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Commentary :: Education
Napolitano to Head University of California
15 Jul 2013
Napolitano to Head University of California

by Stephen Lendman

On July 12, the Los Angeles Times headlined "Janet Napolitano, Homeland Security chief, to head UC," saying:

Her "nomination by a committee of UC regents came after a secretive process that insiders said focused on her early as a high-profile, although untraditional, candidate who has led large public agencies and shown a strong interest in improving education."

UC officials said her cabinet experience "will help UC administer its federal energy and nuclear weapons labs and aid its federally funded research in medicine and other areas."

Sherry Lansing headed UC's search committee. She called her "without a doubt the right person at the right time to lead this incredible university."

Others disagree. One critic said she'll "be tasked with keeping the unwashed masses from defiling UC."

Her role will make the university more exclusively "for (America's) privileged few."

Another critic complained about "revolving door" politics. UC tuition rates will rise accordingly. They'll do so "to pay off fascist Napolitano in the style to which she's become accustomed."

"All the better to keep (higher) education out of the reach of anyone not in the 1%. And yes, more draconian measures taken against student protesters."

Others worry about a major university caring more about its relationship with government than student body interests.

They include making higher education more affordable for all aspiring students. They're about keeping academic standards high as possible.

They involve treating all students equitably and fairly. Expect greater politicization on Napolitano's watch.

Universities once chose prominent academics as presidents. Fund raising and influence peddling today matter more.

Figures like Charles William Eliot needn't apply. His Harvard tenure had far-reaching higher education impact. A. Lawrence Lowell shaped undergraduate life to this day.

In 1909, he established Harvard's Extension School. It's a Greater Boston open-enrollment evening program. In the 1940s and 50s, it let this writer's mother get a Harvard degree. She did so for $175.

Courses cost $5. Evening enrollees had the same liberal arts curriculum as day students. They had many of the same professors.

Working people got the same educational opportunity as full-time day students. So did others unable to attend college after secondary school.

In late August, current UC president Mark Yudof's leaving. In September, Napolitano will replace him.

"For more than four years I have had the privilege of serving President Obama and his Administration as the Secretary of Homeland Security," she said.

"After four plus years of focusing on these challenges, I will be nominated as the next President of the University of California to play a role in educating our nation’s next generation of leaders."

"I thank President Obama for the chance to serve our nation during this important chapter in our history, and I know the Department of Homeland Security will continue to perform its important duties with the honor and focus that the American public expect."

The University of California includes 10 statewide campuses. It has 234,000 students, nearly 19,000 faculty members, another 189,000 staff members, 50,000 retirees, and 1.6 million living alumni.

It has five medical centers and three national laboratories. It was established in 1868. UC Berkeley was its first campus. Merced's its newest. It opened in fall 2005.

Nine campuses enroll undergrads and graduate students. UC San Francisco admits only graduate and professional ones in medical and health sciences.

UC's regarded as one of the world's finest public universities. Decades ago it was tuition free. Today state residents pay around $32,000. Costs include room, board and other expenses. Nonresidents pay nearly $55,000.

Higher education once was affordable. Costs today increase annually. Doing so puts college and graduate school out of reach for growing numbers of aspiring students. Others end up debt entrapped to attend.

Napolitano's DHS salary was about $200,000. Her UC compensation remains unannounced. Current president Mark Yudof earns $591,000. Expect Napolitano to match or exceed it.

She's a former two-term Arizona governor. She was hardline. She one-sidedly pro-business. LA Weekly News executive editor Michael Lacey called her tenure a "cocktail of mediocrity."

She "consorted with anti-immigrant enforcers." She prosecuted them as felons. She "indulg(ed in) rank opportunism." She continued "failed policies." She militarized Arizona's border. She defended it with a "pitchfolk."

She embraced regressive legislation. She supported Arizona's ban on same-sex marriages. She endorsed the death penalty. She supported America's surveillance state.

She backed REAL ID legislation. It mandates every US citizen and legal resident have a national identity card.

It requires personal information on it. It means this type ID's needed to open a bank account, board a plane, be able to vote, or conduct virtually any other type essential activity.

It establishes federal standards for state-issued licenses and non-driver ID cards. It changes visa limits for temporary workers, nurses and Australian citizens.

It includes rules for "delivery bonds." They're for aliens pending hearings. They're similar to bail bonds.

It tightens asylum application laws and deporting foreigners for alleged "terrorism." It waives laws restricting border barrier construction.

