Nel's New Day

January 9, 2019

Crisis in the Oval Office

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 7:04 PM

Day 19 of the government shutdown: Last night the wooden Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) replaced the angry bombastic one after he conned major networks into televising his speech with no new information. These outlets are the same ones that refused President Obama’s 2014 about executive actions in November 2014 because it would be “political.” NBC also aired a rebuttal to DDT’s false claim of a “crisis” about not having a border wall from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) who emphasized the importance of operating the government.

Fact checking DDT’s speech is a waste of space because nothing he said was the truth. And nothing was new—he just followed former talking points and those of VP Mike Pence and Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders who were sent out on the media trail to reinforce his lies. No GOP members of Congress are putting themselves out front to pass on DDT’s lies. WaPo published a series of DDT’s lies with factual information refuting his entire case for a wall.

NBC published statistics in response to Sanders’ claimed that the border patrol picked up nearly 4,000 known or suspected terrorists trying to cross the Mexico border into the U.S. Her figure was inflated by almost 4,000 as shown by data that Customs and Border Protection gave to Congress for October 2017 through March 2018:

  • CBP found six immigrants at U.S.-Mexico ports of entry whose names were on a federal list of known or suspected terrorists. They may or may not have been dangerous.
  • Of the 41 people on the Terrorist Screening Database encountered at the southern border, 35 were U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents.
  • CBP stopped 91 people on the northern border with Canada who were listed in the database, including 41 who were not American citizens or residents.

People are stopped under the existing system, without a wall, and twice as many people are apprehended on a border with no proposed wall. DDT wants people to be very afraid—but just of brown people.

Even VP Mike Pence doesn’t argue that DDT is believable and honest. Before tonight’s speech, ABC News’ Jonathan Karl asked Pence how DDT can be trusted on his demands for the border wall, that this is a crisis, when he has told so many lies about the crisis. Pence answered:

“Well, look, the American people aren’t as concerned about the political debate as they are concerned about what’s really happening at the border.”

All four living presidents denied DDT’s claim that they privately agree with him on building a wall, but Pence said that DDT had received the “impression” that they wanted the wall.

Yesterday, Schumer said, “We don’t govern by temper tantrum.” Today DDT stomped out of a negotiations meeting with congressional leaders this morning when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) told him that she wouldn’t fund his wall although the House has passed bills to reopen the government. Earlier DDT had a private lunch with Republicans. [Right: DDT shakes hands with his employee Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) who refuses to address any bill that DDT doesn’t like, destroying the Senate’s independence.] Fifty-one percent of people blame DDT for the shutdown—up from 47 percent just two weeks ago.

DDT continues to say that he will declare a “national emergency” only if Congress won’t give him his wall. In essence, there is no emergency—just a strategy because time is not important. For weeks, experts have argued the legality of DDT’s threat. would be legal. Current law has no criteria for this situation, but such action would face lawsuits. the money would come from the military budget.

Funding for a national emergency would need to come from the military budget, but the military cannot enforce domestic law without congressional authorization. The statute mandates that construction must be done to support the use of armed forces. The purpose of the wall is the reverse: it’s to employ the military. DDT has also not proved that an emergency exists, and he would face opposition in seizing large areas of private, state, and tribal lands. The Constitution requirement that “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law” was reinforced by the Anti-Deficiency Act (ADA) stating that government employees may not “make or authorize an expenditure or obligation exceeding an amount available in an appropriation or fund for the expenditure or obligation.” Violation of this law results in prison time.

DDT’s idea for a wall came from two political strategists who used it to remind him to talk about immigration in his speeches. He found that his proposal of the wall made him look important with his conservative voting base. According to economist Mark Thornton, walls are a symbol of a successful standard of living like a large corner office despite their representation of isolation and contribution to a civilization’s decline. History has many failed walls:

  • The Great Wall of China, over 5,000 miles, was to block immigration and trade. Chinese scholar Arthur Waldron described the great losses, both financial and human, in building the wall and its failure to block people from crossing into China when the solution was to trade with the Mongols on the other side. WaPo‘s Ishaan Tharoor wrote that the Great Wall’s significance is best understood “not as a security barrier, but as a work of political propaganda.”
  • Hadrian’s Wall, built across northern England by fearful Romans, was to prevent invasions from barbarians but also failed.
  • The Berlin Wall led to a rapidly growing economy on one side because of progressive ideals and the fall into decline on the other side that resulted in the failure of communism. Like DDT’s highly vaunted wall proposal, the Berlin Wall came from a lie as East Germany claimed the “Anti-fascist Bulwark” protected communists from Western invaders instead of a desire to keep people from defecting to the West.

People support walls because they make them feel secure and keep them from having to solve problems. Jane Loeffler, architectural historian who studied fortifications of U.S. embassies said:

“A wall is so primitive. You can dig under it, go over it, catapult yourself over it. A wall is more symbolic than a real defense. A wall is fear in three dimensions.”

In his poem “Mending Wall,” Robert Frost first and last lines,“Good fences make good neighbors,” ironically depict how walls separate people and describe his wall-building neighbor as unthinking, “like an old-stone savage armed.”

Last Friday, the WaPo pointed out how DDT’s administration failed to understand the consequences until two weeks after its start. After 14 days, senior officials, understanding part of the shutdown’s scope, frantically started their attempt to eradicate the bad optics of making life worse for his supporters.

  • The oil industry still chugs along in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the government allowing pipelines and drilling rigs near wetlands sustaining caribou and threatened birds. BLM is holding public meetings about oil although its staff has been furloughed. EPA staff is processing new permits to drill in coastal waters because federal agencies decide what to do.
  • Farmers filing deadlines for payouts are extended, and checks from the $12 billion buyout after tariffs are still being mailed to wealthy farmers,  including members of Congress.
  • IRS tax refunds will be mailed despite this action’s questionable legality.
  • DDT is asking landlords to give up their income by not charging federal workers without paychecks. (Nothing has been said about banks delaying mortgage payments.)

Problems:

Although DDT may have trouble explaining his failure with shutdown if it’s still in effect in 21 days when he attends the economic summit in Davos (Switzerland), the government is still paying the bills for his trip. Almost two weeks before the event, hotel bills were almost $3 million with DDT’s entourage of eight cabinet members and dozens of officials and aides including his daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner. The U.S. taxpayers are still on the hook even if DDT cancels because of strict policies. Over one-half million for renting vehicles and other lodging brings the total to about $3.6 million which doesn’t include the $2.2 million for flying DDT to Davos. Last year’s lodging cost only $1.8 million.

The one bright spot for DDT is that the National Park Service still staffs the clock tower in the “old post office” housing DDT’s Washington hotel.

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