A Nation In Distress

A Nation In Distress

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Is Law Enforcement Becoming Militarized?

From The New American and Liberty Pulse:

Is Law Enforcement Becoming Militarized?

Several days ago, the home of former Marine and Iraq combat veteran Jose Guerena was raided by local sheriffs in Pima County, Arizona, who were attempting to execute a narcotics search warrant. Unfortunately, the manner in which the SWAT team invaded Guerena’s home prompted Guerena to reach for his gun to protect himself and his family. Sheriffs then shot off 71 rounds and hit Guerena with 22, killing him. The department has officially taken responsibility for the fatal shooting. According to Politico, the tragedy is just one of many examples that prove law enforcement in the United States has been militarized.

For example, Pima County released several documents and a video related to the raid that may lend some evidence to Politico’s claim. A statement issued by the SWAT Supervisor involved indicates that after the SWAT team entered Guerena’s home, one or two “operators” were left with the body while the rest of the home was searched.

Politico writes that the use of the term “operators” is indicative of the militarization of the police:

“Operator” is a term of art in the special operations community. Green Berets, SEALs and other special operations personnel often refer to themselves as operators. It’s a recognition of both the elite standards of their units and the hybrid nature of their duties — part soldier, part spy, part diplomat. But importing operator terminology into domestic law enforcement is not a benign turn of the phrase.

Perceiving yourself as an operator plasters over the difference between a law enforcement officer serving a warrant and a commando in a war zone. The former Mirandizes, the latter vaporizes, as the saying goes — and as the recent Osama bin Laden raid vividly illustrated.

As noted by Politico, the war on drugs has in many ways served as a catalyst that transformed local law enforcement into virtual combat troops.

For example, in May 2010, a SWAT team in Columbia, Missouri invaded the home of Jonathon Whitworth, shooting and killing Whitworth’s dog in the presence of Whitworth’s small child. The home invasion resulted in the minor recovery of a grinder, pipe, and small amount of marijuana. Whitworth was arrested on misdemeanor charges. Though a minor example in comparison to what took place at the Guerena home, it certainly highlights what is increasingly showing itself to be a failure on the part of law enforcement to mitigate damages.

Dave Kopel made similar assertions in the National Review on May 22, 2000 regarding the war on drugs and its impact on law enforcement:

Because of the war on drugs, law enforcement throughout the U.S. has been militarized. The Founding Fathers worked hard to prevent oppression by standing armies, but the militarization of law enforcement is making more and more Americans subject to precisely the kind of violence the Founders worried about.

The Los Angeles police department started the trend in the 1960s when future police chief Daryl Gates created the first Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team. Gates had originally wanted to call it a "Special Weapons Attack Team," but changed the name for public-relations purposes.

In the 1980s, violent home invasions under the pretext of drug-law enforcement became routine. In 1988, for example, LAPD officers, including members of the department's task force on gangs, broke into and destroyed four apartments on Dalton Avenue; the apartments were suspected to be crack dens, but in fact were not. The officers who participated in the raid were promoted.

The police in Fresno, Calif., have taken the next step: The Fresno SWAT team now deploys a full-time patrol unit, in complete battle gear. According to criminologist Peter Kraska, the Fresno police department considers the SWAT patrol an "unqualified success," and "is encouraging other police agencies to follow suit."

Kraska also notes that "perhaps as many as 20 percent" of police departments in cities with a population over 50,000 have already put their own paramilitary units into street police work. In many cases, money for these deployments comes from "community policing" grants from the federal government.

The judicial branch has even served to defend this abuse of police power. Recently, the Supreme Court in Indiana ruled that citizens “have no right to reasonably resist unlawful entry [to their homes] by police officers.” In the decision, Justice Steven David admitted, “The English common-law right to resist unlawful police action existed for over three hundred years, and some scholars trace its origin to the Magna Carta in 1215.” However, he adds, “We conclude that public policy disfavors any such right.”

Unfortunately, police indiscretion has not been limited to drug arrests.

In May, Pastor Brett Coronado of Hemet Calvary Chapel was arrested, along with church elders Mark Mackey and Edmond Flores, Jr., for conducting a public Bible reading at the entrance to a local Department of Motor Vehicles office.

Two weeks ago, several people were arrested at the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C. for dancing. The Huffington Post writes:

The dancers were protesting an appeals court ruling handed down last week that the national monuments are places for reflection and contemplation -- and that dancing distracted from such an experience.

In 2008, Mary Brooke Oberwetter and a group of friends went to the Jefferson to commemorate the president's 265th birthday by dancing silently, while listening to music on headphones. Park Police ordered the revelers to disperse and arrested them when they did not.

On May 17, the appeals court ruled that Oberwetter’s conduct was prohibited “because it stands out as a type of performance, creating its own center of attention and distracting from the atmosphere of solemn commemoration.”

In protest of the ruling, several Americans gathered at the Memorial on Saturday, May 28, and began to dance. A number of arrests were made as a result, and the dancers were charged with demonstrating without a permit.

Many law enforcement officers, in an effort to serve and protect the public, have seemingly forgotten that the United States Constitution remains the law of the land. It would bode well for the American people if the Constitution was taught closely and carefully to officers in training so that incidents such as that involving Guerena or the dancers at the Jefferson Memorial do not take place in a free land.

Mexican Troops Cross U.S. Border At Laredo

From Personal Liberty Digest:

Mexican Troops Cross U.S. Border

June 27, 2011 by Personal Liberty News Desk


Mexican troops crossed the U.S. border via the Juarez-Lincoln Bridge, also known as International Bridge Two, at Laredo, Texas.

Mexican troops in three trucks crossed the U.S. border on Thursday in what is a violation of international law.

The incursion, which occurred at International Bridge Two at Laredo, Texas, was reported by KGNS-TV. A photo on the station’s website shows gun-wielding soldiers riding in the back of three military pickups.

“Mexican leaders say the soldiers, who had just been deployed to Neuevo Laredo, didn’t know the area, got lost and then made their way through Bridge Two,” according to the television report.

In a separate story, KGNS-TV reported that several hundred Mexican soldiers and marines were in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, in an effort to combat drug cartels and the city is under martial law.

“More troops are expected to move into the city to beef up security, and it’s not just in Nuevo Laredo but the whole state of Tamaulipas,” the television station reported. “Last week demonstrators took to the bridges to protest the military presence. Many claim those holding signs and chanting ‘no more military’ were paid as much as $100 a day by the cartel members to protest at the bridges.

“Drug cartels don’t want that information out; therefore, the Mexican media is not reporting it.”

Will Looters Target You?

From Personal Liberty Digest:

Will Looters Target You?

June 27, 2011 by David Morris


An easy way to protect your home is to buy a high-end bolt lock.

Protecting your property — whether your home, your animals or your garden — is key, especially if there’s been a breakdown in civil order.

A reader asked: “What is the best way to misdirect potential thieves and looters from your property?”

Another reader said: “We’re in a rural setting, we’ve got chickens and, depending on the season, a garden that would make an inviting target. We’re currently in the process of hardening the house proper, but we still have sheds, a chicken coop and a workshop to keep in mind. I’d rather people just pass us by than have to fight anyone off.”

Protection is something everyone needs to consider, no matter his level of preparedness. I’ll cover the urban situation first.

Misdirecting Thieves And Looters

In short, make sure your neighbors look like better targets than you do. Criminals are creatures of opportunity and will, in general, pick the targets that offer the most potential reward in exchange for the least potential risk.

Also, look at your house as if you were a thief. Do you have a big-screen TV, a gun case or other valuables in plain view through your windows? If so, move the items so they aren’t easily visible.

If you have an alarm system, make sure you have signs advertising the fact and use your alarm. It won’t stop a truly determined home invader, but it will give you a few seconds’ advanced warning. If you don’t have an alarm, consider getting one or at least getting alarm stickers.

While you’re looking at your house through the eyes of a thief, do you see any places where you could hide — either because of bushes or because of shadows? One of the most basic things you should do is to add lighting with motion sensors on the approaches to your house. Also, consider clearing out the bushes that provide concealment or replacing them with roses or other thorny bushes.

The next thing is to look at your doors. Do they look secure? Is the bolt lock a high-end one or the $12 special from Home Depot that lock-pickers use for practice when they first start picking locks?

How about your windows? Fragile antique windows may look great architecturally, but they are also very inviting to someone who wants to break in. If replacing old windows isn’t an option, install some inexpensive alarms, back up old locks with a piece of wood or PVC cut to size to prevent someone from opening the window from the outside and apply security film.

Perhaps most important, look at your house and the other houses in your area and see which you would try to rob first. Which would be last on your list? Is your house closer to the top of the list or the bottom of the list? You may be able to get away with having valuables visible through your windows if you have Rottweilers, German shepherds, pit bulls or other guard-type dogs in the house or in the front yard.

If you find yourself in an urban-survival situation, you not only want to look like a bad target from the outside, you probably want to make sure you don’t look like a target to people who are inside your house.

