FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Hoosier Hooey

by WERTHER

Indiana, once deemed by National Lampoon to be the country’s most boring state, is nevertheless the hatchery of two notable American bards, Booth Tarkington and Theodore Dreiser. Based on recent news reports, a third Hoosier spinner of tales is poised to join their august ranks.

As spring slipped into the summer before the mid-term elections, this formerly Constitutional Republic began, like clockwork, to experience the predictable drumbeat of terror alerts, terror plots foiled (including year-old rehashings of internet cafe babble), and bogus miracles (e.g., the killing of Zarqawi). Just as predictable, the miasma of fear, like a vague but persistent toothache, crept up in the public consciousness while the President’s approval ratings coincidentally began their gradual ascent from the cellar.

How fortunate, then, for the national sense of humor that the Department of Homeland Security, that paragon of bad management and cronyism, has just provided the public with a bit of security-related comic relief.

On 11 July, the Department’s inspector general released a report on the so-called National Asset Database, a list of critical national infrastructure deemed to be potential terrorist targets.

Amid a catalogue of petting zoos and flea markets, one sovereign state stood out. Indiana, which styles itself the “crossroads of America,” seems to conceive of itself as a crossroads of terrorist activity, as if Terre Haute were Peshawar Province and Indianapolis were Ramadi. The functionaries of Indiana’s government submitted in January a list to DHS containing 8,591 potential terrorist targets, making it the most target-rich environment of the 50 states by far.

The question arises: why was Indiana so extravagantly willing to list its strategic popcorn factories when other states were more reticent? Granted, the entire national list seems heavily tilted towards backwater “Red States,” [1] leading some cynics to opine that the entire exercise of cutting the homeland security funding of New York and Washington D.C., and increasing that of, say, Omaha, was a transparent election-year attempt to reward friends and punish enemies. Yet still, Indiana stands proud like a lighthouse in a bowling alley. Why?

Could it have anything to do with the composition of its current government? Behold the incumbent governor, Mitchell Elias Daniels, Jr.

Daniels is described in a recent critical article [2] as “of Bush’s most loyal shills — the guy who, with a straight face, overstated the budget deficit in order to make increasingly inflated claims about his boss’s ability to reduce it; the guy who, contrary to most serious economists, gave his agency’s approval to administration tax cuts; the guy who oversaw the dismantling of countless workplace and safety regulations at the behest of industry-backed right-wing think tanks.” He was also heartily disliked on Capitol Hill for his inflexible arrogance and machine-like capacity for stating falsehoods in the rote manner of reciting the names in the telephone directory.

Despite the fact that during his tenure as the Director of the Office of Management and Budget the deficit grew like a metastasizing cancer, he gained a reputation as a pinched, cheese-paring cheapskate — a sort of Ebeneezer Scrooge in a Brooks Brothers suit. Given this reputation, why, among all the governors of the 50 states, should his administration submit the most outrageously inflated list of supposed targets in hopes of snaring federal dollars?

Here we see demonstrated, for the umpteenth time, the essential secret of pseudo-conservatism. It is not about fiscal responsibility, it is about rewarding friends in industry under the guise of “cutting government.” Daniels evidently saw a gold mine in the Homeland Security grants residing in the U.S. Treasury. What better way to pad the coffers of the State of Indiana (and have some of it flow to local contractors) without raising taxes on the local peasantry, who might object?

Daniel’s previous position as OMB director equipped him with considerable knowledge of how to game the system. OMB is in charge of compiling and categorizing homeland security funding across the federal government; he would be intimately familiar with sources and availability of funds. And, given the present administration’s rampant cronyism, an alumnus would be better positioned to siphon federal tax dollars in any case.

In 1925, Dreiser penned An American Tragedy. Anno 2006, his successor Hoosier fabulist has written An American Farce.

WERTHER is the pen name of a Northern Virginia-based defense analyst.

[1]The present writer confesses his bafflement at the “red states/blue states” meme. Since the French Revolution, red has been the unvarying symbol of leftism and revolution. Blue was just as surely conservatism and tradition. Any competent psychologist would aver the colors suited the concepts. How was this stasis reversed so rapidly by the 2000 elections and the mere media selection of colors to designate states on a tote-board? Why does the (self-described) most conservative administration since Coolidge proudly proclaim itself “red?” Perhaps the Trotskyite infiltration of the neo-cons has had more effect than just on the foreign policy front.

