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Border show(s): a complete waste of air time

President Donald Trump
REUTERS/Carlos Barria
Is it possible that the current incumbent used to be a TV star?

Was it just me, or was that Donald, Chuck and Nancy show last night a complete waste of air time and overhyped rhetoric?

Of course, to me, Madame Speaker Pelosi and Mr. Majority Leader Schumer had the truer facts and the better arguments. But that’s almost certainly because I thought so before the show started. found a number of factual assertions from the president’s presentation that required, shall we say, clarification.


Could anyone have been persuaded of anything other than what they already believed about the wall and the shutdown and which team they are rooting for based on that half-hour of really bad television featuring no new facts, ideas or arguments about whether a border wall is a good or bad idea and whether the argument over that question is worth shutting down the federal government over (except, as we all know by now, “shutting down the federal government” is a pretty big exaggeration of what actually happens in these occasional episodes of “loggerheadism”)? I made that last word up but it refers to a situation in which opposing parties are at loggerheads and have no clue how to get out of that state.

Yikes. Not only a pointless dialogue of the deaf, but poorly performed. Is it possible that the current incumbent used to be a TV star? The best thing about his presentation was that he didn’t bring up the threat of an emergency declaration that might turn into a constitutional crisis. I seriously wonder whether our dear old Constitution is up to the strain that might bring.

My favorite was when Trump claimed to have changed his demand from a “concrete wall” to a “steel barrier” because that, he said, is what Democrats prefer. Hard to be more bipartisan that that, don’t you think? But do they thank him? No.


Comments (31)

  1. Submitted by Michael Rothman on 01/09/2019 - 09:28 am.

    Trump did compare the US to a large gated community. The wealthy have walls to protect their loved ones. Some analogy!

  2. Submitted by Brian Scholin on 01/09/2019 - 10:01 am.

    Really the only good theatre I saw last night was the Schumer line that our country’s symbol is the Statue of Liberty, not a 30 foot concrete wall. Anyone who has seen the SoL and thought about the inscription should have been touched by that line. It’s the only one I remember.

    • Submitted by Kurt Anderson on 01/10/2019 - 06:40 pm.

      But the statue, and the poem, face Europe. When it was erected, the Chinese exclusion law was in full effect, as Mr. Yick Wo ( learned to his bitterness. Which, I suppose, means that our ideals always have been colored by the perceptions and needs of the day. I hope that we can come up with a pragmatic expansion of our immigration policy that relieves some of the population and environmental pressure faced by other parts of the world, without disrupting the economic prospects of our own workers.

  3. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 01/09/2019 - 10:11 am.

    Having watched the “show” last night of both sides, I can’t disagree with the rhetorical statement in the headline. Yes, I wasted half an hour by watching. I also flipped from channel to channel for the after-show “analysis,” and while some were more entertaining than others (my personal preference was CNN, but the others had moments, too), I didn’t think any new ground was being explored.

    I must say that Mr. Trump’s efforts to project empathy (whether for the families of the cherry-picked crime victims, or of immigrant families), were laughably inadequate. Empathy for others is not a characteristic I associate with Donald Trump, though he may actually have some. He has spent the past few years vilifying virtually every individual or group that doesn’t agree with him, so he lacks credibility in trying to display any sort of tender feelings for people he doesn’t know.

    And, for someone who DOES have credibility for being “media-savvy,” Trum’s delivery, when actually sticking to what was obviously a script, was surprisingly wooden. He had a hard time saying some of the words, and it sometimes seemed like he was seeing the speech for the first time as he was delivering it.

    The fact-checkers, of course, found numerous holes in Trump’s speech, and for good reasons that have been laid out in the past 48 hours on numerous news programs. They also found a lesser number (but not zero) in the Pelosi-Schumer presentation afterward.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 01/09/2019 - 10:40 am.

      “And, for someone who DOES have credibility for being “media-savvy,” Trum’s delivery, when actually sticking to what was obviously a script, was surprisingly wooden.”

