The Jake Files

April 25, 2006

McCain’s Sun Lakes Visit

From the Chandler Independent:

 Sen. McCain covered numerous topics but the overriding issue was illegal immigration.

Time and again questioners in the standing-room-only audience of 600 peppered him with demands for a hard line, focusing on border protection. (more…)

February 21, 2006

President Promises Veto if UAE Ports Deal Blocked by Congress

From the AP

“After careful review by our government, I believe the transaction ought to go forward,” Bush told reporters who had traveled with him on Air Force One to Washington. “I want those who are questioning it to step up and explain why all of a sudden a Middle Eastern company is held to a different standard than a Great British company. I am trying to conduct foreign policy now by saying to the people of the world, `We’ll treat you fairly.'”

Bush took the rare step of calling reporters to his conference room on the plane after returning from a speech in Colorado, addressing a controversy that is becoming a major headache for the White House. He said the seaports arrangement had been extensively examined by the administration and was “a legitimate deal that will not jeopardize the security of the country.”

I find this development highly disturbing.

In five years, President Bush has not vetoed a single bill.  Not a spending bill authorizing a several-hundred million dollar Bridge to Nowhere in Alaska.  Not one.  Not anything.

Now he threatens to protect a deal with a company OWNED BY the United Arab Emirates, a known haven of terrorists?  This is not the time to play nice with our allies in Arab countries that support the War on Terror.  I fully understand the political consequences of halting a sale to an ally that is providing active assistance in our terrorism fight.  I don’t understand why the White House doesn’t understand the political consequences of appearing to give an opening to those who want to kill us.

I can imagine a scenario in which Al Qaeda operatives gain access to the country through this company.  There may well be safeguards in place to prevent it, but the White House has not explained what they are.  The White House has not explained why this is a good deal for national security.  The White House has not explained why it will NOT be possible for a terrorist to use this company as a gateway to operating against us.  And until they do, I think the President has a serious problem.

Really, the President’s going to go to the mattresses over protecting a company from the Mideast when he won’t secure our borders or veto outrageous spending bills?  Is this a joke?

UPDATE:  Hugh Hewitt interviewed Senator Frist today on Hugh’s radio show, and indicated an override of the promised veto is possible.  This is a potentially embarrassing and damaging development for the President, and he needs to get on the right side of this issue in a hurry.  Based on this story, it doesn’t seem likely.  Duane has a transcript of Hugh’s interview here

January 9, 2006

Arizona State of the State Address

Filed under: Arizona,Border Security,Illegal Immigration,Politics — Amazing Jake @ 2:49 pm

I heard a little bit of Janet Napolitano’s State of the State address on the radio.  I missed most of it, but will look for a transcript and update the post later.

What grabbed my attention was her 4 part plan to address illegal immigration.  She says she will propose $100 million to fund these initiatives:

  • Address criminal activity by illegal immigrants and criminal syndicates
  • Strengthen border security and increase DPS funding.  She has asked Secretary Rumsfeld to invoke some statute that would allow for federal funding for National Guard troops to be stationed at the border.
  • She wants us to “get real” about the root cause of illegal immigration.  She referred to an executive order issued last year on the subject of prohibiting state business with employers that hire illegal immigrants.  (Not sure how this is enforced)  She is proposing “substantial” fines and penalties for all employers that hire illegals.
  • My phone rang during point #4, but it had something to do with encouraging immigration reform at the federal level.

At first blush, these seem like fairly conservative ideas.  My only other reaction so far is, it sure beats the defeatism of the 51 foot ladder:

 “You show me a 50-foot wall and I’ll show you a 51-foot ladder at the border. That’s the way the border works,” Napolitano told the Associated Press.

Will have to get the transcript later.  AZCentral.com already has a brief recap here.

 

Border Fence

Good old-fashioned ingenuity in Iraq solving real problems:

SINIYAH, Iraq (AP) – Villagers watched from rooftops as U.S. military bulldozers heaved a wall of sand into snaking lines around their homes Saturday in an attempt to trap insurgents believed to be hiding among them.

The drastic tactic in Siniyah came after weeks of increasingly bold insurgent attacks, including almost daily roadside bombs targeting 101st Airborne Division soldiers patrolling the village, 250 kilometres north of Baghdad.

“This is not in any of the courses they teach in the army,” said Maj. Shawn Daniel, who oversees operations for the 3rd Brigade’s 33rd Cavalry Regiment. “But if bad people are coming to Siniyah to attack coalition forces, let’s catch them at the gate.”

Spanning 10 kilometres and broken by watchtowers to be manned by Iraqi security forces, the three-metre tall crude barrier is the army’s latest tool to rout out insurgents.

Construction was expected to last several days. (emphasis mine)  Once complete, all vehicles leaving or entering the village will be stopped as soldiers look for known insurgents, bomb-making materials and illegal weapons.

So, the army can erect a crude barrier in a matter of days to keep terrorists out of an Iraqi town, using nothing but what they already have on hand in Iraq.  The estimates for a fence on the southern US border with Mexico run $1.5 to $2 million PER MILE:

WASHINGTON — The House voted last night to build nearly 700 miles of fence along the U.S.-Mexico border as it began the first major floor debate in years on enforcing immigration laws.
    
    The vote, 260-159, came on an amendment to a border-security and employer-verification bill that is scheduled for a final vote today.

Mr. Hunter’s plan calls for 698 miles of fence at five locations along the 1,940-mile border. The barrier would be modeled from the San Diego fence, a two-layered reinforced fence with roads, surveillance cameras and sensors. Cost estimates run from $1.5 million to $2 million per mile.

So, some quick math leads me to believe it would cost $1 billion to $1.4 billion for just the 698 miles proposed in the bill on December 15th.  To cover the whole border with Mexico, it would cost between $2.9 and $3.9 billion.

If the military can use their initiative to solve a problem like this in short period of time with just the tools they have available, why can’t the Congress and the Dept of Homeland Security do the same thing at home?

The answer:  the political will to do it.

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