April 4, 2018

Fox News' Shep Smith wants to know what most thinking people want to know: What will the National Guard actually do once they're deployed to the U.S./Mexican border? (Perhaps as early as tonight, no less.)

SMITH: I would have a follow up question on that if I were in that position. What will the National Guard do there? When President Obama sent the National Guard to the border, they were there to advise and for surveillance. Under the laws unless permitted by Congress, the National Guard cannot detain, cannot check documents, cannot arrest, cannot do really anything along those lines. What they would be able to do is if they see someone whom they suspect to be an undocumented person coming across the border, they could call the Border Patrol. Beyond that, couldn't check documents, couldn't detail.

John Roberts, the news is that the president is going to sign a proclamation to send the national guard to the border. The question is what in the world are they going to do there?

Smith correctly points out that the only thing the National Guard can do if they actually see a person illegally crossing the border is — wait for it — the same thing *I* can do if I see someone illegally crossing the border. Alert the U.S. Border Patrol. They can provide advice and surveillance, possibly freeing up Border Patrol to do other things, but what is this move truly accomplishing?

According to John Roberts, it is increasing the perception of militarization on both sides of the border, pissing off Mexico AND the Republicans in Congress in one fell swoop. Well done, Donny! Jennifer Griffin notes that when Obama sent 1,200 troops to the border for a year, it cost $125 million. Republicans on the Armed Services Committee are not happy about having to figure out how they will pay for this deployment.

Of course, the things from which Trump derives the MOST glee figures prominently in the equation here, too: terrorizing brown people, and firing up his base. Ann Coulter pretends to be pissed at Trump, but how can she be when he always gives her the opportunity to tweet things like this?

We know, deep down in her hollow heart, she loved typing that first line, don't we?

We also know, though, the other thing this move accomplishes. Besides appealing to his base, besides scaring People of Color, besides getting himself off on moving soldiers around, it is more than anything, sleight of hand. I mean, how can we be talking about the three people who have him over a barrel- Putin, Mueller, and Stormy Daniels- if we're focused on the National Guard?

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