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Tommy Thompson
December 4, 2004 7:33 AM   Subscribe

Tommy Thompson, former Wisconsin governor, GOP platform committee chairman, and outgoing Secretary of Health and Human Services leaves with these reassuring words: "For the life of me, I cannot understand why the terrorists have not attacked our food supply because it is so easy to do." Time stock up on those rapture rations?
posted by three blind mice (48 comments total)

 
“As you sow, so shall you reap.” Galatians 6:7
posted by AlexReynolds at 7:43 AM on December 4, 2004


Anybody remember his handling of the anthrax mailings? I remember thinking that he really had no idea what he was dealing with, and if this was the guy that we were to look to as a nation on health matters, we were in deep trouble.

In light of that, it's pretty consistent that he would offer what amounts to a suggestion for a terrorist target. Totaly incompetence, start to finish. Enjoy your retirement, sir.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 7:56 AM on December 4, 2004


Nice try, Tommy, but for scare quotes by departing government officials, you just can't beat former CIA head George Tenet's "Access to networks like the World Wide Web might need to be limited to those who can show they take security seriously."
posted by rushmc at 7:58 AM on December 4, 2004


Hm.

Access to offices like the presidency might need to be limited to those who can show they take freedom, civil rights and security seriously.

Could that go on a T-shirt?
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:06 AM on December 4, 2004


Perhaps the terrorists have not attacked the food supply because they don't have to. Our government is basically doing their job for them: spreading fear throughout the general population, isolating itself from allies, etc.

I know my fellow Wisconsinites have been terrified but the thought of Tommy in Washington.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 8:12 AM on December 4, 2004


Reasons They Haven’t Hit Us Again

________

Thompson's wacky hair makes him most untrustworthy, anyway.
posted by matteo at 8:20 AM on December 4, 2004


I know, hey Tommy, on your way out, do me a favor and tell the terrorists where we are the most vulnerable so that they can get the most bang for their buck.

Bush is gonna spend the next four years just trying to remember all the new names.
posted by fenriq at 8:30 AM on December 4, 2004


Doesn't this all sound like Thompson has other motives than to warn us? The GOP has cried wolf too many times and I can't take them seriously anymore. After 9-11 the worst thing the government could do was attack Iraq. I read the Bin Ladin transcript from his most recent video. He isn't hiding in a cave; he is laughing. As far as I'm concerned, the Bush Administration lost the war on terror before it started. They don't care about the people who lost their lives on 9-11. I honestly don't think that because they didn't honor the lives lost on 9-11; they politicized them. Now that we are in Iraq, is there any remorse for the soldiers who have been killed? They're dying for oil, and now Tommy Thompson wants to shock us by saying that we are going to get attacked... we are going to get attacked. Thompson is the dumbass who headed the agency, if we get attacked it is his own fault. "Hey look everyone I just jeopardized millions of lives while in office because I wasn't able to get the job done!" I don't think anyone would say that unless they had other motives. And the motive is to keep people in fear.
posted by j-urb at 8:35 AM on December 4, 2004


Now don't anybody find it curious that one person can suggest the terrorist another weak point to attack and get away with it, without being called a traitor and without having loudmouth ask for his inprisonment ?

Maybe the fact that he was a member of this administration has something to do with the lack of vocal pundits moral outrage attacks ? Could it be that morals for others don't apply to political friends ?
posted by elpapacito at 8:42 AM on December 4, 2004


Apparently the FAQ from the raptureready site has already disappeared from the face of the earth.
posted by bryce at 8:48 AM on December 4, 2004


On closer inspection of the FAQ location, my new theology is that Christians will just move to a different directory at the time of the rapture.
posted by bryce at 8:52 AM on December 4, 2004


Well, gee tommy, they weren't going to, but now that you brought it up...

This guy's a prize, I can just see him talking to his neighbor, "I don't know why you haven't tried to sleep with my wife. I mean, she'd hot and I'm never home and she digs you..."
posted by jonmc at 8:54 AM on December 4, 2004


Maybe Thompson is pissed he didn't get the Transportation Sec. position.

Once again, this proves "Don't Fuck With Wisconsin (TM)."

