Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

January 1, 2016

Friday Free Forum

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Philip J. Palin on January 1, 2016

William R. Cumming Forum

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Comment by William R. Cumming

January 1, 2016 @ 9:01 am

Well 2016 finally arrived! Some thoughts of varying importance and most hopefully tied to HS and EM!

First, Recovery Diva posted most recently on the Missouri flooding and I post a comment on that post. N.B. the flooding in Branson and Arnold Missouri.

Second, about to depart to see THE BIG SHORT having read the book by Michael Lewis in 2010 when it appeared. Believe or not there is a relationship, a close relationship IMO, between real estate developing and financing, and why much of improved real estate in the USA is reflected in Gilbert White’s 1942 thesis concerning the built environment, human occupancy, and the riverine/inland and coastal flood hazard arena.

The Obama Adminstration has made matters worse by sub silento approving more and more FREE FEDERAL DISASTER RELIEF!

More to follow!

Comment by William R. Cumming

January 1, 2016 @ 9:11 am

Is there a wheel of history and does it turn? IMO yes. And since the rise of the nation-state system since 1648 the most skillful analysis of the rise and fall of nation-states remains IMO Professor Paul Kennedy, PhD.

Donald Trump correctly or wrongly IMO must have read this book. But many who should have read it did not.

It appears that warfare has shaped the human condition on planet earth! My conclusion is that no one wins wars. But then my mother was a Quaker.

And technology does shape warfare. While some may argue I am wrong I would argue that between the Civil War in the USA and WWI the critical element was the use of the telegraph, and WWII the first real radio war. Did you know that Genghis Khan had the world’s best communication system for warfare up to his time?

So looking like the Internet might well be then next playing field for organization of violence. Cyber Security long ago identified as critical to CIP (1997) but largely ignore until last year.

So yes the wheel of history IMO does turn.

Comment by William R. Cumming

January 1, 2016 @ 9:16 am

If you were to look at funding and staffing of MITIGATION AND PREVENTION in DHS and FEMA you might well have a shock! Both FEMA and DHS fail almost totally to mitigate and prevent almost any hazard you can think of in any meaningful way.

With respect to the flooding almost nation-wide the old asphorism that most dams and levees fail (either for poor maintenance or exceedence of design protection] is proving accurate.

Comment by William R. Cumming

January 1, 2016 @ 9:40 am

The so-called GALLOWAY REPORT sent by the Clinton Administration to Congress in 1993 [and which appears at http://www,fas.org/irp/agency/dhs/fema/index.html%5D was followed by a ninety five page update in 2009 most of which stated in error that substantial progress had been made or was being made on the GALLOWAY REPORT recommendations.

The funadmental dishonesty of the update is why some in the mid-west now are under water.

The truth is almost no-one cares which why I have recommended the following: And why?


Second, the NFIP was largely designed a riverine/inland program not as a coastal program.

Third, the NFIP after a 40 years trail should have all riverine.inland flood mapping turned over to the states and/or river basin Commissions And the private insurance business should provide insurance appropriately or reinsurance for properties in flood prone communities.

Fourth, the federal government should continue to operate the NFIP but only in the sensitive 300 coastal counties. These will all be affected by known sea-level rise. Mapping, mitigation and FPM enforcement should be turned over to NOAA for the NFIP and the insurance component 9preferablly reinsurance] turned over to the Treasury Department.

Fifth, disaster relief should largely be a system of block grants triggered by actions of the states. This would be turned into grants based on the states risk assessment and management.

Comment by William R. Cumming

January 1, 2016 @ 9:41 am

IMO the biggest factor undermining National Security, HS, and EM is the US Congress. Time to reorganize the Committee structure.

Comment by William R. Cumming

January 1, 2016 @ 9:45 am

A brief report previous posted:


Comment by Tom Russo

January 1, 2016 @ 2:32 pm

I missed the December 18th party when the question was raised whether emergency managers (EM) can affect governance. The topic has intrigued me since and this morning I read the Volcker Alliance report referenced by Claire. Without question EM should but, not unlike the National Security Council (NSC), too often I suspect it is viewed as advisory. I recall from some past study that President Truman in the passage of the 1947 National Security Act that established the National Security Council, commented that he approves the provisions but also intends to reserve his decision-making role as the executive and view NSC input as advisory.

This notion of the role of emergency managers in influencing and affecting governance in support of policy that results in fiscal support and executive administration by those responsible for governance is indeed one that is underscored in the Volcker Alliance report. My view is that these breakdowns should not be limited to federal government but state and local as well.

Consider for example the events and decisions that surround Hurricane Katrina. I find myself making this case to my intro emergency management students to impress it is not all about federal government failures. If Army Corp funding had been directed to improve levee safety had been used as directed by elected officials of New Orleans and not diverted to other “governance” priorities, perhaps the levees would have not been overwhelmed to the point of breach. If the evacuation plan to use school buses to evacuate residents would have been executed, outcomes would have been different. If the results of the then, recently conducted exercise, supplemented by an improvement plan had been completed and recommendations executed (policy execution), then New Orleans, in cooperation with state government, would have been better prepared and less complacent when confronted with the threat and possible consequences.

In October with anticipation of historic rainfalls and possible flooding, the Governor of South Carolina acted quickly to request an emergency declaration. The aftermath revealed that 23 dam breaches resulted in the historic flooding. However, 204 of the 2400 regulated dams were deemed high-hazard (loss of life and property destruction if they fail). In 2004, The Association of State Dam Safety Officials scored dam safety across America a “D” and wrote that South Carolina’s dam safety program is among the most poorly funded in the nation. Federal requirements call for an emergency action plan for those dams assessed as high-hazard. Nearly 90 percent of those in SC have an EAP while the percent of those plans exercised…is not tracked! Over the past few years, the regulatory agency employed one person to inspect those 2400 dams.

