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LG • 3 months ago

Looks like someone in your president's team reads your blog. this was tweeted today.


TTG • 3 months ago

The current fight over “the wall” and funding for that wall is pure politics on both sides. We are under a partial government shutdown for the sake of a symbol. Some kind of border barrier has been in existence since the 90s and the “Secure Border Act” of 2006 called for close to 700 miles of double fence barriers. Both Republican and Democratic legislatures and presidencies have maintained and added to this fencing as well as doubling the size of the CBP. According to a December 2016 GAO report on securing the SW border, the CBP spent $2.4 billion between 2007 and 2015 to deploy tactical infrastructure (TI) - fencing, gates, roads, bridges, lighting and drainage infrastructure distributed along the entire SW border area. That includes 654 miles of fencing and 5,000 miles of roads.

A total of $1.7 billion was appropriated in FY17 and FY18 for new and replacement barriers and fences. Most of those funds have been obligated to the Corp of Engineers and much of that has been awarded to contractors. Only a small percentage (6%) has been paid out for completed contracts. The following projects account for close to half of those funds:

- In New Mexico to replace 20 miles of fencing with bollard wall for $73 million. Contract was awarded in February 2018. Construction started in April 2018 and was completed in September 2018.

- In the Rio Grande Valley to build 8 miles of 18 foot bollard wall and replace existing levee wall for $167 million to begin in February 2019.

- In Arizona to build/replace 32 miles of “primary pedestrian wall” for $324 million to begin in April 2019.

- Near San Diego to replace 14 miles of 8-10 foot metal wall/fence with 18-30 foot tall bollard wall system for $287 million to begin in July 2019.

Trump’s current demand for $5.7 billion covers an additional 243 miles of fencing mostly in the Rio Grande Valley. It’ll probably be 2020 before a single bollard is set from that $5.7 billion and several years after that to issue the contracts and complete the construction. Given the shortcoming in the present border fences, that $5.7 billion would be better spent on replacing the present barriers in the most needed areas rather constructing new fence in less vulnerable areas. Just to maintain and replace what we have should require close to a billion dollars a year. I say again, this current battle over $5.7 billion for “the wall” is political posturing by both sides.

The more important demand made by Trump was the $800 million to address the humanitarian crisis on the border. These funds would provide for improved care/processing of refugees/asylum seekers, 2,750 more border agents and 75 more immigration judges. In my opinion, that would be a wise expense. I think there ought to be ten times that number of new border agents/officers to better address the refugee problem (humanitarian crisis) which will probably remain for many years. Climate change is making drought, hurricanes, floods and mudslides the new normal in Central America. The farming economy in this region, which includes southern Mexico is collapsing. Local governments are dysfunctional and impotent. These people are going to migrate or die in place.

If you want to declare a national emergency, we could use eminent domain to condemn and buy a lot of farmland at cost from corporate agribusinesses and start a “40 acres and a mule” program for refugee farm families and any native American family who desire a new start.

Mark Logan • 3 months ago

Have to agree. Trump only asked for $1.6 billion for his wall in his 2019 budget...and got it. He then decided to have a fight, one that he was loath to have when the Republicans held the majority in the House.

IMO Pelosi and co have also decided this is a good place to have a Waterloo. This isn't a struggle for a wall it's a struggle for dominance. They await a tide of public opinion to decide it.

kao_hsien_chih • 3 months ago

Definitely true: the so-called border wall is hardly new and mostly product of propaganda by both sides. But perception is the new reality, tgey say. They hate Trump, so everything Trump says has to be evil. Trump truly is Obama 2.0.

Mark Logan • 3 months ago

I can see it, both polarized segments of the population into rage, and in our political system rage is a valued commodity for a certain breed of politician. Successive reactionary movements by opposite sides.

I've heard it said that character is destiny.

James Thomas • 3 months ago

I am on the left and I don't have a problem with the wall. That said, if you really want to reduce illegal immigration exit controls would be more effective (and much more cost effective). I went through a whole lot of trouble to get a work visa to work legally in Poland in the late 90s - and I wouldn't have bothered if Poland didn't have exit controls. Almost every country in the world has exit controls ... except for Canada and the US.

