None other than Mick Mulvaney — who will be the White House’s acting chief of staff in 2019 — has been highly critical of the U.S./Mexico border wall that then-candidate Donald Trump was proposing. CNN unearthed a recording of Mulvaney’s appearance on South Carolina’s WRHI Radio on Aug. 25, 2015, when he told interviewer Patti Mercer that Trump’s proposal was a “simplistic” approach to a complex problem. Mulvaney used the word “fence” rather than “wall,” telling Mercer, “To just say, ‘Build the darn fence’ and have that be the end of an immigration discussion is absurd and almost childish for someone running for president.” But Mulvaney’s basic point was correct: Trump’s border wall idea lacks the sophistication needed to seriously address the United States’ immigration and border challenges.
Nonetheless, Trump hasn’t retreated from his terrible idea. He has doubled down on it, even going so far as to partially shut down the federal government and insisting that the shutdown will continue in 2019 unless Congress comes up with $5 billion to pay for his wall. And Trump’s idea is offensive not only because of the xenophobia and extreme isolationism it is promoting — it is also a joke from a security standpoint and will not decrease illegal immigration, the president’s supposed goal.
Here are five reasons why, according to the U.S. Border Patrol and other agencies, Trump’s proposed border wall is laughable from a security standpoint.
- The U.S. Border Patrol Says It Needs an Investment in High-Tech Surveillance Equipment, Not a Concrete Wall
Although racism and xenophobia are an effective way for President Trump to rally his far-right base, the GOP talking point that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and other prominent Democrats oppose a U.S./Mexico border wall because they favor “open borders” is absolute nonsense. And if one actually listens to what Democrats have to say on the subject, it is obvious that they have been quite aggressive on border security (deportations reached an all-time high under President Barack Obama). Pelosi, Schumer and other Democrats have been calling for greater investment in high-tech surveillance equipment, stressing that it would be a much stronger deterrent to coyotes (those who smuggle illegal immigrants) and drug smugglers than a wall.
The specific things that Pelosi and Schumer called for in a joint statement in late 2017 included “new technology, drones, air support, sensor equipment.” In fact, a report from Senate Democrats released earlier this year found that the U.S. Border Patrol’s equipment requests were being underfunded.
- Tunnels Can Be Built Underneath a Wall
Drug traffickers have found that building underground tunnels is an effective way to smuggle heroin or cocaine into the U.S., and if a tunnel can be illegally built underneath a fence, it can also be built underneath a concrete wall. From 2007-2010, the U.S. Border Patrol found, on average, at least one underground tunnel per monthalong the U.S./Mexico border. Surveillance equipment can detect these tunnels, but Trump and other Republicans prefer the symbolism of a wall over technological solutions.
- Border Patrol Agents Can See Through Fences, But Not Concrete Walls
Rather than help U.S. Border Patrol agents with their surveillance needs, a concrete border wall could actually make surveillance more difficult. With a fence, an agent can see what’s on the other side. A U.S. Border Patrol agent told right-wing Fox News that “a cinder block or rock wall, in the traditional sense, isn’t necessarily the most effective or desirable choice. Seeing through a fence allows agents to anticipate and mobilize, prior to illegal immigrants actually climbing or cutting through the fence.”
- Most Illegal Immigrants in the U.S. Have Overstayed Their Visas
According to data from the Department of Homeland Security, the vast majority of illegal immigrants living in the U.S. in 2016 did not cross the border illegally. Most of them entered the U.S. legally but overstayed their visas. So a wall on the U.S./Mexico border wouldn’t have kept them out.
- Not All Illegal Immigrants Enter the U.S. Via the U.S.-Mexico Border
It’s no coincidence that Trump is obsessed with a U.S./Mexico border wall, but has never proposed one for the U.S./Canada border: Canadians are more likely to be white. But a July 2018 article for the Guardian reported that while there are a lot more arrests for illegal border crossings along the U.S./Mexico border than along the U.S./Canada border, “the human smuggling is just as sophisticated” up north. Coyotes, according to the Guardian, are often paid $4000 for smuggling people into Vermont from Quebec—and the Guardian quoted U.S. Border Patrol Agent Richard Ross as saying that the coyotes are “very well organized.” Further, coyotes can smuggle people into the U.S. illegally via ships. Immigrants can also fly into the U.S. legally from Europe, Asia or South America and not return when they are supposed to.