Wait, no it doesn't. It suggests that terrorists maybe should fuck with Wisconsin. Maybe Thompson has some secret information about Soybean Rust, or he might be upset with Bush and figures this is the best way to put some pressure on him.
posted by drezdn at 8:55 AM on December 4, 2004


I just want to suggest to those of you boohooing because Thompson "gave" the terrorists an idea of how to hurt us, that you're being grossly naive. Its that kind of arrogant thinking about the enemy that gives the Bush administration its can-do spirit, made John Kerry supporters look like chicken-little traitors, and threatens us all.
posted by Wulfgar! at 9:39 AM on December 4, 2004


Now don't anybody find it curious that one person can suggest the terrorist another weak point to attack and get away with it, without being called a traitor and without having loudmouth ask for his inprisonment ?

He's a republican. What you say doesn't mean anything anymore unless you're a Republican or a conservative think tank. Their party is the only one that matters anymore. It's sad, but true.

And yeah, I remember his news conference after the first anthrax death very well. "nothing to see here. move along. don't get your panties in a bunch. one isolated incident, it probably happened naturally." pfft. i'd say good riddance, but i'm sure the person that replaces him is going to be much worse.
posted by Arch Stanton at 9:58 AM on December 4, 2004


I'm sorry, Wulfgar!; I didn't understand your point at all. Please rephrase and elucidate it.
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:01 AM on December 4, 2004


What is amazing to me is that Thompson just assumes that the "enemy" will take advantage of every halfway decent vulnerability. He doesn't even entertain the idea that his idea of the nature of "the enemy" is wrong. It's fairly standard grown-up reasoning to change one's theory when one doesn't get the expected results. Bin Laden isn't Napoleon, poring over plans of his enemy's weaknesses, with armies at his beck and call to take advantage of every one.

Clearly, some of these guys are only interested in attacking symbols of Western culture. But then, that doesn't sell wars as well as "they want to kill each and every one of us, and they will poison our food supply in order to do it".

Thompson went on to talk about how we import much food from the Middle East. Does anyone know what products specifically do we import from them? My naive view of geography over there says it's not exactly a farmer's paradise
posted by ontic at 10:07 AM on December 4, 2004


One good piece of advice in the rapture rations: "You may as well attempt to enjoy life as best you can because eternity for you will be hell."

Sounds like a plan.
posted by QuietDesperation at 10:16 AM on December 4, 2004


According to nationmaster.com Saudi Arabia is ranked 5th in the world in exporting of dates (the fruit) to the United States. Syria is 5th in the world in exporting of apricots and 10th in eggplants. Oman is 9th in importing of prunes to the US. Jordan is 10th in almonds and 7th in pistacios. So what Tommy Thompson is saying it to just take extra caution when you eat mixed nuts.
posted by Arch Stanton at 10:17 AM on December 4, 2004


I know, hey Tommy, on your way out, do me a favor and tell the terrorists where we are the most vulnerable so that they can get the most bang for their buck.

Well, gee tommy, they weren't going to, but now that you brought it up...

Blaming the guy for speaking the truth, and pretending that he was revealing some kind of damaging secret is not clear thought. Those who want to kill us are smarter than that. They don't need to be told the obvious, and to assume that they do is foolhardy and arrogant. The Bush admin, however, has a clear track record of a) ignoring warnings of the obvious in favor of political expediency, and b) attacking anyone who doesn't share their broken view as "helping the enemy".

Simply put, if I had to deal with that kind of stupidity from my peers in the administration, I'd use my resignation as a chance to point out their failings as well, just like Thompson did. I'm not saying that Thompson is some kinda hero, or even a good guy. But laying into him for stating the obvious is a backwards tactic of Bush support, and it ain't a real smart thing to do.

Clear enough?
posted by Wulfgar! at 10:17 AM on December 4, 2004


Fair enough, Wulfgar!, but Thompson definitely could have phrased it better. It's one thing to get in a solid parting shot, but he just made himself look like a jackass.
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:21 AM on December 4, 2004


Thanks, Arch Stanton.

