Yesterday two major things happened. First the Republicans unveiled their massive tax cut for the rich calling it “Obamacare Repeal”. This wonderful plan of theirs will probably cut 4 million people from their health care, but it ensures that the CEOs of Health Insurance Companies get a tax cut. We will talk about this so-called plan later in the week as it moves through committees.
The other thing that happened was trump unrolled his revised Muslim Ban. All three puppets who announced the plan all mimicked trump’s claim that it is designed to keep us safe from terrorism. But, they are lying. It won’t really do anything. Plus, the border wall won’t do anything either.
If you are wondering why, just look at the proposed budget that was also released over the last few days. According to this proposed budget, DHS is due to receive an increase in funding of 43.6 billion dollars. Sounds great, yes?
Problem is you have to look beyond the overall budget and look at what is really inside the numbers. And, what is inside the numbers is very disturbing at best.
For example, did you know that there are three organizations in DHS, two of which are directly tied to national security and one that helps after natural disasters or major terrorist attacks? The two involved in national security are the U.S. Coast Guard and the TSA. They are involved in relief after natural disasters is FEMA.
Most people do not actually know what the Coast Guard does. The Coast Guard is one of the five branches of the U.S. military. However, it does far more than that. Most people know that the Coast Guar is involved in search and rescue at sea. They are also responsible for a myriad of law enforcement activities that usually go unnoticed.
The Coast Guard is involved in drug interdiction. They catch billions of dollars of illicit drugs attempting to enter the country every year. It is also responsible for port security. At one point after 9/11 there were scare tactics about nuclear bombs coming into our ports and being detonated. Well, it is the responsibility of the Coast Guard to help stop that from happening.
The Coast Guard is also responsible for intercepting masses of people from entering the country from the sea. We have been involved in this operation long before trump even thought it was a problem. All of the boats full of people coming from Latin and South America are intercepted by the Coast Guard.
We are also responsible to respond to oil pollution on the navigable waterways of the U.S. When the big spill in the Gulf of Mexico happened, it was the Coast Guard that was responsible to get it cleaned up. The Coast Guard is also involved in disaster relief after natural disasters.
Those are just a few of the missions that the 41,000 men and women of the Coast Guard are responsible to accomplish. As you can see, it is vital to our national security and drug interdiction. Actually, it is the only sea service involved in our national security at home and abroad.
To give you an example of what the Coast guard does, consider these facts. In fiscal 2016, the Coast Guard intercepted 6,346 undocumented migrants, patrolled 3.4 million square nautical miles and removed 201 metric tons of cocaine and 52,613 pounds of marijuana worth an estimated $5.9 billion. It also responded to 35 oil and 17 hazardous substance incidents, analyzed and investigated more than 13,000 and 1,800 cyber events, respectively, and conducted 139 airborne intercept missions over the Washington area at the request of the Department of Defense.
In addition, the demand for Coast Guard assets to train Central American forces in interdiction efforts has increased 320 percent this year. And, the Coast Guard is the only “law enforcement” agency that is also military, so no one else can do these jobs.
Our beloved leader said he was going to increase military spending. But that only includes the four military branches under the Department of Defense. He also wants to build his great Berlin Wall on the Southern Border and increase Customs Agents by 5,000 people and ICE by 10,000 people.
He needs to pay for all of this somehow. So, he has decided that the Coast Guard doesn’t need more money, he has decided to cut their budget by 14 percent. The overall budget for the Coast is 9.1 billion dollars. If this budget passes it will be cut by $1.3 billion, to $7.8 billion.
Where this is really going to hurt is in the procurement of new equipment like ships and helicopters. The Coast Guard needs new equipment, but under this budget, they will probably have to cut operations like air flight time and ship patrols.
Stephen Flynn, a retired Coast Guard commander who is director of the Global Resilience Institute at Northeastern University said: “As you harden the land border you open up the maritime border. It makes no sense. You are going to have this balloon effect.”
Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft in an interview with Politico, before the proposed cuts were revealed said: “Our intelligence is extremely good on the movement of drugs. And where we’re really challenged is we just don’t have enough resources — enough ships, planes — to target all the events. So on the best of days we could probably target maybe three out of the 10 known events.”
Rep Hunter, (R.-CA) who chairs the Coast Guard subcommittee said even more.
The OMB treats the Coast Guard like a lunch fund to fund their other priorities in DHS. Congress funds (through appropriations) and we’re not doing what they are doing. They are off in la-la land. If they want to be irrelevant they are off to a good start.
So, you can see the Coast Guard is really wasting money and their budget needs to be cut. And, it gets even better. In addition to the cuts to the Coast guard, this budget also plans to cut 11 percent from the TSA.
The TSA will be the recipient of a $500 million reduction that includes cutting $65 million for behavioral detection officers and $55 million for local law enforcement grants to airports. On the other hand, it proposes a $1 increase to the TSA security fee in fiscal 2018 to generate an extra $470 million in revenue.
Do you remember the several people who walked through security at JFK just the other week and three of them set off the metal detectors and were never stopped? These cuts will do nothing to improve incidents like that from happening again.
How is cutting 500 million dollars from the airport security agency going to make our air travel safer? It won’t. It will make it more dangerous. The TSA has struggled through its existence. It has been mostly proficient, but it only takes one missed passenger to cause real havoc.
Instead of improving airport security and helping the Coast Guard secure our harbors, the trump administration is more interested in headline grabbing things like the Berlin Wall and are therefore are making us less safe.
Now that you know just how unsafe trump is making us, let’s look at FEMA. FEMA will get a $370 million cut, which includes a 25 percent reduction, or $280 million, in the agency’s program for countering violent extremism and preparations for a wide-scale terrorist attack, as well as a 40 percent cut of $80 million for FEMA’s port transit security grant program.
As you can see, if there happens to be another wide-scale terrorist attack, FEMA won’t be able to efficiently respond to that attack. All in the name of national security!
This is just another example of how much trump does not know about how things work. He doesn’t know the vital role that the Coast Guard does is securing our borders. He doesn’t think that TSA does anything to help us be safe while flying. And, he doesn’t know that if there is a major attack that FEMA is responsible to coordinate response to that attack.
He only knows that he promised to build a stupid wall and that is what he is going to do. He only knows that he promised to remove 11 million people from the country, and that is what he is going to do. Those will get him headlines, these other agencies won’t.
Airport security? Who needs it. Port security? Not a problem. People running at sea? No problem. Responding to a major terrorist attack? Who needs it.
If Congress goes along with these cuts to vital agencies that help keep us safe and respond to disasters, we will be far less safe than before trump was elected. His wall will only force people from coming ashore from sea. Without proper screening at our airports, more terrorists will be able to attack our planes in mid-flight. And, if a major terrorist attack does happen, FEMA won’t be able to coordinate an efficient response.
I promised that I would keep an eye out for stupid things like this. You probably have not heard about these cuts before. And, if trump and his cronies have their way, you would never hear about them. They expose the big lie that trump is making us safer.
The travel ban has been great propaganda for terrorists to use in recruiting new terrorists. These cuts will make it easier for them to gain access to our country and make us less safe. Tell me again how trump is doing such a great job. That is another lie!
And, the shirts keep marching along.