Stealing From ‘We The People’ … Again

We never get a break from the horrors of the Donnie Show anymore … rarely does a single day go by that there isn’t some new abomination to stir our ire, to cause a wtf to emit from our voicebox before we can catch it.  Today’s came before I was even out of bed, thereby jump-starting my day, though not in any good way.

There are a number of reasons that Trump was able to garner enough electoral votes to win the election in 2016:  gerrymandered districts, Russian propaganda, Hillary’s lack of popularity, and “The Wall”.  He fostered fear among the predominantly un-and-under-educated … fear of immigrants who, he said, were “bad hombres”, were rapists and drug lords, who must be stopped.  He alone, he said, could fix this, and his solution was … well, it started out being a “big, beautiful wall” along the southern border that “Mexico is going to pay for”.

Early on, like the moment he first said the words, it was clear that Mexico wasn’t going to pay for a damn wall or anything else.  Why should they?  Why would they?  So, that part of the conversation simply died, and Trump’s cheering section quickly forgot about it.  Now, 31 months into his term, the “big, beautiful wall” is to be an ugly black fence, and he is planning to steal from We the People to build said fence.  Before election day 2020.  Why?  Because it is the only thing, when all the detritus is set aside, that he proposed that rallied the masses in 2016, and as of right now, he has accomplished absolutely nothing.  It is a safe bet that the economy will be in worse, not better, shape by the time election day rolls around, so he needs something with which to appease his base.

The wall, or fence as it were, has been undisputedly proven by experts to be useless, unnecessary, and a colossal waste of taxpayer dollars.  That, in and of itself, would be bad enough, but now he is so obsessed with his damn fence that he is planning to steal from landowners, and steal money from disaster relief funds that exist to help people after such things as hurricanes, wildfires and more.

According to The Washington Post …

Trump is so eager to complete hundreds of miles of border fence ahead of the 2020 presidential election that he has directed aides to fast-track billions of dollars’ worth of construction contracts, aggressively seize private land and disregard environmental rules, according to current and former officials involved with the project.

He also has told worried subordinates that he will pardon them of any potential wrongdoing should they have to break laws to get the barriers built quickly, those officials said.

[Trump] has told senior aides that a failure to deliver on the signature promise of his 2016 campaign would be a letdown to his supporters and an embarrassing defeat.

When aides have suggested that some orders are illegal or unworkable, Trump has suggested he would pardon the officials if they would just go ahead, aides said. He has waved off worries about contracting procedures and the use of eminent domain, saying “take the land.”

The article goes on to tell of Trump’s insistence on painting the fence black, even though it will add significantly to the cost, simply because he likes the way it looks.  Billions of dollars will be spent, people will have their land stolen from them, and worse yet, irreparable damage will be done to the environment.  All so Trump can say he kept his promise … sort of … to his supporters.  It’s a fence, not a wall.  It’s being paid for by We the People, not Mexico.  It will kill flora and fauna.  And it won’t do a damn thing to resolve the issue of people crossing the border without proper authorization.

Tropical storm Dorian is brewing in the Atlantic, expected to strengthen to a Category 3 hurricane.  Puerto Rico, still struggling to recover from Hurricane Maria in 2017, is in its path, and then it is likely to head to Florida as it gains even more strength.  Will Puerto Rico once again be denied disaster assistance, this time because Trump spent all the money in the pot on his abomination of a fence … a useless fence?

It is my opinion that since this fence’s only real purpose is to give Trump bragging rights for his 2020 re-election campaign, the money for the wall should come from his campaign war chest.  Surely all his wealthy donors, all those people to whom he gave tax cuts amounting to millions of dollars, would be willing to chip in to ensure he pleases his gullible base with this ignoble wall?  Here’s what his top ten donors have given him …

  1. Robert Mercer, Renaissance Technologies – $13.5 million
  2. Sheldon Adelson and Miriam Adelson, Las Vegas Sands Corporation (LVS) – $10 million
  3. Linda McMahon, World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. (WWE) – $6 million
  4. Bernard Marcus, Retired – $7 million
  5. Geoffrey Palmer, G.H. Palmer Associates – $2 million
  6. Ronald M Cameron, Mountaire Corp. – $2 million
  7. Peter Thiel, Palantir Technologies – $1.25 million
  8. Walter Buckley Jr, Actua Corporation (ACTA) – $1 million
  9. Cherna Moskowitz, Hawaiian Gardens Casino – $1 million
  10. Peter Zieve, Electroimpact – $1 million

You want a wall fence, Donnie … pay for it with something other than our money!  Get your donors to up the ante by a few million each.  We the People have better things to do with our money, like providing health care to our citizens, repairing broken infrastructure, providing relief to Puerto Rico to re-build, providing funds to California when the inevitable wildfires hit later this fall, and finding ways to protect our planet for our children and grandchildren.  Frankly, we have more to fear from you than from immigrants crossing the border.

A Wall or a White Elephant?

Back in June 2017, the BBC did an excellent, in-depth and well-researched report about the problems associated with Trump’s proposed ‘big, beautiful wall’ that Mexico isn’t going to pay for.  It is worth visiting at this time, when Trump’s demands that his wall be funded have caused a partial shutdown of our government and have contributed to a tumbling stock market.  What is the reality about building the wall?  What is the likely cost?  What are some of the hurdles?