Three state agencies are responsible for some aspect of dam safety and included the SC Emergency Management Division (emergency planning oversight), SC Department of Health Environmental Control (regulatory) and the USDA National Resources Conservation Service of SC (technical and funding). But these agencies look to the local EM to provide oversight and sign off on the EAP, 81 percent of which in SC are privately owned. Is it any wonder why dams fail when overwhelmed by anticipated, historic rainfall that has been in the making for at least a decade?

Where’s does responsibility for governance lie in this sequence of dam events? And, the nation is experiencing reoccurrence of the series of events in Mississippi. Where next? The Volcker Alliance report states it is not if but when.

Comment by Claire B. Rubin

January 1, 2016 @ 3:15 pm

For those of us in the EM field for decades, the repetitive losses and failure to learn from history are quite discouraging.

Comment by Vicki Campbell

January 1, 2016 @ 10:54 pm

I think that a good part of the problem has been that Emergency Managers have traditionally been loathe to become involved in local politics, or take any position that might displease city officials or managers (especially those directly above them), which was’t too difficult when EM was conceived as primarily about response activities. And as I understand it, many resisted the transition to a more professional, comprehensive approach to EM, which included assuming a more leadership role in communicating risks associated with hazards, and the hazard mitigation best practices associated with them (which is what the development of social/science-based degree programs was meant to facilitate) to city officials and the general public. Fortunately, many others were in various stages of embracing this larger role. As I’ve stated in other forums, this transition to a comprehensive emergency management platform, with its primary emphasis on mitigation as the cornerstone of EM, was dramatically interrupted by the DHS takeover and revamping of EM, and the subsequent clear reversion back to a primarily response-oriented framework.

The other main part of the problem to my mind is that without proper leadership analyzing and communicating hazards and their associated risks and the mitigation best practices recommended to address those risks to government officials and the general public, proper hazard/threat mitigation is simply not going to happen, beyond what is absolutely required in one manner or another. People do not assess or manage many kinds of risks very well on their own (especially large risks), which is where EM experts should come in, because the role they can potentially play, if they are willing, trained, and required to, is vital to reducing the losses in both lives and property from disasters of every kind.

But to my mind, the larger underlying issue is that of mandates. Given the current austerity economic environment that local governments are struggling with, coupled with the greatly reduced emphasis on hazard mitigation within the EM professional universe at this point, proper pre-disaster hazard mitigation strategies are certainly going to take a back seat to other expenditures unless local governments are required or at least heavily incentivized to do otherwise. And the only entity that can do that is the federal government, which is as it should be. So there really is no getting around the fact that in order to make sure something happens at the local level government-wise, the feds still have to be involved, period. There really is just no getting around it. And as we’ve seen from Phil’s prior forum post on DHS budget allocations (and beyond), mitigation funding priorities have taken a very, very, very back seat to almost every other possible EM/DHS activity – at least in terms of monies allocated.

Comment by Vicki Campbell

January 1, 2016 @ 10:59 pm

More specifically though, there’s the issue of NFIP (national flood insurance program) reform – which is a whole other and much larger discussion.

Comment by A Christian and Transgressions / Fear and Anxiety

January 1, 2016 @ 11:16 pm

As the New Year is welcomed and more and more folks becomes concerned about the transgressions they are witnessing and share their anxieties by increasing polling numbers here and globally as to a world gripped by each and every terror related threat and unfortunate incident, to the fewer and fewer among us who truly have faith and believe in the Lord and choose not to follow the lawlessness and degeneration fostering divisiveness and intentional demoralization of the populace towards our defense (military) and our brave first responders (police officers) –

….and while we see floods and tornadoes and other weather phenomenon adversely affecting a number of folks, best pick up your Bible quickly as time is pressing forward with far more concerns and particular reference to Daniel 8:12 and encouragement in your continued reading on….

Suggest as well Jeremiah 17:9 and the much bigger issue affecting a failed America and Great Britain, descendants of Israel and so many among us who more and more reject all of what God believes and the increasing transgressions reminding one of the story of Antiochus –

Another suggested reading: John 8:44 and think of the transgressions of so many who prefer the degeneration and lawlessness whether church or sovereign nation or people joining the Demon Army among us where God’s laws and the awesome power of God are disdained by more and more among us and we see this present Marxist Oval Office leading just such a charge against the Supreme Law of the Land – the Constitution – whereby our insightful founding Fathers based much of what the Constitution represents on real faith and we see more and more seeking to amend and circumvent the covenants of the Lord and man and so many failing to even bother to read scripture and to understand just why more and more lawlessness and degeneration of America is taking place where the Cuban communists are welcomed as they embrace the Russians and those in Tehran who spin terror globally along with the Muslim Brotherhood and others who seek to terrorize and who are indeed believed to be the Demon Army standing against God and an Angelic Army whose intent would be to protect those with faith, yet seeing more and more unfaithful to God in every way….

