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Jul 07 2013

Let’s go surging now, everybody’s learning how

borderfence

Everybody’s surging now, come on and go surging with me! Yes, the GOP may have finally hit on a rebranding gimmick that will appeal to their own: border surge! If you like the the zillion dollar Iraq and Afghan surges, you’re gonna love this deal!

Salon — Basically the “border surge” is a very expensive new expansion of a massive government program, only it’s the sort that conservatives like because it involves detaining people instead of giving them healthcare or something. The “surge” is a massive military buildup along the border, involving 700 miles of fencing, 20,000 new border agents, and more drones, perhaps even ones fitted with “nonlethal weapons,” for the Border Protection Agency to loan out to various other law-enforcement agencies. It will install, at various points along the border, an exciting array of new infrastructure and equipment of the sort usually not seen outside of actual war zones.

Many lucky communities will soon have multiple new “fixed towers,” dozens of “fixed camera systems (with relocation capability), which include remote video surveillance systems” and “mobile surveillance systems, which include mobile video surveillance systems, agent-portable surveillance systems, and mobile surveillance capability systems,” and hundreds of new “unattended ground sensors, including seismic, imaging, and infrared.”

There’s other reasons the GOP will love this. For one thing, much like the Iraq War, it’s completely unnecessary, will probably get some people killed and maimed, and one glance at that image above underscores that it doesn’t have a snowball’s chance of working — which are all sales points for these conservative xenophobic clowns. Better yet, it’s estimated to cost about $40 billion, which means it will be more like $100 billion when everything is said and done.

And, much like the growing private prison system, miles and miles of this boondoggle will almost certainly come with the added benefit — for shareholders anyway — of a few low-paid full timers, lots of part-time help, and the trifecta of moderm conservative economics, the contract temp employee dressed up like real officers making a cool 10 bucks an hour doing dangerous work with no benefits at all. So not only will some crony government contractors get filthy rich on endless cost over runs building this thing on the tax-payer dole, they’ll make even more money by using untrained private guards desperate for work in all those lucky communities mentioned above. Plus there’s no pesky career ladder leading to a living middle class wage comparable to what the INS offers, which might soak up profit that could fuel years and years of tasty bonuses for the zillionaires at the top.

14 comments

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  1. 1
    Marcus Ranum

    More militarized police. This is getting scary.

  2. 2
    magistramarla

    Because that’s just what we need – 20,000 bored young yahoos with guns sitting on the border.
    What could go wrong?
    (snark)

  3. 3
    dobby

    The Berlin Wall in reverse.

  4. 4
    Jackie

    Marcus and dobby, exactly right.

  5. 5
    RealityCzech

    Wouln’t it be nice if a peer-reviewed study justifying these ideas were required to get an inititave passed? Y’know, some sort of proof that a law is a good invenstment of resources and energy before we spend a ton of taxpayer dollars?

  6. 6
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    some crony government contractors get filthy rich on endless cost over runs building this thing on the tax-payer dole

    Mark Twain’s “Gilded Age” never ended: Pork Barrel Projects ™ FTW!

  7. 7
    stever

    RealityCzech: I’ve long held that every new law, or at least every criminal law, deserves the same level of scrutiny as a computer program that will control a machine that can kill people. A government is, after all, just such a machine.

  8. 8
    RealityCzech

    Stever: I agree, I once heard Penn Gilette put it this way… don’t support any law you wouldn’t enfore at gunpoint (since ultimately every law is enforced by armed police).

  9. 9
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    Of course. But we don’t want to monitor things that are actually dangerous, like volcanoes.

    ——

    RealityCzech @ 8:
    Well, that’s exactly what happens, isn’t it? Law enforcement frequently seem incapable of enforcing laws without doing so at gunpoint, even when unnecessary. (Or perhaps, especially when unnecessary.)

  10. 10
    Alex

    I ask myself, what will these people do when, after they have established their “border surge”, they realize that all their problems still haven’t magically gone away? I have an idea…

  11. 11
    sunsangnim

    $40 billion on fixing a nonexistent problem, and they still insist on calling themselves the party of fiscal responsibility.

  12. 12
    RealityCzech

    If there’s any indication that they’re into fiscal responsibility it’s that sometimes under their administration government grows… more slowly.
    Y’know, like a guy is a pacifist if he often doesn’t murder people unless he absolutely has to or nobody is watching.
    My mom is getting healthy because while she only eats fast food it’s three times a day rather than four and her weight gain has slowed.
    I’m chaste because the hookers…. piss on it, you get the idea.

  13. 13
    Anthony K

    Tangentially related, since Marcus and others brought up our overly-militarised police forces: http://www.salon.com/2013/07/07/%E2%80%9Cwhy_did_you_shoot_me_i_was_reading_a_book_the_new_warrior_cop_is_out_of_control/

  14. 14
    Pierce R. Butler

    Can we get one for Canada too, huh, please please!

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