Showing posts with label Immigration. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Immigration. Show all posts

July 10, 2019

There is a Place for Border Walls

There is a place for border walls. 

Walls are not bad. 

And neither are all people.

But some people are bad.

And we have the right to be protected from them. 

Walls help to manage the flow. 

Not everyone can just go whatever, whenever, wherever. 

Surely, some people need to move to and fro. 

But we must decide who and when and where. 

Walls define spaces and ownership.

Not every place and thing is everyone's.

People have property rights as do sovereign nations.

Not everything is strictly defined.

There is the commons that we share. 

But also there is a mine and a yours. 

That's how economics functions and how people give and take. 

Walls help separate and secure. 

Bridges help connect and transport. 

They are not mutually exclusive. 

I've never seen a house, company, organization, or government without walls. 

And neither have you. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Michelle Blumenthal)
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June 21, 2017

Diversity Necessitates Respect

So this was an interesting photo taken of a sticker hung in front/near the Capitol reflecting pool in Washington, D.C. 

It is one of the faces of the resistance, and while it's not Linda Sarsour, it reminds me of her--she is the one who garnered wide attention at the 2017 Women's March not long ago. 

Remember her rant of "Sisters and Brothers!"--whose sister is she anyway?

With her polarizing politics, support for Sharia Law and anti-Zionist rants and support for the BDS movement, she certainly is not mine. 

Note: An Israeli official even came out yesterday with like concerns about her. 

Here are some of Sarsour's alleged sayings about Sharia Law--or is this more of a complete embrace? 




While I greatly believe in diversity and strongly adhere to valuing and respecting all good people out there... 

There is something that feels wrong here. 

Generic images like the top photo with the traditional Muslim hair covering--again, I respect this.

It is overlaid with the American Flag--again nothing wrong with that--Jews wear yarmulkes with the flag too.

But look further now...underneath it states: 
"We The People  
are greater than fear"

Hmm...We the people--who is the "we" here?

Is this a group photo of Christians, Jews, Muslims, Atheists, etc.--so where is the inclusivity?

With Sarsour's insertion of a Sharia ideology into American politics, perhaps, there is a subtle--or not so subtle--attack on our greater American freedom and democracy going on here.

Sharia law is being spread around the globe by:

- Decree (think of the Mullahs in Iran)

- Terror (think ISIS and Al-Qaeda)

- Sympathy (think of the Palestinians)

- Mass immigration (think of the changing cultural face of Europe), and 

- Expropriating other people's causes (such as Democracy and freedom and so called justice with Linda Sarsour).

Everyone is entitled to their peaceful beliefs, especially when there is a ethos of  mutual respect and a truthful recognition and acceptance for everyone of "Live and let live!"

But when the bounds are trampled by those who want to see only "their way or the highway"...then we need to seriously fear--who are "We the people"--and what do they really want? ;-)

(Source top Photo: Andy Blumenthal and memes from Internet search)
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April 20, 2017

Nuttiest Duck In DC

Just when I thought I'd met all the nuts in this town (Washington, D.C.)...

I ran into this one in the Capitol Reflecting Pool on the Mall. 

Check this out!

The duck is head first waddling away it's feet in the air like a lost puppy.

Reminds me of too many folks who don't want to deal with the many consequential problems that our nation faces (fortunately, there are also many good folks that do!).

From the imminent dangers of North Korea, Iran, and ISIS to our staggering national debt (all of which I wrote about yesterday) along with other critical issues such as healthcare, immigration, and jobs, jobs, jobs. 

Then there are the all too frequent projects that are out of control and funding that is flushed down the proverbial $4,000 toilet. 

A history of dysfunction, fraud, waste, abuse (along with an assortment of personality disorders) have ripened for the picking in the election famous "Swamp"--that we've been promised will be drained!

Maybe that's what this duck is wading into...and what do you think he will find? 

This nation can no longer afford to go head in the sand unless we are looking to be a good-for-nothing dead duck rather than a thriving democracy and beacon of freedom to the world. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal
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March 23, 2017

Needed: A Giving Hand With Smart Border Security

While we should certainly help immigrant refugees and those in need, we also need to provide adequate vetting and border security for our people. 