America is said to be a silly dove walking right into a deadly trap and it is only YOU who can help to avert the conflagration soon to again cause much strife among so many so run to your Bibles and read and share with one another for this New Year brings much anxiety and fear and rightfully so as shirtless Putin and his power play in Syria will be short lived and the Syrian people will not be looking to the Russians or in fact, the demons of Tehran as their ally, but most importantly, to a downsized (ten nation) European led by Germany and an intervention few expect, however if one reads Psalm 83 closely, indeed such intervention will be led not by the lies spewed by Merkel, but by a transitioned and much stronger Germany now evolving and feeling of disenfranchised Germans seeing an influx of refugees causing protests and the strengthening anti-immigrant movement by PEGIDA in Dresden we witnessed where protestors carried gallows for Merkel all pointing to (very shortly) Europe’s return in urges of self-preservation and nationalism and this superpower to be led by none other than best described in (Daniel 8:23 and Daniel 11:21 and Daniel 11:40) and this “king of fierce countenance” as a descendant of ancient Assyria and leader will be none other than a descendant of Otto von Habsburg where history reflects on a 700 year old reign by the House of Habsburg and this royal and prestigious family will again present, the aristocratic Karl -Theodor Maria Nikolaus Johann Jacob Philipp Franz Joseph Sylvestor Freiherr von und zu Guttenberg as the next baron of the Holy Roman Empire and a different version of Europe will be realized under such astute leadership whereby the CSU as the party of Strauss and Stoiber and provide leadership which will shock the world –

Unless YOU and America and Great Britain amend your ways and permit the Angelic Army to protect the truly faithful among you who understand the importance of following the laws of God and thwarting those such as Barack Hussein Obama, good ‘ol Ms. Hillary and others on both sides of the aisle who do not stand forthright for our Judeo-Christian principles and our Constitution and seek to continue in their Marxist and anti-Christian ways promoting abortion and all sorts of transgressions and the un enforcement of laws and permit such outrageous transgressions and mockery of our Constitution and our beloved Republic, well folks, the road ahead, conflagration as never witnessed before….it is YOU whether church, sovereign nation or individual who must choose and the demoralization and perverted ways, the failing morality becoming so apparent….how dare you?

Such Blessings bestowed on God’s children and Life so easily shunned and such degradation of humanity as witnessed by acts of those who reject all of what God believes….

So many Christians being brutalized especially in the Middle East and Africa and an Oval Office whose pledge can only be interpreted not to the sworn oath to uphold Constitution and the laws of these United States and by the way Barry Obama – not 57 states – and to the white majority (often referred to as White Crackers) who is so abused as being biased, yet voted (twice) a supposed Black man to the lofty heights of the Presidency while Barack Hussein Obama’s oath seemingly only to his Father, Hussein Obama and his anti-Christian Kenyan pals!

How dare you?

God Bless us all!

A Christian!

Comment by William R. Cumming

January 2, 2016 @ 7:03 am

BTW the Executive Branch rarely provides the Congress with the nitty-gritty of what it needs to really legislate effectively.

E.G., do the congressional banking committees with oversight of the NFIP know how much the NFIP spends on replacing flood damages installed or uninstalled carpeting? Perhaps almost 20% of all residential losses and often new carpet replaced without earlier carpet damage claims or that some just wait for the new carpet replacement check and then get old carpet cleaned–muich cheaper!

Comment by William R. Cumming

January 2, 2016 @ 7:07 am

EM managers are often political appointees without adequate training or education. The former federal civil defense program that ran from 1951-1995 under Public Law 920 of the 81st Congress required either the State Director of Civil Defense or the State Deputy Director of Civil Defense to be non=political. This requirement often led to the States adopting civil service laws, with one of the first being the State of Minnesota [drated in part by my father BTW]!

Comment by William R. Cumming

January 2, 2016 @ 7:10 am

Once again reiterate that the so-called Loyalty Oath Provision in disaster legislation as currently written is unenforced on Constitutional grounds based on DoJ/OLC opinions.

Comment by Vicki Campbell

January 2, 2016 @ 4:19 pm

I was going to post this in the forum below this one, but I just thought I might as well bring it forward:
Jeh Johnson, Michael Nutter and Donald Trump – Peas in a Pod?
30 December 2015

By Sabrina Vourvoulias, New America Media | Op-Ed

Mayor Michael Nutter famously said he’d ban Trump from Philadelphia if he could, after the presidential candidate called for an entry ban and registry for Muslims. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson has called Trump’s words about Muslims “beyond the pale.”

Democrats – aspiring candidates as well as those already serving in local office and national administration – have gleefully seized on Trump as representative of the Republican Party’s xenophobic and nativist tendencies. They’ve made haste and made hay to represent themselves as part of the party of inclusion and moderation.

But for all their bluster and fine words decrying Trump’s outsized fear of Muslims, Nutter and Johnson are advancing plans that target another of the presidential candidate’s preferred scapegoat groups – a group that has been relentlessly excoriated by xenophobes and nativists for at least two decades and has seen millions deported during the two terms of President Obama’s administration: undocumented immigrants.

Jeh Johnson: Rounding Up Central American Women and Children Fleeing Violence

Starting as early as January, the Department of Homeland Security is preparing to conduct a number of large-scale raids targeting immigrants who recently came to the US fleeing violence in Central America. According to the Washington Post, which broke the story Dec. 23, “The ICE operation would target only adults and children who have already been ordered removed from the United States by an immigration judge … The adults and children would be detained wherever they can be found and immediately deported.”

“News that the Obama Administration is considering a plan to round up Central American families and deport them proves, once again, that this Administration fails to understand these individuals are refugees seeking asylum and should be given humanitarian protection rather than punishment,” said Ben Johnson, executive director of the American Immigration Council.”We must stop treating these families as though they are criminals. It is not a crime to arrive at our borders and request protection, and the overwhelming evidence indicates that these families have legitimate claims under US law.”

Johnson has said that DHS is “expediting removal” of those who are deemed ineligible for asylum or refugee resettlement. But the decision about who is eligible for classification as an asylee or refugee is a hugely political one that has always deliberately disadvantaged those fleeing violence and repression in Central America and Mexico.

