Video: President Trump’s Address & Democratic Party Response

Presented without further comment, President Trump’s address to the nation from Tuesday, 8 January 2019 and the Democratic Response by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

And the Democratic Response:


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Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire.

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144 thoughts on “Video: President Trump’s Address & Democratic Party Response

    • Trump used out of context facts* to cast dire warnings and instill fear, but did it in the blandest delivery style possible.

      So I’m not sure how it came across to non-committal normies.

      Pelosi and Schumer were fine, but basically uninteresting. But this entire crisis is fake (except to the extent its self inflicted) so I’m also not sure what else they could do.

      (Pelosi did seem to borrow AOC’s eyes for the evening, for some reason)

      *They weren’t quite either fully fake or alternative, but certainly tendentious.

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  1. Yet privately, Mr. Trump dismissed his own new strategy as pointless. In an off-the-record lunch with television anchors hours before the address, he made clear in blunt terms that he was not inclined to give the speech or go to Texas, but was talked into it by advisers, according to two people briefed on the discussion who asked not to be identified sharing details.

    “It’s not going to change a damn thing, but I’m still doing it,” Mr. Trump said of the border visit, according to one of the people, who was in the room. The trip was just a photo opportunity, he said. “But,” he added, gesturing at his communications aides, Bill Shine, Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Kellyanne Conway, “these people behind you say it’s worth it.”

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/08/us/politics/donald-trump-speech.html

    The man can’t even maintain kayfabe for a single day.

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  2. Trump has once again outplayed Pelosi and Schumer. They don’t have any cards play and they have no way to end the shutdown except by capitulating.

    McConnell and Lindsey Graham aren’t budging an inch, with Lindsay saying that giving in would be the end of the Republican party. There’s very little chance any bill without wall funding would even get voted on in the Senate, and virtually no chance of overriding a Presidential veto.

    Trump is not going to give in, although he would probably be willing to replace the 800,000 affected federal workers with illegal immigrants, saving the country maybe $25 billion (because illegals work much cheaper) and using the freed up money to build the wall. He’s cagey like that, and his supporters follow along. Them government folks is way overpaid anyways.

    I would bet that even if he used DoD or other funds for the wall, using his executive national security powers, he’d still leave the government shut down until Congress passes a bill reimbursing the raided budgets for the $5.7 billion, just to make his point. Last year we spent $3.75 billion a month on Afghanistan’s security, so it would be hard to argue that our own border security isn’t worth a tenth as much as Kandahar or Kabul’s.

    As this shutdown continues, he’ll probably explicitly link top Congressional Democrats to El Chapo Guzman, the Tijuana cartel, the Sinaloa cartel, M-19, FARC, and MS-13, and then say he’s asked the FBI to find out if drug lords are supplying free cartel coke at Nancy’s fundraisers. Then he’ll turn around and proudly take credit for reaching a deal where the narco-Columbian Cali cartel pays for the wall as a way of undercutting the rival Mexican cartels’ lower-cost delivery routes, and calling it a win-win for the American people.

    It’ll be more fun than the 2016 debate aftermath where he talked about blood shooting out of Megyn Kelly’s eyes “and her wherever.”

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    • The thing is, Congress can — and will, IMO — settle this without Trump. Congressional Republicans are starting to get the phone calls from their Republican governors and Republican state legislative leaders that the wheels are in the process of coming off the state budget. At some point, Congress critters from Mississippi start saying, “Getting the SNAP dollars flowing again is more important than the wall.” Critters from Iowa start saying, “Getting the ag loan dollars flowing again is more important than the wall.” Critters from the West start saying, “Getting the national parks and monuments open and cleaned up before tourist season is more important than the wall.”

      McConnell will fold and will pass the budget bill by voice vote (so no one’s on record). McCarthy and McConnell will tell Trump that they don’t have the votes to sustain a veto. Trump will likely let the budget become law without his signature rather than have a veto overridden.

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        • Some moron was saying “Trump would just fire them all and hire new ones”. Most people don’t understand what a shut-down means. The ATC training center is closed. The HR people that would post ads, conduct interviews, process hires? Home. They’re not just not at work. They’re not legally allowed to work.

          There’s actual laws about that. The anti-deficiency act has surprising teeth (I was required to take training on it for a few years) and given some of the truly odd decisions coming out the Executive over the shut-down, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few people heavily fined over violating it.

          Shut down is shut down. There is no one to hire new ATC (or TSA) employees, much less train them. There is no one to do the paperwork authorizing private entities to come in and handle it. You spend money without authorization from Congress and you best be darn sure you fall into the allowed boundaries.

          Of course, even stupider was the guy claiming they’d just bring in military ATC folks. Besides assuming that the military ATC is so identical to civilian that they could take over, there’s the question of sheer scale. The US Air Force has less than 20,000 pilots who average about 18 hours a month in the air. There are over 250,000 commercial and airline transport pilots in the US. They fly, on average, 100 hours a month. There’s something like close to 90,000 flights in the air each day in the US.

          Go ahead and roll the Navy, Army, and Marine ATC controllers (I’m sure they have some), ground everything the US military has that flies — and you’d probably be lucky to find a fifth the number of ATCs you’d need even under the current under-staffed numbers.

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          • Not to mention, IIRC, military ATC is airfield ATC, not TraCon, which handles everything beyond the borders of airfield ATC. So, for example, all the air over NYC & NJ that isn’t part of the approach and departure paths for LGA, JFK, NWR, and however many smaller airfields in the metro area is handled by TraCon. Even military flights, once they’ve departed the base ATC, talk to TraCon if they are in controlled airspace.

