Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

August 29, 2014

Friday Free Forum

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Philip J. Palin on August 29, 2014

On this day in 2005 Hurricane Katrina came ashore near Buras-Triumph, Louisiana.  The hurricane is implicated in the death of more than 1800 Americans and damages exceeding $100 billion.

What’s on your mind related to homeland security?

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22 Comments »

Comment by William R. Cumming

August 29, 2014 @ 7:40 am

Without a Continuing Resolution enacted into law by Midnight September 30th the federal government will largely shut down!

Comment by William R. Cumming

August 29, 2014 @ 7:53 am

ANOTHER BLAST FROM THE PAST:

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Follow-up to December 7th post–Who are the beneficiaries of federal disaster relief?

My colleague Claire Rubin sent me a copy of a comment posted on the Recovery Diva blog and asked me to answer it. It was posted on her cross-reference to my blog and blog post on disaster assistance.

Here is the comment:

“It would be interesting to see the writer follow up with his recommendation and address how implementation could be achieved.

Some of the issues that jump out at me right up front is the desire to assist those with less. How would you provide an equitable program to those who are socially vulnerable verses [sic] those who are not, considering many disaster survivors are victims based on location verses social or economical status. Additionally how do you address those whose status change[s] based on the event and the new ramifications upon the population?

I am always apprehensive of the comment of “study and beefing up” used in the same sentence. Studies in their purest form either describe or explain a situation using generalization which can be replicated. Researcher study, recovery staffers use the information to create change but must weigh the idiosyncratic elements involved in every situation to render a solution.

By beefing up the duplication of benefits do you mean allowing more duplication or establishing stricter guidelines to identify more frequent occurrences of duplication and therefore take corrective action to minimize the occurrences?

It truly would be interesting for the state and local governments to ask FEMA to divulge statistical information about disaster victims. Most requests are denied because of the federal government’s requirement to protect client information.

By two tiered system I can only interpret that to mean you desire a two tiered Individual Assistance Program verses the current three program system of Individual Assistance, Public Assistance, and Mitigation system, which can be activated by the President during a federally declared disaster?”

Well these are great questions and will try to be somewhat comprehensive in my response. Perhaps of interest is that I received several comments directly at one of my e-mail addresses focusing on the following sentences in my blog post.

“FEMA is not designed or equipped as a Social Service organization. Even at the highest levels of the agency few executives have a background in dealing with the large portion of the population that has nothing before the disaster and nothing afterwards. Thus, the disaster relief program is largely if not intentionally designed and delivered in a manner to support those who before the disaster had assets and not those who did not.”

I am assuming that the most basic inquiry of the Recovery Diva blog commentator also focuses on this issue.

So here goes. First always remember that the federal disaster legislation, not just the Stafford Act, is almost deliberately designed to confuse and obfuscate the underlying issues. Ever since discriminatory actions by STATE and their Local governments burdened the Hurricane Camille recovery in 1969, even during its Tropical Storm phase, the enforcement of equal protection and due process has been an underlying concern for those administering and receiving disaster relief or participating in the process. The fact that FEMA’s focus on evacuation as a Protective Action never addressed the transportation dependent, nor did the STATEs and their local governments, is a leading example as known from Hurricane Katrina. Oddly of course evacuation of Manhattan for the transportation dependent is a leading example of non-feasance, and misfeasance but probably not malfeasance by all the levels of government involved. It would be hard to argue lack of financial resources for the transportation dependent in NYC. Some surely but some not so. My point though is that the disaster legislation is not currently designed to promote crisis management, disaster response or disaster recovery. And it certainly does not focus on those without food or shelter or basic medical care prior to the incident or event. Why?

Basically the administration of disaster relief in FEMA and its predecessor organizations was and is viewed as a public works program, not based on science, engineering study or even any theory other than expenditure of public funds to replace the built environment pre-disaster. Deceased Senator William Proxmire if alive would have given it his Golden Fleece award as the Governments ATM. What is unfair about that view is that at least with federal disaster relief the normal opacity of federal programs, functions and activities is somewhat clearer to the average recipient. Either he/she gets assistance or does not. Same for the STATES and their local governments.
So the first thing to do is not the only thing but would be best. Restructure the legislation into a technical assistance chapter, a financial assistance chapter, a chapter dealing with STATE and their local governments inability or unwillingness to operate post event. See for example, EO 12657 which purports to deal with this problem in response to a real-world core melt nuclear power plant accident. A fourth chapter would be dedicated to dealing with pre-disaster levels of inadequate financial resource, medical care, food and housing. The federal FOOD STAMP program became law because 1/3 of all men reporting to the draft for entry into the Armed Services in 1940-41-42 were being rejected for malnutrition. So sometimes the labels and jurisdictions of Congressional committees get in the way. Another problem with the public works mentality is rebuild in the same hazardous zone. So all the mitigation programs, functions and activities should be in another chapter.

