Words of Advice:

"If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It." -- Unknown

"There seems to be almost no problem that Congress cannot, by diligent efforts and careful legislative drafting, make ten times worse." -- Me

"What the hell is an `Aluminum Falcon'?" -- Emperor Palpatine

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Is Your Area Recovering From a Natural Disaster? Trump Says: "Fuck You."

President* Donald Trump has been briefed on a plan that would use the Army Corps of Engineers and a portion of $13.9 billion of Army Corps funding to build 315 miles of barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border, according to three U.S. officials familiar with the briefing.

The money was set aside to fund projects all over the country including storm-damaged areas of Puerto Rico through fiscal year 2020, but the checks have not been written yet and, under an emergency declaration, the president could take the money from these civil works projects and use it to build the border wall, said officials familiar with the briefing and two congressional sources.
So Trump is going to take money that has been allocated to deal with real crises so that he can deal with his fantasy crisis.

For the sake of argument, say I'm president in 2025. I declare a national health care emergency, cancel the rest of the F-35 program and reallocate the money for Medicare for all. What's to stop me? Trump would have already set the precedent that all a president has to do is declare a national emergency and he can assume near-dictatorial spending powers.

The Republicans in the Senate, presumably, are aware of this. Trump, by discussing using dictatorial powers, is slowly poisoning the jury for his impeachment trial. There may still be enough GOP senators who are more loyal to their country, to the Constitution, then they are to Trump, for a conviction. These sort of shenanigans are making that more possible.

I say this: If you are for what Trump plans to do, then you should relocate to a place where such things are the norm. Like Russia or North Korea.

By the way, consider this: It is not inconceivable that the officers who would carry out such an order may be prosecuted for obeying an illegal order. "We were just following orders" has not been a valid defense since 1945.


B said...

Lots of Presidents in the past set that precedent already. Realize that...Despite your hatred for Trump, lots of Presidents have abused the whole EO concept.

Still, I think this is a Bad Idea.

But then again, I don't want to see us waste Billion$ on Puerto Rico either.

bmq215 said...

"I think this is a Bad Idea". Can you clarify this comment? Earlier you said you were "all for impeachment" if he does this. Are you easing off from your principles or is this another way of stating that you'll call for impeachment if he does this?

Dark Avenger said...

How is helping a part of America wasting billions, B?

Oh, I forgot, some of them are brown, and they speak Spanish.

As for hatred, if I don’t think Trump is a competent leader, I must be a hater. Right.

Comrade Misfit said...

B, you are conflating executive orders with a declaration of a national emergency. EOs direct agencies to do something, but they don't allocate funds. What Trump is doing is stomping on the budget authority of Congress. What you're doing is equating a bruise with a gunshot wound.

Trump does this, what's to stop a Democratic president from declaring a national emergency for gun violence and setting up a national registry.

You guys on the Right are living in Ya-Ya Land if you think that Trump's use of a declaration of a national emergency to accomplish a political/policy goal is a one-time tool.

B said...

And I have stated that I think it is a bad idea. In fact, I posted on my blog that I think it is an impeachable offense.

While I DO want a Wall (or a functional facsimile) I want it done legally and aboveboard.

The slope on this is, indeed, pretty slippery.

I'm against getting the thing done this way. The ends do NOT justify the means.

Can I be any clearer?

w3ski said...

I'm almost sorry but I do have a question for those with "wall envy". Are we not "The Home of the Brave"? Have we given that ideal up? What is so nice about a failed 15th century idea that a country can wall itself off from another country?
Walls don't work. Anyone that has read a history book has read of the failure of country wide walls. From Jericho to East Germany, walls are a failed idea.
This wall will personally enrich both tRump and the Russian firms that want to make the steel.
This entire idea is nothing but horseshit and hucksterism.
I am getting very tired with this exaggerated fear of Mexicans. I sure have much for fear of Red Necked tRump supporters.

Dark Avenger said...

“Fixed fortifications are monuments to man’s stupidity.” George S. Patton.

Comrade Misfit said...

B, then we are in, as the saying goes, violent agreement.

B said...

Not looking for trouble here, Comrade....But HOW are we in disagreement?

You don't want a Wall? Or is it something else?

All I want to do is stop (or severely limit) the continued illegal incursion of unwanted people across our border. The systems we have in place do nothing to stop them from literally walking across.

Pleas, for my own understanding, explain our disagreement.

DTWND said...

Speaking of reading for clarity, B.

Comrade says she's in 'violent agreement.'

Look it up.


Comrade Misfit said...

B, please go back and read what I wrote.

CenterPuke88 said...

B., if you want to stop the movement of people and drugs over the current Mexican border, a wall is the wrong choice. Improved sensors, staffing, training, intelligence and capacity at the crossing points would slash the flow of drugs and reduce the flow of persons. The steel slat wall now proposed was breached by testers with saws, and the new wall sections proposed are almost in area where the response time is measured in hours to days.

If you are hunting game, do you flush them before you have a shot? Why not allow sensors to warn of a possible crossing, a drone to confirm and track the crossing, and then staff and vehicles to address the incursion?

