Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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March 26, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

CHEMICAL SECURITY....As we all know, 9/11 changed everything. Take chemical plants, for example. Their owners really dislike the idea of being forced to spend money on onerous safeguards against terrorist attacks, but after 9/11 their allies in the Republican Party told them politely but firmly that this attitude would have to change. Protecting America against terrorism was more important than short-term chemical industry profits.

I'm just kidding, of course. As Jon Chait writes today, after the industry's lobbyists went to work the Republican Party folded like a house of cards and conservative hawks folded right along with them:

One of the few times I've seen a conservative even engage the issue of Bush's inaction on chemical security is in a book called "Bush Country," a paean to Bush's wisdom and greatness. The author, John Podhoretz, labels the idea that Bush has fallen short on homeland security a "crazy liberal idea." He cites a 2003 article I wrote in the New Republic detailing the GOP's initial cave-in on the chemical plant security bill. Podhoretz was aghast that the bill "would have authorized civil and criminal actions against plant managers and officials who supposedly weren't doing enough to secure their facilities."

Why is this bad? Because "such law would turn Americans against each other rather than allow them to focus on the true, external threat." Our very social fabric would be torn brother against brother, chemical plant owner against nonchemical plant owner. Much better to leave the plants unprotected than risk those bitter divisions.

Podhoretz goes on to argue, in a manner revealing of the conservative mind-set, that my critique of the situation "flies in the face of the passionate seriousness with which Bush has addressed the issue of homeland security and the war on terror." Let me translate: We know Bush is serious about homeland security because he says he is.

Port security? Chemical plant security? Pshaw. It's an infringement of private enterprise and not really necessary anyway.

Invading Iraq? Bombing Iran? Worth every penny. After all, don't you know there are al-Qaeda terrorists who might try to target our ports and chemical plants next?

Kevin Drum 6:25 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (63)

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Comments

Kevin, I knew you wanted to turn brother against brother!! You just hate America!

Safety is nice, but having a civil tone and profits for our great heroic companies is certainly most important.

Posted by: Freedom Phucker on March 26, 2006 at 6:29 PM | PERMALINK

Hey! You're making it sound like Republicans are hypocrites who just use "terrorism" as a bogie man to scare people into doing whatever it is that they want!

And we know that's not true...

Posted by: craigie on March 26, 2006 at 6:32 PM | PERMALINK

yeah, and knowing what you know about these criminals you STILL supported the war, Kevin Drum. So lump it. I sure as hell will never forget and you deserve every damn bit of what you get.

Posted by: slammin' sammy on March 26, 2006 at 6:32 PM | PERMALINK

hell he's unserious about the whole g-ddamn WOT unless it benefits profit margins.

Posted by: Digital Amish on March 26, 2006 at 6:34 PM | PERMALINK

Drum - what was the "chemical plant security bill" ??

I'd bet my Chevy it was written by Democrats. Bet it was more gravy for the unions, not a real security solution.

Democrats are out to toss bones to their union backers.

Posted by: Paddy Whack on March 26, 2006 at 6:36 PM | PERMALINK

Isn't Jon Chait the guy who admits he hates Bush?

Posted by: BigRiver on March 26, 2006 at 6:37 PM | PERMALINK

BigRiver, Paddy Whack, have to agree with you. Sounds like Kevin Drum's trying to soft-peddle partisan proposals by liberal Democrats again.

Posted by: Al on March 26, 2006 at 6:41 PM | PERMALINK

Isn't Jon Chait the guy who admits he hates Bush?

I believe the phrase he used was "I hate Bush with the intensity of a thousand suns."

And this issue helps explain why.

Posted by: craigie on March 26, 2006 at 6:41 PM | PERMALINK

Why waste your time critiquing any of the bloggers on the Corner? You might as well collect some mosquitoes in a coffee cup and shoot them with a cannon.

Posted by: lib on March 26, 2006 at 6:41 PM | PERMALINK

>Isn't Jon Chait the guy who admits he hates Bush?


Probably. Pretty much every thinking person does, nowadays.

But you just wuv him to death, don't you Big River? Your Big Leader, do you fall asleep at night to visions of being wrapped in his arms??? And that bad, mean Jon just doesn't wike Daddy and that makes you mad and not wanna listen, doesn't it?

Grow the fuck up, please. "Irrational Bush Hatred" is not a comeback no matter how much you wish it was. Bush hatred is in fact rational, ask 2/3 of the population.