Underlying all of this effort is the fact that so much discretion is placed in the President of the US in the various pieces of enacted disaster legislation is that the above would make things easier but are not required. In fact what often occurs post-disaster is that FEMA and the STATES argue over cost shares and other financial aspects even while people suffer. Thus, in the past on this blog I have recommended across the board 100% federal funding for the first 30 or 60 days so that lives and property are not subject to bureaucratic and financial debates.

Because it is the President’s disaster relief program to date only President William Jefferson Clinton was willing to use the disaster program as a replacement for otherwise Congressionally denied economic stimulus. This led to its own problems, including raising expectations and undermining mitigation and creating what the insurance business call “moral hazard”!

Since a disaster incident or event is not just a “local event” when aggravated over time by repetition and failure to mitigate, it does represent a new “opportunity” to determine whether STATES and their local governments have through ignorance or intent allowed a situation to exist that could be modified post event. The problem is of course is that neither FEMA, its contractors, its leadership or staff is really organized to take advantage of the opportunity to be a change agent. Part of this is because FEMA is NOT a learning organization and often when the so-called rubber meets the road its programs are operated on staffer deep and thus the underfunded understaffed FEMA has to desperately hope others will be making wise decisions post-incident or event. This rarely happens. One example I will detail. At one time FEMA relied on HHS for Certificates of Need to determine whether hospitals would be replaced or reconstructed. That changed under Director Witt who directed massive aid and reconstruction for numerous old and new hospitals. The problem of course is that large consolidated hospitals like Charity Hospital in NOLA no longer make sense. Instead a system of smaller more friendly in size and location medical service outlets make sense with more skilled facilities accessible through severe trauma operations. And of course NGO’s just don’t do medical care in the US disaster system. ARC pulled out of this function after the death of many doctors and nurses in the 1918 epidemic.

So here are more specific examples of what might be done!

The Director of FEMA or Secretary HHS should ask the President or Director of OMB to task all Executive Branch agencies to identify generic “resilience” issues that might well be aggravated should the most likely hazard strike the
nations cities and counties and STATES and of course the same for the vulnerability of federal assets. The military has invested over $30 B in what they call force protection since 9/11/01 and perhaps the civil sector could learn from that effort. Critical infrastructure protection is largely left to the federal government to sort out, except for regulated industries where seldom do the regulators worry about resilience.

With this data in hand, and note that there still is a remarkable concentration of poverty, lack of education (FEMA through Dept. of ED builds a lot of schools–over 400 in Northridge were repaired or replaced–and STANFORD U got new graduate housing and a new UNDERGRAD library out of that same disaster), lack of food, lack of medical care has always been faced with an aggravated situation where this has occurred. Aggravated of course by the disaster. So is this FEMA’s problem to fix or someone else? That is why the always permanent question for FEMA is it the SAFTEY NET if all other programs, functions, and activities have failed to make the disaster zone resilient prior to the disaster? Perhaps it is time for the President and Congress to answer this question. This will make possible the redesign of FEMA’s disaster programs to deal with the answer whatever it is!

Short of that it is almost impossible to do the disaster relief redesign effort imbedded in my earlier post and the wonderful comment posted to the Recovery Diva. And thanks Claire for forwarding the question and hoping this starts to answer a critical inquiry that should receive a more thoughtful and knowledgeable answer than mine.

As to duplication of benefits this is rarely an issue with those without medical care, housing, or food prior to the incident or event. It is a problem in that systems and processes in FEMA largely do not exist to police this waste, fraud, and abuse. Nor do those in the insurance business facilitate policing of this restriction. Why? They directly and indirectly benefit from gaming the disaster efforts of the federal government and the disaster program directly in some cases and indirectly in others subsidizes that business. Certainly, the NFIP also a disaster and land use program must always be understood to promote the subsidy of the insurance business.

Posted by The Vacation Lane Group at 2:59 PM

Comment by William R. Cumming

August 29, 2014 @ 8:07 am

There is now fairly open discussion among Republican staffers as to the need to reorganize House and Senate Committees should as I predict the Republicans take the Senate Majority in the fall 2014 elections.

Comment by William R. Cumming

August 29, 2014 @ 8:09 am

How much federal disaster relief money funded from the DRF has been spent on Mission Assignments past and present?

Comment by Christopher Tingus

August 29, 2014 @ 11:33 am

Breaking news:

London (CNN) — The UK government raised its terror threat level Friday from “substantial” to “severe,” the fourth highest of five levels, in response to events in Iraq and Syria, where ISIS militants have seized a swath of territory.
“That means that a terrorist attack is highly likely, but there is no intelligence to suggest that an attack is imminent,” Home Secretary Theresa May said.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said the “root cause” of the terrorist threat in the United Kingdom is “Islamist extremism.” He said the recent killing of U.S. journalist James Foley is clear evidence that ISIS’s fight in Iraq and Syria “is not some foreign conflict thousands of miles from home that we can hope to ignore.”
The danger that ISIS poses now is a “greater and deeper” threat to the UK’s security than the country has ever known, Cameron said.

