Preparing For The Worst

Grind for December 18th, 2018
“I have good looking kids. Thank goodness my wife cheats on me.”
– Rodney Dangerfield


The Headline

President Trump is determined to get that wall built

The Grind

Donald Trump started talking about a border wall at the start of his presidential campaign and he’s never stopped.

Now, he says he will shut down the government if Congress doesn’t include $5 billion for the wall in the spending bill it must pass by December 21st.

“A lot of the wall is [already] built. It has been very effective,” said Trump during a meeting with lawmakers. “The only reason we have any percentage where people got through is because they walk and go around areas that are not built. [Illegal traffic] dropped virtually 100% in the areas where the wall is. It is very effective.”

Democratic leaders have offered to provide $1.6 billion for border security in 2019, but Trump says that’s not enough.

“The president has his own style and way of negotiating,” says Senator John Thune (R-SD). “The only thing I would say is, it’s just simple math: that you’ve got to get 60 votes in the Senate, and that’s going to require Democrats.”

Failure to pass a spending bill by December 21st will result in a partial shutdown. Agencies that could be forced to send employees home without pay include: the Interior, Commerce, Agriculture, Justice, Transportation, and State departments and NASA.

The shutdown would not affect HHS, Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, or the Pentagon.

The Details

Trump in recent days also suggested Mexico would help pay for the border wall by way of the new United States Mexico Canada Agreement.

“I often stated…Mexico is going to pay for the Wall,” tweeted Trump. “This has never changed. Our new deal with Mexico (and Canada), the USMCA, is so much better than the old, very costly & anti-USA NAFTA deal, that just by the money we save, MEXICO IS PAYING FOR THE WALL!”

As it stands, less than one third of the 2,000 mile border with Mexico has a security fence of any kind.

And while Trump has managed to boost funding for the DHS and oversee repairs on 31 miles of existing barriers, no progress has been made on a new wall. In the meantime, illegals and drugs continue to pour into the country.

During the 2018 budget year, CPB agents arrested nearly 400,000 people trying to cross the border. This is up from about 300,000 last year.

In 2017, CBP seized over 800,000 pounds of marijuana and more than 15,000 pounds of heroin from smugglers at the border.

Playing It Safe

The Headline

US pulls diplomats out of Congo ahead of presidential elections

The Grind

All non-emergency US government staff working in the DR Congo were ordered to leave the country last weekend ahead of a presidential election expected to turn violent.

The British government also advised citizens not to travel to Congo.

Campaigning for Congo’s election had been mostly peaceful until last week, when four protestors were killed during a clash with security forces.

Thousands of ballot boxes and voting machines were destroyed last Thursday during a fire in the capital city of Kinshasa.

Last month, the US embassy in Kinshasa closed for a week after a threat associated with the arrest of a group of Tanzanian fighters.

The Background

Congolese on December 23rd will visit polls to choose a replacement for outgoing President Joseph Kabila, who took over for the former president (his father) after his assassination in 2001.

Kabila was officially elected in 2006 and re-elected in 2011.

Elections have been delayed for two years following Kabila’s refusal to step down at the end of his term in December 2016.

Leading candidates in the election are Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary (endorsed by Kabila), Felix Tshisekedi (leader of the opposition), and Vital Kamerhe, who came in third place in the 2011 election.

Did you know… There are around 41,806 different spoken languages in the world today.