Patterico's Pontifications


Napolitano’s Leadership

Filed under: Government,Terrorism — DRJ @ 8:19 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Janet Napolitano is President Obama’s Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). DHS and Secretary Napolitano are responsible for protecting America from terrorism, illegal immigration and border incursions, and disasters — including disaster preparedness, response and recovery. The DHS has been challenged by several incidents during the last 15 months but Napolitano’s initial response has consistently been to downplay the incidents, especially in cases where there appears to be a single perpetrator:

  • December 2009 — The Christmas Day underwear bomber:

    “Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has created controversy over her remarks that “The system worked” on CNN’s “State of the Union”. She was referring to the terrorist attack on Northwest Airlines flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit.

    Napolitano changed the remark on later appears on the Sunday news shows, including “This Week” on ABC, by saying thing worked “after the attack”.

    Critics say Napolitano’s remark indicates the system is to allow terrorists on planes and then depend on passengers for ensure safety.”

  • Later reports questioned whether Napolitano and other national security officials were promptly advised or consulted about the Christmas Day incident.

  • March 2010 — Joe Stack’s suicide plane crash into the Austin IRS building:

    To our belief, he was a lone wolf. He used a terrorist tactic, but an individual who uses a terrorist tactic doesn’t necessarily mean they are part of an organized group attempting an attack on the United States,” Napolitano said.”

  • May 1, 2010 — Car bomb in Times Square:

    “Homeland Security Janet Napolitano told me that right now there is no evidence that car bomb found in New York’s Times Square last night is “anything other than a one-off.”

  • Some terror attacks are the work of organized jihadi groups, some are unknown, and others are committed by one or more individuals like Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols. Yet Napolitano strangely avoided any comparison between McVeigh and Stack, the Austin suicide pilot who did act alone:

    “Napolitano distinguished [Joe] Stack from Timothy J. McVeigh — who was convicted and executed for carrying out the 1995 attack on the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City that killed 168 people — citing McVeigh’s “tactics, organization, motivation and the like.”

    “When you get to a lone wolf, which is what really the Austin issue was, it’s very debatable whether you would put them in the same bucket,” Napolitano said. “For my purposes, it’s, ‘Where do we focus our resources?’ And where we focus our resources is on protecting the country from organized attacks.”

    It probably was hard to anticipate what Stack did but are we measuring terrorists based on their number and organizational skills? Apparently Napolitano doesn’t think DHS should focus on individual threats unless they have big, organized plans like McVeigh. Maybe this is why our enemies are sending operatives individually into American cities.

    During her confirmation hearing, Napolitano intentionally used the term “man-caused disasters” rather than terrorism. At the time, the response focused on why she chose to use the more benign term — disaster — instead of terrorism. But maybe the real problem is Napolitano’s consistent willingness to blame every attack on an unstoppable individual, until proven otherwise.

    — DRJ

    UPDATE: In the comments, Baxter Greene suggests Napolitano’s response to the Fort Hood shooting is another example. President Obama’s response was even more disappointing.

    Did the Obama Administration Bungle the Oil Spill?

    Filed under: Environment,Obama — DRJ @ 7:57 pm

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    Gateway Pundit:

    “Video from NOAA site shows officials knew quickly of potential for massive oil flow.
    *** [Yet it] took President Obama 12 days to visit the disaster area today. Yesterday, The New York Times reported that Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano was not aware the Defense Department had equipment for dealing with oil slicks.”

    Alabama Press Register via Doug Ross:

    “Federal officials should have started burning oil off the surface of the Gulf last week, almost as soon as the spill happened, said the former oil spill response coordinator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

    Ron Gouget, who also managed Louisiana’s oil response team for a time, said federal officials missed a narrow window of opportunity to gain control of the spill by burning last week, before the spill spread hundreds of miles across the Gulf, and before winds began blowing toward shore.

    He also said the heavy use of dispersants, which cause oil to sink, has likely knocked so much oil into the water column that portions of the Gulf may be on the threshold of becoming toxic to marine life.”

    The Gouget article appeared April 29, 2010, in a regional Alabama newspaper. Bloggers and the Washington Examiner found it. Where is the rest of the media?