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Trump-Loving Diamond and Silk Say Kanye’s First Amendment Rights Were Violated – Internet Explodes
Kanye West‘s claim this week that slavery was a choice by Black people has led to threats of boycotts, calls for advertisers to drop their sponsorships, and one Detroit radio station to stop playing his music.
West also was widely condemned last week after he once again declared he is a Trump supporter.
Trump-supporting bloggers and social media personalities Diamond and Silk are now getting s slice of condemnation as well, after falsely claiming Kanye West’s First Amendment rights have been violated by the radio station that is refusing to play his music.
“For a Radio Station to stop playing @kanyewest music because of his views is a violation of his First Amendment Rights,” the pair tweeted. “You can’t just silence someone because you don’t like their Free Speech. Thoughts?”
That’s 100 percent false, as many, many people on Twitter let the right wing sisters from North Carolina know. Diamond and Silk were accused of lying before Congress last month.
A legal podcast had some fun with the Diamond and Silk tweet:
— Michael (@_FleerUltra) May 4, 2018
And here’s how some responded to their obviously false claim of a First Amendment violation:
it’s not a violation of his first amendment rights to not play his music you two bit grifters
— SporkBoots (@sporkboot) May 4, 2018
every single thing about this is so stupid my eyelids actually fused together from rapid fire blinking while reading it https://t.co/kWPUD8kY1U
— Kilgore Trout (@KT_So_It_Goes) May 4, 2018
My thoughts are that you don’t understand the First Amendment.
— Don Neufeld (@dnf) May 4, 2018
1) Brush up on the First Amendment
2) No, it’s not a violation (see #1)
3) A station can play whatever artist it chooses to
4) Change the station (yes, it’s really that simple)
— Denise Shearin (@DeniseShearin) May 4, 2018
You don’t have even a cursory understanding of the First Amendment or how it works, or what the term free speech means and doesn’t. Also, I challenge you to name 3 Kanye songs.
— knoxgalesq (@knoxgalesq) May 4, 2018
The First Amendment: a visual primer pic.twitter.com/E0mMRcKEQh
— lieronet (@lieronet) May 4, 2018
I JUST REALIZED NOT JUST RADIO STATIONS NEVER PLAYED ANY OF MY MUSIC BUT ALSO WSJ HAS NEVER PUBLISHED MY ARTICLES EITHER!!! OH MY GOD WHERE’S MY FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS PEOPLE!!! ALL THOSE STUPID ESTABLISHMENT WHO CAN’T DISTINGUISH BETWEEN RIGHTS AND PRIVILEGES!!!
— Charlotte’s Pal. (@GoCharlotte2016) May 4, 2018
Um, no, ladies. The “Radio Station” has its own “First Amendment Rights” and it exercised them.
— The True Sergeiski (@thetrusergeiski) May 4, 2018
Thinking a radio station not playing @KanyeWest violates his First Amendment rights sounds like something that would be taught at Trump University.
— 1DayBetter (@tontonlove) May 4, 2018
Image via Twitter
‘Embarrassingly Stupid Take’: Tomi Lahren’s Climate Change Denying Tweet Gets Mercilessly Mocked
Fox News contributor Tomi Lahren is once again attracting anger and mockery for a tweet of her “Final Thoughts,” a series of short takes that frequently attack liberal policies and have been labeled at times racist.
Lahren, who has a lucrative Fox News contract and is paid to share her opinions, is frequently mocked for them. Many find her comments steeped in both disdain and ignorance.
Late last month during the March for Our Lives protests and rallies for gun control Lahren tweeted, “March FOR something, not just against everything.” A large number of people responded, reminding her the name of the rally was “March for Our Lives.”
While just 25-years old, she has an estimated net worth of $3 million along with that lucrative contract. She lives in Los Angeles, and yet several weeks ago attacked Democrats, claiming they “have a disdain for middle America, but they still need to cater to us!”
Now, another of Lahren’s remarks is getting a good deal of attention.
“They call it ‘climate change,’ I call it weather,” Lahren tweeted – back in 2015.
— Tomi Lahren (@TomiLahren) October 27, 2015
For some reason the tweet has resurfaced, and many are trying to help her understand the difference, while others have just decided to, once again, mock her ignorance.
For those unfamiliar with Lahren, and wondering why so many feel so free to mock her, it might be because she literally has built a career out of making ignorant, uneducated, and racist remarks – while attacking liberals, Democrats, and, in this case, science itself.
In the video she tweeted out, Lahren begins as she often does by attacking Democrats.