During the Central American civil wars of the 1980s, for example, Guatemalans and Salvadorans were categorized as “economic immigrants” (despite evidence of genocide, massacres, wholesale disappearance, and widespread human rights abuses) and the approval rate for asylum cases was 3 percent (compared to 60 percent for Iranians, 40 percent for Afghans, and 32 percent for Poles during the same period). Much has been written, in retrospect, about the inability of the Reagan administration to categorize the Central Americans as refugees/asylees given that the US was materially and ideologically supporting the governments from which the petitioners were fleeing.

Today only 4 percent of asylum claims for Guatemalans, Hondurans and Salvadorans are successful despite the fact that El Salvador has the highest homicide rate in the world. In August it supplanted Honduras as the murder capital of the world, pushing Honduras to number 2: Guatemala rings in at number 6. The violence in those countries is partially a legacy of the bloody civil wars, partially the unimaginably violent narco culture of Salvadoran and Guatemalan gangs – which originated in Los Angeles, from where they were deported back to Central America. The Obama administration’s support (after the fact) of those who orchestrated an unconstitutional coup in Honduras in 2009 has also contributed to an enduring sense of impunity that feeds the violence in that Central American nation.

Mexicans – some of them fleeing violence greatly exacerbated by the US-Mexican “war on drugs” – are also rarely granted asylum in the United States. Aljazeera noted in an article in July that nearly 9,000 Mexicans applied for asylum in 2014, only 124 people were granted that status and some of those were applicants from previous years. By comparison, the article states, “4,773 Chinese citizens applied for asylum and 3,976 were granted refugee status” in 2014.

By its almost blanket refusal to grant asylee/refugee status to those from Central America and Mexico, the United States violates the U.N. refugee convention and protocols of which we are a signatory: “A refugee should not be returned to a country where he or she faces serious threats to his or her life or freedom. This protection may not be claimed by refugees who are reasonably regarded as a danger to the security of the country, or having been convicted of a particularly serious crime, are considered a danger to the community.”

In April of 2015, Johnson put into place the Priority Enforcement Program (PEP), which purports to restrict ICE detainers to “special circumstances,” including cases in which the individual poses a risk to national security or has been convicted. But according to the the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), during April 2015 only 32 percent of individuals on whom detainers were placed had been convicted of a crime, only 19 percent had a felony conviction, and nearly two-thirds had no criminal conviction of any type. This supports what immigration advocates have long claimed: that the majority of those targeted by PEP (and Secure Communities before it) are ordinary folks (whose illegal entry or overstaying a visa is a civil, not criminal, offense) who cannot “reasonably (be) regarded as a danger to the security of the country,” or be “considered a danger to the community.”

And now, with raids focused primarily on family units – mostly women and children fleeing pervasively violent homelands – Johnson has wandered firmly into Trump territory. The Republican presidential candidate may speak with nostalgia about Eisenhower’s Operation Wetback and propose to deport every last undocumented immigrant in the nation regardless of circumstance – but it’s Johnson and the Obama administration who are readying for actual mass detentions/immediate deportations come January.

Since the mass raids have been announced, the Democratic presidential candidates have reacted variously. Martin O’Malley was the first to decry the plan, publicly tweeting about it through Dec. 24. Bernie Sanders posted his opposition to the plan the afternoon of the 24th. Hillary Clinton has not posted anything on her website nor tweeted about it (as this is being written) though spokespeople from her campaign have been quoted everywhere from Politico to EFE as “having concerns.” Meanwhile, Donald Trump is claiming credit for the Johnson plan.

Peas in a pod, remember?

Comment by Vicki Campbell

January 2, 2016 @ 4:48 pm

Most people don’t know about this specific effort. I wonder how far the millions of dollars we’re paying Mexico to keep as many refugees as possible from even reaching our border would go toward dramatically improving those same refugees’ lives pretty much overnight. We are so morally lost as a nation I honestly don’t even know where to begin trying to address it….

From the article below:
“the US addressed what its own president declared a humanitarian crisis in 2014 by, in 2015, stepping up payments to its southern neighbor with the intent of stopping poor and scared people seeking asylum and a better life from getting so far as the jails that the US has illegally built to house asylum-seekers.”

US Deports Fewer People in 2015 – by Outsourcing to Mexico
29 December 2015 00:00

By Charles Davis, teleSUR | Report

US Border Patrol agents apprehended more than 337,000 people in 2015 for alleged immigration violations, down 30 percent from the more than 486,000 arrests the year before, according to data released Dec. 22 by the Department of Homeland Security.

At the same time, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement deported more than 235,000 people in 2015, the department said, down from over 315,000 in 2014 and more than 409,000 in 2012.

Since President Barack Obama took office in January 2009, the US government has deported more than 2.5 million people.

While arrests in and deportations from the United States are down, that is not due to a kinder, gentler enforcement regime, but because there are fewer undocumented immigrants making it near, much less across, the US border with Mexico.

From late 2013 to late 2014, tens of thousands of migrants and refugees from Central America fleeing poverty and violence in their home countries sought asylum in the United States, including roughly 50,000 unaccompanied children. In response to what President Obama called an “urgent humanitarian situation,” his administration, notably, did not start liberally granting asylum. According to the US Department of Justice, of the 3,669 people from Honduras who sought asylum in 2014, just 151 actually received it; more than 4,250 Guatemalans applied and just 175 had their asylum requests granted; and of the nearly 6,000 people from El Salvador who applied, all but 184 were sent packing, assuming they had any possessions left to pack.

By October 2015, at least 83 of those deported asylum-seekers had been murdered after being sent back to the countries they had fled, according to a study of local media reports. Maybe, it turns out, they had been telling the truth.

Rather than extend the humanity it prides itself on when admonishing others, the US responded to America’s very own refugee crisis by building family detention centers – later ruled illegal – and offering Mexico more than US $120 million to step up enforcement along its own southern border.

That money, with US promises of more to come, has had a major impact. A September 2015 report from the Migration Policy Institute in Washington, DC, found that in terms of asylum-seekers and other migrants, “Mexico’s apprehensions were projected to increase by about 70 percent” by the end of 2015, a pattern that “also holds true for minors.” By October, the New York Times found that Mexico had arrested more than 92,000 Central Americans, compared to less than 71,000 in the United States, “a sharp departure from the past few years.”

In short, the US addressed what its own president declared a humanitarian crisis in 2014 by, in 2015, stepping up payments to its southern neighbor with the intent of stopping poor and scared people seeking asylum and a better life – including children whose parents were so desperate they sent them off to find hope in the US on their own – from getting so far as the jails that the US built to house asylum-seekers. Keep people from crossing the US border and you keep them from claiming asylum in the first place, while keeping their desperate faces off the evening news.

Thanks to Mexico, and the generosity of the US government when it comes to funding Latin America’s most abusive security forces, the cruelty of closed borders is out of sight and out of mind, at least when it comes to most US news consumers, and the many migrants denied the chance to the wealthiest nation in the world’s much vaunted humanitarianism up close. Now that most are not even making it to the US for the chance to be deported, who knows how many more have died after being deported from somewhere else with the help of US tax dollars. One thing is for sure, based on the US government’s end-of-year statistics: No one in Washington is bothering to count.

Comment by William R. Cumming

January 3, 2016 @ 5:59 am

On the December 25th FFF I posted the following:

Tomorrow the !st day of 2016! I count many many issues in HS and EM that may influence the Presidential election in 2016. Do you have any favorites?

Now each week I will be posting Presidential camapign disrupters related to HS and EM, but some may ask you to state why and how they relate? Trust me they do but if asked will explain in some detail!

My choice this week is expected SCOTUS [Supreme Court of the U.S.] decisions.

Comment by William R. Cumming

January 3, 2016 @ 6:51 am

From time to time I will post links that I think contain useful insights for HS and EM even if nominally FP [foreign policy]!

And always remember with respect to issues and policies of governance IMO HS and EM are fundamental to our system of government not just governance.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Clean_Break:_A_New_Strategy_for_Securing_the_Realm ).

Comment by William R. Cumming

January 3, 2016 @ 6:56 am

And as to SCTUS the Roberts Court continues to promote the DEEP STATE AND SECRET LAW violating the long held maxim : Lex non promul non obligata

He fails to under US and our history.

Comment by William R. Cumming

January 4, 2016 @ 12:53 pm

During my 20 FEMA years [1979-1999] I gave my bosses a heads up memo as to my prognosis for key events impacting FEMA or EM and thought it might be fun to do the same from time to time. Unfortunately cannot predict exact timing and where for the next big one but below is a book TBP [to be published in September!


PREPARING FOR DISASTER: Building Household and Community Capacity
By Douglas Paton, John McClure
$54.95 (hard) $34.95 (paper), $34.95 (ebook)

Despite the evident advantages that being prepared for natural life-threatening events confers on people and communities, research has consistently found that individual, community, and business preparedness levels are low. This book examines why this is so and identifies what can be done to expedite the development of sustained preparedness, at household, community, and societal levels. The text emphasizes the need for this aspect of social risk management to be based on engagement principles: how people engage with their natural environment, how they engage with each other, and how people and agencies and businesses engage with each other. Following a discussion of how people relate to the environmental hazards they need to prepare for, the book introduces the areas of comprehensive preparedness. Major topics include: Coexisting with a Hazardous Environment; People, Hazards, and Hazard Mitigation; Hazard Readiness and Preparedness; People’s Beliefs and Hazard Preparedness; Predicting Hazard Preparedness and Social Cognitive Influences; Social Influences on Hazard Beliefs; Hazard Preparedness and Community Engagement and Empowerment; Cross-cultural Perspectives; Business Preparedness; and Future Issues with Engaging People, Science, and Practice. This unique text will provide practitioners and academics with a comprehensive account of what can currently be done to increase the capacity of people, communities, societies, and businesses to anticipate what hazard consequences they may have to contend with, cope with, adapt to, and recover from, and also to learn from experiences in ways that contribute to the development of future societal resilience and adaptive capacity.

Please note that John McClure a FEMA employee at one time!

Comment by A Christian and Transgressions / Fear and Anxiety

January 5, 2016 @ 3:57 am

Close the borders!

Close the borders!

Refugees – none and if any permitted – Christian only for during the term of this Oval office, the majority, over 90% Muslim while Christians throughout the Middle East are being tortured!

Enough is enough….

This nation is out of control and as we see the following headlines with Saudi and Tehran preparing for battle and more GITMO terrorists to be released by this tainted and biased Oval Office so contrary to our Constitution and laws requiring that We the People are protected by our own government, ya betcha when it comes to shouting arrest for suspicion in breach of trust – treason as this morning, media reports are now suggesting:

As New Threats Emerge, U.S. Closes Drone Base in Ethiopia

We have no trust whatsoever in this White House or the Republicans or Democrats and all these self-serving politicians –

Enough of this “Chicago-Hollywood-Washington charade” — where we see continued Hollywood entertainers marching in and out of the White House when the precious Black youth in Chicago are left far behind by this White House w/no one reaching to remedy the lawlessness on the streets as just one priority this nation must address as youth continue to have children w/only one parent ad family values have so eroded….

This White House and good ‘ol Ms. Hillary are about themselves and lining of the Clinton Foundation coffers and when the majority voted the Republican party in ’12 to address the wrongs being created by this perverted Oval office, nada!