Posted by: doesn't matter on March 26, 2006 at 6:44 PM | PERMALINK

No attacks against chemical plants in America are listed in the Grand Plan to Create Fascist America.

Waste of resources don`t ya see ?

"...playin with matches in a pool of gasoline..." - Swamp Mama Johnson

Posted by: daCascadian on March 26, 2006 at 7:04 PM | PERMALINK

Liberals are stuck in a positive feedback loop which enahnces their hatred for the Commander-in-Chief with each passing day.

The best course of action for the logical and fair-minded patriots is to just let them sink in the morass of their own making, as November 2004 showed so well, and as is going to be further confirmed by the elections in 2006 and 2008, and perhaps in all the elections for a generation to come.

Posted by: tbrosz on March 26, 2006 at 7:06 PM | PERMALINK

In bizarro wingnut metaphysics, the War in Iraq, even if the cost requires underfunding port security, is port security. Just like tax cuts for our wealthiest citizens are sacrosanct because they increase the port security of Americans buying property on St. Bart's and Martinique. (I know, it only makes sense if you get the special 4D glasses.)

Fun exercise: after listening to a Keyboard Kojonist go on endlessly about how the Iraq debacle is a Battle for Civilization worthy of any sacrifice we can...nay indeed must...make, ask them which tax cut they're willing to surrender for the cause.

Posted by: R.Porrofatto on March 26, 2006 at 7:16 PM | PERMALINK

I'd bet my Chevy it was written by Democrats. Bet it was more gravy for the unions, not a real security solution.

There's this amazing invention called the Internet where you can do this research yourself! Though, since I'm in a giving mood, I'll do the research for you.

Lessee... you win the prize for sponsorship by a bevy of Democrats, but as for the actual bill itself?

``(2) $1,300,000,000 for discretionary grants for use in high-threat, high-density urban areas, as determined by the Secretary of Homeland Security: Provided, That $150,000,000 shall be for port security grants; $15,000,000 shall be for trucking industry security grants; $10,000,000 shall be for intercity bus security grants; $150,000,000 shall be for rail and transit security grants; $100,000,000 shall be for enhancing the security of chemical plants''.

That's it. $100 mil in grants as dictated by the Secretary of Homeland Security. Doesn't look like a union giveaway to me. Oops. Feel free to drive to Cleveland to drop off your Chevy anytime.

Posted by: Dustbin Of History on March 26, 2006 at 7:20 PM | PERMALINK

Uh huh, tbrosz. And what about the chemical plants?

Posted by: SqueakyRat on March 26, 2006 at 7:22 PM | PERMALINK

Uhm, I don't remember the Pelosi/Reid/Kennedy/Dean Democrats pushing for chemical plant security.

Did I miss some major issue in the 2004 election?

Has Reid or Pelosi gone to the mat over chemical plant security? Or is this Chait article more mindless Bush-bashing?

Posted by: Frequency Kenneth on March 26, 2006 at 7:45 PM | PERMALINK

Bet it was more gravy for the unions, not a real security solution.

Yeah Kevin, all the gravy is earmarked for Halliburton, Bechtel, and the Coalition Provisional Crooks doncha know.

Posted by: ckelly on March 26, 2006 at 7:58 PM | PERMALINK

I googled "Jonathan + Chait + Hatred".

Some amazing stuff about Chait. He wrote an article called, "The Case for Bush Hatred," where he argues that hating Bush is a good strategy for the Dems.


That was in 2003. Looks like the Hating Bush strategy isn't working out too well, Chait!

Posted by: Frequency Kenneth on March 26, 2006 at 7:59 PM | PERMALINK

Did I miss some major issue in the 2004 election?

Apparently you missed them all if you voted for Bush.

And once again FreqK, read this slowly...Since the Republicans control Congress and the Presidency, perhaps they are the party that should make some headway on chemical and port security. That is, if they are seriously interested in national security instead of simply utilizing "FEAR" to win elections. Oh, nevermind.

Posted by: ckelly on March 26, 2006 at 8:04 PM | PERMALINK


And here's the good news.

Only 30 people beheaded today in Iraq.

Posted by: 6 on March 26, 2006 at 8:09 PM | PERMALINK

Unless the Democrats have been pushing this chemical plant security issue, don't expect the Dems to get any traction on the issue in the elections.

Just makes the Dems look opportunistic.

Posted by: Paddy Whack on March 26, 2006 at 8:12 PM | PERMALINK

Let's see...