You can accomplish this by separating and hiding as much of your survival provisions as possible so that, if need be, you can actually let people into your house to show them you don’t have much food or supplies worth stealing. This obviously isn’t an ideal scenario, but it is a realistic one when you’re dealing with hungry friends.

Historically, almost no urban-survival situation has been a “Mad Max”-type scenario. Instead, they are long-term, extremely fluid scenarios in which people are dying of starvation and struggling to get by in close proximity to healthy people who have jobs and food.

When most people think of survival, they think of a dramatic, instant, across-the-board breakdown in civilization in which people are eating one another within three to four days. Again, history proves this just doesn’t happen. One of the biggest reasons is because the majority of people will simply act like zombies and do nothing, unless they’re told to do something by an authority figure. They don’t know how to make decisions, they don’t know how to take initiative, and they sure as heck don’t know how to spend their time and resources in a way that improves their chances of surviving.

There’s no doubt that a complete breakdown is possible, but this melting pot of people in completely different phases of desperation living near each other is probable and requires a completely different approach.

In these in-between scenarios, you can reduce your risk of becoming a target by simply hiding the fact that you have supplies to steal.

This will be much harder to do with generators, solar panels, deep-cycle battery arrays and other large items, but the principle of hiding everything you can holds true.

Survival In The Country

If you have chickens, you might need to have a plan to move them inside your house if things get unstable. Again, your options are to hide them, increase deterrents or have a 24/7 watch.

If you need to protect a garden, there are a few options; but none of them are really easy. One would be adding a skylight to your garage or attic and switching over to a hydroponic or aeroponic garden.

Another would be surrounding your garden with weeds to disguise it.

A third strategy is to make sure you don’t plant things that will scream: “Food!” As an example, carrots blend in with green weeds because the orange is underground, but tomatoes stick out because the red is aboveground and visible from a considerable distance.

Keep in mind that it’s very difficult to grow enough food to provide all of the calories you need if you’re gardening part-time.

Considering the number of calories you’ll need and the amount of time it takes to maintain and protect the garden, combined with the potential shortage of water, fertilizer, pesticides and herbicides, it’s a 50/50 bet at best whether you will get enough food to survive or just end up wasting a lot of time trying. Add in vitamin, mineral and fiber requirements, and you start to see how big of a challenge this really is.

If you already live off your own garden, this doesn’t apply. But if you don’t have a garden or if you are just a hobby gardener and expect to be able to flip a switch and start growing everything you need to survive while adjusting to civilization breaking down and doing something to earn money at the same time, you might want to rethink your plan.

A better approach may be to switch to medicinal herbs or native edible plants that are low-maintenance. Plant native vegetables that grow easily and have low water requirements. A bonus is that they blend in and don’t look like food to passers-by.

This brings up an important point. Even if you have chickens, a garden and a rural location, you still need to have a good supply of food in the event of a breakdown in civil order.

Even without having to defend against looters and thieves, chickens get sick and predators get hungry. Bugs come, hail happens and, sometimes, gardens just don’t grow the way you expect them to or that they have in seasons past.

U.S. Houses Aren’t Made To Withstand A Determined Attack

Determined, focused attackers aren’t going to mess around with your doors and windows. If they want you badly enough, they’ll launch Molotov cocktails with a water balloon launcher over your neighbors’ house and smoke you out.

If they want your stuff, all they have to do is drive a truck through one of your exterior walls and use smoke, gas grenades or a mix of household chlorine and ammonia to take care of you.

Both readers wanted to learn how to “misdirect” thieves and looters instead of how to make an impenetrable fortress. They were spot on that a better approach is to do whatever you can to stay invisible, and that’s one of the points I hit repeatedly in the SurviveInPlace.com Urban Survival course.

If a fight comes to your front door in a survival situation and you have to defend yourself against a lethal-force attack, you’re setting yourself up to likely spend time in jail or looking out for people who want revenge.

I’m not suggesting you let people steal from you. I’m saying you should try to do whatever you can to keep from being a target thieves think is worth hitting.

What thoughts do you have for these two scenarios? What operational security measures are you using to keep your preparations under wraps? Do you have any “wicked-smart” strategies for hiding livestock and gardens from passers-by? What’s your top survival and preparedness question that you’d like David to answer in an upcoming article? Let us know by commenting below or by contacting David directly at: http://secretsofurbansurvival.com/contact-us/

The Robber Barons

From Persoanl Liberty Digest:

The Robber Barons

June 27, 2011 by Bob Livingston


Eight weeks ago, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the job market was gradually improving. He was wrong.

Ben Bernanke is stumped.

That’s what the Federal Reserve chairman told The Associated Press last week. The AP report said:

“Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke told reporters Wednesday that the central bank had been caught off guard by recent signs of deterioration in the economy. And he said the troubles could continue into next year.

‘We don’t have a precise read on why this slower pace of growth is persisting,’ Bernanke said. He said the weak housing market and problems in the banking system might be ‘more persistent than we thought.’”

I thought he was the smartest guy in the room. But eight weeks ago, he was singing a different tune. He said then that the job market was gradually improving.

Since then, unemployment has gone up. It was at 9.1 percent in May. New jobless claims hit a seasonally adjusted 429,000 for the week of June 13. (It’s topped 400,000 for 11 straight weeks.) And the Fed has revised its forecast for economic growth this year down to a range of 2.7 percent to 2.9 percent from its April estimate of 3.1 percent to 3.3 percent.

The economy grew only 1.8 percent in the first three months of 2011. That, of course, is not what the Fed expected. Back in January, Charles Plosser, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, told The Hill newspaper that the economy “could expand by 4 percent and interest rates may need to go up.”

Does anyone see a pattern here? Isn’t it time for Bernanke and company to admit they haven’t a clue?

Trillions of dollars of spending money created out of thin air in the form of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), bailouts, loans to banksters — both foreign and domestic — and stimulus haven’t changed the economic situation. Throwing more fiat money at the problem has made it worse.

Who knew? Lots of people, but none of them subscribe to the same Keynesian philosophy that Bernanke, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and the economic advisers to the Presidents — Barack Obama and those before him — subscribe to.

Some of us saw this coming long ago. In February 2008, I wrote in my monthly newsletter, The Bob Livingston Letter™:

“The focus of the Federal Reserve is on preventing the collapse of the financial balloon.

“There is no free market solution to the credit collapse. More likely we are witnessing a de facto nationalization of the banking system in which massive profits flow to the private sector while big losses accrue to the public, as always.

“The banking system is insolvent or on the verge of insolvency. The Fed will be voicing repeated concerns about inflation while sacrificing the savers of the world to salvage the banking system.

“We will float on paper money. Buy gold and silver!

“Up to now, gold has served mainly as a bet against the dollar and U.S. policy failures, but just ahead, gold will be a strong bet against all fiat globalism. Gold is a tremendous alternative to political foolishness. We sit in the middle of a spectacular finale in the next two to three years.

“In 2008, I expect silver to glitter maybe at an all time nominal high.

“The planners are managing a silent and invisible reduction in the American living standard.

“Be forewarned!”

In the March 2008 Letter I wrote:

“When central banks expand the money supply, it gives rise to the consumption of goods of every description, which is not preceded by production (and savings). It leads silently to less means of sustenance. As long as the pool of funding continues to expand, loose monetary policies give the impression that economic activity is being boosted. It is a great illusion to all but the sober.

“In reality, economic activity is not boosted and to some it becomes apparent. Once this happens, the economy begins its downward plunge. Then the most aggressive expansion of the money supply will not reverse the plunge.

“This foretells that the end of the financial system is near. At that point you will need your precious metals to survive.

“Some things will rise big in price, like food, fuel and commodities. While homes will go down for some time, bailouts and foreclosures will last for years. Precious metals will keep going up!

“Under cover of this financial crisis, I expect a vast nationwide expenditure for infrastructure like highways and bridges. This is badly needed in the U.S. now.”

In the January 2009 Letter I wrote:

“Paper money expands consumption way beyond income. This eventually guarantees debt collapse and social breakdown. The foundation of the household collapses and the middle class is destroyed. Paper money is an illusion and illusory because it is non-substance and can be created by the government to infinity. When the people accept numbers on green strips of paper or computer symbols for money, they accept illusion for reality.”

In the May 2009 Letter I wrote:

“Bubbles and bailouts are not paid for with gold and silver. They are paid for with printing press money, which dilutes your savings and retirement funds. So who are the heroes of bubbles and bailouts? The short answer is, the money creators. They are presiding over and benefiting from the greatest transfer of wealth in history, with the almost certain guarantee that they will never be found out because they are operating above the threshold of perceived reality.

“We should, of course, know that every new dollar that the money creators create dilutes every dollar already created. They are using non-substance, fiat, that costs them nothing and exchanging it for substance in the form of capital assets. This is a transfer of wealth by definition. This depreciating fiat is impoverishing all who hold dollar assets.”

This article was reprinted in January 2010 here, if you’d like to read it in its entirety.

I point these out not to toot my horn or present myself as a sage, but to show that some of us understand what is going on. I’m not alone.