Pat Lang • 3 months ago

You need a wide variety of techniques. This will of necessity include border barriers.

EdwardAmame • 3 months ago

Oh cut it out. The wall is bullshit. If Trump was actually serious about illegal immigration he'd be pushing E-Verify for all US businesses to determine the eligibility of employees. But the GOP business lobby would never allow that so we get dog and pony shows like this so that Trump can act like he really means business.

John P. Teschke • 3 months ago

They should shut down the whole regime. The first things to be shut down should be the myriad of bases occupying foreign soil, particularly the bases that support the destabilization of middle eastern countries.

Pat Lang • 3 months ago

So, you want to abolish the government?

John P. Teschke • 2 months ago

While I know a total shutdown isn't realistic, I'm being rhetorical, stating my view that what the US regime does these days is more negative than positive. The Venezuela thing which has happened since is contrary to international law, as is the extra-territorial extra-legal application of sanctions regimes. I realize it would cost a lot of people a lot of money, but the negatives do seem to outweigh the positives. I think it is all a bunch of posturing in any event.

Lewis.Ballard • 3 months ago

Sir: While not directly on point, I knuckled under and signed up with Disqus simply to say how much I have appreciated this committee of correspondence over the years. Seeing your post recently about conversing with Glubb Pasha was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back.

ex-PFC Chuck • 3 months ago

With regard to #1 I'm not holding my breath. Fundamental to the financial sector's business model is opportunistic predation. As Michael Hudson relentlessly documents in his recently published and forgive them their debts: Lending, Foreclosure and Redemption from Bronze Age Finance to the Jubilee Year, it has been this way since money was invented in the ancient Near East over five thousand years ago. In today's world few banksters can be expected to forego invoking the fine print terms regarding the late fees and interest rate hikes, especially considering the fact the careers of the CEOs and CFOs of publicly traded companies live or die by the next quarterly earnings report.
Sadly Hudson's important book is getting little traction. He could only get this published on a print-to-order basis in spite of the fact he has about a dozen prior books to his credit. As a PtO book it will not be stocked by chain book stores.

Adrestia • 3 months ago

In a sense there is a little bit of movement. Instead of debt jubilee the Universal Basic Income is being discussed in Davos at the World Economic Forum. That being said who will pay for it? The superrich and the supranational corporations pay less and less tax. The lower economic strata are being taxed more and are stretched to the limit. Enter the yellow vests.

In my country 4 out of 5 households are heavily burdened and economically vulnerable by fixed costs related to housing (mortgage or rent), energy and healthcare. And this is government research!

Not sure if Michael Hudson mentions it, but debt jubilees were not altruistic. When these were not given the citizens climbed the wall and settled in the ungoverned parts of the world which was most of the world then up to the 1600s.

Ironically in (ancient) history a lot of walls were not only constructed to keep invaders out, but maybe more important to keep citizens in. Hunter-gatherers have much easier lives (although with higher mortality rates because of tribal warfare) compared to 'civilized' farmers or city-dwellers. On average 10 hours of work a week was enough to get the basic needs. The following quote is from Tribe - On Homecoming and Belonging from Sebastian Junger

PERHAPS THE SINGLE MOST STARTLING FACT ABOUT America is that, alone among the modern nations that have become world powers, it did so while butted up against three thousand miles of howling wilderness populated by Stone-Age tribes. From King Philip’s War in the 1600s until the last Apache cattle raids across the Rio Grande in 1924, America waged an ongoing campaign against a native population that had barely changed, technologically, in 15,000 years. Over the course of three centuries, America became a booming industrial society that was cleaved by class divisions and racial injustice but glued together by a body of law that, theoretically at least, saw all people as equal. The Indians, on the other hand, lived communally in mobile or semi-permanent encampments that were more or less run by consensus and broadly egalitarian. Individual authority was earned rather than seized and imposed only on people who were willing to accept it. Anyone who didn’t like it was free to move somewhere else.

