Monday, April 16, 2012


For more detailed map click on here

With the Blue Water Bridge Plaza project we have a never-ending playbook for the keystone cops methodology of hyper-protection that strangles our international city Port Huron.  At every turn it is the Department of Homeland Security controlling its Customs Border Protection agency, and not common sense that rules.  Michigan Department of Transportation follows their lead.   Let me recount some of the ways. 

        N  April 1, 2012 the Times Herald ran an editorial which cited one of the Blue Water Bridge Plaza’s many shortcomings, “Inspection booths were decade late.”  They rightly explain how delays, especially post 911, have greatly increased bridge plaza wait times, and point out the obvious solution which has always been there--more plaza booths that are adequately staffed to meet traffic demand.  Finally, Blue Water Bridge Canada has pushed for this remedy by donating the booth structures to our US side well over a year ago, and it appears now that MDOT and CBP have come on board.  The booths are to be installed by mid-summer.   Perhaps that is all the Blue Water Bridge Plaza has ever needed.

  • In its plans for the new bridge now being built over the Black River, engineers in some Washington think tank bunker must have decided that underpass dimensions make the existing exit portal of eastbound I-94 into north Port Huron & Fort Gratiot vulnerable to a Ryder truck bomb attack.   So it’s mothballed, and a weird “T” intersection south of the bridge now takes its place.  Whether you like traffic artificially channeled a bit more towards downtown Port Huron or not, common sense lost this battle before it was ever publicly engaged.
·         The whole knock-the-plaza-down-closer-to-ground-level initial Blue Water Bridge Plaza design was predicated in a significant way, to this same need to protect from “small tunnel” Ryder truck bomb vulnerability, where Pine Grove underpasses I-94.  Somehow the excessive expenses involved finally now preclude whatever runaway risk managements led to this boondoggle bridge plaza master plan.

·         After ten years of experimental “outbound {and inbound} inspections” the only “potential terrorist” caught has been an irate long haired Canadian science fiction author, returning home to Ontario after a long cross-country trip helping a friend move to state of Washington, USA.  A whole new set of these type booths was another major reason for the initial large-footprint dimensions of the Blue Water Bridge Plaza.

·         In addition to losing a whole neighborhood and its tax base to this project, a group of area businesses are now caught between its Water street freeway construction and a city street project, which may force many of them to close shop.  [see 4-10-12 Times Herald, “Businesses plead to MDOT”].  More collateral damage, with outside interests running our town.   Let’s hope something can be worked out.

Port Huron has almost no seat at the table of DHS/MDOT decision making.   Our Port Huron is only a small part of the DHS puzzle. 
What is the economic basis of terrorism 101 that brought DHS into existence?  One attack on 9-11-01, and then a succession of cheap threat events spurs our massive fear-based funding of multiple projects:  underwear bomber air traffic protections, whole body scanners sold to DHS by a company owned by the ex-DHS chief administrator, Yemini & worldwide heightened package and freight surveillance measures, and the Patriot Act with its renditions to torture without trial, wiretaps and surveillance of US citizens without warrant, targeting citizens for sting operations and worse.  Locally we have never-ending and shifting plans for border protection with knock down rebuild Blue Water Bridge plaza schemes, a fleet of brand new CBP vehicles parked at our St. Clair river scenic turnouts, and millions of dollars networks of Boeing border camera towers erected from Port Huron to Algonac.  We hobble our international commerce and connectedness, by instituting unproven techno security solutions, sold to us by a few government & private insiders, who have proved only to benefit their own maximized profit margins.

The real cost benefit of all this?  I recommend reading three articles from Slate’s online magazine, the summation article entitled, “Homeland security spending--We'd have to foil 1,667 Times Square-style attacks every year to justify current spending on homeland security.”  [Click on.]

Why should we continue to fill the coffers of the super-rich, in vain effort to maintain the myth of super-security they try to sell us.   This they can never provide, with these bombs bullets and techno walls they build to surround us.  Better to certainly hire more customs employees at these new booths, donated by the Canadians, and fully train many of these employees in the languages and cultures of the countries with whom we have problems.  Beyond this, we need an engaged competent and completely-funded Peace Corps, bigger than the Marine Corps, to be our forward bases in a true effort to bridge our differences--resolve conflict without repetitious murder and mayhem.   This is our calling, those of us who form this nominally Christian nation—Easter promises we can live up to it.

From this week's Gospel--Sent out from behind locked doors.
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”  After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.21 Again Jesus said,   And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit."   Jn 20: 12-22

Widow's Mite--by James Christensen
Port Huron Widow in midst of Outside Authorities who profit much from generalized insecurities, but give little to meet real needs of local people.  May our Widow's mite of genuine small truthful contribution become the mighty mite that helps convert the politically powerful back to serving the common good.

Illumination by Kathy Brahney

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