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Nudge, nudge, wink, wink – or Trump was just joking

01/09/2019

A Texas woman living on the US-Mexico border fears the government could seize her land to build President Trump’s border wall. CNN’s Gary Tuchman reports.

Earlier this week there was a report in The Washington Post

President Trump is so eager to complete hundreds of miles of border fence ahead of the 2020 presidential election that he has directed aides to fast-track billions of dollars’ worth of construction contracts, aggressively seize private land and disregard environmental rules, according to current and former officials involved with the project.

He also has told worried subordinates that he will pardon them of any potential wrongdoing should they have to break laws to get the barriers built quickly, those officials said. MORE AT LINK

Plus this further article on how  pardon promises are potentially a breach of federal corruption statutes

This week, President Trump reportedly told aides that he wants to expedite construction of his border wall and that if they have to break any laws to get it done, not to worry: He will pardon them. Democratic members of Congress vowed to investigate this alleged abuse of power. The White House quickly responded that Trump was just joking, the apparent go-to defense whenever the president is caught saying something outrageous or potentially criminal. But, if serious, Trump’s offer would be more than a flagrant abuse of the pardon power — it could also violate federal bribery law. That has implications not only for impeachment inquiries, but also for potential future criminal proceedings. MORE AT LINK

Joking, I call BS – this was much more like

This caused me to remember this article by Richard Parker from some months ago (Feb 2019) in The Atlantic – Why the Wall Will Never Rise:Trump is no match for the Texas border barons. At the start of the article Parker wrote

If President Donald Trump ever gets the funding for his long-promised wall, he will have to plot a course through Texas. But he will never make it all the way through here, the 800-mile stretch from Laredo to nearly El Paso. There will be no “concrete structure from sea to sea,” as the president once pledged. Taking this land would constitute an assault on private property and require a veritable army of lawyers, who, I can assure you, are no match for the state’s powerful border barons.

Later Parker writes:

Although many big ranchers and landowners backed Trump, they are conservative in the most traditional senses. They actually believe in small government, free enterprise, free trade, and private property. And nobody puts a wall through their brush. These men and women are a pretty private bunch, too. You won’t find their names in the newspaper screaming bloody murder.

But they know how to make their presence felt. Last year, a couple of dozen border barons from the Laredo region summoned local politicians, cops, and representatives from the Customs and Border Patrol. It was a private, even secret event—no cameras, no press. According to Steve LaMantia, who led the group, the landowners delivered a warning to the feds not to build a wall through their land. To underscore their point, they held another meeting. And just in case it wasn’t crystal clear, they’re going to have another one.

“The general sentiment—to a person—is that everybody is in favor of additional border security,” said LaMantia. But seizing land through eminent domain? “That is diametrically opposed by everybody, from Zapata to Del Rio.”

These people in other words have influence in Texas and beyond.Plus, there are other Texas landowners who may well join with the border barons as Parker notes

The land beyond the park,(Big Bend National Park) en route from Presidio to El Paso, is owned by still more land barons, of a different sort. Most didn’t come by their land through royal land grants; some don’t even have a long family history here. But these owners are often rich, influential big-city dwellers—lots of bankers, lawyers, and doctors, with lots of clout in Congress. And they don’t want Trump’s wall either. They can also easily help bankroll legal challenges.

“The closer people get to the border, the less enchanted they are with the wall,” says David Yeates, the CEO of the Texas Wildlife Association, a San Antonio–based association of 10,000 large landowners who own about a quarter of Texas. “And we are a private-property state.

“Border security is critical,” Yeats continues. “But there’s a big difference between a wall and security.” Like everybody else I spoke to, Yeats points to the same solution the polls and Democrats identify: more border security, including agents, patrols, drones, and sensors.

The whole article is well worth a read. Parker finishes with

Trump, like most other people in Washington, doesn’t know what he’s getting into down here.

He doesn’t know his history and so certainly doesn’t know his Texas history. But perhaps someone should tell him that the most popular symbol of resistance here is the Gonzales battle flag. Hastily painted on cloth in 1835 by Texan rebels, it was hoisted at the outset of revolution against Mexico. The rebels dared the Mexican army to seize back an artillery piece with these words: “Come and take it.”

So, yes, everything down here sticks, stings, or bites. And if Trump wants this land for his wall, he’ll have to come and take it.

Finally there is this video from The Atlantic

Time for Congress to act, now!

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