            If TraCon gets the flu, the military has nobody who would know how to fit that role without a lot of additional training (assuming they ahd the bodies to do so, which they don’t).

            Hell, you don’t even need them all to get sick. Just have them all be sick in a single major metro area.

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          • Also, even if Trump fired them all, and somehow justified forcing HR and trainers back to work as essential personnel, who exactly would they find to replace them?

            ATC is a very high stress job, and while it might attract applicants for the high pay, how do you attract good people to a job that requires a lot of work and provides NO PAYCHECK.

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      • Cain my mississippi congress critter is a full throated Trumpian. He gave a fact free well speech yesterday practically ordering Trump to build the wall. No matter how your or I see it, southern Republican politicians believe that poor people deserve to be poor, and as long as people of color are poorer then poor whites – which they are down here more often then not – they have no incentive to change.

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        • I may well be wrong. Still, when the Governor calls the Critter and says, “Look, if the federal SNAP dollars don’t arrive at the end of the month, I’ll have to start taking money from Ole Miss and roads to replace them, I’ve got no choice,” the Critter may have a different view. Or when the Governor says, “Dammit, Critter, you can run in your district on the wall. I have to run state-wide and this shutdown is killing me.”

          I have long said that there is a growing disconnect in the political parties between the national level and the state level. A couple of days ago the National Governors Association (29 R and 21 D, plus whatever the territories are) sent a letter to Trump and the Congress that said, reading between the lines a bit, “We’re dying here, turn the dollar spigot back on, settle your differences on things like the wall later.”

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      • 2

        “Getting the SNAP dollars flowing again is more important than the wall.” Critters from Iowa start saying, “Getting the ag loan dollars flowing again is more important than the wall.”

        The ag thing yeah, the SNAP thing not so much.

        Eta- and he’s already bending and/or breaking the rules to get some parks open.

        (A family friend was still able to do a Yellowstone snowmobile ride during the shutdown)

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        • I know my time on a state legislative budget staff has given me a skewed perspective, but let me describe the lens I’m looking through.

          The state legislature is back in session this month. The first thing the budget staff does is prepare supplemental budget bills. Revenue has changed from the forecasts, expenditures have changed in unexpected ways, and the budget has to be trued up to account for those things. What the staff has to produce by January 20th or so is a set of bills that provides a balanced budget and reflects all current state and federal laws. When I’m writing the bill that includes SNAP, I see that current federal law requires the state to continue paying benefits and administrative costs, but that there’s no federal appropriation. So: our approx $60M/month of payments continue, but $0/month of revenue, for seven months (from Dec until our fiscal year ends in June). A $420M shortfall. Some other agencies are experiencing the same thing. For purposes of discussion, assume a $1B total shortfall. Where do I find a billion dollars?

          Well, I can get a couple hundred million out of the reserve fund. Take good notes about where it goes, because that probably has to be paid back from next year’s budget. Sweep up all but the bare minimum from all the cash funds and transfer to the General Fund, maybe another hundred million. Can’t raise tax rates before November, tax rate hikes have to be approved during a general election. Where can I cut in the current budget? K-12 spending is protected by the state constitution. Courts and prisons are pretty much untouchable. Medicaid is in practice all-or-nothing, and if we drop out we bankrupt the long-term care industry in the state, and possibly the hospitals. In my state, most of the transportation budget is also protected, maybe we can get another hundred million. Still $600M short. Higher ed takes another one for the team.

          Colorado is not an atypical state. This same logic plays out in all of them. During the Great Recession, all but three states cut higher ed spending drastically. This is exactly the situation that left Bobby Jindal telling the people of Louisiana that LSU was going to have to take big budget cuts. In most states higher ed spending still hasn’t fully recovered. In states where transportation funding wasn’t protected, roads also got whacked.

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      • Trump did two things today:

        1. He walked out of a meeting and said “bye-bye” and than posted his usual nonsense on twitter about what a waste of time it was in his usual braying “jerkish” (Philip Roth’s term, not mine to describe Trump’s speech); and

        2. He cut off relief funds for California to fight wildfires.

        Now this could be a sign that the gig is up and he is getting desperate and doing last ditch efforts or that he is still refusing to budge and won’t move anytime soon. My semi-hot take is that Trump kind of (as much as he kind of knows anything) that the gig is up if gives in and he will be a dead man walking and this means indictment. He needs the shutdown to continue to delay this.

        Plus he is irredeemable.

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        • #2 is a false statement. He said maybe he should cut off FEMA funds for California fires. Fire fighting, as it turns out, is funded through BLM and USFS. FEMA helps people deal with the aftermath. That’s a point the articles I read made, as well as saying there’s not much chance that the courts will let Trump override Congress as to where FEMA dollars should go.

          Many years ago, Lee Iaccoca was asked, after he had turned Chrysler around, if he was interested in running for President. “President? No. It would drive me crazy. Come back and see me if there’s an opening for emperor.” Trump talks like he’s emperor.

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          • This is what I mean.
            Part of me is relieved that Trump is so staggeringly incompetent that his malice won’t be effective.

            But another part of me knows that out of the blistering Gatling gun of stupid, a few points of rage will find a path through the bureaucracy and hit some innocent targets.

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        • He’s showing us all what some of us already knew – that he was an incompetent man that talked more about making deals than actually doing, especially in situations where he was either equal or lesser than those he was negotiating with. Schumer and Pelosi will eat him alive because he’s a rank amateur. It’s why he’s mocked so much in NYC.

          He’s running government like his businesses – into the ground.

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  3. The key take away for me was that Trump was boring. Uninteresting. Not much to chatter about.

