Friday, June 28, 2013

Securing the U.S. Border for Dummies

Years ago I came up with a plan to secure our southern border, although I'm sure most politicians wouldn't like it because it's too simple. My plan is sure to be dismissed for not understanding the complexities of the problem. Well, as I recall Reagan promised to address the border issue in 1986 when we granted amnesty, and 27 years later we've still got no plan.  

For what it's worth, here are some of my ideas:

1) The border between US and Mexico is 1,969 miles long. Build a fence that works, from one end to the other.

2) Station a US soldier every half mile, that's 3,938 soldiers. What? We're short on soldiers, you say? Pull them out of Afghanistan and let them come home and serve their duty here. These soldiers will utilize foot and motorized patrols within their assigned areas.

3) Establish posts every 5-10 miles along the border where soldiers eat, sleep and maintain communications with other posts and headquarters.  This would allow soldiers the ability to get to and from posts in a hurry. Total number of posts - 393.

4) Establish headquarters units every 100 miles which = roughly 19 HQ units. Each HQ unit supervises the posts within its jurisdiction. Also, housing, food, and medical care should be available here not just for soldiers but for the illegal immigrants who are captured. We don't have to leave them to die out there. Before we send them back we can and should treat them humanely. It's the right thing to do.

5) Rotate the soldiers duty every year. Give every soldier an opportunity to serve in the one-year post. Hell, include all five branches of the military. I served in the Coast Guard and while we are a seagoing service we were definitely no strangers to dealing with this issue.

6) Have the border patrol work jointly with the soldiers stationed at the border.

7) Don't use unmanned drones to replace human beings, use them to assist. Live human beings patrolling the border are still the most effective means of preventing illegal border crossings.

Those are just a few of the many ideas I've jotted down. 

So now the question looms: How will we pay for this? 


We're already paying for it. 

We've got bases all over the world, troops all over the place. Bring some of them home, especially those who have been away from their families for so long. We're paying these soldiers anyway, all we're doing is relocating them. Also, we spend a lot of money on a lot of nonsense in this country, time to take some of it and finish the fence, build the necessary structures and manpower required for this project.

In the meantime, while we're doing all of the above, we can put into place measures to deal with the illegal immigrants already here. Think realistically here--we can't deport millions of people. We can't separate children from their parents. What we can do is sit down at the table together and talk about a realistic humane approach to this issue. There's a solution, there's always a solution, it's just not perfect, but there is one we can live with...we will have to live with because we don't have a choice. We have to do something. It's time to put politics aside and think in realistic terms.

However, nothing starts before we have an effective plan to seal the border. Any proposed plan that does not include this and place it as the #1 priority is not a sensible plan. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Channeling my inner Julia Sugarbaker...

I'm feeling a the mood to let some people have it. How about we address politicians, men who think their shit doesn't stink, and people who are just plain assholes?

Julia in a political debate:

I do not think everyone in America is ignorant! Far from it!! But we are today, probably, the most uneducated, under read, and illiterate nation in the western hemisphere. Which makes it all the more puzzling to me why the biggest question on your small mind is whether or not little Johnny is gonna recite the Pledge of Allegiance every morning! I'll tell you something else, Mr. Brickett. I have had it up to here with you and your phony issues and your Yankee Doodle yakking! If you like reciting the Pledge of Allegiance everyday then I think you should do it! In the car! In the shower! Wherever the mood strikes you! But don't try to tell me when or where I have to say or do or salute anything, because I am an American too, and that is what being an American is all about! And another thing.........I am sick and tired of being made to feel that if I am not a member of a little family with 2.4 children who goes just to Jerry Fallwell's church and puts their hands over their hearts every morning that I am un-religious, unpatriotic, and un-American!! Because I've got news for you, Mr. Brickett...........all liberals are not kooks, anymore than all conservatives are fascists!! and the last time I checked, God was neither a Democratic nor a Republican! And just for your information, yes I am a liberal, but I am also a Christian. And I get down on my knees and pray everyday ---- on my own turf --- on my own time. One of the things that I pray for, Mr. Brickett, is that people with power will get good sense, and that people with good sense will get power.........and that the rest of us will be blessed with the patience and the strength to survive the people like you in the meantime!!

Julia on men:

In general it has been the men who have done the raping and the robbing and the killing and the war-mongering for the last two thousand years.... and it's been the men who have done the pillaging and the beheading and the subjecating of whole races into slavery. It has been the men who have done the law making and the money making and the most of the mischief making! So if the world isn't quite what you had in mind you have only yourselves to thank!!

