There’s nothing quite like watching your American tax dollars go draining down the pork trough. You can smell the mess that is the 700 Mile fence — hoped to be built in the name of Homeland Security to keep out all those nasty foreigners traveling by land and never by sea — straight up to here in New Jersey. 

When does a fence become a wall?
Is “The Wall” too negative a concept for public consumption?
Does “The Wall” imply a repressive, punishing,
system of government like “The Great Wall” of China and “The Berlin
Wall” in Germany and Pink Floyd’s anarchist album, “The Wall?”
Does a “fence” mend us into nicer neighbors? Does “The Friendly
Southern Fence” feel more palatable to democratic wagging tongues than
“The Mexican Wall?”

Is a wall thicker than a fence?
Is a fence ever taller than a wall?
Isn’t a wall more secure than a fence?
Why don’t we just start calling it, “The 700 Mile White Picket Fence”
to better protect our notion of The American Dream and to confirm what
great neighbors we are and how we pretend to offer to protect the
huddled masses yearning to breathe free while beating them back with
“Keep Off The Grass” signs?
On September 29, 2006, CBS News reported:

(AP) Republicans will go into the elections with a message
that they’ve made great strides fighting illegal immigration, including
authorizing a fence along one-third of the U.S.-Mexico border and
making a $1.2 billion down payment on it.

Among its final tasks before leaving to campaign, the Senate on Friday
night passed and sent to President Bush a bill authorizing 700 new
miles of fencing on the southern border. No one knows how much it will
cost, but a separate bill also on the way to the White House makes a
$1.2 billion down payment on it. A 14-mile segment of fence under
construction in San Diego is costing $126.5 million.

A week later, the San Francisco Chronicle claimed the fence will never be built:

(10-06) 04:00 PDT Washington — No sooner did Congress
authorize construction of a 700-mile fence on the U.S.-Mexican border
last week than lawmakers rushed to approve separate legislation that
ensures it will never be built, at least not as advertised, according
to Republican lawmakers and immigration experts.

GOP leaders have singled out the fence as one of the primary
accomplishments of the recently completed session. Many lawmakers plan
to highlight their $1.2 billion down payment on its construction as
they campaign in the weeks before the midterm elections.
But shortly before recessing late Friday, the House and Senate gave the
Bush administration leeway to distribute the money to a combination of
projects — not just the physical barrier along the southern border.
The funds also may be spent on roads, technology and “tactical
infrastructure” to support the Homeland Security Department’s preferred
option of a “virtual fence.”

“Virtual fences” are really good at protecting us from “pretend
enemies” and “perceived threats” and missing “weapons of mass
A day later the Union-Tribune said the fence WOULD be built:

OTAY MESA – On a windy bluff overlooking Tijuana, Rep.
Duncan Hunter yesterday rejected suggestions that high-tech security
measures might replace some segments of a 700-mile border fence project
newly enacted by Congress.
“The fence will be built,” the Alpine Republican told reporters at a
border news conference. “This is not a recommendation. It’s a mandate
by Congress.”

Hunter was a co-sponsor of the so-called Secure Fence Act, which the
House and Senate passed last week and President Bush signed Wednesday.
The legislation requires double-layered fencing, similar to that
erected in the late 1990s along San Diego County’s border with Tijuana,
to be installed along huge swaths of California, Arizona, New Mexico
and Texas.

Why aren’t we creating a “Northern Wall” to protect us from all those
self-righteous Canadians with their “Aye”s and “Don’cha Knows?” and
their superior beers and more skillful hockey teams?

There’s no greater threat to democracy and Americanism than neighbors
who don’t brag about their better life across “The Great Frozen Wall of
the Great White North” — unless, that is, you start to count the cold
shoulder from the rest of the world that cannot be shrugged off by the
most duplicitous act in the history of Homeland Security.


