OpenCDA

January 26, 2019

Hiding Incompetence Behind Authority

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 7:24 am

Screen Shot 2019-01-26 at 7.18.29 AM

Ask the President or any member of the House or Senate to define “secure borders,” and we learn very quickly that the only word President Trump seems to know is “wall.”  The members of the House and Senate only know “technology” and “Border Patrol Agents.”  Federal judges invoke case law and the Constitution’s supremacy clause to forbid individual states from defending themselves against invaders who cross the international borders illegally to enter the United States, yet those same judges enjoin the Executive Branch from  providing that very defense against invaders.

I have yet to hear or see the President or any member of Congress of any partisan political stripe deliver a well-organized, articulate, complete, and understandable explanation of what “secure borders of the United States” are.  How do these officials define adequately secured borders?  More importantly, how will We, the People of the United States, know that our national borders have been adequately secured?  Why should we believe the proclamations and assurances of security from our national elected officials?

If our elected national officials believe that merely screaming loudly and frequently the words, “wall,” “technology,” and “Border Patrol Agents” are adequate to fulfill their duties to We, the People, to “… support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic …,” then those national officials are not fulfilling the duties and responsibilities of their respective offices.  Their failures to perform their official duties for which they were elected insult our intelligence and endanger the lives of the lawful citizens of the United States.

I have read President Trump’s Executive Order 13767, “Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements,” signed on January 25, 2017.  It only applies to the border between the United States and Mexico.

I have also read Vision and Strategy 2020 | US Customs and Border Protection Strategic Plan.

Read together, these two documents come closer to the definition of “secure borders” I seek.  However, there seems to be a completely partisan and politically-motivated disconnect in both the US Congress and the federal judiciary when it comes to executing any plan to secure our national borders.  All of them, not just the US – Mexico border.

And our national elected officials and federal judges wonder why We, the People of the United States, have begun to question their competence and commitment to  “… support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic …?”   Really?

January 24, 2019

Declassified Nuclear EMP Report

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 6:54 am

EMP Op StarfishSome people who have heard the term “nuclear electromagnetic pulse (nuclear EMP)” have not taken it seriously.  They have associated it with callers to George Noory’s late night radio show “Coast to Coast AM” distributed by Premier Networks.  Those who have not taken this very real threat seriously have made a grave mistake.

“Nuclear EMP attack is part of the military doctrines, plans, and exercises of Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran for a revolutionary new way of warfare against military forces and civilian critical infrastructures by cyber, sabotage, and EMP.”

This statement is taken from a recently declassified 2017 report entitled Nuclear EMP Attack Scenarios and Combined-Arms Cyber Warfare.  The report was prepared for a Congressional commission, the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack.

Though the report’s opening statement quoted above suggests EMP would be used only by nation states against us, it is clear from material later in the report that “blackout warfare” is within reach of criminal cartels and terrorist organizations (see report, page 10, “The Gathering Storm”).

If you’re unfamiliar with the principles of nuclear EMP, I suggest you start reading with chapter 2 at page 12, “II – EMP Attack:  Basic Facts and Principles.

In the simplest possible terms, a nuclear EMP would render completely inoperable all or nearly all electrical equipment in the EMP’s zone.  The size of that zone would be determined by the altitude of the detonation.

January 22, 2019

Differential Enforcement in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 7:22 am

Look the other wayThis morning’s Coeur d’Alene Press, the local skews paper for the town of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, had an article headlined Builder:  City Blows Roof Off Common Sense | Garage 10 Inches Too Tall; Roof Rebuilt.

The paper reports that a roofing truss supplier provided trusses which were 10 inches higher than specified for a local residential garage.  The error, acknowledged by affected and interested parties as harmless, was not caught until after the trusses had been installed by the builder.  The builder and owner dutifully and properly reported the error and requested a variance from the Coeur d’Alene Planning & Zoning Commission.

The Coeur d’Alene P&Z Commission properly denied the requested variance because it failed to meet the code requirements for the variance.   The cost for removing and replacing the properly specified but incorrectly built trusses was apparently borne by the trussmaker, not the builder or homeowner.

