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The Border Wall is For Scared Old White People in Pennsylvania and Nebraska, Not for Actual Border Security

[ 75 ] January 27, 2017 |


Trump’s border wall executive order is beyond idiotic. The idea of the wall is incredibly stupid, even if you want to secure the border. First, there is already a lot of wall in areas near population centers. But that wall is incredibly porous because you can just tunnel underneath it. I have personally been taken to a trailer in Arizona where a tunnel came out (although the current resident was not interested in allowing us to actually see it, as you might imagine). Second, building a wall in the desert is a terrible use of resources. Third, the idea of the wall is to make scared old white people in rural America feel more secure. It has nothing to do with actually securing the border in any useful way. And nearly everyone on the border itself already knows this. That’s why there is not a single member of Congress from Texas, the majority of whom are really awful humans, who has come out in support of this. Some have gone after Trump directly, such as Filemon Vela, who represents Brownsville in Congress:

U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela took a poison pen to the Republican presumptive presidential nominee, Donald Trump, in an open letter Monday morning.

“Mr. Trump, you’re a racist and you can take your border wall and shove it up your ass,” the Brownsville Democrat wrote in a lengthy missive to the real estate magnate.

Later Monday, Vela elaborated on his remarks in an MSNBC interview.

“Well, I would have liked to have spoken in a much more diplomatic fashion, but I felt like I had to speak to Donald Trump in language he understands,” he said.

I like that guy.

But it’s also Republicans. Will Hurd actually represents the vast emptiness that is south and southwest Texas.

The Republican congressman whose district includes more miles of U.S.-Mexico border than any other came out against President Trump’s new executive action ordering the “immediate construction” of a border wall to block undocumented immigrants from entering the United States.

“Building a wall is the most expensive and least effective way to secure the border,” Rep. Will Hurd (R-Tex.) said in a statement late Wednesday.

“Each section of the border faces unique geographical, cultural, and technological challenges that would be best addressed with a flexible, sector-by-sector approach that empowers the agents on the ground with the resources they need.”

Hurd, one of 38 Texans in Congress, represents territory stretching from San Antonio to El Paso, including 800 miles of border. His 23rd District is majority-Hispanic and politically competitive: Hurd won a second term over Democrat Pete Gallego by fewer than 4,000 votes in November.

On the same trip that I saw the trailer with the tunnel, I was talking to a rancher in southern Arizona, who routinely used the term “wetback” to talk about immigrants, but who thought the border wall was incredibly dumb and had already had a deal with his rancher across the border in Sonora that when their respective cattle got across the fence, they had cut a secret hole in it where they would exchange the cattle.

This what actual life on the border looks like. Not that Trump or Goebbels Bannon care. Or his core supporters in the Midwest and South. They know nothing. Except that Mexicans are scary for some reason.

Also worth noting the utter ecological catastrophe of building the wall. And of course the $5 tomatoes in January if the Trump Tax to pay for the wall is enacted.

How bad has this gotten? I am now looking to Vicente Fox as a moral beacon. Vicente Fox!!! Even Enrique Pena Nieto is bright enough to make hay out of this.

In conclusion, I will be rooting for Mexico to defeat the U.S. in soccer for the rest of my life.


Comments (75)

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  1. Ahenobarbus says:

    In conclusion, I will be rooting for Mexico to defeat the U.S. in soccer for the rest of my life.

    Unless USA soccer officially becomes Team Trump, I don’t see why this is necessary. Hell, soccer is probably the least Trumpy of US team sports.

  2. GFW says:

    already had a deal with his rancher across the border in Sonora that when their respective cattle got across the fence, they had cut a secret hole in it where they would exchange the cattle.

    Wait, what? How do cattle get across a border fence (before any secret hole)?

  3. C.V. Danes says:

    Assuming that:

    Congress will indeed fund it, AND,

    The states can push through eminent domain, AND,

    The environment impact studies can be approved, AND,

    The U.S. can devote 25% of its entire concrete production for a year,

    There is no contstruction management company with the expertise to do this that will take on the project.

    That being said. I don’t think Trump expects the wall to be built, either. He will just use this to nail those who oppose it as being immigrant friendly.