      I didn’t watch the speech for that reason. When he reads a speech that was written for him, and that requires him to stay within boundaries, he sounds like a third-grader reading a note of apology (“And I’m sorry I wrote ‘Teacher is a stinky head’ on the blackboard.”). That is distracting, to say the least.

    • Submitted by Brian Simon on 01/09/2019 - 01:04 pm.

      Personally, I recommend TPT/PBS as a more thoughtful source of coverage. And no ads! It may be of note that I don’t get cable & thus don’t have Fox, CNN, MSNBC, etc. as options. From what I can tell I’m not missing anything.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 01/09/2019 - 02:14 pm.

      When Bill Clinton, who grew up poor, says “I feel your pain” it’s believable.
      When Donald Trump, who was born with a four hundred thousand dollar golden spoon in his mouth says it, it’s purest BS.
      Trump may have grown up in a walled gated community on Lon Gisland; most Americans in the bottom 99% don’t share that experience.

  4. Submitted by Frank Phelan on 01/09/2019 - 10:22 am.

    This is all political theater. There is no crisis on the southern border. Net migration across the border is near zero, partly due to the fertility rate in Mexico having dropped.

    Most undocumented aliens come via airports and over stay their visas. Immigrants commit crime at lower rates than the native born.

    There has been an increase in asylum seekers, and it’s not against the law to seek asylum. A Christian nation welcomes asylum seekers, in accord with the admonitions of the Old Testament prophets. We’ve never told Cuban asylum seekers they have to go to a port of entry, that has just never been required.

    This all just such non-sense, designed to divert the masses. It’s working well.

    • Submitted by Constance Sullivan on 01/09/2019 - 12:20 pm.

      Is Trump’s theatrics working well to distract all of us? I don’t think so.

      National and local newspapers this morning were full of what looks to be the first solid proof that the Trump campaign colluded with the Kremlin in the 2016 Presidential campaign. This proof is coming in through slip-ups in legal cases (redaction errors by lawyers), or indictments far removed from Mueller, but there begins the process Trump fears most.

      One other good thing: Most news outlets began their “correcting Trump’s lies” on immigration and the border wall way before his speech began, and continued it afterward. Educating the public at large about his lies. I found that helpful.

      I also found it helpful that Schumer and Pelosi were allowed to rebut Trump’s lies, and provide a counter-argument: Let’s open the federal government first!

  5. Submitted by Kathleen Castrovinci on 01/09/2019 - 10:43 am.

    I am reminded by the Emma Lazurus poen, The New Colossus……….

    Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
    With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
    Here with our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
    A mighty woman with a torch, and her flame.
    Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
    Mother of Exiles. From her beaconed hand
    Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
    The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame
    “Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp” cries she
    With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore
    Send these, the homeless, tempest-toast to me,
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

    Apparently Donald Trump and Congressional Republicans forget that poem on the Statue of Liberty, that we are a land of immigrants, Legal or otherwise, who built this country from the early 17th century and beyond. That immigrants came from all over the world, bringing their cultures with them to incorporate into the fabric that is the United States.

    Those fleeing the horrendous political and economic conditions in Central America pose no detrimental threat. They want to breathe free, contribute to this country, and become Americans.

    • Submitted by Misty Martin on 01/09/2019 - 12:00 pm.

      I agree with both Mr. Phelan and Ms. Castrovinci. I wonder if the evangelicals would still support President Trump if they heard all the swear words that twitter had composed in a brief summary of same? Probably so. He stands for their party. Sad. I always try and vote for the candidate that I believe will be the best for our country, no matter the party. With six corporate bankruptcies (Chapter 11) under his (Trump) belt, I shudder to think of what will happen to our country and to Americans in general, if the funds do get approved for this wall of his. Our great, great, great grandchildren will still be paying for it when we’re all dead and gone, if the Lord tarries His coming, that is.

    • Submitted by Kurt Anderson on 01/10/2019 - 06:43 pm.