  1. I think the solution to the problems on the southern border aren’t necessarily solved by the fence.
    But something needs to be done now to prevent future problems.
    We need to pressure Mexico to stop exporting its poor to our country so that the elite ruling class can continue to get richer and richer while living off of the money sent home by the millions of hard working, but undocumented and often exploited illegal immigrants.
    We need to encourage Mexico to increase its economy, educational systems, and work opportunities for its people so that Hugo Chavez doesn’t roll in 10 years from now with revolutionary talk and handfuls of cash to cause trouble.
    Also, we need to keep an eye on both borders to prevent threats to our nation. This might be better done with intelligence and monitoring. The virtual fence idea might work to prevent “loose” nuclear material from being smuggled into the country to be used against our great cities.
    PBS’s Frontline’s program Loose Nukes shows that the problem of potential nuclear terrorism is real in this account of a 1995 incident in Russia:

    Based on a tip she received from Chechen rebel leader Shamil Basayev, a reporter for Russia’s Independent Television Channel found a hidden package containing radioactive cesium-137 buried under some leaves in Izmailovsky Park, a popular, public park located in the Northeast region of Moscow.
    According to the CIA, although the package weighed 32 kilograms, there was probably only a small quantity of cesium inside.
    Cesium-137 is not fissile.
    It cannot be used to make atomic bombs.
    However, it is highly radioactive. It is a strong gamma emitter and is often used in medicine as a source of radiation for computer tomography equipment and in industrial fault detection equipment.
    However, if a radioactive material, such as cesium-137, is exploded with conventional explosives it can contaminate a large area and pose a health risk. Such a “dirty bomb” is a low-tech alternative in the arsenal of radioactive weapons.

    Adds Frontline:

    However, it is not the incidents of materials seizure in Europe that ought to worry us most. The low security and poor accounting in the Russian nuclear system means there is no way to know for sure what material may be missing. …
    The fact that there have been no major interceptions in Europe since December, 1994 ought not be reassuring. Many observers have noted that the chaos of Russia’s southern borders provides many open smuggling routes where it is possible to export almost without hindrance. After the highly publicized stings of 1994, the chances are low that a would-be nuclear smuggler would head toward Europe.
    What is scariest is that we don’t know what we don’t know.

    Having a completely wide open border presents threats to our nation’s safety.
    However, there are better solutions than building a fence.
    We need to pressure Mexico to reform its economy.
    We also need to keep an eye on people with evil intent who are avoiding border checkpoints in favor of crossing through the desert. We need to figure out ways to stop coyotes smuggling human beings, drug mules smuggling South American mind-altering substances, or terrorists smuggling agents of death hoping to strike fear into the hearts of the infidels.
    Putting up a fence to feel safe won’t stop any of the above problems.
    It may just prove to be our century’s version of the Maginot Line.

  2. Chris —
    I agree a fence is fanciful politics for the November elections whereas a much more treacherous threat to our safety and way of life is our open ports! Why aren’t we using that $33 billion for a fence to shore up the cargo streaming into our nation every single day?
    Here’s a story from 2004:

    The uranium was packed into a teak trunk in Jakarta, then placed in a shipping container bound for the United States. The uranium remained undetected in its three-week journey across the Pacific to the port of Los Angeles, passing through several supposedly state-of-the-art checkpoints.
    “The test that you put to them, which looks to me be a fair test, they failed,” said professor Graham Allison, director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University.
    “What indeed is the most likely way that a nuclear weapon would be delivered by a terrorist to the U.S.? The most likely way is in a cargo container in a ship.”

  3. Hi David,
    We should be tightening up our ports as well.
    Also, airport security has been described as a feel good program that won’t stop someone determined to do something bad. (If illegal immigrants are getting hired for jobs inside the security perimeter of the airport, then our security isn’t as secure as we think it is.)
    All too often, it seems that everyone gets fixated on the distractions that end up causing all of us problems.
    Rep. Mark Foley’s actions, fences, and whatever else the people on Capitol Hill are yakking about won’t really make that much difference in the long run. The talking class just wants to make everyone else feel like they’re doing something to justify sending them back to Camp Congress. 😉
    Of course, when I go to vote in November, it won’t really matter how I vote in any of the races that affect the national political scene.
    Our local congressman of 21 years or so will win over the unknown and sacrificial challenger “what’s his name.” Our respected senator is unopposed. This might not be a bad thing — maybe there’s a reason why no serious opposition is facing the incumbents.
    It could be that people are happy with the job they are doing.
    Also, they aren’t engaging in all of the partisan mudslinging done by pols who don’t want to make tough decisions but who want to look tough.

