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April 7, 2017


We were told endlessly and ad nauseam during Trump’s campaign for president that he was going to build a wall of some 2,000 miles on our border with Mexico and that the Mexicans would pay for it. When asked how he would force Mexico to pay when the Mexican president said Mexico would not pay for it he alluded to a number of ways and means, including a “border tax” on imports from Mexico. When told that Mexico, one of our biggest trading partners, could reciprocate by establishing their own border taxes on American exports, he then said that he would establish a tax on money sent from this country to Mexico by Mexican immigrants who worked in this country and sent money back home to support their families. That plan went down in flames, too.

When all of his “plans” for collections were shot down one by one, he finally said that he will request Congress to appropriate perhaps as much as 20 billion dollars of taxpayer money to fund the project (which was not a part of his “campaign promise”). Billions for a barrier that won’t work and tax cuts for the rich but cuts of a different variety for Meals on Wheels, School children’s lunches along with brutal proposed cuts in coverage for the sick and poor in the Republican version of its replacement of Obamacare? Welcome to the world of those making America great again, but great for whom?

Aside from financing, the wall won’t work in any event, you say? Don’t take my word for it, take the word of a Mexican coyote who laughed that getting around and over and under such a wall would be easy (a 3coyote is a Mexican contractor who takes money to see that illegal immigrants get across the border – he’s a pro). So now we are to build a wall that won’t work when such an enormous amount of money could be far better employed in helping the poor, the undereducated, the sick and the dying of America rather than leaving such unfortunate Americans to their own devices. Welcome to Trump’s America, where only the chosen few are beneficiaries of a “great again” America and the rest of us are disposable. Not everyone is born on third base as scions of patrimonial capitalists, as was Trump.

So where are we on this wall-building? An AP report tells us that prototypes of the wall are going to be built for about a quarter of a mile in the San Diego vicinity and that some four to ten contractors will be used to build it. The contractors to date who are submitting bids range from San Diego to Fort Worth, Texas, and report some unusual activity in making such bids. The chief executive of the Fort Worth general contractor says he has received about a dozen death threats, including one from a woman who told him she had hired a private investigator to tail him. Others who have not threatened death but who are critical of the project include the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Mexico, which said last week that Mexican companies expressing interest in building the wall were betraying their country.

One other potential bidder wanted to know if authorities would rush to help if workers came under “hostile attack,” and yet another such prospective bidder asked if employees can carry firearms in states with strict gun control laws and if the government would indemnify them for using deadly force. A U.S. official said that the Border Patrol and local police would establish a buffer zone around the construction site for the prototypes if necessary, while the San Diego police and sheriff’s departments said they will respect constitutional rights to free speech and assembly for any peaceful, law-abiding protestors (as though they had a choice). Enrique Morones, executive director of Border Angels based in San Diego, said his group planned to protest and said: “There will be a lot of different activity – on both sides of the wall, and we pray and hope they are peaceful.”

Fortunately, there is strong bipartisan sentiment against building the wall at all. Both Democrats and Republicans know what will happen to our debt if we spend 20 billion on a wall that won’t work and an additional 50-some billion on “defense” when our bloated defense budget is already bigger than the next 22 countries’ military budgets combined, especially when added to a tax cut Trump plans to give to the rich and corporate class in simultaneous fashion. You cannot spend an unnecessary 75 billion dollars or so while hobbling your ability to pay for it by giving a fat tax cut to the already rich and avoid a stratospheric boost in the debt, already at some 20 trillion dollars unless, of course, you make drastic cuts in programs designed to help the poor and middle classes, and let them pay for defense and the wall and the tax cut for the rich as the rich and corporate class are rewarded with another fat and juicy tax cut and the rest of us are left at the door of the poorhouse due to Republican adoption of austerity economics for us and corporate welfare for their rich and corporate benefactors, all in true libertarian fashion.

So, wall? No. Additional defense appropriations? No. More tax cuts for the rich and corporate class? No. Raises in pay for the military? Yes. Higher federal minimum wage scale? Yes. Infrastructure repair and renewal? Unless our transportation is financed and privatized by Wall Street. Yes. Single payer healthcare? Yes! I am not an abominable no man; it depends on the topic, and if the topic is building the wall to suit some fantasy of an addled narcissist, then my answer is no, no, a thousand times no!    GERALD       E



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