In his 2007 book, Crash Proof: How to Profit from the Coming Economic Collapse, Peter D. Schiff wrote, “The real estate bubble, easily the worst speculative episode in American history, has been artificially propping up the entire national economy. The unwinding will cause havoc reaching well beyond the stakeholders directly involved.”

In an article for the Ludwig von Mises Institute titled The Rescue Package Will Delay Recovery, adjunct scholar Frank Shostak wrote:

“(T)he rescue package cannot prevent so-called economic disruptions. If anything, government intervention would make these disruptions much worse. Again, a better alternative is to let the market do the job. The market’s ability to make swift adjustments without much drama was vividly illustrated only a few weeks ago when the very large investment bank, Lehman Brothers, was allowed to go belly up. The world did not come to an end. Instead, this was a healthy development. A money loser was eliminated from the market. This freed up resources to promote growth.”

The only statesman left in Washington, D.C., Representative Ron Paul (R-Texas), has been preaching a similar message to deaf ears for many years. For that, the mainstream media and elite “economists” have labeled him a crackpot and worked overtime to marginalize him, even as his warnings have proven true.

To the Obama haters, the blame is not his alone. The problems began long before Obama entered the scene. Former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan had a lot to do with it. Bernanke has perpetuated it. President George W. Bush set much in motion. Obama doubled down. But the roots are much deeper, reaching to 1913 and perpetuated through the years.

What they’ve done is set in motion the collapse.

Bernanke and his advisers, Obama and his advisers, Representatives Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and their advisers are all cut from the same cloth. Is it any wonder that those who advocated the policies that brought us where we are say they don’t know what to do to fix it? To change course would be to admit their past lies.

Reality is far different. They know what to do but they’re saying what they need to say for public consumption. Meanwhile, the robber barons continue their work.

Dis-Order At the Border

From Human Events:

Disorder at the Border

by Audrey Hudson


[This article was originally published in the June 27 issue of Human Events newspaper.]

An endangered pronghorn antelope wears a collar as part of a recovery program in the Sonoran Desert.

As we earlier reported (June 13 Human Events page 12), Environmental rules are hampering Border Patrol operations near the Mexican border, even as the agency doles out millions in taxpayer dollars meant to offset damage to endangered species.

Because of a pond inhabited by endangered pupfish, Border Patrol officers can use their vehicles to pursue illegal aliens only if the chase stays on the main road. If the pursuit veers into a 42-acre sector near the pond, officers must continue the chase on foot or horseback.

Pupfish aren’t the only critters confounding the Border Patrol. There’s also the Chiricahua leopard frog, Mexican spotted owl, lesser long-nosed bat, Pima pineapple cactus and Sonoran Pronghorn antelope.

And then there’s a small cat called the ocelot that some critics say hasn’t even been seen in the area for 15 years.

Border Patrol agents can’t drive vehicles into designated Wilderness areas, as well as certain areas of national parks and monuments.

Agreements between the Homeland Security and Interior Departments on how best to protect the ecosystem are frustrating lawmakers who say they also prevent agents from conducting routine patrols.

Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) has committed or spent more than $9.8 million for environmental mitigation and the price tag could go as high as $50 million, according to a document obtained by Human Events.

“CBP has expended considerable funding directly on mitigation and related activities, such as surveys and habitat restoration,” according to the Homeland Security document responding to a congressional inquiry.

Fiscal year 2008 is listed as one example. “ CBP expended more than $8 million on surveys and mitigation efforts to benefit 33 species listed as threatened or endangered,” the document said.

Included in the price tag: $2.1 million for the cats, $980,000 for the bats and $811,000 for the pronghorn.

Drug cartels and other criminals could care less about trampling through a protected species’ habitat, Rep. Rob Bishop (R.-Utah) told Human Events.

“They would just as soon eat an endangered species as protect it,” Bishop said.

The Wilderness Act prohibits the Border Patrol from entering 4.3 million wilderness acres in a vehicle or by helicopter.

The Mexican spotted owl is just one of the endangered species along the border that is being protected at the expense of our border agents' safety.

Bats and Fish Trump Security

“If you ask the supervisors and managers if this has an impact on operations, they will tell you, ‘Hell yes,’” said Kent Lundgren, communications manager of the National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers.

The Border Patrol respects the desire of environmental groups and land managers to protect environmental species, Lundgren said.

“But along the border, national security and public safety ought to trump anything else,” Lundgren said.

Environmentalists disagree.

They argue that border patrols can negatively affect the environment, including loss of foraging habitat, disturbance from nighttime lights and noise associated with construction of towers and border fences, generators and helicopter landings.

And the government agrees, so far the Homeland Security Department has forked over $8 million to the Interior Department to mitigate impacts from fence construction and other security measures.

According to those agencies, a large chunk of that money will fund studies on threatened or endangered fish, sheep and bats.

The Interior Department (DOI) also wants $22 million to purchase land for the ocelot, saying fence construction noise and lighting along the Lower Rio Grande would negatively affect the species, according to a congressional aide.

The last-known sighting of the ocelot was in 1996, the aide added.

More than 95% of all species that have ever existed are now extinct, according to the Danish environmental author, Bjorn Lomborg.

And in the U.S. there is actually a process that would allow an endangered species to become extinct. It’s called the “God Squad.”

It’s comprised of seven cabinet-level members, including the secretaries of Interior, Army and Agriculture and has the authority to allow extinction by exempting federal agencies from environmental laws.

Is it likely to happen?

“The halls of the Interior Department are filled with environmental extremists,” Rep. Devin Nunes (R.-Calif.) said. “They will find any type of habitat or creature they can to make a case to stop job creation and use of federal land.”

Despite the commitment of Homeland Security to spending $50 million to offset environmental damage, Republicans in Congress have taken the first step to pull the plug on this funding.

Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R.-Wyo.) successfully added an amendment June 2 to the Homeland Security spending bill that blocks Interior from buying more land for species protection.

“DOI policies have it backwards. Our nation’s security should be our top priority,” Lummis said.

“Inhibiting the Border Patrol’s access to federal lands enables criminal activity that impacts America’s border towns and filters up to states like Wyoming. The persistent illegal traffic is the real burden on the wildlife and ecology of these public lands, which we could protect more effectively if we just let the Border Patrol do its job,” Lummis said.

An October 2010 report by the Government accountability Office (GAO) concedes that “certain land-management laws present some challenges to Border Patrol’s operations on federal lands, limiting to varying degrees the agency’s access to patrol and monitor some areas.”

“With limited access for patrols and monitoring, some illegal entries may go undetected,” the GAO said.

The GAO also acknowledges that the Border Patrol’s presence is “needed to protect natural and cultural resources on federal lands because, for instance, fewer illegal entries mean less human traffic over environmentally sensitive areas.”

And ultimately, when the federal government has to choose between protecting the border and protecting the environment, it chooses the environment.

The two-inch, bluish pupfish lives in the Quitobaquito Pond and spring channel in the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument West of Tucson, Ariz.

U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) vehicles have been cited numerous times for driving over a berm that impounds the pupfish pond.

“Driving on the berm could cause its partial collapse or deterioration,” according to a consultation document between the Border Patrol and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).

Protecting Pupfish

“If the integrity of the berm is compromised, much or all of the pond could be lost if the berm collapses. Even if the berm does not collapse, driving on it could cause deterioration, resulting in materials spilling into the pond, decreasing its volume, reducing habitat for pupfish and requiring additional work to repair and reinforce it,” the document says. “These activities would likely result in mortality of pupfish and, at least temporarily, reduce the population.”

The document also notes one incident when a border patrol agent drove an ATV over the channel several times. Although no damage was done, the Fish and Wildlife Service devised a scenario that could kill the fish.

“If the concrete channel was broken or damaged, water could be diverted from the channel, resulting in dewatering of the spring channel and possible lowering or drying of the pond. Pupfish inhabiting the channel downstream of the break could desiccate and die under this scenario,” the consultation memo says.

“A worse outcome would be if a USBP vehicle slid into the pond, either due to collapse of the berm or driving too close to the edge, followed by accidental slippage off the berm and into the pond. Contaminants in the form of oil or other vehicle fluids could cause mortality of pupfish, and again, any remedy of this situation would threaten the integrity of the berm and likely result in additional mortality of pupfish,” the consultation said.

Border Patrol agents are no longer allowed to drive motorized vehicles into the area unless the life or safety of an officer or cross-border violator (CBV) is in danger.

“USBP may access any portion of Quitobaquito by foot or on horseback at any time necessary to patrol or to pursue and apprehend cross-border violators,” the memo says. There are strict conditions set on use of the horses as well, which must be given a “weed-free-feed” so that its feces do not contaminate the ecosystem of the park.

If the horses are actually kept there, the Border Patrol must “avoid contamination of ground and surface waters by removing animal waste from areas where horses are housed and disposing of it at an appropriate waste facility,” the document says.

The next battle between the Border Patrol and environmentalists is brewing over an endangered bird species, the Southwestern willow flycatcher.

The enviros want the Border Patrol to scrap plans to mow vegetation four times a year along 91 miles of the Rio Grande, because of this and hundreds of other bird species.

The Border Patrol wants to keep the vegetation below two feet so agents can actually see illegal aliens crossing through the area.

