Archive for National Security

Just What the Hell is Going On Down There?

Posted in immigration, national defense, politics, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on August 6, 2008 by Randy Streu

Though you won’t hear it from most major news outlets, Washington Times (along with Newsmax, WND and UPI) reports that a US border patrol agent was recently held at gunpoint by Mexican troops — on United States Soil. According to the report, Mexican soldiers crossed the border in a fairly isolated location, approached the border agent (who has not been identified) and pointed their rifles at him.

Surprising and outrages, perhaps — but even more so is the fact that this is only one over more than 200 such incidents to take place since 1996. Some incidents have not been quite as threatening as this one, while one, which took place in 2002, involved armed Mexican soldiers actually firing on a lone border agent, actually shooting the agent’s vehicle with a .50 caliber weapon.

While it is certain that at least some of the 200 incursions by Mexican military onto our soil were accidental (after all, it’s not as if there’s a border fence…), incidents like the two I’ve mentioned above are clearly threats to US agents, obvious international incidents, and, if we’re to be honest about it, acts of war. These actions may or may not be sanctioned by the Mexican government, but the United States has the right, authority and duty to demand an explanation from Mexico, and extract the promise that these events cease immediately, under threat of severe military consequence.

The fact is, The US Customs and Border Patrol is law enforcement.  They are simply not equipped to deal with a threat to national security — as armed Mexican soldiers entering US property unprovoked clearly is.  If only we had a group of trained soldiers whose job it was to guard the nation.

It is long past time to get on the backs of our elected officials about this.  It’s time to build the damned fence.  It’s time to militarize the border.  It’s time for the government to do what we elected them to do: protect the United States of America.

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My Government III: “… To Secure These Rights…”

Posted in civil rights, My Government, national defense, politics, Second Amendment, taxes with tags , , , , on February 28, 2008 by Randy Streu

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
–From The Declaration of Independence of the United States of America

When the founders of this nation wrote the document explaining the departure of the North American colonies from under the Crown’s rule, they prefaced it with a brief explanation of the Rights of Man, and the responsibility of a Government to those rights.  They asserted, correctly, that a government which failed to recognize the consent of the governed, and to facilitate the rights of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, such a government had forfeited its own right to rule.  It is clear that, not only did these individuals believe this to be the standard of what was to become the United States of America, but indeed the standard of Just Government the world over.

The first paragraphs of the Declaration of Independence set the precedent for the Constitution when it was drafted — and the responsibilities of the government that document established.  Put simply, the responsibility of the government is to facilitate (or, “secure”) the Divine Rights of Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness. 

On both a national and state level, this consists of the establishment of laws for the general order and welfare.  The common sense nature of this sort of law is such that the legislation of them is not so much to inform, but rather to provide precedent for reprisal should such common sense be ignored.  The average person knows on perhaps a primal level that it is wrong to murder, to steal, to cause harm.  Because not all men are honest, or good, however, we have laws on the books such that when bad men act badly, we me seek recompense and retribution.  Thus, on the local level, police forces are established “to serve and protect.” 

Nationally, the securing of these inalienable rights is manifest in the form of border security and national security.  Federal Border enforcement, a strong and well-maintained standing army, foreign intelligence agencies and a National Guard are all vital to this security and are indeed the chief responsibility of a National (Federal) government.  Administrations seeking to diminish or altar the roles of these agencies have been rightly criticized for acting against their Constitutional charter.

Much has been made in the recent past of the money spent by this nation on our military.  As will be discussed in the near future, those who would suggest a budget cut on this level are not only hopelessly naive about our safety and security, but woefully ignorant of the job of the Federal Government.  Indeed, any Administration which cuts military spending, or closes domestic military bases in favor of domestic entitlement programs is guilty of negligence in the highest degree.

A large part of domestic defense is the security of our sovereign borders.  The security of these borders is necessary not only for the defense of life, but indeed of liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Ours is indeed a nation of immigrants.  We have a rich history of immigration and assimilation.  But such immigration must be tempered by just regulation as to who enters this country, and why.  Such regulation must not be based on race, color, creed or sex — such discrimination on a government level flies in the face of liberty — but on independence, ambition and prudent, rigorous examinations as to national security.

In other words, immigrants must always be welcome to this free nation, but such individuals must be both willing and able to provide for themselves and their families legally and independently of government aid — boon to society, in other words, rather than a burden.  And, they must be seen to pose no threat to our national security after reasonable investigation into their backgrounds.

Finally, the founders of this nation, in drafting the constition, provided for the penultimate source of personal and national security among Americans — the citizens themselves.  Referred to in the United States Constitution, under Article I, Section 8, as well as Article II, Section 2, this was clarified in the Second Amendment:  “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

The Second Amendment to the Constitution has nothing whatever to do with hunting, or with skeet shooting, or with hobbyists of any flavor.  The Second Amendment is about the right of the individual to keep and have the tools necessary to defend his home, his family, his community and his country from foreign and domestic threats to life, liberty or property.  Vital to a free and sovereign nation is an armed citizenry, well-trained in the use of their weaponry and prepared to answer the call to defend themselves and their nation. 