Based on only the information reported in this article, it is difficult to dispute the decision of the P&Z Commission.  If a city has adopted building and safety codes, the codes and penalties for violations must be applied to all applicants equally or risk being accused of being arbitrarily discriminatory.

But now, read an earlier article from the same skews paper posted on July 21, 2017.  That article was headlined Council Debates 9-Inch Fail.

In the 2017 skews story, a local construction company violated the City’s building code, too.  But in that case, the City was aware of the violation during construction and chose not to issue an order to stop work until the violation was corrected.   The violation, an encroachment onto the City’s sidewalk, was allowed to remain.  So instead of requiring the construction company to make a costly ($15,000) correction of the encroachment, the City told its favorite local construction company it could donate $700 worth of materials for other City projects.  To their credit, Coeur d’Alene City Council members Dan Gookin and Ron Edinger sought to have the code enforced consistently.  The other four City Council members apparently decided they were just gonna look the other way on this one.

These two examples show clearly what was acknowledged publicly in the July 21, 2017, article:  The City of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, does not enforce its City codes consistently.  The result is that some people are treated unfairly when others are treated preferentially.

January 21, 2019

Why Is This So Difficult?

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 8:50 pm

puzzledI simply cannot figure out why it is so difficult for President Trump and some of the alleged leaders in Congress to sit down together and find a way to resolve the border security stalemate.

The starting point is that most of the key players have agreed at one time or another that border security is important.  They all seem to want it, but when charged with doing something to achieve it and invited to sit down with the President and discuss it, “the other side” seems to develop a craving for pineapples or pork chops.  Why are they so afraid of success?   Or maybe they’re confusing terms.  Maybe they’re saying “secure borders” when what they really want and mean is “open borders”, no borders at all.  You know, Pueblo Sin Fronteras or Centro Sin Fronteras type stuff.

It seems to me the first step is to agree on what “secure borders” are in assuring the continued sovereignty of the United States.  If you don’t know exactly what it is you’re after, how will you recognize it if you stumble upon it?  I have yet to hear either side’s definition of “secure borders” though they intone that phrase reverently as if it’s etched on a marble wall somewhere.

Regardless, both President Trump and “the other side” would be taking a step in the right direction if they both started by explaining (truthfully if possible) what “secure borders” look like in their respective worlds.   At that point, they can then begin to intelligently agree on the methods to implement areas where they agree and resolve the issues over which they disagree.

One suggestion I’d make humbly is that all the participants on both sides agree that they could learn a lot from Customs and Border Protection’s field employees, the people from all twenty CBP Sectors.  Please notice I used the terms “field employees” and “people” rather than “BP agents” or “officers.”   Not every employee is a commissioned law enforcement officer, yet all of the employees have a role to play in successfully completing the agency’s mission.  Too often in many federal law enforcement agencies, the input is not sought from administrative, technical, and professional employees on whom the law enforcement officers depend.  The assumption is that if you’re not a handcuff jockey, then you couldn’t possibly have any meaningful input that would improve enforcement and removal operations.

My suggestion would be for each sector chief to designate a very experienced operational employee from each job series (administrative, enforcement, professional, and technical) to represent the sector.  Designate experienced boots rather than suits to participate.  Why?   Because whether you’re the President or one of the Fools on the Hill, your objective should be to try and get a very clear, apolitical, nonpartisan understanding of what a “secure border” looks like in each of the sectors.   Lobbyists for companies are less likely to be able to BS experienced boots from the field than suits whose last decade has been spent inhabiting the Swamp.

It’s also important to remember that a border needs to be secure in both directions.  The present emphasis is on illegal immigrants coming into the US.  However, the illegal transmission out of the US of currency or electronic funds which are the proceeds of contraband smuggled in needs to be addressed as well.

What I would expect this boots working group might reveal to the Mahogany Row denizens from DHS,  the White House, and the Hill is that “border security” is not a nice, tidy one-size-fits-all concept.  In other words, there’s no easy single fix like a wall or a drone or technology or more warm bodies with badges and guns.  Remedies will be most effective if they’re complementary rather than discrete and tailored rather than cookie-cutter produced.  They need to be regularly reviewed and modified when necessary.

But nothing is going to happen until both sides agree to sit down and start talking seriously.

The “other side” has invoked the deceptive practices of their hero, J. Wellington Wimpy who famously said, ““I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.”  They’ll gladly start talking about border security if the President simply reopens the government.   Wimpy never came around on Tuesday to make his promised payment.  The “other side” used to be led by Senator Harry “Wimpy” Reid who bragged about how effectively his lie about Mitt Romney had cost Romney the 2012 presidential election.  When Leader “Wimpy” Reid was confronted with his obvious lie, he smiled and said, “Romney didn’t win, did he?”

I’m quite certain President Trump understands that J. Wellington Wimpy is the role model for those who favor open borders and no immigration controls.  The instant he relies on the assurance of Pelosi and Schumer and reopens the government, neither they nor their toadies on the Hill have any further incentive to cooperate with him and “… support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic …”

January 16, 2019

Pelosi’s Letter

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 12:19 pm

DeceptionGameSpeaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has sent a letter to President Trump suggesting that unless the government reopens this week, he should postpone the state of the union address (SOTU) until a later date or deliver the address in writing to Congress on January 29th.

Speaker Pelosi’s letter cites “security concerns” as the principal reason for her suggestion.   She implies that the partial shutdown of the US government has “hamstrung” the US Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) so the Secret Service cannot adequately protect this National Special Security Event (NSSE).

Planning for NSSEs  usually begins weeks and on recurring events like the SOTU, often months ahead of the event and continues uninterrupted until the event concludes.  I’m certain this SOTU was no different.

It was and I presume still is a disgustingly common practice for deceptive politicians in both major parties to attribute cancellation or postponement of an event on “security reasons,” thus implying that the security providers have told them they just can’t adequately do their jobs.   If there is intelligence that a credible threat is actually posed against the SOTU, Speaker Pelosi ought to be meeting directly with the President, Senate Leader McConnell, the House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving,  and the Secret Service to discuss it.

It seems more likely that Speaker Pelosi’s reason for wanting to postpone the SOTU is to avoid giving President Trump prime television time to explain just how well the country under his presidency has begun to recover economically from the damage inflicted during the eight years of the Obama administration.

January 9, 2019

“… Nevermore!”

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 7:44 am

Chuck Nancy Boris Bela

 

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And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
    And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming,
    And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
            Shall be lifted—nevermore! *
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 * Excerpted from “The Raven” by E.A. Poe, at https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/48860/the-raven

January 4, 2019

DHS Secretary Nielsen’s Briefing the Democrats Refused to Hear

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 11:24 am

The Wire Wall[

On January 2, 2019, Congressional “leaders” were invited to the White House Situation Room to receive a then-classified briefing on the situation at the US-Mexico border.  The briefing was likely classified and held in the Situation Room to give participants an opportunity to receive detailed national security information about the humanitarian crisis at the border.  Schumer and Pelosi and other Democrats attended but refused to listen to the briefing from Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.

Today the White House released an unclassified version of the briefing so the public could see the President’s reasons for wanting to build a border wall at strategic locations along the US-Mexico border.  Here is a link to the unclassified briefing released today.

 

January 2, 2019

REPORT: How the US-Mexico Border Is Exploited By Terrorists

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 8:00 pm

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Here is a link to the 31-page report entitled Stopping Terrorist Travel Through Illicit Pathways to the Homeland.  This report was released on January 2, 2019, by the House Homeland Security Committee majority party members.

In general, the Report describes how the US-Mexico border is being exploited by “Special Interest Aliens” (and therefore drug and human traffickers).  In general, a Special Interest Alien (SIA) is a non-U.S. citizen from a country outside the Western Hemisphere who, based on country of origin and travel pattern, poses a potential national security risk to the United States.

Clearly this report is relevant to the current proposal from President Trump to build a barrier along the entire US-Mexico border.

 

December 30, 2018

DRAFT Report: Marjory Stoneman Douglas School Shooting

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 3:50 pm

Douglas High School Shooting Report Cover“On February 14, 2018, fourteen students and three staff members at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, were fatally shot and seventeen others were wounded, in one of the deadliest school massacres in United States’ history.”

“On March 9, 2018, Governor Rick Scott signed the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act (MSDHSPSA) into law. […] A key component of the legislation was the establishment of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Publoic Safety Commission (Commission) composed of 17 voting members and 4 non-voting members appointed by the Governor, Speaker of the House, Senate President or specified in legislation.  The Commission was formed to specifically analyze information from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting and other mass violence incidents and provide recommendations and system improvements to help mitigate the impacts from and prevent future school shootings.”

Here is a link identifying the Commission appointees and a brief bio about each appointee.

Here is a link to the specific duties of the Commission.

On January 2, 2019, the Commission’s report will be submitted to the specified officials.  Here is a link to the 407-page DRAFT of that report.

Note that this is only a DRAFT of the report.  It was released on December 12, 2018.

December 29, 2018

Technology and Manpower, But No Wall ?

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 4:25 pm

The Wire WallThis particular post could just as well have been titled First, Build the Wall.  And Then …, Part 2.

If you haven’t read my December 2, 2018, post which would have been Part 1, I’d suggest you read it first.  In that post I explained why a well-conceived and structurally superior barrier along the US – Mexico border is not a luxury; it is a necessity to protect the sovereignty of the United States.

To quickly summarize the main points in that post, the purposes of the wall are to:

(1) Visually, physically, and unmistakably identify the legally recognized boundary separating the United States and Mexico, and

(2) Delay illegal aliens from entering the United States until Border Patrol and ICE agents can get to the illegals’ point of entry at the wall and apprehend them if they’ve already entered illegally or discourage illegal entry if they have not, and

(3)  Guide and direct persons who seek entry and are permitted to enter lawfully to controlled points of entry where they can request United States law be applied.

As expected, opponents of the wall countered this week that the wall won’t be effective.  Their argument depends on their definition of “effective.”  If  their expectation for an effective wall is that it will, by itself, completely prevent illegal entry through the border, then they are absolutely correct.

But any barrier (e.g., the wall regardless of its design and materials) will only slow down (“delay”) illegal entry.   It will “Delay illegal aliens from entering the United States until Border Patrol and ICE agents can get to the illegals’ point of entry at the wall and apprehend them if they’ve already entered illegally or discourage illegal entry if they have not.”  This principle was explained in my December 2 post.

What is also remarkable is that some of the wall’s opponents suggested this week that the wall President Trump wants to build should not be built at all.  Rather, they suggest the money that would be spent for the wall should be used for “technology and manpower.”

Any of the wall’s proponents who believe President Trump’s proposed wall is the definitive and dispositive answer to US-Mexico border security are as ignorantly wrong as the wall’s opponents such as US Senator Dick (appropriately named) Durbin who believe “technology and manpower” is the definitive and dispositive answer.

As they are used to augment security along the US-Mexico border, the wall (a manmade physical barrier) and technology (deterrent, detection, and verification systems) fall under the category of “tactical infrastructure,”   usually abbreviated “TI.”

Barriers introduce deterrence and time delays to discourage and delay invaders until responder arrive to apprehend.

Technology has already been used for years to sense unauthorized activity (tunnels, barrier defeats, airborne overflights, etc.).   Conventional video and satellite imagery can also help verify that the source of an intrusion alarm is human versus animal.

There are nonlethal energy directed weapons that theoretically could be used to repel intruders, however the ADS shown in the example would seem to be most effective against wall climbers while they’re still on the invader’s side of the wall.    Likewise, claims about no permanent damage caused by ADS and other systems are generally based on the immediately observable short-term results of tests performed on healthy adults.  Long-term harm such as cancers, miscarriages in pregnant women, immune system-compromised invaders, etc. would probably have to be determined.

Ultimately, however, apprehension, arrest, detention, and associated legal action requires manpower.  That’s Customs and Border Protection agents.  For the last several budget cycles, CBP has been unable to recruit and train sufficiently qualified and committed agent applicants to meet existing staffing needs.

Barriers and technology can have a force multiplier effect to make the CBP agents more effective, however neither barriers nor technology can replace the human decision-maker and operative.

 

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