Category Archive 'Incompetence'

19 Dec 2013

Obama: Incompetent

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In 2008, when Barack Obama was advancing on the presidency by means of successfully turning himself into the year’s most popular fashion statement, the fact was occasionally remarked that Barack Obama had made his persona into a mirror which was reflecting back precisely the images his audience wanted to see, the real Obama remained an invisible enigma.

Barack Obama managed to be elected presidency, occupied the White House for four years of economic misery while magically evading responsibility for the non-recovery, and was even, astonishingly, re-elected, while remaining essentially defined by the wishful fantasies of an admiring public.

Ironically, it seems that it was Barack Obama’s signature achievement, Obamacare, the long-elusive goal of left-wing dreams which would transform America, once and for all, into a European-style Welfare State, which proved to be his nemesis, his Hurricane Katrina, the touchstone of demonstrable performance which dispelled all the illusions and defined the real Obama. And his definition, as Peggy Noonan noted yesterday, is: incompetent.

I would add that in recent weeks I have begun to worry about the basic competency of the administration, its ability to perform the most fundamental duties of executive management. One reason I worry is that I frequently speak with people who interact with the White House, and when I say, “That place just doesn’t seem to work,” they don’t defend it, they offer off-the-record examples of how poorly the government is run. …

It all looks so lax, so loosey-goosey. In the place of the energy and focus that would go into the running of things, the administering and managing of them, we have the preoccupation with spin, with how things look as opposed to how they are. The odd thing still is that the White House never misses a speech, a list of talking points, an opportunity to shape the argument on TV. They do the talking part, but the doing? They had 3½ years to make sure ObamaCare will work, three years to get it right top to bottom, to rejigger parts of the law that they finally judged wouldn’t work, to make the buying of a policy easy on the website. And they not only couldn’t do that, which itself constitutes an astounding and historic management failure, they make it clear they were taken aback by their failure. They didn’t know it was coming! Or some knew and for some reason couldn’t do anything.

And it’s all going to continue. One reason this scandal isn’t Katrina is that Katrina had a beginning and an end. The storm came, the storm left, the cleanup commenced and failed and then continued and succeeded. At some point it was over. ObamaCare will never be over. It’s going to poison the rest of the administration. It’s the story that won’t go away because it will continue to produce disorder. Wait, for instance, until small businesses realize it will be cheaper to throw their people off their coverage and take the fines than it will be to reinsure them under the new regime.

I’m worried, finally, that lines of traditionally assumed competence are being dropped. The past few weeks I can’t shake from my head this picture: The man with the football—the military aide who carries the U.S. nuclear codes, and who travels with the president—is carrying the wrong code. He’s carrying last month’s code, or the one from December 2012. And there’s a crisis—a series of dots on a radar screen traveling toward the continental U.S.—and the president is alerted. He’s in the holding room at a fundraiser out west. The man with the football is called in and he fumbles around in his briefcase and gets the code but wait, the date on the code is wrong. He scrambles, remembers there’s a file on his phone, but the phone ran out on the plane and he thought he could recharge in the holding room but there’s no electrical outlet. All eyes turn to him. “Wait—wait. No—uh—I don’t think that’s the code we use to launch against incoming from North Korea, I think that one takes out Paris!”

I have to say, I’ve never worried about this with any previous administration, ever.

Read the whole thing.

Recognizing back in 2008 that Barack Obama was nothing but an Illinois state senator with no record of meaningful accomplishment whatsoever beyond (perhaps) writing his own autobiography at age 30, and $2.99, would get you a cup of coffee.

07 Jan 2010

“A Certain Shock”

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TSA on the job protecting America from terrorism.

USA Today:

White House national security adviser James Jones says Americans will feel “a certain shock” when they read an account being released Thursday of the missed clues that could have prevented the alleged Christmas Day bomber from ever boarding the plane.

And, as predicted, we learn that the system delivered vital information too late to be scrutinized until the person of interest to security was already on the plane and in the air. He should have been on one of two lists provoking greater scrutiny or prohibiting him from flying altogether, but….

LA Times:

U.S. border security officials learned of the alleged extremist links of the suspect in the Christmas Day jetliner bombing attempt as he was airborne from Amsterdam to Detroit and had decided to question him when he landed, officials disclosed Wednesday. …

“The public isn’t aware how many people are allowed to travel through the U.S., who are linked, who intersect with bad guys or alleged bad guys,” a national security official said. “It makes sense from an intelligence perspective. If they are not considered dangerous, it provides intelligence on where they go, who they meet with.”

Moreover, the window for identifying a passenger overseas as a potential threat is limited, a senior homeland security official said.

U.S. border enforcement officials have access to passenger data based on lists of those who have made flight reservations. But the in-depth vetting only begins once a comprehensive list, known as a flight manifest, has been generated, just a few hours before takeoff, the homeland security official said.

Customs and Border Protection personnel based at the National Targeting Center in Washington came across the intelligence about Abdulmutallab — which was based on a tip from the suspect’s father to U.S. Embassy officials in Nigeria — during an in-depth review of the manifest after the plane was en route to Detroit, the other law enforcement officials said. …

(T)he likelihood of Abdulmutallab being intercepted in Amsterdam was low because he was not on the no-fly list, which contains about 4,000 names, or a separate terrorism watch “selectee” list that contains fewer than 20,000 names. Instead, the Nigerian was on the larger database.

The real breakdown came months before the flight because intelligence officials failed to match the father’s tip with intercepts about a suspected plot involving a Nigerian, a former senior homeland security official said.

“There was enough information in the system to make the guy a selectee or a no-fly without hoping for Customs and Border Protection to detect it at the last minute,” the official said.

28 Dec 2009

Janet Napolitano: “The Traveling Public is Very Very Safe”

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Janet Napolitano

Department of Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano assures CNN that “the system worked.”

She announces with a note of assured complacency that “right now, we have no indication it was part of anything larger”.

“We have initiated more screening and what we call mitigation measures at.. uh… airports.”

“I would advise you, during this heavy holiday season, (voice sweetens) just to arrive a bit early.”

“The traveling public is very very safe in this air environment.”

In response to Candy Crowley inquiring why even a father’s report that his son had ties to terrorists and might be dangerous was not enough to move him onto the no-fly list, Janet Napolitano responded: “You need information that is specific and credible if you are going to bar someone from air travel.”

The directrex of Homeland Security’s performance was reminding me of someone, and after a minute it came to me who it was. Napolitano’s reassurances sound exactly like those of 1970s era Mayor of Amity, Larry Vaughn.

Janet Napolitano 6:06 video

Larry Vaughn 4:01 video

Andrew Sullivan awarded her a “Heckuva Job, Janet” column.

The head of DHS had the gall to say that “the system worked.” What she meant is that after the incident in Detroit, the response was good. Fine. But she has no assurance that this could not happen again, and even declared that the would-be terrorist was properly screened.

More to the point, she evinces no sense of responsibility for this lapse in security. I’m sorry but that’s her job and instead of preening about how she handled it after the fact, she should be apologizing for yet another instance of government incompetence and complacency. She is stonewalling and smug.

Really: disgraceful, glib, complacent, moronic. I want to know who is being fired for not taking the warning about this one seriously enough, and if Napolitano really believes that a near-miss, averted by the terrorist’s incompetence and the passengers’ courage, is a sign that the system is working, then she needs to be fired as well.

Even Andrew is dead right every now and then.

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