• The Wall May Be a Waste, But It is Not a Crisis

    January 14, 2019

    Tags: , ,
    Posted in: Afghanistan, Democracy, Iraq


     

    Trump’s wall isn’t going to stop much illegal immigration. On the other hand, it is unlikely to hurt much of anything; it will most likely just be another waste of money. It is certainly not a Constitutional crisis over authoritarianism.

     

    There are currently some 700 miles of fence/wall/barrier along the 2,000 mile southern border, built in pieces under the Bushes and Clinton administrations, and maintained under Obama. Clinton even called his 1994 wall effort “Operation Gatekeeper.” There was little-to-no national opposition raised when the various walls were constructed, and no widespread movement to tear them down when Democrats held full control of the government in the early Obama years. No Russian leader stood on the border and declared to freedom loving people everywhere “Mr. Bush, Mr. Clinton, Other Mr. Bush, or Mr. Obama, tear down this wall!”

    Democrats in the Senate,including then-Senators Barack Obama, Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton, voted for the Secure Fence Act of 2006, which was signed into law by George W. Bush. The law authorized a fence along about 700 miles of the border between the U.S.-Mexico border. By 2015, Customs and Border Protection had constructed 654 miles.

    There was certainly nothing on the scale of what we are hearing today, with Nancy Pelosi calling Trump’s plan to add another 234 miles of fence/wall/barrier “immoral… not who we are as a nation.”

    Maybe she forgot the beloved Abe Lincoln was an actual railsplitter, a person whose job it was to create rails for fences. The wall meanwhile wasn’t immoral in the 1990s and it wasn’t immoral a year ago when Democratic senators negotiated a compromise Republicans rejected for a wall in exchange for legislation on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

    So what’s different in 2019? Via the New York Times: unlike the other parts of the existing fence/wall/barrier, the part Trump wants to add will be “a symbol of hate and racism.” How can one tell? Different construction? A sign? Why isn’t Trump’s part just another brick in that existing wall? What’s the message conveyed by the unwalled half of the border still left after Trump’s part is built?

    The president wants something and the other side doesn’t want him to have it. Think of this all as a prelude to the 2020 campaign, including the fierce commentary storm enraging everyone. The media even has us debating whether “walls” as a concept work; do or don’t people sometimes build walls around their (gated) communities for protection, some ask with great seriousness. WaPo ran an Op-Ed criticizing all walls, from medieval times to the present day.

    Silly media. Like the shutdown, this is not about walls. Every government shutdown is about brinkmanship. And brinkmanship is risky business, because it demands someone must lose and compromise is off the table. That’s not always a good idea when one side holds a trump card. The president’s is he may declare a “national emergency” (there are also less dramatic “declarable” options) which he feels would allow him to reprogram funds to pay for his contribution to the fence/wall/barrier. Within his narrative, it will play as decisive – someone had to solve the impasse – and as an antithesis to whatever people expected from the midterms’ Blue Wave. “No wall, no deal,” Mike Pence declared. “We’re going to keep standing strong, keep standing firm.”

    That sounds all scary, even authoritarian, and you will read articles about how it is unconstitutional or a crisis or an impeachable offense. One outlet called this a “Pandora’s Box” that could even lead to Trump shutting down CNN and Facebook.

    It’s not. Declaring a national emergency is at times necessary, at times bureaucratically convenient, and at times rough politics. Shutting down government over a policy dispute is always a cheap move. Trump and the others involved will be judged by the voters. But that’s about it, folks.

    Here’s a list of the current 28 standing national emergencies. See if you can find some that rise to the level of what any normal person thinks of as an emergency that couldn’t be dealt with except by the president using extraordinary powers. For example, Obama proclaimed Blocking Property and Suspending Entry of Certain Persons Contributing to the Situation in Venezuela as a national emergency.

    Funny thing: the September 11 national emergency, still in force today, was used to have the military do some domestic construction work, the same thing anti-wall pundits claim is now illegal under Trump (other laws also suggest Trump can use the military in this manner.) What if Trump used the existing 9/11 emergency again for whatever he wants, same as Bush and Obama did, instead of declaring a fresh emergency? Maybe that would wake Americans up.

    Now if you still want to talk about misuse of executive power, you may want to look at the Constitution. The document doesn’t say much about walls, but it does limit the power to declare war to Congress. Nobody has done much about that misuse of power, as every president since WWII started new wars without any declaration and in most cases without even a head nod out of Congress. To make things clear after Vietnam, Congress passed the War Powers Act in 1973, a bit of executive power-limiting legislation that has been fully ignored ever since.

    Leaving aside the gross fig leaf of the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) that has been waived over every American invasion, special forces incursion, regime change, drone attack, bombing campaign, reconstruction project, and police action in the last 17 years and still counting, there has been more debate given to the wall than much of any of the conflicts around it.

    Certainly more anger and angst has been spewed alongside the wall, and the waste of money it represents. Trump wants $5.7 billion to build it! That is all of about 1/7 of the yearly cost of the war in Afghanistan, and of course that war has run on at $45 billion a year for 17 years. Anybody want to talk about that money being wasted? Maddow? Pelosi? Ocasio-Cortez? Bueller?

    And for the media, who discovered via “fact-checking” Trump exaggerated the terrorist threat on our southern border, where were you when every facet of American foreign and domestic policy was driven by two administrations using this same lie?

    Apparently all the fears about abuse of power center on a couple of hundred miles of wall in the desert; wars in deserts further away now barely make the news. Spare us the hand wringing over crisis, abuse of power, and unconstitutionality. If anyone really wants to talk the talk on those topics, let’s reopen the debate on the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria as part of the negotiations to reopen the government.

    That all of that is ignored while the nation is on edge over a slice of wall tells you what this is all really about: 2020.

     
     

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    Copyright © 2019. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity.

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  • Recent Comments

    • Top Democrats once voted for a border fence | Phil Ebersole's Blog said...

      1

      […] The Wall May Be a Waste, But It Is Not a Crisis by Peter Van Buren for We Meant Well. […]

      01/14/19 8:40 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      2

      IF the promise of the Great Wall to his base was a major factor in his election, then the Dumbocrats would be foolish to give it to him, no?

      Humpty Trumpie wants a Great Wall.
      Humpty Trumpie will have a great fall.

      The only trump card he has is a Pence get-out-jail card.

      01/14/19 9:01 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      3

      The real crisis is we have a clown running the government who is close to a nervous breakdown. The FBI leaks of its investigation into his Russian agent conspiracy are meant to gaslight him over the edge.

      Trumpie: I know exactly what Comey will tell you, lies. He was no different from any other officer in the Deep State, they were all disloyal. I tried to run the country properly, by the book, but they fought me at every turn. But they encouraged the FBI to go around scoffing at me, and spreading wild rumors about streaming in circles and then that old yellow stain on the mattress. I was to blame for Comey’s incompetence and poor Comey was the perfect officer, but not Trump. Ah, but the mattress that’s, that’s where I had them, they laughed at me and made jokes, but I proved beyond the shadow of a doubt, and with geometric logic, that I never paid prostitutes and I, I know now they were only trying to protect Comey… Naturally, I can only cover these things from memory. If I left anything out, why, just ask me specific questions and I’ll be glad to answer them, one by one. But not under oath…

      01/14/19 9:28 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      4

      Capt. Quig was more rational.

      President Donald Trump on Sunday vowed to “devastate Turkey economically” should the Turkish military attack U.S.-allied Kurdish fighters — a rare direct threat by Trump to a NATO ally as his administration grapples with the execution of its plan to withdraw American soldiers from Syria.

      01/14/19 9:50 AM | Comment Link

    • Chucknobomb said...

      5

      Bravo PVB

      01/14/19 10:09 AM | Comment Link

    • Patrick Hertel said...

      6

      There is some impact on wildlife.

      E.G. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smeoiCqS_YU

      01/14/19 10:15 AM | Comment Link

    • Chuckie said...

      7

      Dems. announce they will not vote in Senate until it is for funding the Govt.. How did they vote on 700 Billion for war? They will vote to fund the Govt., and sorry to say, but I believe the vote will include Anti Boycott Apartheid laws , and funding for a terrorist religious nation, that has it’s Defense Force shoot protesters in the head, etc.. Stop Terror. Stop War. BDS Free Palestine. What is the $ graph chart with the amount that Russia compared to Israel spend influencing my country? Ask Ben Cardi? !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! BDS

      01/14/19 4:49 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      8

      You are correct that the immigration crisis is all about money. When there is money to be made off undocumented slaves, there is always a way around the wall.

