Archive for the ‘environment’ Category

BTC – Have we hit the glass wall where transparency is not allowed?

Here is second life for news that matters:

Government Withholds Records on Need for Expanded Surveillance Law

DHS Privacy Office ordered TSA not to answer Identity Project’s FOIA request

Rep.Eshoo elect takes on downsizing the Intelligence-Industrial Complex

Eshoo is the chairwoman for the Subcommittee on Intelligence Community Management under the Select Committee on Intelligence and wants to limit the number of subcontractors the intelligence community employs, about a third of 854,000 workers. The nation’s security clearance needs to be reformed because too much information sharing and too much security clearance is given to people who have no allegiance to the government, according to Eshoo. She also wants to better track the dollars the intelligence community gets from the government.

[If it goes forward, we support and salute you!]

When body scanners become mandatory @LossOfPrivacy

KPFA FM : Betsy Hartmann Interview on population control, immigration eugenics and green eugenics
*Super relevant if you are opposed to national identity programs.

GPS ruling chips away at civil liberties

c/o Center for Investigative Reporting 

More than two-dozen cities and counties in southern Texas joined by environmentalists and immigrant-rights organizations are calling on two lawmakers to end their push for additional fencing along the nation’s boundary with Mexico.

In a letter to Senate leaders May 6, the Texas Border Coalition and others argued that the approximately 650 miles of fencing already constructed in recent years has divided communities, negatively impacted the environment and cost taxpayers a fortune. They say that despite investing $2.6 billion so far, the barrier’s value in stopping the flow of illegal immigration and drug traffickers from Mexico hasn’t been studied.

The lack of such an analysis was confirmed this week by the Government Accountability Office, a watchdog arm of Congress, which concluded in a report that Customs and Border Protection “cannot account separately for the impact of tactical infrastructure,” i.e. border fencing.  :::MORE HERE:::

[BTC – Damage done is damage done, no matter who is responsible. We have one planet. We all have to live here together. ]

c/o No Border Wall

Before former Secretary Chertoff’s last Real ID Act waivers in April 2008, DHS prepared draft environmental impact statements and draft environmental assessments for the various sections of border wall, as mandated by the National Environmental Policy Act. In reviewing the draft environmental impact statement for the Rio Grande Valley, the Environmental Protection Agency found it to be “insufficient,” and recommended that DHS start the process over. The EPA reached the same conclusion, and made the same recommendation, when it reviewed the draft environmental impact statements and draft environmental assessments that DHS prepared for each the other border wall sections.

Following the waivers, which allowed DHS to disregard the National Environmental Policy Act, the agency abruptly ended the environmental assessment and environmental impact statement processes. Instead, they created a brand new category, the “environmental stewardship plan,” which was not governed by any federal legislation. These new reports recycle the bulk of the prior, “insufficient” reports, in many cases word-for-word, but have no established criteria or requirement for review from the EPA or the public. While they do include recommendations to minimize the wall’s environmental impact, most of which appeared in the earlier “insufficient” reports, there is no requirement that these be adhered to. In the instance of Smuggler’s Gulch, for example, revegetation and erosion control measures called for in DHS’ own report were not implemented.

With no need to obey environmental laws, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) filled in the canyon known as Smuggler’s Gulch, south of San Diego, with over 2 million cubic yards of earth that had been ripped from adjacent mountaintops, and planted the border wall on top of the berm. With no regulations in place and no oversight by other agencies, DHS put little effort into erosion control, and the still bare slopes of the earthen dam threaten to wash tremendous amounts of dirt into the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve, which is only 600 feet away. Burying the estuary in sediment may raise its surface level enough to disrupt the twice-daily inundation of sea water upon which its fragile ecosystem depends.

To the east of Smuggler’s Gulch, in the rugged Otay Mountain Wilderness Area, DHS has blasted mountainsides in order to create access roads and level ground upon which to build the border wall. Before construction began the Environmental Protection Agency raised concerns that the dumping of tons of rubble, and the erosion that would follow, would clog the Tijuana River and violate the Clean Water Act. The Otay Mountain Wilderness Area was established in part to preserve some of the last stands of rare tecate cypress trees, the host plant for the even rarer Thorne’s hairstreak butterfly, which are found nowhere else in the United States. But with the Real ID Act’s waiver authority in hand, DHS has ignored the EPA’s concerns and our nation’s environmental laws, including the Otay Mountain Wilderness Act and the Clean Water Act. Border wall construction caused tremendous erosion, as predicted, and also involved cutting down more than 100 tecate cypress trees.

In July of 2008 the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument received seasonal monsoon rains which resulted in the flooding of a number of washes that are bisected by the border wall. Storms of this type normally occur every 3 – 5 years in this part of the Sonoran desert. The Army Corps of Engineers had previously stated that the border walls built across washes would “not impede the natural flow of water.” In stark contrast to these claims, the National Park Service determined that the grates built into the base of the wall to allow for the passage of water were quickly choked with debris and sediment. The border wall then acted as a dam, with floodwaters up to seven feet deep piling up behind it. The floodwaters then followed the wall in search of an outlet, which they found at the Sonoyta port of entry, causing millions of dollars of damage to private businesses and government buildings. :::MORE HERE:::

Montana to feds: we don’t want your gun control
c/o AP

HELENA, Mont. — If Montana has its way in a lawsuit filed Thursday, there will be far less federal gun control in the state.
The state’s libertarian streak — which has spawned efforts to buck the federal Real ID Act and sparked widespread contempt for the Patriot Act — is now triggering a fight over whether Montana should have sovereignty over made-in-Montana guns and equipment.

