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WHO'S IN CHARGE HERE?
Magpie is a former journalist, attempted historian [No, you can't ask how her thesis is going], and full-time corvid of the lesbian persuasion. She keeps herself in birdseed by writing those bad computer manuals that you toss out without bothering to read them. She also blogs too much when she's not on deadline, both here and at Pacific Views.

Magpie roosts in Portland, Oregon, where she annoys her housemates (as well as her cats Medea, Whiskers, and Jane Doe) by attempting to play Irish music on the fiddle and concertina.

If you like, you can send Magpie an email!



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Sunday, May 14, 2006

Connecting the dots in Dubya's border plan.

When the news broke that the prez was thinking about sending the National Guard to the Mexican border to deal with the 'immigration crisis,' I wasn't at all surprised — but I couldn't figure out why. Today, I went poking through the Magpie archives to see what I could find and, sure enough, I'd posted on April 23 about how Dubya's new chief of staff, Joshua Bolten, planned to save the prez's sorry political ass. Here's a quote from a Time magazine article that's now behind the pay firewall:

1. Deploy Guns and Badges.

This is an unabashed play to members of the conservative base who are worried about illegal immigration. Under the banner of homeland security, the White House plans to seek more funding for an extremely visible enforcement crackdown at the Mexican border, including a beefed-up force of agents patrolling on all-terrain vehicles (ATVs).... [Says a proponent of the plan:] "Think of the visuals. The President can go down and meet with the new recruits. He can go down to the border and meet with a bunch of guys and go ride around on an atv...."
[Emphasis mine]

So the plan Dubya will announce in his big immigration speech tomorrow will involve sending lots of guns to the border in hopes that he can get his approval rating out of the low 30s (or high 20s, depending on what poll you trust).

Of course, I'm not the only blogger smart enough to remember the 'Bolten plan,' so I wandered out onto the internets to see who else was connecting the same dots that I was. Very quickly, I found this post by georgia10 over at Daily Kos, which adds yet another dot to the Dubya policy line:

So only now--when the President has hit 29% and W-brand Republicans are freaking out--has the President decided to send more guns to the border in another one of his carefully orchestrated photo-ops. Will anyone in the media bring up the fact that the President has refused to fully fund the border patrol?

Officially approved by Bush on Dec. 17 [2005] after extensive bickering in Congress, the National Intelligence Reform Act included the requirement to add 10,000 border patrol agents in the five years beginning with 2006. Roughly 80 percent of the agents were to patrol the southern U.S. border from Texas to California, along which thousands of people cross into the United States illegally every year.

But Bush's proposed 2006 budget, revealed Monday, funds only 210 new border agents.

The shrunken increase reflects the lack of money for an army of border guards and the capacity to train them, officials said.

There wasn't enough money to fully fund the border patrol with 10,000 agents in his budget, but there was more than enough money available to keep giving the wealthiest Americans their tax cut.

There you have it. The President's priorities, in black and white.

We'd just add that the president also doesn't seem to care that the National Guard is already over-stretched because of all the Guard members who are serving in Iraq. This deployment has affected the Guard's ability to respond to natural disasters — remember how most of the equipment that the Mississippi and Lousiana Guard needed to help during Hurricane Katrina had been sent to Iraq? Obviously, the White House isn't at all worried about making this problem worse.

And, of course, that big supporter of our troops who lives in the White House definitely doesn't care about whether Guard members get off the plane from Iraq and step onto another one that will take them to the border. After all, one desert is pretty much like another, isn't it?

| | Posted by Magpie at 6:23 PM | Get permalink




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