Showing posts with label Homeland Security. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Homeland Security. 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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January 12, 2019

Border Security - The Facts

So in this longest of U.S. government shutdowns, one thing that is missing from the debate are an articulation of the facts. 

All I hear day-in and -out is that President Trump wants to build a wall or barrier on the Southern border because there is a crisis. And the Democrats in turn say it's not necessary, it's a waste of money, and even that it's immoral, and that they will resist Trump!

But this is not a reasoned debate!

Who cares who wants what and who hates who in politics.

We need to be presented with a solid communication of facts, figures, and why should we support a position or not. 

Yes, an endorsement by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection is helpful, but the opposition can just claim partisan politics. 

So here are some simple facts to inform the discussion:

Gun Trafficking:
- Over 253,000 guns annually cross the border from the U.S. to Mexico.

Drug Trafficking:
- Cartels send $64,000,000,000 of drugs annually from Mexico to U.S. 

Human Trafficking:
Between 14,500 and 17,500 people are trafficked annually into the U.S. 

Gang Members:
Almost 6,000 gang members in 2018 were deported by ICE.

Illegal Immigrants:
- The U.S. and Customer and Border Protection apprehended more than 500,000 illegals trying to enter in 2008, and there are between 12 to 22 million illegals in the U.S, today

Looking at these numbers, I am not sure how anyone can say that the current border situation is secure--it isn't. 

So whatever we are doing with agents, sensors, surveillance, intelligence, inspection, and interdiction --no matter how good it is--it is not enough. 

Certainly a request for Border Wall funding for $5 billion out of a $4.4 trillion dollar budget and placing barriers on hundreds of miles out of a 2,000 mile border, does not seem at all extreme!

While I do not like to be on a government shutdown, I certainly don't see why this can't be resolved with some reasoned border security funding that includes among the other security measures, a wall/barrier. 

A strategically-placed border barrier only stands to reason in a layered defense/system of systems approach to security. 

For some of those that don't want the wall, and only want votes from a broken immigration system, this is a fight for power, rather than a genuine argument on how to help secure the country. 

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 9, 2019

Government Shutdown or Middle East Peace

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel, called "Government Shutdown or Middle East Peace."
"It is day 19 of this p-r-o-l-o-n-g-e-d Federal Government Shutdown. Having plenty of time on my hands today, I am debating which is actually easier to solve--the government shutdown or peace in the Middle East."

We may have to wait for the Messiah for both of these to be peaceful resolved. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 2, 2018

At The Border: Immigration Or War

So it's interesting how this whole immigration crisis is playing out in real life and simultaneously on TV. 

In real life, we have a caravan of thousands of people marching from Central America (Honduras and Guatemala) to the U.S. border seeking asylum, mostly for economic reasons. 

On TV, we have the Last Ship Season 5, where South and Central America are at war with the U.S., "no longer willing to sit at the children's table of international politics," and they are coming to the U.S. to fight.

In the U.S. today, there are over 40 million people that were born in another country.  Of these, there are over 12 million immigrants living illegally in the U.S. (55% from Mexico), and we know that we need immigration reform.  

In the truest sense, we are almost all of us immigrants to this country, with ourselves or our families coming over at one time or another, and we are grateful for the generosity and open doors that allowed us to come here and make a good life.

Of course, we want to pay it forward and give others the same asylum and opportunity that we had and which they as human beings deserve. 

Yet, the country continues to debate the mix of compassion and giving to the oppressed and needy versus the merit principles for bringing in needed skills, talents, and investment, and how many is the "right" number to allow in at any one time.

In real life, we are beefing up border agents, building a wall, and calling in the military to halt the illegal flow of immigrants, so that we can channel immigrates through a process and vetting that leads to legal and safe immigration to this country

On TV, we are fighting in the air, on land, and at sea an alliance of countries from the south and central that want to take over the U.S., and we are also holding our own and holding them back.

In both cases, we need to have and maintain borders to be a sovereign country, to protect our country, and to ensure that caravans of illegal immigrants or foreign troops are not crossing the border and doing harm. 

It's high time for true immigration reform that is compassionate yet principled, but overrunning the border isn't an option that is practical or fair.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 11, 2018

17 Years Since 9/11

Today is the 17th anniversary since that fateful day of 9/11 when the terrorists brought down both World Trade Centers and ploughed another plane into the Pentagon.

One of the greatest acts of terrorism in history. 

With almost 3,000 dead and the center of our financial and military strength hit in a flash attack, we as a nation stood naked. 

We've gone after the terrorists in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and more, but still, there is the endless drone of world-wide terrorism. 

