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Wednesday, April 23

Money Well (Mis)Spent

The United States Department of Homeland Security (Heimatsicherheitshauptamt des Vereinigten Staaten, for those of you who want the original German, or maybe Ministerstvo Vnutrennikh Del if Russian's more to your taste) realized that it had a minor problem a few years back - a massive wave of illegal immigrants moving north from Mexico. These immigrants are not all Mexicans, mind you; they're from countries as far south as El Salvador and Panama.

Why were they headed north? Because America is the Land of Opportunity (says so right on the label), and conditions in their own countries are just marginally higher than completely dreadful, that's why. They are escaping a plethora of social ills by headed to where they think they can start life anew.

So, what do we try to do? Be a good neighbor and offer aid and assistance in the hope that these countries can solve their social ills and keep these people at home so they won't risk their lives trying to get across the desert?

Hell no!

We'll build a fence!

Anyone with a mere moiety of their marbles might draw a parallel between our much-touted "border fence" and the Great Wall of China, primarily the fact that neither are/were any good at keeping out the immigrants, be they Huns, Mongols or Guatemalans. But facts have never deterred the Bush Regime, and they called for bids for a "virtual fence" - not an actual barrier, but a skein of electronic devices and cameras that could alert the Border Patrol to people crossing our borders.

The contract was let to Boeing, for $860 billion dollars, and they set up a pilot project ("Project 28" - original, huh?) along a 28-mile stretch of boundary. At a cost of $20 million. DHS Secretary Chertoff accepted the pilot project on February 22.

So guess what?

It doesn't work:

"The government is scrapping a $20 million prototype of its highly touted "virtual fence" on the Arizona-Mexico border because the system is failing to adequately alert border patrol agents to illegal crossings, officials said."

So it's back to the drawing boards, on a project that could have been mooted simply by helping other countries keep their people at home.

Your (and my) tax dollars at work.

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