US Border Wall Madness

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US Border Wall Madness

by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.orgHome – Stephen Lendman)

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s phrase, saying “Whom the gods would destroy they first make mad” applies to bipartisan US policymakers.

It shows in declining US global stature, a nation permanently at war against invented enemies, contemptuous of the rights and well-being of ordinary people everywhere, and one-party rule with two extremist right wings, reflecting fantasy democracy, not the real thing.

It’s clear from the dictatorship of America’s aristocracy, serving privileged interests exclusively, from a businessman/TV personality/geopolitical know-nothing as president, from a pro-war, anti-populist, super-wealthy pro-predatory capitalist tool as House speaker, from dirty business as usual governance in Washington.

The year 2019 began with a bang, unacceptable government shutdown entering its third week over bipartisan bickering over to build or not to build a southern border wall, a political issue unrelated to national security.

“How many more times can we say no, nothing for the wall,” Speaker Pelosi roared. Trump countered, saying he’s willing to keep government partially shut down for “as long as it takes…months, even years” to get what he wants, turning truth on its head claiming it’s the “right” thing to do.

He may declare a national emergency to get his way, saying “I haven’t done it. I may do it…We can call a national emergency and build it very quickly,” adding:

“It’s another way of doing it. If we can do it through a negotiated process, we’re giving that a shot.” Reportedly he may use National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) funds, circumventing Congress – despite a possible legal challenge if he goes this way.

Federal law permits use of Pentagon funds earmarked for construction to be used by the executive for other projects as follows:

Ҥ2808. Construction authority in the event of a declaration of war or national emergency

(a) In the event of a declaration of war or the declaration by the President of a national emergency in accordance with the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.) that requires use of the armed forces, the Secretary of Defense, without regard to any other provision of law, may undertake military construction projects, and may authorize the Secretaries of the military departments to undertake military construction projects, not otherwise authorized by law that are necessary to support such use of the armed forces. 

Such projects may be undertaken only within the total amount of funds that have been appropriated for military construction, including funds appropriated for family housing, that have not been obligated.

(b) When a decision is made to undertake military construction projects authorized by this section, the Secretary of Defense shall notify, in an electronic medium pursuant to section 480 of this title, the appropriate committees of Congress of the decision and of the estimated cost of the construction projects, including the cost of any real estate action pertaining to those construction projects.

(c) The authority described in subsection (a) shall terminate with respect to any war or national emergency at the end of the war or national emergency.” 

A House Appropriations Committee spokesman said a legal challenge will follow if Trump goes this way, keeping government partially shut, using NDAA funds for a border wall, the Supreme Court perhaps to have final say on this issue.

In 1995, the longest government shutdown lasted 21 days. The current one is in its 15th day with no breakthoughs for resolution so far.

Trump refuses to sign government funding legislation without over $5 billion for a southern border wall. The GOP-controlled Senate won’t address the funding issue until the current standoff is resolved.

New undemocratic Dem House member Rashida Tlaib shamefully blustered an obscenity about impeaching Trump at a George Soros-funded MoveOn reception I won’t dignify by repeating. 

Whatever credibility she may have had as the first ever congressional Palestinian-American was lost, notably by refusing to apologize for her uncalled for obscenity – unacceptable against anyone.

Avoiding reporters on Friday, she tweeted: “I will always speak truth to power,” adding the hashtag “#unapologeticallyMe.”

“This is not just about Donald Trump. This is about all of us. In the face of this constitutional crisis, we must rise.”

There are right and wrong ways to do things. She was way out of line, an apology demanded. Supportive Dems are complicit in her distemper. There’s plenty of blame to go around on both sides of the aisle.

Americans are ill-governed and ill-served by the vast majority of policymakers in Washington – uncaring about their fundamental rights and welfare.

That’s the deplorable state of the nation today, a pariah state, a global menace – contemptuous of peace, equity and justice.

Each new regime and Congress is worse than their predecessors, things worst of all since Trump took office, a rogue’s gallery of extremists in key posts.

The world’s dominant nation is humanity’s greatest threat, a disturbing reality its major media suppress.

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My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard University. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. After working seven years as a marketing research analyst, he joined the Lendman Group family business in 1967. He remained there until retiring at year end 1999. Writing on major world and national issues began in summer 2005. In early 2007, radio hosting followed. Lendman now hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network three times weekly. Distinguished guests are featured. Listen live or archived. Major world and national issues are discussed. Lendman is a 2008 Project Censored winner and 2011 Mexican Journalists Club international journalism award recipient.