Archive for the ‘Border issues Real Id DHS’ Category

BTC- Big props to Scott Nicol at No Border Wall Coalition.

Roughly two-thirds of the U.S. population lives in the area targeted by this waiver.

 :::MORE HERE:::

OCELOT can not haz silence 

The Pennsylvania spying scandal reveals a deeper problem with homeland security.

by Matt Harwood

“The public attention, contract termination, and Powers’ resignation all make it easy to say case closed: A homeland security bureaucrat overreached and fortunately he was smacked down by the state’s citizens and their elected representatives. But what Pennsylvania’s surveillance scandal shows is that a disturbing federal trend has trickled down to the states.”


BTC – Special thanks to Amy Ferrer @ BORDC.

Here’s second life for news that matters:

Inspector General Criticism Doesn’t Faze FBI Raids on Midwestern Anti-war Activists

On Writing, Funding, and Distributing Software to Activists Against Authoritarian Regimes

FBI Launching Mass Raids of Antiwar Activists’ Homes

“Don’t F*** With Our Activists” 

The Obama administration’s war on privacy

Feds: Privacy Does Not Exist in ‘Public Places’

How the Chinese surveill their activists

ACLU seeks privacy records from secretive state police “fusion center”

A Reminder for the F.B.I.

Killings of Journalists Lead to News Blackouts in Mexico

NSA chief envisions ‘secure zone’ on Internet to guard against attacks

The sounds of a jungle cat revolution. 

“Wildlife in the region rely on open corridors and do not recognize human generated boundaries…”

BTC – Unless you are really really sensitive to any relationship between Real ID and the border fence ecology you may have wondered about the whole “ocelot” avatar association on my twitterfeed.   It’s the only place I didn’t add the circle-slash on RFID icon.  Most of the REDUX blog entries come as a comprehensive overture from tweets; which topped 1,000 today with CEI’s arguments on Arizona’s SB 1070.   It’s still more in number than the public comments on the NSTIC forum.

There is yet another layer and another dimension to the injustice of the Real ID Act.

According the Animal Welfare Institute:

“U.S. border policy dramatically changed in 2005 with the passage of the REAL ID Act. Section 102 of this legislation gives the Department of Homeland Security the unprecedented power to waive in their entirety all local, state and federal laws that might interfere with the construction of infrastructure along the borders, including landmark laws enacted to protect the environment, historical sites and public health and safety. “

In earlier assertions, the powers reserved to borders states are still relevant until it you hit the border wall.

Pygmy owls, toads, black tailed prairie dogs, jaguars, and ocelots can’t overcome the border fence.  Meanwhile, a clever Mexican can jump it with the help of a coyote.

Rep. Grijalva (D-AZ) wants to push forward with a legislation called the CIR ASAP, which would strip out section 102 C of the Real ID Act; which erects the useless, destructive and lazy excuse for border protection known as the border wall fence.  Comprehensive Immigration Reform right now is still in the idea phase and what’s currently dangerous about it is that they want to give every American worker a biometric identity card – which is not an improvement from the Real ID Act.

What we do know is that civil libertarians are not the only ones who want to see the Real ID Act or at least parts of it repealed…

To prevent further degradation, it is imperative that any immigration bill that passes repeals section 102 of the REAL ID Act, restores the precious ecosystems throughout the borderlands and replaces the current strategy with one based on comprehensive analyses and consultation. 

REDUX 7/23:  Here’s second life for news that matters:

Political Appointees Vetted DHS Public Records Requests

NYPD brass says stop-and-frisk records aren’t dead: just use paper, not computers

About those wiretapps…Certified Lies: Big Brother In Your Browser

UK’s database state is the “fat” getting trimmed [You’re next D.C.!]

Washington reacts to ‘Top Secret America’ revelations

 Wal-Mart Radio Tags to Track Clothing [BEAT THE CHIPs on  the CLEARANCE rack.]

Class Suit Against Orlando’s Red Light Cams Begins

BTC  – Arizona Governor, Jan Brewer met with President Obama this week on immigration reform urging completion of the border wall fence, including aerial surveillance drones.  Republicans divided over the effectiveness of the fence argue security at the border will not come cheap.

Mainstream opinion, billed as news, from “conservative” or “liberal” narrative sources come across as social or racial biases vs. lower taxes and jail tight security for America. However, Classical Liberals (considered conservative) and Modern liberals find themselves in agreement on the border fence. Free-market proponents and progressive Greens on the border sound very similar.  
Please compare this Competitive Enterprise Institute, OpEd to the following OpEd release from Sierra Club border fence advocate, Scott Nicols.

