I’m sure you’ve noticed that there are near record unemployment numbers in this country, more and more people are going to bed hungry, homes are being foreclosed upon in high numbers, stocks have wiped out the retirement accounts of many seniors, health care costs continue to climb, and all sorts of troubles perplex this nation. And our government just keeps on spending more money that we don’t have. To top that off, there are many foreign, as well as domestic parties that would Just as soon see this nation become a heap in the landfill of the worlds trash disposal stream. Our borders are becoming less and less secure with each passing year as the left continues to divert tax dollars away from defense of this nation and infrastructure improvements, and spending more on developing a welfare styles socialist nation.
That’s why I get a bit miffed when I see things in the headline like the fifteen million dollars that Max Baucus has managed to garner for a tiny little border station in his home state, while Maine suffers with just enough to keep the light on at our border crossings, and not much more. Granted, fifteen million dollars isn’t much in the greater scheme of things, but the principle and actions behind that fifteen million dollar expenditure is what defines part of the problem that this nation has.
We talk about border security today, and the main stream media directs all discussion to the Mexican border, and the infamous fence that should have been completed long ago. Budgetary cuts and redirected funds have cut the moneys available to complete the project far short of what is needed to achieve that completion. On top of that, environmental groups obstruct the project with claims of environmental damage and wildlife disruption.
Here in the northern tier states there are thousands of miles of borderland unprotected, and unwatched, making for an easy stroll into this country by anyone that wants to visit, for whatever reason that may be. The Baucus grab netted his district fifteen million dollars worth of voting potential in his next senate race, all for a border crossing station that processes three visitors a day on average. In Maine, there are currently twenty three border crossing stations that must be used to legally enter/leave this country from this state. Unfortunately, there is also hundreds of miles worth of borderland that can be used to illegally enter/leave this country, which can be disastrous for both the US and Canada.
I remember that when I was in high school, friends and I would go fishing on some of the little brooks and streams along the Maine/New Brunswick border. There were dozens of old fields, farm and logging roads that ran along the stretch of border from the Easton area down to Bridgewater. We would often see Canadians driving along these roads into the US, as well as Maine vehicles heading for Canada. Back then there was little concern, and probably all of them were merely going shopping or visiting relatives. Today it would be of greater concern, of course.
But the issue of using the scarce funding available to protect our borders becomes a ridiculous effort when it becomes attached to bills by way of earmarks and riders that bloat the true cost of running this country. That fifteen million dollars would have gone a long way towards hiring new border agents and equipment to patrol the more than three thousand mile border that separates Canada from the contiguous forty eight states of this nation. And then there is the fifteen hundred or so miles along the Alaskan border as well. I’d like to know exactly how that fifteen million dollars is going to help the taxpaying citizens of this country beyond providing Max Baucus with votes for re-election and a few temporary construction jobs in his district.
Maine Sens. Snowe and Collins worked to get funding for some of Maine’s own aging border stations, but these stations can process hundreds of travelers on a daily basis, all of them providing millions of dollars to Maine’s economy, thus generating a very positive cash flow, tax wise for both the state and federal governments. The border crossing in Montana, Baucus’ state, serves fewer than one thousand people per year.
To be fair, this money actually comes from the Obama Stimulus program, but even though this money was to be fairly distributed across the board, it has proven to be politics as usual. The $720 million was intended to spur job creation and stimulate the economy, yet it seems the main impetus of this fund is to stimulate votes and favoritism. But check out this statement from the Missoulian; “A border station in Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s home state of Arizona is getting $199 million, five times more than any other border station. The busy Nogales checkpoint has required repairs for years, but was not rated among the neediest projects on the master list reviewed by the AP. Napolitano credited her lobbying as Arizona governor for getting the project near the front of the line for funding under the Bush administration. All it needed was money, which the stimulus provided.”
$199 million? That’s nearly 25% of the total budgeted for the entire funding of this program! Who says politics is honest business? What’s worse is that this article also says; “A checkpoint in Laredo, Texas, which serves more than 55,000 travelers and 4,200 trucks a day, is rated among the government’s highest priorities but was passed over for stimulus money.” I don’t know about your thoughts, but in my mind this just isn’t right. Something stinks about the whole issue of border protection here.
We, the electors of these senators and representatives, need to start putting pressure on these people to put the interests of the United States of America back on the front burner, and stop their petty politicking and vote buying that is bringing our country to ruin. Special interests certainly have their rights, but those rights should not come at the expense of the greater population. Our borders are an important part of our defense as a nation, and when one Senator or other public official gets away with lobbying for special treatment and funding, that causes the rest to assume an unacceptable risk.
Update to story on 20 October 2009;
|Border Closed After Men Try to Walk Into U.S.|
The border crossing between and , was closed for several hours while authorities investigated the incident.
This was a headline today that describes a situation whereby “The international border crossing between Calais, Maine, and St. Stephen, New Brunswick, was closed for several hours Sunday night and yesterday morning, after five men left a vehicle in Canada and tried to enter the U.S. on foot.”
Here is a more detailed report from the Bangor Daily News;
There are any number of reasons the five men were turned back, and no information is given as to who they were and where they came from. But they tried to walk across just the same, and fortunately it was at a regular border crossing. If they had in fact been intent upon something of the terrorist nature they could have just as easily walked along an old dirt road further up the border, and gotten into a car driven by a compatriot out to do the same activity.