I had to laugh when I went to the Albuquerque Journal‘s website yesterday and saw story about how the story I looking for had been linked to Drudge, complete with screen capture from the Drudge Report site!
Journal Query Sparks Screaming Drudge Headline – 9:05am MDT
Journal Washington Bureau reporter Michael Coleman asked President Obama a question. (Albuquerque Journal staff report)
This story links to all the fanfare in the various papers in the Southwest were invited to hear The One speak on border issues.
But it’s the print version of the story that I was interested in…Here’s the headline from the ABQ Journal:
Thursday, March 12, 2009
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama vowed Wednesday to help prevent Mexican drug violence from spilling over the U.S. border and said he would consider using National Guard troops to protect Americans.
“I am interested in creating the kind of partnership with the Mexican government that ensures the safety of U.S. citizens, ensures the safety of Mexican citizens and allows for the kind of trade that is so critical to the region,” the president said.
The president said that although reviving the U.S. economy is his top priority, border and immigration issues also are on his radar screen.
He noted that Calderón was the first foreign head of state he met with after being elected. And last week, Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, met with Mexican officials to offer U.S. intelligence and training.
Obama said that the collapse of U.S. housing construction industry “has slowed the flow of illegal immigrants coming into the country” but that it “remains a serious concern.”
The president said he hopes to make changes in U.S. immigration laws through executive actions first, then look for a new legislative path on Capitol Hill.
“We’ve started to talk to … both parties involved here in Washington about prospects of taking legislative steps, but obviously we’ve got a lot on our plate right now,” Obama said. “So, what we can do administratively, that’s where we’re going to start.”
Ah, there are the real money quotes in bold!! It’s that “executive order” business that raised my antennae. And the comment on trade. And the one on immigration…
Let’s look back at some of the research we’ve posted here over the past week and how it ties in to Obama’s interview.
Start with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates declaring that we’d just be “cooperating” with Mexico on intelligence, but offering some vagueness on the troops on Meet the Press a couple of weeks ago (a point repeated by Adm. Mike Mullen head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff). Here’s the quote from the transcript:
MR. GREGORY: You mean providing military supporting?
SEC’Y GATES: Providing them with, with training, with, with resources, with reconnaissance and surveillance kinds of capabilities; but just cooperation, including in intelligence. But it clearly is a serious problem, and, and–but what I think people need to point out is the courage that Calderon has shown in taking this on, because one of the reasons it’s gotten as bad as it has is because his predecessors basically refused to do that.
Full discussion here:
Now, we’ve got Obama opening the door a bit wider in his interview, employing the “protect Americans” angle and mentioning the National Guard…It’s the subtle fear card again, that nice touch of Bush that Obama uses so well.
Then let’s consider the business about trade: On the horizon, the Punta Colonet seaport which we discussed just yesterday. Here’s a review of the key issues: Citicorp bailout/our money and American jobs as the economies meld:
Citicorp has been meeting with high-level Mexican officials to discuss participating in the financing of this project.
In the current world economic recession, many people question the timing for Punta Colonet. Previously, the capacity and the ability of the mature U.S. West Coast ports to handle increasing ocean cargo was a major concern, but the volume at the Los Angeles and Long Beach Ports has recently decreased by up to 30 percent because of the economic crisis, and the capacity issue has become less important. Many people, particularly players in the U.S. and California, are worried that bringing such a large port on line would further depress and dilute the ocean cargo business.
Full discussion here:
And now for the wrap-up: the plans for a North American Community and the various goals that were in the original plan, with the target date of 2010 for putting them into place. There is so much in THAT story, but let’s mention immigration, since Obama seems to be planning to use executive orders before getting around to “legislative steps” that are apparently being crafted , with “BOTH parties involved,” right now. Here are just a few of the points in the piece we posted a couple of days ago which are of special interest. First, quotes on military cooperation and easing trade, then a bit on immigration and the borders. Quotes from the Council of Foreign Relations report:
LAW ENFORCEMENT and MILITARY COOPERATION (Pages 10-12)
The Task Force proposes an expansion of NORAD and “information and intelligence-sharing at the local and national levels in both law enforcement and military organizations.”
OPEN SKIES AND OPEN ROADS (Page 25):
“Governments should consider the benefits of allowing North American transportation firms unlimited access to each other’s territory, including full cabotage (trade between two points within a country; for example, a Canadian trucker hauling freight from Chicago to Los Angeles, or an American Airline carrying passengers between Mexico City and Monterrey) for airlines and surface carriers.” This would mean Mexican trucking companies could contract for hauling business in the United States or Canada totally inside what we now call U.S. and Canadian borders.
“TESTED ONCE” FOR BIOTECHNOLOGY AND PHARMACEUTICALS (Page 25):
A product tested in one country would meet the standards set by another, or to establish a North American testing center with personnel from each country, integrating protection of food, health and the environment.
Also included: the development of a unified North American Border Plan with “a North American Border Pass with biometric identifier to allow its bearer expedited passage through customs, immigration, and airport security throughout the region.”
Full discussion here:
Don’t those references to “biometric identifier” and “expedited passage through… immigration” grab you? How about “unlimited access to each other’s territory“? I’m not sure if Obama will bring up the trucking issue again; the “Bush administration initiative to allow Mexican-licensed trucks to operate outside of commercial border zones” was cut from the omnibus spending bill that was passed on Tuesday (3/10) and signed by Obama.
But who knows? Trade, immigration, the U.S. military waiting in the wings…and that executive order power in the hands of Obama.
And those Mexican trucks may just start rolling again if the “open roads” REALLY open up…and would you be surprised? I wouldn’t be…
Filed under: Current Politics | Tagged: Adm. Mike Mullen Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff, Albuquerque Journal, Albuquerque Journal Washington Bureau reporter Michael Coleman, Barack Obama, biometric identifiers, border violence, Citicorp, Congress, David Gregory, Democrats, Drudge Report, Executive Orders, Felipe Calderon, George W. Bush, immigration issues, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Meet the Press, Mexican drug violence, Mexican trucking, Morth American Community, National Guard troops, NORAD, North American Border Pass, North American Border Plan, North American Union, ocean cargo business, port of Loong Beach, port of Los Angeles, Punta Colonet seaport, Republicans, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, security, trade issues, U.S. construction industry, U.S. economy, U.S. West Coast ports, U.S.-Mexico border | 9 Comments »