Categories
politics

The Amazing Fall Of Donald Trump’s Wall

Walls Are Mirrors Multiplied

 The National Memo:

[The Dotard] trumpets that he is the most bodacious barrier builder of all, yet he can’t seem to get his one “big, beautiful wall” funded or even taken seriously, much less built. Throughout his presidency, Donald Trump has continuously stamped his tiny feet and demanded that Congress shell out more than 10 billion of our taxpayers’ dollars to erect a monster of a wall across some 2,000 miles of the U.S. border with Mexico. Like a flimflamming snake-oil peddler, he rants that his magnificent edifice would magically keep “aliens,” “rapists,” “murderers,” “terrorists,” “drugs” and “cartels” from entering the U.S. from the south. But even when his own party controlled both houses of Congress, the presidency and the courts, his grand scheme went unloved, unfunded and unbuilt.

Still, he kept insisting … and persisting. In January, he directed his Customs and Border Control officials to put up a short section of his 30-foot-tall wall on the border at Calexico, California, to show the world how effective the Trump bulwark would be. Alas, though, the thing blew over! Not from a hurricane-force storm but from moderate winds topping out at only 37 miles an hour. The metal panels flung over into Mexico. Embarrassing.

A month later, a climbing group in Kentucky built a replica of that wall and held an up-and-over competition. Winning time was 13.1 seconds! Sixty-five competitors easily topped it, including an 8-year-old girl and a guy who climbed it one-handed while juggling various items with his other hand.

(click here to continue reading The Amazing Fall Of Donald Trump’s Wall – The National Memo.)

Would be amusing if it wasn’t so sad. What else could Wall money be spent on? Nearly anything would be more useful…

Plus this:

El Paso Times reports:

 

Smugglers in Juárez have engineered camouflage hook-and-ladders made of rebar that blend in so well with the border wall that it can be hard to detect, according to U.S. Border Patrol. The ladders are the same rust brown color as the mesh panels or steel beams of the fence.

 

El Paso’s urban stretch of border is littered with the rusted rebar ladders at the base on both sides — ladders lying in wait on the Mexican side, ladders pulled down by border agents or abandoned by smugglers on the U.S. side. One of the rebar ladders was poking out of a dumpster in a lot near the Chihuahuita neighborhood on Thursday.

The ladders appear to be made with two poles of 3/8-inch rebar and four thinner poles, outfitted with steps and bent over at the end in a U, to hook on the top of the wall. It’s the sort of cubed rebar support structure used in construction in Mexico, called castillo. 

Six meters of castillo costs 99 pesos, or about $5.30, at the Hágalo — or Do It Yourself — True Value hardware store in Juárez. There is no indication that smugglers are shopping at that store in particular.

Romero said the rebar ladders started turning up in large numbers in the El Paso sector last year in May, around the time that construction of the most recent replacement wallfinished downtown. They’ve been a go-to method for scaling the fence in the urban footprint since.

 

 

(click here to continue reading Smugglers in Mexico use camouflage ladder to cross border wall.)

Categories
politics

Trump Administration Gives Itself Participation Trophy For 100 Miles Of Border Wall

No Rush No Rush

The Hill reports:

The Trump administration earlier this month installed a plaque on a new barrier along the southern border commemorating the construction of 100 miles of President Trump’s long-sought border wall.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf traveled to Yuma, Ariz., on Jan. 10 to announce that the administration had finished building 100 miles of new barriers, calling the feat a “milestone” that deserved “celebration.”

(click here to continue reading Trump administration installs plaque marking finish of 100 miles of border wall | TheHill.)

Emolument Man

The Mexican American border is 1,954 miles (3,145 kilometers ) long, and per Trump’s repeated promises, Mexico is going to pay for a wall separating the two countries. 

Trump is awarding himself a participation trophy for completing 100 miles (160 km), or 5% of the total after being president for 3 years, and US taxpayers are footing the bill.

So much winning!

Michelle Obama on Milwaukee Avenue

Categories
politics

Trump’s Nafta Plan Could Be Upended by Democrats’ House Takeover

The Trade Union Vow 

The New York Times reports:

Democrats, emboldened by their midterm win and eager to outshine Mr. Trump as defenders of the American worker, are unlikely to sign off on any deal that does not include significant changes that labor leaders and newly elected progressives are demanding. That could involve reopening negotiations with Mexico, although American and Mexican negotiators have both publicly ruled out that possibility.

“Trump made it seem like this was a done deal, but there is a long, long way to go,” said Representative Bill Pascrell, a New Jersey Democrat who is likely to be named chairman of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade.

The House will consider the agreement first under the Constitution’s provision mandating that revenue bills originate in the lower chamber. A vote could take up to nine months or longer, according to senior administration officials.

(click here to continue reading Trump’s Nafta Plan Could Be Upended by Democrats’ House Takeover – The New York Times.)

Bears paying attention to – can Trump ram this through in a lame duck Congress? Or will he be able to manipulate Democrats somehow?

Categories
politics

Foreign Nationals Manipulate Kushner With Ease

The Sound Was Sweet And Clear
The Sound Was Sweet And Clear

If there was ever a candidate who should have his citizenship stripped, and should be sent to Gitmo, or Yemen, it’s Jared Kushner. Well, maybe he wouldn’t be alone, and would be joined by his wife, his brothers-in-law, and a few others in the Trump circle…

Officials in at least four countries have privately discussed ways they can manipulate Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, by taking advantage of his complex business arrangements, financial difficulties and lack of foreign policy experience, according to current and former U.S. officials familiar with intelligence reports on the matter.

Among those nations discussing ways to influence Kushner to their advantage were the United Arab Emirates, China, Israel and Mexico, the current and former officials said.

It is unclear if any of those countries acted on the discussions, but Kushner’s contacts with certain foreign government officials have raised concerns inside the White House and are a reason he has been unable to obtain a permanent security clearance, the officials said.

Kushner’s interim security clearance was downgraded last week from the top-secret to the secret level, which should restrict the regular access he has had to highly classified information, according to administration officials.

H.R. McMaster, President Trump’s national security adviser, learned that Kushner had contacts with foreign officials that he did not coordinate through the National Security Council or officially report. The issue of foreign officials talking about their meetings with Kushner and their perceptions of his vulnerabilities was a subject raised in McMaster’s daily intelligence briefings, according to the current and former officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters.

Within the White House, Kushner’s lack of government experience and his business debt were seen from the beginning of his tenure as potential points of leverage that foreign governments could use to influence him, the current and former officials said.

(click here to continue reading Kushner’s overseas contacts raise concerns as foreign officials seek leverage – The Washington Post.)

Emails
emails

You know, Hillary’s emails…

Kushner has been Trump’s designated reader of the highly classified Presidential Daily Briefing for over a year now, without appropriate security clearance. Isn’t that disturbing to you? It is to me. These foreign nations who laughingly considered Kushner easy to manipulate were very interested in information discussed in the PDB. How do we know Kushner wasn’t trafficking it to the highest bidders?

If Kushner can read the PDB, why can’t I? I bet I’d pass an FBI security investigation within 2 months, if not sooner. Sure I was born in Toronto to Vietnam War draft-dodgers, but my ancestry can be traced back to Jamestown in the 1600s, and elsewhere in Colonial America, plus no member of my family has been jailed for illegal campaign contributions, tax evasion, and witness tampering. Maybe the PDB should be available to every voter who can pass an FBI check? We are still, allegedly, a democratic nation, theoretically, the citizen is in tenuous charge of the government.

Categories
News-esque

IL Museum Stands Up For Santa Anna’s leg

Santa Anna Prosthetic Leg
Santa Anna’s Prosthetic Leg

Photo via http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/santa-anna-leg.htm

Good for the Illinois State Military Museum for standing up to self-important Texans. The funny thing is, the leg as an artifact has very little to do with Texas, as it was found by Illinois soldiers, near Veracruz, Mexico, in 1847 after the Battle of Cerro Gordo. I’m not sure why Texas thinks it has more of a right to the leg than Santa Anna’s family1 or a Mexican museum.

Illinois museum officials say their Lone Star State counterparts have no leg to stand on as they seek a prosthesis from Springfield.

The curator of the Illinois State Military Museum plans to keep Mexican Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna’s wooden leg despite a failed petition that sought to temporarily display the artifact in suburban Houston.

For Texans, it seems to be a bit of a sore point that the artificial limb resides in a glass case 875 miles northeast of the Alamo.

