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Post Border Wall Update
Created by John Eipper on 03/19/17 4:32 AM

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Border Wall Update (Richard Hancock, USA, 03/19/17 4:32 am)

The Wall Street Journal of March 16 contains an article by Joe Palazzolo, "Obtaining Land for Trump's Border Wall is a Daunting Task."

Mr. Palazzolo states that about 67% of the 2,000-mile border is private or state-owned land, most of it in Texas. It would take months or even years for the Trump administration to bargain with hundreds of private landholders along the border. Democratic law makers in New Mexico have proposed a law that would bar the Federal Government from securing land to build a border wall. California's Democratic Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom has discussed using state and federal environmental laws to fight the wall construction in his state.

Another WSJ article in Nov. 24, 2016 by Miriam Jordan and Santiago Pérez is "Small Businesses Lament There Are Too Few Mexicans in US, Not Too Many." The number of undocumented has declined in recent years, especially those from Mexico. Wages for roofers in Dallas is $17.65 an hour. Mr. Braddy, the owner of a Dallas roofing company, hopes that a satisfactory work-visa program could be established by the government to give to migrants the means to work legally. For the last 20 years, Mexican families have averaged just over two children, compared with nearly seven in the late 1960s. The number of Mexicans apprehended by the US Border Patrol attempting to sneak into the country illegally has fallen to levels last seen in the 1970s. In 2012, net migration flows from Mexico to the US fall to zero, according to the Pew Hispanic Center.

Agriculture is especially hard-hit by labor shortages. About 70% of all field workers are undocumented, the overwhelming majority Mexican, according to estimates by the American Farm Bureau Federation. Last year, some 250,000 workers came to the US on an H-2A, a 420% jump since 2006, the first year for which data is available. Farmers complain the program, which involves three federal agencies--the departments of Homeland Security, State and Labor--as well as state employment agencies, is "bureaucratic, expensive and inefficient." Workers often get stranded on the Mexican side of the border for several days waiting for interviews to secure visas while employer-paid transportation idles on the other side. In the fields, crops perish.

Having experienced the old "Bracero program," which ended in 1964, I can understand the frustration of construction and agricultural employees with Trump and his wall and with H-2A program. The Bracero program was a fair and efficient means of providing labor to the US economy. For 5 years of my employment at the U of Oklahoma I had experience with being the immigration director for foreign employees working for OU. I don't expect the employment of people at the university level to be as simple as was the Bracero farm program, but I did experience unnecessary difficulty in hiring at the university level. In regard to the Trump wall, I can't think of an thing so ridiculous other than perhaps the building of the Tower of Babel.

JE comments:  President Peña Nieto must already be rehearsing his speech:  "Mr Trump, tear down this wall."  (His successor may have to deliver it.)  Trump has requested the hiring of 20 lawyers to work on land requisition.  Perhaps the Mexicans will pick up the retainer fees.  Richard Hancock's Tower of Babel comparison is appropriate, but may be lost on the president.  Trump's quondam rival Bobby Jindal once quipped that "Trump doesn't read the Bible because he's not in it."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/trumps-wall-is-nothing-but-the-worlds-biggest-phallic_us_57cb960fe4b0b9c5b738f8c5

A question for Richard:  You read the WSJ each day.  Two months after the inauguration, what kind of editorial line is emerging on the Trump presidency?  Are the editors warming up to The Donald, or not?


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  • "Trump's Not in the Bible"...or Is He? (Edward Jajko, USA 03/20/17 3:51 AM)
    The Honorable Bobby Jindal erred in his clever quip that Donald Trump doesn't read the Bible because he's not in it (Richard Hancock, 19 March).

    See 1 Corinthians 15:52: "In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed."


    A curious verse, this, one that seems to betray a formula for acquiring Democratic Party voters.


    JE comments: We erred indeed. Bush, as in burning, also gets some Bible time. How many other US presidents made the Good Book? Perhaps a Taylor (tailor), or a Carter?

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  • How Does the "Wall Street Journal" See Trump? (Richard Hancock, USA 03/21/17 4:40 AM)
    To answer John E's question, I would say that the WSJ has a mixed view of Trump. Their commentators wish that Trump would quit using Twitter. I think that they feel that most of his appointments have been good and that Pres. Trump should shut up and let them do their job.

    In short, I would say that Wall Street Journal reporters are certainly not warming up to Trump.


    JE comments:  Presumably even less so, after FBI Director James Comey's testimony of March 20th, which revealed two potential bombshells for the Trump presidency.  Comey said his agency is actively investigating possible connections between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence, and that there is no evidence whatsoever that Obama had Trump's phones tapped.  The right-wing "mainstream" media, such as Fox and the WSJ, are beginning to distance themselves from the President.  Media vehicles of the extreme/"alt-" right, such as Info Wars and Breitbart, are doubling down on Trump.

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    • Most of Trump's Appointments are Good? Not so Fast... (Istvan Simon, USA 03/21/17 7:57 AM)
      Most of Trump's appointments are good? (See Richard Hancock, 21 March.)

      We must not be living on the same planet. Trump's appointments are the worst of any president in my memory. Here is a list of incompetents that the occupant the White House has appointed: Pruitt for the EPA--an affront; DeVos for Education--would anyone want this woman in their children's school? I certainly would not; Carson for HUD--he has no knowledge of public housing at all; Perry for Dept. of Energy--he wanted to eliminate it 4 years ago; Tillerson for State--though he is a capable man, his connections to Exxon-Mobile make him a bad choice; Price for Health--a corrupt scoundrel; Mnuchin for Treasury--profited from the collapse of housing, and made billions on the backs of those who lost their homes to foreclosure; Bannon as Consigliere and appointed to National Security Council; Sessions as AG--a perjurer and racist at the helm as AG? No thanks; the chief executive of Carl's Jr.for labor--fortunately gone; Flynn--corrupt and a liar like his ex-boss/ Need I say more?


      I pray that Richard tell us where the good appointments are.


      JE comments: Richard Hancock was giving us the WSJ's take on the Trump gang, not his own.

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    • "Wall Street Journal" and Trump (John Recchiuti, USA 03/22/17 3:33 AM)
      WSJ columnist Brett Stephens is clear in his message that Trump is a demagogue. Peggy Noonan appears to have wanted to give him a chance, but seems to be fading, her patience worn thin. With markets sharply up, the WSJ's readership is likely mostly placated.

      I'm struck by the way in which Trump supporters I speak with seem to give him a "pass" on his tweets and his falsehoods and instead look to a hoped-for economic and political architecture that will bring them a good job, or cut their taxes. I find it striking. I had thought that most all Americans would sound the tocsin at such behavior, and I'm heartsick that people seem so readily willing to become apologists for such language and behavior.


      During the election Trump promised better and cheaper medical coverage. The Republican plan for healthcare will introduce sharp cuts in economic support to the poor. Will Trump's supporters from rural districts in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and across the nation oppose these cuts and turn away from their support for Trump?


      JE comments:  So good to hear from my old friend John Recchiuti, a professor of history at the University of Mt Union.  Alliance, Ohio, in the hardscrabble eastern part of the state, is as good as any symbolic epicenter of the Trump Disenfranchised.  Like John R, I have observed that this constituency has no problem with Trump's mendacity, discounting it with a quick "Do you think Hillary is any better?"  But if the working poor suffer even more, how long will Alliance's patience hold out?  John and I are curious to find out.


      In the meantime, the markets have been languishing for the last few weeks.  Yesterday (March 21st) saw the sharpest declines of the year.  A "corrective" hiccup, or is the Trump Rally over?

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