Also along the Rio Grande in South Texas, the GAO said that border patrols, portable and permanent lights, along with clearing of vegetation, have “reduced the amount of habitat suitable for the endangered ocelot.”

Lawmakers are frustrated over the territorial battles between the government agencies that are charged with protecting the environment and protecting the border.

They say federal land managers are using environmental regulations to block the Border Patrol from accessing protected portions within 21 million acres on the Southern border and 1,000 miles along the Canadian border.

A U.S. Border Patrol agent looking through binoculars.

Increasing Violence

The result is an escalation of violence throughout an area that is now open to criminals, drug smugglers, human traffickers and potential terrorists.

Congressional staffers say illegal aliens know exactly where the Border Patrol can and cannot patrol in their vehicles.

“National parks and forests have become some of the most dangerous and violent areas along the border, where shootings, robberies, rapes, murders, kidnappings and carjackings frequently occur,” according to a report by the House Committee on Natural Resources.

In March 2010, Arizona rancher Rob Krentz was shot and killed by someone who had illegally entered the country through the San Bernardino Wildlife Refuge, the committee said.

Border Patrol Agent Luis Aguilar was killed by a hit-and-run driver who crossed the border though the Imperial Sand Dunes in January 2008 and a park ranger was shot

and killed in 2002 while pursuing members of a Mexican drug cartel through the Organ Pipe National Monument.

Led by Bishop, key Republicans in the House and Senate are pursuing legislation called the National Security and Federal Lands Protection Act that would prohibit the secretaries of Interior and Agriculture from taking action on public lands that would impede border security.

The bill would also give the Homeland Security secretary immediate access to any public lands managed by the federal government to secure the border, trumping past agreements between the agencies.

“The drug cartels, prostitution rings, kidnappers and who knows what else, they don’t sign these memos of understanding and they don’t care about these arbitrary rules that don’t make any sense on the border,” Bishop said.

Even more frustrating, Bishop said, Border Patrol has unlimited access across private property to chase illegal aliens.

“They are allowed to do their jobs on private property and no one blinks an eye, but on public property, there is a brouhaha,” Bishop said.

“When the Border Patrol has to go to federal land managers and beg for permission to do their jobs, that is no longer acceptable,” Bishop said.

Rep. Peter T. King (R.-N.Y.), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, says the “senseless practice” also leaves the U.S. vulnerable to terrorists.

“We cannot allow the Obama Administration’s Interior Department to use environmental regulations to hinder front-line Border Patrol agents’ critical mission of securing our border from illegal immigrants, including potential terrorists,” King said.

But the measure faces opposition from environmental groups who say off-road driving, stadium lighting and other activities threaten the culture and environment in protected areas.

Tourists Warned

“These bills have been introduced solely to satisfy the radical whims of a small minority of anti-environmental extremists in Congress,” said Jenny Neeley, conservation director of the liberal Sky Island Alliance.

The Border Patrol already works effectively with federal land managers, and no changes are needed, said Matt Clark, spokesman for Defenders of Wildlife in Tucson. The proof, Clark insisted, is in the reduction of apprehensions of illegal aliens—down by two-thirds over the last decade.

“Protections for endangered wildlife, water and clean air are not standing in the way of border security,” Clark said.

A spokesman for the Homeland Security Department said they do not comment on pending legislation, but that they are “fully committed to collaborating with Interior and the USFS[U.S. Forest Service] to find workable solutions on special-status lands.”

“DHS [the Department of Homeland Security] works closely with Interior and USFS to fulfill its enforcement responsibilities while respecting the environment,” said spokesman Matt Chandler.

“While manpower, money and technology are always on demand at the border, access has become critical,” Bishop said.

And where there is a lack of law enforcement presence, tourists are being warned not to go into the areas, because of illegal alien criminals and drug runners.

“I understand why DHS wants to put a good spin on it, and put their best face forward, but the bottom line is public land has become the choice entrance for the bad guys,” Bishop said. “So far, the Interior Department’s solutions are signs that say some areas are off-limits to Americans because it’s too dangerous,” he added.

The signs have since been removed, but not before the House committee obtained photos of one posted by the Bureau of Land Management warning visitors to avoid certain areas.

“Danger—public warning, travel not recommended,” one sign reads. “Active drug and human smuggling area. Visitors may encounter armed criminals and smuggling vehicles traveling at high rates of speed.”

The Web page for the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument still carries a warning for visitors and a reminder that it’s located 30 miles from the border: “Each year, hundreds of people travel North through the park, entering the United States. It is possible you could encounter an individual or small group trying to walk through the park with little or no water.”

The warning advises visitors to report that activity to park rangers because “lack of water is a life-threatening emergency in the desert.”

The park also notes that “visitors should be aware that drug-smuggling routes pass through the park,” and says such activity should be reported by calling 911.

According to the GAO, 3,500 acres in the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge in Arizona were closed to the public in 2006 after five illegal aliens were murdered in the area. Since 2007, Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge has required law enforcement escorts for staff and volunteers because of the dangers posed by illegal aliens. In 2009, the South Texas Refuge Complex reported that many refuge tracts adjacent to the Rio Grande were closed to visitors, in part because of illegal immigration, human smuggling and drug runners, the GAO reported.


Audrey Hudson, an award-winning investigative journalist, is a Congressional Correspondent for HUMAN EVENTS. A native of Kentucky, Mrs. Hudson has worked inside the Beltway for nearly two decades -- on Capitol Hill as a Senate and House spokeswoman, and most recently at The Washington Times covering Congress, Homeland Security, and the Supreme Court.

Demoncrats Call For More Gun Control In Light Of Operation Fast And Furious

From Town Hall:

Katie Pavlich

Dems Call for More Gun Control in Light of Operation Fast and Furious

Email Katie Pavlich
Columnist's Archive




What’s the answer to failed government? More government!

In the June Issue of Townhall Magazine, I wrote Misfire: Obama's Scandalous Secret Gun Control Agenda, about how Operation Fast and Furious would result in calls for more gun control and I questioned whether officials in the Obama Justice Department purposely allowed thousands of semi-automatic weapons to flow into the hands of dangerous drug cartels in order to meet President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder’s goal of re-instating the ban on assault rifles and other forms of harsh gun control.

During an Oversight Committee hearing on June 15, Democrat Rep. Elijah Cummings stated the following: “No legitimate examination of this issue will be complete without analyzing our nation’s gun laws, which allow tens of thousands of assault weapons to flood into Mexico from the United States every year, including fifty caliber sniper rifles, multiple AK variants and scores of others. When Mexican President Calderon addressed Congress in May, he pleaded for us to stop fueling a full-scale drug war with military-grade assault rifles.”

The problem is, as Mr. Cummings failed to point out, many of these weapons were been provided directly to violent cartel members courtesy of the U.S. government, not because of “lax” gun control laws.

Today, democrats on the House Oversight Committee, led by Rep. Cummings, issued a report calling for more gun control in light of Operation Fast and Furious. Their solution to the Obama Justice Department’s Operation Fast and Furious scandal is to give the same officials who purposely broke U.S. federal law within the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) overseen by the Justice Department, even more power and control over American gun rights, stomping on the Second Amendment to defend government incompetency rather than placing responsibility on Washington bureaucrats.

During the same hearing on June 15 we found out ATF Director Kenneth Melson watched a live video feed from his cushy Washington D.C. office of straw purchasers in Arizona, who he knew were working for Mexican drug cartels, buying mass amounts of weapons, but democrats like Cummings are blaming the Second Amendment for the lethal consequences of the operation.

The report executive summary outlines “three specific improvements to current law that would allow law enforcement to more effectively counter firearms trafficking by Mexican drug cartels,” including calls for Congress to increase criminal penalties for illegal straw purchases, enacting a dedicated firearms trafficking statute, requiring reports of multiple long gun purchases and a Congressional delegation to Mexico.

The report calls for improvement of the nation’s gun laws “to assist law enforcement agents in their efforts to counter drug violence and firearms trafficking by Mexican drug cartels,” stating these are “common sense” ways to help.

“ATF tracing data indicates that the number of U.S. firearms seized in Mexico is increasing dramatically,” the report states.

Once again, U.S. government officials have been illegally trafficking the firearms, therefore more gun laws won’t stop illegal trafficking and will only punish law abiding citizens and impose on Second Amendment rights.

The report claims 75 percent of guns traced to Mexico were originally purchased in the border states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California.

“ATF’s chief intelligence analyst in Mexico, Dennis Fasciani, confirmed for the delegation that the vast majority of weapons recovered at crime scenes in Mexico do come from the United States,” the report states.

Again, considering the U.S. government was illegally trafficking these guns south of the border, it makes sense data indicates the number of U.S. firearms seized in Mexico has increased significantly thanks to the Obama Justice Department. This data doesn’t even take into account the number of guns lost in Mexico since the only way the U.S. government can trace firearms is when they are found at final crime scenes. The rest are lost until someone is killed.

The report also accuses the United States of “fueling a torrent of violence in Mexico.”