This does not mean that all immigrants are bad or that we are mean or paranoid, bur rather that we need to take smart and measured precautions in the dangerous times we are living in.

Al Qaeda, ISIS, and other such brutal terrorist organizations have shown they mean murderous business, and they are vowing to strike at the hearts of America and the West.

So while we open our hearts, we can't close our eyes!

Safeguard America and the good decent people already here, and at the same time be merciful and giving to immigrants, but don't sacrifice one for the other. ;-)

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal with photos adapted from here and here and with attribution to the New York Times and Alan Silver)
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January 25, 2017

The Great Trump Wall

So today, President Trump signed the executive order to start the process of putting up the border wall with Mexico. 

Generally, I don't think anyone with a heart seriously questions the need to continue robust immigration for those in need that are seeking asylum or refuge from all sorts of persecution as well as for humanitarian reasons...of course, we must continue to have empathy and be kind and compassionate to people, period. 

However, the Great Trump Wall needs to go up to secure our borders.

We have over 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. and roughly 400,000 crossing the border and settling here illegally on an annual basis. 


With human trafficking, illegal drugs and weapons, criminals and terrorists, and others just coming on over willy nilly, this is not the way to secure a nation's border or run a country. 


We have the right and responsibility to create safety and security for people. 

Running across the border, catch and release, or just illegally staying is not a policy, but rather immigration chaos. 

We and our families all came to this country seeking a better life and are so fortunate to be here, and we should and must pay it forward.

Immigration should be based on well-thought and sound policy that genuinely helps people in need and advances the interests of the nation.


In terms of freedom, equality, and human rights, we definitely want to tear down the walls the separate us!


However, for border security, catch me if you can is not a strategy or policy--just plain neglect and chaos. ;-)

(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal--funny pic because I was actually pretending to tear it down.)
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June 24, 2016

Why Can't The English Be More English

The people of the United Kingdom voted in referendum yesterday for Brexit (British exit) or independence from the European Union (EU). 

Unity is a wonderful thing when values and vision is widely shared and the burden and benefits are more or less evenly distributed. 

But in the case of the UK in the EU, the vote for independence was anchored in the unsettling issues of mass immigration from the Arab Spring, the debt crisis of many of the poorer Southern EU states (e.g. Greece, Spain, Portugal, etc.), the decision of the UK to maintain their own currency (not accepting the Euro), and culturally (and language-wise), even though they all interact with each other, the UK has more in common with the US and Australia, then they ever had with Germany, France, and the rest of Europe. 

It is really very understandable that the UK doesn't want to lose their identity and sovereignty and just be another EU state--rather than be a unique, independent, and dominant entity of it's own, charting their own course and driving their own fate. 

While it's great to a part of something bigger, sometimes being yourself is more important, and you can still interact with the rest. 

No people should be forced to become a shadow of themselves, and if the call is for independence, then that is noble call even if it is inconvenient for those who would rather call themselves the EU. 

Unity may best be by alliance rather than strict integration...one for all and all for each and every one. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 25, 2016

Who's Gonna Pay For That Wall

So presidential candidate, Donald Trump wants to build a wall on the southern U.S. border with Mexico to control immigration for homeland security and the economy. 

But more than that, he thinks Mexico should pay for it.

Today, on CNN was a response from Mexico's ex president, who said, we're "not gonna pay for that f****** wall!"

I was walking around laughing to myself for about 10 minutes--the zany and (un)predictable action-reaction in politics and diplomacy. 

You can't make this stuff up. 

Just an aside, but wouldn't you say Ex-President [of] Mexico instead of the Ex-Mexico President --Oops, who was working the captions at CNN today. 

What will be surreal and hilarious after this is if the "f****** wall" would really happen, and if Mexico would seriously end up paying for it. ;-)

(Note: This is not an endorsement for any candidate or party.)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 19, 2016

Walls And Bridges

I was really surprised this week when the Pope entered the election fray and made a comment about presidential candidate, Donald Trump, not being a Christian if he is wanting to build walls (on the Mexican border) and not bridges

And then the Trump campaign pointing out that the Vatican City is surrounded by what of all things...a very big wall!

We have a history in the U.S. of separation of Church and State and a First Amendment that codifies this as law. 