Comment by Christopher Tingus

August 29, 2014 @ 12:26 pm

Homeland Security with porous borders and a failed US administration whose only pledge to Hussein Obama as I have reiterated now since ’08 and becomes clearer and clearer with each passing day and the empty political rhetoric, don’t kid yourself….We folks are at much peril!

700 in number and a convoy open to attack and today, 100+ thousand and growing, revenues of $1 mln daily and a US administration who rushes to Cairo Egypt, Cambridge (MA) and Ferguson (MO)! How dare you convey such divisiveness when no other nation, none can be prouder and has given so much to stand against the evils of mankind….

The question remains here on “Main Street USA” directed at Barry Obama who as a mere citizen and not glorified as he as an eight year resident of the WH and Chicago city street slicker with his perverse ways and continuity in politicizing to continue this charade in lust for power and greed above the pledge in oath to Constitution, ‘ol Glory and to our beloved Republic, when will the obviously paralyzed Congressional members on both sides of the aisle take the reigns of our government and truly address real and present dangers which have evolved by the obvious placard posted by this anti-American and anti-Christian Barry Obama whose oath to Father Hussein and his anti-colonialist and anti-Christian Kenyan friends become more obvious day after day….mentored by twenty years in the pew by the Rev Wright spewing the Right of Tehran to have WMD in hand as long as the “Zinoists” have same….

We no longer whisper from the pews here on “Main Street USA” and from our New England town green, we shout and say, enough is enough!

Each day our law enforcement as well as military and other “unknowns” Patriots< much like our soldier who has been forgotten in a Mexican prison by this “Chicago-Hollywood-Washington charade” as were our brave warriors at the “Benghazi Massacre” by Ms. Hillary and Barry so willingly standing in such blatant lies….

….each day so many stand forthright to protect our nation, to protect us the good people of America who have sacrificed generation after generation to thwart such evil and while issues of Civil Rights and a Cambridge (MA) Professor or a criminal youth stealing and intimidating a store clerk and in same arrogant gait disrupting traffic and disobeying the order of police officer and then who knows what happened and only facts, not emotion and certainly not this division the WH and AG run to the scene as ambulance chasers with 50 FBI agents, but none seen for months to investigate the reported sodomy of our Ambassador and the slaughter of our brave warriors looking to the skies for help and a WH and State Department preferring politicizing rather than acting to protect and serve….

Breaking News and threats of terror and 11th of September again approaching and as one proud American like so many, thank God we have 300 million+ (legal) guns in our populace for all lawful purpose for unfortunately Ms. Hillary and Barry would rather board a plane to fund raise or go to sleep rather than pick up the 3am phone call and along the way, the question also remains and becomes more and more desperate and ISIS, no (IS) gains strength and this eight year WH resident whether he is Black, White Blue or Green as it was the White majority in this beloved Republic who voted twice….

….no strategy you say, resign, get out and take your bias, your prejudice along with Michelle Obama and the question remains, who did Michelle meet in Spain and wasn’t the Grand Canyon and our American history which is far more than slavery good enough for your family? Michelle knows how to speak to parents and tell them what to feed their kids, but she doesn’t seem to ant to tell those in Chicago and in New York w/all these killings of youth, precious young Black men who have seen the broken promises of jobs and see the lack of family cohesiveness and poverty who do Not need hand outs and an every imposing government, but jobs! Not you and your illustrious AG divisive in your ways and using your pen and position to truly circumvent not only the Constitution, but We the People who as the polls strongly point to, You are no longer necessary and while I personally believe you and Ms. Hillary should be under House arrest for suspicion in breach of faith, treason, resign now! The House is paralyzed as well on both side of the aisle and you and they together have allowed ISIS to now threaten our way of existence and in the loving memory of every police officer, first responder, Patriot, brave warrior, the soldiers who carried good ‘ol Glory in Northern Africa, in the Pacific and on the beaches of Normandy and beyond not only for our nation, but to put a stop to those so willing to commit such dastardly acts against humanity, well, resign and if necessary, We ask the US military to take the reigns of our government for we no longer feel protected by the WH or Congress, you are for the most part, self-serving fools!