    That suggests to me how much he’s declined since taking office. His strength was showmanship. Now the guy wastes his first Presidential address on such a forgettable showing. He looks tired and weak.

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    • He’s good at rallies. Even with the incredibly low bar he was given for the debates, he was awful. He had an even lower bar for his first year’s worth of speeches (especially the SoTU) where the media was literally dying to be able to do a “Trump growing into the office” story and give him some positive press.

      Nothing.

      He does well in rallies though. And he does well in rallies for the same exact reason he agrees with the last person who spoke to him. Because he wants the adulation. In rallies, or in a conversation, he’ll basically throw out lines and he’ll just go stream-of-consciousness on whatever gets the best result. It’s because he doesn’t care what he’s saying, he’s just saying whatever gets him the applause.

      Same as with conversations. He’ll agree with you, so you’re happy and think he’s smart and the guy-in-charge and leave thinking “That Trump guys is the best and brightest”.

      TV and print? The feedback loop isn’t fast enough, and he has no grasp on how what he says sounds to people — he has to see their reaction, right on their faces. So even back in his heyday, he’d be sock-puppeting reporters and magazines, pretending he was someone else, to complain about their coverage. How dare they make him sound bad or say negative things — none of the people he’d talked to thought that.

      It’s a good technique to have in a salesman, if you can remember what you’re selling. Or ij a con man, if you remember what you’re after. Tell the person what they want to hear, make them certain you’re on their side, and they’ll open their wallets.

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  4. Part of me rejoices that Trump appears to be like a slowly deflating balloon, weak and ineffectual.
    Being the Strong Man who Gets Things Done was his signature claim, something that even we opponents feared.

    But another part of me laments that of course it isn’t just Trump. We have a dysfunctional political party in power, one which scorns governing and is hostile to democracy itself. They don’t have an alternative vision of governance.

    I mentioned Terry Gilliam, thinking of his movie “Brazil”, where the government was simultaneously hilariously incompetent and viciously cruel. This is actually the hallmark of all those 3rd world dictatorships we learned about in civics classes, where they can’t keep the electricity on but the president’s son can somehow embezzle billions into a Swiss bank account.

    It isn’t “bad ideology” or incorrect economic policy. It is a culture, one that winks at grift and corruption, where we give mulligans to people we know to be awful, but who will deliver the proper results to our tribe.

    I’m grateful that he didn’t declare martial law last night, but its like being grateful that an angry Billy Mumy only made my zipper fall down, instead of wishing me away to the cornfield. We have an unstable manchild wielding awesome power and about a third of Americans are fine with that.

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      • That may be but there aren’t any that the current GOP seems to hold. What positive agenda did they enact when they had full control of the government? Other than a tax cut to pay off their donor class paymasters and keep the campaign fund contributions rolling; bupkiss.

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        • I need to take a moment here before I continue and apologize to Chip, that the previous comment was built more ad hominem than it should have been.

          Whether by intention or not, there are many government positions not filled or deleted. If by intention, then it does show some indication of attempting to produce a smaller government. (Not that it would be successful in the end.)

          There have been two government shutdowns over conflicts about what the government was supposed to do about X political matter. This may bring at least some awareness in both factions that tangling social matter X in a social construct that can be shut down may not be a successful strategy. Whether that’s part of a positive agenda may not be wholly accepted as social objectivity, but likely is a existing position within that isn’t a straw man.

          Since the bulk of trade is with a nation of a singular social construct, and our economic social constructs are pretty disjointed and easily gamed, there have been some changes that appear at least in the short run to have changed positively some parameters.

          Whether for good or bad in the long economic term, is sifting through the tea leaves of one socialism against another to the point a outcome is a sketchy prediction at best. (with the exception of economic crisis and cascade failure that always occur with socialist construct of economics)

          As for taxes, they probably never should have been created as a social construct, and they were greatly resisted in this country since its founding. To say factions will get in power that will pick tax winners and losers is like saying the sky is blue. That Democrats pick their winners and losers through similar means makes it appear ssdd.

          If the government stays shut down a year we would see some ‘really different’ agenda positions bubble to the surface, but we all know that would never happen.

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          • Well sure, if I squint at an ice cream cone dropped on the sidewalk I can find meaning in the chaos too. That doesn’t mean the ice cream cone was created and marketed as sidewalk art let alone elected as same.

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              • Heh, if libertarians are left claiming Trump’s accidental incompetence and intentional corruption as virtuous service to their causes then they’re harder up than even I thought.

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                • I don’t know if it’s useful discussing libertarians anymore, I mean there may be a couple dozen remaining but most moved up the y-axis.

                  As for the rank and file GOP I’m sure they have their own social furniture, so Trump has done good in making room for their furniture while moving the democrats furniture around.

                  I mean if you come home one day and the couch is where the chair was and the chair is where the couch was it’s ‘Oh mer Gawd complete Chaos!’. Moreover if you can’t put it back because “Rules!!!*”, then yeah, complete Authoritarian Chaos.

                  That is even different than finding the checkbook and there are checks written for things you didn’t even want, “Chaos!!!”.

                  I mean that is a whole other agenda than the low y-axis thing of you coming home and finding no furniture and the checkbook burned(and bank account closed).

                  And just as a side note, Mcmaster was supposedly good at Uncertainty Strategy, and it appears Trump was just to much for him.

                  *you have seen the Supreme Court lately?

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                  • Part of the problem is that the Libertarian issues that used Libertarian arguments that resonated the most have more or less won.

                    Yay, gay marriage.
                    Yay, marijuana.

                    What Libertarian issues are nearest/dearest to everybody’s heart that are still out there?
                    The TSA?
                    BDS?
                    Government reticence when it comes to complying with FOIA requests?