Given the weakness of America led by Barack Hussein Obama globally and his outrageous support of the Muslim Brotherhood, Tehran and allowing our adversaries the leeway to secure their field terror strategists reentry to the front lines for some deserter while this nation left behind those at the “Benghazi Massacre” and a US Ambassador brutally and savagely tortured when dragged from the lightly protected lock and key Embassy only – well, enough of this allowance of an administration and good ‘ol Ms. Hillary standing shoulder to shoulder in blatant lie – soon the movie depicting the true events and War looming dead ahead!

Shortly we shall see Karl Guttenberg taking the reigns from Merkel and when you see this transition which will take place very soon as Germany fills the void of a tainted and biased Muslim Brotherhood supporter direct from the White House who has weakened our military with our Air Force now diminished like no other time as just one example and an administration which has only added fuel to the fire at the “Benghazi Massacre” given calls for increased security and only the promise of this White House to the “locals” to lessen security again despite the calls from our own to enhance security presence and a scenario and now to see Ethiopia and our drone base closed…..hold on to your hats folks as the show is almost ready to really get going and with our brave Patriots at NSA and other intel agencies thrown under the bus….well, it is YOU the People – We the People who can demand accountability so get to it or again, real global conflagration is now very much a promise —

Shock and awe you will regret if you do not call Kerry, Obama and Clinton for their self-serving agenda….and this agenda, far contrary to our Judeo-Christian and support of our Constitution!

God Bless America!

Hold your arms high and for all lawful purpose! This government led by this biased administration cannot be trusted from the White House down to even the Republican and Democrat in Congress and the Senate who play partisan politics instead of honoring their oath in pledge to good ‘ol Glory and our beloved Republic!

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

Comment by William R. Cumming

January 5, 2016 @ 8:08 am

In the vein of FUTUREOLOGY but perhaps not NOSTRADAMUS IMO little is at stake FP [foreign policy] wise by the US Presidential Primaries or the election itself.

For example professional historians have long labeled Islam a WARRIOR CULTURE! Is this accurate or inaccurate?

Did Islam spread by peaceful adoption or violence?

Would it make a difference if there was no Shia/Sunni split?

What is the real role of religion in the views of the candidates for President?

What are the candidates views?

IMO both HRC and Donald Trump are hardliners as to the present need for warfare to solve the world’s most pressing problem of absence of real peace and climate change enforcement. Neither are solid environmentalists IMO!

It is not the fracturing of the American voting population but agreement on priorities that will bring change.

E.G. Should children have enough nutrishious food to grow and thrive?

What does decent, safe, sanitary housing [the HUD charter] for Americans mean?

Do the states really need 95,000 units of local administration?

Should teachers control k-12 education?

Should members of Congress get the almost lifetime tenure they now get?

Should the US have a domestic crisis management chain of command and crisis response system?

Should disaster relief be measured by disaster reduction?

Should protection of Public Health and Safety be in the FEMA charter and perhaps DHS also?

Comment by William R. Cumming

January 5, 2016 @ 8:10 am

By my count there are at least 7 more debates in the Primary season? What has been learned so far in the debates? How the candidates will govern? Or not?

Comment by William R. Cumming

January 5, 2016 @ 1:40 pm

What impact would an WMD attack in the USA have on the 2016 Presidential election?

Did you know the word “catastrophe” is statutorily defined for FEMA and DHS?

Comment by William R. Cumming

January 5, 2016 @ 1:42 pm

I watched the President announce new efforts at gun control in the USA-and wondering what the exact nature of the legal challenge to his efforts will be mounted by the Republicans in Congress?

Comment by Vicki Campbell

January 5, 2016 @ 2:32 pm

The new round of deportations have begun, and Jeh Johnson, the pathetic excuse for a man who heads DHS, and who apparently doesn’t have the moral balls of your average gnat (yes, I’m angry), has offered his typical combination of callous and simultaneously spineless statements about it. From the following brief article below:

“But campaigners say that the focus on removing families underscores the agency’s brutality. ‘DHS is spending more resources hunting 9-year-olds than it does to respond to the blatant violations in its own agency,” said Marisa Franco, director of the national #Not1More Campaign. “These raids are part of a pattern of abuse and intimidation woven into the fabric of the immigration enforcement agency.’

“A year and a half after the President said he wished to make his immigration policy more humane, his agents are rounding up mothers and children with the intent of sending them to likely violence and possible death,” Franco continued. “If there is some political calculation behind this as there usually is, it is disgusting.”

January 04, 2016
by Sarah Lazare

Children Caught In Sweep as Feds Begin Mass Deportations

Over the weekend, at least 121 people from predominantly Central American countries were rounded up by U.S. authorities

The New Year was just hours old when the administration of President Barack Obama began rounding up and deporting at least 121 people, some reportedly as young as four years old, presumably back to the drug wars and violence they are fleeing in predominantly Central American countries.

The coordinated raids over the weekend focused mostly in Georgia, Texas, and North Carolina, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced Monday, and constituted the first wave of mass deportations that could impact up to 15,000 people. The plan was revealed just before the Christmas holiday, which many criticized as particularly inhumane timing.

According to the advocacy organization #Not1More Deportation, in the Atlanta area starting on Saturday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents “barged into homes, even when asked for warrants at the door, removing mothers and children as young as 4 years old.”

“They took away children so young they would’ve needed car seats in their vehicles for them,” said Adelina Nicholls, executive director of the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights, in a statement released on Sunday. “The fear this causes isn’t contained to ICE. It spreads to fear of the police, of local government, especially as ICE tries to get its reach back into local institutions.”

