Archive for the ‘border fence’ Category

The National Security and Federal Lands Protection Act is co-sponsored by Rep. Denny Rehberg, and it is exactly the kind of Big Government Montanans don’t tolerate. All of us should be up in arms over the prospect of this bill. It infringes on our constitutional rights in the name of freedom – much like the controversial REAL ID Act. In fact, this bill builds off of REAL ID.

:::MORE HERE:::

Advertisements

PLEASE HEED THE WARNING.  DO NOT SUPPORT JOE MILLER, Senate Republican from Alaska.  The likelihood is high that he will personally expedite fascism in America.

BTC –  The Tea Party is not a uniform organism.  It is a more or less hothouse garden of small government, anti-tax grassroots cultivated through the media sprawl of Fox news.  This has been repeated over and over.  It’s important to point out when small government cultures get a mutant strain which grows larger than the rest and then of course adopts poisonous or harmful characteristics.

Allow me to explain.

Alaska is known for producing and promulgating American exceptionalism.   American exceptionalism is touted by Alaska’s chief political export, Sarah Palin. This is the idea that America doesn’t have to adhere to basic general standards, ethics and morality in ways the rest of the world does.   Which is why some Americans condemn the facist treatment of women in fundamentalist Islamic cultures and then justify no-bid contracts to perform extranational rendition, human experimentation and torture on the US tax payer dime.

Exceptionalism is also why some of the deluded officials in our government think we are immune to facism when we adopt its actions for use on our own people.  Remember the instances when it was said, “It’s not illegal when the president does it,”?    This is the current state of mind in Washington D.C.  They have lost their compass for what is and is not facisim, even when it is another American.  Activists and advocates have to hold their hand, shout in their near deaf ears and lead them against doing things which will eventually erode their own personal freedoms as Americans.  I think of it like aiding a developmentally disabled family member.  It’s tough but you have to do it for everyone’s sake.

This is the strong clear reasoning of Americans towards voting anti-incumbent, of which I have been a strong proponent.

That was until I saw headlines about Tea Party hopeful Joe Miller as soon as Sunday touting East Germany’s example of border wall security as a great solution to our societal and immigration woes.  That has red flag all over it.  It doesn’t stop there.  Miller took it upon himself to try to forcibly and illegally detain a journalist covering his campaign.

Joe Miller wants that fence. He’ll probably want to see your papers too. If I had a crystal ball I would project he will volley to keep Real ID law and enforceable in the States. He is exactly what establishment Washington IS, not what America needs.

This is not the usual behavior of a campaigning man “of the people, by the people”. This is the behavior of someone who will propell RNC-G20-G8 levels of martial law.  This is the behavior of a  person who will use physical force to silence free speech when it is inconveniencing them.  This is the dictionary picture of the Ugly American wrecking around innocent people and then calling for backup for doing it because he’s a nationalist.  He wants a paycheck for this.  He wants more responsibility.

LISTEN:  THIS IS A BAD SIGN. PLEASE HEED THE WARNING.  DO NOT SUPPORT JOE MILLER, Senate Republican from Alaska.  The likelihood is high that he will personally expedite fascism in America.


ALSO BAD: RE-ELECTING REP. ERIC CANTOR, SO HE CAN DEFEND REAL ID

Here is second life for news that matters:

GOOD NEWS! DC judge suspends sentence for Hart building dissent

“The biggest concern is that the government not be put in the middle of private networks so that it monitors private communications for cybersecurity purposes,” said Gregory Nojeim, senior director at the Center for Democracy andTechnology.”    

The Senate bill on Cyber Security passes one chamber and the TSA could not wait for an option to block “controversial opinion” for their employees.

DIY GOVERNMENT: HOST A FOIA PARTY!

TX Red light camera backlash

Online medical records raise privacy concerns

WSJ: United States recipe for population control?
Secure the borders, count the people, declare martial law.”



BTC  – Arizona Governor, Jan Brewer met with President Obama this week on immigration reform urging completion of the border wall fence, including aerial surveillance drones.  Republicans divided over the effectiveness of the fence argue security at the border will not come cheap.