      Supervisors at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, provided fake green cards and Social Security numbers to undocumented employees, according to a report in the Washington Post. Anibal Romero, a lawyer representing five immigrants who were undocumented while working at the Trump property, told the newspaper that he turned the fraudulent documents over to the FBI.

      01/14/19 5:19 PM | Comment Link

    • Donald Trump and the power of sociopathy | Phil Ebersole's Blog said...

      9

      […] The Wall May Be a Waste, But It Is not a Crisis by Peter Van Buren for We Meant Well. […]

      01/15/19 9:08 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      10

      Breaking news: Demented will be the first presidense to give the State of the Union address via twitter.

      01/16/19 12:32 PM | Comment Link

    • Chucknobomb said...

      11

      This Just In…U.S. Humvies spotted near suicide bomber in Syria which alleged is controlled by ISIS. OMG, look at photo. Who looks in control,with flag waving in the free wind, but not invited by country they are in to be there. Fighting for freedom? Oh yeah, and have any of those in photos done a false flag or planted conspiracy theories etc? No Isis or blue and white (not helmets) flags. Go figure, and have a nice day! Peace… I am not “As seen on TV”.

      01/16/19 1:37 PM | Comment Link

    • chuck nasmith said...

      12

      Organize, Educate, Agitate, and etc.! TY PVB Time Out

      01/16/19 1:39 PM | Comment Link

    • Chucknobomb said...

      13

      Tweet me Peter! But wait, They don’t let me join, sorry. How bout you?

      01/16/19 1:41 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      14

      Which statement do you think is more believable?

      Trumpie: Most furloughed federal employees support my position closing the government for the Wall.

      Most furloughed federal employees hope Trumpie chokes on his hamberders.

      01/16/19 2:53 PM | Comment Link

    • Chucknobomb said...

      15

      Killery/2020 Keep On 4 u and me, the children and others including Mother phucker or father Earth. Enjoy Life (MIC U$A Zio) BDS ,,,, Has anyone ever done a false flag mind thingy? Have a nice day! BDS Enjoy now and then! ppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppp’s

      01/16/19 4:01 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      16

      What this is all about: The Trump Crime Family- Cohen, Cohn and Don Con

      01/16/19 6:38 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      17

      New title for your blog: Wheels and Walls Mean Well

      Demented compared his border wall to the invention of the wheel on Thursday, saying wheels are effective and still commonly used in modern times.He said even the “really expensive” cars that the Secret Service uses have wheels.
      Trump made the remarks at a roundtable with lawmakers and local officials in McAllen, Texas, amid a government shutdown over funding for the border

      “They say a wall is medieval. Well, a wheel is older than a wall,” Trump said, though the earliest known border wall is actually thousands of years older than the wheel. “And I looked, and every single car out there, even the really expensive ones that the Secret Service uses — and believe me they are expensive — I said, ‘Do they all have wheels?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Oh. I thought it was medieval.'”He continued: “The wheel is older than the wall. You know that? There are some things that work. A wheel works and a wall works.

      Yeah, and lies are older than walls and wheels and Trumpie is a firm believer in lies.

      “The government is shut down because democrats will not fund border security,” he said. “Their open-borders agenda threatens all American families, including millions of legal immigrants throughout our nation.”

      In a rebuttal to Trump’s televised Oval Office address on Tuesday, top Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer denounced Trump for stoking fear about the migrants who cross the US-Mexico border, many of whom are families with young children seeking asylum.

      “Sadly, much of what we have heard from President Trump throughout this senseless shutdown has been full of misinformation and even malice,” Pelosi said. “The President has chosen fear.”

      Yeah, but a wall of lies works. The clown got elected on it.

      01/16/19 9:00 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      18

      Bauer- you are way over your limit. Get your own blog! Hell, I’ll visit it daily.

      01/17/19 5:36 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      19

      JP,

      I am furloughed. I got nothing else to do.

      01/17/19 6:59 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      20

      Bauer- I needed the laugh- 2019 seems like it is going to be grim and dire. I’ll gladly take all the laughs that come my way and be thankful.

      01/17/19 8:50 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      21

      Actually the Wall is a crisis as it is a threat to federal families. If the Congress doesn’t get its act together before the federal families have to go without two paychecks, then on January 27 there should be a National Federal Blue Flu day. Send a message to the cowards in Congress who fear Trump backlash in 2020, that there is a greater more imminent threat.

      01/18/19 10:52 AM | Comment Link

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