The Buck Stops With Everybody

Ken AshfordGubmint Shutdown, Immigration and Xenophobia, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment


Government is shut down. Nobody is budging. At a meeting yesterday with Pelosi and Schumer, Trump asked if they would fund his wall. He specifically said “wall” and NOT “border security” (he lied in a later tweet about this). Pelosi said no, and Trump said (verbatim) “Bye bye” and left.

At present, he seems to have rallied the Republicans behind him. They seem to feel that to go against Trump will mean the end of the Republican party (Senator Graham said that specifically). I predict history will show that sticking with Trump will foretell the end of the Republican Party.

So here we are. Trump flew down today to the US-Mexico border.

Here’s something that is pretty awkward. According to NBC News, Department of Homeland Security tests of all eight prototype border walls currently constructed at the “Pogo Row” site in Otay Mesa, CA, revealed that all of them were vulnerable to breaching — but that in particular, the “steel bollard” design Trump is now touting as his choice can be sliced through with a saw:

Also, as Trump goes on and on about the necessity for a wall, here are some facts that he doesn’t want you to know:

The design of Trump’s border wall could still change — and already has fluctuated with the political winds. During the 2016 campaign, Trump talked of a solid concrete border wall. Then it was steel slats. Sometimes he called it a wall, other times it is a fence. He has described it stretching for 2,000 miles and 1,000 miles and even just 700 miles…

If Trump’s border wall gets funding, construction would not begin for at least six months — and likely longer, Zarenski said.

Land along the border still needs to be acquired.

Soil and environmental studies need to be done…

Even if these huge crews broke ground today, they would finish just 86 miles of border wall by year’s end. By Election Day 2020, 161 miles of border wall would be done. It would take 11 years to reach 1,000 miles. And that is assuming 10,000 workers going all at once, five days a week.

Given the fact that people who currently own the land that will need to be acquired are gearing up for a protracted legal battle, we could add years to that estimate. For some of us “oldies,” that means that a 1,000 mile wall might not be completed in our lifetime because it could be 2030 before it’s finished. Meanwhile, the so-called “crisis” Trump is trying to sell will continue.


More lies:

There is an interesting media phenonmenon going on. I see this Atlantic article that, like most articles, seems to suggest that Republicans are squirming:

As President Donald Trump descends on the border Thursday to further make his case for a wall, back home in Washington congressional Republicans—the ones whose resolve he needs if he’s going to continue his shutdown campaign—are growing more anxious. While the images Trump broadcasts to the nation may bolster his case to his base, these Republicans are left to talk and share doubts among themselves.

A handful of Republican senators have so far signaled their willingness to reopen parts of the government without funding for a border wall now that the partial government shutdown is tied for the second longest in the country’s history, with no end in sight. Those Republicans include Senators Cory Gardner of Colorado, Susan Collins of Maine, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who told reporters on Tuesday that Congress “can focus on [Trump’s] very legitimate concerns about border security … through the Homeland Security appropriations bill” and “in the meantime, let’s allow for these other departments to do the work.”

The GOP response to all of this is crucial to ending the impasse. With enough members, Senate Republicans could potentially persuade Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell—and indirectly, the president—to take up legislation reopening parts of the government without the inclusion of border-wall funding. Perhaps more likely, worried Republicans could try to pressure Trump to find another way out of the mess—maybe by declaring a state of emergency in order to unlock funding for the border wall, a move that would almost certainly be met with legal challenges from Democrats. Republicans shifting on the issue may also reflect what they’re hearing from their constituents, indicating to Trump that there’s a potential voter rebellion on its way.

But then there is this outlier article from yesterday:

Freshman House Democrats are ready to shut down the shutdown.
The new class of 60-plus members has been in Congress for less than week only to see the partial government shutdown consume the Capitol and grind nearly everything to a halt — including action on their campaign promises to overhaul Washington and deliver for voters back home.

Now, as the shutdown drags into Day 19, the frustration is starting to reach a tipping point for some who fear the prolonged stalemate could do real political damage in vulnerable Democratic districts.


Democrats remain united behind their leadership’s shutdown strategy of refusing to negotiate with Trump on his border wall demand and pressuring Senate Republicans to take up House-passed bills to open up the government. But the first fissures are starting to show.

The freshmen arranged an impromptu 90-minute meeting over the weekend at a retreat in Virginia because several new members were “freaking out” about the ongoing shutdown and the party’s strategy, according to a Democratic source who requested anonymity to speak candidly.

I suspect the pressure is more on Republicans at this point.