      See my comment, above. To which continent does the statue look? Is it possible to achieve a pragmatic and balanced expansion of our immigration policy?

      • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 01/11/2019 - 03:19 pm.

        Your comment above makes a good point about the fluidity of whom Americans consider to be desirable… but also, the statue is on an island in the upper bay of New York, right next to Ellis island, where many immigrants were processed upon entry to the US. Should the statue have it’s back turned to the sea? Facing inland?

        Plenty of ships full of European emigres were sent onward to South America, as well.

  6. Submitted by Pat Berg since 2011 on 01/09/2019 - 10:53 am.

    It wasn’t just you.

    My reaction as I watched last night:

  7. Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 01/09/2019 - 11:32 am.

    “In 2013, all 54 Senate Democrats (including Sen. Chuck Schumer) voted for legislation that provided $46 billion to build a physical barrier on the border.” Scott Walker

    Were these Democrats “immoral” then?

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 01/09/2019 - 05:08 pm.

      Is this the same physical barrier that Individual-1 is demanding? Or is it just a fence?

      I would also wonder why, having voted for one thing, a member of Congress is obligated for any further iteration of that thing. It’s like saying Republicans are forever obligated to vote for every megalomaniacal buffoon who hosts a TV show.

    • Submitted by Ray Schoch on 01/09/2019 - 06:34 pm.

      Possibly, though illegal immigration was significantly higher then, so perhaps the perception – mistaken though it might have been – was that the number of immigrants posed some sort of threat. If so, it still qualified as a hysterical response. In any case, we **have** a “physical barrier” across much of the border already (west of the Rio Grande, which is itself a significant barrier). It’s just not 30 feet high and made out of concrete.

      Gosh, I wonder what barrier we should erect to keep those dark-skinned nuclear physicists from India out of the country? Or Chinese grad students? Or the dreaded Canadians?

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 01/09/2019 - 09:57 pm.

      Scott Who?

    • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 01/10/2019 - 10:24 am.

      From Politico in 2013

      ….The Senate on Thursday passed the most monumental overhaul of
      U.S. immigration laws in a generation, which would clear the way for millions of undocumented residents to have a chance at citizenship, attract workers from all over the world and devote unprecedented resources for security along the U.S.-Mexico border.

      The vote was 68-32. Fourteen Republicans crossed the aisle to vote with all Democrats in favor. Thursday’s vote now puts the onus of immigration reform on the Republican-led House, where leaders have been resistant to the Senate legislation….

      (end quote)

      And it was torpedoed by the Republican House.

      But see, that is how adults govern.

      A deal is not “I must win and you must lose”.

      It is certainly not “I will shut down the government until you do what I want”.

      Or is that how you want the next Obama to rule ?

  8. Submitted by Jeff Michaels on 01/09/2019 - 11:58 am.

    Democrats and liberals react so negatively to Trump’s proposal because a wall represents the clear difference between capitalism and communism. Communists, liberals and other Big Government types had to put up the Berlin Wall to keep people in. Supporters of capitalism and conservatism have to put up a wall to keep people out.

    Case closed. You lose.

    • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 01/09/2019 - 05:24 pm.

      This has nothing to do with the Berlin Wall.

      Just who would be kept out by more walls? Net migration across the southern border is zero. I know that’s contrary to the images of hoards of Scary Brown People swarming across the border, but those images are fostered by politicians, acting much like the Wizard of Oz behind his curtain.

      There has been an increase of people seeking asylum, which is legal. Maybe they’ve gotten word from evangelicals that this is a Christian nation, one that lives by Isaiah’s admonition that we should welcome the alien in our midst, as we were once aliens in the land of Egypt. You know, the Jerry Falwell Jr. types that have gone all in for Don Trump.

    • Submitted by Ray Schoch on 01/09/2019 - 06:24 pm.