The proximity of these two cultures over the course of many generations presented both sides with a stark choice about how to live. By the end of the nineteenth century, factories were being built in Chicago and slums were taking root in New York while Indians fought with spears and tomahawks a thousand miles away. It may say something about human nature that a surprising number of Americans—mostly men—wound up joining Indian society rather than staying in their own. They emulated Indians, married them, were adopted by them, and on some occasions even fought alongside them. And the opposite almost never happened: Indians almost never ran away to join white society. Emigration always seemed to go from the civilized to the tribal, and it left Western thinkers flummoxed about how to explain such an apparent rejection of their society.

“When an Indian child has been brought up among us, taught our language and habituated to our customs,” Benjamin Franklin wrote to a friend in 1753, “[yet] if he goes to see his relations and make one Indian ramble with them, there is no persuading him ever to return.”

On the other hand, Franklin continued, white captives who were liberated from the Indians were almost impossible to keep at home: “Tho’ ransomed by their friends, and treated with all imaginable tenderness to prevail with them to stay among the English, yet in a short time they become disgusted with our manner of life… and take the first good opportunity of escaping again into the woods.”

Today there are hardly any places left where citizens can go to escape the ever more present and intrusive Government (the US is a paradise compared to most European governments and being a Chinese citizen must be a nightmare with the coming social credit score). IMO this creates a pressure cooker without a functioning escape valve within developed countries, especially when an influx from poor countries is expected. This applies both to the US and to Europe.

Pat Lang • 3 months ago

Why would anyone care what Sebastian Junger wrote about anything? This is the Restrepo man, the author of that disgusting book about a poorly trained and disciplined unit.

MP98 • 3 months ago

They would never admit it, but of courser the Democrats want all the barriers gone and an open border.
There are approx. 22 mil. illegal aliens in this country and the Democrats want more and more.
Then they can push for amnesty (which the swamp Republicans, in their gross stupidity, will go along with) and PRESTO: 22 mil. plus entitled Democrat voters.
Who needs those redneck goober (white male)Trump voters, anyway?

Eugene Owens • 3 months ago
ex-PFC Chuck • 3 months ago

As Philip Giraldi points out in a post a The Unz Review today, the Democratic establishment isn't opposed to walls per se. It depends on who's building it and for what purpose.


RaisingMac • 3 months ago
Pelosi, Schumer and the other Democrats who prattle about the immorality and uselessness of physical border defenses should be asked each and every day if they want the present border barriers demolished so that anyone can cross the border whenever they want and anywhere they want … The wall, barrier system or whatever you want to call it presently exists on a number of sections of the border.

In honor of Sen. Chuck 'Shomer', I vote that we call our border barrier a fence, just as Israel does: https://www.youtube.com/wat...

Pat Lang • 3 months ago

You are repeating what I wrote? Tell the Dems, not me.

Eric Newhill • 3 months ago

IMO, we should sell coastal California to Mexico for $100 billion. Then use that money to build a wall from Oregon to Brownsville, TX. Solves two problems in one fell swoop.
It sure does seem like the lenders are missing an excellent opportunity for a nearly risk free public relations campaign as well as sales opportunities. Get these furloughed workers in the door and give them a furlough loan and then get them interested in home loans, auto loans...whatever they're qualified for. Should be a no-brainer.

Pat Lang • 3 months ago

I would rather buy Baja California from Mexico.

peter hodges • 3 months ago

We would still be stuck with LA and the Bay Area.

Stuart Wood • 3 months ago

Trump, his wall, and the shutdown

Trump is our chief executive charged with the day to day running of the government and the proverbial “making the trains run on time” for government functions. All these functions work for him, not the legislative branch. His partial shutdown of the government reminds me of the classic film Blazing Saddles where the black sheriff, played by Cleavon Little, takes himself hostage by holding a gun to his own head to hold off a mob angry at having a black appointed sheriff for their town. It worked in the film. Let’s hope it does not work in Washington.

Fred • 3 months ago

"This, I believe, is what the majority of the populace want." ... " his wall"
I believe that is why he won the election.