  4. I’ve worked with companies that import containers. The ports are supposed to conduct “random” checks. It doesn’t feel so “random” when all of your containers are stopped at just one port and they charge you for storage, demurrage, per diem, x-ray exam fees, unloading the cargo, freight to exam site… etc. They give you the run-around and then don’t tell you why it was on hold. At the same time products arriving at a different port have no problems getting in. It is particularly sad when the fees are much higher than the profit margin on the import container which makes it seem more like “security” is in the business of ending the business of imports.

  5. Chris —
    I think unopposed elections are a terrible thing and bad for Democracy. We need 20 people running and they should all represent different interests.
    The failure to field a candidate against an incumbent is more a question of challenger fundraising than one of incumbent efficiency in office.
    I am all in favor of term limits.
    Congressmen and Senators that leave office millionaires when they were not that rich when they entered “service” is disgusting.

  6. Hi David,
    I was thinking about the virtually unopposed elections in my area when I was looking at the yard signs that have sprouted up in the area.
    If it is 99.9% likely that the candidate is going to win, why put a yard sign in your yard?
    People need to go out to vote, even though the “big” races are already basically decided because there are local races that deserve attention and also judge retention questions and the like that are more important than the Senate and Congressional races.
    In our area, the people most likely to get indicted aren’t the big-time pols at the national level who are relatively smart and are in politics to make a difference.
    It’s the little office holder with a budget that allows him or her to hire and fire people locally that is most likely to leave office in handcuffs.
    Always be wary of the full time government servant who lives a millionaire’s lifestyle since it’s probably your tax dollars that are footing the bill.

  7. It would be nice if there were no borders, let alone fences and walls. The more we needlessly divide things up, the more they will be divided again, over and over in a cancerous manner. More wars, more race wars, economic wars etc. The leaders think this serves them, but we all have to pay including them eventually. It seems, being animals, we should do nothing unless it is an improvement on the animal system. We are part of nature, it isn’t logical to fight nature. We should let the people vote directly without political middle men.

  8. Chris!
    I agree politics are big business — even on the local level! It is our shame that we have allowed money and influence to so wholly corrupt the process of democracy.
    Any remaining money a politician raises while in office should be donated back to the national party coffers when the politician leaves office.

  9. Or, since they have federal financing for campaigns, have all of the excess money go into the pot to be allocated to all of the candidates who qualify equally.

  10. Hi David- The first thing we should get rid of is un-backed money. Having faith in paper is beyond crazy, especially seeing who prints it up and who says it has value. J. Rousseau said taxes are worse than slavery. i have to agree. To force someone to pay taxes for a war he doesn’t believe in is worse than slavery.

  11. “Why aren’t the checks random?” They may be but they don’t feel that way. I’m really not sure what they do down there. There was container coming through the Port of Everglades in FL held by customs which they informed us needed to be shipped to another state for examination. It was resolved but with much hassle and many order cancellations.
    I really wonder if there are companies that are not being checked. Perhaps they don’t do that if the merchandise is perishables?
    Also people who have decided to harm us will not be deterred by a wall, more stringent port security, increased airport security etc… they may even take it as a challenge.

  12. fred —
    Are you suggesting a return to the gold standard?
    I’m with you on taxes — but how else would we pay for public works and recapitalization in the state and federal infrastructure?

  13. Hi A S —
    I wonder if some companies know which gears to grease to get their goods through the port process faster?
    I agree our current forms of deterrence are mainly for show and are without teeth.
    When enough plutonium to arm a nuclear warhead is only the size of an orange you begin to see how we are not thinking and acting cleverly enough to deal with the threat.
    Plutonium has a half-life of 24,110 years. One mistake and that part of the world is tainted forever.

  14. David- Not gold, oil, land, or any natural resource. The whole system needs to be overhauled at it’s roots, going in the direction so that we can work 6 hours a year for a middle class existence, which would be natural. We need double pyramid systems (one inverted) where the top would pay the bottom and everyone ending in the middle. The way it is now with single pyramids, we just have glorified Ponzi schemes. We need a currency people could trade their bogus G-8 paper for backed by enlightenment, sanity, justice and nature. We just have to devalue the potential energy supposedly stored up in G-8 paper, and transfer it to a sane system.

  15. I thought the gold standard movement was a semi-local thing in parts of central Northern Indiana and among people hoping to get out of paying taxes and credit card bills.
    The people raising the “gold standard” argument in my area are often the militia type folks who think the government is out to get them and therefore buy old tanks and fire machine guns in the woods. There’s actually some sort of militia group based in South Bend, Indiana close to where all of these people live.
    Writes a poster on Turn Left:

    The Indiana Militia uses the fields a few miles from our apartment for their exercises.

    It might be different in other places.
    These folks often argue that a cabal took over the government in the 1930s and somehow we are slaves to the Federal Reserve. This site explains that contention. Nofollow tag added.
    I don’t really understand the argument after asking scores of proponents to explain it to the judge during collection cases. My story about the guy who was thrown into the county jail for contempt of court in our discussion about court dress codes was a monetary protestor who didn’t believe in the U.S. justice system.
    Of course, I don’t think anyone understands the argument, even the proponents. It has never been successfully used to get out of paying for borrowed money.

    The credit industry has various names for individuals and groups who use these Internet scams: Posse Comitatus, Freeman, Monetary Protestor, and Militia, among others. …
    The “flavor of the month” in Internet scam circles is the “No Money Lent” argument. The short version of this argument is that because the bank lent credit to the debtor, and not money, the debtor can repay the creditor in credit. …
    According to the “No Money Lent” argument, when a debtor defaults on credit, the debtor does not owe any money. In addition, the debtor is entitled to the largest amount of credit extended by the creditor, because the debtor executed a promissory note for this amount. For example, in the dreamland in which these fraudulent people live, if you have a credit card with a $5,000 credit limit, and you default owing $4,000, you not only do not owe the $4,000, you are actually entitled to $5,000. The intention of this mind-boggling argument is to delay collection action by confusing creditors and courts.

    From the Bench & Bar of Minnesota.
    Of course, the argument always ignores the fact that the goods and services purchased with the credit card caused the bank to pay money to the merchant for those goods and services.
    The tax argument might be different from the credit argument, but it’s interesting to see that the “gold standard movement” might have made its way overseas.
    I do agree that we need to reform our tax system.
    Maybe a national sales tax instead of income taxes?
    If you buy more, you pay more. The rich who buy lots of expensive stuff would pay more, while people who conserve would pay less.

  16. Hi David,
    I got caught by Askimet for too many links. 🙂
    Good security is maintained by constant testing.

  17. David- Inherited wealth would be like any other income, the larger it was the more would go to the opposite part of the pyramid.
    Eventually once the system obtained equilibrium there would be no accumulated wealth at all, the “richest,” could be no more than seven times as “rich” as the “poorest.” If they didn’t like this system they could stay in the old system to any degree they wanted. Once people saw the efficiency of a sane system, only the insane would still be going to war, slavery, slave-mastery etc.

  18. Hi Chris!
    Yes, Akismet got you again!
    The Gold Standard was important in its time because it backed up the paper money we were printing to encourage a federal instead of a state-by-state monetary system. Having gold to fall back on was a great reassurance to those who did not hold much trust in the trustworthiness of federal notes.
    Then we grew and our worth became more than the gold we had on reserve and the gold standard was finished with daily international trading and we became to place value instead of worth on products and we paid by moving numbers from one account to another. You aren’t even “rich on paper” any longer — you’re only rich in The Binary Standard!
    I think a national tax would work well.
    The “credit is not money” argument is fascinating!

  19. Hi David,
    The “credit is not money” argument always fails because the people received either goods or services. They did receive something of value — i.e., the compact disk, fast food purchase, or home repair — and money was transferred in the back offices of the bank and the merchants.
    I think people hoping to eliminate their debt are wishful thinkers who never received an adequate education about credit cards and other personal finance issues.
    Not to change the subject too much, but have you seen the new Yahoo Time Capsule?

    And by November 8, you will have helped create a digital legacy of our times, a mosaic of revealing snapshots that will be sealed and entrusted to Smithsonian Folkways Recordings and its Smithsonian Global Sound® based in Washington D.C., officially taking its place in history.