“So what is our biggest national security threat? ISIS? No, they’re ‘JV.’ Iran? No, we make deals with them. Hamas? No, not them either. Because according to the Democrats, our biggest national security threat is – wait for it – weather.”
Except, that’s not “according to the Democrats.” That’s according to the Pentagon, in 2014, at the time led by Republican Chuck Hagel. And even though Lahren’s climate change denying video was recorded in 2015, just last July, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives “decisively approved a defense policy bill … that declares climate change a national security threat.”
Here’s how many on social media are responding to Lahren’s unearthed climate change denial:
I don't know if these rise to the level of "thoughts". My son also thinks climate change is just "weather", but he turns three in June. https://t.co/TYJC0vumEp
— Elizabeth Spiers (@espiers) April 6, 2018
Pro tip: Being proud that you're ignorant is never a good look. https://t.co/5Nc0J5V0R7
— John Scalzi (@scalzi) April 7, 2018
This is an emabarssingly stupid take. https://t.co/FqDKV6loyG
— Not a projecting republican (@gagnonian) April 7, 2018
"They": the vast majority of professional scientists who've trained for years in this field
"I": A professionally angry TV host with no relevant qualifications who sticks firearms down the elastic band of her leggings https://t.co/hbvdwNsi8B
— Sulome Anderson (@SulomeAnderson) April 6, 2018
And that's why THEY are scientists and YOU are an idiot. https://t.co/NN2w42DY7G
— 🇨🇦Mike Skywalker (@MCMikeSkywalker) April 6, 2018
BREAKING: TRUMP IDENTIFIES PRUITT'S REPLACEMENT FOR EPA HEAD. https://t.co/Q607KKG9KR
— David M. Perry (@Lollardfish) April 7, 2018
8 year olds know the difference between weather and climate. But not Tomi the ditz https://t.co/DbtH2JiOYj
— Night Mists 🌜🌂🌧️🌷🌸🌷🌧️🌂🌛 (@Nitemists) April 7, 2018
The worst part is the smugness of this tweet. https://t.co/NHnSECYdpG
— Angel Castillo (@AssyMcJew) April 6, 2018
If you have a third grade reading level I don't want hear your thoughts on climate change. https://t.co/0WFNUaVBP0
— Jon O. (@OriginalJLP) April 7, 2018
I see this is an old tweet, but have you looked up the words "trend" and "variation" yet? https://t.co/QQviXY6uJY
— Cody Johnston (@drmistercody) April 7, 2018
Sigh. Climate and weather are two separate natural phenomena. To call one by the other name makes absolutely no sense. Bit like saying your height and weight are the same; they both refer to your body, but they are different aspects of it https://t.co/iSU6hyHCJ4
— Keith Devlin (@profkeithdevlin) April 7, 2018
Girl google is free https://t.co/51fhIrtkSe
— Dane Prince (@MrDanePrince) April 7, 2018
They call it "overdrafted account" I call it betting on myself. Final Thoughts. https://t.co/3oEqk8fXPm
— KING TRILLMONGER (@IfyNwadiwe) April 6, 2018
There are experts who spend their entire lives studying this topic who make themselves available to help educate journalists if you're interested. The distinction between weather and climate is one aspect. https://t.co/GbyDVvMfav
— John Iadarola (@johniadarola) April 6, 2018
Girl…. have you even read one peer-reviewed academic journal? On anything?? https://t.co/dvnaDLk3Hd
— ew Ⓥ (@katiewooldridge) April 7, 2018
We call you "uninformed," or "willfully ignorant." https://t.co/58NmwhR1yj
— Resist (@nodank_) April 6, 2018
It's bad enough that someone is this ignorant, but to be so proud of it is even more ridiculous. https://t.co/lNIwPcjiHv
— WhiteHouseWacko (@WhiteHouseWacko) April 7, 2018
Biggest effect of Trump's presidency so far: ignorance isn't ashamed of being ignorant anymore. In fact, it's now glorified as a type of rebellion. As if arguing against ignorance itself *is* oppression. Like declaring "I don't know what climate change is and I'm proud of it!!" https://t.co/sxPDjqiI0W
— Aymann Ismail (@aymanndotcom) April 6, 2018
In a future hellscape where oceans have overrun all coastal cities, our food supply has been decimated, and our grandchildren curse us, they'll look back at this tweet and wonder if Tomi saw the irony of saying "final thoughts." https://t.co/TzQZmn7Jxd
— Ben Adida (@benadida) April 7, 2018
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