Mainstream opinion, billed as news, from “conservative” or “liberal” narrative sources come across as social or racial biases vs. lower taxes and jail tight security for America. However, Classical Liberals (considered conservative) and Modern liberals find themselves in agreement on the border fence. Free-market proponents and progressive Greens on the border sound very similar.  
Please compare this Competitive Enterprise Institute, OpEd to the following OpEd release from Sierra Club border fence advocate, Scott Nicols.

Trading on Fear in an Election Year: 
Members of Congress Push for More Border Walls


By Scott Nicol 


On May 25, President Obama announced that he would deploy up to 1,200 National Guard troops to the US-Mexico border.  This followed a White House meeting with Congressional Republicans aimed at attracting support for, or at least blunting opposition to, comprehensive immigration reform legislation.  With mid-term elections on the horizon, conservative members of Congress have turned their attention to the border.  Or, more precisely, to walling it off.  In May two bills and one amendment aimed at building more border walls were introduced.  One failed, but the other two are still pending.


If you thought that the walling off of the Nature Conservancy’s Southmost Preserve marked an end to border wall construction, think again.


On Cinco de Mayo Senator Jim DeMint announced that he would reintroduce his “Finish the Fence” amendment.  It would change the Secure Fence Act to say that, “Fencing that does not effectively restrain pedestrian traffic (such as vehicle barriers and virtual fencing) may not be used to meet the 700-mile fence requirement.”  As of April 2010DHS reports that it has completed 347 miles of “pedestrian fence”, meant to stop people on foot, and 299 miles of “vehicle barriers.”  If DeMint’s amendment makes it into law an additional 353 miles of “pedestrian fence” will be built along the border.


When DeMint proposed this amendment last July, the Senate voted 54 to 44 to include it in the Department of Homeland Security’s annual appropriations bill.  The House version of the bill did not contain a matching provision, and Representative Ciro Rodriguez, who, unlike DeMint, represents a district encompassing part of the border, was able to remove it during the House/Senate conference committee. 


This time around DeMint attempted to attach his amendment to Financial Reform legislation.  Seeing that this had nothing to do with financial reform (in fact, at roughly $7.5 million per mile DeMint’s new walls would cost taxpayers $2,647,500,000) DeMint’s amendment was not adopted.  Following this failure DeMint tried to attach it to a bill funding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  That attempt also fell short (though just barely), but he will almost certainly try again between now and the November elections.


Even more extreme than DeMint’s amendment is Representative Todd Tiahrt’s Secure the Border Act, which requires continuous double-layered border walls along the entire 2,000 mile long border, from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico.  Tiahrt made no attempt to explain how the monumental expense of his legislation would benefit his Kansas constituents, who already have Oklahoma and Texas acting as buffers between them and Mexico.


InsteadTiahrt proudly proclaimed that the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and NumbersUSA support his bill.  FAIR has earned a place on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of hate groups.  They received $1.2 million from the Pioneer Fund, an organization founded to promote eugenics and foster policies of “racial betterment.”


NumbersUSA has also been denounced by the Southern Poverty Law Center for its ties to nativist and racist organizations. FAIR president Dan Stein and NumbersUSA president Roy Beck both formerly edited the white nationalist publication The Social Contract.  One would expect Congressman Tiahrt to avoid their endorsements, not embrace them. 


When he announced his bill Tiahrt neglected to mention that before his election to the House or Representatives he was employed by Boeing, where he worked on a number of government contracts.  His old boss has not forgotten him; in 2009-2010 Boeing was Tiahrt’s biggest campaign contributor.  Boeing is in turn one of the largest recipients of contracts for the Secure Border Initiative (SBI), which includes both solid border walls and virtual fences.  To dateBoeing has received 13 task orders for SBI, totaling $1.2 billion


Representative Tiahrt is currently running for the U.S. Senate.  Senate races are expensive, and a successful candidate needs publicity to energize voters.  Boeing has consistently provided him with campaign cash, and NumbersUSA and FAIR make regular appearances on FOX news, where they defend anti-immigrant legislation and promote favorite legislators such as Tiahrt.


