Trump Vs. Pelosi — The Citizens Lose

Yesterday, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, majorly dissed President Trump by attempting to cancel his State of the Union address for Tuesday, January 29 citing lack of resources to secure the National Special Security Event (NSSE) due to the government shutdown. 


In turn, CNN applauded Pelosi for having:

– Just pulled a major power move on Donald Trump’s State of the Union

Today, President Trump reciprocated by refusing to provide military aircraft for Pelosi’s trip aboard citing the same shutdown. 


In this case, The Guardian condemns President Trump stating that he:

– Escalates shutdown row by cancelling Pelosi trip

I am not taking sides (seriously), but just can’t help but notice the incredible bias in the “Fake News” that we are all being fed in the massive media “echo chamber.” 


Again, Pelosi cancels Trump and its reported on as she did a great thing, while when Trump responds and cancels Pelosi, then that is reported on as he is escalating the situation. 


Something is very wrong in this country–regardless of which politicians and parties you love or hate and whether you agree with a border wall or not–shouldn’t we get news that is honest and even-handed. 


The system is broken and we are the masses that are being controlled in our thinking and our voting.  


This is not democracy–it is social control and b*llsh*t brainwashing! 😉

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)