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marble falls

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Name: had to remove
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Hometown: marble falls, tx
Member since: Thu Feb 23, 2012, 03:49 AM
Number of posts: 28,093

About Me

Hand dyer mainly to the quilters market, doll maker, oil painter and teacher, anti-fas, cat owner, anti nuke, ex navy, reasonably good cook, father of three happy successful kids and three happy grand kids. Life is good.

Journal Archives

Alligator Moat: Behind Trump's Ideas for Border

Alligator Moat: Behind Trump’s Ideas for Border


By Michael D. Shear and Julie Hirschfeld Davis

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/01/us/politics/trump-border-wars.html


Oct. 1, 2019

WASHINGTON — The Oval Office meeting this past March began, as so many had, with President Trump fuming about migrants. But this time he had a solution. As White House advisers listened astonished, he ordered them to shut down the entire 2,000-mile border with Mexico — by noon the next day.

The advisers feared the president’s edict would trap American tourists in Mexico, strand children at schools on both sides of the border and create an economic meltdown in two countries. Yet they also knew how much the president’s zeal to stop immigration had sent him lurching for solutions, one more extreme than the next.

Privately, the president had often talked about fortifying a border wall with a water-filled trench, stocked with snakes or alligators, prompting aides to seek a cost estimate. He wanted the wall electrified, with spikes on top that could pierce human flesh. After publicly suggesting that soldiers shoot migrants if they threw rocks, the president backed off when his staff told him that was illegal. But later in a meeting, aides recalled, he suggested that they shoot migrants in the legs to slow them down. That’s not allowed either, they told him.

<snip>

Mr. Trump’s order to close the border was a decision point that touched off a frenzied week of presidential rages, round-the-clock staff panic and far more White House turmoil than was known at the time. By the end of the week, the seat-of-the-pants president had backed off his threat but had retaliated with the beginning of a purge of the aides who had tried to contain him.

Today, as Mr. Trump is surrounded by advisers less willing to stand up to him, his threat to seal off the country from a flood of immigrants remains active. “I have absolute power to shut down the border,” he said in an interview this summer with The New York Times.

<snip>

“You are making me look like an idiot!” Mr. Trump shouted, adding in a profanity, as multiple officials in the room described it. “I ran on this. It’s my issue.”

Among those in the room were Kirstjen Nielsen, the homeland security secretary at the time; Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state; Kevin K. McAleenan, the Customs and Border Protection chief at the time; and Stephen Miller, the White House aide who, more than anyone, had orchestrated Mr. Trump’s immigration agenda. Mick Mulvaney, the acting chief of staff was also there, along with Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, and other senior staff.

Ms. Nielsen, a former aide to George W. Bush brought into the department by John F. Kelly, the president’s former chief of staff, was in a perilous position. She had always been viewed with suspicion by the president, who told aides she was “a Bushie,” and part of the “deep state” who once contributed to a group that supported Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign.

Mr. Trump had routinely berated Ms. Nielsen as ineffective and, worse — at least in his mind — not tough-looking enough. “Lou Dobbs hates you, Ann Coulter hates you, you’re making me look bad,” Mr. Trump would tell her, referring to the Fox Business Network host and the conservative commentator.

The happiest he had been with Ms. Nielsen was a few months earlier, when American border agents had fired tear gas into Mexico to try to stop migrants from crossing into the United States. Human rights organizations condemned the move, but Mr. Trump loved it. More often, though, she drew the president’s scorn.

That March day, he was furious at Mr. Pompeo, too, for having cut a deal with Mexico to allow the United States to reject some asylum seekers — a plan Mr. Trump said was clearly failing.

A complete shutdown of the border, Mr. Trump said, was the only way.

Ms. Nielsen had tried reasoning with the president on many occasions. When she stood up to him during a cabinet meeting the previous spring, he excoriated her and she almost resigned.

Now, she tried again to reason with him.

We can close the border, she told the president, but it’s not going to fix anything. People will still be permitted to claim asylum.

But Mr. Trump was unmoved. Even Mr. Kushner, who had developed relationships with Mexican officials and now sided with Ms. Nielsen, could not get through to him.

“All you care about is your friends in Mexico,” the president snapped, according to people in the room. “I’ve had it. I want it done at noon tomorrow.”

The president’s advisers left the meeting in a near panic.

