The Wall – An In-Depth Examination

It’s the WALL…..again.

WE have been having this back and forth about a promise that President Trump first made on his 2016 campaign…..a “big, beautiful wall” across our Southern border.

Since he first uttered the slogan there has been a massive amount of ink wasted on the analysis on what he has meant by his assertion.

Most people know what their “party” thinks about the Wall….very little has been written about a total analysis of the issue…..

Maybe this would help….that is if you are truly interested in the issue or you just like the concept….for whatever reason……..

A USA TODAY NETWORK special report examines the impact of Trump’s proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall, exploring every foot of the 2,000-mile boundary.

“Build the Wall.” Three words energized a campaign.

But could it be done? What would it cost? What would it accomplish? Our search for answers became this, a landmark new report, “The Wall.”

The task was massive. We flew the entire border, drove it too. More than 30 reporters and photographers interviewed migrants, farmers, families, tribal members — even a human smuggler. We joined Border Patrol agents on the ground, in a tunnel, at sea. We patrolled with vigilantes, walked the line with ranchers. We scoured government maps, fought for property records.

In this report, you can watch aerial video of every foot of the border, explore every piece of fence, even stand at the border in virtual reality. Still, breakthrough technology would mean nothing if it didn’t help us better understand the issues — and one another.

Source: The Wall – An in-depth examination of Donald Trump’s border wall

Personally, I believe that an article like this would have served a greater purpose if it had been publish during the primaries…..

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Deal Or No Deal?

Many Americans are applauding the new found cooperation between a GOP president and the Congressional Dems……but since the “good news” was release there has been a wealth of back and forth……

It is confusing…..so do we have a deal?  Or Not?

The Congressional Dems seem to think that there is a deal….

In a move that stunned many Republicans, Democratic leaders announced Wednesday night that they had reached a deal with President Trump to protect Dreamers from deportation in return for funding extra border security—but not a wall. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi announced the deal after a White House dinner, the AP reports. “We agreed to enshrine the protections of DACA into law quickly, and to work out a package of border security, excluding the wall, that’s acceptable to both sides,” they said in a joint statement. A source says the deal also includes a pathway to citizenship for the almost 800,000 young immigrants involved.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted that DACA and border security were discussed at the meeting, though “excluding the wall was certainly not agreed to,” the Los Angeles Times reports. This is the second time in two weeks that Trump has bypassed Republicans to cut a deal with Democrats and immigration hardliners are furious over what they see as an amnesty, the Washington Post reports. If reports of the deal are true, Trump’s “base is blown up, destroyed, irreparable, and disillusioned beyond repair,” said GOP Rep. Steve King. “No promise is credible.” Breitbart.com called the deal a “full-fledged cave” and dubbed the president “Amnesty Don.”

The with a flick of the thumbs Pres. Trump is saying that there is NO deal…..

Thursday morning brings a dose of confusion to the debate over the fate of young undocumented immigrants. President Trump tweeted that he and top Democrats had not reached a deal about the fate of the Dreamers, despite Democrats’ assertion Wednesday night to the contrary. “No deal was made last night on DACA,” the president wrote, referring to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. “Massive border security would have to be agreed to in exchange for consent.” All this began when Democrats including Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer had a dinner meeting with Trump at the White House on Wednesday, and Democrats emerged afterward to declare that they’d struck a deal to “enshrine the protections of DACA into law.” In exchange, they’d agree to a number of border security improvements—excluding the president’s proposed border wall.

Almost immediately, the White House pushed back on that characterization, with press chief Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeting that no deal to exclude the border wall was struck, reports the New York Times. Trump reiterated that in his tweet, adding that the wall “will continue to be built.” (He didn’t, however, address whether funding would be linked to DACA.) But the president also expressed support for Dreamers and suggested that he wanted a deal that would provide some kind of pathway to citizenship for them. “Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military? Really!” hewrote. “They have been in our country for many years through no fault of their own – brought in by parents at young age.”

I for one am pleased to see some small incident of cooperation between the two parties……but with all my cheer leading…… is there a Deal or Not?

How long will this “cooperation” last?

DACA: What The Hell Happened?

After the Trump announcement by Sessions about the suspension of the program known as DACA……the usual repsonses were available on-line…..pretty much down party lines …..that is until the President and the Demos dropped a bomb on McConnell and Ryan.

President Trump is planning to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program—but his actual position on the policy is still something of a mystery. Trump says he will look at his decision again if Congress can’t “legalize” DACA, the Hill reports. “Congress now has 6 months to legalize DACA (something the Obama Administration was unable to do),” the president tweeted Tuesday night. “If they can’t, I will revisit this issue!” His tone was very different than that of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who, when announcing the move, called DACA a “unilateral executive amnesty” that “denied jobs to hundreds of thousands of Americans” by causing them to go to “illegal aliens.” (As for whether DACA is illegal in the first place, the Daily Caller explains why it is; Quartz explains why it isn’t.)

