Tag Archives: build the wall

Idiocy takes new turn: pay for wall with military money

Donald J. Trump’s penchant for idiotic policy pronouncements is utterly boundless.

It’s bad enough that the president wants to build a “big, beautiful wall” along our southern border. The notion of building a wall is as un-American an idea as any Trump has pitched.

Now comes this apparent trial balloon. He is talking openly about paying for the wall using funds dedicated for the Department of Defense. Sure thing, Mr. President. Let’s take money away from equipping our troops to pay for a wall that won’t do a damn thing to stem what Trump says is a “flood” of illegal immigrants bringing drugs, murder and mayhem into the United States.

Oh, and there’s that other thing hanging over the discussion: the president’s pledge to “make Mexico pay” for the wall. That, um, hasn’t gone according to plan. The Mexican government has dug in deeply. It won’t pay for the wall, says Mexico’s president, Enrique Pena Nieto. He and Trump remain miles apart on that particular issue.

The idea that the wall somehow is a matter of “national security,” which in Trump’s mind would justify taking funneling money from the Pentagon to building that wall only confirms what many of us have thought all along.

The commander in chief has so little regard for the military that he would rob it of resources to shore up a promise he made for purely political gain.

And to think the president keeps yammering about his “love” of the men and women who defend our nation.

Idiotic.

Stand tall, Judge Curiel

This is awesome news!

A U.S. district judge who Donald J. Trump dissed as “a Mexican” has been given the authority to preside over a case involving the wall that the president wants to build across our nation’s southern border.

I cannot think of anything cooler than this — politically speaking, that is.

Judge Gonzalo Curiel will decide the merits of a case that questions whether the federal government can circumvent environmental laws to build the wall.

The Trump administration says it can; plaintiffs have filed suit saying that the administration would violate the law.

The irony of this just drips with richness. Trump disparaged the Indiana-born Judge Curiel during the 2016 presidential campaign, calling him “a Mexican,” alleging that he couldn’t judge another case involving Trump University fairly and impartially. Curiel is of Mexican heritage. However, he is as American as Trump, or me, or you, or anyone whose ancestors came to this country from somewhere else. I believe that constitutes the vast majority of U.S. citizens.

According to The Huffington Post: 

The case consolidates three lawsuits filed last year by the state of California, environmental groups and Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.). The suits challenge the waivers granted by Congress in 1996 and 2005 allowing the federal government to bypass certain federal and state laws, including environmental regulations, for border security reasons.

The suits claim the waivers are outdated and should not apply to Trump’s border wall plan. California said the construction of the wall could do “irreparable harm” to the state’s wildlife. Legal experts say the groups that have brought the lawsuits will bear a significant legal burden to prove their case.

Curiel gets to decide who’s right. Isn’t that just outstanding?

I cannot to hear the blowback if Curiel rules against the administration. Nor can I await the reaction if the judge rules in the president’s favor.

As one who believes that judicial matters should be decided according to what the law allows — and if they follow the U.S. Constitution — I will have faith that Judge Curiel will interpret the law fairly.

Also, as one who doesn’t favor construction of the wall, I will accept whatever decision the judge delivers, even if it disagrees with personal political beliefs.

I would hope the president could do the same thing if the ruling goes against him.

He won’t.

‘Compromise’ isn’t a four-letter word

What do you know about this?

The president of the United States has tossed a compromise proposal on the table that has angered folks on the left and the right.

It involves a path to citizenship for so-called “Dreamers,” while also seeking $25 billion to fund increased border security, including construction of a wall along our southern border.

The lefties dislike the wall money; the righties dislike the citizenship idea.

I’ll accept this pitch as a legitimate starting point.

Donald Trump threw it out there as a way to seek a resolution to the nagging immigration problem that shut the federal government down for three days this past weekend.

Politico reports: The framework also eliminates the visa lottery and curbs U.S. migration by extended families, a fundamental change to existing immigration policy. New citizens would be able to sponsor their immediate families — spouses and children — to legally enter the country, but other relatives would be excluded. The administration would continue to allow people who have already applied for entry to be processed under the old system.

The key issue, as I see it, is the disposition of those illegal immigrants who were brought here as children. Barack Obama issued an executive order that set up the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program. It granted a reprieve from the threat of deportation for those who came here because their parents brought them here illegally. DACA recipients know life only in the United States. They are U.S. residents and have become de facto Americans.

Trump reversed that order and then gave Congress a deadline to come up with a legislative solution.

There’s plenty in this latest proposal to anger those on both sides. I wish we could dispense with this wall-funding notion. While I approve of the president’s desire to boost border security, a wall is the wrong solution.

DACA recipients deserve to be treated with a healthy measure of compassion. They do not deserve to be rounded up and shipped back to their country of origin, which they do not know.

I agree with what Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said: “I welcome when he says the right thing. But I know the next day he might be 180 degrees different.”

At least we have a starting point.

Hey, what about Mexico paying for it?

Donald Trump keeps yapping about that wall.