    • so-in-so says:

      Okay, you are probably right on most of it (although the point is not that we really need to BUILD it so much as say we are. Old white people from Pennsyltucky probably aren’t going to go check it out, and a “security zone” keeping most out of sight would keep the rest away).


      The environment impact studies can be approved,

      Hahahahahahaha! Those words will have NO MEANING what so ever in this admin!

      • prognostication says:

        Doesn’t matter what it means to the administration, the main real-world function of NEPA, which is an incredibly dysfunctional law, is to give environmental and NIMBY groups standing to sue over trivial details in an EIS to delay projects. These lawsuits often take years to resolve.

    • Cervantes says:

      Yeah, not to worry, it will never happen.

    • rea says:

      There is no construction management company with the expertise to do this that will take on the project.

      Our new buddy Putin can probably find someone with the necessary expertise from back in his Soviet days.

    • efgoldman says:

      I don’t think Trump expects the wall to be built

      There you go again, expecting a “plan” or “strategy” out of Apricot Asswipe. The only reason that he’s stayed with it is, it was a huge applause line at his rallies. Those are the things he remembers and repeats.
      He’s still pretty sure, I guess, that as long as he signs something, it’s so, and I’m pretty sure no one in the WH is telling him otherwise.
      I saw a coupe of places (maybe here?) that says NOBODY is reviewing the EOs – not the lawyers, not the affected departments, nobody.

    • Trump should just announce that it has already been built and call anyone who points out the bullshit “A goddamn liberal lying loser!” Most of his supporters will agree with him.

    • N__B says:

      There is no contstruction management company with the expertise to do this that will take on the project.

      Bechtel’s done worse.

  4. Calming Influence says:

    I say we build a wall around Texas and make Texans pay for it.

    • so-in-so says:

      Given this admin, a wall around California is more likely.

      Sacramento might actually agree to help pay, I suppose.

    • Karen24 says:

      I’m not sure what Teddie the Weirdo’s opinion is, but Cornyn and Abbot oppose the damned thing. The Texas state government has a lot of agreements with Mexico, including certain agreements for reciprocal occupational licenses, all of which is threatened by Trump’s rhetoric. This is why it is critical for us to make the state Republican Party OWN Trump.

      Also, Filemon Vela should have an exploratory committee for the 2018 Senate race as soon as he possibly can.

    • JL says:

      This is an odd comment after a post highlighting how Texans, even right-wing ones, don’t want the border wall. And rather unfortunate given all the worthy progressive organizing work that has been going on in Texas for ages. Seems like it would make more sense to support those organizers.

  5. keta says:

    This is the one issue that most had the Trump supporters screaming his name and calling him America’s saviour. Of course he’s going to pursue it, no matter how cost-inefficient or inane.

    This is about stroking Trump’s ego, and for that there is no cost too high.

  6. ΧΤΠΔ says:

    I’m of the opinion that western Pennsylvania should be renamed “Northeast West Virginia.”

    Also this.

    • Attezz says:

      This seems unfair, the parts of Western PA I know are still relatively Democratic, in my experience it’s the south central part that seems the most old, white, and racist. I live a few miles from the border MD/PA border (on the good side), and I saw more than one SUV with PA plates that had a “Trump Wall” drawn on the back window during the campaign season.

      They hate us so much, but holy fuck do they love driving into liberal Maryland to work.

      • prognostication says:

        I just spent 4 years in central PA, and it’s not just south central PA, it’s pretty much ALL of central PA with a few exceptional pockets like State College, as well as pretty much all of northern PA, much of which basically feels like Deliverance. I used to hike in the northern tier and some of the most sparsely populated parts of central PA a lot, and it’s beautiful, but it has a genuinely remote, desolate, and lawless feeling in some places.

        • John F says:

          I lived in Binghamton (Southern Tier NY) for a few years- Pennsylvania (between Philly and Pitt) was pretty universally referred to as “Alabama”- and this was by GOP leaning NYers.

      • wjts says:

        This seems unfair, the parts of Western PA I know are still relatively Democratic, in my experience it’s the south central part that seems the most old, white, and racist.

        Clinton didn’t win a single county in Western PA except Allegheny. With the exception of Erie, none of the others were even a little bit close.

    • JMP says:

      As a Philadelphia native, I just wish the city and its’ suburbs could secede from that horrible anchor of the rest of the state, and also stop subsidizing them with our taxes.