The Los Angeles Times reports that at least 11 families have been taken into custody so far in 2016. DHS says that families are being sent to what are euphemistically referred to as “ICE family residential centers” before being forced to board flights out of the United States.

Most of those targeted in the raids hail from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador—where U.S. policies such as the Central American Free Trade Agreement and American-backed coup in Honduras have worsened the related crises of poverty and violence.

Rights campaigners warn that the U.S. could be deporting people back to a violent and potentially deadly conditions. And indeed, an investigation released by the Guardian in October confirmed at least three cases in which men were murdered soon after being deported by the U.S. government to their hometowns in Honduras.

DHS Secretary Jeh Jonson on Monday sought to justify the mass evictions, which he said impact “adults and their children” who have been “issued final orders of removal.”

“This should come as no surprise,” said Johnson. “I have said publicly for months that individuals who constitute enforcement priorities, including families and unaccompanied children, will be removed.”

But campaigners say that the focus on removing families underscores the agency’s brutality.

“DHS is spending more resources hunting 9-year-olds than it does to respond to the blatant violations in its own agency,” said Marisa Franco, director of the national #Not1More Campaign. “These raids are part of a pattern of abuse and intimidation woven into the fabric of the immigration enforcement agency.”

“A year and a half after the President said he wished to make his immigration policy more humane, his agents are rounding up mothers and children with the intent of sending them to likely violence and possible death,” Franco continued. “If there is some political calculation behind this as there usually is, it is disgusting.”

Comment by William R. Cumming

January 6, 2016 @ 8:41 am

Vicki! Thanks as always for your comments. There actually is a refugee/immigration emergency facing the USA now. Is it not odd that no real bipartisan refugee/immigration national policy has historically driven USA refugee/immigration policy except discrimination and intimidation.

Since events have convinced me that the long time consensus of Anglo historians [and many other Western historians] that Islam is a warrior ethos even though a religion formed in the Western world failure of our political and military leadership to read and understand this also makes me realize refugees/immigrants to the UDSA from north of the Panama Canal [now under control and financing of the PRC [yes Communist China] the USA is probably lucky that largely MESTIZO and Catholic populations of the Western Hemisphere are our problem.

I really cannot underestimate how the US economic royalists ]an FDR phrase and labeling] dominate the Caribean Area and Mexico and Central America.

Admittedly Trump using the code words of an anti-immigrant policy is resonating. He loves to marry white beautiful foreign immigrants and an American woman Marla Maples the exception.

So I would not underestimate his chances even though no one understands exactly who the candidates would bring to power or there tolerance for second opinions and what history, American history has taught them.

And now that American culture labels Asian women as “white” the largest immigration this century will be “white” women. Our sexist and racist culture continues unabated IMO! The fact that HRC is running will reveal a great deal about the standing of women in America and if she wins it will be despite her husband and his record not because of him.

Could be wrong about this as always!

Comment by William R. Cumming

January 6, 2016 @ 8:43 am

An will not write more about the primaries except to note that IMO Donald Trump believes in turning Americ into a Casion economy.

Comment by William R. Cumming

January 6, 2016 @ 8:48 am

Well looking like North Korea may well be a ballistic missile nuclear capable nation-state.

Again the only major policy think tank I know of is the NTI {Nuclear Threat Initiative] started by former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn when he left the U.S. Senate after voting against the Desert Shield/ Desert Storm effort in 1990! As Abe Lincoln is reputed to have stated “I have learned you don’t vote against war in American politics”!

Comment by William R. Cumming

January 6, 2016 @ 8:50 am


Just apply the template of the passage of a century to any WON WAR.

Comment by William R. Cumming

January 6, 2016 @ 11:34 am

Interesting new book and review from SECRECY Blog:


The role of armed forces in an open society may be likened to a potent medicine that is life-saving in the proper dosage but lethal beyond a certain proportion. Military forces have proved to be indispensable for securing the political space in which free institutions can flourish, but they may also trample or destroy those institutions if unconstrained by law and wise leadership.

A rich and thoughtful account of how the U.S. military has protected, supported, clashed with and occasionally undermined constitutional government in this country is presented in the new book “Soldiers on the Home Front: The Domestic Role of the American Military” by William C. Banks and Stephen Dycus (Harvard University Press, 2016).

The authors, who are law professors, trace the role of the military back to its constitutional roots, which are not as precisely defined as they might have been. The Framers of the Constitution “knew that troops would sometimes be needed to help enforce the civilian laws. They just neglected to tell us precisely when.”

And so, Banks and Dyson write, U.S. military forces have played a multiplicity of domestic roles over time, both constructive and abusive.

“In the middle of the twentieth century, [troops] helped integrate Southern schools and universities, and they were sent into cities around the country to help control race riots. Federal forces were also used to suppress political protests during the Vietnam War. All the while, the unique capabilities of the military were welcomed in communities recovering from natural disasters.”

The authors devote chapters to military detention of U.S. citizens, trial by military commission, domestic military intelligence gathering, and the imposition of martial law– each of which is a matter of sometimes astonishing historical fact, not simply of speculative possibility, from Revolutionary times to the Civil War and World War II to our own post-9/11 era.

