The Wall, etc.

“The Wall”: A tiny primer to help keep your sanity.  

My favorite home atlas is the Life Pictorial Atlas of the World, a major compendium, which I purchased in 1961.

Of course, “The Wall” is about all that we’ve heard talked about recently.  Here is the Life Atlas map of the U.S. Mexico border:

U. S. – Mexico border, as of 1961. Life Pictorial Atlas of the World.

Here is a link to an enlargeable pdf view of the same geographic area: U.S. – Mexico Border001

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) has published U.S. International Borders: Brief Facts.  Here is the link to the Nov. 9, 2006, update, which I presume is the most recent:  There is a great deal of information in this brief report.

1,933 miles: U.S. – Mexico border

3,987 miles: U.S.- Canada border excluding Alaska

1,538 miles: Alaska – Canada border

12,479 miles: U.S. Coastline. (Per the CRS report above referenced: “It is important to note that boundary and coastline distances can differ significantly….” detail at page 3 of report)

Personal comments at end of this post.


1. Yesterday we saw the film, “They Shall Not Grow Old”, about the British participants in World War I.  This is an absolutely outstanding film.  See the Rotten Tomatoes review here.  It is near perfect.  This film shows the face of reality of war, using archival film, and narrated by those who served and survived (there were 1 million British casualties in this awful war).  Check it out.

2.  Especially for readers interested in politics and/or North Dakota: February 11, I posted about Amy Klobuchars announcement as candidate for President in 2020.  In the postnote within this post, I referenced an excellent video about former ND Governor William Guy, and subsequent learned of other excellent NDakota based videos.  Simply read the postnote.  The links are accessible anytime.


I have my personal opinion about the premise of the U.S.-Mexico Wall: the crisis is contrived, playing on irrational fear, and not at all constructive.

There are sections of wall, built over time, for specific purposes.  This link is an excellent primer.    Much is barrier for vehicles only.

The U.S.-Canada land border is double the length of Mexico-U.S.  To my knowledge the only barriers are at the Mexican border.

My roots are in North Dakota and Minnesota.  Almost my entire life is here.  At the same time, my parents lived for ten years, full-time, in the border town of San Benito TX.  Their home was across the street from then-Berta Cabaza junior high school.  Except for their first winter, they never were “winter Texans”.  They were a short distance from the Rio Grande R (near La Paloma), and  about 20 miles from Brownsville-Matamoros (TX-Mexico).  We kept in close communication through visits, phone calls, letters.

Other than a hurricane one year; and a major bank failure in town another time, I have no recollection of reporting about any ‘unusual’ occurrences based on border issues.  Dad was a teacher, and after Mom’s death, he taught English as a Second Language at the Junior High.

No doubt there were issues on occasion, as there are issues on occasion in every single American community.

Best to do what you can to be well informed.


from Larry: Thanks, Dick…I see that Lindsay Graham and the Trump staffer Stephen Miller are out defending the national emergency decision. This is downright crazy and unconstitutional. There is NO emergency. I just hope they don’t take funds needed for the Red River Diversion project (flood control). Those Canadian and Mexican border lengths are interesting. Here’s that Hill story on the support for the President’s position.  Makes me sick to look at the news each morning. Trump needs to go. Keep up the good work on your blog.

from Carol: That link to the CNN article/pics of the border is wonderful, thanks!  I will share.  (I think Trump must be envious of that golf course…)

from Sharon: Thank you, Dick. This was very informative !!

from Duane: Thanks, Dick….. It supports the idea of common sense…. Unknown to those in politics, and many other areas of power vs people….

from a long-time Friend:  Dick, thanks for the map — most helpful to have some semblance of comprehension.  In the 60’s we had a more calm, kind world.   The drugs were not what they are today.  The crime of today is horrific, the crime of yesteryears was not as extensive.

More power to you for whomever you support; I will NOT support Amy K for Pres & will do what I can to keep her from being elected ( I would like her to be treated as she has treated Trump).   I believe Amy would fold under the same lies & lack of support that Trump has endured.