To me, unless a candidate is truly criminal, discriminatory, or evil in their conduct, it's not appropriate for a lofty religious figure to publicly question their personal faith like that. 

Further, when it comes to immigration this is not just an issue in America, but all over Europe now with the refugee crisis, and in many other places in the world. 

Of course, we most definitely need to welcome refugees fleeing persecution, conflict, catastrophe, or war. 

But when immigration is principally an economic migration, this is something for each nation to debate and decide for what is best for them.

This is not an endorsement of any candidate or party, but rather an acknowledgement that we shouldn't:

1) Mix religion and politics (and impose undue influence in a sovereign nation's elections)

2) Judge our neighbors faith by valid policy debates

3) Throw stones in glass houses (or walled areas as the case may be).

If building bridges is what is promoted and preferred here then the Pope and Trump should kiss (proverbially-speaking that is) and make up. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 30, 2016

What's Cool Is Being Oppressed

So we were having this discussion with this lady in synagogue who prides herself as an activist and participates in numerous groups for social justice.

What was most striking to learn is how these days everyone is vying for the title of most oppressed. 

It's no longer "cool" or "in" to be part of the elite privileged rich, strong, and powerful.

If you are any of these, you are part of the corrupt 1%--that have more wealth now than the other 99% of society combined--and you are leeches that feed off of the legitimate working, middle class society. 

The privileged are the bullies, the racists, the occupiers, the unjust, the thieves, and the liars. 

Today, people and groups are arguing to be put on the pedestal for who is underprivileged:

- The poorest in society

- The ones with the greatest inequality

- The most discriminated against and oppressed

- The smallest of the minorities

The prize for those that attain the marks of distinction for worst status can hope to achieve:

- Sympathy (protests, petitions, and actions for boycotts, divestitures, and sanctions)

- Economic Assistance (donations, grants, loans, scholarships, and advanced technology)

- Preferential treatment (college placement, training programs, hiring, promotion, business awards, and board seats)

- Votes (elections, laws, resolutions, decisions, and court awards)

The super underdog has it way up over the superpower. 

Discontent by the masses, supercharged by social media, is leading to an overturning of society from the Arab Spring to Occupy Wall Street.  

Socialism even for presidential candidates is no longer a dirty word in Democratic America and terrorists around the world are now "freedom fighters." 

Regimes such as Iran that sponsor terrorism, abuse human rights, and build weapons of mass destruction now just need to be "opened up" to the outside world and sanctions and non-proliferation is just more western bullying and infidel occupation.  

Other countries like Syria that are ruled by tyrannical leaders that besiege their own cities, starve and torture their people, drop barrel bombs indiscriminately, and use chemical weapons are no longer crossing a "red line", but are simply in need of a political settlement and even can enjoy two or more years of continued rule. 

Small but flourishing Democratic countries like Israel--the size of New Jersey and the only Jewish state in a world of 50 majority Muslim countries--is demonized as Apartheid oppressors of the Palestinians--those very people who are sworn to their destruction and to throwing them into the Sea--just 70 years after the Jewish Holocaust. 

Back in the United States and in Europe, waves of mass immigration across borders is perfectly fine and perhaps even desired to file the ranks of needed employees, obtain desired future voters, and alleviate the aggrieved hearts of those that committed past atrocities or closed their doors to refugees in the past, while those that speak of vetting, border control, and homeland security are Nazi fascists.

Moreover increases in taxes and spending is in vogue, while general fiscal disciple, paring the national deficit and debt, and sequestration are lunatic concepts by those seeking to suppress the middle class and destroy America. 

Don't get me wrong, we as a country can and should go a long way to decreasing inequality and improving the lives of everyone with a living wage, universal healthcare, paid maternity/paternity leave, free or reasonably-priced advanced education, and decent retirement benefits.

However, when we call everything and anything discrimination, racism, and inequality, take away individual accountability, make every grievance into a revolution and opportunity for a lynching or guillotine, things have gone from one insanity to just another. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 14, 2016

Refugees or Terrorists--How Do You Really Know?


The news about the refugee crisis is truly heartwrenching.  

My own parents and grandparents were refugees from the Holocaust who came to this beautiful country to start fresh and live in freedom and peace.  

So one one hand, I like so many others want to do the right thing from a humanitarian perspective and help people in need.  

