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Well, they have free time what with there being no terror anymore and all....
March 15, 2004 2:37 PM   Subscribe

Bush directing Homeland Security to Stage Photo-Ops? This article from next week's Time is in itself a well-detailed examination of the campaign strategies for both sides in the 2004 race, but some bloggers have caught a disturbing paragraph in the middle of the article: "As the Bush team sorts out its internal mechanics, it will press the advantage of incumbency. Administration sources tell TIME that employees at the Department of Homeland Security have been asked to keep their eyes open for opportunities to pose the President in settings that might highlight the Administration's efforts to make the nation safer. The goal, they are being told, is to provide Bush with one homeland-security photo-op a month. "
posted by XQUZYPHYR (46 comments total)

 
Well first it very clearly says to look for existing opportunities, not to "stage" photo-ops.

Second this is one of the advantages of an incumbant. I'm sure they all do it.
posted by bitdamaged at 2:55 PM on March 15, 2004


Well, at least now we'll know that the DHS serves a purpose, aside from drumming up business for tarp and duct tape manufacturers.
posted by clevershark at 3:00 PM on March 15, 2004


Is this the sort of post we are going to make every day until November?
posted by xmutex at 3:03 PM on March 15, 2004


Actually I think that this will be going on for most of November as well.
posted by clevershark at 3:05 PM on March 15, 2004


Well the concept is bothersome, XQUZYPHYR, but surely there are better examples? In fact, you posted one of them ;)
posted by zekinskia at 3:05 PM on March 15, 2004


bitdamaged, the directive also sets a quota for photo-ops, implying that DHS is obligated to monitor situations that might look good for Bush as a priority over situations that might merely, you know, be actually important. Do you believe that the time determining the quality of a potential photo-op and notifying the president about it is time DHS should be spending?

Finally, how exactly do "they all" exploit a cabinet office that was created only two years ago? This isn't a broad "President does stuff to look good" that we know Bush and others have done before... this is telling the Homeland Security Office to spend time doing things that clearly have nothing to do with Homeland Security.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 3:06 PM on March 15, 2004


Why, I think it's great and all that Bush will be "posed".

Seems like that's one of the things he does best....and after all, he can hardly run on any other part of his record. I mean, it would really be kind of embarassing to have to actually discuss what happened to the millions of jobs he promised from his tax cuts for the rich, wouldn't it?

Why get into that kind of fumbling explanation, when a few American flags and the shameless use of videos of 9/11 victims being lifted out of the rubble will avoid painful questions about whatever happened to all those WMDs, and having to confont Bush's dumb little "disaster in the desert", eh?

Because, after all, the Department of Homeland Security doesn't have anything better to do, now that the world is safe from terrorism and all, than to help arrange posed photo-ops.

Because Congressional Committees (not an individual congresscritter's web site) have nothing better to do than run Republican attack ads using taxpayer funds.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 3:08 PM on March 15, 2004


at least now we'll know that the DHS serves a purpose

Large bureaucracies have a way of finding new purposes as needed.
posted by homunculus at 3:11 PM on March 15, 2004


great link homunculus. This quote is fantastic:

any powers confided to bureaucrats in the service of vital objectives will quickly be abused in the service of other, less important purposes.
posted by milnak at 3:30 PM on March 15, 2004


Actually I think that this will be going on for most of November as well.

hell, i figure it to be well into 2005 before the supreme court awards the election and this kind of post stops.
posted by quonsar at 3:34 PM on March 15, 2004


Is this the sort of post we are going to make every day until November?
posted by xmutex at 5:03 PM CST on March 15


Should we not know the evils done by politicians in our name?
posted by the fire you left me at 3:43 PM on March 15, 2004


Is this the sort of post we are going to make every day until November?

you mean people complaining about newsfilter? no, they will never unclench.
posted by mcsweetie at 3:46 PM on March 15, 2004


big shit. both sides are going to stage photo ops. the question is going to be whether this will be a repeat of the infamous Gore Opening of the Dam debacle for the 2000 election. For those who don't remember, the Republicans accused Gore of pressuring a state natural resources commission to open a seasonal dam early just so he could pose for a photo op to launch his campaign. (I may be slightly off here, but I believe that's the jist of it).

