Border Patrol union says poor medical screening risks new virus outbreak.
JUNE 24, 2014 2:01 PM
A Border Patrol official says he’s concerned the medical screening at the Border Patrol Station in McAllen, Texas, has grown so porous that a new superbug will make its way into the United States through the station.
Albert Spratte, the sergeant-at-arms of the National Border Patrol Council Local 3307 in the Rio Grande Valley, says the medical screening process involves separating people into one of three separate classifications. If a person claims to be sick, he or she will see a doctor. If a person does not claim to be sick, but an Emergency Medical Technician looks at the person and determines he or she has symptoms of some sort of illness, that person will also see a doctor. But a person who does not claim to be ill or is not displaying symptoms may or may not be seen.
“It’s like a crapshoot,” Spratte says. “You may or may not be letting something in with a disease we haven’t had in the U.S. before.” He says he knows of an active case of tuberculosis that passed through the facility, along with people who had scabies and others who had measles. There was even one case of leprosy, he says. “I don’t think the people in the interior U.S. realize it’s a different world,” Spratte says. “This is the U.S., but it’s a different part of the U.S. This is almost like a different country.”
He says the living conditions of the people at the McAllen station make him nauseous. The people detained at the center — unaccompanied children, adults and families — are placed in the sally port, an outside garage with chain gates on either side that allow air to flow through the facility. Spratte says the sally port at the McAllen Border Patrol Station may hold up to four buses or multiple vans. The vehicles pull up to the gates to unload people who are then taken inside for processing. “I can smell it before ten, 15 feet away,” Spratte says. “You walk around in there, it smells like funk.” He says the problem will only get worse, as “pretty soon all of Central America is going to be in the U.S.”
Ofelia de los Santos, a Catholic Charities public information officer, has provided relief at Sacred Heart Catholic Church to illegal immigrants dumped by federal officials at the nearby McAllen bus station. She says people arrive at the church in poor shape. “They were dirty and smelly and had been in detention for as long as five and seven days and they hadn’t bathed,” de los Santos says.
Spratte says he does not know what else Border Patrol officers could do. “We can’t solve this, we can’t stop the problem because it’s not an enforcement thing, it’s a policy,” he says. “Because whether or not it was intentional, the policies they have in Washington I believe are encouraging them (illegal immigrants).”
Technology has the potential to create “fearless monsters”
by PAUL JOSEPH WATSON | JUNE 17, 2014
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is developing brain chips that will implant or remove specific memories from a subject, a prospect some may deem chilling given DARPA’s previous advocacy of authentication microchips.
Neuroscientists foresee a brave new world where minds can be programmed using lasers, drugs and microchips in order to create false memories, a technology that has already been used on mice.
“DARPA [the U.S. military’s R&D agency] seems to be going full steam ahead on these kinds of technologies,” neuroscientist Joseph LeDoux told MIT Review. “What they plan to do is put chips in [the brain]. It would be like a prosthesis—instead of moving your arm, you’re fixing memory. I have no idea how they would achieve that.”
MIT Review’s Brian Bergstein admits that the notion of implanting or removing specific memories “often sounds creepy,” but that it will be useful in treating PTSD, reducing anxiety or combating addiction and depression.
Scientists are heralding the beginning of a “golden age” where minds could be manipulated to function better, although LeDoux acknowledges that ethical implications include the possibility that the application of the technology could lead to the creation of “fearless monsters.”
DARPA’s push for brain chips that could erase or implant memories takes on a somewhat sinister tone given the organization’s prior advocacy of edible “authentication microchips” and electronic tattoos that can read a person’s mind.
Former DARPA director and now Google executive Regina Dugan told an audience at the All Things D11 Conference last year that the tech giant was working on a microchip inside a pill that users would swallow daily in order to turn their entire body into a broadcast signal for identification purposes.