                    Libertarians are no longer useful. Not even as foils.

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                  • Mmm well sure judges. It’s not like any other GOP president would have appointed different ones.

                    But I will happily agree that Trump reflects the vision of governance of his party and base pretty accurately. It’s just that vision also happens to be contradictory and incoherent standing primarily for simply opposition to what imagined Liberals want.

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                    • One problem with ‘Liberals’ these days is there are few Bright Lines that set them apart from ‘Socialists’. In the GOP socialists and communists may not look any different than one another.

                      I never heard of a Libertarian Nationalist until well after hearing about Social Democrats.

                      I think in these groupings there is a history of path dependency that shouldn’t be ignored.

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                      • Umm, American Liberals don’t want to abolish markets and nationalize the means or production and the Democratic Party most assuredly has no desire to do any such thing. Kind of a bright line wouldn’t you say? The avowed socialist candidate lost the nomination fight by a lot of votes in 2016, it wasn’t really even close. I mean that raving commie Obama’s big sin was instituting a national health insurance plan that was drawn up by Heritage. For some reason the real commies and socialists were very unimpressed.

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                        • Why sure, it’s easy for American Liberals too tell the differences between market liberals and commie liberals.

                          There may need to be discernment for non-liberals.

                          Hell everyone but Larken looks far left from where I stand. There are days I question him too.

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                                • I’d say the minimal state function should be at the level its electorate decides to place it at. And as Trumps own nomination (based very heavily on rejecting small government nostrums both on matters of immigration and safety nets) and electoral victory demonstrates; that level is considerably higher than a level right wingers on the internet think it should be.

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                                  • There is probably a issue wrapped up in the ‘electorate system’ that adapts to subjective value. That is if you do believe subjective value is an accurate framing of importance. The primary issue is that subjective value is not equivalent to social value, pre-igniting the various wars of social objectivity.

                                    I know you probably know all this, but the various context probably need to be covered. The old term about the right wing in reference to seating arrangements can drift considerably. The political compass defines boundaries that shouldn’t drift as much and probably gave clearer parting lines between factions (or non-factions).

                                    If you go by the seating arrangement definition, it is just fine that the right wing would want social constructs. They would either want to take over the lefts social furniture and adapt it to the way they want it to function, or they would destroy it and build what they wanted in its place. That is, if they didn’t build it in the first place(some folks assume the right ‘established’ the furniture from the beginning).

                                    In the political compass framework, if you desire to build social furniture as a faction, that is more collectivist than individualist, and is a left wing action.

                                    In theory, if you are a individual that only wants to control furniture, to control other individuals, that appears to be the authoritarian right.

                                    So there is a bit of parsing that has to happen. If ‘Right-wingers’ want to build social furniture, are they really right wingers? I could see if there was a desire to control the furniture that may be right wing, but to build stuff, that looks left wing. So statements like ‘a national health insurance plan that was drawn up by Heritage’ is kind of a questionable framing. Wanting to build a social construct of ‘strong military’ looks left wing. Attempting to build church within the state looks left wing.

                                    Even those way out far right ancaps that want to build ‘just enough government to protect my stuff’ still look left wing in the political compass framework.

                                    Then we get to factions. Are factions more a collective thing or a individual thing? Is the thing we call the GOP more a collective thing or a individualist thing?

                                    I mean it’s kind of interesting if the ‘right’ is trying to move furniture that it was forced to purchase. I don’t find it very interesting that a faction is doing collective things, protecting factional goods, building, or expanding collective things. That stuff is back to calling the sky blue.

                                    So there is jumping a LOT of context to say that the right is ‘rejecting small government’.

                                    (Geebus what the hell happened, my comments used to be like two damn sentences, Where is Kimmi at?)

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                                    • If I’m understanding your term for furniture then I think the chicken or egg argument would conclude that the right built it first. The habit of imposing traditional morality via state laws are far older than even the most venerable of the lefts safety net or welfare state constructs.

                                      If you define the right the way you do it works… except that if you define the right that way you’ve written off the overwhelming majority of political and voting actors and the “right” such as it is becomes a term reduced to only accurately describing a tiny minority of people and is virtually useless as a descriptor. The right by that definition is utterly politically powerless and has never had major influence on this country or its politics. What term, then, do you use to describe the republican but non-liberal groups or their right wing?

                                      I miss Kimmie too.

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                                      • Yeah, the chicken and the egg thing dates way back. I take it back to social tribes, tribal norms, religion and biological family units. I still can’t depart from the notion that it was social people that built the first social furniture. Maybe that is framing it wrong. Maybe it is more accurate to say that tribes were the first to build the social furniture. Either way it fills the constant statements about social objectivity that ‘man is a social/tribal animal’.

                                        There is a secondary effect that occurs with Rule-by-Force. If a individual is forced to buy furniture, then there is the expectation that that furniture is supposed to do what the want. It’s dragging would be uninvolved individualists into the fight.

                                        I don’t know how to quantify that. It would be a dire mistake to say those people are powerless or not much influence. They are the only ones in the room that can take a chainsaw to the couch and chair with no regrets. Those ‘tribal’ or ‘social’ folks will at least wince when the blade starts cutting their favorite couch.

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                                        • Sure, but to do that they’d first have some kind of ability to get their hands on the chainsaw and go after the furniture. So far they’ve had no luck at all at such. Their ostensible party has been happy to talk about cutting up the furniture, but only ends up being interested in cutting off the payments for the furniture and putting it on the credit card instead. The forthright honest furniture slashing constituency pulled, what, 3% last election and that was a historical best.