In fact, the right to defend one’s self is key to the Inalienable Rights referred to by the Declaration of Independence. 

The responsibility to defend is the logical extension of a government for, by and of the people.  Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness is secured by the free individual, and by the government formed and maintained by his consent.

Harvard Publishes Meaningless Report; Media Calls It News

Posted in general, national defense, News, Stupid Media with tags , , , , on December 22, 2007 by Randy Streu

A three-person team from the Harvard School of Public Health found nothing, issued a report to the British Medical Journal, and has seen headlines on televised, radio and print news touting the uselessness of airport security measures.

The report was actually an out-of-discipline study (find the report here) which measured airport security screening as though it were disease screening, under the same standards used by the UK National Screening Committee “to assess screening technologies on the basis of sound scientific evidence and advise on whether they should be implemented, continued, or withdrawn.”

In other words, if terrorism were a disease, airports bodies and security checkpoints doctors, would the screening measures used to detect and prevent the infliction and spread of air-based terror?  An interesting study, and probably one worth pursuing. 

So, what’s the problem?  Put simply, there was no data.  Or, rather, there was no conclusive data.  The report cites security costs, versus the 38-year death toll from explosives on planes at “only 2000.”  As a health situation, says the report, the known-incidents-versus-cost analysis would suggest that too much money is being spent on prevention.  The study, written by a health studies group, and not by foreign policy or national security experts, does not consider mounting tensions and escalating threats.  Nor, at least in the article cited, does it appear to consider non-device threats, such as crashing a hijacked plane into a building.

However, lacking — or apparantly lacking — this data is not the major problem with this study.  The major problem is that the research was based mostly on reviewing literature on the airport security screening process.  They found no scientific data among the literature reviewed that studied the effectiveness of various screening processes.

The group itself also did no such study.

It was based, not upon data, but upon a lack of data, that the group made its findings and conclusions.

Now, based on the criteria the group was using for its study, in the context in which they were studying it, their conclusions seem fair enough.  If the UK National Screening Committee was faced with a similar lack of data regarding health screenings, it’s likely it would make the same conclusions.

However, as a matter of national security, for the reasons I stated above, what we really have here is a conclusion of no conclusion.  For the media to take this inconclusive study and widely publish the conclusion that there’s “No proof airport security makes flying safer” is irresponsible, unethical and, frankly, lazy journalism.  The fact is, they were handed a story, it had an angle they liked, and they ran it.

I don’t really fault the Harvard group — though I disagree with their methodology and don’t believe they could reasonably come to any conclusion based on the data at hand (which was, as I’ve mentioned, none at all).  The real blame for passing off this tripe lies squarely on the shoulders of the news media.  It also lies on those who swallowed it, rather than asking the important questions that should be asked whenever some study by some group concludes anything

In no media report was there mention of methodology.  Nowhere in these news reports do we learn about the criteria on which this group is basing their study.  We don’t find out the metrics on which they’re judging “usefulness” of the screening process.  We don’t find out how, why and from whom the group is collecting data.  We don’t find out what data they’re collecting.

To their credit, the mainstream media did, at least, cite the orginal source — the British Medical Journal.  The information I was able to, finally, find about this study was found there.  Those news sources to be found online didn’t even use the one tool at its disposal to make such research simple: the hyperlink.  I googled it instead.  A link to this peice in the BMJ would have been very simple to do.  That they chose not to do it (when, in many cases, they had no problem providing a link to Transportation Security Administration website) makes me believe they didn’t want the average person to learn more about this study.  They wanted to create a false reading of a fairly pointless study and give it credibility merely by saying, “Harvard said so.”

And the study is pretty pointless, by the way.  An inconclusive study is, to be frank, not of much use.  And if usefulness is a measure of value, as it should be, this study truly is worthless.  What’s shocking is, as I traveled the web looking into this story, I found that so many commenters really did swallow this story hook, line and sinker.  Without further inquiry.  This is why critical thinking is important, ladies and gentlemen.

By the way, just to note, this particular peice has only to do with the study and the media response to it.  I am not drawing, nor asking you to draw, any conclusions about the usefulness of airport security measures.  I, also, don’t have the data to do so — and unlike the mainstream media, am too responsible for the things I say to suggest otherwise.

Why Not Ron Paul?

Posted in Elections, national defense, politics, Ron Paul with tags , , , , , on December 21, 2007 by Randy Streu

Before I get into this, allow me to say that there is much to like about Ron Paul.  I can say without irony that Washington needs Ron Paul.  Paul knows the Constitution better than many politicians — most, in fact. 

I also believe Ron Paul shouldn’t be allowed within 100 yards of the Presidency of the United States.

Allow me to explain.

What’s Right With Paul?
I have a book, published in 1992, called The Next Four Years: A Vision of Victory.  The book is a collection of speeches given in New Orleans, September of 1992.  It is an introduction to the US Taxpayer’s party, a primer on the Presidential candidacy of Taxpayer’s Party nominee Howard Phillips, and a book with which I philosophically agree without reservation.  In this book, Dr. Ron Paul presents a speech, titled “True Common Law,” which is a scathing indictment of government waste and beaurocratic foolishness.  In citing his previous term as a legislator, Paul says, “instead of endorsing more government, I actually came to the conclusion that there was there was more waste and corruption, that nothing deserved passage.”