Yes, we are lucky that nothing major has happened in the U.S. since 2001.

At the same time, we know that anything could happen at any time--from another terror attack to a catastrophic cyber attack that takes out our critical infrastructure, bioterrorism that wipes out hundreds of millions with genetically engineered viruses, or even nuclear warheads wiping out entire cities or regions of the world. 

Forget natural disasters for the moment, man-made disasters are always just around the corner when it comes to planning and execution.

The FBI and our other dedicated law enforcement personnel try to stop them all, but no one and nothing human is perfect. 

So while we try to maintain an elevated security posture to protect this country and even maybe someday build a wall that doesn't leave us with porous borders for everyone and anyone to get in willy-nilly, many don't or barely remember 9/11 and what it meant. 

We said it changed everything forever, but did we mean it?

17 years and we've been fortunate--very fortunate--but are we ready for the next fateful blow to land in the ongoing war on terror. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 15, 2018

Floppy Disk Earrings

So this was an interesting technology fashion statement.

This lady in Washington, D.C. has earrings that are floppy disks. 

One full diskette on each ear!

I guess not only can she wear them, but she can plug them into her computer at work and save or transfer files (that is if you can still find a computer that actually uses these). 

It makes you think though, from a cybersecurity perspective, what other devices can people "wear" to work and use for good or malicious purposes. 

Another scary thought came to mind, how suicide/homicide bombers strap vests with explosives to their bodies too--do terrorists also adhere to a certain "style" even for murdering people? 

Anyway, fashion can be almost anything apparently...if you can find a way to put it on you body. ;-)

(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)
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May 31, 2018

Trace Amounts of Cocaine

So this is a funny story from today.

I had a wonderful opportunity to tour a couple of labs at NIST today.

One of them does work in contraband detection.

The scientist asks if anyone has any money in their wallet.

I pull out a dollar and hand it to him.

I ask him what happens if he finds any traces of bad stuff on the money from me.

He says, "A cage will fall from the ceiling" and I'll be in big trouble.

Uh, we all laugh a little.

He unfolds the money and puts it into the machine that looks for the contraband.

Oh sh*t, it comes up in the "red"--positive for cocaine.

Someone else says jokingly, "A little leftover from the weekend?"

I joke back, "Na, It's from this morning before work!"

Ha, ha, I think. 

It turns out the scientist explains that 90% of our currency actually tests positive for cocaine

I'm wondering whether this is a commentary on drug use and even the opioid epidemic in America.

The lab director explains a theory that the automated money counters spread traces of the drugs from bills and contaminates the other currency.

Aside from this little experiment today, I got to learn so much about creating standards for contraband detection systems and equipment and in another lab about magnetism. 

It is unbelievable how smart these scientists are--they are so unique and of the best in the world.

I am so happy to be able to learn from them even if it's contraband on money. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 31, 2017

Stop Playing Politics With Our Security

Another terrorist attack in NYC, not far from the World Trade Center, now memorial!

Radical Islamist mows down pedestrians and bicycle riders in a bike lane along the West Side Highway. 

- 8 innocent people dead.

- Another dozen wounded. 

Now, the Mayor and pundits say, ah maybe we should've had barricades up there so someone with a darn truck couldn't do this. 

And better double up on security for the Halloween parade tonight and NYC Marathon on Sunday.

Well, as they say: 
"Better late than never!"

And so it is with our nation's borders.

As the President tries to erect a border wall and to restrict visas from countries that have not put in the necessary screening security, certain lawmakers and liberal judges keep blocking these actions. 

They don't want to discriminate against anyone, which I agree is a noble cause. 

However, as every news station was reporting again tonight, the terrorist in NY today was shouting in Arabic that G-d is great!

This was not an innocent vehicular accident. 

There ARE people out there that want to kill us and inflict serious harm on our country. 

To those people that continue to fight rational, reasonable security measures to protect our homeland and our citizens, I say to you:
You have blood on your hands!

And unfortunately, we can rest assured that our enemies are planning plenty more to come in their incessant attacks on the West (may G-d have mercy on us).

It is time for the people of this country to demand security...to insist on a border wall...to assert our right to restrict visas to those countries that won't ensure proper screening procedures. 

How long will we wait--how much blood will be spilled--before we stop playing politics with national and homeland security! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 31, 2017

Gorgeous Border Wall

Hey, I'm not for erecting walls when there is no need for them.

Who instead doesn't love to build bridges--full of peace and brotherhood, definitely. 

