by local leaders and members of Congress.

A state-by-state look at what the cities got this year, compared to 2005:

ARIZONA. Phoenix: $3.9 million in 2006, $9.9 million in 2005.

CALIFORNIA. Anaheim/Santa Ana: $11.9 million, down from $19.8 million; San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose-Bay Area: $28.3 million, $33 million; Los Angeles/Long Beach: $80.6 million, $69 million; Sacramento: $7.3 million from $6 million; San Diego: $7.9 million from $14.7 million.

COLORADO. Denver: $4.3 million, down from $8.7 million.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA (encompasses the National Capital Region, including Washington and its Maryland and Virginia suburbs). $46.4 million from $77.5 million.

FLORIDA. Ft. Lauderdale: $9.9 million, from zero; Jacksonville: $9.2 million, from $6.8 million; Miami: $15.9 million, from $15.8 million; Orlando: $9.4 million, from zero; Tampa: $8.8 million, from $7.7 million.

GEORGIA. Atlanta: $18.6 million, down from $13.1 million.

HAWAII. Honolulu: $4.7 million, from $6.4 million.

ILLINOIS. Chicago: $52.2 million, from $45 million.

INDIANA. Indianapolis: $4.3 million, from $5.6 million.

KENTUCKY. Louisville: $8.5 million, from $5 million.

LOUISIANA. Baton Rouge: $3.7 million, from $5.2 million; New Orleans: $4.6 million, from $9.3 million.

MASSACHUSSETS. Boston: $18.2 million, from $26 million.

MARYLAND. Baltimore: $9.6 million, from $11.3 million.

MICHIGAN. Detroit: $18.6 million, from $17 million.

MINNESOTA. Minneapolis/St. Paul: $4.3 million, from $5.7 million.

MISSOURI. Kansas City: $9.2 million, from $8.2 million; St. Louis: $9.2 million, from $7 million.

NORTH CAROLINA. Charlotte: $8.9 million, from $5.4 million.

NEBRASKA. Omaha: $8.3, from $5.1 million.

NEW JERSEY. Jersey City/Newark: $34.3 million, from $19 million.

NEVADA. Las Vegas: $7.7 million, from $8.4 million.

NEW YORK. Buffalo: $3.7 million, from $7.2 million; New York City: $124 million, from $207 million.

OHIO. Cincinnati: $4.6 million, from $5.8 million; Cleveland: $4.7 million, from $7.3 million; Columbus: $4.3 million, from $7.5 million; Toledo: $3.8 million, from $5.3 million.

OKLAHOMA. Oklahoma City: $4.1 million, from $5.5 million.

OREGON. Portland: $9.3 million, from $10.3 million.

PENNSYLVANIA. Philadelphia: $19.5 million, from $22.8 million; Pittsburgh: $4.8 million, from $9.6 million.

TENNESSEE. Memphis: $4.2 million, from zero.

TEXAS. Dallas/Fort Worth/Arlington: $13.8 million, from $24 million; Houston: $16.6 million, from $18.5 million; San Antonio: $4.4 million, from $5.9 million.

WASHINGTON. Seattle: $9.1 million, from $11.8 million.

WISCONSIN. Milwaukee: $8.5 million, from $6.3 million.

In the name of beefing up security "Fighting them over there so we don't fight them here", in the name of more efficient rescue & relief operations due to natural disasters, in the name of better disaster preparedness, most of the cities and locations get their funding cut

Since I live in Texas, those are the funding cuts that stood out in terms of W's sheer disinterest as it relates to using the enormous power of his bully pulpit to move all manners of Heaven & Earth to repair the damage wrought by Katrina & Rita

All three cities listed have their 2006 funding cut from their 2005 levels, a hell of a way to say "Thanks" to the people that twice elected him Governor.

For President Jr, apparently having the White House branch in Crawford is enough "Thanks" the State of Texas should ever expect to receive

1 Comments:

  • All we are is a bunch of ingrates. I have to wonder if that release of veteran information was meant to silence us completely. Just an opinion.

    By Blogger AMYADOPTEE, at 9:59 AM  

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