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                      • One problem with ‘Liberals’ these days is there are few Bright Lines that set them apart from ‘Socialists’. In the GOP socialists and communists may not look any different than one another.

                        I identify as liberal. I disagree.

                        What sets me apart from most libertarians is that while libertarians like to sell the virtues of capitalism, I’m actually a real world capitalist. Plus, I’ve probably forgotten more about healthcare than most of them know, especially those that equate the ACA to socialism.

                        Believe it or not, I actually have some expertise in something or maybe two things.

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                        • I have no problem with any of that.

                          There still remains that fuzzy part of social objectivity. Where is the line between a self identifying ‘liberal’ and a socialist?

                          Is it when the market/production is only 20% affected by social constructs that it is not socialism?

                          Where is the threshold? 49% affected, 52%?

                          Once we get that figured out from your viewpoint, if I go talk to that ‘liberal’ over there, will that threshold match their threshold.

                          If we talk to that ‘socialist’ over there who accepts 15%, what then?

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                              • It’s neither good or bad. It just is the way it is in order for it to work in the real world.

                                Both “good” and “bad” are individual value judgments. My good is as good as your bad, pun intended. Lenin’s good was good in Lenin’s eyes. Nicholas II’good was good in his eyes. Neither is good in mine.

                                But saying that industrial production or state backed currency are good or bad is meaningless. If you want to try to do things differently, like raise chickens, and pay others in chickens, you are free to do it. And they are free to ignore your chickens and go for those that pay in dollars.

                                It’s the marketplace of ideas, so to speak

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                                • Social objectivity statements have a helluva time in the social truth component. So the it really has to be the it before crossing over into the area of empirical objectivity.

                                  People do have differing truth components
                                  As to state backed currency being good or bad.

                                  People have differing beliefs about how much church should be in the state, or justice system.

                                  People have differing preferences of what a market should be and what social constructs are allowed to bend the market.

                                  Since we are talking value statements, is it more important to build an economy on social value or subjective value?

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                                  • Change a few things around here and this would almost fall right into social-justice-type critical theory. Lots of criticism and nothing more.

                                    Since we are talking value statements, is it more important to build an economy on social value or subjective value?

                                    That’s not even the right question.

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                              • It isn’t good or bad, it just is. Saying the market shouldn’t be impacted by the influence of social constructs is like saying a human being shouldn’t be impacted by human biology. It’s nonsensical.

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                                    • Libertarianism only works when you’re doing that high-trust/high-collaboration dance. When the music changes, Libertarians then get to choose between seeing the high-trust as the important part of that relationship or high-collaboration as the important part.

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                                      • I don’t follow. If we maintain individual sovereignty, we have a shot at maintaining subjective value and build our way out from there.

                                        If all we have is social, then social objectivity has to be as crystal clear as empirical objectivity, which never will happen.

                                        So high trust will never be high trust, because social truth will never be socially resolved. Collaboration will never be resolved because the truth component of what is collaboration will never be socially resolved.

                                        How are you logically getting passed all that?

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                                        • “If all we have”

                                          Dude, there’s an entire middle being excluded there.

                                          Additionally, you seem to be seeing this as an absolute kinda thing when you should be seeing it as relational/positional.

                                          While “high trust will never be high trust”, there is a difference between, oh, Denmark and Syria. If you see it as “sufficient” trust rather than “high”, does that change things?

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                                          • I don’t know how to answer your question. If we are more social than not social, and more tribal than not tribal, then sufficient trust becomes a tribal construct yes?

                                            We are dismissing subjective value of trust for social/tribal value right?

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                                            • I don’t know how you’re using those words.

                                              “Is NYC more social than Des Moines?” strikes me as a nonsense question.

                                              “Is it higher-trust than Des Moines?” isn’t one.

                                              As for tribalism… I’m not sure what it means to be more or less tribal.

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                                                • “Can you leave your bike on your porch?”
                                                  “Can you leave your front door unlocked?”
                                                  “Can you get an amazon delivery 3 minutes after you leave for work for the day and the package will still be sitting on your stoop when you get home even if you had to work late?”

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                                                    • Then ask them how it compares to this time last year. Then five years ago. Then ten.

                                                      (Ask them about other places they’ve lived.)

                                                      Ask them if they think it’s going to be better or worse this time last year.

                                                      Don’t see it as an absolute. See it as relational.

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                                                      • We may have to talk on this relational/positional thing some more.

                                                        These questions when directed at a singular person appear to be defining the individual construct about what the truth of what trust is for this person.

                                                        What is your next step?

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                                                          • Well that’s all fine and good. What is the next step in resolving the truth component in social objectivity.

                                                            I think the last issue was about trust. Saying that one city is higher in trust than another defining the individual construct about what the truth of what trust is for a person.

                                                            We can add ‘establish that we live in a society’ as a parameter.

                                                            What is the next step?

                                                            (I am trying to find the path you took to resolve this problem)

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                                                            • “truth”

                                                              Switch that for “measurability” and then we can talk.

                                                              Saying that one city is higher in trust than another defining the individual construct about what the truth of what trust is for a person.

                                                              Um, sure. And then you get to measure what trust is for each individual person and make comparisons between cities.

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                                                            • Currently can’t see your next comment, so responding here.

                                                              Will try measure for a while, i don’t think it remains social objectivity. It probably becomes something else.

                                                              How are you evaluating the combined individual constructs, averaging?

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                                                                • “tribal” was something I was using yesterday. Today with the relegation of individual truth, and using proximity for a measure, it’s now just “herd”.

                                                                  I guess it makes sense, the popular kids have been using terms like “herd immunity” and “sheepdog” for awhile now.