Harlan Easley • 3 months ago

Fred, just finished the book you recommended "A Disease in the Public Mind - Why We Fought the Civil War" by Thomas Flemming. The most balanced and fair nonfiction historical book I have read on this subject.

Also depressing because History is repeating itself. Not rhyming but repeating itself. The modern day abolitionist is convinced of their morale superiority over the deplorables. Just look at the Fake News regarding the Catholic School boys. One abolitionist said on Twitter that he wish they were dead along with their parents.

I hate the agenda of the Paul Ryan wing of the Republican Party but I hate these modern day abolitionist more since they desire to kill people just because they don't agree with their transgender, open borders anarchy, and taxes on the little guy for a Climate Change problem that doesn't exist. The Yellow Vest movement is a push back against this madness.

Instead of talking Medicare for All, jobs for everyone, prosperity, taking care of your countryman the political narrative is on bizarre subjects due to the Elite knowing Globalization is destroying huge sections of Western Civilization. The Yellow Vest have destroyed 60% of the Speed Cameras deployed to catch the little guy going 5 m.p.h. over the speed limit or running a red light that is timed to get you. It has nothing to do with safety and everything to do with raising money off the individuals who are already struggling to survive.

For the top 26 billionaires in the world to have as much wealth as the bottom 3.8 billion people in the world is barbaric. Globalization has led to drastic income inequality and the fuse is burning.

Pat Lang • 3 months ago

Ah, the hostage taking meme.

EdwardAmame • 3 months ago

Trump says give me X number of $$s for my border wall (thought balloon over his head says "so I can get re-elected") or I shut down the gov't. What's to keep him from doing it again if the Dems cave this time?

On a side note: it's pretty appalling that you and your mostly Cuckoo bird commenters think this is the way the republic should be run. So sad what happened to this blog.

Greco • 3 months ago

We have Democrats like Sandy Ocasio-Cortez demanding the abolition of ICE. Is that one of so-called improvements to border security the Democrats are seeking with popular backing?

If left to their devices, the Democrats would happily do away with the border altogether. Don't take my word for it. Take the words of the two-time failed Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. She gave a paid, private speech in Brazil where she claimed, "My dream is a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders, some time in the future with energy that is as green and sustainable as we can get it, powering growth and opportunity for every person in the hemisphere." That's all fine and dandy, I'm sure, but oddly she didn't make that proclamation publicly on the campaign trail.

EdwardAmame • 3 months ago

You are so full of shit. Dems want borders and they want border security based on real experience, not a mnemonic device dreamed up by Roger Stone to focus candidate Trump on immigration issues.

william mcdonald • 3 months ago

I've had it with your lack of manners and respect for decorum.

Stuart Wood • 3 months ago

I think you are putting words in Pelosi's and the democrats mouths. I have heard of none of them espousing getting rid of the border barriers. I believe they view a wall as a dumb idea but are for other improvements for border security. This, I believe, is what the majority of the populace want.

Pat Lang • 3 months ago

Pelosi and any number of other leading Dems have said that border barriers are immoral. The logical conclusion from those statements is that ALL border barriers are immoral. If that is their position then they should advocate removal of existing barriers. If they do not, then they are politically self serving liars.

EdwardAmame • 3 months ago

Bullshit. She said Trump's wall is immoral. My take is that what is immoral referred to using a gov't shutdown to get it.

mike2000917 • 3 months ago

The walls in place currently are highly effective. Five billion would put more walls in areas focusing illegal crossers into smaller zones.

The Democrats are all but endorsing open borders. Whether it's just to thwart Trump or if they actually want no borders, the affect is the same.

EdwardAmame • 3 months ago

Tell that to the angry ranchers along the southern Texas borders who think trump's wall is a political stunt that will ruin them economically.

There is no illegal alien southern border crisis in 2019 -- and the migrant caravan that had so many republicans freaked out ultimately wound up in Tijuana, across the wall from San Diego. Because that's where migrant families wind up, at official points of entry so they can apply for asylum.