But folks here say the fake leg, a battlefield trophy captured by soldiers from Illinois in 1847 in the Mexican-American War and then carried back to Illinois, is a piece of local military history that’s a big draw at the downstate museum.

“It’s not going anywhere,” said curator Bill Lear. “It’s going to stay.

“This is a centerpiece of the museum and a very important artifact to tell the story of Illinois soldiers and the sacrifice that they have made in service of this country.”

As eager as Texas is to display Santa Anna’s leg, Lear said it’s not clear that the prosthesis has even been in the Lone Star State. Santa Anna had both his legs while leading Mexican forces at the Alamo, more than a decade before Cerro Gordo. Lear said the prosthetic limb was captured in Mexico and apparently taken to Illinois via New Orleans.

(click here to continue reading Museum sticks to its guns over Santa Anna’s leg – chicagotribune.com.)

Come and Take It - Franks, Austin
Come and Take It – Frank, Austin

and yet the San Jacinto Museum of History seems to think the leg should be in their museum. Weird, even if after publicity, the museum claimed it was a light-hearted request…

“I cannot imagine a president from Illinois seriously trying to remove a piece of Illinois history and send it to Texas,” [San Jacinto museum president Larry Spasic] said this week.

Spasic said Texas feels the leg should be lent to the San Jacinto museum because it is part of the deeply shared history with Mexico and its leader.
“It’s all interrelated,” he said. “The history of Mexico and Texas is all one and the same, to a great extent. Does that give us a great latitude of claiming a large part of Mexico’s history as our own? Yes, I say.”

“No one had anything in mind for removing it by force,” he said. “And if the leg goes missing, we’ll just keep it between us.”

(click here to continue reading Illinois museum has Santa Anna’s leg, and Texas site wants it | Dallas Morning News.)

Yeah, sure buddy. The center of the universe is just outside of Houston, everything orbits around Texas.

Footnotes:
  1. if it still exists []
Categories
Food and Drink News-esque

Is the Lime an Endangered Species?

Bowl of Limes
Bowl of Limes

Are limes going to be another victim of our world’s insatiable appetites? I use a few each and every week, in soups, in cocktails, in marinades, sometimes even just in water.

A sudden and unprecedented shortage of limes has sent nationwide wholesale prices soaring from around $25 for a 40-pound carton in early February to more than $100 today, panicking lovers of Mexican food and drinks — and the restaurant and bar owners who cater to them. The culprits are weather, disease and even Mexican criminals.

In the 1970s Americans consumed an average of less than half a pound per person of limes a year, most of them grown in southern Florida. Immigration from tropical countries, and the growing taste for their foods, helped raise consumption to over two and a half pounds today. Meanwhile, low-priced competition from Mexico, the devastation of Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and an eradication campaign to fight canker disease in 2002-06 wiped out the Florida groves.

Mexico is now the world’s largest producer and exporter of limes, and provides some 95 percent of United States supplies. Generally, the lime harvest is smaller and prices are higher from January through March, but in November and December severe rains knocked the blossoms off lime trees in many areas, reducing lime exports to the United States by two-thirds. California, with just 373 acres, is now the largest domestic lime source — but it produces less than 1 percent of national consumption, and its season is late summer and fall, so it’s no help right now.

Other factors may also be squeezing the lime market. Since 2009 a bacterial disease that kills citrus trees, huanglongbing (HLB, also known as “greening”), has spread across many of Mexico’s lime-growing districts. Largely because of HLB, harvests in Colima State, a major producer of Key limes (the small, seeded, highly aromatic type preferred in Mexico), have dropped by a third in the past three years.

(click here to continue reading Is the Lime an Endangered Species? – NYTimes.com.)

and of course, where there’s money, there are criminals:

As a result of high prices and rampant lawlessness in some Mexican regions, criminals who may be linked to drug gangs are plundering fruit from groves and hijacking trucks being used for export, said Bill Vogel, president of Vision Produce, a Los Angeles-based importer. A truck headed for Vision’s sister company in Texas was hijacked two weeks ago in Mexico, he said, and growers and shippers now are hiring armed guards to protect their green gold.

(click here to continue reading Is the Lime an Endangered Species? – NYTimes.com.)