As the Brits now warn the world and I have said long ago, unless we, the US, not any int’l gathering of nations who failed to muster even back in 1935 and in ’39 despite Hitler marching across the Polish border….unless we take substantial and powerful action now against a shirtless or not Putin and his KGB and ISIS and show the world we are very much are willing to use our big stick, the anguish we already see globally will be far worse that even what the last generations encountered -

Resign or stand forthright for our very proud Judeo-Christian nation, the United States of America! the clock is ticking….enough of your charade, We have a great nation to defend and whether alone or with another, God has bestowed his many Blessings on us and We are so obliged to our Creator!

We do Not leave anyone behind and I urge the US Marines to walk across the Mexican border and retrieve our fellow brave warrior being held for a wrong turn he made w/all his belongings with him given that the Mexican and US government engaged in ongoing communications and concurring together to open their sovereign borders to illegals….child or not….How dare you?

London (CNN) — The UK government raised its terror threat level Friday from
The danger that ISIS poses now is a "greater and deeper" threat to the UK's security than the country has ever known, Cameron said.

Christopher Tingus
“Main Street USA”
Harwich (cape Cod), MA 02645
chris.tingus@gmail.com

Comment by Christopher Tingus

August 29, 2014 @ 1:51 pm

For those in the west, all must understand that ISIS takes action not based on ideology, but rather – faith – whether one perceives it as twisted or not!

Through our faith and commitment to thwarting those who seek tp perform such dastardly acts upon humanity in witness by the Lord, Now, let us together read:

Jeremiah Chapter 29

8 For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Let not your prophets and your diviners, that [be] in the midst of you, deceive you, neither hearken to your dreams which ye cause to be dreamed.

9 For they prophesy falsely unto you in my name: I have not sent them, saith the LORD.

Christopher Tingus
“Main Street USA”
Harwich (Cape Cod), MA 02645

Comment by Christopher Tingus

August 29, 2014 @ 5:39 pm

THE TRUMPET WEEKLY
AUGUST 29, 2014

Putin Will Survive
BY JEREMIAH JACQUES

First-century historian Josephus recorded: “And when the book of Daniel was shewed him, wherein Daniel declared that one of the Greeks should destroy the empire of the Persians, he supposed that himself was the person intended; and … he was then glad … .” (Antiquities of the Jews, Book 11, Chap. 8, Sec. 5).

Alexander the Great isn’t the only history-altering individual whose impact was prophesied by Bible writers. Among the others are Josiah, the king of Judah; Cyrus, the king of Persia; and even Winston Churchill, the prime minister of Britain. All were prophesied to come on to the scene generations before they were born. And there is an- other important individual whose appearance was foretold in the Holy Bible: Vladimir Putin.

Around a.d. 90, the Apostle John wrote: “And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them” (Revelation 9:16). That’s describing an army of 200 mil- lion men—far more people than were even alive when that prophecy was written.

The Bible provides many vital details about this largest army ever assembled on Earth. Revelation 16:12 calls it the “kings of the east,” which shows it to be a confederacy of Asian nations. Other scriptures reveal that the confederacy will have one lead country—and one individual man at the helm.

A prophecy in Ezekiel 38 lays out some of these im- portant details. “And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, ‘Son of man, set thy face unto Gog, of the land of Magog, prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy concerning him” (Ezekiel 38:1-2; kjv, Young’s Literal Translation). Rosh was the ancient name of Russia, once called Rus. Many encyclopedias and commentaries (such as the Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary) recognize this.
The passage goes on to discuss the conquests of the mighty army led by this “prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal.” So, who is this mighty prince?

A study of the above scriptures, placed alongside other Bible passages, and viewed in the context of current events in Russia, makes the answer clear. Here is what editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote about it in the September Trumpet: “I strongly believe Vladimir Putin is going to lead the 200 million-man army. … Can you think of any other Russian politician who could become so powerful and have the will to lead Russia into the crisis of crises? …

This much is absolutely certain: The restoring of Russia’s power by Vladimir Putin—the prince of Russia—was prophesied! He has already solidly allied Russia with China. The proph- ecy about the prince of Russia includes that main alliance. … The only question is whether or not Putin personally finishes the entire prophecy.”

Comment by Christopher Tingus

August 29, 2014 @ 7:18 pm

As an elder, I often ponder this radical Islamic push in the year of 2014 and while we all should Respect one another and choose our way of faith and no one individual or group of individuals have a right to impose their choices on another, the story of Adrian was recalled and who lived in the year of 298 AD, a story of faith and devotion to our Lord.

While today we see folks extreme in their mannerisms and so willing to harm another, to be so brutal and commit such dastardly acts upon another as God is witness to all, the story of how Maximillian who was persecuting the church ordered all the Christians to be gathered in the city of Nicomedia and charging each of them to deny Christ or suffer the consequences, a group of 23 stood firm in their respective devotion not in any way imposing their beliefs on anyone else, yet when so many endured so much torture and harm, it was Adrian as witness to such inhumane brutality and such devotion to the Lord that he yelled out, “Write me down as a Christian also, that I may be numbered with these warriors of Christ”

No matter one’s faith and choice of religious practice, no one has the right and in witness of the Lord to order another to deny their right of choice. While no one has to embrace one another, all should at least Respect one another though we see the evil among many still walking among us even centuries later….