Certainly, this seems like somebody I could get behind.

So, why not Ron?
The major piece of Paul’s platform that puts him in opposition to the couple other true conservatives in this race and, notably, my choice, Fred Thompson, is his fanatical opposition to the war.  Now, I’m not a drooling warmonger.  I don’t like war.  I can certainly understand somebody’s opposition at this point, though I would disagree.  Furthermore, Paul’s brand of international non-intervention has a nice ring to it, and is definitely tempting.

But here’s the thing.  Though Paul suggests the war was “sold” using faulty information, he voted against it, even then.  In other words, when the entire Legislature was convinced that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, and presented a credible threat to the United States, Ron Paul voted to ignore the threat.

Whether or not there was a threat — whether the information was valid, old, invented — is academic and beside the point.  I’m not talking about the Dem-copyrighted BushLied scenario — it simply doesn’t matter.  The fact is, the governmen believed there was a credible threat.  It was based on this belief that the government chose war.  And Ron Paul chose duck and cover.  The reasonable conclusion, then, is that as President, presented with this same information, Ron Paul would choose to wait it out — to see whether a shot was fired — to wait until Americans were killed before acting.

Well, as an American, I don’t like Americans being killed.  When our enemies have weapons, I want them dealt with.  When we have reasonable, credible evidence that our enemies might intend to do us harm, I want a President who will authorize a strike — not adopt a “wait and see” policy that could end American lives.

It is for this reason that I cannot, in good conscience — and will not — support a Ron Paul presidency.  There are other reasons, but they are peripheral to this one important point.

Ron Paul Supporters
I have made no secret of the fact that I don’t like Ron Paul supporters, for the most part.  While it’s fair to say that the vitriol, ugliness and ignorance of many Paul supporters has done the Paul campaign no small disservice, if I used the smallness of some supporters to make my decisions, I would never have become a Christian.  Which is to say, such idiocy played no role in my decision to not support Paul.  In my travels across the blogosphere, I have come across many of these individuals, and of those people, have met exactly one supporter who was intelligent, articulate and respectful.  He was, in fact, the first Paul supporter to grace my blog, and, unlike most Ron Paul supporters, was thoughtful and actually contributed to the conversation.  This message is not to that person.

I don’t mind dialogue.  I like it, in fact.  And, while I find the small-minded commentary by many Ron Paul supporters to be amusing, I just don’t want to waste a bunch of space devoted to it.  So, I will allow exactly two stupid comments on this blog at one time.  As I get more (if I get more… this is a pretty small blog, after all), I will begin deleting earlier moronic posts in favor of newer ones.  Just a fair advisory.

-Streu-

He’s not a Conservative

Posted in Economy, Elections, Fred(!), general, Mike Huckabee, national defense, politics, taxes with tags , , , , , on December 20, 2007 by ambrose7

A while back I spoke about the U-tube debate, and gave Huckabee a hard time about not being a true Conservative.  Well, after that comment I took some flack from Huckabee supporters, who view him as a Jesus-like president (which seems way out there in left field), but I again wanted to point out to everyone out there who is planning on voting in this primary (As we all should) that Mike Huckabee is not a conservative.   

When it comes right down to it Huckabee isn’t a Conservative on taxes (He raised them in Arkansas) as he increased the size of his Government, and Huckabee isn’t a conservative on immigration, as he feels we need to address their “special situation” and help them in every way we can.  For those who would call Huckabee a Jesus-like compassionate conservative, let me say this: Christ loved, yes, but never told people to live in sin.  Huckabee accepts, then wants to offer a scholarship for their troubles.

On that train of thought, McCain is also not a conservative.  Sure he’s a war hero, but let’s not forget he came up with the Bill to grant amnesty for all the illegals living in this country — which would have cost something, and how would we pay for it?  Yes, in the end, bigger government and more taxes. 

Giuliani is so far to the left socially I’m sure he had to make a conscious decision to run as a liberal Republican instead of a Conservative Democrat. 

Now we do have Romney and He’s been a solid conservative for about the last 5 – 10 years; before that he was a baby-killing liberal. 

This leaves us with one candidate as the only Conservative in the pack, Fred Thompson (Yes I’m forgetting about Hunter, Tancredo, Paul and now the ever-enjoyable Alan Keys.  But lets face it these guys are Conservative and, well, insane).

Fred Thompson is sound on the social issues, he’s for strong family values, is pro-life, and now matter how much Dobson doesn’t understand it he’s against gay marriage, but just wants to send it to the states to take care of.  He’s strong on defense, wants to lower taxes, and shrink government.  He wants to send the illegal’s home, and build bigger fences to keep them there.  The people of Iowa are starting to realize that there really is only one choice, one Reagan-like candidate, one man among those running who can lead this country in the right direction.  Its time the rest of the country does as well. 

-Ambrose-