The government shut down for three days over immigration and budget disputes. Then it reopened, with the threat of another shutdown looming in just a couple of weeks.

We’re still trying to hammer out a deal on immigration. But the president wants $20 billion of U.S. taxpayer money to start building the wall along our southern border. Is it an actual wall or a figurative wall?

My question — as always — is simply this: What about that campaign boast that Trump was going to make Mexico pay for the wall?

He blamed Mexico for “sending rapists, drug dealers, criminals” across the border. “I’m sure some are good people, too,” he added, as if to soften the harshness of his tone.

Mexico’s government, of course, said it won’t pay a nickel for the wall. I don’t blame them for digging in on that one. No head of state should dictate to another government how to spend its money.

The wall is a nutty, un-American and patently ridiculous notion. I don’t object to increased border security and better enforcement of existing immigration laws.

The president expended a lot of bluster and bellicosity while campaigning for the office he won by declaring Mexico would foot the bill for a “big, beautiful wall.” It wasn’t supposed to cost Americans anything.

What gives, Mr. President?

Turn off the TV, Mr. President

Donald J. Trump told us he wouldn’t tweet once became president of the United States.

“I’ll be too busy” making America great again, building a wall, defeating ISIS and bringing back jobs that had been shipped to “China and Mexico,” the president said.

The president has gone Twitter crazy. He can’t stop tweeting policy decisions, criticism of foes, friends and the media.

He also told us he wouldn’t have time to play golf, that he doesn’t even think he’ll take vacations once he took the presidential oath. How’s he done there?

Trump is set to play more golf in his first year than his predecessor, Barack H. Obama, did during his eight years as president.

He’s now zero for two.

OK, now he says he doesn’t watch much television. No time for that, either. The president says he reads “a lot of documents.” Is he telling the truth on this one? The New York Times reports that Trump watches more than four hours of TV daily; it might be as much as eight hours.

He watches CNN, Fox, a little MSNBC, perhaps a broadcast network news show or two, according to the Times. Then he tweets almost immediately after hearing the news, whether it’s “fake” or whether it comes from Fox — his favorite news network.

So, by my score, the president is zero for three on these promises and declarations.

Oh, but what the heck. He “tells it like it is.”

DACA pact? Deal … or no deal?

Donald J. Trump had a couple of dinner guests at the White House tonight.

They were Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, the Senate and House Democratic leaders, respectively. “Chuck and Nancy” emerged from the dinner meeting and announced a “deal” they struck with the president that would produce a permanent agreement to keep “Dreamers” in the United States.

I refer to the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals act that Trump supposedly rescinded the other day. He gave Congress six months to work out a legislative fix to DACA, which seeks to protect those who were brought to the United States illegally as children.

It seems that the DACA matter has been put on a fast track. Oh, and get this: They report that Trump has agreed to forgo building the wall.

Not so fast, says White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, who tweeted out something about minutes after Chuck and Nancy announced the deal that the president didn’t agree to scrap the wall idea.

Who do you believe? Two seasoned politicians who know their way around the Capitol Hill pea patch or a president who is not wired to tell the truth?

Trump, by the way, hasn’t yet weighed in with his own tweet about what he agreed on with Chuck and Nancy.

I believe the two leading congressional Democrats have just scored another win over the “best deal maker” the world has ever seen.

Promises made often are promises broken

“I’ll build a big, beautiful wall … and Mexico is going to pay for it!”

I’m sure you remember when Donald John Trump Sr. made that proclamation. If you missed it the first, or even the second or third times, well, he kept saying all along the trail he followed right into the White House.

Mexico will foot the bill for a wall that the president of the United States wants to build. Check. Got it. Done deal.

Except that Mexico will do no such thing. Just ask them. Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto has made as clear as he possibly can make it: In no way, in no fashion, is Mexico going to spend a single peso to pay for the wall.

What does Trump do now? Why, he turns to us — to you and me. We’re going to pay for it, he declares with a bravado equal to what he displayed while making that foolish campaign-trail pledge.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders keeps muttering that tiresome — and mostly false — contention that Trump “got elected” on the promise to build the wall. Wrong, young lady! He got elected by declaring that Mexico was going to pay for it.

The wall now is being used as a piece of political bait. The president is threatening to shut down the government if Congress refuses his demand for money — coming from our pockets, remember — to erect that 2,000-mile wall. Congressional leaders, though, have been burned before by attempts to shut down the government. They’ve done so in the past and have paid a price politically for it.

Trump has no direct knowledge of the political pain that comes with making stupid promises that he cannot keep.

I am all for increased border security. If we’re going to do more to deter illegal immigrants, then invest in better surveillance monitoring techniques; hire more Border Patrol officers and put them on duty along our southern frontier. I get that those who enter the country illegally are, by definition, lawbreakers.

Here’s another notion: How about enacting some comprehensive immigration reform legislation that makes it easier for those who want to come here in search of opportunity to do so legally?

But to build a wall? And then force a neighboring sovereign state to pony up the cash to pay for it? That was never in play. To now force U.S. taxpayers to carry that burden has become just another broken campaign promise.