Wingnut A says that chem plant security cannot be an important issue, because the Dems support.

Wingnut B says that chem plant security cannot be an important issue, because Dems *don't* support it.

It's amazing how every possible fact pattern can be used to excuse the incompetence of GWB.

Posted by: Disputo on March 26, 2006 at 8:14 PM | PERMALINK

Civil suit?

Is this another trial lawyer payoff instead of other regulatory alternatives e.g. fines?

Posted by: McA on March 26, 2006 at 8:20 PM | PERMALINK

Is it me, or are the trolls a little (lowering voice) desperate?

They sound like a bunch of 16-year-old girls defending the same guy after he knocked them all up, gave them all STDs, borrowed all their allowance money and then stopped returning their calls. But, you know, he's the father of their children, so he deserves their support.

Posted by: shortstop on March 26, 2006 at 8:24 PM | PERMALINK

Note Chait's little comment: the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works passed it 19-1. Real Democratic partisanship, there. But then "lobbyists for the chemical industry went to work and persuaded Republicans to kill the bill, which they did." Actually, an article several months ago revealed that the man who persuaded the GOP Congress to kill the bill -- who, in fact, worked his tail off to do so -- was none other than Karl Rove, who in a speech to chemical company owners expressed his concern that such requirements "would seriously cut into your profit margins". And we all KNOW how serious Karl is about national security, except when it interferes with GOP campaign fundraising from business groups.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on March 26, 2006 at 8:28 PM | PERMALINK

Chemical plant security. Power plant security. Air and ship cargo security.

Every one of these represents money out of some rich guy's pocket -- and so it will never ever happen as long as the Republicans are in charge.

Intrustive searches at airports. Indefinite detention without charges. Warrantless searches and wiretapping. These are all infringements of personal civil rights -- and as long as the Republicans are in charge, we can all expect that they'll demand we give up more and more of these "essential liberties" in exchange for the illusion of security.

Posted by: Technowitch on March 26, 2006 at 8:30 PM | PERMALINK

Here's the original article on Rove's role in killing that bill: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/21/AR2005122102327_pf.html . What I had forgotten was that the fiendish partisan Democrats infuriated by his actions included Tom Ridge and Christine Whitman:

"Ridge, who had won a Bronze Star as an infantry staff sergeant in Vietnam, knew he might be stepping into another quagmire at DHS. 'Part of him was excited,' said then-EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman. 'Part of him thought it was a no-win situation.'

"Clearly, he could not count on unlimited financial support. And working in the White House, he was already learning he could not count on absolute political support, either.

"One stark example was the White House's blockade of a Ridge-supported plan to secure large chemical plants. After Sept. 11, Whitman had worked with Ridge on a modest effort to require high-risk plants -- especially the 123 factories where a toxic release could endanger at least 1 million people -- to enhance security. But industry groups warned Bush political adviser Karl Rove that giving new regulatory power to the Environmental Protection Agency would be a disaster.

" 'We have a similar set of concerns,' Rove wrote to the president of BP Amoco Chemical Co. "In an interagency meeting shortly before DHS's birth, White House budget official Philip J. Perry, who also happens to be Cheney's son-in-law, declared the Ridge-Whitman plan dead.

" 'Tom and I would just throw our hands up in frustration over that issue,' Whitman recalled."

Yessir, got to look out for those Dmocrats just whipping up false security charges against the Bush Administration for political gain. (At this point, of course, most people who have observed this Administration in action are throwing up more than just their hands.)

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on March 26, 2006 at 8:34 PM | PERMALINK

The Bush White House is nothing more than a re-election machine.

The goal of re-electing Republicans trumps real security, real budget and tax policy, real environmental policy, real foreign policy -- every time. Whatever it takes, Bush will do it to keep the money flowing to Republican candidates.

Posted by: pj_in_jesusland on March 26, 2006 at 8:42 PM | PERMALINK

Just more evidence that the "War on Terror" is so much bullshit. Making airline passengers remove their shoes while not inspecting packages that are being loaded into the cargo hold is another example.

It's more about controlling the population than anything else. Be scared so big daddy govenment can protect you. All you need to do is give up consitutional protections guaranteed by the framers.

Wake up people. The monster is at the door.

Posted by: brisa on March 26, 2006 at 8:57 PM | PERMALINK

I thought this Calpundit post was overloaded on the bitter side.

Relax old boy.

No need to be hostile towards your conservative brethren...

