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Homeland Security Secretary Should Resign

Obama and Napolitano.jpg

(Danville, California)

President Obama came to Washington promising to change “business as usual.” He could take a large step in that direction by asking his Secretary of Homeland Security for her resignation.

I was a bit surprised when he picked Secretary Janet Napolitano in the first place. With no military, intelligence, or “hands on” law enforcement experience, she appeared to be a weak choice. On the other hand, she was a former U.S. Attorney and Governor of Arizona, so she does have some experience dealing with the nation’s porous border and all the crime that goes with it. At best she was minimally qualified, but now a story out this week raises grave doubts.

Napolitano allowed the release of a department report entitled “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment.”

Among the scant “facts” in the nine-page documents was this gem: “The possible passage of new restrictions on firearms and the return of military veterans facing significant challenges reintegrating into their communities could lead to the potential emergence of terrorist groups or lone wolf extremists capable of carrying out violent attacks.”

If you are curious as to what “evidence” was presented, well, there isn’t any. The report also mentions possible violence from groups opposing abortion rights and from those opposed to illegal immigration. Again, no tangible evidence was presented. It’s all speculation based on the economic downturn and the election of the nation’s first black president. (Yes, those were the reasons given).

The report mentions Timothy McVeigh, who bombed the Oklahoma City federal building in 1995 and was convicted and put to death. McVeigh was a disgruntled ex-solider from the first Persian Gulf War. Okay, so we had one nut out of a half-million troops who served. That’s hardly something you can draw a scientific conclusion from, let alone make it the premise for a key government security report.

CBS news reported tonight that members of the civil rights division of the Homeland Security Department raised serious doubts about the wording in this report. Janet Napolitano ignored their advice to change some of the verbiage and released the report anyway.

Republicans were outraged, but they were not alone. Rep. Bennie Thompson, a black Mississippi Democrat, was equally as outraged. His office released a letter he wrote to Napolitano saying he was “dumbfounded” by the report. It gets worse. Congressman Thompson also said, “This report appears to raise significant issues involving the privacy and civil liberties of many Americans - including war veterans."
Now maybe--just maybe--the report warning about the "right wing" was in retaliation for a report issued during the Bush administration entitled, “Leftwing Extremists Likely to Increase Use of Cyber Attacks over the Coming Decade.” (According to “U.S. News & World Report,” that report actually named specific groups, activities and threats from groups such as the Earth Liberation Front, but I digress.)

President Obama promised change--change in the bickering, tit-for-tat, one-upsmanship ways that both parties have traditionally ruled in Washington. If he truly wants to change the partisan bickering, he can start by firing his ill-qualified Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. You would think that coming from Arizona, her top priority would be a border that’s leaking illegal immigration and drug trafficking like a sieve. Border cities and towns in Mexico have erupted in all-out drug wars that threaten to spill into the U.S. Napolitano's most pressing job is to protect us from that threat, and not to issue vague, inflammatory reports that defame returning U.S. veterans, among others.

My book sales continue to be steady in this tough economy. You can purchase, “Age of Obama: A Reporter’s Journey with Clinton, McCain and Obama in the Making of the President 2008” by clicking on the blue Amazon.com book button on the right side of this screen.

Listen to Teddy; FDR Is Not The Only Roosevelt Who Inspires

Teddy Roosevelt.jpg

(Danville, California)

Day in and day out we keep hearing about how these are the worst economic times since the Great Depression. I still think the 1979 recession was worse (with greater unemployment, interest rates and inflation), but this is bad, no matter how you slice it.

People keep talking about all the new government spending as being similar to FDR's "New Deal." Yes, there were a lot of public works projects back then; and "The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself" was a classic presidential speech.

But today I find many people (including myself) doing creative and different things trying to gain employment or generate some part-time income. One friend launched a great networking and search site to help those looking for work: www.layoffscafe.com.

In the meantime, I read one of the most inspiring presidential quotes of all time last night as I was doing my internet job search. The speech was delivered by President Theodore Roosevelt on April 23, 1910, in Paris. I hope you find his words encouraging and inspiring:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

The other day as we drove through the mountains to the beach, my kids were asking me to describe why some Presidents achieved greatness. I mentioned Teddy Roosevelt for creating the National Park Service (along with the legendary John Muir) and leaving us all with some great national treasures.

By the way, my book would be great reading while you camp out in one of those national parks. You can purchase "Age of Obama: A Reporter's Journey with Clinton, McCain and Obama in the Making of the President 2008" by clicking on the blue book button on the right side of this screen. Enjoy!

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