Trump said he wanted the question of the 800,000 “Dreamers” who grew up in the US after being brought here illegally as children resolved with “heart and compassion—but through the lawful democratic process.” It is far from clear whether Congress will be able to pass any bill dealing with DACA in the next six months. Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn says there is “no way” a stand-alone DACA bill will be taken up this month, with fellow Republican Sen. Marco Rubio indicating stand-alone is the way to go. “I think by and large, if you were able to have a stand-alone vote on a good product, [you] could pass it,” Rubio tells Politico. “If you start adding other things to it, that’s where I think it falls apart.”

Is DACA dead?

The goodwill between President Trump and Nancy Pelosi appears to be carrying over into Thursday: The House minority leader asked the president to tweet an assurance to Dreamers that they don’t face immediate deportation, and Trump did just that, reports the Hill. “For all of those (DACA) that are concerned about your status during the 6 month period, you have nothing to worry about — No action!” the president tweeted. The White House is phasing out the Obama-era protection of young immigrants brought to the country illegally as children, but Congress has six months to come up with a legislative alternative to allow them to stay in the country.

“I will tell you, I really believe Congress wants to take care of it,” Trump said Wednesday. “We discussed that also today, and Chuck and Nancy would like to see something happen, and so do I,” he added, referring to Chuck Schumer and Pelosi after their Oval Office meeting. Given that the fate of about 800,000 immigrants is now in legal limbo, however, Trump’s tweet wasn’t going over well with advocates. “You can’t sugarcoat the terror Trump has pushed on immigrants when he killed DACA,” Greisa Martinez Rosas of United We Dream tells CNN.

The Dems and Trump cut the GOP out of the process and left the obstructionists from 8 years ago in the dust as they spun out.

The GOP is butt hurt!  And here is why….

Nobody, it seems, saw it coming. In a meeting with leaders of both parties Wednesday, President Trump bucked the GOP and cut a deal with Democrats to keep the government open and lift the debt ceiling. Consider that prior to the meeting, Paul Ryan called the idea of a three-month extension “ridiculous,” and during the meeting, Trump’s own treasury secretary was arguing for a longer extension when the president interrupted him to agree with the Democrats, reports CNN. The story uses phrases such as “shell-shocked” to describe the GOP reaction. An analysis at the New York Times calls the scenario that played out the “worst nightmare” for conservatives, that in which “political novice” Trump goes into deal-making mode and forsakes principles. “Talk about burning bridges with the grass roots,” says Adam Brandon of FreedomWorks. Related coverage:

  • Mnuchin’s surprise: NBC News has details on the talks in the Oval Office and the moment Trump cut in on Treasury’s Steven Mnuchin, who was left “wounded” and “surprised” by the president’s contradiction of him. Later, though, Mnuchin said he “could not be happier” with the deal.
  • Ivanka’s appearance: NBC says Trump brought in daughter Ivanka at one point to talk about a child care tax credit she has championed, and the Washington Examiner quotes a congressional aide present who says the move “visibly annoyed” GOP leaders because talks “careened off topic.”
  • A pivot? In an online chat after the news broke, Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight wrote, “I suppose one could interpret it as the start of a—the start of a word that begins with P, ends with T and has IVO in the middle.” He added later that it could be a pivot “toward Trump seeing how far he can get by working with Democrats.”
  • Nervous about 2018: Trump’s move has Republicans worried about whether he’s too politically fickle to help them on the campaign trail for the 2018 midterms, reports Politico.
  • December fight: The temporary extension sets up a “Christmas showdown” on Capitol Hill over government funding, reports Bloomberg, and the leader of the House Freedom Caucus fears that Trump gave Democrats all the leverage heading into that fight.

Nice play Mr. President.

“DACA”–WTF?

After much speculation about the Obama program, DACA……Trump has made up his mind and allowed the much maligned Sessions delver the news to the country.

Bad news for “dreamers.” The White House is indeed phasing out a program that has protected hundreds of thousands of young immigrants brought into the country illegally as kids, reports the AP. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the anticipated move Tuesday morning, per Reuters. Sessions called the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program unconstitutional and said the federal government will no longer accept applications for DACA. However, the nation’s approximately 800,000 “dreamers” won’t be immediately affected as the program is wound down through March, and President Trump urged Congress to come up with a legislative alternative, reports the New York Times.

“Congress, get ready to do your job – DACA!” the president tweeted Tuesday morning. Sessions called the Obama program an “open-ended circumvention of immigration law through unconstitutional authority by the executive branch” and said it likely would have been rejected in the courts, reports the Washington Post. Trump had similarly denounced the program as “illegal” during the 2016 campaign, though he softened his language upon becoming president. Dreamers who currently hold permits can continue working in the US until their permits expire. Those whose permits expire by March 5, 2018—when the program was originally scheduled to end—can apply for a two-year renewal provided they do so by Oct. 5.