Anyhow, the point being was that Gore never "pressured" the board to do anything extraordinary other than asking if they would open the dam perhaps 30 minutes sooner than they had planned. That's hardly an abuse of executive power as it was covered to be.
posted by tgrundke at 3:58 PM on March 15, 2004


Hey Quonsars Back, Welcome good friend!
posted by Elim at 4:01 PM on March 15, 2004


When the government is running such a high deficit and there's plenty to be done about homeland security, this sort of bureaucratic waste is just inexcusable.
posted by destro at 4:12 PM on March 15, 2004


I'd like to warn everyone that the trackback claiming to be from Wil Wheaton at the bottom of the page is a goatse.cx trap. Classy.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:24 PM on March 15, 2004


Oops. Already noted in MeTa. But, worth a second warning anyway I guess.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:27 PM on March 15, 2004


Free Goatse! (nsfw)
posted by homunculus at 4:38 PM on March 15, 2004


Well, at least now we'll know that the DHS serves a purpose, aside from drumming up business for tarp and duct tape manufacturers.

This is such BS. The fact that no major terrorist attack on US soil occurred since the department's inception is proof enoug that it has been pulling its share of the weight.

It's quite a thankless job that they do: their failures make headlines, but the successes would never make it to the news, therefore leading some of us to think that they're useless when they are actually as successful as they can be.
posted by VeGiTo at 5:31 PM on March 15, 2004


The fact that no major heffalump attacks on US soil occured since the Department of Heffalump Security's inception is proof enough that it has been pulling its share of the weight.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:02 PM on March 15, 2004


The fact that no major heffalump attacks on US soil occured since the Department of Heffalump Security's inception is proof enough that it has been pulling its share of the weight.

That statement wouldn't have made you sound like an imbecile if it wasn't for the fact that a heffalump attack was not what occur on 9/11.
posted by VeGiTo at 6:59 PM on March 15, 2004


logical fallacy: correlation implies causation
posted by mcsweetie at 7:01 PM on March 15, 2004


From that link: The "fallacy" ignores the possibility that there is a common cause of eating chocolate and having acne.

So are you saying that there is some other common cause for the creation of Department of Homeland Security and less terror on domestic soil? If so, please advise. Otherwise, please look up "logical fallacy: pathetic attempt to be a smartass", because it might be useful for describing you.
posted by VeGiTo at 7:07 PM on March 15, 2004


( if "the DHS pulls its weight" then "no major terrorist attack" ) and "no major terrorist attack" does not imply "the DHS pulls its weight". That's pretty basic logic, VeGiTo.

And if the fact that we've had no terrorist attacks since the creation of the DHS speaks so well for them, what does 9/11 say about Bush?
posted by nicwolff at 7:57 PM on March 15, 2004


The correlation = causation fallacy does not depend on there being a common cause to both phenomena, only that correlation, by itself, is (mis)taken as proof of causation. I live in Buffalo, and there have been fewer terrorist attacks on U.S. soil. This is a true and uncontroversial correlation, However, that correlation, in itself, does not prove that my continuing to live in Buffalo is preventing terror attacks on U.S. soil. That is the heart of the fallacy. No common cause necessary.

There is approximately one data point that indicates that the United States' security apparatus in the two years before the creation of the DHS did any worse a job than the DHS has in its two years of existence. Hardly enough evidence to call it a rousing success. If and when there is another successful terrorist attack in the United States, how will that reflect on the DHS, and the Bush Administration as a whole? What effect will that have on public support for the Bush Administration? Do the answers to those two questions, taken together, make any sense at all?
posted by skoosh at 7:57 PM on March 15, 2004


Unfortunately, I expect all kinds of photo ops to run even more often than usual. After all, photo ops deal with images. No need to be bothered by context. Some photos truly are worth a thousand words, especially ones that somehow comment on the practice itself in such an effective manner. Peeling away the veneer sometimes results in a surprise, but to an American who has the TV on nearly 7 hours a day, there has to be some way to stand out from all that competition.

I guess that is one of the perks of being in power. Too bad we are unlikely to know if some people feel pressured to be arranging these opportunities. There certainly is disincentives to do so. While some may point to this story as proof that such an occurence is overstated, one may wonder to what extent either side may be right.

[derail]

It isn't hard to find links that say gov't programs grow and will be abused. I would think it is quite obvious. One need look no further than the Patriot Act to see a recent example. Of course, one could argue that the Patriot Act was never intended to apply to just terrorist acts (the defintion of which was expanded in said act).

Perhaps it is just partisan politics as usual, but even those reviewing it don't seem to be in a big hurry to amend it.
[/derail]
posted by infowar at 8:15 PM on March 15, 2004


once again, skoosh to the rescue.
posted by mcsweetie at 8:17 PM on March 15, 2004


Ahem.

The fallacy of correlation implies causation is used to counter statistical correlations that have no logical explaination. For example, "ice cream correlates with higher crime, therefore ice cream causes crime" is one such fallacy.

However, when there IS a logical explanation for certain correlation, such as the existence of a public school system increases literacy rate, then the statistical correlation is used to support that logical inference. So "public school system increases literacy rate" or "smoking causes lung cancer" are NOT logical fallacies.

In this case, there is an obvious logical link to a department created to specifically provide homeland security and a decline in domestic terror rates. So "DHS is pulling its share of the weight" was NOT a logical fallacy in the context of fighting terror, and thus mcsweetie, and now nicwolff, skoosh, are pretentious pseudo-intellectuals making a fool of themselves by their pathetic attempt to use big words without understanding the context.
posted by VeGiTo at 8:51 PM on March 15, 2004


In this case, there is an obvious logical link to a department created to specifically provide homeland security and a decline in domestic terror rates.

you're doing it again. where are you getting these domestic terror rates? is there a google search term I'm missing? less name-calling, more references!
posted by mcsweetie at 9:14 PM on March 15, 2004


VeGiTo, you're implying that Bush maintaining the status quo in regards to the unbelievably improbable should be admired as an achievement- elephant rocks, anyone?-it's like suggesting that Bush is clearly good for the economy because the stock market didn't crash into the ground. These are events that although having happened before happened once or twice in a rather extensive period of time.

To imply that these preventions are because of Bush- in other words, that these would be happening all the time if Bush wasn't President- is a bold suggestion from one trying to accuse others of sounding like an imbecile. (Nevertheless, I think it's cute how you need to imply everyone's stupid and unworthy of your superior intellect in each of your comments. You're either trying to fool us or convince yourself, and I'm not sure which is more adorable.)
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:22 PM on March 15, 2004


However, when there IS a logical explanation for certain correlation, such as the existence of a public school system increases literacy rate, then the statistical correlation is used to support that logical inference.

It's still an assumption even if you can make a logical explanation. For example, I can think up plenty of explanations for the "ice cream correlates with higher crime, therefore ice cream causes crime" sample. Maybe people are robbing ice cream trucks, maybe there's a chemical in ice cream that brings out the criminal in people.

These aren't believable explanations, but neither is believing that the DHS is preventing terrorism with their mood ring alerts. You need more practical evidence, say arrests of terrorists that aren't thrown out of court. Otherwise the explanation is just theory.
posted by destro at 9:42 PM on March 15, 2004


The Heffalump department was founded after 9/11. There have been no Heffalump attacks since then. The Heffalump department must be doing its job.

Aha! you cry out: there were never any Heffalump attacks to being with!

Precisely. Other than one towering instance, there have been (nearly) no terrorist attacks to begin with. The DHS has reduced "next to none" to... "none so far."

If this is proof the DHS is doing its job, then the lack of Heffalump attacks is jutifiably proof that the Heffalump department is doing its job.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:44 PM on March 15, 2004


logical fallacy: pathetic attempt to be a smartass

my dear veggiehead: based on the running average so far, we can expect a successful major islamofascist attack on american soil on an average of once in every ten years. you might as well say the absence of another attack is proof that a borked foonlet flapping its ear tarps at the moon in times square each fortnight is getting the job done.
posted by quonsar at 9:57 PM on March 15, 2004


The only recent case of an averted terrorist attack I know of is the Texas cyanide bomb case, but that was prevented by pure luck.
posted by homunculus at 10:01 PM on March 15, 2004


The fact that no major terrorist attack on US soil occurred since the department's inception is proof enoug that it has been pulling its share of the weight.

Yes, and the fact that no major foreign terrorist attack happened before 9/11 must prove that the DHS was incredibly effective before its formation as well!