After all, we all want a better America.

We just go about it in different ways.

So please cool your jets..
After all calpundit... you don't want to be just another irrational liberal screaming: War Criminal!

Chill out... homey.

Posted by: koreyel on March 26, 2006 at 9:17 PM | PERMALINK

"Making airline passengers remove their shoes while not inspecting packages that are being loaded into the cargo hold is another example."

Shhhh.....

Shhhhh......

Shhhhhhhhhh.....

Shush yourself liberal....

Posted by: koreyel on March 26, 2006 at 9:31 PM | PERMALINK

They sound like a bunch of 16-year-old girls defending the same guy after he knocked them all up, gave them all STDs, borrowed all their allowance money and then stopped returning their calls. But, you know, he's the father of their children, so he deserves their support.

Hilarious.

(Although with some trolls I get the feeling that they wouldn't even be sure who's the father, since, despite the fact that the brat is right in front of them smearing feces on the carpet, they still have no idea they've been fucked.)

Posted by: R.Porrofatto on March 26, 2006 at 9:35 PM | PERMALINK

At least they are moving forward on getting rid of the nerve gas threat. Hopefully they won't kill us all with leaks in the process.

http://www.fortwayne.com/mld/fortwayne/news/local/14104416.htm

Posted by: bakho on March 26, 2006 at 9:49 PM | PERMALINK

The point is that Iraq et al is at taxpayers' expense; chemical plants, port security = private enterprise. Either way, we get to foot the bill, and get a foot up our collective ass.

Gosh, doesn't that sound so frighteningly liberal? Boo! (Remember, we have to remain civil while they rape our grandmothers.)

Posted by: Kenji on March 26, 2006 at 9:53 PM | PERMALINK

Uhm, I don't remember the Pelosi/Reid/Kennedy/Dean Democrats pushing for chemical plant security.

With your head up your bum, no wonder you didn't notice Dem initiatives. Along with port security legislation, national-security obstructionist Repubs have thwarted Dem efforts chemical plant security.

Chemical Market Reporter, Nov. 30, 2001

SENATE DEMOCRATS called last week for the adoption of legislation that would require chemical companies to follow strict federal standards to protect their facilities against terrorist attacks, but industry officials charged the proposed measure is overly broad and would duplicate existing regulations.
"Whether there is a serious threat posed by toxic chemicals in communities throughout the country is not in question," said Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) at a Senate hearing on chemical plant security. "The threat is real, and it requires immediate attention." ...
S.1602, Chemical Security Act of 2001, Oct. 31, 2002, introduced by Sen. Corzine (D-NJ) that Repubs killed:
Chemical Security Act of 2002 - (Sec. 4) Directs the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency to promulgate regulations to designate certain combinations of chemical sources and substances of concern as high priority categories based on the severity of the threat posed by an unauthorized release from chemical sources. Requires the Administrator, in designating high priority categories, to consider: (1) the severity of the harm that could be caused by an unauthorized release; (2) the proximity to population centers; (3) the threats to national security; (4) the threats to critical infrastructure; and (5) threshold quantities of substances of concern that pose a serious threat.
Directs the Administrator to promulgate regulations to require each owner and operator of a high priority category chemical source to: (1) conduct an assessment of the vulnerability of the chemical source to a terrorist attack or other unauthorized release; (2) identify hazards that may result from an unauthorized release of a covered substance of concern; and (3) prepare a prevention, preparedness, and response plan that incorporates the results of those vulnerability and hazard assessments. Requires such plan to include actions and procedures, including safer design and maintenance of the chemical source, to eliminate or significantly lessen the potential consequences of an unauthorized release of a covered substance of concern. Directs the head of the Office of Homeland Security to provide owners and operators of chemical sources with threat information relevant to the required assessments and plans. More...

HR 2555, #297, Jul. 23, 2003:
Senate Republicans Voted Against Providing $80 Million for Chemical Facility Security Assessments. In 2003, Senate Republicans voted against an amendment that would provide $80 million for the Office of the Undersecretary for Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection to conduct chemical facility security assessments. The amendment failed 43-52 (the motion required 60 votes to pass). [HR 2555, 7/23/03, #297, D: 42-3, R: 0-49, I: 1-0]
HR 2555, #300, Jul. 24, 2003:
...In 2003, 50 Republicans voted against an amendment that would increase funding for port and maritime security grants by $100 million, increase funding for Coast Guard operations and security by $42 million, and make sure $50 million would be earmarked for assessing chemical plant security. The motion to table was agreed to 51-45. [HR 2555, 7/24/03, #300, D: 1-43, R: 50-1, I: 0-1]
Read more here.

