What is worse than elected officials not keeping their promises?  Elected officials pretending to keep their promises in a way that provides political cover while still doing nothing.  It is a deceptive practice that should be stopped.  Here are a couple of examples from the last month.

Auditing the Federal Reserve Bank (FRB).  Ron Paul, Representative from Texas, has been pushing for this action for many years and finally this year an audit of the FRB was included in the new Wall Street regulation bill.  The original language was quite thorough and was very heavily opposed by the White House and the FRB.

The original language for the audit was voted down 37-62.  After this defeat a much weaker version of the audit was proposed that would only look at emergency lending practices of the FRB.  The opposition of the FRB and the White House went away and the measure passed 96-0.

The Senators who voted for the second measure can now proudly proclaim that they are looking after the interests of the the people by voting to audit the FRB.  It is like claiming victory in a boxing match when the other side has thrown in the towel instead of fighting.  Now supporters of these politicians can say they voted for and supported the audit when the net effect of the audit will be to leave things exactly the way they are or else why would the FRB and White House have removed their opposition?

Protecting the Mexico-United States Border.  It is painfully clear that the border is mostly unguarded and efforts thus far to secure it have been inadequate.  Millions of people have crossed the border and live here now.  The border is almost 2,000 miles long and the border patrol agents who take their jobs seriously enough to actually use force to stop illegal border crossing get jail time.

In February, 2006 Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean stopped the attempted smuggling of 743 pounds of marijuana into the United States.  The agents they pursued the smuggler, heard gun shots, saw a weapon and fired at the fleeing suspect who jumped in a waiting vehicle that sped away.  The fleeing suspect was then contacted by agents of the United States and given full immunity to testify against the agents for using excessive force. At the trial there was evidence of juror misconduct and improper instructions to the jurors.  After serving nearly three years in prison President Bush commuted their sentences and they were free to live life as convicted felons.

It is clear that given the functional indifference to the security of the border (and the message sent to border patrol agents) there is insufficient desire in Washington to protect the border.

To show that President Obama is serious about the border, he has ordered the deployment of 1200 National Guardsmen to protect the border.  That’s 1200 soldiers to protect a nearly 2000 mile border along side our existing border patrol agents.  There is no word if the troops will be armed or what the rules of engagement might be.  The Pentagon already is making noise about not wanting to “militarize” the border with Mexico.

This looks good on paper and will score points when the President claims he has taken measures to secure the border. It is perfectly ridiculous when you consider that without the Department of the Interior opening up public lands to protective patrols, none of the existing Border Patrol agents or National Guard troops will even be able to  patrol the border they are supposed to protect.

There are numerous reports of drug cartels crossing the border with impunity because they are better armed than the Border Patrol agents.  There has been no measurable effort to remedy and change the situation.  Not arming the deployed guardsmen would be an insult and dangerous.

Yelling “Stop! or I’ll have to yell ‘Stop!’ again!” is not an effective deterrent to the drug smugglers coming across the border.

This is the triumph of style over substance.  The politicians pretend to keep their promises and get away with it.  The public does not pay attention and is tricked into believing their interests are being served.  It is a travesty and worse than doing nothing.

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