Trump engages in another game of chicken

The president of the United States seems to have an addiction to the game of chicken.

He keeps throwing down challenges to those in the legislative branch of government to do his bidding … or else!

The latest or else is a big one.

Donald Trump wants Congress to provide money to build a wall along our southern border, or else he’s going to force a shutdown of the federal government. That’s right, the president of the United States is holding the entire federal government hostage to a political promise he made to voters en route to his being elected to the nation’s highest office.

This is a grotesque form of political extortion.

For starters, the president doesn’t possess unilateral authority to shut down the government. Congress plays a huge role here by appropriating money for public projects. If Congress chooses to increase the debt ceiling, for example, without setting aside wall construction money, the president can veto it — but then he risks being overridden by Congress.

The way I see it, members of Congress — particularly the Republican leaders who run the place — don’t like being dictated to by the president. They understand that Trump does not, which is that they share in the responsibility of governing the United States of America. They know what Trump doesn’t know, or refuses to know, or simply is too damn ignorant to figure it out.

I’ve long opposed construction of a “big, beautiful wall” along our border. It won’t prevent illegal immigration; there are myriad eminent domain issues to resolve; a wall won’t prevent illegal immigrants from tunneling beneath it.

And I need to point out, too, that a key part of Trump’s campaign promise to build the wall contained this provision: Mexico is going to pay for it! Mexican government officials say categorically, in plain English and Spanish, that they will not pay a nickel for the wall.

Now the president is going to foist the cost of this monstrosity on U.S. taxpayers, the very people he said he wouldn’t have to bear this burden? And if the wall isn’t included in congressional action, that he’s going to shut down the government and, thus, deny citizens access to services they might need?

I’m not issuing a medical diagnosis here … but the president is a loon.

Shut down the government … over a wall?

So much grist poured out of the president’s relentless and reckless rant in Phoenix …

Let’s take a nibble at this tidbit: Donald John Trump Sr. says he’s willing to shut down the federal government if Congress doesn’t approve money to pay for the wall to be built along our nation’s border with Mexico.

Yep, the guy who said this past summer that “I, alone” can solve the nation’s problems now is blackmailing congressional Democrats to provide money to build the wall. If they don’t, he said, the government shutdown is on their hands.

But wait!

Trump has vowed that Mexico is going to pay for the wall. Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto says “no … we won’t!” Trump reportedly has zero relationship with the Senate’s top Republican, Mitch McConnell, who has declared there is “zero chance” the government is going to shut down; “We are not going to default,” said McConnell.

The president is insulting congressional Republicans as frequently as he insults Democrats. He is destroying — one insult at a time — any chance of getting anything done once Congress returns from its summer recess.

So now the guy who wants to “unify” the country, who declares it is time to “heal our divisions” is now threatening to shut down the federal government if Congress doesn’t do something he has promised never would happen.

I believe former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper — a serious and sober man — has it right. Donald Trump is unfit for the job to which he was elected.

Texas landowners may block wall construction

This is funny … almost.

I’m not laughing. However, the irony is too rich to ignore. As the New York Times is reporting, those closest to the nation’s southern border seem to be mounting the sternest challenge to efforts to build that big ol’ wall between the United States and Mexico.

They’re supposed to be terrified of the “flood of illegal immigrants,” right? Not exactly.

Texas appears to be at ground zero of the battle between private landowners and the federal government that seeks to build that wall.

Texas’s vast expanse of real estate is almost exclusively in private hands. Citizens own the land and they are none too willing to surrender it, no matter what the Department of Homeland Security might have to say.

Lawsuits have been filed

According to the Times, landowners have filed dozens of lawsuits against the government that wants to condemn their land to make way for the wall. Some property owners are hoping to tie this matter up so tightly that they’ll outlast the Donald J. Trump administration.

Texans have proven over many years to be not bashful at all about fighting tooth and nail to protect their land from government seizure. That well could be the fight that the president faces as he maneuvers efforts to construct the wall that he and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly say can be finished in 24 months.

Texas and Mexico share 1,254 miles of border. Most of the land on the Texas side of the Rio Grande River is privately held. The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution requires the government to pay “just compensation” for property it takes from citizens.

And, yes, there happens to be a lot of land west of El Paso — through New Mexico, Arizona and California — that the feds will have to take from private ownership. It won’t come cheaply.

I understand completely that the Rio Grande Valley region needs careful attention from border security officials. According to the Times: “The Rio Grande Valley is among the busiest smuggling routes on the Mexican border. Last year, Border Patrol agents seized 326,393 pounds of marijuana, second only to the agency’s Tucson sector. It also seized about 1,460 pounds of cocaine, the most of any sector. Nearly 187,000 illegal border crossers were apprehended here in 2016, the most of any Border Patrol sector.”

I see the need for greater security.

But seizing the land and building a wall? This fight is just beginning.

Oh, we can forget about Mexico paying for the wall — if it ever gets built!