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) 

Needed: A Giving Hand With Smart Border Security

Border Security Needed.jpeg

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)

When Little Girls Are Not Princesses

Princess.jpeg

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)

The Great Trump Wall

Wall.jpeg

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.)

Beautiful Rise and Fall

fall-jpeg

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)

U-Haul Rental Truck Terrorism

u-haul

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)