Photo Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty. Front photo Ramon Espinosa/A.P.
Annals of Grifting Chap. 476: Hey, remember that stupid wall? Seems Trump's tax cut - billed as economic "rocket fuel" not the fat-cat gift it was - isn't the only nefarious scam he's been running. Despite fatuous boasts his "beautiful wall" to fix our imaginary national emergency is "very, very on its way" and "tremendous work is being done," the wall has dissolved into a dud, a chimera, an over-priced, underwhelming, laughably dysfunctional figment of his fevered dreams doggedly willed into existence for gullible rubes that in reality has suffered so many fails and lost so many court battles a recent headline touted, "The Judges Who See Through Trump's BS."
Last week, in its most recent drubbing, a federal judge blocked the theft of an "emergency" $1 billion from the Pentagon because, “The position that when Congress declines the Executive’s request to appropriate funds, the Executive nonetheless may simply find a way to spend those funds ‘without Congress’ does not square with the fundamental separation of powers principles dating back to the earliest days of our Republic.” On Wednesday, DOJ minions appealed - the ruling will "irreparably harm (the) public" by not letting them take "critical steps to stop the flow of illegal drugs" even though it's universally agreed the wall never would or could do that - even as the ACLU, riding the momentum, sued to block not just the money but the construction in the name of protected federal land.
The judge, and the ACLU, are not alone. Weighing requests from 20 state attorneys general and the the Sierra Club to likewise block Trump from using "emergency" funds, another judge just learned the $1.57 billion appropriated to date from Congress has only built 1.7 miles of fence (not wall). Like Trump casinos and steaks and vodka, the wall is a financial bust. He originally put costs at about $5 billion; cost estimates now veer from $37 to $920 million per mile, with totals ranging from $67 billion to $1.85 trillion, or just $1.8 trillion more than Trump said. There's the travesty of what that money could buy: 294,000 homes, 50,000 teachers, clean water, veterans' services, no more hungry kids, saving the planet. It's also an environmental disaster, locals don't want it, even the right-wing Brookings Institution says it won't work, and, umm, ladders.
Regardless, last weekend the uber patriots of We Build the Wall finally started to, digging in on private property in Sunland Park, N.M. to erect an $8 million half-mile of wall - 1,999.5 miles to go! - only to be slapped with a cease-and-desist order from city officials who said they'd failed to get multiple building permits. Veteran, triple amputee and alleged former grifter Brian Kolfage, who raised $22 million for the project, fumed online - "SUCK IT HATERS! Liberals trying to intimidate us! SOUND THE ALARM!" - charging officials "support open borders, sex slaves and illegal drugs... AMERICA FIRST! Not Mexican cartels!" though the governor and many others have said the idea that throwing up a random half-mile of fence will solve anything is "nonsense." On Thursday, work resumed; Kolfage said they're all good on permits, a claim the city refutes. To celebrate, Kolfage held a ribbon-cutting ceremony where he was joined by a 7-year-old Austin boy who raised $2,200 selling cocoa to help Trump build his wall; his MAGA parents said some people criticized them for "brainwashing" the boy, "but we call it parenting." And we call it entirely too much winning.