According to Dr. Arturo Cervantes Trjo who contributed to the report, “there have been at least 34, 550 homicides in Mexico from 2006 to 2010. The number of homicides has increased dramatically, from 8,868 in 2007, to 14,007 in 2008, to 19,804 in 2009, to an estimated 15,000 for the part of 2010 included in the data. According to his report, the number of drug-related killings has also increased during this time, from 2,773 in 2007, to 5,661 in 2008, to 8,281 in 2009.”

Operation Fast and Furious started in 2008, yet even with the homicide data clear, Rep. Cummings doesn’t draw the conclusion that maybe, just maybe this had something to do with ATF’s Operation Fast and Furious instead of U.S. gun laws. The idea that providing violent criminals with high powered weapons would result in an increase in homicides doesn’t make sense to Cummings, but blaming U.S. gun laws does.

The report also cites the June 27 smear job of an editorial from the Washington Post, the same newpaper that smeared Carter's Country Gun Shop in Texas after they were forced by ATF to sell to criminals. The editorial read, "Lawmakers should give the ATF the tools it needs to fight illegal gun trafficking. They should enact stronger penalties for straw purchases and craft a federal gun-smuggling statute; close the gun-show loophole, which allows buyers under certain circumstances to purchase weapons without a background check; resuscitate the ban on assault weapons; and give the ATF the authority to collect data on multiple sales of long guns in border states. The Senate should move quickly to confirm a director for the long-leaderless bureau."

Bottom line: Officials within the Obama Justice Department have been breaking, not enforcing, current guns laws. It doesn’t matter how many more gun laws the U.S. government imposes on the law abiding public, a government willing to break its own laws for political gain without common sense or basis on factual evidence, will only lead to more corruption and more innocent deaths in Mexico and the United States. Operation Fast and Furious is a result of illegal government activity, not lax gun laws.

Tags: Second Amendment , Darrell Issa , ATF , Justice Department , Operation Fast and Furious , Elijah Cummings

Katie Pavlich

Katie Pavlich the News Editor at Townhall.com.

Illegal Aliens Step Boldly Out Of The Shadows At DREAM Hearing

From Human Events:

Illegal Aliens Step Boldly Out of the Shadows at DREAM Hearing

by Audrey Hudson


[Editor's note: Video of the hearing is below.]

It’s not unusual for politicians on Capitol Hill to recognize citizens during hearings on legislation that would have a positive or negative impact on their lives.

But that tactic took a different turn this week when hundreds of illegal immigrants filled the largest hearing room in the Senate to openly participate in the proceedings.

And they did so without threat of arrest from the nation’s chief immigration law enforcement official who was sitting in the front row: Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

Many of the illegal immigrants were recognized by name by Sen. Dick Durbin (D. –Ill.) who led the panel, and commended by Obama administration officials who want to give them legal status under sweeping legislation called the DREAM Act.

The DREAM Act would give permanent legal status to illegal immigrants, up to age 35, who arrived in the United States before age 16, provided they complete two years of college or serve two years in the military.

“The young people who would be eligible for the DREAM Act call themselves dreamers,” Durbin said. “Over the years, I have met hundreds of these dreamers, and hundreds of them are here today,” Durbin continued.

Durbin introduced about a half dozen of the illegal immigrants by name and asked them to stand, as he told their story of how they were brought into the country illegally by their parents. Although they had attended U.S. schools, Durbin said they

could either not get jobs or faced problems pursing higher education because of their illegal status.

“Let me ask everyone here today who is a DREAM Act student to stand and be recognized,” Durbin said.

Nearly everyone in the audience stood.

“Thank you so much for being here,” Durbin said.

Just 24 hours before the hearing was scheduled to convene in the rather small hearing room of the Judiciary Committee in the Dirksen Senate Office Building which seats about 100 people, Republican staffers were notified that Democrats had moved the proceeding to room 216 of the Hart Building.

Better known as the “media room,” that hearing hall can seat 300 to 400 and is typically reserved for large gatherings, like confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Justices.

Napolitano told this subcommittee of the Judiciary Committee that although the large group gathered was part of the population that is subject to deportation, there would be no enforcement of the law that morning.


Audrey Hudson, an award-winning investigative journalist, is a Congressional Correspondent for HUMAN EVENTS. A native of Kentucky, Mrs. Hudson has worked inside the Beltway for nearly two decades -- on Capitol Hill as a Senate and House spokeswoman, and most recently at The Washington Times covering Congress, Homeland Security, and the Supreme Court.

Lawmakers Introduce Raft Of Border Security Bills

From Homeland Security NewsWire:

Lawmakers introduce raft of border security bills

Published 30 June 2011

Border security continues to be a hot political issue, and lawmakers of both houses and both parties introduce a raft of new border security-related bills; the bills range from a measure to establish health care services along the U.S.-Mexico border to a proposal to educate border patrol agents about child trafficking to a bill calling for compensation to border counties for high level of undocumented aliens relying on county services

Border security continues to be a hot political issue, and lawmakers of both houses and both parties introduce a raft of new border security-related bills. Security Management reports that the bills range from a measure to establish health care services along the U.S.-Mexico border to a proposal to educate border patrol agents about child trafficking to a bill calling for compensation to border counties for high level of undocumented aliens relying on county services. Here is a sample:

•Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-New Mexico) and Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) introduced legislation (S. 1257) to extend funding for the U.S.-Mexico Border Health Commission and fund health care services along the entire U.S.-Mexico border.

•Effective border security operations involves the establishment of procedures for different scenarios. Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-California) introduced (H.R. 2235) the Child Trafficking Victim Protection Act to provide care guidelines for victims of child trafficking and females in custody of immigration.

•Sheriffs in counties on the border are increasingly responsible for playing a role in border enforcement. Representative John Carter (R-Texas) introduced a bill (H.R. 2227) that would help compensate these counties for their “unique economic burden” as a result of a high level of undocumented illegal activity.

Federal Judge Blocks Georgia's Arizona-Style Immigration Law

From Homeland Security NewsWire:

Federal judge blocks Georgia's Arizona-style immigration law

Published 30 June 2011

On Monday, portions of a Georgia immigration law were blocked by a federal judge on the grounds that the role of enforcing immigration was a federal responsibility; under the law, all businesses in Georgia would be required to check the immigration status of all new hires, police officers would be able to verify the immigration status of anyone unable to provide proper identification during a routine stop, and it would be illegal for anyone to knowingly or willingly transport illegal aliens

On Monday, portions of a Georgia immigration law were blocked by a federal judge on the grounds that the role of enforcing immigration was a federal responsibility.

Under the law, all businesses in Georgia would be required to check the immigration status of all new hires. The Georgia law also adopted a similar policy to the controversial Arizona immigration law which would allow police officers to verify the immigration status of anyone unable to provide proper identification during a routine stop. The law went one step further and made it illegal for anyone to knowingly or willingly transport illegal aliens.

Judge Thomas Thrash granted a request that blocked the law’s last two provisions stating that they “[convert] many routine encounters with law enforcement into lengthy and intrusive immigration status investigations.”

Judge Thrash’s ruling comes in response to a lawsuit filed by civil liberties groups which argued that the new law was unconstitutional and would encourage racial profiling.

On the other side, Georgia’s senior assistant attorney general Devon Orland argued that the law was needed as both medical facilities and prisons were being strained by illegal immigrants.

The Georgia law is similar to many of the provisions in Arizona’s immigration bill which has been blocked by a federal judge. The judge maintained that immigration enforcement is a federal responsibility and that the Arizona law overstepped its bounds.

U.S. Spends $90 Billion On Border Security, Drugs Keep Pouring In

From Homeland Security NewsWire:

U.S. spends $90 billion on border security, drugs keep pouring in

Published 30 June 2011

A recent study found the United States has spent an estimated $90 billion over the past decade to secure the U.S - Mexico border with mixed results;annual border spending had tripled over the last decade; the increased spending has helped curb illegal immigration, but for Mexican drug cartels business is booming and they are smuggling more drugs than ever into the United States

A recent study found the United States has spent an estimated $90 billion over the past decade to secure the U.S – Mexico border with mixed results.

Using information obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests, White House budgets, and congressional transcripts, the Associated Pressfound that annual border spending had tripled over the last decade as lawmakers have allocated funds to build a sophisticated network of sensors, fences, law enforcement patrols, and unmanned aerial vehicles.

Costs have included $110 million to deploy 1,200 National Guard soldiers for a year, $1.75 million for a rail cargo X-ray machine, and $75,000 for the average annual salary of a border patrol agent.

The increased spending has helped curb illegal immigration, but for Mexican drug cartels business is booming and they are smuggling more drugs than ever into the United States.

Ten years ago, border agents caught 1.6 million illegal immigrants trying to cross the border in a year compared to 2010 when agents intercepted less than 500,000. Federal officials attribute this decline to both the recession, which has decreased the number of jobs available, and stepped up border security measures that have discouraged people from attempting to cross illegally.

In contrast border agents are interdicting record quantities of illegal drugs and there appears to be no end in sight.

Last year, border guards seized a record 254,000 pounds of cocaine, 3.6 million pounds of marijuana, and 4,200 pounds of heroin. Despite these seizures, the U.S market is far too lucrative, generating $25 billion for Mexican drug lords, and so cartels have continued to smuggle drugs in increasing quantities.

According to Office of National Drug Control Policy, in a given year there is an estimated 660,000 pounds of cocaine, 44,000 pounds of heroin, and 220,000 pounds of methamphetamine in America.

Impeach Obama OpEd Banned By The Hill Newspaper


Impeach Obama OpEd Banned by The Hill Newspaper

Posted on Thursday, June 30 @ 15:06:49 EDT

Topic: Americans for Legal Immigration PAC

On Tuesday, June 28, 2011, "The Hill," Washington, DC, political newspaper, requested an op-ed piece from ALIPAC for their publication in response to our national press release calling for the impeachment of President Barack Obama. We provided the following piece per their request and even edited it once per their request. We then received the following message from The Hill....

"Sorry, but we're going to have to pass on this piece. Its tone is

inappropriate for the Congress Blog." -- Jake Interrante, thehill.com

Below you can read the entire piece that has been banned by The Hill. We have instructed The Hill that we plan to release this document and that we will no longer conduct interviews with their reporters should they call as they have many times in the past.

We encourage concerned Americans to share this op-ed piece with others and to send copies to Congress so they may read it despite the ban of this article.


Calling for the Impeachment of President Barack Obama

June 28, 2011

by William Gheen

President of Americans for Legal Immigration PAC


Today our national organization Americans for Legal Immigration PAC (ALIPAC) has taken the difficult step of publicly calling on Congress to impeach or use any means at their disposal to stop President Obama and remove him from the Executive Branch of the US Government as soon as possible...

We are calling on Americans of every race, political party, and walk of life to unite behind this call for the impeachment of President Obama. All Americans who believe in the US Constitution, laws of Congress, and self-governance of Americans through elections should stand up against the recent authoritarian and unjust actions of President Obama.

Congressional investigations have revealed that the Executive Branch of our government has been arming the drug cartel groups that are bringing in most of the addictive drugs and illegal aliens into America. Via Obama's Justice Department and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), thousands of assault rifles have been delivered to the smugglers, while Obama's administration has claimed American gun rights should be abridged to stop American arms falling into the same hands to which the ATF helped deliver them!

This scandal is called Operation Gunrunner, Gun Walker, or Fast and Furious. ATF agents on the ground in Arizona were ordered by higher ups in the Obama administration to abandon surveillance of suspicious gun purchases for months, which allowed as many as 2,000 assault and Barrett .50 caliber rifles to go into the hands of the drug and illegal-alien-importing cartels that have killed millions of Americans with their addictive cargo. These cartels have used guns obtained under Operation Fast and Furious in their murders of tens of thousands of Mexican citizens.

Congressional hearings confirm that our American border patrol agents, police officers, and citizens now face assault rifles in the hands of murderous mobsters provided by the Obama administration.

Supposedly, the practice of letting assault rifles freely walk into Mexico ended when US Border Patrol agent Brian Terry was murdered with two of these guns, but how many thousands of Mexican and American citizens have also been killed with these guns provided to the smugglers by Obama's regime? These guns keep showing up at murder scenes in Mexico.

ALIPAC has a complete collection of articles related to this scandal online for your review at...


And, as if Obama's treason against the US Constitution, existing federal laws, Congress, and American public could not be clearer, Obama's ICE Director John Morton issued a memo on June 17th to all ICE Field Office Directors, Special Agents-in-Charge, and all Chief Counsel, authorizing them to decline to remove illegal aliens who meet the qualifications for Amnesty under the DREAM Act Amnesty, which Congress has rejected many times.

While not as formal as an Executive Order, Obama has ordered Amnesty for illegal aliens which has not been ratified by Congress.

In fact, the American public and Congress have defeated both Comprehensive and Dream Act Amnesty eight times in the last six years!

Certified polls conducted by Rasmussen Reports and others show that American citizens reject these amnesties by a margin of at least two to one!

Even if you are of the minority opinion that illegal aliens should receive some form of Amnesty for their crimes against America, surely my fellow Americans would not support authoritarian decrees issued by a US President acting like a king.

It was wrong when Bush did it and it is wrong when Obama does it.

This is America. Our citizens are supposed to be in control of our nation. That is clearly not the case when the Executive Branch provides guns to invading armies of smugglers and decrees Amnesty for illegal aliens without congressional or public approval.

Congress must act, and act swiftly and decisively. Obama has proven that he is unfit to be the Commander-in-Chief of the United States. If Congress does not take action to stop these abuses of power, the invasion of America, and the murder of US Citizens with the help of our own President, then we must take to the streets to demand action.

For years we have been asking people to speak out, to vote, to call and write Congress, and to support candidates. Today we have learned that all of these civic actions are to no avail and that Americans are trapped in an authoritarian nation where elections, our Congress, the Constitution, and existing federal laws mean naught to presidents acting more as kings than executors of the laws of our citizens.

This is our nation, paid for with the lives, blood, sweat, and taxes of our forebears, and together we must unify behind the rules and principles that once made America the greatest nation on earth.

Our government must respond to American citizens on these demands or we must make plans to alter or abolish it and its despicable debts. Congress must impeach, charge, or use any means at its disposal to correct the wrongful actions of President Barack Obama.



Wednesday, June 29, 2011

FAIR Legislative Update

From FAIR:

FAIR Legislative Update June 27, 2011

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Obama Administration Bypasses Congress; Grants Amnesty to DREAM Act Students

In a calculated move to bypass Congress, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director John Morton issued a memo on June 17th to all ICE Field Office Directors, Special Agents in Charge, and all Chief Counsel, authorizing them to decline to remove illegal aliens who meet the qualifications for amnesty under the DREAM Act. (Memo from John Morton to ICE personnel, June 17, 2011)

In the June 17th memo, Director Morton couches this administrative amnesty as merely providing "guidance on the exercise of prosecutorial discretion to ensure that the agency's immigration enforcement resources are focused on the agency's enforcement priorities." (Id. at pg 2; see also Memo from John Morton, Mar. 2, 2011) "The agency," Morton writes, "must regularly exercise ‘prosecutorial discretion' if it is to prioritize its efforts." It then provides an extensive, but non-exclusive, factors ICE officers, agents, and attorneys should consider when determining whether to pursue the removal of an illegal alien. (Memo from John Morton to ICE personnel, June 17, 2011) The factors falling under the purview of the DREAM Act include:

The circumstances of the person's arrival in the U.S. and the manner of his or her entry, particularly if the alien came to the U.S. as a young child;

The alien's pursuit of education in the U.S., with particular consideration given to those who have graduated from a U.S. high school or have successfully pursued or are pursuing a college or advanced degrees at a legitimate institution of higher education in the U.S.;

Whether the person has served in the U.S. military, reserves, or national guard, with particular consideration given to those who served in combat; and

The person's age, with particular consideration given to minors.

(Id. at pg 4) The memo also lists individuals present in the U.S. since childhood, minors and elderly individuals, and veterans and members of the U.S. armed forces as "positive factors" prompting particular care and consideration. (Id. at pg 5)

ICE agents are already heeding the memo's directives. Less than a week after Director Morton issued the memo, ICE agents released University of California-Davis student Mandeep Chahal and her mother, even after the Board of Immigration Appeals ordered them removed to India. (Contra Costa Times, June 22, 2011) The Chahals' attorney, Kalpana Peddibhotla, cited the Morton memo as the reason for her clients' reprieve. (Id.) "I am pretty certain if that hadn't happened, they would be sitting on a plane tonight," Peddibhotla said. (Id.)

Leaders of the National ICE Council, a union which represents roughly 7,000 ICE agents, officers, and employees, were outraged by the memo and its implications. "Any American concerned about immigration needs to brace themselves for what's coming," announced Council President Chris Crane in a press release. (National ICE Council Press Release, June 23, 2011) "Unable to pass its immigration agenda through legislation, the [Obama] Administration is now implementing it through agency policy." (Id.) The Council also charges that ICE officials worked "hand-in-hand" with the open-borders lobby, but excluded its own officers from the process of developing policies. (Id.)

Members of Congress are also alarmed by the Obama Administration's attempt to circumvent the law. Earlier this month the House of Representatives passed an amendment introduced by Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) to the Homeland Security (DHS) fiscal year 2012 appropriations bill (H.R. 2017), which, if passed by the Senate, would in part override the Morton memo by barring DHS funds from being used to grant parole or deferred action (both forms of prosecutorial discretion) to most aliens subject to final orders of removal. The DHS bill is currently awaiting action by the Senate Committee on Appropriations. House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) is also expected to introduce legislation that would place more sweeping restrictions the Administration's ability to grant parole, deferred action, or temporary protected status.

Senate Democrats Continue to Push for Amnesty

Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) last week introduced a "comprehensive" immigration reform bill aimed at granting amnesty to the more than 11 million illegal aliens in the United States. (Fox News Latino, June 22, 2011) "It's largely a multi-pronged approach that includes border enforcement, employer sanctions, future flows, a pathway to earned legalization, the DREAM Act and Ag Jobs element," said Sen. Menendez of the legislation. (Id.) The bill was co-sponsored by Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), John Kerry (D-MA), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).

The open-borders lobby quickly praised the legislation. "By turning undocumented workers into legal workers and full taxpayers, this legislation will increase revenue, expand employment and grow the economy. That's something our country could use right now," exclaimed the pro-amnesty organization America's Voice.

In addition to comprehensive immigration reform, Senate Democrats continue to push for the failed DREAM Act. The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration announced it will hold a hearing on the DREAM Act, legislation aimed at granting amnesty to the roughly two million illegal aliens who arrived in the U.S. as minors. (See Senate Judiciary Committee Website, June 24, 2011) According to FAIR's sources, the planned witnesses for the hearing's first panel include Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, and a representative from the Defense Department. The hearing's second panel will consist of two illegal aliens with deferred action status who would benefit from passage of the DREAM Act, and Steve Camarota from the Center for Immigration Studies, who will be the only witness testifying with a true immigration reform perspective. Stay tuned to FAIR for analysis of next week's hearing...

New Immigration Data Proves Napolitano Wrong: 2010 Was No Record Year

New immigration enforcement data for 2010 released by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) last week proved false Secretary Janet Napolitano's claim that DHS removed a record number of aliens in 2010. (Immigration Enforcement Actions: 2010) Last October, Napolitano announced with great fanfare that DHS had in 2010 removed a record number of over 392,000 aliens from the U.S. (DHS Press Release, Oct. 6, 2010) Flanked by law enforcement officers at a press conference, Napolitano claimed that the Administration's "smart" and "effective" approach to immigration enforcement had yielded "historic results." (Id.) ICE Director John Morton similarly remarked, "These record-setting numbers are the result of strong, sensible enforcement programs and priorities…" (Id.) However, the new immigration data released last week shows that the number of removals in 2010 is not what Napolitano claimed. The total number of removals was 387,242, which DHS acknowledged is a 2 percent decline from 2009. (Immigration Enforcement Actions: 2010)

The new immigration enforcement data also show that 73 percent of aliens removed in 2010 were from Mexico, eight percent from Guatemala, six percent from Honduras, and five percent from El Salvador. (Id.) Of those total removed, 169,000 were criminal aliens. (Id.) U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) estimates that 27 percent of inmates in the already overcrowded federal prisons are non-U.S. citizens. (Criminal Alien Program)

Just as DHS released this data, ICE announced the arrest of more than 2,400 illegal aliens in a week-long surge of part of an ongoing operation coined "Cross Check." (CNN, June 21, 2011) ICE conducted the first successful Cross Check operation in December 2009, and has since conducted Cross Check operations in 37 states. (ICE News Releases, June 21, 2011) ICE Director John Morton said this latest operation was intended to "underscore ICE's ongoing focus on arresting those convicted criminal aliens who prey upon our communities, and [track] down fugitives who game our nation's immigration system." (Id.) All of the criminal aliens taken into custody had prior convictions for crimes such as armed robbery, drug trafficking, child abuse, sexual crimes against minors, aggravated assault, theft, forgery and DUI. (Id.) ICE reported that 22 percent of the aliens arrested not only had criminal convictions, but also had orders of deportation and had refused to leave the country. (Id.)

May's latest and largest Cross Check crackdown comes as states such as Illinois, Massachusetts, California and New York have sought to withdraw from ICE's Secure Communities program in protest of ICE removing some illegal aliens who intersect with the criminal justice system rather than removing only those who are convicted of serious crimes. (See FAIR Legislative Update, June 6, 2011)

House Judiciary Committee Resurrects Immigrant Nursing Program

The House Judiciary Committee passed a bill last week which would re-start an expired program that admits nonimmigrant nurses to work in "health professional shortage areas." (H.R. 1933) Originally known as the Nursing Relief for Disadvantaged Areas Act of 1999 (Public Law 106-95), the program provided an additional 500 nonimmigrant visas each fiscal year to aliens who had obtained a nursing license, passed the appropriate exam and was otherwise eligible. Each alien was granted an admission period of three years. Although originally only enacted for a period of four years, the program was extended until it eventually expired in fiscal year 2009.

Under H.R. 1933, sponsored by Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX), 300 visas would be issued for eligible nurses each year for an original time period of three years, at which point these nurses could extend their stay for an additional three years. (H.R. 1933) During the mark-up, Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee, Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), successfully offered one amendment which would make these nonimmigrant nursing visas portable, by allowing the aliens who have already been issued a visa to accept new employment as a nurse upon the petition of a new hospital employer. Both the bill and the added amendment passed through the committee on voice vote.

During the same mark-up session, the House Judiciary Committee also passed the Secure Visas Act (H.R. 1741) by a vote of 17-11. The Secure Visas Act, also sponsored by Chairman Lamar Smith, designates authority to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to issue and revoke visas; authorizes DHS to conduct on-site reviews of visa applications in high-risk countries; and prevents judicial review of a DHS visa revocation decision. (See FAIR Legislative Update, May 16, 2011)

REAL ID Supporters Speak Out

Supporters of REAL ID Act were featured last week in a forum at the Heritage Foundation where they advocated and encouraged full implementation of the law. (Public Law 109-13) Among the speakers were FAIR's Director of Special Projects, Jack Martin and the original sponsor of the legislation, Congressman James Sensenbrenner (R-WI). Congress passed the REAL ID Act at the urging of the 9/11 Commission, which argued that there should be more stringent standards for the issuance of state driver's licenses. Representative Sensenbrenner reminded the audience that it is an "essential piece of legislation for our homeland security" as the "9/11 hijackers had at least 30 pieces of identification." A driver's license was the basis for obtaining these IDs, as it is an essential ‘breeder document' with which individuals can obtain many other identification documents.

Congressman Sensenbrenner further stressed that REAL ID does not establish a national database, and is not an unfunded mandate. He asserted that just as states do now when issuing commercial drivers' licenses, REAL ID would allow states to check with other states simply to ensure that the procuring individual only has one driver's license. He also noted that the cost of REAL ID has decreased from an original estimate of $12 billion down to $300 million, a price tag that is mostly offset by grants from the federal government.

FAIR's own Jack Martin also lent FAIR's support for the REAL ID program. He refuted claims that REAL ID implementation would create a national ID system, saying that the driver's licenses as they are serve as a de facto national ID. Under current rules and regulations, however, illegal aliens are able use these driver's licenses to get jobs jobs that should go to American workers. Martin noted that FAIR will continue to push for the full implementation of REAL ID, even as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has recently announced that it is pushing back the implementation deadline until January 13, 2013. This is the second time that compliance with REAL ID has been delayed. (DHS Final Rule, May 20, 2011)

South Carolina Passes Tough Immigration Enforcement Bill

On Tuesday, June 21, the South Carolina Legislature passed important immigration enforcement legislation (SB 20) sponsored by Senator Grooms (R- Berkeley). South Carolina is the sixth state to pass an omnibus immigration bill of this kind. Similar to other measures in Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, and Utah, SB 20:

requires law enforcement officers to determine the immigration status of an individual the officer has lawfully stopped if the officer has reasonable suspicion that the person is unlawfully present in the United States (Section 6);

permits a South Carolina citizen to bring an action against political subdivisions that implement sanctuary policies (Section 1);

makes it a felony for an illegal alien to allow themselves to be transported, moved, concealed, harbored or sheltered from detection within South Carolina (Section 4);

provides penalties for the failure to carry alien registration documents, much like Arizona and Alabama (Section 5); and

creates an Illegal Immigration Enforcement Unit which will be responsible for the enforcement of immigration laws when the state is able to procure a 287(g) agreement with Homeland Security (Sections 17 & 20).

Senate Bill 20 is awaiting Governor Haley's signature and according to recent reports, Gov. Haley is expected to sign the bill.

Rage Against The TSA Machine

From Town Hall:

Jonah Goldberg

Rage Against the TSA Machine

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The backdrop for my favorite science-fiction novels, Frank Herbert's "Dune" series, is something called the Butlerian Jihad. Some 10,000 years before the main events of the story take place, humanity rebelled against "thinking machines" -- intelligent computers -- controlling people's lives. The revolution was sparked because a computer decided to kill, without the consent of any human authority, the baby of a woman named Jehanne Butler.

I bring this up because I'm wondering why we can't have a Weberian Jihad.

Its namesake would be Jean Weber, a woman whose 105-pound, 95-year-old Florida mother was forced by airport security to remove her adult diaper in compliance with a body search. Weber's mother is dying of leukemia. She did not have another clean diaper for her trip.

The Transportation Security Administration belatedly denied forcing the removal of the diaper. Sari Koshetz, a spokeswoman for the TSA, insisted that the agency was sensitive and respectful in dealing with travelers, but she also told the Northwest Florida Daily News that procedures have to be the same for everyone: "TSA cannot exempt any group from screening because we know from intelligence that there are terrorists out there that would then exploit that vulnerability."