But after 9/11 and the ongoing, endless wave of global terrorism and serious threats that we are confronting (including from WMD), let's face it...we need secure borders.

This is called common sense security, and it's been highly regarded and employed throughout history and all around the world. 

That doesn't mean that good people don't come in...only that we have a thoughtful and effective way to work to filter the bad people out. 

Anyway, it seems that the bake-off of border wall prototypes has yielded this brilliant design.

If it's truly rugged and includes intelligent border security mechanisms such as sensors, surveillance cameras, biometrics, and so on, then this could be an awesome looking and functional option.

Time to stop the bickering and time to start moving forward with security. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to True Pundit) 
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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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March 21, 2017

When Little Girls Are Not Princesses

Normally, little girls dream of and are treated as the beautiful princesses that they are. 

But not in Rockville, Maryland last Thursday, where a 14-year old, 9th grade girl was brutally raped by two immigrants (17- and 18-years old) in the bathroom of their high school. 

She was mercilessly raped multiple times "vaginally, orally, and sodomized."

One of the attackers had previously been detained at the border, but then released as per the lax standards of border security that were in place by the prior administration. 

It is incredible that as a superpower nation, we have not secured our own borders and our homeland. 

Unfortunately, there are many stories like this, and I personally know of a girl from the Bronx who was similarly raped in the stairwell of her school. 

Forget education or competitiveness, when we can't even provide a safe and secure school environment for our children. 

It is not a strength to let our enemies gain the upper hand, but rather a weakness of our national character--to let bleeding hearts undermine our security.

Sure, we must be empathetic and caring for all people, but this must come hand-in-hand with proper vetting and due precautions. 

Every child in the United deserves to be a princess and a prince, and no one here legally or illegally should be allowed to destroy that present or future. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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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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November 14, 2016

Beautiful Rise and Fall

Just wanted to share this beautiful Fall scene in Maryland.

While we are about to embark on a major infrastructure spending spree to make this country great again--and we need it to fix all the rot in our roads, bridges, trains, airports, marine ports, schools, utilities, and more--at the same time, we need to keep in mind the safeguarding of the beauty of our natural outdoor spaces and resources.

I heard President-elect Trump on 60 Minutes last night speak about the $6 trillion that we have spent in the Middle East fighting terrorism since 9/11, and that with that money, we could've rebuilt our infrastructure twice over.

While the amount is seen on the high end, the point is that while other nations are investing in their infrastructure, people, and future, we are wasting large sums of blood and treasure in a fight that in over 15 years, we haven't won, and many question whether we are significantly even any safer.

We need to fight smarter, spend more strategically, and take care of America first.

BTW, what did we get from the prior investment from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus spending of $831 billion in 2009...where did all that money go (uh, down the special interest drain)?

While the beautiful outdoors needs to stay pristine, our country needs to seriously rebuild with clear project expectations and results and at the same time wipe out the terror threats against us--no more dabbling, PC, Mr. Nice Guy (of course, we need to be nice to those that are nice to us, but also we need to fight for this country like we mean it)!

That's a big agenda, but for under $6 trillion, we ought to be able to get some decent return on our investment please, ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 13, 2016

U-Haul Rental Truck Terrorism

So true story...

This week I was walking in Downtown, D.C.

I see something strange, not usually there. 

There is a U-Haul van parked in front of the GW University School of Science and Engineering. 

Literally in front of the main doors.

A couple of it's wheels are actually sloppily on the sidewalk and it is in front of a fire hydrant in front of the very doors to the school.

But that's not all. 

All around the vehicle are oddly taped on posters as you see above. 

On some of the posters are antagonistic words about DOJ (the Department of Justice) and some even use the word "terrorist."

Well, after the devastating terror attack in 1995 against the Oklahoma City Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building with a massive homemade bomb concealed in a rental truck that killed 168 people and wounded almost 700, I decided it's probably a good idea to call the police. 

In the time that it took them to come, I was able to walk to the market place and to coffee...I know they are busy, but it seemed like forever. 

Finally, two patrol cars pull up...that's good. 

I go outside to meet them. 

The officer after briefly looking around (and not in) the vehicle looks at me as I walk over to him. 

I said, "I called you about this suspicious vehicle."

He goes sternly, "Well, what's suspicious about it?"

I described the obvious...how it was parked with wheels on the sidewalk, at a fire hydrant, right in front of the main doors to the school, and with all those (crazy) posters all around it and uses the word "terrorist".

Surprisingly to me, the officer responds, "That's not suspicious!" Then he concedes, "but I will give it a ticket."