Wulfgar: While I agree that this administration puts way too much emphasis on politics for one that is supposedly at war, I have to disagree about the nature of the threat. "The enemy" isn't a brilliant, extensively funded government with an intelligence budget, a military budget, and so on. They're a loose knit bunch of opportunists who sometimes plan ahead and they are just begging us to make them martyrs. If they didn't need to be told, and were as smart as you say, we'd all be slowly dying from apricot poisoning.
posted by ontic at 10:29 AM on December 4, 2004


It's difficult to taint the food supply with a poison because
of the required ratio of poison to food, and the enormous
amounts of poison that would be needed.

Tommy Thompson should know this, if he has been doing his
job. Perhaps his comment is a parting gift to the President,
to help keep fear alive.
posted by the Real Dan at 10:30 AM on December 4, 2004


If they didn't need to be told, and were as smart as you say, we'd all be slowly dying from apricot poisoning.

Your own argument underscores why this isn't sound, ontic. Knowing you can do a thing, and having the wherewithal to do it, are two entirely different topics. Assuming it's because they didn't think of it is dangerous at best.
posted by Wulfgar! at 10:36 AM on December 4, 2004


im with real dan on this one, and they'll never break into the doritos factory, so im safe.
posted by Satapher at 10:44 AM on December 4, 2004


wulfgari, crying like a fire in the sun
posted by Satapher at 10:52 AM on December 4, 2004


I disagree, Wulfgar. If "the enemy" really is smart enough to figure out all of our vulnerabilities, then surely they are smart enough to figure out how to raise enough wherewithal to take advantage of it in the last eight or so years.
posted by ontic at 10:56 AM on December 4, 2004


Its that kind of arrogant thinking about the enemy that gives the Bush administration its can-do spirit

can-do spirit indeed.
posted by matteo at 10:58 AM on December 4, 2004


My first thought was, "What an idiotic thing to say." Then after thinking about it, I realized it may have been the only way for him to speak "truth to power".

By raising the issue publicly, he can put pressure on the adminisitration to act where before they could safely minimize his concerns and ignore his recommendations. With a public statement like this, now there is pressure and his concern breaks through into the insular nature of the President's inner circle and becomes public discussion, not allowing the administration to sweep it under the rug.
posted by ..ooOOoo....ooOOoo.. at 11:02 AM on December 4, 2004


what the hell is wherewithal
posted by Satapher at 11:28 AM on December 4, 2004


Wherewithal. You might try learning to use the internet, before babbling about on it, Satapher.
posted by Wulfgar! at 11:33 AM on December 4, 2004


hahahahahahahahaha, I GOT PWNED
posted by Satapher at 11:52 AM on December 4, 2004


"'The enemy' isn't a brilliant, extensively funded government with an intelligence budget, a military budget, and so on."

And we've really seen what good all that money can do by our recent progress.
I think the motive behind the intelligence reorganization that the 9/11 commission recommended was that with a stubborn moron in the white house, other agencies are completely hindered in their respective job. That is, defending the citizens of the country.

Al-Qaeda is looser knit now that we've disrupted operations in Afganistan, but underestimating them before got us into 9/11. I think, besides the simply gargantuan logistics of trying to poison mass numbers of people being there just isn't any glamour to it.

Al-Qaeda goes for spectacular, and say what you will, I don't think Americans would find mass food poisoning spectacular in the least.

I think that the GOP will lapse into complacency after their 'moral' tromping of the dems, and once again the adminisration will drop it's royal pants for another good drubbing by our enemy. It'll be from some of the many holes gaping in our defense, Then they'll spout some crap like having to be right "100% of the time, while the terrorists have only been right twice"
posted by Busithoth at 11:56 AM on December 4, 2004


From Rapture Rations: Let me be really frank with you. If you are reading this manual and the rapture has already occurred, then you probably are not going to physically survive; you most likely will die sometime un the next few years.

The Net's going to survive the Rapture? Sweet! All the porn you can watch - and you're already damned so it doesn't matter!
posted by RokkitNite at 12:23 PM on December 4, 2004


Al-Qaeda goes for spectacular, and say what you will, I don't think Americans would find mass food poisoning spectacular in the least.

