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)

Never Say Anything

So I overhear this conversation…


Woman:  “Never say never and never say always.”


Man: “Well then what should I say?”


Woman: “Just keep your mouth shut!”


Yeah, that’s one for the books.


Anyway, thinking about this a little more–there is an exception to every rule. 


Never say never is itself violating this rule of thumb. 


Hence one conclusion perhaps is that many rules are so stupid to begin with! 🙂


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Braving Trust and Credibility

So I thought this was really good from a colleague this week. 


How to build trust and credibility in the workplace:


Credibility is about being “convincing and believable” and results from “expertise and experience.”


Trust is believing strongly in the honesty, reliability, character, and effectiveness of a person.”


BRAVING


Boundaries – Have good boundaries–respecting yours and having my own; show others respect in words and deeds. 


Reliability – Be someone who is both reliable (can be counted on)  and is authentic.


Accountability – Hold others and yourself accountable; we all own our mistakes, apologize and make amends. 


Vault – Keep information in confidence.


Integrity – Hold courage over comfort; choose what’s right over what’s fun, easy or fast; practice and not just profess values. 


Non-judgmental – Believe the best in people even when they occasionally disappoint you. 


Generosity – Offer and ask for help from others, and give generously of yourself in time and effort. 


No offense to anyone…the last thing they said was a little spicy for the workplace (but I know it was meant well):  “Good conversation with others should be like a miniskirt–short enough to retain interest and long enough to cover the topic.” 😉


(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)

Understanding Genius

So working in a place with scientific geniuses and even a history of Nobel Prize winners is serious business. 


I see things that I don’t know what they are. 


I meet people that I don’t understand what they do. 


But in all cases, I am in awe of the smart and good people and the work they are doing to advance us. 


Here was an example this week in randomly meeting someone and starting up a conversation:

Andy:  Hi. I’m Andy.  What do you do here?
Him:  I’m [so and so].  I do neutron scattering.
Andy: [Gulp followed by big smile] I know absolutely nothing about that.
Him:  Well, what do you do?
Andy:  I’m doing process engineering and enterprise service management.
Him: [Smile] I know absolutely nothing about that. 

Get the picture.


One for the books right.


In another instance, when asked what their group does, someone leans into me and goes:


“We fix sh*t.”


I could tell he meant it. 


And you know what–I absolutely believed him.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Anus Protectus

So I learned this new phrase today:

“Anus Protectus”


It’s what it sounds like.


It when you communicate (or do) something in order to “cover your a*s.”


Sometimes we communicate as an FYI.


Other times as a FYSA.


And then there is the CYA. 


All of these are what we call “Purposeful communications.”


The only real difference is their purposes. 


When you open your mouth or your email make sure you know your:


– Why (intent)

– Who (audience)

– How (persuasion techniques)


These are the secret sauce of good communication. 


More blogs to come on this important topic. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Fight or Flight

So I learned this interesting thing about the Fight or Flight response.


Fight or flight is not just physically fighting or fleeing, but it has a much more diverse set of responses involved to perceived life-threatening events. 


Fighting (turning towards the threat)

1. Physical fighting (Protect yourself with force)

2. Non-physical aggression

– Criticism (e.g. Attacking personality or character)

– Contempt (e.g. Attacking sense of self-worth with sarcasm, shaming, insults, eye-rolling, and sneering)


Flight (turning away from danger)

1. Physical fleeing (e.g. Run/hide)

2. Non-physical withdrawal

– Defensiveness (e.g. Deflecting the attack with excuses, disagreement, counter-arguments, or blaming)

– Stonewalling (e.g. Conveying disapproval or disconnection, stop participating, change the subject, or giving the cold shoulder or silent treatment)


When you recognize that not all issues are life-threatening, then you can lower the intensity of the “Amygdala Hijack” in terms of fight or flight and instead work towards developing mutual understanding, trust, respect, and shared goals and solutions. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal and attribution of content to Dr. Britt Andreatta)

Good Face, Ugly Mask

So many faces, so much phoniness. 


Why can’t we just deal with genuine people?


Not like the dummies in this picture. 


Everyone seems to put on a face. 


One person comes in the room, puts on a big smile and then drops it like you do your pants in the bathroom (excuse the comparison).


But it’s just so wax!


Another person is talking it up, but you can see just under the thin veneer, they are a boiling powder keg ready to go off. 


Faces are for expression–to feel and to share. 


However, they are used to deceive and fool the world around them.  


Is it a face or a mask.


What’s behind it–good or evil?


If you don’t look past the superficial then you are the real dummy.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)