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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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)

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)

Deterrence Alone Is Not A Strategy

 

High Wire Act.jpeg

So there is a military doctrine that has been in place for decades. 


– MAD – Mutually Assured Destruction 


If you attack the USA with weapons of mass destruction, you’ll get an overwhelming responses that will totally destroy your country. 


This was what supposedly held the USSR at bay during the cold war. 


And even recently, President Trump threatened North Korea that they would be “totally destroyed” if they try anything on us. 


The problem is that the MAD doctrine of deterrence assumes incorrectly that you are always dealing with rational actors and not with madmen.


Let’s face it, their are plenty of crazies out there, and some of whom may be willing to go down in a “blaze of glory” as long as they stand up to the United States and die a heroes death for their radicalized or “subjected” people. 


Whether it’s Iran or North Korea or others–we may not know what we are really dealing with here until it’s too late. 


Life is not everything to these people–remember many a terrorist has died a martyrs death with the promise of 72 virgins in heaven awaiting them. 


To some, as Prime Minister Gold Meir stated:

“Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us!”


Hate by virtue of perceived injustice, required Jihad or “holy war,” brainwashing or threats and the desire for a “glorious death” standing up to the infidels or the “great Satan…any of all of these can contribute to ignoring the consequences. 


Israel has tried to deter horrible homicide bombers/and other mad terrorists from performing their evil misdeeds on the civilian population by for example, demolishing the terrorist homes as a potent consequence that they know going into it, yet many terrorists still wear the explosive vests and detonate anyway.


Similarly, North Korea despite the President’s threat that they “will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen,” brushed it off and shot off more volleys of ICBMs and threatened to engulf Guam in fire. 


– The point is that deterrence alone is not a strategy!


If our enemies can hit us with a devastating attack–whether WMD, cyber, EMP, or quantum attack— that can inflict immeasurable harm on us–they may actually choose to take their best shot, rather than wait for us to hit them or continue to feel disrespected, subjected, inferior, and hopeless.


To someone on the radical fringes or the mental edge, maybe–just maybe–they will do the unthinkable and surprise us.


What good will our fire and fury counterstrike do us, when our cities are in ruin and our people dead and dying en masse. 


Revenge isn’t so sweet when your family, homeland, and virtually everything you know and held dear is gone.


The only real military strategy is to be able to defend ourselves and AVOID getting a homeland catastrophe!


We need massive investment and expertise in missile defense, bio defense, cyber defense, quantum computing, and expansive hardening of our critical infrastructure.


Unfortunately, as naysayers to the threats abound, we are no where near where we need to be in protecting the homeland.


If one person falls from the high wire and smashes their head, what good is it that the other person falls and suffers similarly or worse. 


The point is not to fall, not to get hurt, not to die, not to have our country and way of life destroyed.


Deterrence does not guarantee this security to the country–especially when dealing with no shortage of radicalized nuts out there. 


Only a genuine defense that can STOP and counter the threats BEFORE a devastating attack happens and hits us is a strategy worth pursuing …and THEN you can punch the other person squarely in their devil’s face!


Without an adequate defensive strategy, get ready, because every high flying act eventually falls to the ground and hits their head hard. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Gorgeous Border Wall

Border Wall.jpeg

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)