  7. Linnaeus says:

    There might be a spanner in the works: about 75 miles of the US-Mexico border runs through the lands of the Tohono O’odham Nation, and according to the vice chairman of the tribe, they are not disposed to allow the wall to be built through their land. Not sure how much of a difference this would make, but I’m glad to see it.

  8. Well, of course. Nor is it a coincidence that Trump and his supporters worry about “illegals ” voting and “those people” voting “illegally”. It’s fear of the dilution of white supremacy.

  9. CrunchyFrog says:

    By the way, this is really bad for US business. My little corner of the Gigacorp I now work for does a ton of business in Latin America and right now our customers and prospects are loathe to talk to us. Suddenly, non-US-based competitors of us are much more attractive.

    Trump/Bannon is going to be horrible for business. Oh, a select group will reap extra profits through various government grifts and ending of environmental and health regulations, to be sure. But most businesses, whether they know it or now, rely on a stable and predictable international trade-based economy. At the rate Trump/Bannon is going the rest of the world is going to shift their trade networks to avoid the US, either because we’re so vile or because we’re so unreliable. Like all such leaders in similar situations, without a major source of income (like from oil) to prop things up their incompetence will lead to the collapse of the country’s economy, and in turn they’ll have to start a war to distract people.

  10. njorl says:

    A 100-yard-wide trench from the Pacific to the Gulf, dug down to the Earth’s magma (italics to indicate that “magma” should be pronounced a la Dr. Evil) is the only sensible solution.

  11. dogboy says:

    I have found my mono-linguistic self trying to find english language political commentary from Mexico/Mexican perspective. I am having difficulty getting beyond the major papers. Anyone have any suggestions for sites?

  12. Nick never Nick says:

    I think that a basic misunderstanding people have is what kind of a crime overstaying a visa is — they think that if you’re in a country illegally, various departments of the police, immigration, whatnot, actually give a damn. I don’t know precisely what happens in the United States, but here in Canada, if anyone figures out that you’ve overstayed your visa, this is what happens:

    1) they mail you a letter asking you to leave within 30 days
    2) if you don’t, the letter turns into a deportation order

    But you aren’t deported, because no one really wants to spend the time or money deporting you. It does happen, but it’s kind of random and low-level. If you commit a crime, then you will be deported. Otherwise, you hang out there until you leave for some reason of your own, and then can’t come back.

    It’s comparable, I think, to a lost package. If Fed-Ex loses your package, they’ll make a tiny, perfunctory effort to find it. They they pay you some modest sum. Actually looking for it seriously would cost them more than the modest sum. They scarcely pretend to care. Undocumented workers, with jobs and rentals, are these packages. They pay taxes and don’t use benefits. Who’s gonna get worked up?

    • so-in-so says:

      That’s were the profiling by LEO’s comes in. If you stop all brown or “foreign” looking people for the least excuse, you’ll find more people to deport. The chances of an Irish or German national being deported for overstaying will remain very low. I fully expect Hispanic or Muslim CITIZENS to end facing deportation under Cheeto Benito.

    • JL says:

      I think that a basic misunderstanding people have is what kind of a crime overstaying a visa is…

      In fact, it’s not a crime at all in the US, which a ton of people don’t realize. It’s a civil infraction. Improper entry is a misdemeanor.

    • wengler says:

      See Governor LePage and his rant about outsiders coming in to impregnate Maine’s white women for your answer.

    • Bugboy says:

      “They pay taxes and don’t use benefits.”

      But there’s the rub: in this country, there is a commonly held belief they ARE using benefits.

  13. Happy Jack says:

    As if all those ranchers in the southwest are jonesing for the federal government to take their land.

  14. Matt_L says:

    “In conclusion, I will be rooting for Mexico to defeat the U.S. in soccer for the rest of my life.”

    Snark is cheap. You’ve probably never watched a complete soccer match in your life.

  15. Bugboy says:

    “Third, the idea of the wall is to make scared old white people in rural America feel more secure.”

    This sounds quite similar to the mentality about gun control: guns don’t actually make you safer, they just make you FEEL safer.