But on the other hand, with this new wave of refugees something seems vastly different...

- 18 of 31 people identified so far in mass New Year's Eve attacks (sexual molesting, raping, and robbing) of over 500 women in German...were refugees that had already applied for asylum.

- At least one of the Paris terrorists who killed more than 130 people in November is alleged to have been a Syrian refugee. 

- At least 3 refugees resettled in the U.S. since 9/11 (from Iraq and Uzbek) have been arrested on terrorism charges and there have been dozens of other counter-terrorism investigations for those resettled here. 

- The ISIS suicide bomber that killed 10 German tourists in Istanbul this week was registered as a Syrian refugee "without setting off security alerts."

- And again this week, a group of refugees with rocks, bats, knives, attack a Frenchman

- ISIS is already asserting that they will use the refugee crisis to get attackers into the West and are bragging that already thousands have successfully infiltrated

Surely, no refugee vetting process is going to be ironclad--processing mistakes, system errors, and errors of judgement are bound to happen.

Some have also suggested that politics is playing a larger role here in wanting to get as many refugees and immigrants as possible into the country for the purpose of simply getting their cold hard votes...so this is a possible darker side of DC. 

In the end, we need to put politics aside, and figure out how do we help those that really need help and are good people seeking to live peacefully and productively among us, and how do we prevent the next wave of terror from some really bad apples? 

Until we can answer this question substantively, and not by an emotional response of it "is just not who we are," we need to take this one step at a time and not act rashly and recklessly. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Luis C. Araujo)
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January 7, 2016

Clash Of Civilizations

Things are looking a little less rosy today in the world...

Clash of Civilizations - Tensions continuing to heat up in Middle East as Saudia Arabia is accused of bombing Iran's embassy in Yemen after the Saudi embassy in Iran was ransacked. 

Weapons of Mass Destruction - North Korea conducts H-Bomb test threating major escalation of WMD in Asia, and Iran unveils nuke capable carrying ballistic missiles at 2nd site, and claims surface that ISIS (similar to Syria) is now using chemical weapons

Wold Economy - Yesterday, China had to again halt trading (after only 30 minutes) when their stock market dropped another 10%, and the World Bank cuts global growth forecast to just 2.9% for 2016 (down another .4%). 

Violence From Immigration Crisis - Dozens and dozens of women were sexually attacked by alleged gangs of immigrants in multiple cities in Germany after Germany opens its border to 1.1 million immigrants from Syria, Afghanistan, etc. just last year.

Terrorist Attacks -- After multiple terror attacks in Paris, San Bernardino, and on a Russian airliner flying out from Egypt last year, another attack was thwarted just yesterday in Paris on the 1-year anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo killings

We may not want to say the words "clash of civilizations," except that we are desperately trying to avoid it, but it seems to be happening and with all it's effects anyway. 

The question is what happens when the proverbial politically "acceptable losses" rise to the point of being completely unacceptable disasters? ;-)


(Source Photo: here with attribution to Guio Gloor Modjib)
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December 8, 2015

Counter Terrorism Response Level: DYSFUNCTIONAL

OMG, this is completely dysfunctional and embarrassing. 

Can we stop the fighting among ourselves--Democrats and Republicans, Judeo-Christians and Muslims, CNN and FOX, NRA and gun control advocates, immigration pros and foes, etc.)

AND

Instead focus and go after the real murderous culprits--the radical Islamist terrorists who are killing, imprisoning, torturing, raping, enslaving, and taking over vast lands to build a shariah-rule caliphate and take our freedoms and lives away?

We are losing the war on terror, because we can't get our collective act together! ;-)

(Source Photo: adapted from here with attribution for original to Elliott Brown)
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If Terror Fits

There is the old saying that "If the shoe fits, wear it" or as this holiday shopping sign says, "Buy it!


I know everyone has their personal filters through which they see the world--many of these come from family, friends, community, teachers, religion, personal experiences, or even innate personality.


One thing that I think many people are struggling with these days with politics is what possible filters are guiding many concerning policies of our country resulting in:


- The tepid response to terror attacks on this country as well as in Paris, London, and Jerusalem.


- The clamping down on free speech in the wake of terror.


- The lax immigration checks on refugees.