But as usual the Trump Twitter account got a work out about this issue…..with the language showing a bit of soothing rhetoric after the initial bombshell…..

The fate of young immigrants in the US was thrust into limbo Tuesday when the White House announced it was phasing out the Obama-era DACA program, more formally known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. President Trump gave Congress six months to come up with a legislative alternative before the program ends in March, and he promised that the issue would be resolved “with heart and compassion—but through the lawful Democratic process,” per NBC News. The White House maintains that President Obama’s executive action was unconstitutional and that Congress, not the president, must decide such things. (Obama himself made a rare public statement criticizing the move.) Related coverage:

  • A ‘wall’ trade? One idea being floated is a deal in which Republicans agree to legislation protecting “Dreamers” if Democrats agree to funding for a border wall, reports Newsweek. At Salon, Heather Digby Parton thinks Democrats should take any such deal offered. She opposes the wall, but “putting 800,000 Dreamer kids’ minds at rest will be worth it.”
  • Bannon test: This will be the biggest test yet of the power of Steve Bannon since leaving the White House, observes Politico. Bannon and other conservative advisers (including Stephen Miller and Jeff Sessions) pushed the president to end DACA, and Bannon could go after more moderate GOP voices on immigration, including Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan.
  • Ryan, Rubio: In a statement, House speaker Ryan said he agreed that Obama overstepped with DACA and that was it never a “viable long-term solution.” But he also said he hoped Congress could put legislation in place “ensuring that those who have done nothing wrong” can stay in the US. Marco Rubio, meanwhile, said Trump needed to give lawmakers a clear sense of what he’d be willing to sign, per the Miami Herald.
  • Harvey hero: One recipient of DACA’s protection was 31-year-old Alonso Guillen, who died trying to rescue people from Hurricane Harvey. The Houston Chronicle has more on his life story, and the New York Times notes that Trump chief of staff John Kelly has been moved by stories of Dreamers helping out in the wake of Harvey.
  • Silicon Valley: Microsoft said it was “disappointed” in the White House decision, but said Congress must now rearrange its priorities over the next six months to protect Dreamers. The company employs 39 of them, and other tech companies are similarly worried.
  • Not so complicated: At the National Review, Andrew McCarthy writes that Trump made the issue “more complicated than it needs to be.” McCarthy makes the case that Obama’s action was illegal and asserts that Trump’s path is the correct one: “Follow the Constitution” and let Congress hammer out a compromise.
  • Badly handled? At BuzzFeed, Ben Smith argues that Trump misplayed the issue, gave away his political leverage, and ended up with the worst possible outcome: “He’s shooting the hostages.”
  • Full text: Here is the full text of Sessions’ explanation of the decision. “The compassionate thing is to end the lawlessness,” he says.

Is this piece of crap just a ploy to get his money for a wall?  Using almost a million people as a blackmail scheme….cannot get much tackier than that….but I am positive he will try.

He, Trump, in a Tweet is giving the Congress 6 months to do a comprehensive immigration reform…..seriously?  Does he not know how flipping absurd that is?

And all this concern by the GOPers in Congress is just amazing….glad to see they have a conscience…..but if they had this much compassion why was an Obama EO necessary to some action?

Funny how much compassion can be mustered up with an election looming.

This is all just a game to Trump….to pretend it is anything else is just moronic.

Closing Thought–24Aug17

Another Brick In The Wall!

Soon we will be having the usual debate on the extension of the government so there will be NO shutdown, which most know is NOT a good thing, it is however a great slogan and political theater….

Pres. Trump’s pet issue is the building of the Great Wall of Mexico…..and NOTHING has changed….he still is using it to gin up his base…….

President Trump was speaking in Reno Wednesday even as the assessment continued over his Tuesday night rally in Phoenix. In Arizona, he didn’t just vent about the media, he also made headlines on multiple policy fronts. Among other things, he renewed his push for a border wall in a big way. “If we have to close down that government, we are going to build that wall,” he told cheering supporters. The issue is expected to come to a head during budget negotiations in September, with Politico reporting that Trump has been telling advisers he won’t accept any deal unless it contains “real money” to start construction. “He is animated about the wall,” one source tells the website. “He cares about that more than many other things. He knows his base cares and chants about it.”

Is he truly willing to shutdown the government unless he gets the funds for his “Big Beautiful Wall?”

But I thought Mexico was going to pay for it….is our check in the mail?

What kinda of mindless droid would destroy the government on something as worthless as his “Big Beautiful Wall”?

Thursday is at an end….time to slink back into the crypt and prepare for tomorrow’s stuff……be well, be safe…..chuq

RAISE Act

Well we all know of the DC two step that is going on these days and the Congress has dumped and left town for the month of August.

