Demanding Action From The President

Grind for March 20th, 2019
“Energy begets energy.”

– Dolly Parton

Between A Rock And A Hard Place

The Headline

Border wall dispute continues as Trump vetoes Congressional resolution to terminate national emergency

The Grind

No matter which side you’re on, it seems clear that President Trump’s border wall project is doomed to fail.

Democrats of all stripes remain firm in their opposition to the wall, while GOP voters insist Trump hasn’t done enough to get it built.

Consider these facts:

— The US-Mexico border is nearly 2,000 miles long

— Each mile of new border wall costs about $25 million

— Only 111 miles have been built or are under construction

Trump requested $5.7 billion for the wall in his 2019 budget, but ended up with only $1.3 billion after a fight that triggered a 35-day government shutdown. This year, he’s asking for $8.6 billion.

The Details

In February, Trump declared a “national emergency” so that he could use funds from other sources to build the wall. Democrats said he couldn’t do that, and lawmakers passed a resolution to terminate the emergency.

Trump vetoed the resolution on Friday (March 15th) and announced plans to use $6.7 billion from the military and other sources to build the wall.

“Today I am vetoing this resolution,” said Trump. “Congress has the freedom to pass this resolution and I have the duty to veto it.”

Lawmakers do not have enough votes to override the veto.

What this means is the Trump Administration will proceed with its plans to spend $6.7 billion on the wall. Those plans will almost certainly be disrupted by liberal courts.

In the meantime, illegal immigration will continue unchecked. According to NPR, roughly 76,000 people attempted to cross the southern border in February.

“People hate the word invasion,” said Trump Friday. “But that’s what it is.”

Not So Fast

The Headline

In Algeria, protestors demand president’s resignation

The Grind

Hundreds of thousands of people gathered in Algiers Friday to demand the resignation of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

The protests, led mainly by students, began February 22nd and gained momentum two weeks later when Bouteflika cancelled a presidential vote scheduled for April 18th.

Bouteflika promised a “national conference” to carry out reforms and said new elections would be held by the end of the year.

The Background

Algeria gained its independence in 1962. The following year, Algerian President Ahmed Ben Bella selected Abdelaziz Bouteflika to serve in his administration as the minister of foreign affairs.

Ben Bella was overthrown in 1965 and replaced by Houari Boumediene – whom Bouteflika had met during his years as a soldier in the Army of National Liberation.

Bouteflika continued to serve as foreign minister under Boumediene and in1974 was named president of the UN General Assembly.

Bouteflika lost his prestige immediately following Boumediene’s death in 1978 and was hit with corruption charges that forced him to flee the country. He returned to the country in 1987 and was elected president in 1999.

Bouteflika is lauded for his role in ending the civil war in the ’90s and for restoring civilian rule over the military, but critics view him as a monarch. In 2008, he changed the country’s constitution to allow him to run for a third term.

“Bouteflika has focused on concentrating all powers in the hands of the president,” argues journalist Hacen Ouali. “He spent his time trying to weaken the army and state institutions, various ministries, and the national assembly.”

Bouteflika suffered a debilitating stroke in 2013 and today is confined to a wheelchair. He hasn’t addressed the public in seven years, but party leaders insist he remains mentally capable.

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