That Homer logic ('I see a rock, and I don't see any tigers, therefore this rock must protect me from tigers') doesn't go too far around here.
posted by clevershark at 11:10 PM on March 15, 2004


What other evidence do we need besides arrests to say that the DHS is doing it's intended job? I ask this because I don't think a list of arrests would tell the whole story. An arrest simply means someone was caught. But PREVENTION has to top the list of DHS priorities, when it comes to terrorism. Evidence of prevention may be impossible to come by, especially to common folk like ourselves.

I've prevented quite a bit of terrorism since 9-11 too.
posted by Witty at 1:02 AM on March 16, 2004


Welcome back quonsar!

Isn't it interesting that the Defenders Of All Things Dubya can come up with only one defense: "everybody does it."

That coming from the Administration that promised "to restore honor and integrity and dignity to the WhiteWash House." Ha!

Lincoln bedroom rentals anyone? They cost more now but the bed is just as fluffy.
posted by nofundy at 5:28 AM on March 16, 2004


Cashing in on Tragedy
posted by amberglow at 5:38 AM on March 16, 2004


What if we lived in a world where many terror attacks occurred after 9/11 on US, would you say that DHS is doing its job then? They're kind of in a screwed if they do, screwed if they don't situation, aren't they? How logical.

Actually, I should've come to expect this since, for bush-haters, we are living in a universe where terrorism is both an over-exaggerated threat and a major and worsening threat at the same time. I guess it'd make sense in a quasi quantum mechanics sort of way.

(clevershark: try reading before commenting on a point that was previous addressed, sometimes it helps.)
posted by VeGiTo at 8:30 AM on March 16, 2004


My god, vegito. This has nothing to do with hating Bush, and everything to do with asinine errors in logic.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:09 AM on March 16, 2004


fff, I assume you are talking about your asinine errors in logic right? I have yet to see any cogent argument from you or others to reveal mine that I have not rationally refuted.
posted by VeGiTo at 9:17 AM on March 16, 2004


Actually, I should've come to expect this since, for bush-haters, we are living in a universe where terrorism is both an over-exaggerated threat and a major and worsening threat at the same time. I guess it'd make sense in a quasi quantum mechanics sort of way.

Two different people thinking two different things proves all people who disagree with you think both. I guess that makes sense in a "what are you, a fucking idiot?" sort of way.

fff, I assume you are talking about your asinine errors in logic right? I have yet to see any cogent argument from you or others to reveal mine that I have not rationally refuted.

Oh dear GOD, you're adorable. I just wanna pat you on the head or something. What's next, man, "I know you are but what am I?"
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:25 AM on March 16, 2004


Vegito, there has been no evidence that connects the Department of Homeland Security with the lack of terrorist attacks. Maybe it's the CIA that's been preventing things from happening, maybe there haven't been any attempts (the most likely).

You need evidence that isn't circumstantial. You still haven't provided that and you still don't understand that "correlation implies causation" is a logical fallacy. The burden of proof is on them to show that they deserve credit.
posted by destro at 9:32 AM on March 16, 2004


destro,

"correlation implies causation" fallacy occurs when there is either (1) a confounding common cause causing the correlation or (2) there is no logical link between the hypothesized cause and effect.

Neither (1) nor (2) applies to the fact that a low rate of domestic terror is a supporting evidence for the success of DHS. The burden of proof is actually on the accuser to show that either (1) or (2) is valid.
posted by VeGiTo at 9:42 AM on March 16, 2004


I'll have to use (2) because (1) is not a logical fallacy. It just means your result is wrong. For example, I can prove that ice cream causes crime from false assumptions, but it doesn't mean that my logic is wrong.

Now for #2, what you mean by a logical link, I have no idea. I already talked about how explanations are just theories, even though you've already berated somebody for not reading previous posts. What you need is evidence.

I was going to prove that they aren't pulling their weight by assuming the opposite and showing it to be illogical, otherwise we would have heard about their success. They'd gloat up and down the street about it.

But the burden of proof is on the DHS, not us. al Qaeda just showed that they are alive and well in Spain and the DHS has shown no evidence that they are preventing terrorism here. It's not my job to monitor government agencies and prove they are not working. They've been paid already, they need to show their work in the margin.
posted by destro at 11:22 AM on March 16, 2004


This is not worth it.

[plonk]
posted by five fresh fish at 5:52 PM on March 16, 2004


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