Your first love, the trip to Europe and the home run you hit when everyone was afraid you would strike out are things worthy of remembering.
The D.C. sniper and the presidential debates I could do without.
The area is alive with talk of the D.C. sniper, remembering the tragic event of ten years ago as if we needed to be reminded of it. It is also alive with the recent presidential debate which was noteworthy only because of the lack of presidential demeanor by both candidates.
The Lincoln-Douglas debates this was not. It wasn’t even the Kennedy-Nixon debates nor the Bush-Dukakis debates. Okay, maybe it was like two middle-school students debating whether or not the school should have a smoking-area, but that’s it.
While our two non-noteworthy presidential candidates took turns not acting presidential, one event that made the news today actually flew a bit under the radar and is more worthy of examining than either a 10-year-old tragedy or a tragic presidential debate.
A senate investigation turned up evidence that the Homeland Security’s “Fusion” centers – built to help agencies across the country share information – are inept and mismanaged.
More than 1.4 billion dollars have been spent – I think that’s about the same amount as was spent on the InterCounty Connector (The road to nowhere for the uninitiated) – to promote great information sharing.
Instead, according to the U.S. Senate investigation (don’t laugh – apparently the investigators did their job), these fusion centers squander money and violate the civil liberties of U.S. citizens.
If Mitt Romney wants a campaign issue, then here’s one. Both President Obama and former President George W. Bush promoted these “fusion” centers as a necessary weapon to build a nationwide information network that would thwart terrorism.
I guess the “shirt button” cameras and $6000 laptops and big-screen televisions were absolutely essential – for what I have no idea. Sounds like someone either wanted to stock a reality show or a beer bong, football pizza party.
According to the report and published reports about the Senate report the investigation found that the fusion centers often produced useless drivel or no drivel at all.
The amusing point about this is it was a bipartisan report and of course the DHS defended the fusion centers and denounced the investigation.
There’s at least $1.4 billion at stake here, several jobs and many more beer bong parties to support, so naturally those with a vested interest in letting the good times roll are going to denounce and fight the senate investigation report.
But, let’s get real. The Republicans are always talking about scaling back “Big Government.” It is one of their biggest talking points. The Democrats are always talking about “Civil Liberties” and claim to support the little guy and the middle class.
But these wonderful fusion centers, funded by presidents from both parties, apparently don’t keep a close eye on the money they spend, and may have illegally obtained personal information on people that has absolutely nothing to do with terrorism – and may have violated people’s civil rights in obtaining the information.
Sure, the senate investigated itself. Kudos on that score. But as Romney and Obama hunker down to call each other names on national television, it would be nice to see them wrestle with things like “The Patriot Act” and “Fusion Centers,” “Big Government” and “Civil Liberties.”
The two men may even claim that they do this. But they’re not fooling me. The government gets larger whoever is in charge. Our so-called “Civil Liberties” are violated in the name of “Homeland Security,” and “safety.”
The party that talks against “Big Government” isn’t against a larger government as long as the programs that the party supports gets more money.
The party for “Civil Liberties” isn’t against getting rid of your civil liberties as long as it brings in votes and promotes a feeling of safety.