- The dangerous spread of ISIS after the withdrawal from Iraq.


- The disappearing red line in Syria.


- The emboldening Iranian nuke deal.


- The bias perceived against friend and ally, Israel.


- The unbriddled Russian resurgence.


- The lumbering pivot to address Chinese militarization.


We are living in chaotic world times, and we need strong hands on the rudder to safeguard the people and future of the country--for that we need to understand where politics and politicians are coming from that may be leading to either sound or compromised decisions and the resulting return and risk to the fate of us all. ;-)


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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November 18, 2015

Refugee Crisis OR Something More Sinister And Deadly?

When presidential candidate, Donald Trump said, "I will build a big beautiful safe zone in Syria for the refugees"--many on the left were aghast. 

Then I got forwarded this video on what's happening in Europe or to Europe (and to a far more limited extent to America).

The basic question raised--are the throngs of people making their way from the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia to Europe (and to America):

1) REFUGEES: Is this diversity, multiculturalism, humanitarianism, and truly helping refugees in need?

OR

2) MIGRANTS: Is this the overrunning of a continent and society--driven by the desire for money, land, power, sex and religious domination--without anyone ever even firing a shot?

No one wants to think the worst--even when terror is happening around us and ISIS is claiming to be planting thousands of terrorists among the refugees (like a massive Trojan Horse)--we still want to believe that we are doing the right thing, doing good, and helping people in need by welcoming them in. 

Most of us or our families have been refugees at one time or another--seeking safety and a better life--so we know what it's like to need others and to need a chance--and we want to help others like others helped us. 

But watching the terror attacks, violence, rapes, and threats by some (or many, I don't really know) of the current waves of "refugees"--one wonders is this like prior refugees coming and needing genuine help or something we've never quite seen before? ;-)
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September 9, 2015

Where Is Europe?

So we are reading every day about the Europe border crisis.

With hundreds of thousands streaming to its shores, and either an inability or lack of desire to absorb the migrants. 

As the Middle East and North Africa burn with the Arab Spring, Caliphate enthusiasts, civil war mongers, religious extremists, terrorists, and anarchists, innocent people caught in the crossfire are seeking immigration to Europe as refugees or for a better future.

But significant entities in Europe, perhaps better known historically for their ultranationalism, deportations, expulsions, and the Holocaust are left gropping with what to do with a seemingly endless wave of Muslim immigrants. 

As Europe tries to figure it out, thousands are dying in capsized boats, sufficated truck cargo holds, and at the mercilessness of their handlers. 

So what will be of a future Europe that either heartlessly turns away needy migrants or potentially becomes more a Muslim enclave than the predominantly westernized and Christian continent they have been?

At least for now, Europe is facing a major humanitarian and identity crisis. In the longer term, they run the risk of their culture fading or disappearing altogether as the demographics shift beneath their techtonic feet. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 2, 2015

Self-Perpetuating Immigration For All The Wrong Reasons

So this is the prevailing misguided logic by some for more immigration. 

We need immigrants to "reduce the ratio of retirees to workers."


Why? 


Because the birth rate has fallen to below replenishment rates (roughly 2.1 births per women). 


And since our "trust funds" for social security, medicare, pensions, and the like have NOT been been kept in trust, BUT INSTEAD have been squandered on other things...


Therefore, according to this warped thinking we now need a wave of immigrants to come save us--have lots of babies and grow our economy--to pay for what we should be able to, but can't--because of gross mismanagement and corruption with the money that was taken out our payroll all our lives supposedly to care for us in our elder years. 


The wrong reasons for immigration are expressed by Charles Kenny in Bloomberg Businessweek.


- According to Kenny, "More immigration is both the cheapest and most effective response to the challenge of a shrinking, aging population," which he frets is "ominous for pension and health-care costs."


- Kenny's approach to immigrants is that they are not vital and talented human beings, but rather basically baby machines with higher birth rates for population replenishment, as he states, "Although immigrants rapidly adopt the fertility patterns of their new countries, they still tend to produce more children to begin with."


- And he says, because most come over as adults, we have the benefits of the workers "without the expense and delay of rearing...[them as] children."


- Oh, and by the way, Kenny says, "Some newly arrived workers help provide cheap child-care options."