      That might be – there’s a lot of competition, so it’s not a certainty – the strangest, most nonsensical “argument” I’ve seen posted in a MinnPost comment. “Liberals” are responsible for the Berlin wall? Prove it, and in doing so, let’s see how you define “liberals.”. While you’re at it, I’d like to see some evidence that refugees fleeing Nicaragua are coming to the United States because of “capitalism and conservatism.” My guess is that relative safety is likely higher on their priority list.

      In the meantime, keep in mind that no wall ever built has succeeded over the long term. Not in Berlin, not in China, not in Jerusalem, not in Rome.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 01/09/2019 - 09:58 pm.

      There were no ‘liberals’ in the Soviet Union or East Germany.

    • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 01/10/2019 - 10:31 am.

      Most people in the country illegally have over-stayed their visa.

      Most drugs are brought into the country on commercial vehicles, ships, submarines, planes and US mail.

      Most terrorism suspects are apprehended via TSA at airports or are not apprehended and radicalize via the internets–with the planners never entering the US.

      What would a wall do for any of those trespasses ?

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 01/10/2019 - 01:06 pm.

      No, the wall represents the difference between logic and reason and nonsense. Anyone who thinks building Trump’s wall will accomplish anything at all is a fool.

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 01/10/2019 - 02:48 pm.

        On the contrary–it will accomplish a lot!

        I read a post this morning by an engineer who said that the wall will not only mess with the ecology of the area, it will interfere with the land’s natural ability to drain after flash flooding. Furthermore, it will generate a lot of economic activity for government contracting specialists, since the cost estimates are unrealistically low. Change orders will be flowing like ethnic slurs at a Steve King re-election rally.

        The prototypes are also either impossible to build, or would be ineffective. When the covfefe hits the fan and the whole thing comes crashing down, we will have the perfect place for the Donald J. Trump Memorial. The crowning feature will be a cheesy gilt statue of Individual-1: “Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!”

        So not nothing.

  9. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 01/09/2019 - 02:32 pm.

    Pence came out yesterday afternoon trying to sell Trumps big speech and fumbled the ball. I think before Pence’s charade is over his presidential dreams will be over too. Before last night’s speech Trump was going to call for a “National Crisis”. In Trump’s speech he talked of a crisis but not a national crisis. I think we have one crisis and he lives in the White House.

    Trump and his 8 minute speech was a waste of time. A man without any credibility who freely and easily tells lies wants me to filter through his garbage and figure out what is the truth. It isn’t going to happen. There isn’t much worse than trump reading words written by someone else. They are trying to soften Trump and make him look believable. It didn’t work. You can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig. Just like Trump’s selling of the “Caravan” before the last election and the day after the election not a word about the “Caravan”. We need a comprehensive Immigration policy and upgrades at our southern border but we don’t need a phony wall. I have not seen any pesos from the Mexican Government that Trump promised. Trump can’t put his folly on the US citizens because he can’t get Mexico to pay for the wall. Trump has cornered himself and now he is using fear as his sell job. Of course Don Jr. jumped in and helped his dad by talking about the wall. He said, “It is just like the fence at the zoo which keeps you separated from the animals”. The entire Trump clan is tone deaf.

    • Submitted by ian wade on 01/10/2019 - 01:30 pm.

      After seeing Pence on the national stage, there’s no mystery why he was hurtling towards political obscurity until Trump threw him a lifeline.

  10. Submitted by Patrick Tice on 01/09/2019 - 05:23 pm.

    Sadly, I had to miss the whole thing. I had to give my goldfish a bath.

  11. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 01/10/2019 - 11:54 am.

    Steel slat wall meets cordless saw ($39.99–Harbor Freight) or acetylene torch set ($329.99–Harbor Freight) or gas cut-off saw ($ 825 -free shipping! Husquavarna–Amazon).

    Which will win ?

    Hmm–slat wall loses, bigly

    Steel slat wall prototype sawed through in DHS test, report says

    • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 01/10/2019 - 12:02 pm.

      And for those 30 foot concrete walls–32 foot extension ladder ($ 228.12-Lowes). For the barbed wire at top–high leverage cable cutter ($ 32.98–Lowes)

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