Did I miss some major issue in the 2004 election?

Um, yeah. Guess one of the other trolls had the brain y'all share at the time of the presidential campaign and debates.

John Kerry, Democratic National Convention, Jul. 29, 2004:

The 9-11 Commission has given us a path to follow, endorsed by Democrats, Republicans, and the 9-11 families. As President, I will not evade or equivocate; I will immediately implement the recommendations of that commission. We shouldn't be letting 95% of container ships come into our ports without ever being physically inspected. We shouldn't be leaving our nuclear and chemical plants without enough protection. And we shouldn't be opening firehouses in Baghdad and closing them down in America.

First Bush-Kerry debate in Miami, FL, Sept. 30, 2004:

Long before Bush and I get a tax cut - and that's who gets it - long before we do, I'm going to invest in homeland security and I'm going to make sure we're not cutting COPS programs in America and we're fully staffed in our firehouses and that we protect the nuclear and chemical plants. The president also unfortunately gave in to the chemical industry, which didn't want to do some of the things necessary to strengthen our chemical plant exposure. And there's an enormous undone job to protect the loose nuclear materials in the world that are able to get to terrorists. That's a whole other subject, but I see we still have a little bit more time. Let me just quickly say, at the current pace, the president will not secure the loose material in the Soviet Union - former Soviet Union for 13 years. I'm going to do it in four years. And we're going to keep it out of the hands of terrorists.
Second Bush-Kerry debate in St. Louis, MO, Oct. 8, 2004:
KERRY: 95% of our containers coming into this country are not inspected today. When you get on an airplane, your bag is x-rayed but the cargo hold isn't x-rayed. Bush chose a tax cut for the wealthiest Americans over getting that equipment out into the homeland as fast as possible. We have bridges and tunnels that aren't being secured. Chemical plants, nuclear plants that aren't secured. Hospitals that are overcrowded with their emergency rooms. If we had a disaster today, could they handle it?


Has Reid or Pelosi gone to the mat over chemical plant security? Or is this Chait article more mindless Bush-bashing?

Repubs sure haven't gone to the mat. Why don't you visit C-SPAN or Google and find out? Ask one of your troll friends if you can use the brain before you ask anymore inane questions...'kay? Now go do your homework. The adults are talking.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on March 26, 2006 at 9:58 PM | PERMALINK

Just makes the Dems look opportunistic.

You're right, Paddy Whack.

Anytime a Democrat points to a Republican fuck-up it just reflects poorly on the Democrat.

Even when you're sporting the worst president in US history there's nothing for you to be concerned about.

Posted by: rdw's singing dingle-berries on March 26, 2006 at 10:08 PM | PERMALINK

I mean, why would you be concerned?

I wouldn't be concerned.

Would you?

Posted by: rdw's singing dingle-berries on March 26, 2006 at 10:10 PM | PERMALINK

Don't talk to me about a thriving democracy.

Talk to me about a thriving Military-Industrial Complex.

Posted by: YELLOW in front, BROWN in back on March 26, 2006 at 10:19 PM | PERMALINK

S.1602, Chemical Security Act of 2001, Oct. 31, 2002,

Was introduced Oct. 31, 2001, not 2002.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on March 26, 2006 at 10:20 PM | PERMALINK

"Chemical plant security" sounds pretty good to the average American. Sound policy for dangerous times, and what not. And perfect that the GOP rejected it to put money in the hands of its benefactors.

Blame. This is the Democrat's primary weapon into the forseeable future. Blame, discredit, defame, and thus, destroy. Connect the ruling party to every failure of the last six years, large and small.

In general, do not propose alternative policies. Convince the public that absolutley no one could do as poorly at implemeting policy as the GOP.

Posted by: HeavyJ on March 26, 2006 at 11:06 PM | PERMALINK

no better proof that there weren't/aren't terrorists than the non-strategic targets that weren't assaulted on 11/09/01, that haven't been assaulted since that day.

why have the reptillians been so lackadaisical in securing the critical assets of the usa,you ask? because the reptillians know that the attacks of 11/09/01 were not the works of any free-lance terrorists. that day was a day of monstrous agent-provateurist actions,instigated by the bushit state.

i think that the majority of the usa populace senses that, but the populace is just very squeamish concerning the response that the recognition of that treason requires.

having said that, let us consider petrochemical plants. i live in an area where within a 100 mile radius there are more petroplants than anywhere else on this planet. and guess what, the managers, the operators, mostly amerikans, of those plants are perpetrating terrorist discharges of toxic chemicals on a daily basis. you just study the record of the petro plants in the metro-houston area. if you do that, i insist that you would have to conclude that these plants are operated by terrorists, intent upon killing the inhabitants surrounding those plants.

and let us consider the managers, operators, of nuclear plants. in concert with the nrc[usg], these plants are always venting radioactivity into the atmosphere. some think the venting is the result of process accidents. they would be wrong. the intrinsic design of the reactors provides for this continual venting of long half-live radioactivity.

why are free-lance terrorists to be feared? especially when the usg and amerikan industry routinely jeopardize amerikans: when the state and certain industries act homicidally as an inherent nature of their being?

i shall refrain from discussing at length the failure of the bushits, the reptillians, and their cousins, the demtillians, from securing control of amerikan borders. so porous in all axes that an army could infiltrate the usa without notice.

and i shall refrain from discussing at length the ease with which aircraft can be purchased, leased and that as private carriers can enter the usa, fly throughout the usa.

and i shall refrain from discussing barges moving throughout the usa.

and i shall refrain from discussing air cargo, ship cargo that goes unsecured.

but i shall not refrain from discussing the amerikan railways. ignore the petrochemical plants for a moment. think about how their products get transported from those plants.

by rail, mostly. i watched sunday's chemical express rolling up the mopac tracks northbound.

i was driving southbound, but here is what i noted on the chemical tankcars: hydrochloric acid, anhydrous ammonia, acrylic acid glacial, butadiene. now along this railbed, there are bridges and parallel roadways. this chemical freight runs through houston. consider this, if there were any real terrorists, this train would have been the target, not a skyscraper. not a dod.

you must understand, with only a ar15, ak47 shooting at these cars,holing them, as they moved through houston, you would probably have killed most of the inhabitants of houston.

similar vulnerabilities exist throughout the usa.

in the 1970's rmn tried to convince this country of terrorists. in that era, logic prevailed.

as was learned the post offices, rotc facilities that were bombed, torched in the northeast were bombed,torched by a fbi informant attending syracuse. who also was functioning as a state-run drug dealer.

the msm ran from those stories, then, by the way.

my position was always this, if there were any real terrorists, they would not waste their energy on post offices and rotc buildings. not when there were so many vulnerable targets that could shut the country down.

shit, a pickup truck with anfo driven into the right acreage in louisiana could have destroyed natural gas and hydrocarbon product deliveries to the midwest and the northeast.

so,that the strategic targets are avoided tells me that what the state tells us about terrorism is a fiction. today, terrorism is being used, just as rmn used it, to cow the amerikan populace to kowtow to the new adolf.

sic semper tyrannis.

Posted by: albertchampion on March 26, 2006 at 11:09 PM | PERMALINK

Oof, Apollo 13 did a better job on research, I didn't even find the 2001 bill at Thomas. OK, you can have Paddy's Chevy.

Posted by: Dustbin Of History on March 26, 2006 at 11:18 PM | PERMALINK

What a great post, shows the Democratic party is split on the war on terror.

Dems fall into 2 camps.

(1) The war on terror is a fraud dreamed up by rich Republicans to pad their wallets.

or,

(2) There IS a terror threat, but Bush is incompetent to fight it.

As long as the Dems can't make up their mind, they will still come across as conflicted and contradictory on the terror issue. Just like Kerry in 2004.

Posted by: Bark At The Moon on March 26, 2006 at 11:20 PM | PERMALINK

We Care about Security if you have some weapon or Spy programs to sell

We Don't care about security if YOU Pay us not to.

So much for Congress giving a Crap About Security.
SO MUCH FOR BUSHCO CARING ABOUT 'PUBLIC SAFETY' no no they Care only about Greenbacks!
The RePIGnicans!!

Once again Bush weakens Na

Posted by: Hamster Brain on March 26, 2006 at 11:25 PM | PERMALINK

What a great post, shows the Republican party is split on the war on terror.

Reps fall into 2 camps.

(1) The war on terror is a fraud and Reps are not serious about winning it (ie the Dubai port scandal, the changing rationales for the Iraq War, the incompetence of the Katrina response...)

or,

(2) There IS a terror threat, but Bush is incompetent to fight it (ie the Dubai port scandal, the changing rationales for the Iraq War, the incompetence of the Katrina response...)

As long as the Reps can't make up their mind, they will still come across as incompetent or corrupt on the terror issue. Just like Bush now.

Posted by: floopmeister on March 26, 2006 at 11:29 PM | PERMALINK

All this is fascinating reading, but let's move on to the real story of the week: Da Bruins are in the Final Four!! And they will defeat LSU, and will defeat whoever wins between GMU and FLA.

Posted by: barrisj on March 26, 2006 at 11:37 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry Bark, the correct answer is behind door number 3.

a) there is a terror threat, but the Republicans have vastly exaggerated the level of the threat.

b) for both ideological and political reasons, the Republicans are pursuing the wrong policies to combat this threat.

c) because they don't take the threat seriously and because loyalty is more important to them than competence, they are doing a lousy job of carrying out the policies to combat the threat.

Posted by: tanj on March 26, 2006 at 11:37 PM | PERMALINK

Not quite, Bark at the Moon.
(1) The War on Terror is a fraud.
(2) Although the threat is grossly overstated, not even ordinary prudence is being exercised.

Posted by: opit on March 26, 2006 at 11:39 PM | PERMALINK

"(1) The war on terror is a fraud dreamed up by rich Republicans to pad their wallets.
or,
(2) There IS a terror threat, but Bush is incompetent to fight it."

As has been said, the war on terror is mostly a fraud but Bush is so incompetent that he won't do the obvious to defend the country from a small bunch of suicidal opportunistic cave-dwellers. A small fraction of the 300 billion spent in Iraq could have closed down the obvious terrorist opportunities and Islamic Terrorism against the U.S. would have faded into oblivian.

I don't think Bush knows this though. Like most conservatives he's scared shitless. So scared he wants to blow money and have soldiers killed so he feels like he's hunting them down. Of course Iraq is a farce in that regard. He's wasting American life and money and the American people, save a few frightened Republican loyalists, are starting to shake off the fear and demand that he quit wasting their money and the lives of their kids.

Posted by: kj on March 27, 2006 at 12:02 AM | PERMALINK

This afternoon we got an emergency announcement on the radio. The Shell refinery at Martinez had a release of SO2. They instructed everyone in the area to turn off all heaters and ventilators, tape up their windows and doors and stay indoors. Rather eerie.

I'm split on this topic. Greater security always sounds good, but the cost may far outstrip the benefit. Can you really secure a refinery or chemical plant? How large a buffer zone do you need to prevent someone from launching mortars or shoulder fired rockets to start fires in such plants? What would be the effect of a few hundred pounds of high explosives carried in a small plane?

I tend to feel that beefing up the FBI/CIA would do better than turning the whole country into a security state.

Posted by: JohnK on March 27, 2006 at 12:24 AM | PERMALINK

I tend to feel that beefing up the FBI/CIA would do better than turning the whole country into a security state.

That's a good point. And it would probably be even cheaper and more effective to simply jail all the Washington Republicans. Or send them to Iraq.

Posted by: craigie on March 27, 2006 at 12:36 AM | PERMALINK

Increased security at chemical plants has a number of elements and can have the added advantage of making releases like one mentioned by JohnK less common and less severe.

Increased perimeter security, improved alarm systems, more and better trained guards can all be an important part of the picture, especially for the plants that offer the greatest danger to the public and ones where damage could seriously disrupt the economy. We do all of this now at nuclear power plants and some chemical plants have the potential to be more dangerous than any but the most catastrophic nuclear accident.

However, threat reduction is an equally important part of the picture. Reducing the amounts of the hazardous chemicals stored at a plant and changing manufacturing processes to use less dangerous chemicals and to reduce the chances of accidental release can have a big impact both on the danger from the plants being attacked and on the likelihood and severity of accidental releases.

Making proper inventories of hazardous chemicals and making sure the information is properly distributed to both federal and local safety agencies so that they know what dangers to prepare for is another step that can help reduce the dangers from both deliberate sabotage and accidents.

All of these things are being done now, but in many cases the steps being taken are inadequate, poorly coordinated and not based on the current knowledge. The fact that the Republicans are dragging their feet on these steps because they would involve mandates to their industrial backers is a legitimate issue.

Posted by: tanj on March 27, 2006 at 1:13 AM | PERMALINK

tanj doesn't know shit. keeps ducking the real issues.

he sounds knowledgeable. he ain't.

come on tanj, tell us what you are going to do about the realities?

shall i repeat them? if necessary. but you should be able to backtrack. and can read them for yourself.

Posted by: albertchampion on March 27, 2006 at 2:56 AM | PERMALINK

The differing responses to the issue of increasing chemical plant security is a perfect example of how Republicans seem to place being right above the truth. All I've seen above is the trotting out of worn out cliches about Dems and Liberals: The Dems being more concerned about brokering a pay-out to unions than real security; Liberals just hate Bush in some juvenille acting-out of their childish insecurities; The Dems have no clue about how to really fight terrorism, and are bringing no real ideas to the table. While their may be a grain of truth to these broad brush-strokes, it takes a mind consumed with self-righteousness to turn that speck, or perhaps a pebble at times, into the whole truth. It takes a mind unable to look at the complexity of a situation squarely to depend almost exclusively on distorting the actual context of issues to suite its preferred position. Perhaps the righ-wing echo chamber gives the convincing illusion that these distortions are reality, but take away the righteousness, and what you have is obvious fabrication and innuendo. Reps don't seem to get that Liberals on the whole are looking for the truth, which means their is always a possibility of re-evaluating our positions. Reps on the whole seem to genuinely lack this possibility. Their focus is to win, to be right, not to get at the truth. It seems they like to feel like they got in their punches word-wise, and a libs pointing out the truth is seen as an attempt to do the same to them. Sometimes it is, but mostly it seems like a genuine effort to clarify the truth. Is this not so?

Posted by: Shattered Mirror on March 27, 2006 at 2:57 AM | PERMALINK

One more time... the bill Corzine introduced [post at 9:58 PM] was the Chemical Security Act of 2002 introduced on Oct. 31. 2001. Sheesh! PIMF.

Dustbin,
You can keep the Chevy. Mrs. Apollo and I cut back to one vehicle to do our bit for energy conservation and the added savings on gas, car insurance, and auto license tags has been sweet. Requires us to coordinate usage of our fuel-efficient vehicle but so far it's worked. Luckily, we live 1/2 mile from MARTA (subway) so I can use mass transit for most of my in-town commuting in Atlanta. So the Chevy is yours. No worries. : )

Posted by: Apollo 13 on March 27, 2006 at 7:48 AM | PERMALINK

Port security? Chemical plant security? Pshaw. It's an infringement of private enterprise and not really necessary anyway.

Just like with environmental regulations.

Posted by: E. Nonee Moose on March 27, 2006 at 7:58 AM | PERMALINK

Bruce Moomaw and Apollo13 have poisoned the discourse and made a mockery of civil discussion by bringing up actual facts. For shame!

Posted by: Daryl McCullough on March 27, 2006 at 11:03 AM | PERMALINK

"I'm split on this topic. Greater security always sounds good, but the cost may far outstrip the benefit. Can you really secure a refinery or chemical plant? How large a buffer zone do you need to prevent someone from launching mortars or shoulder fired rockets to start fires in such plants? What would be the effect of a few hundred pounds of high explosives carried in a small plane?"

I agree with your concerns, but hopefully, you would also agree that $300 billion and counting would pay for alot of tax incentives to increase security of these plants.

Posted by: brewmn on March 27, 2006 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, and to the trolls, who commented on Chait being a Bush-hater: he was and he is. If you read his column (which I've archived for my reading pleasure), you might begin to understand that this good-ole-boy, hale-fellow-well-met that you worship has nothing but utter contempt for you.

Posted by: brewmn on March 27, 2006 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

You liberals just can't handle the truth!

Posted by: reality on March 27, 2006 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

Anyway...back to the previously scheduled topic.

It doesn't take a genius to see that this administration has done nothing to improve national security.

1) We still have only 5% of all shipping containers being inspected as they enter the country.

2) We can't even secure our own physical borders (if illegal immigrants can get into the country, so can terrorists).

3) Not only chemical plants, but also nuclear plants and railways are still just as vulnerable as they were five years ago.

4) As the federal government showed in its miserable response to hurricane Katrina, it ability to react to any sort of terrorist attack or other type of disaster is a joke.

Posted by: MattW on March 27, 2006 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, do not taunt the great EggMcNoggin known as JPod. Simple bow you head and savor the "omelettes" of genius.

Posted by: Brian of Oakland on March 28, 2006 at 8:25 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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