Wow, how biased, cold, and condescending is that!


Not once does Kenny mention or advocate for immigration for any of these truly worthy reasons:


Shelter from persecution 


- Political asylum


- Promote diversity


- Bring in needed skills, investment, and innovation 


- Rejoin families


And what is the result of bringing in immigrants to pay our way?


Well, we'll need to bring in yet another and another, wave after wave of immigration, because we can't balance of budget and spend rationally, responsibly, and with an eye toward the future--it's self-perpetuating immigration for the sake of deadbeatism. 


Sweet land of liberty is being thrown out for a bunch of economic opportunists who feel we need "immigrants to [come to] the rescue" rather than join together with us in being great in terms of compassion, humanitarianism, and mutual respect. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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May 6, 2015

A Political Teddy Bear

Thought this was an awesome photograph.

Taken on the Washington, D.C. Mall...

You can see the Capitol of the United States in the background.

The gate is surrounding the construction being done.

On the fence is a Teddy Bear--representing so many of our national challenges--sort of just hanging there helpless.

This political bear looks like he's clutching for dear life, but unfortunately he is left hung out to dry as we just keep chugging away...but where is the real progress? 

- ISIS and radical Islam is still growing stronger.

- Iran continues building toward a nuclear WMD.

- China and Russia are "becoming [ever more] aggressive as they perceive U.S. pulling back."

- North Korea achieves capability for a "nuclear ICMB."

- Cyber insecurity is a "real and growing threat."

- There is a growing danger of a catastrophic EMP attack with a "staggering human cost."

- Immigration crisis remains in "limbo."

- Economic growth is "grinding to a halt."

- National deficit is "projected to skyrocket over next decade." 

- American economic competitiveness is in ongoing "slow decay."

- U.S. education "still lagging" significantly in science and mathematics. 

- Life expectancy in U.S. ranks 26th, "right behind Slovenia."

This doesn't mean that good things aren't continuing to happen especially with innovation despite all the gridlock...there is the Apple Watch (ok, the jury is still out on that one too).

Why don't we let the bear down gently please. ;-)

(Source Photo: Minna Blumenthal)
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March 2, 2015

Metro Wide Open

I took this photo in the Washington, D.C. Metro today. 

What do you think it is?

Lots of electronics, wires, lights--and in front of it and holding the door open is a "caution" pylon. 

This is one of the faregates to get into the metro system for the Capital region. 

Now how "smart" is it to leave the door wide open to this contraption. 

Usually the basics of physical security is gates, guards, and guns--in this case, the gates part is broken. 

The Department of Homeland Security was provided another week of funding to work out the immigration mess pitting Congress against the President...

But even with DHS still up and running, security is looking a little too wide open again. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 25, 2012

Choke Points to Checkpoints


This is some promising biometric technology from AOptix

Enrolling in the system is the first step and means just seconds of standing in the capture field of the slender tower, and the device scans both iris and face of the person. 

The scanning captures images within seconds and the software converts the images into binary code. 

It then subsequently scans and matches the person's biometrics against the database for positive identification. 

The beauty of this system is that it is simple and fast and can be used for passenger screening, immigration, or any other access control for entry/egress for a building, location, or even to a computer computer system and it's information.

According to Bloomberg Businessweek, the Insight Duo Towers sells for $40,000 each.

Eighty of these are currently in use at all air, land, and sea borders in Qatar.  Further, Dubai International Airport has been piloting this at a terminal that handles 40 million people per year, and it has cut immigration waiting times from 49 minutes to 22 seconds. 

This technology has obvious important applications for military, law enforcement, and homeland security, as well as even more generalized security use in the private sector.

And while very impressive, here are some concerns about it that should be addressed:

1) Enrollment of Biometrics and Personal Identification--registering for the system may only take a few seconds for the actual scan, but then verifying who you are (i.e. who those biometrics really belong to) is another step in the process not shown.  How do we know that those iris and face prints belong to Joe Schmo the average citizen who should be allowed through the eGate and not to a known terrorist on the watch list?  The biometrics need to be associated with a name, address, social security, date of birth and other personal information.