As for a crisis on the border, McAllen, the backdrop for Donnie’s latest show, is the safest city in Texas, with a total of 0 murders in 2018. The mayors of McAllen and adjacent cities told Donnie that an additional wall is NOT the answer for their area. The existing border configuration provides security and allows trade between neighboring communities on both sides of the borders.

Your fixation on a wall as the ONLY solution is blinding you to the truth...I shall call it “WDS”.

B said...

And McAllan Texas is a border point, right?

How, exactly, do those "Sensors" do anything? People enter and in less than half an hour are in the wilderness. Pretty much hidden from sight, and impossible for one or two agents to find. Whereas a wall, a steel or concrete barrier makes those points of entry more difficult. One cannot cross easily, nor can large or heavy parcels be moved over quickly (think gallons of water or bales of....drugs?)

Oddly, the walls work where they already exist. And other governments seem to think that border barriers stop the flows of people. Government installations use 'em as well. Why is it that you folks keep claiming "Walls don't work" and "we need sensors" Sensors don't work either. We have 'em. and we can, indeed see people cross. And disappear. , Even yer boy, Schumer, called for a wall until the powers in the DNC told him to shut up.

If not a wall/barrier, what do you propose to STOP people from entering this country? Please, not the tired talking points of the DNC, which are vague and misleading, but real, honest solutions that WILL stop people and goods from entering illegally. I'm all for a solution, if one can be found. But not one that doesn't work.

Or, if you are all for unfetterd access across the border, then admit that.

CenterPuke88 said...

Let’s see, B. I’ll explain carefully, let’s see if you can follow:

1) McAllen has a series of crossing points with walls (oh my God, they have walls ALREADY) between them to channel traffic to the crossing points. Some of these features need repairing, something that Democratic lawmakers support.

2) Beyond the urban and suburban areas, the character of the border changes. In these more desolate areas, with no roads and other easy movement areas, the idea of a wall become valueless. A wall, unwatched, is simply a climbing, digging or attacking with tools obstacle. This is the basis of Democrats opposing Donnie’s wall demands.

3) To protect these areas of the border, the CBP and DHS currently operate Predator B drones (much to the Cato Institute’s alarm...the Koch brothers find it...interesting, is it hitting their workforce?), to the tune of 5,625 flight hours, to help locate border crossers. The drones are extremely effective due to the sensors that allow location of humans in the desolate areas. Democrats are committed to supporting these missions.

4) Will Hurd (R-TX), whose District includes these areas works with CBP and DHS on issues of border crossing and has clearly stated that they don’t need walls/slats/fences, they need more technology, better pay for Officers and more Officers. Democrats have advanced bills supporting these requests.

5) The wall doesn’t work when Officers aren’t actively watching it, with a less than 10-15 minute response time, something that is simply impossible in the Big Bend. In this area, response times run between hours and a day plus. Many apprehensions in this area occur due to drones locating suspicious groups and tracking them until Officers can respond and investigate. Democratic funding proposals support these operations.

6) In agricultural areas, the walls proposed will take millions of productive acres out of cultivation. Currently, the CBP and DHS rely upon patrols and reports from farmers to locate groups transiting the private property in the area. Note that farmers in these areas strongly support CBP and DHS, provide excellent intelligence, hire legal workers (difficult now because e-Verify, is down due to the shutdown) and oppose the wall.

7) Wall designs require bulldozing an over 200 meter strip around the wall, and further removal of any shrubbery above a foot or two high within another 200-500 meters on each side. This will destroy a number of wildlife refugees, massive amounts of native flora and fauna that support complex ecosystems, and bulldoze a few historical buildings and many more regular buildings.

8) None of the wall prototypes passed inspection and/or survived breach testing. No one has provided any wall designs that can be built in a large percentage of the Big Bend due to the character of the terrain.

So, let’s talk the basics...walls work in CERTAIN environments, and walls ALREADY EXIST in these areas. Donnie is requesting walls for the WHOLE BORDER, or in areas where walls won’t work.

As for your question, the sensors in question are a quantum leap from the sensors deployed in Vietnam on the Ho Chi Min Trail. They would report a possible crossing to a central point, which would task a drone to investigate. The drone would surveil the area and locate the sensor tripping group (or individual) using multispectral detection. Then the sector office would receive notice of the incursion location, the size of the group, observed equipment or weapons within the group and their course/present position. At this point, a determination is made as to the necessary composition of the intercepting force, and this force is gathered and launched. The sector office also alerts local and State authorities if it seems the group may reach transportation or a road, so as to provide backup as necessary. That’s what works in these areas, not walls...it’s just that the money hasn’t been spent to make it always work this way...just in the test areas so far.

bmq215 said...

Great, B. Thank you for taking the time to clarify for me.

I read your post too and while youyou slip into whataboutism at the end, you did make it clear that if Trump takes the emergency powers route you believe he will be deserving of impeachment and therefore unfit to lead.

We shall see...

B said...

Cp: Excellent post. And polite too!