God Bless us all!

Comment by Christopher Tingus

August 30, 2014 @ 6:53 am

Thank you again to our first responders even when stopping by for a dinner break:

Carbon Monoxide Scare At Applebee’s Detected By EMTs On Dinner Break

The Huffington Post | By Ed Mazza
Posted: 08/29/2014 1:55 am EDT Updated: 08/29/2014 4:59 am EDT

Two EMTs having dinner at an Applebee’s restaurant on Long Island found themselves suddenly back on the job Tuesday night when their portable carbon monoxide detectors went off.

Justin Gau and Kyle Page told ABC 7 that their detectors went off as they were walking to their seats.

“I made Justin go outside once or twice to reset it to make sure it was functioning before we screwed up everyone’s evening,” Page told the station.

When they confirmed that the sensors were working, Gau and Page ordered everyone out and called the fire department, Patch.com reported.

About 100 patrons and employees were evacuated. Several said they felt sick and were checked out at the scene, but declined further treatment.

Air samples confirmed that CO levels in the restaurant were far above normal, with the problem later traced to a faulty water heater.

The average carbon monoxide level in a home without a gas stove is between 0.5 ppm and 5 ppm, and up to 15 ppm in homes with properly adjusted gas stoves, according to the EPA.

However, levels in the restaurant ranged from 80 ppm to 250 ppm — or high enough to cause potentially serious or even deadly consequences.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission:

As CO levels increase and remain above 70 ppm, symptoms become more noticeable and can include headache, fatigue and nausea. At sustained CO concentrations above 150 to 200 ppm, disorientation, unconsciousness, and death are possible.
“After they closed up, they shut down the ventilation system and the CO could have been pumping in there all night and whoever opened in the morning could have been a bad turn out,” Page told ABC7.

Thanks to the EMTs, the heater was shut down and the building was ventilated.

Comment by Christopher Tingus

August 30, 2014 @ 7:51 am

An urgent letter to Congress from “Main Street USA” – all press release/SKYNEWS

Gentlemen, if the following – breaking news – is true about terrorists just south of our porous border with Mexico then to hell with this obviously perverted and tainted WH executive as an eight year WH resident who does not give a hoot about our national security, but rather ruin to Cairo to bow and kiss the ring of another sovereign nation and seemingly interested in this continued effort and ongoing theme of – promoting divisiveness from within and lack of any strategy – other than weakening our beloved Republic in every way….the buck now stops here on “Main Street USA” and demand that those “entrusted” by precious vote return from your vacation and close our border with Mexico and order our Marines to walk over the border and take our brave warrior that this administration has to be tied naked in a Mexican prison while he watches busload after busload of illegals coming across the borders of Mexico and our border and now our school systems further overwhelmed….enough is enough!

Kindly recall the words of Samuel Adams (1775):

No People will tamely surrender their Liberties, nor can they be easily subdued, when knowledge is wide spread and Virtue is preserved. On the Contrary, when People are unwisely ignorant, and debauched in their Manners, they will sink under their own weight without AID of foreign invaders” – and in the words of Frederick Douglass: “Find out just what People will submit to, and you have found the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue until they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrant are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress” -

….while I (we) here on “Main Street USA” have demanded that Congress place Barry Obama and Ms. Hillary and the illustrious AG under House arrest for “suspicion in breach of trust, treason” at the “Benghazi Massacre” given the latest information which we have no way of confirming and certainly entrust such to the expertise of those we trust, get the Mexican border closed yesterday!

YOU are obligated as We are here on “Main Street USA” to stand forthright and steadfast for protecting our Constitution and our sovereignty and our populace so if there is any fact to the following, the US military along with Congress must act now:

By Douglas Ernst – The Washington Times – Friday, August 29, 2014

The federal government believes a terrorist attack at the U.S.-Mexico border is imminent and has put out a bulletin on the matter, a government watchdog group reported Friday.

Judicial Watch released a statement that said Islamic terrorist groups who have infiltrated the city of Ciudad Juarez aim to use car bombs to attack American interests.

“High-level federal law enforcement, intelligence and other sources have confirmed to Judicial Watch that a warning bulletin for an imminent terrorist attack on the border has been issued,” the statement read. “Agents across a number of Homeland Security, Justice and Defense agencies have all been placed on alert and instructed to aggressively work all possible leads and sources concerning this imminent terrorist threat.”

