Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

February 12, 2016

Friday Free Forum

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Philip J. Palin on February 12, 2016

William R. Cumming Forum

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Comment by William R. Cumming

February 12, 2016 @ 12:59 am

I always found it of interest that many of the 150+ federal organization agencies have no formal centralized statistical unit so suggest a Congress that seems to love metrics add a few.

Also what statistics are kept often controlled by OMB.

See next comment.

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 12, 2016 @ 1:11 am

Here is a link to OMB Circular A-87:


It is the key financial control guidance on overhead costs for grants to States and their local governments.

IMO Flint is only one community in Michigan with drinking water issues and appears that OMB A87 allows the states to manipulate overhead rates on federal grant administration thereby reducing greatly outlays to the local governments.

Yet in the Congressional hearings on Flint not much discussion of budgeting a full response.

My suggestion is scrapping OMB A-87 and allowing a flat percentage overhead rate on all federal grants to states and a flat administrative percentage to the state’s subgrantees.

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 12, 2016 @ 1:20 am

My bad! I have been using for sometime the number of 4100 counties for the USA but in fact it is more like 3100!

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 12, 2016 @ 1:27 am

Wiki extract:

Federalism in the United States is the constitutional relationship between U.S. state governments and the federal government of the United States. Since the founding of the country, and particularly with the end of the American Civil War, power shifted away from the states and towards the national government. The progression of federalism includes Dual federalism, state centered federalism, and new federalism.

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 12, 2016 @ 1:36 am

Can and should federal power be delegated to a State or States?

In my opinion part of the confusion in adopting and implementing HS and EM policy in the USA is confused notions of federalism. Having watched most of the 2016 debates I don’t remember federalism being discussed yet many of the problems candidates have targeted involve federalism. For example, should each state receive at least roughly the same level of funding that its citizens and residents have to pay federal taxes?

Should all federal mandates on the states be funded fully by the federal government? And there is no accurate list of federal mandates on the states. Nor has SCOTUS applied the entirety of the Bill of Rights to the States [principally by use of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution]!

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 12, 2016 @ 1:38 am

I have long advocated a federalism impact statement TBD [to be developed] for each federal bill just as the CBO provides a budget impact statement for each enrolled bill.

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 12, 2016 @ 1:45 am

Some may wonder at this confusion of comments by me but it is because HS and EM are largely lobbied heavily not by private corporations but by the States and their local governments.

And some may wish to discuss federal standard setting in the HS and EM context. DHS and FEMA have almost NO legal standard setting authority as their Constituional source is not the COMMERCE CLAUSE but the so-called Tax and Spend Clause [Article I, Section 8].

Nor are the words PUBLIC SAFETY or PUBLIC HEALTH AND WELFARE mentioned in the DHS and FEMA charter documents. Is this oversight or intentional? No one knows IMO!

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 12, 2016 @ 1:57 am

My FP link for the week:


Comment by William R. Cumming

February 12, 2016 @ 1:21 pm

RE: Flint


Comment by William R. Cumming

February 13, 2016 @ 6:24 am

Some are estimating $12 Trillion spend directly or indirectly on the GWOT [Global War on Terror-now a term banished from offspeak {official speak in Washington}] by the US government and State and Local governments since 9/11/2001. Apparently full documentation of that spending and the results.

What exactly did Presidents Bush and Obama spend? Any links? IMO the level of PREPAREDNESS today of all levels of government in the U.S.A. is now lower overall than on 9/10/2001! Any pro or con arguments?

And how many argue that a full armored Brigade is adequate to defend against Russian ambitions in Eastern Europe?

Prediction- the UK will Britexit the EU in this decade!

Did you know that Mexican-Americans and Cuban-Americans are rivals in America?

Over the next few months on this blog will announce my views on how the Congress should reorganize itself to be a more effective/efficient overseer of the federal executive Branch of government.

And the federal judiciary is now understaffed and underfunded by about 50% of its actual needs. As is the best of the Uniformed Services in the U.S. Government-the United States Coast Guard [formed during WWI 1916]!

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 13, 2016 @ 6:26 am

What are the primary missions and goals of DHS? And are they based in statutes that have become law since 9/11/01?

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 14, 2016 @ 6:33 am

Capital Flight undermines Homeland Security IMO!

All og tyhe over two hundred nation-states members of the UN must worry about Homeland Security regardless of forms of governance ore economic systems.


Comment by William R. Cumming

February 14, 2016 @ 12:29 pm

Hugo Black=Liberal=Originalist;


Like the Bible the CONSTITUTION eye of the beholder?

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 14, 2016 @ 12:32 pm

Cold here!

Storm headed east:


Comment by William R. Cumming

February 15, 2016 @ 9:09 am

Associate Justice of SCOTUS Hugo Black- not liberal or conservative- formed the Constitutional intrepretion doctine of ORIGINALISM slavishly followed by Associate Justice Antonina Scalia.

The loss of SCALIA may be the loss of two votes onn SCOTUS since Associate Justice Clarence Thomas joined Scalia in 95% of the SCOTUS rulings they particpated in together-majority opinions, concurrences and dissents. While both those judges are CATHOLIC to my knowledge neither reflected the Catholic Doctrine of NATURAL LAW!

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 15, 2016 @ 9:17 am

Wiki Extract:

Thomas Aquinas, is the leading proponent of natural law.

Natural law is a philosophy that certain rights or values are inherent by virtue of human nature and universally cognizable through human reason. Historically, natural law refers to the use of reason to analyze both social and personal human nature to deduce binding rules of moral behavior. The law of nature, being determined by nature, is universal.

Although natural law is often conflated with common law, the two are distinct. Common law is not based on inherent rights, but is the legal tradition whereby certain rights or values are legally recognized by virtue of already having judicial recognition or articulation. Natural law is often contrasted with the human-made laws (positive law) of a given political community, society, or state.

In legal theory, the interpretation of a human-made law requires some reference to natural law. On this understanding of natural law, natural law can be invoked to criticize judicial decisions about what the law says, but not to criticize the best interpretation of the law itself. Some jurists and scholars use natural law synonymously with natural justice or natural right (Latin ius naturale), while others distinguish between natural law and natural right.

Natural law theories have exercised a profound influence on the development of English common law. Declarationism, a legal philosophy, argues that the founding of the United States is based on natural law. Because of the intersection between natural law and natural rights, natural law has been cited as a component in the United States Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States, as well as in the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. (See “Laws of Nature” First Paragraph Declaration of Independence Within the American Declaration of Independence, building on natural law, philosophies such as Consent of the Governed replaced the Old World Governance Doctrine of the Divine Right of Kings. These philosophies like social contract theory came of age during the age of enlightenment through individuals such as John Locke, but these ideas can be found in Roman law, Greek philosophy and ancient Buddhist texts.

Natural law theories have featured greatly in the philosophies of Thomas Aquinas, Alberico Gentili, Francisco Suárez, Richard Hooker, Thomas Hobbes, Hugo Grotius, Samuel von Pufendorf, John Locke, Francis Hutcheson, Jean Jacques Burlamaqui, Emmerich de Vattel, Cesare Beccaria and Francesco Mario Pagano.

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 15, 2016 @ 10:32 am

Wiki Extract:

In political science, statism is the belief that the state should control either economic or social policy, or both, to some degree. Statism is effectively the opposite of anarchism, an individual who supports the existence of the state is a statist.

The term “statism” was introduced to American political discourse by the writer Ayn Rand in a series of articles in 1962. Since that time, it has been adopted for use by other political analysts.

1 Forms of statism
2 State, society and individuals
3 Economic statism
3.1 State interventionism
3.2 State socialism
3.3 State capitalism
4 See also
5 References

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 15, 2016 @ 10:35 am

Would Bernie Sanders be better off shedding the term DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST?

I am now flatly predicting that neither HRC, Bernie, or Joe Biden will be the next president of the U.S.A.!

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 15, 2016 @ 2:09 pm

Republicans overplay their hands. Dems misplay their hands.

The Scalia demise has many side benefits IMO but also perhaps unusual secondary and tertiary impacts.

First, assume the DEMS win in November. Probably several appointments to SCOTUS in the next term.

Second, suppose the Republicans win the WH? They will need the Senate and 5 of the Republican Senators up for re-election were in states that President Obama won once or twice. But fighting President Obama conclusively demonstrates IMO their short term lack of strategy and vision. THIS WILL HELP THE DEMS IN NOVEMBER IMO!

The biggest domestic issue IMO is tax reform and all candidates of all parties have their versions on their websites except Trump who promises his before July!

The biggest FP issue is when to involve the US not in civil wars but regime change. Do you know where the candidates of both parties stand?

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 15, 2016 @ 2:10 pm

Bernie IMO should have self-labeled as a democratic progressive not a democratic socialist.

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 15, 2016 @ 2:12 pm

Washington gossip saying HRC and /or her subordinates being referred to the Public Integrity Section of DoJ before the Convention. Violations of 18 USC Sections 923 and 1920!

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 15, 2016 @ 2:15 pm

John Brennan, CIA Director, in TV 60 Minute interview states flatly ISIS/ISIL far more dangerous than AQA and UBL and better financed and more competent.

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 16, 2016 @ 5:12 am

BTW FEMA before entry into DHS on March 1st, 2003, had 11 PAS slots. These are Senate Confirmed Presidential appointees. Now there are 8. And it had 62 SES positions [both career and non-career]. Now less than 20. Yes, the new FEMA!

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 17, 2016 @ 2:56 am

Why has SCOTUS become silent on FEDERALISM policy and issues? Former Associate Justice Sandra Day O’Connor was the court’s expert on federalism. She served in a state legislature-Arizona.

We have a federal system. but many of the conservatives on this SCOTUS are in fact STATEISTS IMO!

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 17, 2016 @ 3:02 am

Wiki Extract:

Sandra Day O’Connor (born March 26, 1930) is a retired associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, serving from her appointment in 1981 by Ronald Reagan until her retirement in 2006. She was the first woman to be appointed to the Court.

Prior to O’Connor’s appointment to the Court, she was an elected official and judge in Arizona serving as the first female Majority Leader in the United States as the Republican leader in the Arizona Senate. On July 1, 2005, she announced her intention to retire effective upon the confirmation of a successor. Samuel Alito was nominated to take her seat in October 2005, and joined the Court on January 31, 2006.

Considered a federalist and a moderate conservative, O’Connor tended to approach each case narrowly without arguing for sweeping precedents. She most frequently sided with the court’s conservative bloc, although in the latter years of her tenure, she was regarded as having the swing opinion in many cases. Her unanimous confirmation by the Senate in 1981 was supported by most conservatives, led by Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater, and liberals, including Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy and women’s rights groups like the National Organization for Women.

O’Connor was Chancellor of The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, and served on the board of trustees of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She also served on the Board of Trustees for Colonial Williamsburg. Several publications have named O’Connor among the most powerful women in the world. On August 12, 2009, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor of the United States, by President Barack Obama.

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 17, 2016 @ 3:07 am

Wicki Extract:

In political science, statism is the belief that the state should control either economic or social policy, or both, to some degree. Statism is effectively the opposite of anarchism.And an individual who supports the existence of the state is a statist.

The term “statism” was introduced to American political discourse by the writer Ayn Rand in a series of articles in 1962. Since that time, it has been adopted for use by other political analysts.

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 17, 2016 @ 12:59 pm

CRS re: Flint!


Comment by William R. Cumming

February 18, 2016 @ 6:20 am

Looks like at least $9-20 billion requested in the 2017 FY budget request for cybersecurity by the Obama Administration!

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 24, 2016 @ 5:05 am

Trump having lived through 9/11/01 and Storm Sandy starting to wonder about Trump’s interest in HS and EM?

Wiki Extract:

Donald John Trump (born June 14, 1946) is an American business owner and media personality. He is the chairman and president of The Trump Organization and the founder of Trump Entertainment Resorts. Trump’s career, branding efforts, personal life, wealth, and outspoken manner have made him famous throughout the United States. Since June 2015, he is also a candidate for the Republican nomination for President of the United States in the 2016 election.

Trump is a native of New York City and a son of Fred Trump, who inspired him to enter real estate development. After two years at Fordham University and while studying at Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Trump worked for his father’s firm, Elizabeth Trump & Son. Upon graduating in 1968 he joined the company, and in 1971 was given control, renaming the company “The Trump Organization”. Since then he has built hotels, golf courses, and other properties, many of which bear his name. He is a major figure in the American business scene and has received prominent media exposure. The NBC reality show The Apprentice bolstered his fame, and his three marriages were extensively reported in tabloids.

Trump ran for President of the United States once before: In 2000, he conducted an exploratory campaign and won two Reform Party primaries. In June 2015, Trump announced his candidacy for president in the 2016 election, and his campaign for the Republican nomination has drawn widespread media coverage partly due to his controversial statements and policy positions. Free media coverage, contributions and campaign self-financing have enabled him to eschew the super PAC model. He has consistently been the front-runner in public opinion polls for the Republican nomination, running on a populist platform that appeals to the concerns of working-class voters who feel displaced by job losses and other issues. Trump’s politically incorrect anti-illegal-immigration politics, and concentration on terrorism and national security concerns, have garnered support among working-class voters as well as opposition from a number of Hispanics/Latinos, Muslims, business leaders, Democrats, Republicans, foreign leaders and the Pope.

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 24, 2016 @ 5:12 am

A thought on immigration! Most estimate the population of the U.S. at end of this Century somewhere between 400-450 million both from natural increase and legal and illegal immigration. And seems to be a consensus building that a four-foot sea level rise by end of century almost guaranteed. One federal program, and only one, IMO has labeled locational decisions an item of federal interest. The NFIP [National Flood Insurance Program]!

What should be the federal role in locational decisions involving the built environment?

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 25, 2016 @ 6:17 am


Did you know the very very important California shipping points were largely built and expanded without analysis of the earthquake risk?

And N.B. the following:

The Nicaraguan parliament has approved plans for a Chinese company to build a 173-mile canal through Nicaragua. According to the deal, the company will also be responsible for operating and maintaining the canal for a 50-year period. Construction began on this project in December 2014. The government of Nicaragua hopes this will boost the economy, but the opposition is deeply concerned with its massive environmental impact. Hundreds of thousands of local residents will be displaced by the canal and nearly a million acres of delicate ecosystems will be destroyed by the time construction is complete in early 2019.

On July 7, 2014, Wang Jing, chairman of the HK Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Co. Ltd. (HKND Group), during a discussion group with students from the National Engineering University in Managua, advised that a route for Nicaragua’s proposed canal has been approved. The construction work began in December 2014 and is projected by HKND to take 5 years


Comment by William R. Cumming

February 25, 2016 @ 6:19 am

A trap for Republicans?

Suppose Ruth Bader Ginsberg retires or dies this year and creates another SCOTUS vacancy? The magnificent seven?

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 25, 2016 @ 6:20 am

I will be voting super-Tuesday here in Virginia!

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