                                                                  You know, from a less than average philosopher to a pretty good philosopher, isn’t there a little twinge in your mind about replacing truth with measurability?

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                                                                  • isn’t there a little twinge in your mind about replacing truth with measurability?

                                                                    Not really.

                                                                    I still know the truth in my heart, no matter how measurable it is or isn’t.

                                                                    But I can’t expect for a second to persuade anyone else of what I know in my heart due to the truth that they know in their heart.

                                                                    I can only hope to persuade them with measurables. I can say “don’t take my word for it. Go out and measure it yourself!”

                                                                    And if it’s measurable, and if I measured it correctly, then they ought to be able to measure something similar if they measure it correctly. (Taking perspectivism into account beforehand, of course.)

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                                        • “Collaboration will never be resolved because the truth component of what is collaboration will never be socially resolved.”

                                          Perhaps we cannot measure collaboration, but we can measure what people do to defectors. Like, are defectors required to move to the woods and live like cavemen? Or do we see explanations of how the defection was only to be expected given the circumstances and it’s the defectee’s own fault really for acting like he did and it’s actually empowering to defect instead of collaborating and the future of society is all-defectors anyway so we should just get started early?

                                          “Trust” doesn’t always mean the person you’re dealing with; sometimes it means the whole rest of society.

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                          • There still remains that fuzzy part of social objectivity. Where is the line between a self identifying ‘liberal’ and a socialist?

                            If you better understood the diversity of positions on the Left, you would realize that there’s no need to ask such a question.

                            Going down the social constructivism rabbit hole is detrimental if not worthless if you’re trying to figure out the real world interactions between various arrangements.

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  5. Certainly wasn’t much new. Miller’s hand was so far up Trump’s ass that you could almost see his fingernails flashing when Trumps mouth moved. Nothing much interesting from Pelosi and Schumer either but what could they do with the info they had? I don’t know that this moves the needle much.

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  6. I’ve seen commenters elsewhere give lists of things which the business world desperately needs, which will begin to stop.

    Things like licensing and certifications, weights and measures, the sort of invisible but vital infrastructure links that make modern commerce possible.

    At some point the same corporate chiefs who picked up the phone last year and ordered the Senators to give them a tax cut, will order them to open the government.

    And they will meekly obey.

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    • To know what it would cost, you would have to find the costs locally to evaluate the three primary factors of time, quality and price. To do that you first would investigate the local conditions and what the levels of qualification local contractors can produce, or whether you need to bring in contractors to meet the quality levels that would be specified. I doubt this rando has done that leg work.

      It’s kind of weird that a Civil Engineer is saying that something which is to be built by the government is not designed. Maybe if it is in some type of preliminary stage, but if it is to the point of going out for construction bids, it is designed.

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      • If you want to erect a fence on your property, do you need to hire an engineer or architect to do it? No, because as long as the ground is common soil, you can just follow the local building codes, which engineers put together. Your fence isn’t really designed so much as simply built. You aren’t running stress calculations in individual members, or evaluating soil compaction for the given load, etc.

        A 30 foot wall, being set in a flat desert, can be roughly designed using some known quantities and quickly built. As soon, however, as you find yourself dealing with non-level terrain, or ground that is not the sand and clay of the desert, or terrain that has constant, or even regular, water flow, those section will have to be engineered to the local conditions. That means surveying, taking soil samples, doing soundings, etc. And then the wall, if it is to be built, will probably need additional, deeper or wider foundations, and if it’s going over something like, say, a wash, it will need drainage, or the next monsoon or hurricane will tear it out. And after EVERY storm, if the wall is still standing, the culverts will have to be cleaned out before the next one, or the area will flood and probably tear out that part of the wall.

        Etc, etc, etc…

        Read the article she links to, where the contractors who put up the 8 test sections admit that they aren’t getting paid for the prototypes, so they did the bare minimum needed to put something up.

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        • Huh, has anyone here seen a structural government project bid out without a set of engineered plans signed and sealed by Civil Engineer?

          Secondly, has anyone here seen a professional contractor bid over a set of structural government plans that weren’t signed and sealed?

          Usually there is a process for this to keep the ‘owner’, ‘engineer’ and ‘contractor’ on very defined legal ground.

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          • Of course not, but all that means is that the $5B price quote is fantasy. The cost will be many, many times that. Keep in mind that the government has currently spent over $7B on on something like 600 miles of just common fence.

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            • Yeah, I’ve seen several engineers who were thrown out of the guild because their designs were wrong. I have yet to see one tossed because of a bad estimate.

              Of course I have only seen few out of a hundred that were good at costing out a project.

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              • Again, what I hear everyone saying is that the wall will cost “only $5B”, and that is pocket change to the government. $5B is a fantasy, and low-balled by at least an order of magnitude, if not more. If the cost is $50B, or $500B, then what are we getting for that money? Exactly how secure does that make the border? Will the wall have gaps over rough terrain? Will it have gaps over washes and other water ways? How often does old Gaia take out sections just because she can? How much do we spend every year fixing those sections?

                Keep in mind that the wall will, by it’s very existence, encourage people to dream up ways to circumvent or breach it. And since bypassing the wall is something that will be worth money to people, the wall will be breached or circumvented as often and as regularly as money allows.

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    • I believe somewhere in Trump’s request for $5.7B it is noted that that amount is for a bit less than 250 miles of fence/wall, largely to replace existing smaller structures in high traffic areas.

      A number of the CE’s points are pretty obvious to anyone with some common sense who has hiked in southern Arizona/New Mexico during monsoon season. There are a number of places where you can’t build a fence, or a wall — you need a dam, with all the engineering and cost that entails. Chances are good that some of those dams will put states in violation of the various interstate and international water compacts.

