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:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

May 29, 2017
Jim Kavanagh
No Laughing Matter: The Manchester Bomber is the Spawn of Hillary and Barack’s Excellent Libyan Adventure
Vijay Prashad
The Afghan Toll
Melvin Goodman
The Washington Post’s Renewed Attack on Whistlblowers
Robert Fisk
We Must Look to the Past, Not ISIS, for the True Nature of Islam
Dean Baker
A Tax on Wall Street Trading is the Best Solution to Income Inequality
Lawrence Davidson
Reality and Its Enemies
Harry Hobbs
Australia’s Time to Recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Sovereignty
Ray McGovern
Will Europe Finally Rethink NATO’s Costs?
Cesar Chelala
Poetry to the Rescue of America’s Soul
Andrew Stewart
Xi, Trump and Geopolitics
Binoy Kampmark
The Merry Life of Dragnet Surveillance
Stephen Martin
The Silent Apartheid: Militarizing Architecture & Infrastructure
Weekend Edition
May 26, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Anthony DiMaggio
Swamp Politics, Trump Style: “Russiagate” Diverts From the Real White House Scandals
Paul Street
It’s Not Gonna Be Okay: the Nauseating Nothingness of Neoliberal Capitalist and Professional Class Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
The ICEmen Cometh
Ron Jacobs
The Deep State is the State
Pete Dolack
Why Pence Might be Even Worse Than Trump
Patrick Cockburn
We Know What Inspired the Manchester Attack, We Just Won’t Admit It
Thomas Powell
The Dirty Secret of the Korean War
Mark Ashwill
The Fat Lady Finally Sings: Bob Kerrey Quietly Resigns from Fulbright University Vietnam Leadership Position
John Davis
Beyond Hope
Uri Avnery
The Visitation: Trump in Israel
Ralph Nader
The Left/Right Challenge to the Failed “War on Drugs”
Traci Yoder
Free Speech on Campus: a Critical Analysis
Dave Lindorff
Beware the Supporter Scorned: Upstate New York Trump Voters Hit Hard in President’s Proposed 2018 Budget
Daniel Read
“Sickening Cowardice”: Now More Than Ever, Britain’s Theresa May Must be Held to Account on the Plight of Yemen’s Children
Ana Portnoy
Before the Gates: Puerto Rico’s First Bankruptcy Trial
M. Reza Behnam
Rethinking Iran’s Terrorism Designation
Brian Cloughley
Ukraine and the NATO Military Alliance
Josh Hoxie
Pain as a Policy Choice
David Macaray
Stephen Hawking Needs to Keep His Mouth Shut
Ramzy Baroud
Fear as an Obstacle to Peace: Why Are Israelis So Afraid?
Kathleen Wallace
The Bilious Incongruity of Trump’s Toilet
Seth Sandronsky
Temping Now
Alan Barber – Dean Baker
Blue Collar Blues: Manufacturing Falls in Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania in April
Jill Richardson
Saving America’s Great Places
Richard Lawless
Are Credit Rating Agencies America’s Secret Fifth Column?
Louis Proyect
Venezuela Reconsidered
Murray Dobbin
The NDP’s Singh and Ashton: Flash Versus Vision
Ron Leighton
Endarkenment: Postmodernism, Identity Politics, and the Attack on Free Speech
Anthony Papa
Drug War Victim: Oklahoma’s Larry Yarbrough to be Freed after 23 Years in Prison
Rev. John Dear
A Call to Mobilize the Nation Over the Next 18 Months
Yves Engler
Why Anti-Zionism and Anti-Jewish Prejudice Have to Do With Each Other
Ish Mishra
Political Underworld and Adventure Journalism
Binoy Kampmark
Roger Moore in Bondage
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail