Do The Freakin Math

Liberals and conservatives alike frequently rely on limited evidence, personal experience, religious beliefs or gut emotions to determine solutions for complex problems. From immigration to global warming - taxes to terrorism - or health care to free trade - analytical study is rare. Science based policy making isn’t the way of Washington. And the consequences are catastrophic. Change is urgently needed. Just do the freakin’ math.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Duncan Hunter supports Bin Ladin's goals

Congressman Duncan Hunter’s concern about “open borders” implies we can effectively close them. Does he need to be reminded that just one person can carry a doomsday biological weapon across our border in their blood stream? Or, send it across our border by contaminating imported foods.

Attempting to protect ourselves by stopping threats at our ‘border’ might be conceptually popular and agreeable but in real life application we would be contributing measurably to Osama Bin Ladin’s top two priorities – breaking us economically and dividing us politically.

Some will undoubtedly argue correctly that we don’t have the technical capacity to seal the border. But more important, the economic cost of trying to ‘closing’ our borders (or even slowing down the flow of goods, information, finances, wildlife, and people) would be catastrophic to US prosperity. A few companies and private contractors would get wealthy but the taxes needed to fund such the construction of such a security wall would further bankrupt our nation and divide us politically even more than we are now.

And then we need to consider the damage to our “freedom” agenda and image. By putting restrictions on the most fundamental of all human freedoms – the freedom of movement – what message are we sending the rest of the world? What happens when other nations follow our lead and follow our fears?

It would be far cheaper and easier to make as many friends as we can in this troubled world to get maximum global cooperation in finding and stopping dangerous people -- and other threats to our security like pandemics, poverty or environmental evils.

Duncan Hunter’s fort mentality should have died with Custer’s last stand.

Washington Times
June 12, 2008
Pg. 17

National Security = Border Security

Terrorists work to infiltrate southern U.S. border

By Duncan Hunter

The open borders of the United States amount to a national security exposure. This is a fact that cannot be debated.

One has only to look at the number of foreign nationals attempting to illegally enter the U.S. through Mexico over the last several years.

Since 2005, the Department of Homeland Security reports that more than 331,000 people from countries other than Mexico have been apprehended trying to cross the Southern land border. These individuals came from virtually every country in the world, including some with whom we have an adversarial relationship, such as Communist China, Iran and North Korea.

These apprehensions as well as the approximate 3.1 million border arrests over the same period are the result of a U.S.-Mexico border that has been left wide open and largely unprotected against illegal entry. This vulnerability continues to be exploited by migrants and smugglers everyday and, until our borders are secure, we must anticipate that terrorists may eventually try entering the U.S. the same way.

In 2005, when testifying before Congress, then-Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security James Loy confirmed the seriousness of this threat. According to Mr. Loy, "Al Qaeda leaders believe operatives can pay their way into the country through Mexico and also believe illegal entry is more advantageous than legal entry for operational security reasons." He also added that intelligence "strongly suggests" terrorists have considered entering the United States through Mexico.

That same year, while visiting Mexico City, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said, "We are quite aware that terrorists will try very hard" to use the border with Mexico to enter the United States. Miss Rice also acknowledged the fact that terrorists will continue trying to infiltrate the United States this way, and thus "we need to make certain that we keep working on this issue." I could not agree more. The threat created by our open borders, as well as many of the other problems that are attributable to illegal immigration, will only intensify until this exposure is closed.

While we have made some progress in recent years toward creating a more enforceable border, we still have a lot of work left to do. Moving forward, we must continue strengthening security through manpower, technology and infrastructure, including the most reliable and effective enforcement tool so far: border security fencing.

Much like many other areas of the border today, the land corridor that once existed between Tijuana, Mexico, and San Diego, Calif., was for many years considered to be the most prolific and dangerous smuggling route in the nation. It was not until I wrote into law the construction of a double border fence that the drug smugglers and armed gangs lost control of this corridor and conditions on both sides of the border started to improve.

Since construction of the San Diego border fence started in 1996, the smuggling of people and narcotics in this area has decreased by more than 90 percent. Violent crime is down by 53 percent, according to FBI statistics, and vehicle drug drive-throughs have been eliminated altogether. There are also significantly fewer apprehensions in the San Diego sector due to fewer crossing attempts.

In Yuma, Ariz., where almost 30 miles of fencing has been completed to date, there have been similar results. In 2006, before the start of fence construction, there were 119,000 apprehensions in this sector. By the next year, once fence construction started, there were 81,000 fewer arrests.

Homeland Security is rightly building fence at other points along the border and reports it is on course to complete 370 miles by the end of this year. Given the effectiveness of fencing, as demonstrated in San Diego and Yuma, it is in our national interest to extend this infrastructure to other smuggling routes and heavily traveled areas of the border.

Our nation's security largely rests on the security of our borders. We know what we need to do. All we have to do is act.

Rep. Duncan Hunter of California is the ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Committee.


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Neither Candidate can deliever

No! That’s the short answer to Harlan Ullman’s “Reform and change” bi-line question “Can either candidate deliver?” And, to make matters even worse the ‘daunting challenges and seemingly insurmountable obstacles” before us are even greater than the “dysfunctional government” and the toxic and misguided partisanship that Ullman sees dominating it.

I believe our greatest obstacle to making the change needed is our unexamined/unquestioned ‘American’ mindset that we are ‘independent’. In reality, our world is entirely interdependent. And our words and our actions have consequences. Far too often our words and actions have unintended global consequences that affect our security, prosperity and freedom to travel safely or pursue our own domestic happiness.

Politicans from both partys now pander to Americans who clamor for lower gas prices. The fact is we drive too much, exercise too little and ignore the national security linkages between our dependence on oil and our war against terrorism. And, you won’t see the bumper sticker “Burn oil- Fuel terrorism” because there aren’t any electric cars to put them on.

As Ullman states “Irrespective of who wins in November, 80 percent of the public believes that the country is on the wrong track” and “bold thinking is crucial”. Ullman’s solutions are bold thinking but they don’t go far enough. Making “Congress” “accountable” for reading and understanding bills via threat of impeachment and conviction is warranted, but the same level of accountability should be applied to the unelected member states on the UN Security Council. Each should be impeached and convicted for allowing the genocide in Darfur to continue. And, mandatory US voting won’t solve any problem if the majority of American’s remain so misinformed or simply ignorant on vital issues.

Our nation is at a critical junction. The creative and destructive power of most technologies are increasing exponentially and becoming available and affordable globally. Unfortunately, our minds think linearly. And changes in our thinking and acting, and our governments capacity for reasoned response is basically flat lined. If either candidate really told us what we needed to do and proposed the changes in government that we really need…they wouldn’t be elected.

The shock of September 11th, didn’t move us in the right direction. It took us deeper into the failed policies and thinking that brought such horrific violence back to our shores. It’s time we try another path. But like Ullman, I’m not optimistic either Candidate will take it…and then gain the votes to win.