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      • $5.7B / 234 miles is $4,600 a foot.

        Let’s say we’re spending half of that just on the steel, and use steel slats on 6″ centers, and go with the ridiculously strong choice of 8x2x1/4 rectangular tubing (8″ by 2″ with a 1/4″ thick wall). The gap between slats is 4 inches.. The steel costs slightly less than $24 a vertical foot per slat, so we can get 96 feet of slat for the $2,300 per horizontal foot budgeted amount. So two slats, each 48 feet long, which is handy because tubing is commonly sold in 24-foot sections, so an even two-sections per slat.

        Then we go nuts on the trench, digging it 8 feet deep and three feet wide, which near Yuma, according to the Foundation Excavation Estimator will cost $26,000 a mile. ($15,999 for excavation, $2,600 for backfill, $4,000 for rough grading, $2,200 for overhead, and $1,100 in profit). So that’s $5 a foot for the trench.

        The trench requires 0.9 cubic yards of concrete per foot, which costs about $95 installed. Toss in another $200 for erection and welding and concertina wire on top, and you’re looking at $2,600 a foot for a 40-foot high 8-inch thick steel barrier that’s anchored 8 feet deep.

        It’s easily doable, along with all the other things that go along with it.

        After all, if these arguments that the wall was essentially unbuildable were true, then who built the hundreds of miles of wall we already have, space aliens?

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        • That’s just your material and estimated labor costs. Now you have to factor in your logistics (getting men, materials, and equipment on site). Then factor in the fact that the majority of your wall is not going to be built in level, sandy soil, but up and down very rocky hills and mountains. At least, if you want it to be contiguous, it will be. Trenchers don’t climb so easily. Now factor in the hundreds, possibly thousands of flood washes along the border, where storm water from monsoons turns empty land into raging rivers. Each wash requires massive reinforcement, or enough drainage to let the water pass without getting clogged with debris. And if it’s open enough to prevent debris from getting caught, it’s open enough to let a person through, or you have to design something to prevent that, which adds cost.

          It’s not a case of it being impossible, it’s a cost benefit analysis. You are going to spend tens of billions of dollars (plus millions a year in maintenance and repair) for what? A campaign promise?

          As I said before, we already have something like 600+ miles of simple fence that cost over $7B to put in. The wall is going to easily eclipse that. For that much money, let’s just fix the immigration system so people want to come in legally through ports of entry. That way, when we catch someone out in the desert crossing the border, we can reasonably assume it because they are not just looking for a job mowing your grass.

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          • The alternative is to spend billions of dollars paying guys in uniforms to chase bands of illegals – forever, and then pays billions of dollars in free health care for everyone they didn’t catch.

            The wall is trivially easy to build and will cost less than we spend every two months trying to keep Afghanistan secure.

            You’re throwing up a lot of hand waving arguments, which if true would also mean it’s virtually impossible to maintain a road between any two cities because roads face all the same obstacles, in construction and maintenance, that a wall does, plus a whole lot more.

            So how do we have a road from Tuscon to Yuma? Surely it would be virtually impossible to build such a thing. How would we ever transport all the materials and labor needed to build roads out in the middle of nowhere? What would keep them from washing away in monsoons? If we did manage to build a road, wouldn’t we go bankrupt trying to maintain it?

            Such arguments don’t fly. We’re a country that builds 14,000 miles of road each year. 234 miles of wall is nothing, less than 2% of what we already build as a matter of course every year. We build across hills and through valleys. We cut mountains in half just to put a road in.

            And we already have hundreds of miles of wall built. It didn’t seem to be a problem.

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            • Clearly you are not actually reading what I write. And stop being a complete ass.

              I never said it was impossible, I said 2000 miles of border wall is going to cost a hell of a lot more than $5B. Putting up a wall across ~15% (234 miles?) of a border is waste of money unless the other 85% is utterly impassable by humans (hint, it’s not, if one is properly kitted out).

              And again, walls require engineering when the placement deviates from the standard. A wall on flat ground in known soil conditions requires no new engineering. Change the slope, or the soil conditions, or the drainage requirements, etc, and you need to call your engineers in.

              Hell, building a simple 2 lane asphalt road requires the expertise of an engineer on a regular basis. Granted almost all of their work is done before the first bulldozer is put on the job site, but they are there, pacing out the terrain with the survey crews, identifying locations where they will need to do their jobs. And they are on call during the construction, in case the work crews hit something unexpected (and they do, all the time).

              Construction management is a full time job for engineers, doesn’t matter if it’s a simple country lane or massive urban infrastructure project, they are there.

              As for roads that we have, we spend billions every year maintaining them (poorly, by the way, you should read the reports the ASCE puts out), but we get something significant for that cost through economic activity.

              What do we get from the wall? In my opinion, if it’s not complete, and if it’s not manned, it’s security theater. And I have a problem even thinking about paying $1 for any more security theater.

              ETA: As for the illegals, if we had a less asinine immigration process, or even if we had Bush’s Guest Worker Program, we’d have people entering through checkpoints, being registered and known to us. Then we could be more certain that the folks we catch out in the desert are up to no good.

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    • She’s young and inexperienced, as evidenced by her complaint that “He solicited bids from contractors, not engineers. This means it’s not been designed by professionals.”

      By that logic, none of our weapon systems or power systems were designed by professionals either.

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      • What are you smoking George, they’ve all been designed by engineers. Any weapon larger than a simple handgun or rifle has engineers designing it. Same with power systems, an engineer was involved somewhere.

