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The Great Wall of Technology

Texans may already have paid for part of President Trump’s signature proposal.

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Photo by David McNew/Getty Images

Donald Trump promised to build a “great, great wall on our southern border” and force Mexico to pay for it. But it is starting to look less like the Great Wall of China and more like the Great Wall of Technology—and Texas may already have paid for much of it.

In an interview this week with Fox News, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said the wall will depend on natural barriers, walls and technology.  Kelly said he hopes to have the wall done in two years.

“Any discussion about the protection of our southwest border involves discussion of physical barriers but also of technological sensors, things like that,” he said. “But it’s a layered approach, and it’s got to be backed up by great men and women who are going to make sure that the wall is intact.”

The Great Wall of China, which seems to be what a lot of people envision when Trump talks about his barrier, took 2,000 years to build. However, even Trump told Sean Hannity in December that the wall won’t go along the entire border with Mexico.

“Now, there are certain places you don’t need a wall, because you have, you know, you have mountains, you have other things. You have large and rather vicious rivers.

“But, no, we’re building a wall.  It’s going to be a real wall, because we’re going to stop the drugs from coming in.  We’re going to have people come in, but they’re going to come in legally, and we’re going to have a great wall.  We’re going to have a real wall and we’re going to stop what’s happening, because what’s happening in our country is very sad in so many different ways.”

The Rio Grande is hardly a “vicious river,” but it sounds like Big Bend may well be safe from great wall construction.

Former Texas Governor Rick Perry, a one-time Trump opponent, said last summer that the wall would consist of sensors and cameras, or as he called it “a technological wall, it’s a digital wall.” The governor had his own experience with this after promising to install a network of cameras along the border during his 2006 re-election campaign. Perry initially spent $5 million from his office to get them up and running, and then another $3 million in federal funds after the system had to be restored because of some glitches. More than 220,000 people signed up to watch the cameras on a web site, resulting in all of ten arrests of illegal immigrants. In his 2010 campaign, Perry claimed the cameras and an emphasis on border law enforcement had resulted in a 60 percent drop in crime along the border.

Now we come to the current technological wall. The Texas Department of Public Safety in 2015 reported that the Legislative Budget Board had authorized the agency to add 4,000 cameras along the border in addition to the 1,200 already there.

The 2015 Legislature authorized $800 million in spending by DPS for border security. The same section of this year’s report, isn’t exactly clear and leaves much to the reader’s imagination in the bureaucratize. The information technology sector “consists of physical assets and virtual systems and networks that enable key capabilities and services in both the public and private sectors.”

Trump promised to make Mexico pay for the wall, but so far it looks like the initial investment was made by Texans.

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  • WUSRPH

    Now you know they have to build at least a few miles of the Great Wall of Trump…..How else is he going to be photographed standing on top of it looking out towards the alien lands beyond? Isn’t that the whole purpose of the thing?

    • SpiritofPearl

      When do I get my share from Mexico?

  • BCinBCS

    “But, no, we’re building a wall. It’s going to be a real wall, because we’re going to stop the drugs from coming in. We’re going to have people come in, but they’re going to come in legally, and we’re going to have a great wall. We’re going to have a real wall and we’re going to stop what’s happening, because what’s happening in our country is very sad in so many different ways.”

    This man speaks like a fifth grader standing in front of the principal.

  • José

    Trump was very clear in his campaign pledge. He would build a real physical wall across the entire southern border, it would stop the flow of drugs and people, and Mexico would pay for it. His supporters went wild and took him at his word. Let’s keep reminding them that their “tell it like it is” strong leader is just a lying phony and they’ve been duped.

    • BCinBCS

      And remind them of “alternative facts” i.e. lies.

  • BCinBCS

    All of those coal miners should be happy to know that Comrade Trump/Bannon is looking out for them by allowing the House to pass a law rescinding the prohibition against dumping coal mining debris into their streams.

    If my memory serves me, this law was to prevent the practice of bulldozing the overburden off of the top of mountains into the most convenient areas, the streams, exposing the coal which could be loaded onto trucks. It’s a procedure called mountaintop removal coal mining.

    They elected him and, hey, I don’t have to live there.