[2] “The Decline of the MBA Presidency,” by Clay Risen, The New Republic, 11 July 2006,

 

 

 

More articles by:
May 25, 2016
Eric Draitser
Obama in Hiroshima: A Case Study in Hypocrisy
Ryan Mallett-Outtrim
Does Venezuela’s Crisis Prove Socialism Doesn’t Work?
Dan Arel
The Socialist Revolution Beyond Sanders and the Democratic Party
Marc Estrin
Cocky-Doody Politics and World Affairs
Sam Husseini
Layers of Islamophobia: Do Liberals Care That Hillary Returned “Muslim Money”?
Susan Babbitt
Invisible in Life, Invisible in Death: How Information Becomes Useless
Mel Gurtov
Hillary’s Cowgirl Diplomacy?
Kathy Kelly
Hammering for Peace
Dick Reavis
The Impeachment of Donald Trump
Wahid Azal
Behind the Politics of a Current Brouhaha in Iran: an Ex-President Ayatollah’s Daughter and the Baha’is
Jesse Jackson
Obama Must Recommit to Eliminating Nuclear Arms
Colin Todhunter
From the Green Revolution to GMOs: Living in the Shadow of Global Agribusiness
Binoy Kampmark
Turkey as Terror: the Role of Ankara in the Brexit Referendum
Dave Lindorff
72-Year-Old Fringe Left Candidate Wins Presidency in Austrian Run-Off Election
May 24, 2016
Sharmini Peries - Michael Hudson
The Financial Invasion of Greece
Jonathan Cook
Religious Zealots Ready for Takeover of Israeli Army
Ted Rall
Why I Am #NeverHillary
Mari Jo Buhle – Paul Buhle
Television Meets History
Robert Hunziker
Troika Heat-Seeking Missile Destroys Greece
Judy Gumbo
May Day Road Trip: 1968 – 2016
Colin Todhunter
Cheerleader for US Aggression, Pushing the World to the Nuclear Brink
Jeremy Brecher
This is What Insurgency Looks Like
Jonathan Latham
Unsafe at Any Dose: Chemical Safety Failures from DDT to Glyphosate to BPA
Binoy Kampmark
Suing Russia: Litigating over MH17
Dave Lindorff
Europe, the US and the Politics of Pissing and Being Pissed
Matt Peppe
Cashing In at the Race Track While Facing Charges of “Abusive” Lending Practices
Gilbert Mercier
If Bernie Sanders Is Real, He Will Run as an Independent
Peter Bohmer
A Year Later! The Struggle for Justice Continues!
Dave Welsh
Police Chief Fired in Victory for the Frisco 500
May 23, 2016
Conn Hallinan
European Union: a House Divided
Paul Buhle
Labor’s Sell-Out and the Sanders Campaign
Uri Avnery
Israeli Weimar: It Can Happen Here
John Stauber
Why Bernie was Busted From the Beginning
James Bovard
Obama’s Biggest Corruption Charade
Joseph Mangano – Janette D. Sherman
Indian Point Nuclear Plant: It Doesn’t Take a Meltdown to Harm Local Residents
Desiree Hellegers
“Energy Without Injury”: From Redwood Summer to Break Free via Occupy Wall Street
Lawrence Davidson
The Unraveling of Zionism?
Patrick Cockburn
Why Visa Waivers are Dangerous for Turks
Robert Koehler
Rethinking Criminal Justice
Lawrence Wittner
The Return of Democratic Socialism
Ha-Joon Chang
What Britain Forgot: Making Things Matters
John V. Walsh
Only Donald Trump Raises Five “Fundamental and Urgent” Foreign Policy Questions: Stephen F. Cohen Bemoans MSM’s Dismissal of Trump’s Queries
Andrew Stewart
The Occupation of the American Mind: a Film That Palestinians Deserve
Nyla Ali Khan
The Vulnerable Repositories of Honor in Kashmir
Weekend Edition
May 20, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Rob Urie
Hillary Clinton and Political Violence
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail