Dangerous band of Insurgents

In Vermont, the federal government plans to seize a farmer’s land to build a $5 million border post on a quiet country road. The community is fiercely opposed, and the Department of Homeland Security is under fire for planning expensive projects that some say isn’t needed.

The hamlet of Morses Line is just a dot on the Canadian border in the small northern Vermont town of Franklin. A quiet country road leads to the existing brick border station at the edge of a hayfield.

In about two hours on a recent afternoon, one truck and two cars go by. One was a Customs officer arriving for his shift.

“Last night was a little busier because you had bingo at the church in the neighboring town,” says Brian Rainville. The land the U.S. government wants is part of his family’s dairy farm. Rainville goes through a box full of documents and pulls out the architectural drawings for the new border post.

“So we’re looking at putting in a storm water pond, a traffic turnaround, covered parking, three designated traffic lanes, two stages of radiation detectors, a two-story building with a fitness center on the second floor. It all strikes me as a little much for Morses Line,” he says.

“I’m not quite sure how Morses Line, with a traffic rate of 2 1/2 cars an hour, is a matter of national security and utmost budgetary importance…”

Similar controversies are playing out across the 3,000-mile border with Canada, where the Department of Homeland Security plans to spend $355 million to fortify 22 border stations.

Federal money is hard to turn down, but the Vermont congressional delegation opposes the Morses Line project.

The government says the projects are needed to meet the challenges of a post-Sept. 11 world. “Our homeland security is only as strong as each individual port of entry,” says Marco Lopez, a spokesman for Customs and Border Protection. “That is why we are committed to making sure that we are able to provide the technology and the infrastructure requirements that this new threat environment demands of us.”

Officials say the existing Morses Line customs building has a leaky roof and not enough space to inspect vehicles or hold prisoners.

RTFA. This is what I would expect from most Washington bureaucrats. Enhanced by the fear and unfettered lust for power of the Bush/Cheney years, the Department of Homeland Security was destined to become a juggernaut of federal careerists.

No matter that they duplicate functions. No matter that they perform functions counter to real needs. No matter that they waste millions of taxpayers dollars in the endless cycle of budget, fund and spend because the budget exists.

Here is a political issue ripe for legitimate grassroots opposition. It’s not one of the papier-mâché devils conjured up for Tea Party rallies. It’s not an “excess” of spending aimed at the needs of the unemployed and unemployable – rejected by the Party of NO. It’s simply a discrete, useless, waste of American taxpayer dollars.

It is, however, one of the greedy excesses of Washington that needs to be decommissioned by those elected to bring real change to America.



  1. sargasso says:

    If the US Government spends money, we assume it’s shaking down American citizens for that. In fact the money and property of the state, is the private property of the government. Which derives a large part of it’s income selling services to Americans and foreign countries, not just by taxation. I’m an ex-civil servant and constantly need to remind family that the government has the same rights and privileges to private ownership as everyone else.

  2. Anon says:

    “government has the same rights and privileges to private ownership as everyone else.”

    REALLY? Does this clause look familiar to you”

    “and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;”

  3. Anon says:

    “how come the tea baggers aren’t demanding a big trillion-dollar wall on the Canadian border to keep our white brothers from the north out?”

    Guys in S.F. are concerned about the Northern border? Hundreds of thousands of Canadians are streaming across the border illegally? Really?


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