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

March 29, 2017
Jeffrey Sommers
Donald Trump and Steve Bannon: Real Threats More Serious Than Fake News Trafficked by Media
David Kowalski
Does Washington Want to Start a New War in the Balkans?
Patrick Cockburn
Bloodbath in West Mosul: Civilians Being Shot by Both ISIS and Iraqi Troops
Ron Forthofer
War and Propaganda
Matthew Stevenson
Letter From Phnom Penh
James Bovard
Peanuts Prove Congress is Incorrigible
Thomas Knapp
Presidential Golf Breaks: Good For America
Binoy Kampmark
Disaster as Joy: Cyclone Debbie Strikes
Peter Tatchell
Human Rights are Animal Rights!
George Wuerthner
Livestock Grazing vs. the Sage Grouse
Jesse Jackson
Trump Should Form a Bipartisan Coalition to Get Real Reforms
Thomas Mountain
Rwanda Indicts French Generals for 1994 Genocide
Clancy Sigal
President of Pain
Andrew Stewart
President Gina Raimondo?
Lawrence Wittner
Can Our Social Institutions Catch Up with Advances in Science and Technology?
March 28, 2017
Mike Whitney
Ending Syria’s Nightmare will Take Pressure From Below 
Mark Kernan
Memory Against Forgetting: the Resonance of Bloody Sunday
John McMurtry
Fake News: the Unravelling of US Empire From Within
Ron Jacobs
Mad Dog, Meet Eris, Queen of Strife
Michael J. Sainato
State Dept. Condemns Attacks on Russian Peaceful Protests, Ignores Those in America
Ted Rall
Five Things the Democrats Could Do to Save Their Party (But Probably Won’t)
Linn Washington Jr.
Judge Neil Gorsuch’s Hiring Practices: Privilege or Prejudice?
Philippe Marlière
Benoît Hamon, the Socialist Presidential Hopeful, is Good News for the French Left
Norman Pollack
Political Cannibalism: Eating America’s Vitals
Bruce Mastron
Obamacare? Trumpcare? Why Not Cubacare?
David Macaray
Hollywood Screen and TV Writers Call for Strike Vote
Christian Sorensen
We’ve Let Capitalism Kill the Planet
Rodolfo Acuna
What We Don’t Want to Know
Binoy Kampmark
The Futility of the Electronics Ban
Andrew Moss
Why ICE Raids Imperil Us All
March 27, 2017
Robert Hunziker
A Record-Setting Climate Going Bonkers
Frank Stricker
Why $15 an Hour Should be the Absolute Minimum Minimum Wage
Melvin Goodman
The Disappearance of Bipartisanship on the Intelligence Committees
Patrick Cockburn
ISIS’s Losses in Syria and Iraq Will Make It Difficult to Recruit
Russell Mokhiber
Single-Payer Bernie Morphs Into Public Option Dean
Gregory Barrett
Can Democracy Save Us?
Dave Lindorff
Budget Goes Military
John Heid
Disappeared on the Border: “Chase and Scatter” — to Death
Mark Weisbrot
The Troubling Financial Activities of an Ecuadorian Presidential Candidate
Robert Fisk
As ISIS’s Caliphate Shrinks, Syrian Anger Grows
Michael J. Sainato
Democratic Party Continues Shunning Popular Sanders Surrogates
Paul Bentley
Nazi Heritage: the Strange Saga of Chrystia Freeland’s Ukrainian Grandfather
Christopher Ketcham
Buddhism in the Storm
Thomas Barker
Platitudes in the Wake of London’s Terror Attack
Mike Hastie
Insane Truths: a Vietnam Vet on “Apocalypse Now, Redux”
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail