MS-13

 In Trump’s monomania about getting his wall funded, he has adopted the narrative strategy of professional wrestling. There are good guys (guess who) and the bad guys. The good guys want to save America like a modern day Superman, and the bad guys (the Democrats) are plotting her destruction. The plotlines are simplistic and easy enough so that even the most obtuse zealot can follow along.

Here’s a typical tweet from earlier today:

I am in the White House waiting for the Democrats to come on over and make a deal on Border Security. From what I hear, they are spending so much time on Presidential Harassment that they have little time left for things like stopping crime and our military!

The rationale for the wall has been reduced to crime prevention – with a gratuitous nod thrown in for the military.

Just in case we missed it, Trump later tweeted:

For those that naively ask why didn’t the Republicans get approval to build the Wall over the last year, it is because IN THE SENATE WE NEED 10 DEMOCRAT VOTES, and they will gives us “NONE” for Border Security! Now we have to do it the hard way, with a Shutdown. Too bad! @FoxNews

Trump campaigned on Mexico paying for the wall. So Congressional appropriations should be irrelevant. AHe also boasted that he was the master negotiator, so why couldn’t he negotiate an agreement with Democrats?

Because both claims were pure hogwash.

Leaving aside the politics of the damn thing, is a wall even a good idea? Let’s imagine a Q & A on the subject. 

Q. Undocumented aliens are here illegally so aren’t they all ‘criminals’.

A. By the letter of the law they are. But most immigrants work hard, don’t commit crimes and often pay taxes with no benefits in return. While in the U.S. most immigrants are law-abiding. 

Q. Wouldn’t a wall keep out millions of ‘illegal aliens’ taking jobs away from Americans and depressing wages?

A. The best and cheapest way of stopping undocumented immigration is to throw people who employ these immigrants in jail. That would dry up the supply of jobs. If there are no jobs, there would be no immigrants.

Q. But don’t immigrants get hold of fake papers to game the system?

A. Create a better system.

Q. MS-13 uses our porous borders to travel freely. Shouldn’t we stop them?

A. This American/Salvadoran gang is notoriously violent, with a fondness for machetes. But their notoriety is due to Trump making them a cause célèbre. They are a minuscule slice of the American gang pie.

Q. But no matter how small their piece shouldn’t we still build a wall to keep them out?

A. Gang violence has been going down, in large part because of targeted police operations. A cheaper more effective solution.

Q. What about Police Officer Ronil Singh? He was killed by an undocumented alien. Shouldn’t we build a wall to stop that kind of crime?

 A. There are 33,000+ gun deaths each year in the US. A wall, no matter how effective, would do little to dent that number.

Q. What about terrorists who use convoys from Central America as cover?

A. Terrorists don’t need to trek across 2,000 miles to come to the US when they can simply overstay their visas.

Q. What about child sex traffickers? 

A. Is there evidence that is happening? 

Q. What about drugs? Surely a wall would stop illegal drugs coming to the US?

A. Drugs mostly come in trucks and cars through established ports of entry. Smugglers use submarines, fast boats, drones, tunnels, and even catapults. And suppose you made the southern border impenetrable. You still have the Pacific Coast, Atlantic Coast, and Canadian border. There is even the mail. 

Q. What else would you do?

A. Reduce the demand for drugs. Fund rehab, treatment centers, psychological counseling. Improve education on the dangers of drugs. Spend money on researching the causes and cures of addiction.

It would have the benefit if taking away a significant source of income from gangs.

Q. Isn’t $5 billion just a drop in the federal bucket?

A. Wasted money is wasted money. Besides the $5 billion is only a down-payment — estimates of the cost of construction range up to $22 billion. In January, Trump asked for $25 billion. The fact is no one knows. And the construction estimates don’t include the cost of land purchases. Plus the value of the easements the government would need to get to the construction site. God only knows how many years the court cases would drag on.

Then there is the ongoing maintenance.

Also, the wall would not follow every twist and turn of the Rio Grande. At some points, we would in effect be ceding territory to Mexico.

Q. But isn’t National Security worth every single dime we spend on it?

A. Even if it were, a ragtag ‘army’ of strivers, refugees and other misplaced people crossing at the Mexico border does not threaten our national security. It is Chinese hacking and their economic reach into the third world, as well as Russian adventurism and political manipulation that are the real dangers. These are muscular, coordinated, sophisticated and relentless state-backed attacks.

The border wall was always just the means to an electoral victory end.

{ 0 comments }

Beto O’Rourke Embraces Trump’s Impeachment.

July 18, 2018

Democratic Party leadership is terrified that impeachment talk will galvanize the Republican base in the November elections. A wave of young liberals — epitomized by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — have ignored this concern. However, a solidly Democratic seat in New York City is hardly a bellwether for the country. But the US Senate election in Texas is. Texas used to be reliably conservative. Ted […]

Read the full article →

Trump Takes a Nixonian Approach to Drug Addiction.

March 20, 2018

Trump went to New Hampshire today to tell Granite Staters that the solution to the drug epidemic is the death penalty for drug dealers. Which is a typical piece of Trump marketing. It’s splashy. It gets headlines. And it is useless. Drug dealers already work in a business where death is a fact of life. And for every […]

Read the full article →