Response from Dick:  Like my friend, who is about my age, I was in my 20s in the 1960s.  I don’t subscribe to the “calm, kind world” characterization of that time in history, given Vietnam, the “cold war”, etc.  Today we have instant communication through a multitude of media, not always factual in any sense of the word.  Back then, in my recollection, we had a few television channels, radio, newspapers and magazines, telephone…and not much else.  Breaking news, including the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963, was primitive compared to today.  Later Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy were assassinated, etc., etc., etc.  The 1960s, and surrounding years, were not “the good old days”, but they are often held up as idyllic times to criticize the present.

As for comparing Amy Klobuchar and Donald Trump, I am truly mystified.

from Norm:  As you and so many others have said, Dick, there is no crisis to justify the calling a national emergency to justify taking funds form other parts of the budget to build the wall.

Trump’s only reason for building the wall is so that he can tell his base that unlike many candidates for public office who say all sorts of unrealistic things during a campaign, he will claim (often) that he kept his campaign pledge to build the wall to keep “those people” out of the US.
From all reports the wall as envisioned by Donnie will be just as effective as was the Maginot line for the French following WWI.
Graham and others will go along with him on this exercise of presidential authority whether they see a need for it or not because of their fear that if they do not support Donnie, they will find themselves challenged by avid Trump ideologues in their next primary election.
The multi-joweled, McConnell, has essentially been emasculated by that threat having almost been beaten in the primary by such an individual the last time he ran for re-election.
With very few exceptions, we cannot expect the Republicans in the Senate to do anything other than to publicly support Donnie on this one.
from Jerry: Thanks, Dick,  I agree with you about the border issue.

from Carol: (in response to Dave’s, below)  I just read the comment at the end of your post “The Wall” accusing you of having “angry feelings” and telling you to calm down.  So I went back and read the (short) article, and saw nothing angry about it (nor have I ever known you to be/sound angry).  Maybe this person is talking about a different post? or has his bloggers mixed up?

I, on the other hand, am becoming angrier by the day.  We have a “president” with apparently nothing to do but create constant chaos.  Surveys show that overwhelmingly the American people do NOT want this wall.  When the Republicans had a majority in both houses of Congress for two years, they didn’t seem to want it very badly, either.  But now that Trump has figured out the House is not just going to roll over and play dead for him (like the Senate) – and that his “base” (or Ann Coulter) is unhappy with him – NOW he shuts down government for over a month, hurting so many individuals and the entire economy as a result.  We are very fortunate that there was not a terrorist attack while the Coast Guard, TSA, Border Patrol and FBI were understaffed/not being paid.  But we still can’t know who, or what, may have sneaked in during that time.  Then he appoints a bipartisan committee to work things out, but when they don’t vote to give him his way, he decides to declare a National Emergency when there is none, and grab money from wherever he can – inc. the military budget.
And didn’t he promise us that Mexico was going to pay for this?  We surely should be VERY angry.
In response to:  “Not to mention those who have died from illegal drugs from across the border.
We are told that basically the only illegal drug which comes across the unfenced border areas is marijuana, and that the “hard stuff” arrives via legal checkpoints, tunnels, boats and small planes.  And much of it is coming from China (some even enters at our Canadian border).  Of course, our own doctors and pharmaceutical companies are now on the hook for pushing prescription opioids onto patients for years.  Whatever impact a Big, Beautiful Wall might have, it would have zero impact in stopping drug deaths. 
If we’re ever going to have reasonable dialogue, we need to start with some facts.

from Dave:  Note from Dick: Dave’s e-mail was received Feb. 17, 2019, but began in reply to an e-mail I had sent Nov. 2, 2018, referring to this Oct. 30, 2018 blog post written a week before the 2018 election.

Just returned from the south and received your email on the “wall.”  It appears someone living in Texas reported they had no border issues.  I guess you submit that as proof there is no “border issue.”  I submit this: “Mark Morgan, a career FBI official who served as Border Patrol chief for the last six months of the Obama administration before being removed once President Donald Trump took office, has come out this week in support of a border wall.”
Several weeks if not months ago I drafted the below message after receiving your post(s) about the change in the Republican Party and how great Jimmy Carter was and Walter Mondale may have been had he been elected.  I decided not to send it but your email about the wall and the illegal aliens changed my mind.  It is intended to show the other side of folks who may not see things as they should.
Dick,  by this you must include your party.  Certainly the Democratic Party of today is not the party of Harry Truman or even JFK.  Your posts indicate how great Jimmy Carter was and how great Walter Mondale would have been had he been elected.  Since the time of Calvin Coolidge, Carter was one of three Democrats that failed to carry the liberal state of Massachusetts. He failed as the incumbent in 1980.  Not even Massachusetts felt he was a “great” president during his only term in office.  Mondale was one of the others and he only carried his own state of Minnesota in 1984.  Evidently the 49 other states failed to see his potential “greatness.”
Thomas Bailey tries to measure presidential greatness in his  book appropriately named “Presidential Greatness.”   A third of the book is dedicated to the question; “How do you measure presidential greatness?”  Do you depend on the voters to determine presidential greatness?  As an example, one poor soul said it was George Washington because he never told a lie.”  Too funny and/or too sad.  Probably not as ridiculous as thinking Carter was the greatest president.
No, I will not read your blog as it appears you are so angry you do not have an objective cell in your body.  My guess is you have always been a Democrat (not necessarily the liberal of today) but have not been able to open your eyes and see the liberal/socialistic party of today. Suggest you calm down and reverse your anger if you care to convince others of your beliefs.  Instead state facts to support your angry feelings.  I have voted for and against three different Presidents.  I suspect you have never crossed the aisle. 
By the way, the other Democratic candidate for the presidency that failed to carry Massachusetts was Adlai Stevenson in  1952 and 1956 to Dwight David Eisenhower.  My Dad and Mom voted for Stevenson both times because the Democrats were for the poor people.  To the end of their lives they always voted for the Democrats for the same reason, they were for the poor people  That check never came.  They worked hard.  In addition to their regular work, they scrubbed floors at the local golf club to pay the bills.  They frowned on welfare and to proud to seek it.  Yes, they were conservatives but didn’t realize it.
Instead of polarizing us more, isn’t there some common ground we can work together to achieve something positive?  Is there a possibility that we could agree on “term limits?”  I would walk shoulder to shoulder with you or anyone who would like to march for term limits.  If so, let’s start with something near the bottom.  How about truth in labeling?  Would you like to know what is in a bottle of wine? Is that Cabernet Sauvignon really 75% of that varietal grape?   How about what country a food product is made not just the distributor?  Don’t you believe the consumer deserves that?  I hope so.
A conservative independent.  I owe my vote to no one.
PS Please remember Kate Steinle in your blog….and the numerous others who have died at the hands of illegal aliens.  Not to mention those who have died from illegal drugs from across the border.
2 replies
  1. Florence Hedeen
    Florence Hedeen says:

    Putting things into perspective is always enlightening! Lesson to learn: sometimes one can be wrong. The challenge is to admit it and apologize, a gift the Republican President appears to lack.

  2. Dave Thofern
    Dave Thofern says:

    It must be a tough time being a Republican these days. One would think that many of them would be so embarrassed by the lies and chaos coming from President Trump that they’d be distancing themselves from him. But that seems to be a recipe for the dreaded “primary challenge.” You’d like to see a dose of courage and integrity from that side of the aisle.

    Maybe this presents an opportunity for Democrats to reengage with Obama voters who defected to Trump last time around. We’ll see. Personally, I thought that Trump was a gift to Democrats and Clinton in 2016. There’s a large swath of voters out there for whom the Trump “message” resonated. They can’t all be bigots and knuckle-dragging rednecks. Hopefully the Democrats can craft a message that goes beyond “Trump sucks” and “soak the rich.”


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