    — DRJ

    Roman Polanski: “I Can Remain Silent No Longer”

    Filed under: Crime — Patterico @ 5:46 pm

    An extensive whine translated into several languages:

    It is true: 33 years ago I pleaded guilty, and I served time at the prison for common law crimes at Chino, not in a VIP prison. That period was to have covered the totality of my sentence. By the time I left prison, the judge had changed his mind and claimed that the time served at Chino did not fulfil the entire sentence, and it is this reversal that justified my leaving the United States.

    No, it didn’t.

    It is important to note a few points, based on a reading of the publicly available documents in the case, including Polanski’s plea transcript and a Court of Appeals decision extensively setting forth the underlying facts.

    1. Roman Polanski did not plead guilty based on the assurance that he would receive only a brief 42-day prison sentence as his entire punishment. When he pled, he knew he could receive as much as 20 years in prison. Neither the judge nor anyone else had made him any promises about what his sentence would be, and his plea did not and could not rely on any promise or assurance from the judge.

    2. It is alleged that, on a later date in September 1977, the judge told the lawyers in chambers that he intended to send Polanski to state prison for a “diagnostic study” (which is normally for a period of 90 days) as Polanski’s entire punishment. The lawyers have filed affidavits stating that the judge was told that this procedure was improper, as such diagnostic studies are not intended to serve as punishment, but rather as a tool to allow an evaluation of the defendant, to help determine what further punishment, if any, is appropriate.

    3. Polanski served only 42 days instead of the usual 90 — and it has been alleged that the judge wanted to send him back to prison for the balance of that 90 days.

    4. The Court of Appeal has said that if Polanski believed that he had been wronged by the judge in any way, there were several options available to him. Given that the Deputy District Attorney on the case is a forthright and honest individual, as Polanski and his lawyer concede, Polanski could have addressed these issues contemporaneously with the full cooperation of that Deputy District Attorney.

    Instead, Polanski chose to flee. His actions were not justified.

    Speaking only for myself (as I always do on this blog), I have my doubts as to whether the Swiss have any intention of releasing Polanski to the U.S. But regardless of how this all comes out, the way he has flouted our justice system has never been justified.

    Greece Bailout

    Filed under: International — DRJ @ 4:43 pm

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    Euro nations have agreed to a $146B bailout for Greece:

    “Euro-region ministers agreed to a 110 billion-euro ($146 billion) rescue package for Greece to prevent a default and stop the worst crisis in the currency’s 11-year history from spreading through the rest of the bloc.

    The first payment will be made before Greece’s next bond redemption on May 19, said Jean-Claude Juncker after chairing a meeting of euro-region finance ministers in Brussels yesterday. The 16-nation bloc will pay 80 billion euros at a rate of around 5 percent and the International Monetary Fund contributes the rest. Greece agreed to budget measures worth 13 percent of gross domestic product.

    “It’s an ambitious program, it’s austere but it’s absolutely necessary,” Juncker told reporters. European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet, speaking at the same press conference, said Greece’s plan will “help to restore confidence and safeguard financial stability in the euro area.”

    Who’s next?

    — DRJ

    United, Continental Announce Merger

    Filed under: General — DRJ @ 4:39 pm

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    The directors of Continental and United Airlines met today and agreed to merge the airlines:

    “United and Continental Airlines are expected to announce Monday morning that they are combining operations to form the world’s largest airline after their boards voted to approve the deal this afternoon, sources said.

    The deal is the culmination of a lengthy search by United CEO Glenn Tilton for a partner that would bolster his carrier’s global network and that would promote consolidation in a badly fragmented industry plagued by chronic losses.

    Continental CEO Jeff Smisek will be named CEO of the new carrier, while Tilton will move to its board as non-executive chairman for a two-year term, said a person familiar with the deal.

    The new airline, to be named United, will retain its world headquarters at 77 W. Wacker Dr. in Chicago, where United currently employs about 700 people, sources said.”

    The airlines formed an operational alliance three years ago known as the Star Alliance. Continental had previously rejected a merger over concerns it would lose employees and independence. The merger will reportedly jeopardize some Continental jobs in administration and reservations, but Houston will become United’s largest hub.

    — DRJ


    Filed under: General — Patterico @ 2:43 pm

    Short, sharp shock. Just now. Ran out of the house.

    UPDATE: Preliminary report: a 2.7 earthquake, with an epicenter 5 miles south of Rancho Palos Verdes (the city where I live), at 2:42 p.m. That makes sense. It was just like the 3.0 we experienced in Marina del Rey days before Northridge: very quick and very sharp. That’s how they feel when they’re close — even if they’re small.

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