However, I've been in some of those areas. One can literally walk across. There are already roads/trails whatever that are about 150Ft wide and the areas have no obstacles that are over 20 foot high for miles. Having a barrier to climb over would prevent groups of people from being able to simply walk over the road and disappear into the desert. Yes, there are places where a wall would not be practical, but those areas would also be harder to cross. Simply placing a stout barrier would SLOW PEOPLE DOWN, making them easier to intercept. Instead of taking 30 seconds for a group of 20 people to cross the road, it would take a longer time (perhaps an hour or more) even if they used a ladder....and they couldn't easily carry a load of water and possessions (or a hundred pounds of smack). Any wall is breachable.

Much of the areas where people now cross are that way. Seen it myself. Stop/slow those "easy" crossings and you have much less to patrol.

Have you ever actually looked, with your own eyes, the areas that we are referring to? I have (some of them) and in those areas, a wall would work. Hundreds of miles like that. Not, by any means, all of our southern border. But a significant part of the border is desolate and easily walled.

But right now, it is easy to cross. Make it harder, you'll have less crossings, and slowing people down will make a difference, both in people and drugs.

Millions of acres? Really? The walls will only require about 300 yards, at most. Much of the area isn't farmed...again, I've been there. Some, perhaps. Most doesn't have enough water available to farm.

You say that walls already exist in areas where they can be built. I'm here to tell you I've seen with my own eyes areas where wall could be built and where the border is, for all practical purposes, open. Again, I've seen these areas. Miles of 'em.

Have you ever been in those areas in Texas, NM, or AZ?

BNQ: If you could get over your bias against me simply because I won't parrot the DNC party line and actually look at my positions, you might find that I am a pretty conservative and consistent person who dislikes politicians of all stripes abusing our Constitution and our laws. Just because I disliked it when Barry did so doesn't mean I will look the other way when Trump does it. Party means little to me. Following our laws and especially our Constitution as written is the litmus. As for the position we are discussing today, read my blog. I stated it clearly there.

Unlike some, I don't give politicians a pass simply due to their party affiliation.

CenterPuke88 said...

B., yes, I've spent a good amount of time in the Valley.

Perhaps you should look at the planned route of the wall...it is, in some cases, over a mile from the actual border, and the land being cut off is NOT being paid for. Families are losing thousands of acres without conpensation, the DHS says they can travel 5 miles to the nearest gate and 5 miles back to tend their crops! Because of that ruling, there is only compensation for the actual land seized, and that compensation has been wildly varying. The Latino landowners in the Valley have been offered around $8,300 per acre, while White agribusinesses are offered over $30,000 per acre. Federal judges have voided so many land seizures that the courts have lost track of how often some land owners are forced back into the courts. The money for walls in those location is already programed and available, once the Feds pony up fair compensation.

It's funny, but incredibly, land along a river is pretty fertile and needs much less irrigation...so the most valuable land is that being seized or isolated.

bmq215 said...

B, I think you need to read my comment again. More carefully this time. You'll find that the first piece is thanking you and the last half is A) acknowledging that I read your post and B) commenting that you've made it clear where you stand on constitutional issues.

Really can't figure out why you opened up with an attack regarding my perceived bias. I was agreeing with you. Maybe consider visiting an eye doctor? Also, it's "BMQ" not "BNQ"...

B said...


Thanks for being polite...this time.

I was merely pointing out that you generally aren't, and you generally assume that I am a terrible person because we disagree. Which you think seems to give you leave to be rude, insulting, and snarly the rest of the time when we don't agree. Just askin' for an honest break here the rest of the time. Disagreements don't make you, or me, a bad person. Just different points of view.

Thanks for being polite this time.

bmq215 said...

B, your (qualified) thanks are noted.

Frankly if your first impulse when reading a comment where I agree with you is to launch into an attack then I don't have too much hope for future exchanges.

Likewise, I'm sorry you feel I assume you're a terrible person and that I'm insulting you. I assure neither are true. Frankly I think you're reading into things too much. I'm simply a fan of fact-based discussion and have little patience for those who do not provide references to back up their claims, a point we've admittedly clashed on a few times.

B said...

"I'm simply a fan of fact-based discussion and have little patience for those who do not provide references to back up their claims, a point we've admittedly clashed on a few times."
Bit of the Pot and the Kettle there, doncha think?

Go back, reread your replies to me over the past month or more. They aren't very nice. In fact, you generally are an ass towards me. Not so to those with whom you agree. At best, mean spirited, at worst, well, I won't go there so as to not start another fight on this comment or Ms Comrade's blog.

Having said that, your politeness is refreshing. I'll try to keep it that way....would that you will do the same, even if we disagree.

Thanks in advance.

bmq215 said...

Uh, B, are you sure you're not confusing me with someone else??! I just did as you asked and went through the last month of posts and as far as I can tell this is the first one in which I've replied to you...

Dark Avenger said...

B I admire how you know more about the border problem than the people, especially the LEO, who live and work in that area.

Comrade Misfit said...

Aaannnd, I think we're done.