Not to be left out, Senators John McCain and Jon Kyl rolled out a “10-Point Border Security Plan”, along with accompanying legislation.  Their bill would“construct double- and triple-layer fencing” throughout Arizona.  McCain also released a campaign commercial in which he and Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu walk alongside the border wall and discuss McCain’s border scheme. 


“The plan is perfect,” Sheriff Babeu intones.


“Then complete the danged fence,” McCain responds, with the domain CompleteTheDangedFence.com on the screen below him.


Those who try to visit the website are redirected to JohnMcCain.com, where they can purchase McCain t-shirts or donate to his reelection campaign. 


McCain is in a tough primary fight with JD Hayworth, who has been attacking McCain for his prior willingness to support immigration reform.  Before Hayworth threatened to unseat him, McCain told Vanity Fair, “I think the fence is least effective. But I’ll build the g–damned fence if they want it.” The possibility of losing the election has caused the Senator to embrace the border wall that he once dismissed.


Sheriff Babeu seems like an odd choice to accompany McCain alongside the Nogales border wall.  Babeu’s jurisdiction is 115 miles north of Nogales, and does not include any of the border that McCain advocates walling off.  Why not consult an actual border sheriff about his border security plan?


Because those who work on the border might give an honest answer, instead of reading McCain’s cue cards.  If he were to ask Nogales Assistant Police Chief Roy Bermudez, for example, the response might mirror Bermudez’ statement earlier this month, when he said, “We have not, thank God, witnessed any spillover violence from Mexico.”


Clarence Dupnik, Sheriff of neighboring Pima County, which also includes a long stretch of the US-Mexico border, said at that time, “This is a media-created event. I hear politicians on TV saying the border has gotten worse. Well, the fact of the matter is that the border has never been more secure.”


In fact, according to FBI statistics, crime rates in Arizona border towns, including Nogales, have remained flat for the past decade.  There has been no increase in violence as a result of “spillover” from Mexico.  There was also no decrease in crime following the erection of border walls and the hiring of thousands of Border Patrol agents.  FBI statistics show that the same is true for U.S. cities all along the border, from San Diego to El Paso to Brownsville.


Contrast what the FBI says with statements by DeMint, who said, “Drug trafficking, human trafficking, gang activity and other crimes are raging in American cities near the border.”  Or McCain, who opens his campaign spot by listing, “Drug and human smuggling, home invasions, murder…” as justifications for sending in the National Guard and building more “danged fence.”


Politicians and law enforcement seem to be looking at two completely different borders.


In fact, they are looking at completely different numbers.  The numbers that DeMint, Tiahrt, and McCain are interested are votes, not FBI crime statistics.  Facts about the border do not matter; voters’ beliefs, no matter how divorced from reality, do.  As Senator McCain indicated during his earlier, pre-campaign Vanity Fair interview, building walls and sending troops to the border are political gestures meant to get votes, not solutions to any real problem.


Just as in McCain’s commercial, for politicians the border wall is simply a prop, a stage set upon which they can project an illusion of strength and security for an audience of voters who will never see the actual border.  They are looking at voters who live far from the border, who can be told that “spillover” violence poses an existential threat to the United States, and only they (certainly not their election opponents!) can protect the nation.  Those of us who live on the actual border, and live with the land condemnations, the suspension of laws, and the environmental damage that accompany actual border walls, see it very differently.  

Scott Nicol is a spokesperson for No Border Wall, and also chairs the Sierra Club’s national Borderlands Team.  He lives in McAllen, Texas, and can be reached at NoBorderWall@yahoo.com.



[BTC – Damage done is damage done, no matter who is responsible. We have one planet. We all have to live here together. ]

c/o No Border Wall

Before former Secretary Chertoff’s last Real ID Act waivers in April 2008, DHS prepared draft environmental impact statements and draft environmental assessments for the various sections of border wall, as mandated by the National Environmental Policy Act. In reviewing the draft environmental impact statement for the Rio Grande Valley, the Environmental Protection Agency found it to be “insufficient,” and recommended that DHS start the process over. The EPA reached the same conclusion, and made the same recommendation, when it reviewed the draft environmental impact statements and draft environmental assessments that DHS prepared for each the other border wall sections.

