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Est. April 5, 2002
March 23, 2017 - Issue 691

How to Protect a 30-Foot Wall
That’s "AESTHETICALLY Pleasing"
One Side?


"The money Trump plans to spend on
his wall would be much better spent
on a few dozen other projects and programs
that actually benefit the people, instead of
his rich friends and there will be plenty of
them lined up to rake up the fence profits,
just as they are with Trumpcare, which
purports to replace Obamacare, but never will."

Trump call has gone out for proposals to build a wall that is 30 feet high and is “aesthetically pleasing” to the folks on the U.S. side and should be 1,933 miles long, just to keep out a dwindling number of brown people from the south from illegally entering the fading empire.

The specs for such a wall are almost laughable, except that’s what is expected to materialize from the foggy illusion that a wall will keep human beings bent on moving from one place to another either in or out. The wall is expected to prevent climbing to the top and over, prevent tunneling under or crashing through, and be tough enough to resist jack hammers and cutting tools.

The cost of the wall will be something to be dealt with below, but the idea of protecting the wall is something straight out of a Peter Sellers spoof. What is missing from the specs is oil. It needs boiling oil to keep the hordes from the ramparts. They missed the specs about the next pipeline to bring the oil (it probably should be cooking oil) to the wall in sufficient quantities to do the job. In fact, they missed the oil itself, as well. Question is: does the U.S. grow enough GMO canola oil to do the job?

There have been many examples of wall-building throughout history. There’s the Great Wall of China, there was Hadrian’s wall, the Berlin wall, and innumerable walls throughout history that were meant to keep enemies out or the people in. If they ever worked, it was because of the soldiers or other troops who guarded the walls and kept eternal watch. Without them, the walls might have worked for a time, but eventually the emperor or king or whomever found that paying armies to keep watch was too expensive and, as the empires faded, so did the watchers and the walls fell into disrepair.

Hadrian’s wall was built by the Roman Emperor Hadrian in A.D. 122, along Britain’s northwest and was meant to keep the Picts out of the conquered country. It was a stone wall that in later centuries was used to build castles, farms, houses, and churches. In the 18th and 19th Centuries, a conservation movement stopped the raiding of the construction materials to preserve the remains of the 73-mile wall, some of which is still visible today.

The Great Wall of China, according to, actually consists of numerous walls and fortifications, many running parallel to each other. It was conceived in the third century B.C. as a means of preventing incursions from barbarians into the empire. The Great Wall is said to be one of the most extensive construction projects ever completed and astronauts have said that it is one of the few man-made features that can be seen from space. notes: “Though the Great Wall never effectively prevented invaders from entering China, it came to function more as a psychological barrier between Chinese civilization and the world, and remains a powerful symbol of the country’s enduring strength.”

There was the Berlin Wall, which was built by East Germany in 1961, when it was part of the Soviet Union, mainly to keep people from moving permanently to West Berlin or West Germany. It worked well, especially since the border guards killed those who tried to escape. But that wall was opened by the people of East Germany and came down in 1989. Although it didn’t last as long as other walls, it did manage to nearly completely shut off the movement of people from the east to West Berlin. At last, there was no resistance by the government to the collective will of the people and the wall is a bad memory.

Such will be the story of Trump’s Wall, if it is ever built. The cost, according to the president’s staff will be somewhere between $12 billion and $21.6 billion, but estimates by others (including those who would do the actual construction) are much higher. Some figures are considerably higher, such as that of the Washington Post, which estimated about $26 billion. But, having seen how costs of public projects seem to escalate over many years, some observers are not putting a cap on the cost, what with cost overruns and other funds that routinely seem to slip out of sight.

No matter what they do with it, a thing of beauty it won’t be. A wall is a wall, and it’s not just the physical presence of the structure, it’s the psychological effect it has on the peoples on both sides. What does it say about a nation that attempts to shut out its nearest neighbors? No matter how long it will be before the wall starts to crumble or is taken down, it will be a reminder that U.S. chickens were coming home to roost and one administration was trying to stop the back and forth of citizens of both nations that has been going on for hundreds of years. Basically, it has been U.S. hegemony over this hemisphere that has caused the recent mass migration north.