One of the surprising themes that emerges from “Soldiers on the Home Front” is that even after centuries of legislation, litigation and historical experience, many of the underlying policy questions and some of the basic legal issues remain at least partly unresolved:

“Whether a president has inherent constitutional authority, or may be authorized by Congress, to order the military imprisonment of a civilian without charges, perhaps indefinitely, is a question that has not yet been definitively answered by the courts. As a practical matter, however, the president may do so if no court will intervene.” (p. 116)

“Even after more than two centuries of experience, appropriate limits on military investigations of civilians are ill-defined and controversial.” (p. 167)

“The small number of episodic judicial opinions about martial law have left many questions unanswered. With no mention of martial law in the text of the Constitution, we might have expected Congress to adopt policy for resort to such a drastic measure. But it has so far failed to do so.” (p. 211)

“Ambiguity remains about who in the United States may be imprisoned, upon what grounds, and pursuant to what process.” (p. 249)

“The rules, in other words, are a mess.” (p. 263)

More fundamentally, “Soldiers on the Home Front” reminds us that constitutional values are not self-enforcing, and are liable to be eroded in times of political stress or national emergency. Defending those values is the task of an alert, informed citizenry. This fine book should help.

Comment by William R. Cumming

January 6, 2016 @ 11:40 am

N.B. [note bene] I have been long on record in various forums that the Federal Civil Defense Program puruant to Public Law 920 of the 81st Congress either to lack of brain power or leadership had as its operating principle the belief that the US Armed Forces would be running the U.S.A. indefinitely after a Soviet Strategic Nuclear Attack. My belief is that belief was largely based on ignorance of the U.S. Constitution that requires civilian leadership if it survived or military leadership if it survived to reconstitute civil government in accordance with the Constitution!

Comment by Vicki Campbell

January 6, 2016 @ 12:37 pm

Here’s a brief article by an immigration lawyer about how the recent raids have almost nothing to do with national/homeland security, and is largely a waste of those public monies, which I would argue is typical of DHS in particular. I also think it can largely only be explained as an almost wholly political move, that I think is just too despicable for words. It’s left me wanting to form some kind of online movement organized around boycotting the democratic vote….

From the article:

“Going after the lowest priority cases – families, including children, fleeing horrific terror in Central America – is beyond farcical. What happened to focusing on national security threats (Priority 1) or those with criminal backgrounds (Priority 2)? We expect our law enforcement officers to protect us. For every child they spend our tax dollars to detain and deport, there is one more person with a serious criminal background who walks free.”

“These types of “psyop” announcements only serve to increase distrust of law enforcement among immigrant communities, which weakens the effectiveness of law enforcement itself.”

January 6, 2016
DHS Immigration Raids Reverse Policy of Deporting Felons, Not Families
By Hassan Ahmad

The Department of Homeland Security has begun launching raids against undocumented immigrants with recent orders of deportation. This reversal of prioritization shifts DHS’s focus to those who pose the least threat. The planned raids won’t focus on people with criminal backgrounds, or those who are threats to national security. Instead, they’ll be targeting families fleeing horrifically violent conditions in Central America – people who had no choice but to run.

Despite Donald Trump’s ignorant comments to the contrary, it is not possible to detain and deport every undocumented immigrant. It’s not even a simple matter to determine who is deportable and who isn’t – evinced best, perhaps, by the overworked dockets of immigration judges across the country. That’s why there must be sensible prioritization of removals.

Even as deportation levels reach record numbers, under the Obama administration there has been some shift toward detention and removal of people with criminal backgrounds. Every memorandum laying out prioritization of removal schemes since 2010 has prioritized this category of people. Recent entrants without criminal records were generally considered by DHS relatively lower priority for removal. On November 20, 2014, President Obama announced sweeping executive actions on immigration. One of these was a superseding memorandum revising the prioritization of removals. Under that memo, people with outstanding orders of removal issued after January 1, 2014 would be “Priority 3” – the lowest tier. That memo is still in effect – but these are the people DHS seeks to target after New Year’s.

Going after the lowest priority cases – families, including children, fleeing horrific terror in Central America – is beyond farcical. What happened to focusing on national security threats (Priority 1) or those with criminal backgrounds (Priority 2)? We expect our law enforcement officers to protect us. For every child they spend our tax dollars to detain and deport, there is one more person with a serious criminal background who walks free.

These types of “psyop” announcements only serve to increase distrust of law enforcement among immigrant communities, which weakens the effectiveness of law enforcement itself.

It’s odd that DHS would allow such information to become public so far in advance. On the bright side, it provides an opportunity to advise these families that they do not have to answer the door for ICE unless there’s a warrant; even if there is a warrant, they do not have to talk to ICE agents, or even give their name. They have an absolute right to talk to a lawyer, and that’s absolutely what they should do.

Many people with orders of removal aren’t necessarily at the end of the road. These orders are often improperly issued without due process, leaving them vulnerable to legal challenges . Mislabeled notices, improper service, coercion, and woefully inadequate legal representation are some of the main reasons these orders can be cancelled. For many people DHS seeks to target, deportation can and will be halted.

What, then, is DHS trying to prove, going after children and families? Is this an attempt to “secure the border,” and gain the support of impossible-to-please immigration restrictionists? Calls to “secure the border” are illusory; there are no coherently defined metrics to determine when the border would be secure. (John McCain tried once, saying only “I’ll know it when I see it.”) Meanwhile, Tashfeen Malik slid into the US because there were insufficient resources to properly vet her. Congress’ response? Calls to tighten the K-1 visa program Malik used to enter the US, even though Malik had many other ways to enter the country. Maybe it would be a good idea for DHS to call off these raids, and start employing its resources towards vetting incoming immigrants.

DHS had been moving in the right direction by focusing on high-priority cases. The 2016 raids of families turn sound policy on its head. Deport felons, not families.

Hassan Ahmad is an immigration lawyer in Northern Virginia.

Comment by Vicki Campbell

January 7, 2016 @ 3:13 pm

Bill, Thanks. But I would suggest that there is always at least one winner in any war, and that’s the war profiteers. Like they say: “nothing in war profiteering succeeds like failure.” They also say, “created by the wars that required it, the war machine now creates the wars it requires.”

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