    It’s funny (in a not funny sort of way) how these folks will have the inverse idea about seat belts: that they don’t actually make you any safer, because of a minuscule incidence of accidents where seat belts fail. See also: welfare queens, in which if there is a single case of fraud, then every welfare recipient is committing fraud.

    There is a serious perception problem in our citizenry, where anecdote equals data, a self-fulfilling prophecy in which the decline in public as well as private education results in malformed thinking. Our president* (h/t to Bro Pierce) appears to be a product of the system.

  16. Dilan Esper says:

    The thing is, the Wall’s actually one of the less bad things he has proposed. It would at least be a job creator.

    • El Guapo says:

      Just stop it.

    • As if we couldn’t use the same labor pool and materials to build or reinforce actually constructive projects.

    • Warren Terra says:

      To the extent Trump got elected because people wanted opportunity and jobs, it wasn’t because there were no jobs to be had in the country, it was because they felt there were no good, long-term jobs for them in the communities they lived in. The nation has very low unemployment, but a lot of that is low-wage, low-stability service jobs, and even though wages have been rising that’s mostly in the cities and in the blue states, not in the Rust Belt or Appalachia.

      Low-wage short-term construction jobs in the desert a thousand miles away do exactly nothing to address the employment concerns Trump’s electorate raised.

    • Hogan says:

      And some of those workers might even get paid.

    • Aaron Morrow says:

      No, it would be a tax break to big business, and prevent infrastructure from being rebuilt; just like that proposed fake-infrastructure plan of his. No net jobs here.

      To save time: yes, it would also be Highly Redistributive, if you like greater economic inequality.

      Finally, isn’t it more of an “indentured servitude” creator if the employees never get paid?

    • veleda_k says:

      Are you fucking kidding me? Beyond the nastiness of it, beyond the massive price tag, that ordinary people will bear the brunt of, beyond the fact that you could create more jobs supporting infrastructure, beyond all that, it would be an environmental nightmare. This is a terrible idea, and I would have thought anyone with two brain cells to rub together would see that.

  17. Dr. Ronnie James, DO says:

    Given that most illegal immigrants are just legal migrants who overstayed their visas, unless this wall can travel through time, it is just $12B of pure authoritarian pornography for ignorami.

    Also, first public figure to state, “Mr. Trump, tear down this wall!” gets a big hug/ campaign donation.

  18. Warren Terra says:

    I stand by my compromise suggestion to solve the “Border Wall” issue:

    I think I’ve figured this whole “Wall On The Mexican Border” thing out, and can offer a compromise.

    Among the problems with the wall: it’s not necessary, it wouldn’t fulfill its declared purpose, it will destroy and divide a lot of wildlife habitat, and it’s ruinously expensive.

    My solution would resolve or at least mitigate all of these, and it’s based on my remembering a simple misconception, which is this:

    The Great Wall Of China is widely believed to be visible from space by the naked eye.

    It’s not. I’m sorry, it just isn’t. And this is a problem: given that the Mexico Border Wall would be so expensive, destructive, and useless, it’s inconceivable that anyone would be building it to reduce workforce participation by undocumented immigrants, a task it’s singularly unsuited to perform. But: what if they’re instead building it as a legacy project, in the mistaken belief that it will be visible from space for two thousand years, like the Great Wall Of China is widely if mistakenly believed to be?

    One solution would be obvious: Pyramids. The Pyramids of Giza, unlike the Great Wall, are visible from space (well, the shadows they cast are). This option would at least make Ben Carson either very happy or very unhappy – I’m not sure which, and can use the argument either way. But, remembering who Trump is, I think there’s a more honest and more appealing alternative:

    We will build a giant cock and balls on part of the Mexico border.

    It will do just about as much to diminish illegal immigration and undocumented labor. It will be less of a disruption to wildlife habitat. It will be cheaper, and may even be a source of tourist revenue. Most importantly, it will be visible from space.

    I still don’t think we’ll be able to get Mexico to pay for it.

    Less flippantly: I don’t think the projected $15 Billion price tag for this proposed giant erection is getting enough context. There are a lot of good things, and a near-infinite number of not-so-good but still less-stupid-than-the-Wall things, $15B could pay for.

  19. Taters says:

    I think it was a commenter here on another thread that I paraphrase:
    “England has a 200 Km moat around it yet still has the issues that Trump is flogging”.

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