Tuesday, March 07, 2006

GOP: "Ports? What Ports?"

The AP, surely to be derided once again by wingnuts as suffering from "liberal bias" reminds us today of just how shitty the GOP has been on port security.

--In 2003, House Republicans, on a procedural vote, agreed to kill a Democratic amendment that would have added $250 million for port security grants to a war spending package.

--Two years later, nearly all House Republicans voted against an alternative Homeland Security authorization bill offered by Democrats that called for an additional $400 million for port security.

--Senate Republicans stood together in 2003 to set aside a Democratic amendment that would have provided $120 million more for port cargo screening equipment.

--One year later, all but six Senate Republicans voted to reject a Democratic attempt to add $150 million for port security in a Homeland Security appropriations bill.

Feel free to recite these stats to any winger you encounter that is desperately clinging to the "Dems are soft on security" meme.

Oh, and in case you missed the original, here's a NYT article from February 2005 illustrating just how pathetic the Republicans have been on the issue.

The Department of Homeland Security has allocated hundreds of millions of dollars to protect ports since Sept. 11 without sufficiently focusing on those that are most vulnerable, a policy that could compromise the nation's ability to better defend against terrorist attacks, the department's inspector general has concluded.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars has been invested in redundant lighting systems and unnecessary technical equipment, the audit found, but "the program has not yet achieved its intended results in the form of actual improvement in port security."


The audit results appear to support criticism voiced last September by Senator Frank R. Lautenberg, Democrat of New Jersey, who complained in a letter to President Bush that the methods used to grant the awards did not make sense.

"Your administration awarded port security grants in the states of Oklahoma, Kentucky, New Hampshire and Tennessee," Mr. Lautenberg wrote. "While there may be some form of maritime facilities in these locations, I question whether, of the nation's 361 maritime ports, these locations are truly the front lines on the war on terror."


The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, in four rounds of port security grants, received $6.2 million, or 1 percent of the total grants given out through the primary port security financing source, according to federal documents.

When other New York-based government agencies and private corporations are added in, the grants to the New York City area rise to about $35 million, about 7 percent of the total. The port handles 12 percent of the nation's cargo traffic. Much of the grant money directed to New York went to profit-making oil terminal companies, like Sunoco Logistics Partners, to help them pay for security enhancements.

Go get the rest, including the "questionable projects" listed at the end. The GOP's record on port security is beyond-the-pale neglectful and shoddy, and evidence of it is easily found with the most cursory searches.

Turns out that biblical prophesy is fulfilled in the Republican party after all. Behold the feet of clay.


les said...

It's about damn time you got back to work. And what don't you get? The repubs said they're agin' the terrorists, and if you'd just clap harder we'd all be fine. Spineless gutbuckets, all of 'em.

Cantankerous Bitch said...

I know.... I'm SUCH a slacker.

And you're right, my incredulity is totally misplaced. Tragic, isn't it?