Environmental Protections jeopardized by GOP amendments

c/o BorderWall News
New efforts by Republican lawmakers to bolster security along the U.S.-Mexico border could undermine the Department of Homeland Security’s plans to mitigate environmental damage from the 700-mile fence authorized by Congress to stem the tide of illegal immigration and drugs from Mexico, critics of the fence project say.

One new provision, included in last week’s Interior spending bill passed by the Senate, would prohibit federal funding for projects that “impede, prohibit or restrict” activities related to the operational control of the border.

Environmental groups see the language, attached as an amendment by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), as potentially detrimental to efforts by DHS to carry out projects that would reduce the border fence’s environmental impacts.

Right wing talk stirs immigration debate discussion of immigration policy

National ID card program’s future still dubious as States, citizens object to being given the same identity treatment as immigrants

[BTC – The news and opinions expressed by the following author are not necessarily the views and opinions of this blog or it’s editorial news assembly.]

c/o David Frum,

The big talk radio topic yesterday was Sen. Grassley’s proposal to require immigrants to show photo ID before buying into new health exchanges. See the headline on Michelle Malkin’s blog for a representative conservative reaction:

Yes, Senate Dems do want illegal alien Obamacare coverage.

Now let me stipulate: I speak here as someone who favored national photo ID before national photo ID was cool. I argued for just such a thing in the book I coauthored with Richard Perle way back in 2003.

If conservatives and Republicans have come around to accept this view, that would be a happy day. But I fear as I listen that the debate only confirms that conservatives these days just don’t think before they talk.

Follow the reasoning here:

1) It’s impossible to write a law that says that immigrants and only immigrants must show ID. How would that work?

“Excuse me ma’am, are you an immigrant? If so, may I see your ID?”

“No, no señor! I’m a member of the DAR!”

Obviously if we are going to enforce a legals-only rule for health insurance, everybody will have to show ID.

2) But what ID? Unfortunately, driver’s licenses do not prove legal residency. Even if the REAL ID Act goes into effect as currently scheduled in 2017 – not an outcome to bet money on – driver’s licenses will remain an uncertain proof of legal residency status.

Conversely, there are many legal residents who lack licenses. They are too old, or they drove drunk, or they are legally blind, or they just never got around to acquiring one. What are they supposed to do?

If we’re going to require people to prove their residency status before enrolling in a health exchange, we’re going to need a reliable system of national identification that enrolls everybody, drivers and non-drivers.

3) Again: I’m all for this! But can you imagine what the right blogosophere and talk radio would say if the Obama administration proposed a national identity card? That would be the final proof of the president’s Hitlerite intentions!

The Grassley debate is a good debate to have. And I do share Malkin’s suspicions that this administration would like to extend subsidized health coverage to illegals – although probably via an amnesty that ended their illegality.

But if this debate is to yield any useful result, conservatives need to be ready to answer the obvious questions: What kind of card? How would it work? What’s our plan? We need to think before we emote.

BTC- The makers of KinderGuard‘s B-Secure product were interviewed for a special segment of Beyond Tomorrow on the Science Channel. The segment, aired yesterday morning, demonstrated how a child GPS tracking system could enable the paranoid and controlling nature of certain parents with the benefits of companion software and monitoring technology. [Technology is awesome; but not in the hands of the wrong people.]

An Austin Statesman Editorial

That underlines a message Avila-Villegas wants people to understand: “It’s a wall. It’s not a fence.”

It’s a wall that not only blocks animal migration and destroys habitat. Its furious dust-raising construction causes air and water pollution. It also diverts rivers and floodwaters.

Ah, but does it divert migration of Mexicans entering our nation illegally? In some cases, yes. In other cases, a medieval device called a ladder foils Washington’s greatest designs. ::MORE HERE:: – Biologists have determined that a 700-mile security wall under construction along the United States’ border with Mexico could significantly alter the movement and “connectivity” of wildlife, with the animals’ potential isolation a threat to populations of some species.

However, technology and alterations to the design could dramatically improve the potential for animals to move more freely between the two countries, the scientists added.

“The biggest concern is that this barrier will break small populations of animals into even smaller pieces that will result in fewer animals interacting,” said Clinton Epps, a wildlife biologist at Oregon State University and co-author on the study.

“A major barrier such as this could lead to significant degradation of connectivity for many different species, ultimately threatening their populations,” he added.

In their study, the authors looked at the potential effects of the security wall on two species – the pygmy owl and bighorn sheep.

They found that the low-flying pygmy owl made three-fourths of its flights below the height of the security wall, which is approximately four meters high, and that juvenile owls had lower colonization in areas of disturbance or areas with less vegetation. ::MORE HERE::