  • BCinBCS

    My neighbors to the east’s Representative, Kevin Brady, has been busy repealing a rule that prohibits the acquisition of guns by severely mentally ill people. If people with diminished mental capability can purchase guns, I see no reason that children shouldn’t be allowed to do the same.

    What could go wrong with that?

    • dave in texas

      Next up: mandatory firearms for all convicted violent felons.

      • SpiritofPearl

        But only those with a DSM-IV verifiable diagnosis . . .

  • John Bernard Books

    Americans have had enough of dems….
    “President Trump’s promise to investigate voter fraud has drawn predictable responses from Democrats and the media, who insist there is no such thing and have been fighting for years to prevent any inquiry into the matter. But an investigation in Mr. Trump’s hometown shows that the problem is real.
    In 2013 the New York City Department of Investigation—the storied law-enforcement arm of city government, which houses and manages all the city’s inspectors general and investigators—decided to test the system. City investigators posed as 63 ineligible individuals still on the city voter rolls. Each ineligible voter had died, moved out of the jurisdiction, or been convicted of a felony at least two years earlier.
    The investigators didn’t go to great lengths to hide their attempted fraudulent votes. In five instances investigators in their 20s or 30s posed as voters age 82 to 94. In some cases the investigators were of different ethnic backgrounds from the voters they were impersonating. Yet each was given a ballot and allowed to cast a vote without question.”
    https://www.wsj.com/articles/voter-fraud-a-myth-thats-not-what-new-york-investigators-found-1485994200

    If you deny voter fraud exists you are the problem….

  • SpiritofPearl

    One weekend for Der Fuhrer at Mar-A-Lago costs more than the trip Michelle Obama took to Spain when her friend’s husband died. And cost of security at Trump Tower is also on the taxpayers’ tab:

    http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/main/2017/02/after-2-weeks-voters-yearn-for-obama.html

  • John Bernard Books

    Have you ever met an informed dem?
    “State Rep. Ron Simmons, R-Carrollton, has filed legislation — House Bill 433 —to end straight-ticket voting in Texas. He might have some angels: House Speaker Joe Straus and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick have both sponsored bans in the past. Both remain critical of one-punch voting.”
    https://www.texastribune.org/2017/02/03/analysis-rising-criticism-threatens-one-punch-voting-texas/?utm_campaign=trib-social-buttons&utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social

    Stop the low information voters by stopping straight ticket voting. Make ’em get informed….

    • canelakat

      Since I started voting in 1972, this last election was the first time I voted straight ticket. If more Republicans like General Powell and Jon Huntsman would run, I would consider voting for them.

      • WUSRPH

        I am afraid what you are more likely to see for the next couple of years at least is a lot of fake little Donalds trying to make you think they are just like Trump.

        • donuthin2

          I’m afraid you are right. The next candidates for Gov and Pres will likely try to out do the currents. But at some point, the voters will wake up and realize that they have been snookered.

  • John Bernard Books

    Remember the jobless recovery?….welp meet the jobs prez
    “The first jobs report of 2017 crushed it.”
    http://www.businessinsider.com/us-jobs-report-january-2017-2017-2

    Dems thought jobs was a 3 letter word

  • John Bernard Books
  • R.G. Ratcliffe

    I received an email after I filed this with two pieces of updated information on technology use on the border: http://www.dps.texas.gov/PublicInformation/operDrawbrdg.htm AND http://www.dps.texas.gov/PublicInformation/documents/borderSecBrief20161201.pdf

  • John Bernard Books

    By now we all know the jobs report “crushed it” a huge new influx of jobs.

    Meanwhile this from dems
    The national unemployment rate rose slightly to 4.8 percent in January, the Labor Department announced Friday. But relying on that one headline number as an indicator of the economy overall ignores important information just below the surface.”

    hahaha

  • donuthin2

    By comparison, Pearl is objective for sure. By any measure you are far more subjective, often offering unsubstantiated remarks. We will see how it goes. Many big question marks out there.

    • SpiritofPearl

      JJ is long on opinion, closety about sources.

