Saturday, February 16, 2008

ANOTHER DOGGLE IN SEARCH OF A BOON

Border Fence Would Slice Through Private Land Families on U.S.-Mexico Line Fighting Plan
By N.C. Aizenman Washington Post Staff Writer Saturday, February 16, 2008; A01
EL CALABOZ, Tex. -- In the 240 years since the Spanish Crown granted Eloisa Tamez's colonial ancestors title to this flat, grassy expanse along the Rio Grande's northern bank, her family has steadily lost its holdings to the Mexican War of Independence, the U.S. annexation of Texas and the Great Depression.
Now Tamez faces what could prove the final blow: The Department of Homeland Security has proposed building a section of the U.S-Mexico border fence mandated by Congress directly through the last three acres of the family's original 12,000-acre tract.
. . . Under the Secure Fence Act of 2006, the department was instructed to secure about one-third of the 2,000-mile Mexican border with 700 miles of double-layered fencing. However, department officials have since whittled that down to a plan for about 370 miles of pedestrian fencing and 300 miles of vehicle barriers to be finished by the end of 2008.
. . . In December, officials sent warning letters to 135 private landowners, municipalities, universities, public utility companies and conservation societies along the border that had turned away surveyors. Landowners were given 30 days to change their minds or face legal action. More than 100 of them -- 71 in Texas -- let the deadline pass.
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The increasingly crooked and ineffectual United States Congress has been unable to
  • Contain a criminal executive branch of government
  • Place any controls at all on Wall Street
  • Prevent the destruction of the U.S. dollar
  • Reduce the estimated three million American homeless
  • Address centuries-old violations of Native-American treaties
  • Reverse the national downward spiral of education for our children
  • Do anything at all for 45 million citizens without even the most basic health insurance
  • Exercise their 'advise and consent' requirement in the constitutionally mandated tension between the executive and legislative branches of government
  • Place limits on a military expenditure that approaches double that of all other nations on the planet combined.
  • Limit a national indebtedness that sucks two thousand million dollars a day from the legacy we owe our children--$2 billion a day
  • Require controls upon a hedge-fund industry, whose workings no one understands and whose unregulated access to formerly regulated markets has been specifically given over to the rich, thereby inciting a continual boom-bust economy
  • Exercise even the most minimal control over American foreign relations
And yet, in a flurry of misguided and ill thought-through legislation (the Secure Fence Act of 2006), Congress pandered to the climate of fear it has itself engendered, by committing America to a Berlin-Wall along its historic border with Mexico. Thus historic became hysteric. Thus Americans and Mexicans at the scene of the crime have had their freedoms, land and control of their lives confiscated. Not only has this travesty been perpetrated on the innocent, but its been done by a hastily created, badly thought through and consistently criminally ineffective agency of government. The land of the free and home of the brave has become a terrified, insecure and dithering image of itself as a result of an attack on New York and the resulting fear-based grab for power on the part of a criminal administration. We are better than this or else we deserve to be treated like the agreeable cattle we have become. We are better than George Bush, Nancy Pelosi, Dick Cheney and Harry Reid; better than McCain, Obama, Huckabee and Clinton; better than the hedge-fund managers and lobbyists that have hijacked our republic; better than Henry Paulson and Ben Bernanke, who would consign us to an unending and unknown future of indebtedness to save their sorry, ineffective asses. Certainly we are collectively better than Rumsfeld and Rice, Bill and Hillary, Gingrich and DeLay, Alan Greenspan and every single sadly incompetent member of the Supreme Court of the United States. This once proud nation, for which so many have struggled and succeeded, stumbled, recovered and scrambled forward, has been bought out from under us when we were busy elsewhere. The coming elections are yet another illustration of willingness to kick the structure of democracy out from under this proud nation for the chimera of future success. Not the success of the nation, the success of party over all else, the caving-in of principle in order to achieve power. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid provide ample evidence that they haven't the slightest program for the good of the nation but power--their power. Hillary and Barack, John and Mike haven't even the glimmer of an idea for this country other than 'change,' whatever the hell that might be. Along the border between America and Mexico, as well as the borders of our national will to be governed fairly and equitably, all has been laid waste in the name of safety and greed. Daily, we edge ever closer to an election that's bound to disappoint, is conceived to preserve the status quo, cannot fail to preserve the hand of tyranny on the wheel of what was once representative democracy. The staging of this madman's play is presented in small acts--each of them too small, to seemingly insignificant to bring the audience to its feet in protest. How came we to have a Secure Fence Act of 2006 without extensive public dialog? What national discussion preceded the USA Patriot Act? An enormous and restrictive document (1016 sections over a total of 131 pages), created and yet unread by a single Representative or Senator before being passed within a mere six weeks of 9-11. Congressman Jim McDermott alleged that no Senator read the bill and John Conyers, Jr. said "We don't really read most of the bills. Do you know what that would entail if we read every bill that we passed?" Senator Conyers then answered his own rhetorical question, asserting that if they did it would "slow down the legislative process." Conyers is currently chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. We are in deep shit.

* For more in-depth articles by Jim on Civil Rights, check out Opinion-Columns.com