I want to share some of the more salient points, and you can read the entire report using the link (above). The report breaks it down into six areas:


1. The geography is pretty unfriendly

In fact, the actual border is, in many places, defined as the deepest channel of the river. Building a wall in the middle of the Rio Grande would be challenging for obvious reasons, but there are also legal issues. A treaty signed by Mexico and the US in 1889 prevents any disruption to the flow of the river, meaning any border wall would probably have to be built on its banks. This, again, presents obvious problems.

While two thirds of its length runs along rivers, the southern US border also bisects other challenging environments – desert in California and Arizona and mountains in New Mexico.

In eastern California, there are the Algodones – or Imperial Sand Dunes – the largest sand dune ecosystem in the US. There is already a section of “floating fence” here, specifically engineered to work with the shifting sands, installed by the George W Bush administration.sand dunesMeanwhile, Arizona and New Mexico are mountainous. Coronado National Forest, in southeastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico, has several 9,000-ft peaks.

A wall appears impossible here.border-1The US-Mexico border has a delicate ecosystem that could be disrupted by any new barrier. A wall would prevent animals reaching their hunting lands, water sources and migration corridors. Grey wolves and jaguars hunt on both sides of the border. Other cross-border populations of wildlife include bison, bighorn sheep, ocelots and bears.

2. The price tag will be rather huge

Mr Trump’s initial price tag of between $8bn and $12bn has been widely disputed.

The 650 miles of fencing built under President George W Bush cost an estimated $7bn, and it could not be described as fulfilling Mr Trump’s promises of a “tall, powerful, beautiful” barrier.

A number of very different estimates have been put forward by other official bodies.

wall cost

It should be noted that the costs in the Senate Democrats’ report are based on information provided by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP).

3. Actually building it is really difficult

In addition to the complex structural work, there is the surveying, land acquisition and access road-building.

Inviting companies to submit designs, the FedBizOpps.gov website stated the “cost-effective” structure must be made of reinforced concrete and:

Be “physically imposing in height”, towering at least 18ft above the border
Be impossible to breach with a ladder or grappling hooks and require at least an hour to breach with tools
Be sunk at least 6ft into the ground to prevent tunnelling
Blend in with the “surrounding environment” and be “aesthetically pleasing” from the north side
Include 25ft and 50ft gates for pedestrians and vehicles

However, the government, alongside its call for concrete wall designs, has asked for submissions for a “see-through component/capability” that “facilitates situational awareness”. This appears to suggest that the government is considering building out of materials other than concrete.

4. Trying to get hold of the land could be a nightmare

In order to build the wall, the government needs permission to use the land it stands on. However, about 66% of land along the US-Mexico border is either owned privately, by Native Americans or by individual states. In these cases, the government will need to coordinate mass voluntary sales of property or negotiate a right of way for the wall along large swaths of land.

Thousands of homeowners could be affected, including ranchers in Texas – among them Donald Trump supporters – who rely on access to the Rio Grande and pastures for their livestock. Trying to purchase this land could be a major challenge and if people refuse, the government would have to forcibly get hold of it.

Welcome to the term “eminent domain”. Eminent domain is a system used to gain ownership of private property for public use, such as for highways and railroads, usually accompanied by compensation. It has been used for the construction of border fences in the past.

Gerald S Dickinson, assistant professor of law at the University of Pittsburgh Law School, has warned that such eminent domain fights could take years.  Any federal eminent domain action on such a large scale against even a few landowners could trigger “decades of court disputes before anything is built”.

The proprietors of Tribal lands have already voiced firm opposition. The Tohono O’odham Nation owns much of such land, including a reservation that extends along 75 miles of the border in Arizona. Tribe members still live on both sides of the border, considering the territory their ancestral lands, and have indicated they will attempt to block construction if the wall goes ahead. Should that happen, Mr Trump would need a bill from Congress to acquire the land, which is currently protected under law.

5. It needs regular patrols to make it work

Homeland Security secretary, John F Kelly, has himself said that a “physical barrier will not do the job” and that you would have to back it up with patrolling human beings, sensors and observation devices.Tony-Estrada.png

“These people are coming from thousands and thousands of miles at great expense and in great danger. They have been victimised most of the way. Do you think a wall is gonna stop them? No, it’s just going to be another obstacle.” – Tony Estrada,Santa Cruz County Sheriff

6. U.S. and Mexican border towns rely on each other.  

Sealing off the border would also affect the economies of border towns and affect the wider US-Mexican economy – something many US politicians would be keen to avoid.

Communities along the US side of the border have developed close and dependant economic relationships with their sister cities in Mexico. Many Mexican towns are home to US factories employing thousands of people and Mexican shoppers spend billions of dollars in US border states every year.

The wall could also impact on the wider US-Mexico economic relationship too. Mexico is America’s second largest export market and America is Mexico’s largest.  The two countries have a “very deep” economic relationship, explains Christopher Wilson, deputy director of the Mexico Institute at the think-tank the Wilson Center, with five million US jobs depending on it. The Wilson Center’s research suggests that if trade between the US and Mexico were halted, 4.9 million Americans would be out of work.

The two economies are now so interconnected, Mr Wilson says, that they no longer just sell finished products to each other, but instead “actually build products together”.


The facts, I believe, speak for themselves and Trump’s dream of a ‘big, beautiful wall’ is more aptly a white elephant.  The scheme is reckless and irresponsible and should not have been allowed to shut down parts of the federal government, putting over 300,000 people out of work and causing another 400,000 to be forced to work without pay.  Unconscionable.  white_elephant