  • WUSRPH

    Trump will only succeed in hurting the people of the US more than he hurts the Mexicans..
    P.S. It has long been documented that Mexico turns back more people at its southern border than we do at their northern.

    Just a sample:

    Mexico deported more than 105,000 Central Americans in 2014, mostly Hondurans and Guatemalans. During the first two months of 2015, Mexican authorities deported an additional 25,069 Central Americans, according to government statistics.

    • John Johnson

      Another false narrative, just like Pearl’s goofy comparison of the cost of Trump’s Florida trip to one Ms. Obama took when she attended a funeral in Spain. How can you possibly compare our border to the relative funnel on Mexico’s southern border?

      • WUSRPH

        Shorter in length than ours at about 500 miles, true, but also some of the densest jungle in the world….very hard to police…..But the Mexicans now do have their own detention camps for illegals.

      • WUSRPH

        I presume you think it is okay for the US taxpayers to spend $70,000, not counting salaries, benefits, etc. to guard an ADULT Trump on a private business trip?

        • John Johnson

          Nope…I don’t.

  • WUSRPH

    Business
    Eric Trump’s business trip to Uruguay cost taxpayers $97,830 in hotel bills

    • SpiritofPearl

      And it was for personal business . . .

  • WUSRPH

    Did anyone hear or see any mention of reinstating Glass-Stegall in the anti-Dodge-Frank proclamations Running Mouth signed today? Of course not….he’s so anxious and working so hard at warp speed to do what he promised that he seems to have forgotten that one. His Secretary of the Treasury nominee acted like he had never heard of the idea….but with his being a Goldman Sachs man and a banker I can see why.

  • WUSRPH

    Actually, if you checked—which you won’t because of your hate of Obama–you would find that he had a productive first two years when the Democrats were in control. It was the other six years when he faced dedicated, declared and consistent opposition by the GOPers that were the problem.

    • John Johnson

      Actually…in the last several weeks, I posted a piece from WaPo which listed O’s totally lopsided “did” vs “did not’s”.

      Obamacare in first term. That’s it.

      • WUSRPH

        You seem to have forgotten the stimulus package, Dodd-Frank and the saving of more than one million jobs in the auto industry….But then your memory span is getting shorter all the time.

        • SpiritofPearl

          I can’t WAIT for:

          – rat tails in the canned tuna
          – ground glass in the peanut butter
          – salmonella on all the produce
          – tapeworms in meat and fish

          Isn’t this FUN?

          And war with Iran, China, and Australia . . .

        • John Johnson

          I didn’t like it. I disagreed with it. I especially didn’t like his allowing the bank and WS top dogs to receive millions in bonuses.

  • WUSRPH

    An electronic fence will tell you where they are, but it won’t catch them. We will still need border patrol agents to do that job, just as they do now. Both the Chinese and the Romans (with Hadrian’s Wall) found out that just building a Wall does not do the job….they had to post troops at each quarter mile mark…along the entire thing….and even then they could not keep those pesky Mongols or Picts out…. I still say the only workable plan is to get some copies of the blueprints of what the East Germans installed all along their border, reverse them and build a copy of that. It worked for 36 years, didn’t it?

    • canelakat

      The one thing that will work is to help Mexico develop their economy. They are our 3rd largest trading partners. A wall will not work. The thought of a wall being built along the Big Bend area of the Rio Grande cannot be accomplished without giving the river to Mexico, which is essentially what will happen if Trump builds the wall. Mexico has all ready said no wall on our side of the border.

      • WUSRPH

        But Trump and his advisors (sic) are not sophisticated enough to realize that sometimes it is in the best interests of the United States to do something for another nation—like help it develop its economy so it is less dependent on trade with us—-or defend it against Russian aggressiveness. He can think only in direct terms of the monetary cost to the U.S. He is right out of Any Rand’s “doctrine of selfishness” with the belief that you “never do anything for anyone for free”.

        • John Johnson

          Are you on any blood pressure meds? If not, I suggest you get some. It is going to be a long eight years for you.

          • WUSRPH

            Don’t count on eight years….It is going to be hard enough for him to avoid being ousted before four are over.

          • John Johnson

            Hahaha. Another prognostication from you? More crow to eat is my guess. You’ve eatten enough of it in recent years that you might have learned to like it.