High-level sources in the intelligence community told the nonprofit organization that one of the terrorist groups operating out of Ciudad Juarez is the Islamic State, which beheaded American photojournalist James Foley earlier this month. The radical Sunnis, led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, also control large swathes of Iraq and Syria.

News of the bulletin comes just one day after U.S. officials told The Blaze there has been a “significant increase” in chatter among terrorist groups as the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks nears.

Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/aug/29/feds-issue-bulletin-on-imminent-terror-attack-at-u/#ixzz3BsThh9Kn
Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter

Comment by Christopher Tingus

August 31, 2014 @ 6:41 am

High above the sky – TSA issue:

However, either or both could have been subject to (up to) $25,000 FAA-assessed fines. First, both should learn their lesson, and second, that $22 Knee Defender could be quite costly if the gentleman continues to use it

Flight Diverted When Passengers Feud Over Reclining Seat
by EYDER PERALTA

August 26, 2014 1:28 PM ET

United Airlines jets are seen at the gate at Newark Liberty International Airport.

Julio Cortez/AP

Flying is already a pain. But a story from the Associated Press Tuesday really brings home the point: The wire service reports that an entire plane was diverted on Sunday after a fight broke out over a passenger’s right to recline her seat.

The AP explains:

“The spat began on United Airlines Flight 1462 because one passenger was using the Knee Defender, a $21.95 lock that attaches to a tray table and jams the reclining mechanism of the seat in front.

“The male passenger, seated in a middle seat of Row 12, used the device to stop the woman in front of him from reclining while he was on his laptop, according to a law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“A flight attendant asked him to remove the device and he refused. The woman then stood up, turned around and threw a cup of water at him, the official said.”
The Denver-bound plane was diverted to Chicago, where authorities talked to the two 48-year-old passengers. The plane — without them onboard — arrived an hour and 38 minutes late.

For the record, the maker of the device tells USA Today this is the first time it has heard of anything like this happening with its product.

We think it’s pretty clear who’s to blame here, but we want to hear your thoughts. What’s worse? Using the Knee Defender or throwing a cup of water at a fellow passenger?

Comment by Christopher Tingus

August 31, 2014 @ 8:28 am

Where is the United States of America?

Breaking News: AP

Ukraine troops lose more ground to rebels as EU shirks Russia sanctions

UKRAINIAN TROOPS, above, retreat from three towns in the face of a renewed onslaught by pro-Russian separatists while European leaders order Brussels to prepare new sanctions that could take effect within a week.

Some Ukrainians at the front lose faith in Europe | VIDEO: Putin & Ukraine: ‘Military aggression & terror’

VIDEO: Russia denies launching Ukraine invasion | VIDEO: Putin warns US, allies over Ukraine
_____________________

What Happens After Pax Americana?

Before Pax Americana was Pax Britannica, the century that preceded World War I during which Britain ruled the seas and much of the world. The passing of the baton from one to the other was perhaps the smoothest, most seamless transition of superpower ever. In fact, historians have difficulty even pinpointing exactly when it occurred; some say it was in the middle of World War II when America’s troop count exceeded that of the Brits. In many outposts of the British Empire around the world, America simply stepped in and took over, preserving order and stability with very little disruption.

“[I]n the future no one will bother to make a distinction between the British Empire-led and the American Republic-led periods of English-speaking dominance between the late-18th and the 21st centuries,” wrote historian Andrew Roberts. “It will be recognized that in the majestic sweep of history they had so much in common—and enough that separated them from everyone else—that they ought to be regarded as a single historical entity?…” (A History of the English-Speaking Peoples Since 1900).

How smooth and seamless do you think the next transition of global dominance will be?

Look at the powers that are poised to take over in America’s absence, and it quickly becomes clear: Two centuries of Anglo-American rule are about to be superseded by something very different.

Historically speaking, the fall of an empire is a dangerous time. As Roberts warned, “[T]he most costly wars in modern history have arisen whenever there is confusion about which is the world’s preeminent power” (ibid).

World Politics Review, a website intended to inform foreign-policy professionals on key international trends and events, ran an article on November 14 with this headline: “If America Doesn’t Lead in the Middle East, Others Will.” “The debate over whether America is the world’s indispensable nation will continue, but when it comes to the Middle East, nobody is waiting for the answer,” the article said. “Washington’s gradual but steady retreat from its once-unabashed exercise of influence in the region has sparked A RUSH BY SECOND-TIER POWERS TO FILL THE VACUUM that has resulted.

“As the U.S. holds back, other nations are raising their profile .… The more passive the U.S. becomes, THE MORE ASSERTIVE OTHERS GROW.” This is exactly the sort of competition that will increasingly dominate post-American global politics.