Following the waivers, which allowed DHS to disregard the National Environmental Policy Act, the agency abruptly ended the environmental assessment and environmental impact statement processes. Instead, they created a brand new category, the “environmental stewardship plan,” which was not governed by any federal legislation. These new reports recycle the bulk of the prior, “insufficient” reports, in many cases word-for-word, but have no established criteria or requirement for review from the EPA or the public. While they do include recommendations to minimize the wall’s environmental impact, most of which appeared in the earlier “insufficient” reports, there is no requirement that these be adhered to. In the instance of Smuggler’s Gulch, for example, revegetation and erosion control measures called for in DHS’ own report were not implemented.

With no need to obey environmental laws, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) filled in the canyon known as Smuggler’s Gulch, south of San Diego, with over 2 million cubic yards of earth that had been ripped from adjacent mountaintops, and planted the border wall on top of the berm. With no regulations in place and no oversight by other agencies, DHS put little effort into erosion control, and the still bare slopes of the earthen dam threaten to wash tremendous amounts of dirt into the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve, which is only 600 feet away. Burying the estuary in sediment may raise its surface level enough to disrupt the twice-daily inundation of sea water upon which its fragile ecosystem depends.

To the east of Smuggler’s Gulch, in the rugged Otay Mountain Wilderness Area, DHS has blasted mountainsides in order to create access roads and level ground upon which to build the border wall. Before construction began the Environmental Protection Agency raised concerns that the dumping of tons of rubble, and the erosion that would follow, would clog the Tijuana River and violate the Clean Water Act. The Otay Mountain Wilderness Area was established in part to preserve some of the last stands of rare tecate cypress trees, the host plant for the even rarer Thorne’s hairstreak butterfly, which are found nowhere else in the United States. But with the Real ID Act’s waiver authority in hand, DHS has ignored the EPA’s concerns and our nation’s environmental laws, including the Otay Mountain Wilderness Act and the Clean Water Act. Border wall construction caused tremendous erosion, as predicted, and also involved cutting down more than 100 tecate cypress trees.

In July of 2008 the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument received seasonal monsoon rains which resulted in the flooding of a number of washes that are bisected by the border wall. Storms of this type normally occur every 3 – 5 years in this part of the Sonoran desert. The Army Corps of Engineers had previously stated that the border walls built across washes would “not impede the natural flow of water.” In stark contrast to these claims, the National Park Service determined that the grates built into the base of the wall to allow for the passage of water were quickly choked with debris and sediment. The border wall then acted as a dam, with floodwaters up to seven feet deep piling up behind it. The floodwaters then followed the wall in search of an outlet, which they found at the Sonoyta port of entry, causing millions of dollars of damage to private businesses and government buildings. :::MORE HERE:::

c/o Sierra Club’s Borderlands Team

MORE REAL ID WAIVERS
The San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area in Arizona was the next to feel the brunt of the Real ID Act’s destructive power. When the Sierra Club and Defenders of Wildlife challenged the construction of the border wall across this World Heritage site and home of Arizona’s last free-flowing river, a federal court agreed that the Department of Homeland Security had ignored the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act, and handed down an injunction temporarily halting construction. Rather than comply with the law, DHS Secretary Chertoff waived it, once again suspending the laws that were the basis of a successful suit, along with 18 others. Within days of the waiver, DHS restarted construction.

Apparently hoping to head off further court challenges to the border wall, in April 2008 DHS Secretary Chertoff issued two waivers. One waived 27 federal laws to allow for the insertion of border walls into the existing flood control levees in Hidalgo County, Texas. The second waiver covered every other section of border wall scheduled for construction from the Pacific to the Gulf of Mexico. This border-wide mega-waiver suspended 36 federal laws. Along with the environmental laws set aside in earlier waivers, Chertoff waived the Farmland Protection Policy Act, the National Historic Preservation Act, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, and a host of others, along with all state and local laws related to the subjects of the waived federal laws.