The GOP has made good on their threat to do something about immigration…..and Trump was the perfect vehicle for them…..

The Congress has given the country the RAISE Act or shall we call it the Reforming American Immigration for Stronger Employment Act.  How is that for a title?

Lots of chatter about the bill/act……more opposition than defense…..

Anyway how many of us mere mortals know what is in this “Act”?

You could dash for the Google button or just read on……

The Republican-backed proposal, which would significantly reduce the number of people allowed to legally immigrate to America, would weigh each person’s age, education, English ability, job offer salary, investments and even whether the person has an Olympic medal. The Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment Act, or RAISE Act, favors people between the ages of 26 and 30 with a doctorate, high English proficiency and a job offer with a high salary. Applicants would need at least 30 points to be eligible to apply for a visa under the proposal, and the fastest way to get there is to have received a Nobel Prize or comparable international award, which gives applicants a head start of 25 points. Applicants with the highest number of points would go to the front of the line to receive visas.

The bill, introduced by Republican Senators David Perdue and Tom Cotton, has failed to gain traction beyond the President’s endorsement and is unlikely to pass Congress. But if Trump had his way and it became law, here’s how you would fare if you were trying to immigrate to the U.S. under the restrictions.

For greater clarity, some answers are simplified from what appears in the bill. For example, the legislation proposes an English test, with points allotted based on the applicant’s performance. We instead created categories ranking English ability. The question about job salaries took the bill’s original language regarding “150% of median income” and calculated actual salaries based on the U.S. median household income of $51,939 in 2014.

If you are truly interested in this bill…… The full text of the bill can be found here.

I got to thinking about my great-grandfather when he came to this country in 1898.  He was 50 years old, poor, badly educated and spoke little English and had enough money to get him through maybe a year…..with those credentials he would NOT be eligible to immigrate to the US.

I will agree that there needs to be some sort of immigration policy but is this the best we could do?

The Immigration Mash-Up

As always the GOP is looking for ways to limit the non-white population of the world from coming to America…..they just do some disguising to make it palatable to the population.

This Congress is NO different….we have a new bill floating around Congress…..it is popular with the Trump base and some others….but economists do not see the clear path as the conservs…..

Plus there was a media mash-up with a spokesman from the administration….high drama at its best….should play well on Breibart and other psuedo-news sites and blogs.

President Trump raised the stakes in the immigration debate on Wednesday with his support of a radically new system that would favor immigrants with job skills and fluency in English over those with family ties. Unlike Trump’s previous emphasis on reducing illegal immigration, this plan would focus on reducing legal immigration, by a lot. The White House says it would be similar to the merit-based systems used by Australia and Canada. Details and coverage:

  • The bill: Trump’s plan is based on a bill introduced in the Senate by David Perdue of Georgia and Tom Cotton of Arkansas. It’s called the Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment Act, or RAISE, and the legislation is here. They introduced it in February and it hasn’t gone anywhere since.
  • The reductions: About 1 million people are currently granted legal residency each year, and this merit-based system would cut that by 41% in its first year and 50% in its 10th, per the AP.
  • Points system: The New York Times takes a look at how the Australian system works. Would-be immigrants receive the most points, up to 60, for having needed skills; they get fewer points, up to 20, for fluency in English. They also get points based on age, with those 25 to 32 receiving the most. The idea is to bring in people able to support themselves, though one critic says the system is “full of holes.” Canada has a similar system, though its version also aims to promote a multicultural society. The Times had a separate story on Canada’s system in March. Of note: Both nations let in a greater number of immigrants per capita than the US does.
  • Economists say no: The Washington Post reports that most economists—16 of 18 in its July survey—think it’s a foolish idea to cut immigration because it will hurt economic growth and raise the risk of recession. “We need to modernize the immigration system, but cutting immigration in half is bad for the economy and bad policy,” says Jeremy Robbins of New American Economy, a coalition founded by Michael Bloomberg.
  • Opposition: The White House support will give the bill new life, but its prospects still aren’t good because not only Democrats oppose it. GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham, for instance, said it would devastate South Carolina’s tourism industry by reducing the number of low-wage workers at hotels and restaurants, per the Post and Courier. Among Democrats, Dianne Feinstein says it would “cripple” the agriculture industry, per the Hill.
  • In favor: A post at the conservative Power Line blog lauds the idea. “It’s fine to continue on as a nation of immigrants, but shouldn’t we also want to protect the wages of recent immigrants and other Americans with low levels of educational attainment?” asks Paul Mirengoff.
  • Acosta vs. Miller: The exchange between White House aide Stephen Miller and CNN’s Jim Acosta continues to make headlines. Watch it in full via the Los Angeles Times.

This bill will be fun to watch the theatrics from both sides.