2) Rights versus Recognitions--rights to access and recognition are two different things. Just because there is iris and facial recognition, doesn't mean that this is someone who should be given access rights to a place, system or organization.  So the devil is in the details of implementation in specifying who should have access and who should not. 

3) Faking Out The System--no system is perfect and when something is advertised as accurate, the question to me is how accurate and where are the system vulnerabilities. For example, can the system be hacked and false biometrics or personal identification information changed?  Can a terrorist cell, criminal syndicate, or nations state create really good fake iris and facial masks for impersonating an enrollee and fooling the system into thinking that a bad good is really a good guy. 

4) Privacy of Personally Identifiable Information (PII)--not specific to AOptix, but to this biometric solutions overall--how do we ensure privacy of the data, so it is not stolen or misused such as for identity theft.  I understand that AOptix has PKI encryption, but how strong is the encryption,who long does it take to break, and what are the policies and procedures within organizations to safeguard this privacy data.

5) Big Brother Society--biometrics recognition may provide for opportunities for safe and secure access and transit, but what are the larger implications for this to become a "big brother" society where people are identified and tracked wherever they go and whatever they do. Where are the safeguards for democracy and human rights.

Even with these said, I believe that this is the wave of the future for access control--as AOptix's says, for changing choke points to checkpoints--we need a simple, fast, secure, and cost-effective way to identify friends and foe and this is it, for the masses, in the near-term.

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June 29, 2012

Divided We Fall

Checks and balances in government is a great thing. 

Our founding fathers were brillant in building it into the constitution to place limitations and constraints on unbridled power.

Yes, we the people...of the people, for the people, by the people.

But recent fighting in government has shown that it is lately more about--of the politicians, for the politicians, by the politicians.

Unfortunately, everyone seems to be fighting everyone--not only across the party aisle, but between state and the federal government, and between branches of the Federal government, itself.

How does this work (or should I say maybe not working up to its ideal)--let's take an example:


Yesterday, the healthcare law passed by Congress more or less along party lines, and signed by the President, was upheld by the Supreme Court in a suit brought by 26 states, and is being promised or threatened (depending which side of the aisle you are coming from) to be repealed by the next administration

Ah, there you have it--everyone seemingly going against everyone else and fighting what is considered progress to one side, but is harmful from the other's point of view.

Let's try another one--also just from yesterday:

Attorney General Eric Holder is held in contempt of Congress in the majority Republican, House of Representatives, with Nancy Pelosi, members of the Black Caucus, and other democrats walking out of the vote.  And this is to release papers on "Operation Fast and Furious" in the Justice Department (the Executive Branch) that resulted in the death of a border agent, Brian Terry of another Federal Department, Homeland Security, 11 miles from the Mexican border. But the papers were held under Presidential Executive Privilege from being released to a Congressional oversight committee. Now this turns to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia to pursue or drop, but he is a Presidential Appointee that reports up to Attorney Holder, and could end up the courts to decide.

I can hardly catch my breath now, but a third one this week on immigration:

The Arizona law, with controversial provision SB 1070 that permits law enforcement to check immigration status, when there is reasonable suspicion, of people arrested or detained was ruled on by the Supreme Court, and this provision was upheld. But other provisions were struck down, such as it being a State crime to be an illegal immigrant or to hire one. One presidential candidate, Mitt Romney has called the law a "model for the nation," while the current administration has felt otherwise.

Some would say this is the way it is supposed to work--this is the way we get issues worked through, grievances addressed and ensure fairness, equity, and that the right thing is being done.

But others may look at this and call it partisanship, ineffective, a waste or time and resources, one step forward and two steps back, a circuitous path to nowhere, a witch hunt or as Representative Alan Grayson said a "circus," at times.

With huge threats facing our nation on virtually all fronts--from unemployment and the stagnant economy, to our national deficit, falling global competitiveness, ongoing threats of NCBR and cyber terrorism, not to mention natural disasters, chronic illnesses, human rights, poverty, pollution, and food and water shortages--we certainly have a lot to deal with.

The concern is that if we cannot work and move forward together with common resolve--as partners rather than competitors--to create genuine solutions rather than to bicker about who's right, wrong, and to blame--then divided, we will fall.

We have a choice--unite and put the national and global commons above our own self-interests or yield to an uncertain and most frightening future.

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Daniele Bora)

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