We already poison our own food (think pesticides, preservatives, coloring, hormones, antibiotics). We don't need fundamentalist Islamic terrorists to do our dirty work for us in this regard.
posted by AlexReynolds at 12:43 PM on December 4, 2004


I don't think Americans would find mass food poisoning spectacular in the least.

It sure did in Oregon in 1984 when the Rajneeshees poisoned 751 people by infecting salad bars with salmonella. Luckily no one died, but it could have been much worse since that was the "trial" to see if they could infect more in order to overthrow the local government.
posted by ..ooOOoo....ooOOoo.. at 1:37 PM on December 4, 2004


The terrorists probably decided they didn't need to bother since we're already putting rocket fuel in our milk and lettuce.
posted by homunculus at 1:46 PM on December 4, 2004


I think Wulfgar! has it right. The self-declared enemy is neither stupid nor powerful, and the Bush & Co.-declared enemy is not an enemy.

I wouldn't underestimate the potential impact of a good food poisoning campaign....anyone remember a little Tylenol incident of some years back?
posted by rushmc at 2:01 PM on December 4, 2004


Its interesting that Tommy Thompson has nothing to say on — and did nothing about — the food that we eat on a daily basis, vague terrorist threats aside.
posted by AlexReynolds at 2:04 PM on December 4, 2004


Tommy %*}
posted by pekar wood at 3:57 PM on December 4, 2004


Want to mention an easy terrorist target?
Try all our chemical plants! Think Bhopal.
Food supply ain't shit. Too much political influence from the Dow crowd to do anything about that threat though. Thompson is and has always been a fucking idiot. His only saving grace has always been his ability to kiss GOP ass.

Now, who's taking bets on where he lands? Lots of payback coming from many corporate entities for Tommy. Guaranteed lots of cash for his loyalty.
posted by nofundy at 4:07 PM on December 4, 2004


Develop a virus that infects corn and the USA is fucked.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:24 PM on December 4, 2004


if i were a terrorist id kill jessica and nick, think of the devestation.
posted by Satapher at 4:34 PM on December 4, 2004


"anyone remember a little Tylenol incident of some years back?"

Yup, and it was a deranged wife trying to off her hubbie, using decoy victims to cast suspicions aside.

and hey, remember Oklahoma City? That was home-grown, too. He learned his tricks from Uncle Sam, which he likened to the Empire from Star Wars. And that was before 'Shock and Awe' and holding soldiers against their will. Just think of the fun that will come in the decade ahead (once we're out of Iraq, that is)
posted by Busithoth at 5:01 PM on December 4, 2004


Busithoth. The original Tylenol poisoner was never found. There were other, later copycats but the first is considered a random poisoner.

And no, I have no idea why I know these things other than a previous fascination with serial killers.
posted by ..ooOOoo....ooOOoo.. at 6:09 PM on December 4, 2004


matteo's link upthread is pretty good. I've been wondering why they haven't hit NY again. I live on Long Island, and I go into nyc all the time, and everytime I'm there, I look around and think of all the places that could be hit.

It's almost worse living out here though, because if anything happens in nyc, it'll be close to impossible to get off of the island. The last go-round, all the bridges closed immediately, and the ferries ran for a lil' bit, then they stopped running too.

If they disseminated a hot bio-agent or something, all we can do is hope the prevailing wind is anything but easterly.

uh oh. I hope I didn't give any of them any ideas.
posted by exlotuseater at 6:46 PM on December 4, 2004


Whoops, my bad. I was thinking of the Excedrin killer, Stella Nickel.

my mistake, RushMC (and thanks for clarifying ooooooooooooOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooo...)
posted by Busithoth at 10:22 PM on December 4, 2004


Think of how much fear came from (the relatively small) Tylenol incident. We may be more likely to get murdered by an acquaintance than get the terror Doritos, but since when has logic stopped US from rampaging away on comparatively irrelevant tangents? Is true effectiveness really necessary for todays terrorist, given the way we have changed our very way of life in response to one incident. I mean, they are guaranteed effective PR and at this point they probably feel confident they can pull on over on us even if the facts don't really line up.
posted by 31d1 at 9:33 AM on December 5, 2004


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