As far as global stability is concerned, America is shrinking to an Albania-size power at a terrible time. The Middle East is a terrible muddle. Iran’s power is growing. Weapons of mass destruction are proliferating and will end up in the hands of more and more tyrants and terrorists. Islamism will spread in northern Africa. Volatility in Europe will rise, even as Germany’s power grows. Contention over resources will fuel increasing tension among European and Asian nations. Arms races in multiple regions will continue to mushroom.

You can be certain that the number of crises is going to increase. The calls for action, for intervention, are bound to escalate. And because America is no longer the one to step up, the position of dominance is up for grabs, both within regions and globally. It will be ugly. We are leaving behind a comfortable era of Western dominance—and entering a new and uncertain era of violent competition for supremacy among remorseless foes.

All that “pax” is about to get the axe.

___________________

*An article read in the Trumpet Magazine:

What Happens After a Superpower Dies?
From the January 2014 Trumpet

Comment by Christopher Tingus

August 31, 2014 @ 10:19 am

Homeland Security 100 years ago….

Ten Thousand Texas Rangers

Written in March, 1917, at the time when Germany proposed
to Mexico that they retake the “lost provinces” of
Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California.

Ten thousand Texas Rangers are laughin’ fit to kill
At the joke of the German Kaiser, an’ his fierce, imperious will –
For he sez, sez he, to the Mexican boob, hidin’ behind his beard,
“Old Uncle Sam is an easy mark, or so I’ve always heerd –

“Go up and take his cattle, and take a state or two, –
Texas, New Mexico, Arizone — don’t stop before you’re through;
For we shall make war together, and together make peace,” he said,
Now ain’t it a joke — so easy-like — as easy as makin’ bread!

Now if he had wanted a gun-man, he could n’t have chose a worse,
For Pancho Villa has gor more knack in fixin’ a man for the hearse,
And if he had though that a gun-man could swipe that piece of earth,
He should ‘a’ remembered we got the trick of handlin’ a gun from birth!

Ten thousand Texas Rangers are shakin’ with wicked glee
At the joke of the German Kaiser in his fierce perplexity;
They are bustin’ their buttins with laughin’, they are laughin’ fit to kill –
“By Gawd,” sez they, “But that’s one on him, by Gawd, that’s one on Bill!”

Comment by Christopher Tingus

August 31, 2014 @ 7:06 pm

As we watch again as so many generations before in the history of mankind such brutality, such willingness to terrorize and raise sword in dastardly act upon the goodness of so many of God’s children, We together with our European friends on this Labor Day Weekend celebration must not only praise St. John often referenced as the great teacher of nations in his far and wide preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins while not forgetting St John’s humility when he proclaims of Chris: “Behold the Lamb of God….The latchet of Whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloosen” and we must together recall Beethoven’s Ninth also referred to as, “Ode to Joy (Freedom)” and a song of Europeans and their diversity and Love in Christ and of course:

“The Hymn of Joy” (often called “Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee” after the first line) is a poem written by Henry van Dyke in 1907 with the intention of musically setting it to the famous “Ode to Joy” melody of the final movement of Ludwig van Beethoven’s final symphony, Symphony No. 9.

Van Dyke wrote this poem in 1907 and Van Dyke wrote of this hymn:

These verses are simple expressions of common Christian feelings and desires in this present time—hymns of today that may be sung together by people who know the thought of the age, and are not afraid that any truth of science will destroy religion, or any revolution on earth overthrow the kingdom of heaven.

Therefore this is a hymn of trust and joy and hope.

“This hymn is generally considered by hymnologists to be one of the most joyous expressions of hymn lyrics in the English language.:

and Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee,
God of glory, Lord of love;
hearts unfold like flow’rs before Thee,
Opening to the Sun above,
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness;
drive the dark of doubt away;
Giver of immortal gladness,
fill us with the light of day!
All Thy works with joy surround Thee,
earth and heav’n reflect Thy rays,
stars and angels sing around Thee,
center of unbroken praise:
Field and forest, vale and mountain,
Flow’ry meadow, flashing sea,
chanting bird and flowing fountain,
call us to rejoice in Thee.
Thou art giving and forgiving,
ever blessing, ever blest,
well-spring of the joy of living,
ocean-depth of happy rest!
Thou the Father, Christ our Brother,—
all who live in love are Thine:
Teach us how to love each other,
lift us to the Joy Divine.
Mortals join the mighty chorus,
which the morning stars began;
Father-love is reigning o’er us,
brother-love binds man to man.
Ever singing, march we onward,
victors in the midst of strife;
joyful music lifts us sunward
in the triumph song of life.

Submitted by Christopher Tingus
Harwich (Cape Cod), MA 02645 USA
chris.tingus@gmail.com

Comment by Christopher Tingus

September 1, 2014 @ 2:53 am

Breaking News:

STATE & LOCAL

Dozens of police agencies report loss of Pentagon-supplied military weapons
Published September 01, 2014FoxNews.com

What is this all about and why are not all weapons properly logged and efficient record-keeping retained? As an advocate for public safety and first responders, especially police officers throughout our nation who serve our community daily despite the challenges they must confront even in a traffic stop, there is no excuse that every weapon’s whereabouts is known….

