Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Confirm Errol Southers, NOW!

Last week's attack on a Detroit-bound flight that originated in the Netherlands (and was thankfully stopped in progress by quick-reacting passengers) could have, as we have been told ad nauseum, been prevented by better communication between American and Dutch authorities.

A month ago Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's father told the American consulate that his son had taken up with radical Islamists. The Homeland Security Department did what they should have done and placed him on a terrorist watch list, meaning that he would be subjected to additional security measures if he tried to board a plane. Only the TSA didn't communicate with the Dutch authorities, who failed to detect explosive material on Abdulmutallab when he passed through a security inspection in Amsterdam.

Why didn't the TSA do it's job? MAYBE BECAUSE THERE IS NO ONE AT THE HELM? That's right, the position of TSA director is vacant.

There is a nominee, and a counter-terrorism expert at that. The person the Obama administration nominated for the job is Errol Southers, who is eminently qualified to deal with terrorism, as a former special agent with the FBI, the Los Angeles airport assistant chief for security and intelligence, the associate director of the University of Southern California's Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events and most recently the deputy director of homeland security for the state of California.

Two Senate committees have already approved Southers by a bipartisan vote. This should be a no-brainer.

Enter DeMint, one of the most combatative conservatives in the Senate. He has single-handedly blocked the nomination over the specific issue of preventing TSA workers from exercising their right to vote on whether they want to be represented by a collective bargaining agreement.

So thanks to DeMint, instead of having a highly qualified expert on terrorism running the TSA, someone who certainly would have attended to the detail of letting the Dutch know who they should pay closer attention to during an inspection, we instead have a vacancy in this critical position.

Thankfully, no one lost their life in this attack. But had 279 passengers and crew in the plane, and perhaps hundreds more on the ground died in the attack, it would be fair to ask whether Jim DeMint was at fault.

The Senate should vote to confirm Errol Southers IMMEDIATELY!


sandyh said...

Time and terrorists wait for no one. Conservatives may think they can outlast their incompetence by stonewalling change, but it doesn't work that way. Either you learn from your mistakes and adapt or you perish.

Anonymous said...

Maybe, someday, democrats will learn how to govern.

The Republicans can't "stop", "stonewall" or do a darn thing.

Southers was just nominated on september 11, 2009. That’s 7 months, 20 days after Obama took over the Presidency, knowing he needed a new TSA chief.

Southers didn’t make it through his first committee until October 28, 2009 — DeMint had NOTHING to do with the time it took the committee.

Then his nomination was sent to another committee, which didn’t act until November 19, 2009.

So, the nominee wasn’t even ready to go to the floor of the Senate until 11 months after Obama became President.

And that report wasn’t a clear “nominate” report, but one with a condition: “Nomination was reported with recommendation that it be confirmed subject to the nominee’s commitment to respond to requests to appear and testify before any duly constituted committee of the Senate.”

So it was clear that on November 19, 2009, the democrats did NOT expect quick action on the nominee, they knew the nominee needed to answer additional questions.

And up until the 30th, MAJORITY Leader Harry Reid had not asked to bring the nominee to the floor for debate. And Southers has still not answered the simple question DeMint asked him.

The only other mention of the nomination in the senate record (after November 19th’s committee report) was Dick Durbin on December 22, calling for support for his nomination.

Meaning that Reid NEVER entered into the record a request to consider the nomination. Because Reid did not WANT to have a discussion on the nomination — he wanted a backroom deal to approve the appointment without debate.

Now that it is an issue, Reid has said he will bring the nominee to the floor as soon as the Senate gets back. Of course, he could have brought the nomination to the floor at any time, and the Health Care debate showed that there was plenty of time before Christmas to have a cloture vote and debate, except the Democrats thought passing health care through the senate was more important than debating the TSA chief.

Anonymous said...

Isn't lying to congress a disqualifying factor and a Federal offense punishable by imprisonment.

Paladin said...

What intellectually silly comments, Anonymous.

First: "Maybe, someday, democrats will learn how to govern." Clear implication is that Republicans do know how to govern!?

What did they just do for eight years? Turn a surplus into a deficit, turn a good economy into a crashing economy, median incomes of all Americans went down a couple thousand a year, health care costs skyrocketed, poverty went up, child poverty went up, tax burden was shifted onto middle class, no money went into sustaining or repairing our public infrastructure -- instead all the money went to tax breaks-- a totally unnecessary war was started in Iraq under false pretenses, criminally expose a CIA asset Valerie Plame, slash through our civil liberties, arbitrarily change Terror Alerts just to help get reelected. Left us all fearful, exhuasted, and craving a Change!

Yes, the Republicans sure know how to govern. Just can't wait to get more of that good stuff!

Second, you spent all that type just to point out that "Democrats thought passing health care through the senate was more important than debating the TSA chief.".

Well, yes, passing health care reform legislation is a monumental achievement, a true historical moment, and I'm happy Reid kept focused.

Anonymous said...

Well, yes, passing health care reform legislation is a monumental achievement, a true historical moment, and I'm happy Reid kept focused.

Too bad he and Obama can't walk and chew gum at the same time or, as "they" say, do several things at once.

Southers might have been confirmed by now.

Someday, democracts will learn how to govern.

The republicans aren't stonewalling anything, they can't.

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duvexys place said...


This is man is a racist.

Anonymous said...

Errol Southers is a racist. The people to watch out for is "ANTI-ABORTION", "CHRISTIANS". THis is all part of a the prez plan to dominate the world...