Napolitano supported controversial Maricopa County sheriff Joe Arpalos. He's a notorious hardline racist. She used shock troop enforcers against Latino immigrants.

According to Lacey, she "bungled billions" hiring companies tied to former state agency employees and cronies. She ducked hard choices.

She used accounting gimmicks in state budgets. Her tenure was marked by "corruption, greed, and the cupidity of boondoggle bookkeeping in hard times."

She signed legislation criminalizing the need to work to support one's family. She created an atmosphere reminiscent of Prohibition. It targets Latino immigrants driven north to find work.

She created a huge deficit problem. She proposed major education cuts to reduce it. She endorsed other regressive cutbacks. She was one of Arizona's worst ever governors.

She ran DHS the same way. She violated fundamental rule of law principles. She waged war on Occupy Wall Street. DHS and other federal agencies coordinate intelligence gathering. They do so lawlessly.

They work jointly with local authorities. They target OWS disruptively. They do it covertly. They evade and obstruct FOIA requests. Information's gotten anyway.

It reveals out-of-control lawlessness. It shows police state ruthlessness writ large. Government at all levels work against the interest of most people. DHS prioritizes doing so.

Napolitano tormented Latino immigrants. She waged war on them. She did so unapologetically.

Record numbers of deportations occurred on her watch. Billions were spent doing so. Sweeping workplace and community raids occur often.

Latinos deserving better are ruthlessly arrested, incarcerated, brutally treated, denied all rights, and sent home. It's done callously. It's for being the wrong color from the wrong country at the wrong time.

One-fourth or more deported are parents with US-born children. They're citizens. They can stay. How can they when parents are sent home?

Due process and judicial fairness don't matter. America never was beautiful. It isn't now. Homeland Security ruthlessness made things worse than ever.

Napolitano has much to answer for. She remains unaccountable. Her racism's too extreme to hide. Maybe she'll run UC the same way. Imagine how she'll likely treat Latino students. Don't expect apologies for doing so.

DHS is part of America's police state apparatus. In November 2002, it was established. It was planned long before 9/11.

Separate government agencies combined under a central authority. Sweeping new powers were created. Despots operate the same way. They take full advantage. So does DHS.

ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) is its largest/most repressive investigative/enforcement arm.

It's charged with identifying and targeting alleged criminal or terrorist threats. Real or invented ones don't matter. Muslims are vulnerable. They and Latino immigrants are convenient targets of choice.

They're guilty of being in America at the wrong time. Being here's a crime if DHS and/or other authorities say so.

They operate extrajudicially. America's more militarized than ever. Diktat rule is policy. Freedom's on the chopping block for elimination. Napolitano destroyed her share and then some. She advanced things toward full-blown tyranny.

UC regents disgracefully chose her as president. Even New York Times editors are disturbed. On July 13, they headlined "Secretary Napolitano Resigns," saying:

Immigration enforcement on her watch was deplorable. Obama has a chance "to reverse years of bad policy and right some terrible injustices."

Napolitano's irresponsibly vicious. She "led a vast expansion of the use of state and local law-enforcement agencies to crack down on illegal immigration."

She and ICE head, John Morton, "assembled the nation's police officers and sheriff’s deputies into an undertrained, poorly supervised army of subcontractors for a nationwide deportation dragnet."

Morton's also leaving. He'll do so end of July. He's got bigger fish to fry. He's Capital One Financial Corp (COF) new senior vice president. He'll head its compliance operations. He'll be handsomely paid for services rendered.

His appointment came at the same time COF settled deceptive credit card marketing charges. It paid $210 million to do so.

Compliance involves knowing and abiding by financial industry laws and regulations. COF and other industry giants spurn them repeatedly. It's standard practice.

Fines imposed are rare. They're little more than hand slaps. Grand theft is standard industry practice. COF's like all the others. Morton's hiring assures continuity.

Perhaps Napolitano plans running UC by DHS rules. She and Morton sent "chill(s) of fear through immigrant communities," said Times editors.

They still do. They include "false arrests, racial profiling and other civil rights abuses."

"(E)nlarg(ing) the deportation machinery represents a metastasizing of" Napolitano's "Arizona approach."

By yearend, "the Obama administration (on her watch) will have deported about two million people." It's an unprecedented amount in less than five years.

They include "countless thousands of noncriminals and minor offenders." They deserved better. Their rights don't matter. Rogue states operate that way.

Napolitano reflects the worst of repressive governance. Perhaps UC students and aspirants won't be treated better. Maybe UC regents want things that way.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen (at)

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

Visit his blog site at

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

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