The illustrious top cop, the AG who along with his boss seem to prefer spewing divineness and look for any such news to take such weapons out of the hands of what some say is the militarization of our police force which only from my perspective given the lack of trust We here on “Main Street USA” have for our government these days given this eight year resident of the WH who has no interest in performance other than to weaken our nation in every way….Hold your weapons high for all lawful purpose and just as the citizenry is expected to be licensed and responsible for its 300+ million guns, every weapon must be accounted for even among our law enforcement agencies….

Comment by Christopher Tingus

September 1, 2014 @ 3:00 am

Let me quickly correct divineness as incorrectly written to what is really the case with this administration — blatant divisiveness — every step of the way! Again, an Executive Wh along w/Ms. Hillary and the Ag who should be held by House Arrest for suspicion in breach of trust, treason and by the way, the release of our brave warrior, a Marine left behind strapped naked to a mexican jail bed while illegals and busloads of them passing his jail daily and this administration not giving a hoot! Like the “Benghazi Massacre” and the VA scandal among many scandals and embarrassing calamities gripping this nation as a result of a “Chicago city street slicker and nothing more” folks, without a strong arsenal and high regard for our Judeo-Christian values as this administration scoffs at our Constitution, our Homeland Security is in much jeopardy….

Comment by Christopher Tingus

September 2, 2014 @ 9:49 pm

What is the surprise – history’s lessons of generations past should teach us well if we would be attentive….and in this 21st century, We should all be attentive….

“Persians invaded Europe in an attempt to conquer the Greeks in the fifth century B.C. The Greek, Alexander the Great, attempted to conquer all of Asia, as far as India, in the fourth century B.C. Both the Persians of the east and the Greeks of the west set up colonial empires founded upon bloody military conquest. The Romans established by bloody military conquest colonies in Mesopotamia, northwestern Arabia, and Assyria in the second century A.D.

In 624, Mohammed led a raid for booty and plunder against a Meccan caravan, killing 70 Meccans for mere material gain. Between 630 A.D. and the death of Mohammed in 632 A.D., Muslims — on at least one occasion led by Mohammed — had conquered the bulk of western Arabia and southern Palestine through approximately a dozen separate invasions and bloody conquests. These conquests were in large part “Holy wars,” putting the lie to another statement in the U.S. News article that proclaimed the Crusades “The First Holy War,” as if the Christians had invented the concept of a holy war. After Mohammed’s death in 632, the new Muslim caliph, Abu Bakr, launched Islam into almost 1,500 years of continual imperialist, colonialist, bloody conquest and subjugation of others through invasion and war, a role Islam continues to this very day.”

Comment by William R. Cumming

September 3, 2014 @ 12:49 am

December 31st will mark the end of a decade long run for me on this blog. Thanks for the memories. Will continue to read it, however!

Comment by Philip J. Palin

September 3, 2014 @ 3:39 am

Bill: You have become an essential element in any value produced here. Something for you to consider: It seems to me “homeland security” has reached the point where a detailed review of paths taken and not taken, jump starts and false starts, might be helpful. I have been thinking about seeking the cooperation of my colleagues here at HLSWatch (present and past) to produce an ebook that would draw on the blog’s archives of posts and comments to produce something that might be helpful in college classrooms, professional seminars, etc. A significant aspect of the value — or not — will be identifying the meaningful issues… perhaps especially those possibilities that the enterprise edged up to and then dropped or failed to sustain or allowed to be fatally redirected. For example, I have always thought the National Security Professional Development Program was one of those tantalizing opportunities that got lost in the interagency shuffle. Maybe more helpful: Can we frame-up a reasonable number of strategic issues (10-12?) and track what happened and did not happen over the last decade-plus? Is HLSWatch a helpful lens to use for this purpose? Your suggestions — and those of others — would be much appreciated.

Comment by William R. Cumming

September 3, 2014 @ 7:44 am

Answer YES good idea. Unfortunately I seem to know more of failures than successes. Example: The 2002 FBI Reorganization announced by Director Robert Mueller. A second one might include the three stated priorities upon which the DHS Reorganization was based. First WMD from proliferation to prevention, mitigation, response and recovery. Second CIP [critical infrastructure including Cyber Security. The third is collection, analysis, and dessemination of domestic intelligence while protecting privacy and civil rights and liberties.

Perhaps another might be RESILIENCE–Are we more resilient today than on September 10th, 2001?

While I largely defer to others apparently the US Coast Guard and FEMA have less capability than on 9/11/01!

So good luck with the project Phil, a very ambitious one.

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