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Echo Chamber: News That’s Bouncing Around (April 27)

A PEACE BRIDGE discussion and community meeting sponsored by Olmsted Parks Conservancy will be held at 6:30 p.m. in the West Side Community Services Center, 161 Vermont St. Dave Colligan, Olmsted chairman, and Olmsted CEO Tom Herrera-Mishler will lead the discussion. Program is open to the public.

HILARY CLINTON wants a straight up debate with Obama with no moderator. Their last debate in Pennsylvania was a disastrous display of just how stupid moderators can be––asking the most trivial and tabloid-style questions one could imagine. It was so bad it was insulting to the American voter. We’d love to see a Lincoln-Douglas style debate. Unfortunately, Obama doesn’t seem to have the stomach for it. Apparently, from his point of view he has nothing to gain and everything to lose.

THE MEXICO-US FENCE doesn’t look like it’s going to be finished before W leaves office; they’re only halfway along in the 700 miles of planned border fence with only eight months before Bush is history. Like so many other Bush administration names, like the polluting legislation of the “Clear Skies Initiatives”, this a Orwellian joke. The “fence”, made of concrete and steel, is really more like the Berlin “wall.” this not poet Robert Frost’s “good fences make good neighbors” type of fencing. It’s unlikely the next president, no matter who that is, will be so stupid as to try and finish the project. The wall is likely to be pretty ineffective anyway. Didn’t anyone in the Bush administration hear about the network of tunnels going into Palestine carrying truckloads of guns, ammo and cash? Tunnel passages across an international border into the United States are already a real problem. Over 40 such tunnels crossing into the U.S. southern border have been discovered since 9/11. Large-scale smuggling of drugs, weapons, and immigrants takes place today through these tunnels. One sophisticated tunnel running from San Diego to Tijuana was a half mile long. It went 60 to 80 feet deep, 8 feet tall. It had a concrete floor. It was wired for electricity. It had drainage. At one end, 300 pounds of marijuana were found, and at the other end, 300 pounds of marijuana. The California entry into the tunnel was a modern warehouse, a huge warehouse compartmented but empty and kept empty for a year. In one office there was a hatch in the floor. It looked much like the hatch which Saddam had secreted himself in. But lifting that hatch disclosed a very sophisticated tunnel. It went under other buildings all the way across the double fence into Mexico and up in Mexico in a building as well. A wall is also not a solution to the probably 15 -20 million illegal immigrants already here. As long as the average annual paycheck in Mexico is $4,000 a year, Mexicans are going to want to get here so they can try for $30,000 a year.

A week or so ago, 14 members of Congress announced that they will file an Amicus Curiae brief in support of the constitutional challenge to the Real ID Act filed by the Sierra Club and Defenders of Wildlife. Section 102 of the Real ID Act gives Secretary Chertoff and Secretary Chertoff alone the power to waive any local, state, or federal law that he decides will slow construction of the border wall. The Real ID Act failed when it was introduced as a stand alone bill, and only passed when it was attached as a rider on a bill funding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with tsunami relief. The power given to the Secretary of Homeland Security to sweep away laws passed by Congress and signed by the President for the express purpose of avoiding judicial review is clearly a violation of the separation of powers provided for in the US Constitution. Chertoff has used this authority to waive environmental laws, regulatory laws, ignore ranchers, townships, private property and anything else that gets in his way.