        A contractor who erects a wall does not necessarily have to have an engineer signing the work, as long as the work conforms to building codes and standards. It’s when the project goes beyond the standards that engineers have to get involved, and that is when the cost will start to rapidly inflate.

        As for the Ad Hom, she’s a PE whose been in practice since 2006, and her degrees are from Rice and UIUC. Good schools and over a decade in practice does not make her a young, inexperienced engineer.

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        • All those weapons were designed by defense contractors, like Lockheed-Martin, Boeing, and General Dynamics. A contractor is a relationship (based on a contract), not a skill set. Many contractors are specifically engineering contractors, hired by contract to do engineering work.

          You can bet that she didn’t dig into the company profiles of the firms bidding on the wall to see how big their engineering staffs were, or whether they contracted out the engineering work.

          If the nation doesn’t have the expertise to build a wall, then were did all the roads come from? Who designed all our prisons (where the walls definitely work)? Who built the hundreds of miles of existing border wall?

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          • First off, assume a CE knows the difference between a contractor and an engineering firm. Here are the companies. Of the six, only one is an engineering firm (who specializes in electronic systems), the rest are construction contractors. They probably have engineers on staff, or on retainer, but…

            From the AZ central article:

            Government officials wanted all proposals submitted in 12 days. During that time, they added seven amendments to their original requests for proposals – which were already more than 130 pages – containing hundreds of answers to questions. Then, with hours before the deadline, they decided to give companies another week to submit bids but still limited all proposals to 10 pages. Each winner would be awarded up to $300 million over the next five years.

            12 days with 7 changes to the original RFP? Nobody engineered anything. I’ve been doing engineering long enough to know that 12 days is not enough time to do anything but ‘back of the envelope’ calculations. The walls they put up were walls they already knew how to build in conditions they would find at the test site. If an engineer was involved, it was to maybe kick out some ideas and to look for any obvious issues that would prevent the prototype from being built and staying upright.

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            • And just what engineering do you need to do? We build walls constantly, along with things that have walls, like massive precast concrete buildings for factories, shipping and distribution centers, and the like. We build massive walls for prisons, massive retaining walls along major highways, and massive walls just to separate housing developments from the massive highways. And of course we build walls around expensive housing developments.

              Walls are virtually a retail product, and you can get good price estimates just from online calculators provided by all the companies that do such work. The real engineering is already done and built into the wall products they sell. You want 40 foot precast walls? Hop online, pick a company, and select your options.

              Nobody in state or local government has a moment’s hesitation about building walls where ever they want a wall built, unless of course it’s to keep out Hondurans, in which case it’s suddenly just impossible to design and build wall. Why is that?

              These are just nonsense arguments by people who desperately don’t want a border wall built, even though Chuck, Nancy, and Hillary have all voted to build a border wall before.

              We simply cannot allow people to pour into the United States undetected, undocumented, unchecked… – Barack Obama.

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            • This exchange, combined with various forms of it I’ve seen around the web, exemplify why I say the GOP base has no interest in governance.
              Over at Hot Air, someone is theorizing ways to get around land owner refusals to sell their property, with various forms of brute force- building the wall so they are on the wrong side, etc.

              Actual governance, say, in constructing a road, is an exercise in politics, of working collectively to form a consensus, satisfying various interests, overcoming objections peacefully, and coordinating the efforts of large complex entities to achieve a single goal.

              The GOP at this moment is so singlemindedly fixated on symbolic victory, they are perfectly willing to abandon every previous principle like property rights, every democratic norm of consensus-shaping, in favor of the Strong Man On Horseback who can make the wall happen with an imperious wave of his hand and crush any rabble that gets in the way.

              We see it in the Syria decision, a rash impulsive act that later has to be walked back and blunted by the experienced actors in the State Department; We see it in petulant demand to withold emergency funds from California, his various trade war tantrums and of course the shutdown itself where the “emergency” is that Congress won’t give him what he wants.

              It isn’t just Trump, is the important thing. His base of voters believe that this is how governance works, by imperial decree and brute force.

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              • It is indeed disturbing. I may want governments to do significantly less than they currently do, but I still want the things are doing to be done properly (in fact, I want them to be done much more properly than they currently are).

                Government is a game played for extremely high stakes, and the price for incompetence and corruption are far too high.

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                • 12 days for a prototype and estimate. Which is my point. That is not enough time to get a good idea as to the cost. It’s long enough to know how much a standard wall the contractor knows how to build will cost, and multiple that by a given length.

                  It’s not enough time to do even a cursory survey of the terrain and identify places where the design of the wall will deviate from the standard, known quantity.

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                  • The prototype, 12 days is probably fine. Cost estimate of a prototype,12 days is probably fine.

                    5 billion worth of wall, 12 days sounds pretty damn short to be comprehensive. You would have to be pretty good to land your variables on that postage stamp.

                    (My ‘economic outrage meter’ broke awhile back when stacks of money where put on a airplane and sent to a nation that likely wishes ill will on this one.)

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          • All those weapons were designed by defense contractors, like Lockheed-Martin, Boeing, and General Dynamics. A contractor is a relationship (based on a contract), not a skill set. Many contractors are specifically engineering contractors, hired by contract to do engineering work.

            Please stop. You’re making yourself look extremely stupid to those of us that have the kind of real world experience to know that you’re talking out of your ass. The kind of audience you need for that isn’t on this site.

            Next time I ask I wont be so gentle.

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  7. From a 2004 commencement address:

    “Don’t give up. Don’t allow it to happen. If there’s a concrete wall in front of you, go through it. Go over it. Go around it. But get to the other side of that wall.” — Donald Trump

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