That's apparently why Drew Mandy, a 29-year-old disabled man with the mental capacity of a 2-year-old, had his 6-inch plastic toy hammer yanked from him by TSA on his way to Disney World. Mandy used the hammer as a security blanket of sorts. But the TSA agents insisted it could be used as a weapon. "It just killed me to have to throw it away because he's been carrying this, like, for 20 years," Mandy's father told WJBK in Detroit. What his dad doesn't understand is that if Islamic terrorists can't have plastic toy hammers, no one can.

Mandy's father says he wrote to the TSA and got an apology and a promise that agents would be retrained, but horror stories like these keep mounting. I'd tell you how thorough the TSA search was of blogger and advice columnist Amy Alkon (who collects such tales), but this is a family newspaper. Suffice it to say, your government left nothing to chance.

And that's what brought to mind "Dune's" Butlerian Jihad. The holy war against machines was also a war against a mind-set. "The target of the jihad was a machine-attitude as much as the machines," a character explains. "Humans had set those machines to usurp our sense of beauty, our necessary selfdom out of which we make living judgments." In the aftermath, a new commandment was promulgated: "Thou shalt not make a machine in the likeness of a human mind."

It seems the first commandment of the TSA is that every mind must be trained in the likeness of a machine. "Garbage in, garbage out," is how computer programmers explain the way bad outputs are determined by bad inputs. Likewise, if TSA workers are programmed not to use common sense or discretion -- surprise! -- TSA workers won't use common sense or discretion.

Why not? One reason is we've institutionalized an irrational phobia against anything smacking of racial or religious profiling. Once you've decided that disproportionate scrutiny of certain groups is verboten, you'll have to hassle everyone equally. Thus we're told that a 95-year-old woman's diaper is just as likely to be the front line in the war on terror as a 22-year-old Pakistani's backpack.

Defenders of the TSA insist we can't abandon such mindlessness because if we do, clever terrorists will start using adult diapers as IEDs. Others say we know that profiling isn't effective because the Israelis don't use it.

Both lines of argument assume security personnel cannot be trusted to be much more than automatons, mindlessly acting on bureaucratic programming. If that's true of the current personnel, it's not because it has to be.

In fact, the reason the Israelis don't do simple profiling is that they use intelligent profiling conducted by highly intelligent screeners. At Ben Gurion International Airport, everyone's interviewed by security. Some are questioned at length, others quickly. The controlling variable is the "living judgment" -- to borrow a phrase from "Dune's" Herbert -- of the interviewers, and not wildly expensive full-body scanners and inflexible checklists.

Does anyone think that the personnel searching Jean Weber's mother honestly thought there might be a threat? Or is it more likely they were, machine-like, just doing what their garbage-in programming dictated?

Tags: Safety , Government , Government Incompetence , TSA

Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online.

Absurd Immigration Policies: Legal Is Illegal; Illegal Is Legal.

From Red State:

The Immigration Policy of Absurdistan: Legal is Illegal; Illegal is Legal

The ACLU and Obama are doing the jobs that Americans won't do

Posted by Daniel Horowitz (Profile)

Tuesday, June 28th at 3:00PM EDT


Imagine for a moment that a pack of strangers – ranging from hooligans to plain homeless – illegally entered your home and started raiding the pantry, stealing your possessions, stuffing up the toilets, and sleeping on your bed. When you call the police to come down and remove them, you are told they cannot assist you because they lack the power to profile the unwanted guests from other members of the household. As desperation sets in, you join with your neighbors to chase them out. Much to your chagrin, lawyers for the intruders impel the courts to issue a ‘cease and desist order,’ obstructing efforts to deny the intruders anything, including the twinkies in the pantry. Moreover, teams of advocates for these brazen burglars begin to record the contact information of those locals who desire to stop the illegal entries.

Sound absurd and perverse? Does it remind you of Sodom and Gomorrah?

Welcome to the reality of our immigration system.

There is something fundamentally wrong with a legal system that allows any affluent organization to immediately halt efforts of state governments to deal with their illegal immigration problem; encumbering those laws in years’ worth of frivolous legal proceedings. There is something fundamentally perverse when the man entrusted with enforcing those laws can malevolently supplant the core laws governing our sovereignty – and face no threat of legal action.

Here are just a few recent news tidbits that exemplify the reprehensible and dyslexic actions of various branches of government toward our vital immigration laws:

Georgia: Ever since Arizona passed its modest law (SB 1070) to deal with their insurmountable problems with illegal immigration, many other states, including Georgia, have passed similar laws. Yesterday, US District Court Judge Thomas Thrash enjoined two provisions of Georgia’s HB 87 immigration law, at the behest of the ACLU. One provision would have authorized police to check the immigration status of those suspected of committing a crime and cannot produce documentation. The other provision would punish those caught transporting illegal aliens while committing another crime.

The good news is that the court upheld the mandatory E-Verify provision in HB 87; however, Judge Thrash had no other choice, in light of the recent ruling from the Supreme Court upholding Arizona’s E-Verify law.

Judge Thrash issued the injunction on the assumption that the ACLU would succeed in the argument that HB 87 is preempted by federal law. He added that “the apparent legislative intent is to create such a climate of hostility, fear, mistrust and insecurity that all illegal aliens will leave Georgia.” Really? No kidding! It’s amusing how the opposition always claims that there is no way to possibly deal with the immigration problem without offering amnesty or physically removing every last alien. Well, Judge Thrash actually admits that such enforcement laws might scandalously prompt the illegals to leave, without the false choice between amnesty and mass deportation!

It is very likely that the Supreme Court will strike down the inane preemption argument against state laws authorizing law enforcement to check immigration status. Sadly, these states might have to wait another year or two just so their law can begin to take effect. In the meantime, the unaccountable ACLU can use its unlimited funds to encumber other efforts to deal with the illegal invasion.

Indiana: Last Friday, US District Court Judge Susan Barker blocked two provisions from Indiana’s watered down anti-illegal immigration bill, again, at the directive of the ACLU. One provision would have authorized police to issue warrantless arrests of aliens who already have immigration court removal orders against them; the other would have made it a crime for anybody to accept matricula consular cards as a valid form of ID.

Utah: In March, Utah Governor Gary Herbert signed HB 497, a watered down version of SB 1070. This bill would have required police to check the immigration status only of those arrested for felonies or class A misdemeanors. In May, U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups issued an injunction against HB 497 at the request of…. you guessed it, the ACLU.

Maryland: In April, the Maryland General Assembly passed their version of the Dream Act, offering in-state tuition rates at Maryland colleges to illegal aliens. A small group of local activists shocked everyone by successfully garnering more than enough signatures for a petition to put the Dream Act as a referendum on the ballot in the 2012 election. Concurrently, Illegal immigrant activists, led by the publicly funded CASA de Maryland, have received a copy of the contact information of all the petition signers from the Maryland Board of Elections. They are now using that information to intimidate the activists, and demand that they renounce their signatures. The ACLU also plans to file suit challenging the online website that promoted the petition drive.

Nationally: While pro-criminal organizations are able to subvert the will of the people and block states from enforcing federal law, Barack Obama is preventing the federal government…. from implementing federal law. On June 17, Obama’s ICE Director John Morton issued a memo directing the federal immigration enforcement agents to grant amnesty to those illegals who would qualify to stay in the country under the Dream Act – a law that was rejected by members of both parties in Congress! While this is unfortunately not a new occurrence for an administration that has a repugnant penchant for circumventing Congress through administrative fiat, one would think that it would obviate Obama’s federal preemption argument.

In other words, Obama is able to preempt the governmental body with real plenary power over immigration; the legislative branch, by vitiating the laws passed by Congress. Yet, activist judges, who are obsequious to the whims of pro-criminal organizations, are able to void state immigration laws on the premise that they are preempted by Obama’s executive branch which has made it federal policy not to enforce congressional immigration laws.

Today, Senate Democrats are holding a hearing in support of the Dream Act in order to give Obama cover for his criminal behavior. We must tell our members of Congress to support Rep. Lamar Smith’s bill to override Obama’s executive power grab of immigration law. Rep. Smith will introduce the Hinder the Administration’s Legalization Temptation [HALT] Act (like the name?) next week. The bill would prohibit the administration from granting parole, issuing deferred action, cancelling deportation orders, or promulgating any other form of amnesty.

Most of us unsophisticated Americans can’t fathom the veracity of these arguments propagated by the wizards of smart in the legal agitation business. The average American cannot comprehend why a president can succeed with his insouciance toward illegal immigration, while states that desire to enforce our core laws are overpowered by the ACLU and the courts.

And it’s not just the Neanderthal conservatives who think this way. In Maryland, perhaps the most Democrat state in the country, one-third of the petitioners against the Dream Act are Democrats, helping propel the most auspicious petition drive in Maryland history to a stunning victory.

Illegal immigration is one of those bread and butter issues that resonate with the commonsense intuition of non-elitist Americans. Republican presidential candidates must take heed of the national landscape and political dynamic of the immigration issue – and promise to make enforcement a priority of their administration. Not only is immigration enforcement good policy, it is good politics. Fortunately, most Americans still have an affinity for our laws, even if their interpretation is sullied by out-of-touch elites.