          • WUSRPH

            As usual, you remember or make up things to fit your views…..

          • John Johnson

            Nope. You make prognostications and then crawfish when things aren’t going as you predicted. Case in point, the oil patch “collapse” and the Texas economy along with it. This is where you started; from there, you clawed your way back to it might not be so bad.

            Another, the polls predicting a Trump thumping. You fell for that bull hook, line and sinker, but you hedged your bets a few days before so you could stand tall as a guru after the election no matter the outcome. Face it…you are no better at picking winners than my four year old grandson.

    • John Johnson

      As earlier stated, we have over 900 military outposts worldwide. I think the Chinese and Russians have a total of 3.
      How about shutting some of those down and using the money to build outposts w/ sophisticated monitoring and maybe even helipads along our southern border? Seems perfectly rational to me.

      • WUSRPH

        I have explained the world’s geography to you before…but you might want to look at a globe.

  • WUSRPH

    A US Dist. Court in Washington State has enjoined the enforcement of Running Mouth’s Muslim ban….Now let’s see if he understands what the constitution means and whether he will honor it.

    • John Johnson

      Not sure where it says a ban on non-citizens and/or a revocation of green cards is unconstitutional? More moving parts in the Constitution? More judges making instead of interpreting the law? I think so.

      • WUSRPH

        Will that be the justification for refusing to obey the courts?

        • donuthin2

          It is always making law instead of interpreting the law when one disagrees with a ruling.

  • donuthin2

    And what about the landowners who will have their property split by a fence? We will see eminent domain used very inappropriately during the next few years. It will be another case of naive rural property owners getting screwed by the candidate they voted for.

    • SpiritofPearl

      You pay for lessons.

    • John Johnson

      Taken a poll? Lots of he ranchers seem to be screaming for a fence.

      • donuthin2

        I don’t think so. They hate eminent domain.

        • John Johnson

          Guess you haven’t read or seen the pieces documenting the ranchers dismay with the flow of illegals across their property. Besides the fear of breakin’s, they leave a trail of trash and an occasional body.

          • donuthin2

            I have seen many who are upset about the illegals but not many who think a fence splitting their property is a good idea. My guess is the Trumpster likes the fence because he gets political mileage out of it while realizing he and his many of his business associates will still get the use of cheap illegals. It is a win win for him and a loss loss for taxpayers.

          • John Johnson

            Oh, I look for him to put some teeth into laws prohibiting the hiring of illegals too.

          • donuthin2

            Yeah, I suppose you would.

          • donuthin2

            I expect it too about the same time the tax code EO is issued that keep will keep him from not paying income taxes as he has not done for many years.

          • donuthin2

            If you want to stop it, fine the devil out of those who are using them.

  • Bluezy !

    I was reading about the Berlin Wall to check out the great escape stories. I could not believe that only 5000 escapes were estimated in the 30 years it was standing! They could fashion the wall like the Berlin Wall with towers and then run a MagLev armored train car railway up and down! They can also use green alternative energy maybe combining the tower as a big Wind Turbine. This would derail all the media about GOP not caring about Green Technology! Also make it into “X” amount of National Guard posts or name them bases of some sort. Use chain gang illegal alien construction crews as a penalty they need to pay before going back to their country…I am typing country because it would be a generality to call all illegals Mexican.

    I just don’t get it though. The enumeration of illegals in the country.
    How can you count the invisible? And what happens to the market when
    consumers are taken away in great number? I imagine every time a business speaks up politically opposing Trump and they are boycotted is just the start of Making America Great? They gave us Stimulus checks
    to stimulate the market back in was it ’06?

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8e758d796a96de6b4b9fd9840611b33d2354c9e000604f4d36cf032b5f9dc8a0.jpg

    And how good IS security on those massive container vessels? Stowaways must remember to bring a torch to open holes so not to suffocate and tons of water! Maybe under the table human smuggling with all that set up for a price?

  • Wilson James

    It really does take a special kind of stupid to believe a wall will be built, will work or makes sense. This sort of malarkey is why Texas is seen as Americas new Appalachia.