He must've seen my face go into this contorted questioning look, but I thought the better of the situation and said with deference to him, "Well Sir, you're the expert!"

I thank him for coming out and walk away feeling disheartened at this security response just 15 years after 9/11 and when we are still fighting a gruesome war with ISIS and against global terrorism. 

Then just a few days later, look at the article I came across with a homeland security warning:

"ISIS Guide: Rent a U-Haul As A Weapon, Target Thanksgiving Day Parade or Political Rallies."

In the ISIS instructions, there is a picture of a U-Haul truck with the caption, "An Affordable Weapon" and the statement that "low security" gatherings "are fair game and more devastating to Crusader nations."

With all due respect for our esteemed law enforcement, perhaps we need to take these terrorist warnings more seriously, and frankly even without the explicit warning, a suspicious U-Haul in downtown DC in front of a major university probably deserves more than just a parking ticket! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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July 5, 2016

A Matter Of Vigilance

Getting around town, I have noticed a stark and scary hands-off absence of security. 

So different than the immediate vigilance after the attacks of 9/11 is the sleepiness of our security establishment now. 

Recently, I noticed a security guard not on lookout, but rather on video games on his smartphone while standing post. 

And then again coming down the street today, another guard (no child that is) was putting up handprints on the fogged up glass instead of having their hands safely on (or off) their trigger. 

What was even more frightening was that the guard abruptly turns around while handprinting the windows, as if I did something wrong just walking by, and says to me, "You scared me!"

To which I promptly replied, "Really, you're the one with the gun!"

It's incredible how far we have fallen security-wise after the attacks from New York to Paris and Orlando to Kiryat Arba.

In the Wall Street Journal today, Bret Stephens writes, "It's depressing to think that the only way the world might understand the truth about terrorism is to have some experience of it." 

Why do we have to be lazy and lackadaisical, playing around with people's lives, instead of with it and ready to prevent the next one and the next one?  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 13, 2016

2016 Technology Advances - Doing Well Sir

In just the last few days and weeks, I have been astonished at the progress already being made towards the important technology advancements mentioned in Technology Forecast 2016

On the front for medical technology to fight cancer, just today it was announced that the foundation from Sean Parker (of Napster and Facebook) is providing a $250 million grant for a new cancer institute to advance the field of immunotherapy to boost the body's natural defenses (i.e. immune system) to fight the cancer.

In terms of space technology, famed astrophysicist, Stephen Hawking and venture capitalist, Yuri Milner are teaming up with a $100 million for research to develop "Starchips" (a nanocraft robot on a chip) for a voyage to another solar system 25 trillion miles away. 

Finally, there are advances for counter-terrorism technology on display with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection announcing in February a pilot of new biometric technology kiosks to capture and compare facial and iris biometrics for travelers exiting the U.S. to compare with their entry data and ensure an end-to-end visitor entry/exit solution.  

I am pleased at the commitment and progress we are making in these critical technology areas, and sincerely hope that these efforts will flourish for us all in the not too distant future. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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April 12, 2016

Turn, Press, Pull -- Gonna Get Ya

So as I go around town, I see more and more of these industrial-type control panels. 

The problem is that they are stupidly in the open and unprotected or otherwise easily defeated.  

While probably not a serious threat of any sort, this one apparently is a unit to control some fans in an underground garage open to the public. 

You see the knobs you can just turn.

And one with a yellow warning sticker above it.

As if that will keep someone with bad intentions from messing with it. 

You also see the red and yellow lights...hey. let's see if we can make those flash on, off, on.

Panel 13, nicely numbered for us--let's look for 1 to 12 and maybe 14+.

It just continues to amaze me that in the age of 9/11 and all the terrorism (and crime) out there that many people still seem so lackadaisical when it comes to basic security. 

Anyone in the habit of leaving doors and gates open, windows unlocked, grounds unmonitored, computers and smart phones without password protection, data unencrypted and not backed up, even borders relatively wide open, and so on. 

Of course, we love our freedom and conveniences.

We want to forget bad experiences.

Could we be too trusting at times?

Maybe we don't even believe anymore that the threats out there are impactful or real.

But for our adversaries it could just be as simple as finding the right open "opportunity" and that's our bad. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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March 24, 2016

The Great Apartheid Ruse

What a shame the hatred and anti-Semitism on college campuses and in political theater now under the guise of Israeli Apartheid Week and the Boycott, Divestiture, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Israel is no more apartheid that any country or society in the world that has guards and erected walls to secure their inhabitants--from armed bandits, illegal immigrants, marauding armies, and dangerous terrorists.

