17 June 2007

Bushies and Passports

The Bush administration has come completely apart. As it cracks up people can now take a look inside at all its secret little parts whirling and gigging. The ones that were supposed to be so efficient.

Here is a case in point: getting a passport. Back in 2005 the Federal government decided to increase the demand for passports by mandating tougher documentation for travel in the region, especially hotbeds of terrorism like Mexico and Canada (I hear Winnipeg is particularly dangerous). So - it should require a minimal amount of intelligence and foresight to understand that serious steps would have to be taken to meet the huge increase before the deadline. The Bushies running the passport department assured Congress that they could handle it.

Guess what? Just so you won't think this is just a typical liberal screed, let's look at a post from the National Review. Please read the whole thing to appreciate its venom, but here is a taste of it:

Last Friday, after members of Congress reported that their offices were overwhelmed with complaints about passport delays, DHS and State announced they were postponing implementation of a new requirement that all air travelers between the countries have passports...

... DHS and State haven’t done so well with the first part of the plan. Passports, which usually take between 8 and 10 weeks to process, are now routinely taking 13-15, according to members of Congress whose offices have been deluged with complaints from summer travelers. The departments failed to prepare adequately for an estimated six million new passport applications from air travelers, and the system was overwhelmed.

DHS - that would be those wonderful folks bravely fighting to keep us as safe as New Orleans was, just before it was destroyed. Once again they seem to be having trouble with a slow motion disaster moving directly toward them.

What it means to you and me? Well, my Irish-American friend Maeráed is now 5, which means she needs a new passport so she can go to Ireland next Thursday. Not only have the folks at the passport office not managed to issue one in 15 weeks, calls to our Congress women have gotten nowhere. This leaves her mom with two options: go to Ireland without her daughter, or drive up to Washington to wait in line personally to get an emergency passport.

I used to work for the Federal government. So did Carmen. I had also worked for State and County government, small business, and one large corporation. The Feds were by far the most efficient and dedicated of all the people I worked for or with.

No more. They are just hapless stumble bums left completely clueless. This is a failure of leadership - remember Brownie and Chertoff* during Katrina? Run this level of performance through every part of government: the CIA, DHS, DOJ, DOD, any and all. And you have the Bush administration. A group of feckless clowns playing it for laughs and self-aggrandizement because, hey, they don't believe the Federal government does anything useful anyway! So why worry about it.

All politics is local, and the local politicos, the representatives and senators, are now getting their ears flamed so badly from people like Maeráed's mother that they are beginning to fear for their jobs. When you talk to their offices about where your passport is they are as harsh in their criticism of the Bush administration as the wildest most irrational liberal.

Never forget who visited this upon all of us. They are still out there. They are still asking for your money and your vote.

ps: I hope you weren't planning on going anywhere requiring a new passport this summer.

* the one who was not even aware of what every single citizen who had turned on a TV was aware of. And HE is protecting us from Terrorists?


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At 17 June, 2007 07:28, Blogger jack perry said...

My daughter actually received her passport in a decent timeframe: we applied in early or mid-March and received it at the end of April. I already wasn't happy with that; (a) it took perhaps 2 weeks longer than it was supposed to take (we had paid for express processing) and (b) despite the State Department's claims that your application would show up on their webpage, it never did appear. My wife and I were talking about calling State when the passport magically showed up in our mailbox.

Fifteen weeks is a ridiculously long time, even for non-express. Have they checked for it online?

At 17 June, 2007 07:30, Blogger jack perry said...

Oh: note that the Russian Consulate has no trouble issuing a visa within a couple of weeks. When the Russians are more efficient than you are, you have a serious problem.

At 17 June, 2007 19:04, Blogger Clemens said...

Thanks for your experience Jack. I agree - there is something distinctly wrong when the Russian government is more efficient than ours.

I'm frankly not much of an ideologue. I can accept almost any type of administration IF IT IS COMPETENT.

This one isn't.

At 17 June, 2007 21:54, Anonymous Maire said...

Just for the record, yes we've checked online. It very usefully tells us the passport in "being processed," but it does not say where in the process we are nor does it indicate how long we'll have to wait. You can't phone until you are within two weeks of travel; I've been phoning for two weeks. I've also called in help from our Rep and our Senator. They've had to designate several staffers each just to deal with this issue.

If we have to travel to DC it will cost US, not the State Department, the price of two last-minute airline fares, plus we'll lose a whole day and I'll have a very tired and grouchy 5-year old both in DC and on a long haul flight to Ireland.

I did what I was supposed to, and I did it when I was supposed to. Why do I have to pay to fix their mistakes?

Here's a link to a frightening story about the kind of mistakes immigration and Homeland Security are now making -- and the total lack of accountability:

At 17 June, 2007 22:54, Anonymous Maire said...

Hmm, the last time I posted the link to a truly horrific new story was cut off. Let's try again:


At 17 June, 2007 22:55, Anonymous Maire said...

OK, I quit. Go to CNN and look for a story about a mother whose mentally disabled son, a US citizen from birth, was deported to Tiajuana.


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