Any wall that is built is merely a challenge to human beings. Somehow, they find a way around a given problem and Trump’s Wall won’t be any different. It can be put down six feet and built up to 50 feet high and people will find a way around or through or under it. At some time in the near future, there even might be a short-haul, low-altitude, pilotless drone service (there are drones being developed for every other purpose, it seems) to take the migrants to friendly locations in the frontier states. That would make the wall not only obsolete, but a monument to the folly of President Donald Trump.

There are a few people in the Trump Administration who realize that a wall is not the solution, without vast expenditures of money on personnel to patrol 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. One border Democratic U.S. representative declared Trump’s Wall to be a 14th Century solution to a 21st Century problem. There have been many attempts to control U.S.-Mexico border crossings over many decades, but they were abandoned or effectively abandoned because they didn’t work.

Such a wall will prove itself to be a disaster in so many ways: societal disruption, trade and finance problems, reduced employment, and environmental devastation, to name a few. The $500 billion in trade between the two nations each year produces millions of jobs in the U.S.

If Trump carries out his threat to charge high tariffs or taxes (or both) on Mexican goods, Americans will eventually pay those costs, since the Mexican government has said it will not pay for the wall under any condition. It has been reported that Mexico can trade with the European Union at no cost of tariffs or taxes, and they just might do that, to the detriment of those living on both sides of the frontier.

There are many programs that would be a benefit to U.S. citizens that could use the $26-$35 billion that a wall would cost that it seems a crime that anyone would think of spending so much money for what amounts to nothing. The money could be spent on health care, housing, education, food stamps, free lunches for school children, environmental protection, social programs and jobs for rural and inner city citizens, neighborhood medical clinics and many other worthy services. But Trump bragged about solving a problem during the presidential primaries and the general election, completely unaware that the migration from the south peaked about 10 years ago. That didn’t matter. It was a good issue and he was busy for a year telling his supporters (remember that he said “I love the poorly educated” little more than a year ago, while campaigning in Las Vegas) that the migrants were taking their jobs, even though that was another of his fantasies. He was responding to comments about low information voters who supported him and he did note that he “loved” highly educated supporters, as well as all of his other supporters.

Just this week, with the release of the Trump Wall specifications, there was another report put out by the New York Times Service headlined, “Rural areas of country brace for shortage of doctors.” The gist of it is that a large percentage of doctors are of foreign birth and many, if not most, are struggling with Trumpian immigration policies and student debt. Not many native-born American doctors are willing to work for a minimum number of years in remote areas of the west or in the inner cities of the most populous states. Foreign-born doctors take up the slack and they don’t do it to make a half-million dollars a year. Rather, they serve as casual or adjunct workers, as they are called in the still-fast-growing U.S. service industries. The reason that U.S. citizens won’t take those health care jobs is simply that they don’t pay enough for them to pay off their student loans and maintain a middle class life style.

The money Trump plans to spend on his wall would be much better spent on a few dozen other projects and programs that actually benefit the people, instead of his rich friends and there will be plenty of them lined up to rake up the fence profits, just as they are with Trumpcare, which purports to replace Obamacare, but never will. The rich boys and girls will take that money, too. He could loosen immigration laws for vitally needed doctors and subsidize their student debt.

When all is said and done, however, how does a president who doesn’t give much thought to anything but deal-making protect his wall? After a few years, when his $30 billion or $40 billion wall is built, what he’s going to have to do is hire tens of thousands more to patrol his fence and bring on the boiling oil by the pipeline-full (remembering that he likes the idea of castles). Considering that he was elected president, it’s likely that he could find a large number of Americans who would think this a fine idea…and even apply for one of those jobs. Columnist, John Funiciello, is a long-time former newspaper reporter and labor organizer, who lives in the Mohawk Valley of New York State. In addition to labor work, he is organizing family farmers as they struggle to stay on the land under enormous pressure from factory food producers and land developers. Contact Mr. Funiciello and BC.




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