When Dugan was asked by the moderator, “Does Google now know everything I do and everywhere I go because let’s face it….you’re from Google,” she responded by laughing and saying he should just swallow the pill.
SALT LAKE CITY — A federal judge has blocked portions of HB497, an immigration enforcement law passed by the Utah Legislature in 2011.
Later that year, civil rights organizations sued the state over the law, arguing it violated the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution and authorizes and requires unreasonable seizures and arrests in violation of the Fourth Amendment protections.
U.S. District Court Judge Clark Waddoups’ 30-page memorandum outlining his decision and order denied some of the plaintiffs’ motions but granted others, specifically enjoining the state from enforcing portions of the law dealing with federal immigration enforcement assistance. Two other sections of the law that referred to warrantless arrests and harboring undocumented individuals were also pre-empted under the decision issued Wednesday.
However, the Utah Attorney General’s Office in a statement said “the majority of the sections and the core of HB497 — those provisions dealing with the state’s prerogative to legislate cooperative models of enforcement in harmony with federal statutes — were upheld by this decision.”
Archie Archuleta of the Utah Coalition of La Raza, a plaintiff in the lawsuit, said Waddoups’ decision “reinforces a simple truth: No one should fear being charged with a misdemeanor or felony simply for driving her parent to the grocery store or a friend to church. Although the fight for equality is not over, we are pleased to see that the court has prevented much of this law from harming countless Utahns.”
Karen Tumlin, managing attorney of the National Immigration Law Center who argued the case in Utah’s federal court, said Waddoups’ order “establishes a bright line” for Utah law enforcement.
“If local police prolong a traffic stop for even one minute to determine an individual’s immigration status, they risk running afoul of the U.S. Constitution,” she said.
“The decision makes efforts to ward off overzealous attempts to determine whether someone is American based on the way they look or whether they have an accent,” Tumlin added.
Meanwhile, the Utah Attorney General’s Office said the decision affirmed that there is a role for the state with respect to immigration enforcement.
“The court, following the Supreme Court’s decision in the case of Arizona v. United States, held that, with certain limitations, the verification provision, the identification provision, the transportation provision, and the provision barring any state or local restriction on law enforcement authority to assist federal officials in immigration matters are not pre-empted and accordingly not subject to preliminary injunction,” the statement said.
Karen McCreary, executive director of the ACLU of Utah, called on the Utah Legislature to repeal what remains of the law following Waddoups’ decision, noting that the sponsor of the Utah Illegal Immigration Enforcement Act, former Rep. Stephen Sandstrom, R-Orem, had publicly acknowledged the law was not good public policy for the state.
“Since our lawsuit halted HB497 from going into effect three years ago, there has been growing acknowledgement among Utahns that state laws such as HB497 and Arizona’s law primarily cause division and strife within our community. As a state, we are better off working for longer-term comprehensive solutions that protect our families and enhance our economy,” McCreary said.
Attorney General Sean Reyes said if the plaintiffs decide to appeal Waddoups’ decision, “our office is ready to defend the district court’s decision.”
Waddoups wrote that the state can implement sections of the act not affected by the ruling, though “implementation is subject to the limiting constructions outlined in this decision.” The entire law had been temporarily enjoined as Waddoups considered legal arguments from the state and plaintiffs’ attorneys at two hearings on the lawsuit, as well as briefs filed by the parties and many others who filed amicus briefs.
HB497 was among a package of immigration bills passed by state lawmakers in 2011 during a contentious legislative session in which immigration issues dominated the Legislature’s agenda.
Two other immigration-related laws passed that year were effectively shelved until July 1, 2015, under a bill passed by the Utah Legislature in 2013. The laws addressed issues related to guest workers and a pilot program to allow Utahns to sponsor foreign nationals.
Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo, said he wanted to push back the effective date of the two laws in recognition of congressional Republicans’ and Democrats’ expressed willingness to address meaningful federal immigration reform. Civil rights groups’ lawsuit over HB497 did not figure into his decision to postpone the enactment of the other laws, he said at the time.
