Minnesota Democratic Congressman Martin Sabo, top Democrat on the Homeland Security Appropriations Committee offered an amendment yesterday to beef up funding for port security. In a nutshell, the money would have been targeted at two of the most controversial and heated topics brought up during the Dubai deal -- container and port inspections, and disaster preparedness response and recovery. It would require 100% scanning of shipping containers... only an increase of about 95% over what is currently inspected, and would have provided drastically needed communication capabilities to strategic and critical locations nationwide.
How dare they!
Contrary to the other side's spin, Dems have been asking for more security for our ports and other high-risk areas since 9/11, and have been shut out or shut down. The comeback from the Reps is that they have increased spending for port security at a level higher than what even G.W. wanted. What we get, and they don't seem to (or don't want to), is that like the V.A. budget, a token increase to help you look better to your constituents or better yet, campaign contributors, just doesn't cut it if it isn't nearly enough to provide what is realistically NEEDED.
So, another attempt at securing American ports, and another shut down by the Republican majority in Congress. Big surprise. And they say Dems are the yella' ones. How, in anyone's mind (save for the 30-whatever percent left of fright-wing kool-aid drinkers who mindlessly support moron Bush and Co.) could this be justified? It's too amazing to be comprehensible.
Not only would this move have made our ports safer and more secure in this horrific and scary post 9/11 world, but with the need for the use of tried and true, as well as new and innovative technology, the move could have also created, dare I say it, JOBS. Not just jobs, but livable-wage jobs. No, let me take it even further... careers. We used to have those before they were outsourced. As a quick side note to that, how ironic it is now that the countries we've outsourced to are losing in the deal when an even cheaper labor force is found.
Anyway, my trust in the new Republicans is nil, so I wouldn't bother wasting my breath or typing skills to ask one of the spinners outright. I still want to know how risking the lives of all Americans fits in with the conservative agenda. I've been wondering that all along. The decisions made by this Congress make no sense, and it is maddenning. It flat out drives me crazy. Then, I read a great piece in a recent issue of "The Nation" and was reminded about Bush's statement that he was going to run the country like a corporation, with him as CEO (a position he failed miserably at in the private sector, so why... anyway, at least you get it). If you look at his decisions so far from a completely corporate-loving perspective, his moves make sense. It also explains their complete disdain for anything government, or in fact, anything that doesn't produce more money at any cost -- you know, like the most vulnerable and public-coffer draining among us.
Needless to say lately, like many Progressives, I've been feeling like an emotional yo-yo. On the one hand, optimistic by the grass-roots efforts and coming together of the Progressive community, and the few back-bone exposing moments on the side of the Dems (thank you Russ Feingold!) to stand up, speak, and at least get the Reps' snubbing of American law and human morality on the public record. On the other hand I feel deeply frustrated, angry, and saddenned by the daily toxic spill of garbage coming from D.C. in the form of a flag-draped marriage between the few elite powerholders in our nation's capitol, and big money, either in the form of corporate entities or next-Gen wealthies who wouldn't have a clue how to actually work for a dollar.
The current government is most likely to go into the history books as the worst ever. The worst ever I say confidently, because we know better, and there is NO EXCUSE for the actions of this administration. There is no basis for ignorance.
If anything gives me comfort in these times, it is the fact that during our short history, our nation and our people have fought these battles before, but reason and humanity have triumphed. Unfortunately, until the Dems win back the majority in Congress, hope and the desire for reason back in government is not a good enough safety net to protect our ports.
Port funding story link: http://thinkprogress.org/...