    I submitted a picture of my wife to the project so that the folks of the future can see what we were up to in 2006.

  20. David-
    No, old school socialism didn’t seem to work. This is a new socialism. What we have now is socialism, although it’s called democracy. Any society has socialism.
    For some reason, the term socialism is stigmatized here even though we have it.

  21. Chris —
    I suppose the people are right that “credit is not money” and as long as you don’t touch the credit extended to you and transform it into money or a tangible thing, you still “have” $5,000 of “credit” and just because you have it doesn’t mean you have to use it!
    I will check out the Yahoo! Time Capsule!
    Your wife is beautiful! Whoo-hoo!

  22. David-
    Have enlightened people print up a secure currency (e-currency?)people could trade their G-8 currency for. It would look better, sound better, and be worth more to earn or invest in. It would be backed by enlightened thoughts, ideas, music, art, and philosophy by people who loved, not hated like the current currency printers seem to. Instead of war being the basis for currency for a start make it anything. My suggestion would be pareidolia photograps instead of presidents on the bills. People would decide what they wanted and vote without politicians. The most complex pareidolia would be on the largest bills. i would gladly donate my photos to such a project. i don’t know why anyone wouldn’t donate whatever she/he/it had for a system like this. Musicians could play music hooked into the currency. Philosophers philosophize. People could vote electronically for what they wanted the currency to be like. It wouldn’t make much difference because one could never be more than seven times as “rich,” as anyone. The main thing would be to replace the old Platonic tyranical lying fascist war currency with a humane substitute, and get rid of war, prison, and all lower than animal systems. Give people a just piece of the action and millions of negative situations will go.The double pyramid(one inverted) system would make it work, and never bottom out like the current single pyramid system. i know this seems superficial wacky, but what could be wackier than what we have now. A “free country” filled with prisoners, killing in the name of Jesus.

  23. Chris!
    I haven’t heard of the Great New England Pumpkin Scourge!
    We may need to move away from the Pumpkin Seed Standard and over to the Kidney Bean Standard instead!

  24. Hi Fred,
    They have a road crew that looks for “ditchweed” in the summer time because the stuff just pops out of the ground.
    My state would be rich if that was the currency, rather than pumpkin seeds!

    (NRML Executive Director Allen) St. Pierre said that most of the hemp plants eradicated by law enforcement are remnants of US-government subsidized crops that existed prior to World War II.
    “Virtually all wild hemp goes unharvested and presents no legitimate threat to public safety,” he said. “As such, it should be of no concern to the federal government or law enforcement.”
    According to DEA figures, Indiana reported seizing over 212 million ditchweed plants – far more than any other state. Missouri law enforcement confiscated some 4.5 million plants, and Kansas reported eradicating approximately 1.2 million plants. More than half of all states failed to report their ditchweed totals.

    Source: TalkLeft.

  25. Dave- Yes it is ironic that Nazi war planes couldn’t have flown without SKF ball bearing produced in Philadelphia, and fuel also assured by the U.S. Have you read “Secret War Against the Jews,” by Loftus and Aarons. This isn’t conspiracy alternative stuff, but a mainstream best seller.
    i repeat. 6 hours/year doesn’t cut it in today’s world but this could exist in a non-fragmented world if people stopped dividing and conquering and giving themselves, the planet, and the social structure cancer. Roads lead to more roads, fences more fences.
    I have found the spot of sanity and freedom and even close to the six hours a year, in myself, after working on it for 50 billion years. i thought it would be nice to share it with others, but it seems i made a “wrong” turn when i came to this planet. i figured my free music and free shadow photos would show people that they haven’t seen or heard, but they are so embedded in seeing the shadows on the wall of plato’s cave that most, but the enlightened see with N.Y., D.C., Hollywood eyes and hear with those ears, and listen to words as though they aren’t hints to get us where we obviously need to go, but believe in words as if they have absolute meaning. As Emily Dickenson so aptly said “Much ‘sence’ is divine madness, much ‘madness’ divine sence.” Straight thinking may put a man on the moon, but most of it is backwards. Respect.

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