Julia on her sister Suzanne:

I'm Julia Sugarbaker, Suzanne Sugarbaker's sister. I couldn't help over hearing part of your conversation. I gather from your comments there are a couple of other things you don't know, Marjorie. For example, you probably didn't know that Suzanne was the only contestant in Georgia pageant history to sweep every category except congeniality, and that is not something the women in my family aspire to anyway. Or that when she walked down the runway in her swimsuit, five contestants quit on the spot. Or that when she emerged from the isolation booth to answer the question, "What would you do to prevent war?" she spoke so eloquently of patriotism, battlefields and diamond tiaras, grown men wept. And you probably didn't know, Marjorie, that Suzanne was not just any Miss Georgia, she was the Miss Georgia. She didn't twirl just a baton, that baton was on fire. And when she threw that baton into the air, it flew higher, further, faster than any baton has ever flown before, hitting a transformer and showering the darkened arena with sparks! And when it finally did come down, Marjorie, my sister caught that baton, and 12,000 people jumped to their feet for sixteen and one-half minutes of uninterrupted thunderous ovation, as flames illuminated her tear-stained face! And that, Marjorie --- just so you will know --- and your children will someday know --- is the night the lights went out in Georgia!

And THAT my friends is how you tell someone to fuck off without actually saying it. And now I do feel a whole lot better :)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Edward Snowden. Who's the hero now?

Edward Snowden apparently isn't satisfied with talking to The Guardian. According news sources, including CNN International, in this story, Snowden is talking to the Chinese too...specifically the South China Morning Post, letting them know all about how the NSA hacks Chinese communications.

If this is true...sorry folks, all bets are off. While I hate the idea of the government spying on the American people, I also hate the idea of a government contractor stealing documents and talking about them to the foreign press. What? You mean to tell me there's not ONE media outlet in this country that would run with his story? Oh but wait....he did approach one, a big one too...but he wasn't happy when the Washington Post refused his request to publish the information he gave them within 72 hours, which as you can guess is just not enough time to fact-check. That's when he approached The Guardian. 

According to the South China Morning Post, Snowden says he's "neither a traitor nor hero. I’m an American," and that it was not his intent “to hide from justice” but to “reveal criminality.” 

Snowden also says he wants Hong Kong to decide his fate. Be careful what you wish for Edward because China's President Xi Jinping and President Obama are pretty chummy right now. 
In a previous blog I mentioned how Snowden claimed that he did this in the best interests of the American people but I am seriously questioning his methods here. Mind you, I have no problem with real whistle blowers...the people who risk everything to come forth and report wrongdoing and/or illegal activity. In fact, I highly encourage it! In fact, I find it incredibly honorable and courageous to risk everything to do the right thing. That said, I'm skeptical here as to Snowden's motives especially given his latest move. It just doesn't sit well with me in my gut and usually my gut instinct is right. If he'd gone to a reputable news outlet here in the States, allowed them the opportunity to do some fact-checking, then stuck around during this whole mess, I would've been way more sympathetic to his cause but right now, all I want is for him to be returned to the United States so he can face the music. 

Whether the NSA was justified or not in their actions, whether its actions are unconstitutional or not, whether any laws were broken or not is to be decided. The discussion on that has been going on for years, is going on right now and will not end any time soon and that's a good thing. We should be having this discussion. But for right now, we have a pretty serious problem on our hands. We've got a guy out there handing over US documents containing classified information to foreign governments.

No matter which side you're on in this matter, that alone should be cause for alarm.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Snowden doesn't fear persecution, he fears prosecution!

A recent Washington Post blog stated:

"Americans are familiar with stories of dissidents fleeing repressive regimes such as those in China or Iran and seeking asylum in the United States. Snowden is in the opposite position. He’s an American leaving the land of his birth because he fears persecution." 

No. Snowden doesn't fear persecution, he fears prosecution!

I don't like the government of this country spying on its citizens, in fact, it makes me very angry. Even though Snowden isn't telling us something we didn't already know, just knowing the sheer scope of this program, that there's no accountability, warrantless spying, secret courts, jerks a knot in my chain!

That said, the law is the law and he knew the consequences of his actions. Every day we all face choices, some of them are very tough choices and it is those that quite often have the harshest consequences, which is why the choices are so hard to make in the first place. When we make a tough choices and finally do what we believe is the right thing, which isn't always easy, we have to accept the consequences.

Snowden believes what he did was noble and perhaps history will look back on this and decide that it was, but in the meantime, he broke the law, and there are consequences for that and he should face them like a man. He should return to the US, get himself a good lawyer, tell his story to 60 Minutes and stand up for himself, even if it means going to jail in the end. If he truly believes he was right, he needs to fight. But hiding out in a foreign country and seeking asylum from the US (for fear of retaliation) is in my opinion, disgraceful. People are acting as if he can't come back to the US. Oh yes, he can return to the US but....he has to face the consequences upon his return.

He's not willing to do that.