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Let's all go to the grocery store, fill our carts with the finest of foodstuffs and roll those buggies right past the checkout line and out the door.

When the alarm goes off detecting our unscanned items, let's all simply announce: "These groceries will be paid for, indirectly, by the great new job I'm going to get in the vibrant Trump economy."

Obviously, I'm kidding.

The supermarket chains don't deserve that. They are entitled to hard currency.

The American people don't deserve it either. They are entitled to hard truth.

But recent polling suggests about a third of them will fall for Donald Trump's saying in a national address Tuesday night that Mexico will indeed pay for his border wall, just as he said it would, though, as he explains, through an indirect transaction stemming from his renegotiated trade agreement.

For one problem, the agreement hasn't been ratified.

For another, the only remotely quasi-sane basis for such an assertion is that, by the new agreement's provisions that might bring industries back from Mexico to the United States, the American economy would eventually be sufficiently stimulated to generate tax revenue offsetting the price tag on the wall.

It's called the Trump Accounting Method, which has produced a few bankruptcies over the years.

Trump had the utter audacity to go on national television Tuesday evening from the Oval Office and trivialize the presidency, the Oval Office, even television, and certainly us.

From the place where genuine national tragedies and emergencies have been addressed, he overstated and misstated his way through a puny sales job for his utter contrivance. He did it, per usual, merely to feed his ego and vanity, and his base, the latter of which he likes because, getting back to the bigger point, it feeds his ego and vanity.

Trump said there's a crisis at the southern border necessitating this wall, over which he's shut down the government.

But there isn't a crisis. There's less influx now than in 2000. More terrorist suspects have been stopped trying to enter from Canada than Mexico, and not many from either.

Anyway, if the point is that terrorists will sneak in absent a wall, why do we worry exclusively about the southern border?

Terrorists aren't stupid, just evil. There's probably a lot of handy sneaking places along the Canadian border.

Terrorism is fought with technology and spying. In cases when suspected terrorists are physically detained, it's almost always at our airports.

And Trump said opioids are flowing across the southern border. That's largely true. But they're not via immigrants. They're largely in undetectable mailings from China, to whom Trump's own opioid commission said we're losing the opioid fight.

Trump said Democrats favored the wall until he proposed it. On that one, the issue is height and length. Indeed, many congressional Democrats have supported money for a 700-mile fence. Trump is talking about a higher wall and for many more miles than that. But by Trump standards, that one soars with truthiness.

What must be remembered is that Trump--or at least his White House, largely in the person of Vice President Mike Pence--told Congress that the administration would accept a spending bill without money for the wall. But then, after the Senate passed it in good faith, Russ Limbaugh and Ann Coulter assailed Trump for being lily-livered, and he, being lily-livered, got scared of Rush and Ann and reneged.

Then, when Nancy Pelosi got back in as House speaker and directed her new House majority to pass that same measure and send it right back to the Senate, Mitch McConnell refused to bring up the bill he previously had ushered to passage.

Why? Because the president of his party is a madman, but a madman supported by a great many Republicans, and McConnell dare not cross the mighty madman.

The best way out of this sham of a jam, this shutdown, is for Trump to declare a national emergency, which there isn't, and assert the executive authority to get the wall built.

Then he can crow that he's won and sign the spending bill absent the wall money.

Government can reopen, and the litigation can begin over whether Trump has the authority. The matter will wend its way, probably expeditiously, to the U.S. Supreme Court.

There is some basis in law for Trump to be permitted such an action. But there is no basis for him to do it on transparent lies, of which the Supreme Court members would be aware.

They'll probably vote 5-4 with Chief Justice John Roberts going one way or the other. We'll have either part of a wall or a wall, and several wasted billions, to which we're well-accustomed.

The only solution to Trump is voting or convicting him out of office, whichever comes first.


John Brummett, whose column appears regularly in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, is a member of the Arkansas Writers' Hall of Fame. Email him at Read his @johnbrummett Twitter feed.

Editorial on 01/10/2019

Print Headline: JOHN BRUMMETT: So, about that wall ...

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