From the castles across the European landscape to the wall around Vatican City, the U.S. border fence, and even the Great Wall of China--every country seeks border and homeland security!

Keeping out bad people who seek to inflict harm on others is not segregation, but appropriate and common sense self-defense, especially in Israel's case where Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other avowed terrorist organizations and their sponsors seek not peaceful coexistence, but the annihilation of the Jewish people and Israel.

From the Iranian building of nuclear ballistic missiles to Hezbollah and Hamas raining missiles on Israeli population centers, from the building of terror tunnels to abduct and attack Israelis, from homicide bombings in discotheques and on buses to shootings, knifings, and vehicular rammings, the crazed hatred and genocidal ambitions of the anti-Semites does not end.

Nothing would make every Jew in the world happier than a genuine and secure peace with their neighbors, but when every peace deal that shares between the peoples is rejected by those that seek not compromise and living side-by-side in peace, but rather to throw every last Jew into the Sea then the Free Palestine movement under all it's guises is nothing more than a very deadly wolf in sheep's clothing.

- Listen to their chants of "From the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea, Palestine Will be Free."

- Read their signs that say, "Our revenge will be the laughter of our children."

- Watch their actions: teaching little children to utterly hate and arbitrarily kill Jews.

That NOT an anti-apartheid movement and a desire for peaceful coexistence, but rather maniacal ambitions to maim, murder, and take everything bar none.

Those who march, chant, and support Free Palestine, Israel Apartheid Week and the BDS Movement have shown themselves the true haters and supporters of terrorism, and usurping a mantel of legitimacy from those who have really struggled for freedom and peace is the lie and ruse of the century, but very reminiscent of murderous Jew-haters from Amalek, Haman, and Adolf Hitler from the days of old to our times. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Care2)
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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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Terrified Of Terrorism

Sure there are terrorism scares that are just hoaxes, and generally-speaking, we feel quite protected by our nation's values, wealth, and entrepreneurial spirit, by Homeland Security, and by being surrounded with the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and our friendly neighbors Mexico and Canada. 

So we can be very assured--no fear, right?  That's what we need and want to function normally in every day life.

But perhaps behind the veil of daily bravado is a not-so subtle fear about something really bad happening again--whether a 9/11 or a San Bernardino or a Boston Bombing or anything in between or even possibly more extreme, including attacks on our critical infrastructure (via kinetic means, cyber attacks, or EMP weapons) or even attacks with WMD (from anthrax to nukes in suitcases)--there is certainly plenty of attack vectors, means, and bad actors. 

It was interesting-scary, the other day, there was a video circulating on Facebook of a "radical Muslim"-like character with a turban or something distinctive (I can't really remember) and carrying a backpack. In scene after scene, the character goes up to innocent bystanders and throws his backpack in their direction. The people didn't know him or what was in the backpack or why he was throwing it in their direction. Yet, over and over again, the people jumped up hysterically in fear running for cover like there was very possibly no tomorrow. 

Similarly, we watch on the news almost daily of terrorist attacks around the world--school attacks, beach attacks, restaurants and cafe attacks, theater attacks, grocery store attacks, house of worship attacks, funeral attacks, ambulance attacks...and there literally is no end to this list of what and who is considered a legitimate target by terrorists--we all are.

In the last couple of weeks, there was surveillance captured of Muslim women visiting a number of synagogues in Miami around the same time and asking questions suspiciously--could they have been staking these out for possible future attack, similar to the attack on a Jerusalem synagogue with butcher knives, axes, and guns that massacred people praying and in devotion to their maker?

In the last half a year, we have seen terrorism morph in Israel from volleys of missiles indiscriminately shot at cities, tunnels to attack and abduct, and suicide/homicide bombings to become up close and personal butcher knife attacks in the throat, chest, and back of victims old, young, man, women. Everyone who is available to kill is being called to martyrdom, even the most little children being indoctrinated to slash and thrust a knife into any unsuspecting victim. 

So as we listen and watch the goings-on in the world and we say to ourselves those attacks happen in Paris and London and Turkey and Ukraine and Libya and Tunisia and Nigeria and Yemen and Lebanon and Syria and Iraq and Kuwait and Pakistan and Afghanistan and India and Indonesia and and and...but not [so much] over here. 

We say it, and we hope it, and we pray it, but in the back of our minds we instinctively fear otherwise. 

So while panic is certainly not helpful, perhaps phony bravado is not what is really needed either, but rather a renewed focus, investment, and commitment to our security--with more gates, guns, guards, intelligence, and advances in technology to stop the next attack(s). ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Irina Slutsky)

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