Archive for 01/15/2010

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LA Times

January 14, 2010

Everybody should just relax and take it easy.

Unsubstantiated rumors that Vice President Joe Biden had suddenly gone a little loopy and ordered some of his official meetings opened to at least cursory public or media attention were just that — unsubstantiated rumors.

After a recent public sighting, fears had mounted that the one-time, long-term senator might rebel against traditional White House strictures and start acting on all the administration’s oft-promised promises of government transparency and official openness running back into 2008.

But the VP’s public schedule today puts all those fears to rest.

In fact, loyal Ticket readers will recall that one day last summer with no advance warning whatsoever Biden’s official White House schedule changed from listing frequent “private meetings” to listing frequent meetings that are “closed press.” Was this dramatic and….

…little-noticed vocabulary change a sign of internal administration turmoil? What did it really mean?

No, of course not. And, nothing.

Announcing everyone the VP meets with, including sessions with unidentified senior staff, which consume much of the vice president’s listed time, and what subjects they talk about would have been a stark contrast to George W. Bush’s administration, whose notoriously secretive ways drew such criticism from Democrats in Congress during eight long years of really failed policies.

Instead, in the apparent interests of bipartisanship, the Delaware Democrat has adopted much the same sort of undetailed schedule as his Republican predecessor, Dick Cheney, who was not in the Senate when Obama was only 11 years old.

In fact, today’s Biden schedule highlight is a meeting with the chief of transparency for economic recovery. But, unfortunately, the transparency meeting is non-transparent, closed to the press.

Read more at …

Posted 2010-01-14 4:29 PM (#31938) By: Editor

Thursday, January 14, 2010
By Matt Cover, Staff Writer
( – Erroll Southers, who President Barack Obama has nominated to head the Transportation Security Administration, described groups that were a domestic security threat as being “anti-abortion” and “Christian-identity oriented.”

The TSA, an element of the Department of Homeland Security, is responsible for the security of the nation’s transportation systems, including commercial air travel. Southers made the remarks in question in a 2008 video interview with the Web site.

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In the interview, Southers was asked whether there were “groups inside the United States that pose a danger to our security?”

“Domestically speaking, a large part, most of the groups we have here in the United States, are white supremacists groups, World Church of the Creator, National Alliance, Aryan Nations. There are some black separatist groups,” said Southers. “What’s interesting about those groups is you find that they are usually either Christian identity groups and/or groups that really have a foothold in our correctional or prison systems in the way of radicalization and recruiting.”

Southers was then asked: “Which home-grown terrorist groups pose the greatest danger to the U.S.?”

“Most of the domestic groups that we have to pay attention to here are white supremacist groups. They’re anti-government and in most cases anti-abortion,” he said. “They are usually survivalist-type in nature, identity orientated. If you recall, Buford Furrow came to Los Angeles in, I believe, it was 1999. When he went to three different Jewish institutions, museums, and then wound up shooting people at a children’s community center, then shooting a Filipino postal worker later on. Matthew Hale, who’s the Pontifex Maximus of the World Church of the Creator out of Illinois, and Ben Smith, who went on a shooting spree in three different cities where he killed a number of African Americans and Jews and Asians that day. Those groups are groups that claim to be extremely anti-government and Christian-identity oriented.”

Southers did not respond to email inquires from asking about his interview with

Southers nomination has been held up in the U.S. Senate over two issues. Sen. Jim DeMint (R.-S.C.) has placed a hold on the nomination because he is worried that Southers might allow TSA workers, who are responsible for airport security, to unionize.

Additionally, seven Republican senators including Demint, Sen. Tom Coburn (R.-Okla.), Sen. John McCain (R.-Ariz.) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R.-Iowa), have written to the White House asking for more information about contradictory accounts Southers provided to the Senate regarding incidents in the 1980s when, as an FBI officer, he improperly accessed a federal database looking for information about his then-wife’s boyfriend.

As first reported by the Washington Post, Southers initially told the Senate Homeland Security Committee in an Oct. 22 affidavit that he had asked a police officer to access the database for him. In a Nov. 22 letter, Southers told the committee that the affidavit was incorrect and the he had accessed the database himself.  Southers said he had remembered incorrectly and that the mistake in the affidavit was inadvertent.