12:54 p.m. PDT June 13, 2014
The Salem Police Department needs to replace one of its SWAT vehicles and its eyeing military surplus equipment to do so.
Equipment is in good supply due to receding U.S. presence in Afghanistan, but it’s coming at a good time for another reason.
“That vehicle has run its course of life,” Aguilar said. “It’s been on several missions where we’ve had to tow it away.”
Police Chief Jerry Moore told Salem City Council last month that the police department had accepted a SWAT vehicle to replace the 25-year-old armored truck.
According to Lt. Jim Aguilar, assistant emergency operations group commander, the vehicle currently used by the department is on loan from the Oregon State Police. It is used by Special Weapons and Tactics Teams and Bomb Team operations and was formerly in use by an armored car service.
While it has provided Salem officers with a lot of protection over the years, it apparently has a host of mechanical issues.
The replacement vehicle has become available to Salem Police through the Federal Defense Reutilization and Management Office, a program that authorizes the transfer of surplus military equipment to law enforcement agencies. This program was established through the 1997 National Defense Authorization Act, the item said.
“What they do is bring pieces of equipment back that have been used,” Aguilar said.
The replacement is a six-wheeled Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle, but officers are probably are going to refer to it as the MRAP.
“They ramped up production of those during war in Afghanistan,” Aguilar said.
Since U.S. military presence in Afghanistan is winding down, more law enforcement agencies have put the vehicles to use. However, Aguilar doesn’t believe the one soon to be in the care of Salem Police was ever overseas.
Armored vehicles are not a luxury, they’re a necessity. Just Thursday afternoon the tactical operations team was dispatched to an apartment complex on Coral Avenue in northeast Salem because officers were seeking a man they believed to be armed in one of the units.
Multiple SWAT vehicles responded to the incident, which quickly fizzled out when the suspect, 33-year-old Jerad Joseph Smith, surrendered to police without a fight.
Regardless of the outcome, it was important to have vehicles on scene that could protect officers from potential gunfire.
“We deploy a number of times during the year,” Aguilar said. “The armor is crucial for us.”
The MRAP is scheduled to arrive in Salem sometime within the next week.
Salem Police will be getting the vehicle for free with a two-year warranty. It has an estimated value of more than $800,000 and is expected to provide superior safety and reliability to vehicle purchased from private vendors, the chief said.
The only cost to be incurred by the replacement is transportation of the vehicle from Texas to Salem on a flatbed truck, which will be an estimated $9,000. This will be paid for by the department’s Federal Drug Forfeiture program. Ongoing costs concerning the vehicle will be included in the operating budget.
This is all going as planned
by STEVE DEACE | WESTERN JOURNALISM | JUNE 14, 2014
The American people have been inundated with stories over the past few days of a tragic humanitarian crisis.
At least 100,000 kids from Latin America have illegally flooded across the border. Of course, the Obama Regime is claiming this is a result of our lack of “immigration reform” (aka scamnesty). And they’re pretending to be surprised by the whole thing.
But they’re not surprised. Quite the opposite is true. This is all going as planned.
The timing of this humanitarian crisis can be linked directly to the Obama Regime’s unilateral (see that as illegal) decision to continue its unilateral (see that as illegal) variation of the so-called “Dream Act” (aka amnesty for children). Last month, the Obama Regime decided to continue breaking the law, and one immigration official said in a memo that “the result will be an even greater increase in the rate of recidivism and first-time illicit entries.”
This is the so-called “Cloward-Piven Strategy” at work, folks. Named after the two Leftists who authored it, the strategy here is simple — flood the welfare state with needy people until it reaches its breaking point, and the people have no choice but to accept Marxism as a substitute. That’s exactly what you’re seeing the Obama Regime doing on the issue of illegal immigration. They’re not surprised or deflated by this. They’re elated, and they’re the ones conducting the cattle call–shamelessly using children born into poverty as a means of collapsing the system. Ironically, if they’re successful, they’ll collapse what’s unique about America that makes the rest of the world want to come here in the first place.
But the Republicans in Washington, D.C. won’t pounce on this issue and save these children or the American people from another manufactured Obama crisis. That’s because GOP leadership is in the back-pocket of corporatists, who want to use illegals for cheap labor. They’re actually hoping these sad and adorable faces guilt you into allowing corporatists to groom them for glorified indentured servitude one day.
“Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am. Stuck in the middle with you.”
JUNE 8, 2014
NEENAH, Wis. — Inside the municipal garage of this small lakefront city, parked next to the hefty orange snowplow, sits an even larger truck, this one painted in desert khaki. Weighing 30 tons and built to withstand land mines, the armored combat vehicle is one of hundreds showing up across the country, in police departments big and small.
The 9-foot-tall armored truck was intended for an overseas battlefield. But as President Obama ushers in the end of what he called America’s “long season of war,” the former tools of combat — M-16 rifles, grenade launchers, silencers and more — are ending up in local police departments, often with little public notice.
During the Obama administration, according to Pentagon data, police departments have received tens of thousands of machine guns; nearly 200,000 ammunition magazines; thousands of pieces of camouflage and night-vision equipment; and hundreds of silencers, armored cars and aircraft.
The equipment has been added to the armories of police departments that already look and act like military units. Police SWAT teams are now deployed tens of thousands of times each year, increasingly for routine jobs.Masked, heavily armed police officers in Louisiana raided a nightclub in 2006 as part of a liquor inspection. In Florida in 2010, officers in SWAT gear and with guns drawn carried out raids on barbershops that mostly led only to charges of “barbering without a license.”
When the military’s mine-resistant trucks began arriving in large numbers last year, Neenah and places like it were plunged into the middle of a debate over whether the post-9/11 era had obscured the lines between soldier and police officer.
“It just seems like ramping up a police department for a problem we don’t have,” said Shay Korittnig, a father of two who spoke against getting the armored truck at a recent public meeting in Neenah. “This is not what I was looking for when I moved here, that my children would view their local police officer as an M-16-toting, SWAT-apparel-wearing officer.”
A quiet city of about 25,000 people, Neenah has a violent crime rate that is far below the national average. Neenah has not had a homicide in more than five years.
“Somebody has to be the first person to say ‘Why are we doing this?’ ” said William Pollnow Jr., a Neenah city councilman who opposed getting the new police truck.
Neenah’s police chief, Kevin E. Wilkinson, said he understood the concern. At first, he thought the anti-mine truck was too big. But the department’s old armored car could not withstand high-powered gunfire, he said.
“I don’t like it. I wish it were the way it was when I was a kid,” he said. But he said the possibility of violence, however remote, required taking precautions. “We’re not going to go out there as Officer Friendly with no body armor and just a handgun and say ‘Good enough.’ ”
Congress created the military-transfer program in the early 1990s, when violent crime plagued America’s cities and the police felt outgunned by drug gangs. Today, crime has fallen to its lowest levels in a generation, the wars have wound down, and despite current fears, the number of domestic terrorist attacks has declined sharply from the 1960s and 1970s.
Police departments, though, are adding more firepower and military gear than ever. Some, especially in larger cities, have used federal grant money to buy armored cars and other tactical gear. And the free surplus program remains a favorite of many police chiefs who say they could otherwise not afford such equipment. Chief Wilkinson said he expects the police to use the new truck rarely, when the department’s SWAT team faces an armed standoff or serves a warrant on someone believed to be dangerous.
Today, Chief Wilkinson said, the police are trained to move in and save lives during a shooting or standoff, in contrast to a generation ago — before the Columbine High School massacre and others that followed it — when they responded by setting up a perimeter and either negotiating with, or waiting out, the suspect.
The number of SWAT teams has skyrocketed since the 1980s, according to studies by Peter B. Kraska, an Eastern Kentucky University professor who has been researching the issue for decades.
The ubiquity of SWAT teams has changed not only the way officers look, but also the way departments view themselves. Recruiting videos feature clips of officers storming into homes with smoke grenades and firing automatic weapons. In Springdale, Ark., a police recruiting video is dominated by SWAT clips, including officers throwing a flash grenade into a house and creeping through a field in camouflage.
In South Carolina, the Richland County Sheriff’s Department’s website features its SWAT team, dressed in black with guns drawn, flanking an armored vehicle that looks like a tank and has a mounted .50-caliber gun. Capt. Chris Cowan, a department spokesman, said the vehicle “allows the department to stay in step with the criminals who are arming themselves more heavily every day.” He said police officers had taken it to schools and community events, where it was a conversation starter.
All of a sudden, we start relationships with people,” he said.
Not everyone agrees that there is a need for such vehicles. Ronald E. Teachman, the police chief in South Bend, Ind., said he decided not to request a mine-resistant vehicle for his city. “I go to schools,” he said. “But I bring ‘Green Eggs and Ham.’ ”
The Pentagon program does not push equipment onto local departments. The pace of transfers depends on how much unneeded equipment the military has, and how much the police request. Equipment that goes unclaimed typically is destroyed. So police chiefs say their choice is often easy: Ask for free equipment that would otherwise be scrapped, or look for money in their budgets to prepare for an unlikely scenario. Most people understand, police officers say.
“When you explain that you’re preparing for something that may never happen, they get it,” said Capt. Tiger Parsons of the Buchanan County Sheriff’s Office in northwest Missouri, which recently received a mine-resistant truck.
Pentagon data suggest how the police are arming themselves for such worst-case scenarios. Since 2006, the police in six states have received magazines that carry 100 rounds of M-16 ammunition, allowing officers to fire continuously for three times longer than normal. Twenty-two states obtained equipment to detect buried land mines.
In the Indianapolis suburbs, officers said they needed a mine-resistant vehicle to protect against a possible attack by veterans returning from war.
“You have a lot of people who are coming out of the military that have the ability and knowledge to build I.E.D.’s and to defeat law enforcement techniques,” Sgt. Dan Downing of the Morgan County Sheriff’s Departmenttold the local Fox affiliate, referring to improvised explosive devices, or homemade bombs. Sergeant Downing did not return a message seeking comment.
The police in 38 states have received silencers, which soldiers use to muffle gunfire during raids and sniper attacks. Lauren Wild, the sheriff in rural Walsh County, N.D., said he saw no need for silencers. When told he had 40 of them for his county of 11,000 people, Sheriff Wild confirmed it with a colleague and said he would look into it. “I don’t recall approving them,” he said.
Some officials are reconsidering their eagerness to take the gear. Last year, the sheriff’s office in Oxford County, Maine, told county officials that it wanted a mine-resistant vehicle because Maine’s western foothills “face a previously unimaginable threat from terrorist activities.”
County commissioners approved the request, but recently rescinded it at the sheriff’s request. Scott Cole, the county administrator, said some people expressed concerns about the truck, and the police were comfortable that a neighboring community could offer its vehicle in an emergency.
At the Neenah City Council, Mr. Pollnow is pushing for a requirement that the council vote on all equipment transfers. When he asks about the need for military equipment, he said the answer is always the same: It protects police officers.
“Who’s going to be against that? You’re against the police coming home safe at night?” he said. “But you can always present a worst-case scenario. You can use that as a framework to get anything.”
Chief Wilkinson said he was not interested in militarizing Neenah. But officers are shot, even in small towns. If there were an affordable way to protect his people without the new truck, he would do it.
“I hate having our community divided over a law enforcement issue like this. But we are,” he said. “It drives me to my knees in prayer for the safety of this community every day. And it convinced me that this was the right thing for our community.”