Trading on Fear in an Election Year: 
Members of Congress Push for More Border Walls

By Scott Nicol 

On May 25, President Obama announced that he would deploy up to 1,200 National Guard troops to the US-Mexico border.  This followed a White House meeting with Congressional Republicans aimed at attracting support for, or at least blunting opposition to, comprehensive immigration reform legislation.  With mid-term elections on the horizon, conservative members of Congress have turned their attention to the border.  Or, more precisely, to walling it off.  In May two bills and one amendment aimed at building more border walls were introduced.  One failed, but the other two are still pending.

If you thought that the walling off of the Nature Conservancy’s Southmost Preserve marked an end to border wall construction, think again.

On Cinco de Mayo Senator Jim DeMint announced that he would reintroduce his “Finish the Fence” amendment.  It would change the Secure Fence Act to say that, “Fencing that does not effectively restrain pedestrian traffic (such as vehicle barriers and virtual fencing) may not be used to meet the 700-mile fence requirement.”  As of April 2010DHS reports that it has completed 347 miles of “pedestrian fence”, meant to stop people on foot, and 299 miles of “vehicle barriers.”  If DeMint’s amendment makes it into law an additional 353 miles of “pedestrian fence” will be built along the border.

When DeMint proposed this amendment last July, the Senate voted 54 to 44 to include it in the Department of Homeland Security’s annual appropriations bill.  The House version of the bill did not contain a matching provision, and Representative Ciro Rodriguez, who, unlike DeMint, represents a district encompassing part of the border, was able to remove it during the House/Senate conference committee. 

This time around DeMint attempted to attach his amendment to Financial Reform legislation.  Seeing that this had nothing to do with financial reform (in fact, at roughly $7.5 million per mile DeMint’s new walls would cost taxpayers $2,647,500,000) DeMint’s amendment was not adopted.  Following this failure DeMint tried to attach it to a bill funding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  That attempt also fell short (though just barely), but he will almost certainly try again between now and the November elections.

Even more extreme than DeMint’s amendment is Representative Todd Tiahrt’s Secure the Border Act, which requires continuous double-layered border walls along the entire 2,000 mile long border, from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico.  Tiahrt made no attempt to explain how the monumental expense of his legislation would benefit his Kansas constituents, who already have Oklahoma and Texas acting as buffers between them and Mexico.

InsteadTiahrt proudly proclaimed that the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and NumbersUSA support his bill.  FAIR has earned a place on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of hate groups.  They received $1.2 million from the Pioneer Fund, an organization founded to promote eugenics and foster policies of “racial betterment.”

NumbersUSA has also been denounced by the Southern Poverty Law Center for its ties to nativist and racist organizations. FAIR president Dan Stein and NumbersUSA president Roy Beck both formerly edited the white nationalist publication The Social Contract.  One would expect Congressman Tiahrt to avoid their endorsements, not embrace them. 

When he announced his bill Tiahrt neglected to mention that before his election to the House or Representatives he was employed by Boeing, where he worked on a number of government contracts.  His old boss has not forgotten him; in 2009-2010 Boeing was Tiahrt’s biggest campaign contributor.  Boeing is in turn one of the largest recipients of contracts for the Secure Border Initiative (SBI), which includes both solid border walls and virtual fences.  To dateBoeing has received 13 task orders for SBI, totaling $1.2 billion

Representative Tiahrt is currently running for the U.S. Senate.  Senate races are expensive, and a successful candidate needs publicity to energize voters.  Boeing has consistently provided him with campaign cash, and NumbersUSA and FAIR make regular appearances on FOX news, where they defend anti-immigrant legislation and promote favorite legislators such as Tiahrt.

Not to be left out, Senators John McCain and Jon Kyl rolled out a “10-Point Border Security Plan”, along with accompanying legislation.  Their bill would“construct double- and triple-layer fencing” throughout Arizona.  McCain also released a campaign commercial in which he and Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu walk alongside the border wall and discuss McCain’s border scheme. 

“The plan is perfect,” Sheriff Babeu intones.

“Then complete the danged fence,” McCain responds, with the domain on the screen below him.

Those who try to visit the website are redirected to, where they can purchase McCain t-shirts or donate to his reelection campaign. 

McCain is in a tough primary fight with JD Hayworth, who has been attacking McCain for his prior willingness to support immigration reform.  Before Hayworth threatened to unseat him, McCain told Vanity Fair, “I think the fence is least effective. But I’ll build the g–damned fence if they want it.” The possibility of losing the election has caused the Senator to embrace the border wall that he once dismissed.

Sheriff Babeu seems like an odd choice to accompany McCain alongside the Nogales border wall.  Babeu’s jurisdiction is 115 miles north of Nogales, and does not include any of the border that McCain advocates walling off.  Why not consult an actual border sheriff about his border security plan?