Every year more than $200 billion worth of American exports flow across the Mexican border. Closing it would wreak havoc on American farmers and automakers, among many others. Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, said in an interview at the time that a border shutdown would have “a potentially catastrophic economic impact on our country.”

<snip>

Mr. Miller, meanwhile, saw an opportunity.

It was his view that the president needed to completely overhaul the Homeland Security Department and get rid of senior officials who he believed were thwarting efforts to block immigrants. Although many were the president’s handpicked aides, Mr. Miller told him they had become part of the problem by constantly citing legal hurdles.

Ms. Nielsen, who regularly found herself telling Mr. Trump why he couldn’t have what he wanted, was an obvious target. When the president demanded “flat black” paint on his border wall, she said it would cost an additional $1 million per mile. When he ordered wall construction sped up, she said they needed permission from property owners. Take the land, Mr. Trump would say, and let them sue us.

When Ms. Nielsen tried to get him to focus on something other than the border, the president grew impatient. During a briefing on the need for new legal authority to take down drones, Mr. Trump cut her off midsentence.

“Kirstjen, you didn’t hear me the first time, honey,” Mr. Trump said, according to two people familiar with the conversation. “Shoot ’em down. Sweetheart, just shoot ’em out of the sky, O.K.?”

<snip>


Long, but fascinating read.

The man is fucking nuts. Like you didn't know that already.
Posted by marble falls | Wed Oct 2, 2019, 07:36 AM (8 replies)

GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley Defends Ukraine Whistleblower Amid Trump Attacks

GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley Defends Ukraine Whistleblower Amid Trump Attacks

The veteran Republican, a longtime advocate of whistleblower safeguards, said the Trump complainant “ought to be heard out and protected.”

By Igor Bobic

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/trump-whistleblower-chuck-grassley_n_5d936aaae4b0ac3cddaf3e94?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuaHVmZnBvc3QuY29tLw&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAIx4S1uWP6v-hhHrzsDcgyBlFH7gpdZrBiyS7VBxOLLQYFppjsc2Zo7mufntQ23TyKEuG9vtD8I2Z-dqzQyPQJ9yJ_5Hzt5DeCk-y4HhH9ZRijn98rSuT9E4rbomXn3eBZGwv6FiWugrTHFphNTHK6UgmlzYC9ukdCIcNrKD6YMi

<snip>

“This person appears to have followed the whistleblower protection laws and ought to be heard out and protected,” Grassley, said in a statement released by his office. “We should always work to respect whistleblowers’ requests for confidentiality.”

Trump and his allies have repeatedly maligned the anonymous intelligence community whistleblower’s motives in recent days as the House impeachment inquiry intensifies. Over the weekend, the president accused the person of “spying” on him and suggested the whistleblower’s sources ought to be executed. He also told reporters on Monday “we’re trying to find out” the person’s identity.

<snip>

But Grassley, who sees nothing wrong with Trump’s July 25 phone call with the Ukrainian president referenced in the whistleblower’s complaint, seemed to undercut both points. He urged everyone not to make “judgments or pronouncements without hearing from the whistleblower first and carefully following up on the facts,” cautioning that speculation about their identity by “politicians or media commentators” doesn’t serve the country’s interests.

He also pushed back against claims made by his GOP colleagues about the complaint, which was deemed credible by both Trump’s director of national intelligence and the intelligence community inspector general.

“The distinctions being drawn between first- and second-hand knowledge aren’t legal ones,” Grassley said. “It’s just not part of whistleblower protection law or any agency policy. Complaints based on second-hand information should not be rejected out of hand, but they do require additional leg work to get at the facts and evaluate the claim’s credibility.”

The Iowa Republican has spent decades advocating on behalf of whistleblowers. In 2015, he co-founded the Senate Whistleblower Protection Caucus to raise awareness for the need for protection against retaliation of private sector and government employees who call attention to wrongdoing.

Grassley is the first Republican member of the group to speak out in defense of the whistleblower. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), another member of the caucus, said that what really concerned him was that the whistleblower complaint was leaked in the first place.

“I’m a big supporter of whistleblower protection. Who should not be protected is whoever leaked this. If this whistleblower leaked this, then [that person] does not deserve [whistleblower] protections,” Johnson told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel last week.

<snip>

Posted by marble falls | Tue Oct 1, 2019, 08:49 PM (4 replies)
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