Because those who work on the border might give an honest answer, instead of reading McCain’s cue cards.  If he were to ask Nogales Assistant Police Chief Roy Bermudez, for example, the response might mirror Bermudez’ statement earlier this month, when he said, “We have not, thank God, witnessed any spillover violence from Mexico.”

Clarence Dupnik, Sheriff of neighboring Pima County, which also includes a long stretch of the US-Mexico border, said at that time, “This is a media-created event. I hear politicians on TV saying the border has gotten worse. Well, the fact of the matter is that the border has never been more secure.”

In fact, according to FBI statistics, crime rates in Arizona border towns, including Nogales, have remained flat for the past decade.  There has been no increase in violence as a result of “spillover” from Mexico.  There was also no decrease in crime following the erection of border walls and the hiring of thousands of Border Patrol agents.  FBI statistics show that the same is true for U.S. cities all along the border, from San Diego to El Paso to Brownsville.

Contrast what the FBI says with statements by DeMint, who said, “Drug trafficking, human trafficking, gang activity and other crimes are raging in American cities near the border.”  Or McCain, who opens his campaign spot by listing, “Drug and human smuggling, home invasions, murder…” as justifications for sending in the National Guard and building more “danged fence.”

Politicians and law enforcement seem to be looking at two completely different borders.

In fact, they are looking at completely different numbers.  The numbers that DeMint, Tiahrt, and McCain are interested are votes, not FBI crime statistics.  Facts about the border do not matter; voters’ beliefs, no matter how divorced from reality, do.  As Senator McCain indicated during his earlier, pre-campaign Vanity Fair interview, building walls and sending troops to the border are political gestures meant to get votes, not solutions to any real problem.

Just as in McCain’s commercial, for politicians the border wall is simply a prop, a stage set upon which they can project an illusion of strength and security for an audience of voters who will never see the actual border.  They are looking at voters who live far from the border, who can be told that “spillover” violence poses an existential threat to the United States, and only they (certainly not their election opponents!) can protect the nation.  Those of us who live on the actual border, and live with the land condemnations, the suspension of laws, and the environmental damage that accompany actual border walls, see it very differently.  

Scott Nicol is a spokesperson for No Border Wall, and also chairs the Sierra Club’s national Borderlands Team.  He lives in McAllen, Texas, and can be reached at

Senator John Cornyn introduced an amendment which would spend up to $360 million of unspent US stimulus money to pay for more border fence surveillance technologies.  As recently as this week, SBINet and ISIS program border surveillance technologies were reported to have failed in providing security to the border.

The prospect of spending bailout funding on incompetent border security is a slap in the face to families and future generations expected to pick up the tab for these excesses.

Please tell Senator Cornyn not to spend stimulus funding on machines and programs which do not work to secure our borders.

Here is a sample of what you could write:

Dear Senator Cornyn,

I recognize the combined constituent pressures from the national security industries in Texas, abroad and on the border.

The people who opposed the bailout do not want you to spend any of their money on technology and infrastructure which failed to competently protect our border. Senator Joe Lieberman recently declared SBINet and ISIS a “failure”.   Please do not use the stimulus funding to pay for incompetent border security surveillance technologies in the amount of (up to) $360 million US dollars.

The Amendment to Supplemental Appropriations Act (HR 4899) may have support for “boots on the ground” from President Obama, but our nation cannot sustain needless and expensive surveillance costs when it is clearly time to cut the waste pork projects from our national budget.

Please only ask for what America absolutely needs and do not put forward any more funding towards a failed fencing project which keeps no one safe from danger.



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BTC –  There is an air of assertiveness as the word “bully” is being tossed around when it comes to the story of political identity and asserting a narrative.  Citizens engaged in activism in their off duties are now suffering on-the-job bullying for their political pursuits.  Bill Maher sought to turn tables asking Republicans for their citizenship papers for a change juxtaposing the UK’s turn against national ID cards.

As thinkers consider more immigration solutions,  the Obama administration is enacting a plan to secure the borders by deploying the National Guard.  Meanwhile Senator Joe Liberman calls the border fence “a failure”.   And a failure it is; as CIR reports on SBI net and the ISIS program :

We found locations where no equipment had been delivered and no work was underway for as long as two years after issuance of the task orders. In other locations, equipment had been delivered but not installed, or had been installed but was not operational, with cameras and other equipment not functioning or having continuing reliability problems. We found parts laying on the desert floor and in storage adjacent to border patrol property. We also found that the contractor ordered and billed the government for equipment that sat in warehouses sometimes for years.