Patterico's Pontifications


Exactly Who Is Paying For The Promised Wall?

Filed under: General — Dana @ 2:06 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Clearly not Mexico…

According to this report, the Trump administration is going to take $3.6 billion in military construction projects to build the border wall:

Defense Secretary Mark Esper informed congressional leaders on Tuesday of the cash grab from a total of 127 military projects. Roughly half the money will come from funds previously dedicated to upgrading military bases abroad and the other half in the United States.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Esper told him some of the money will come from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in his home state of New York.

This is a continuation of pulling money from different resources to fund Trump’s border wall:

Trump declared a national emergency in February in order to divert $8 billion from various federal accounts to build a physical barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border, including a Treasury Department fund and Defense Department efforts to interdict illegal drugs.

Tuesday’s announcement comes on top of $2.5 billion the Pentagon already diverted from its budget toward the border barrier this spring over objections from leaders on the House and Senate Armed Services and Appropriations committees.

The big picture:

In total, the military construction budget will fund 175 miles of border wall — a combination of new barricades and improvements to existing structures. The earliest construction could begin in about 100 days, Elaine McCusker, the Pentagon’s acting comptroller, told reporters.

She added that the first projects are likely to begin on land owned by the military, including the Barry M. Goldwater Air Force Range along the border in Arizona.

The roster of 127 projects the Pentagon is targeting to pay for the border wall has been winnowed down from a much longer list of $12.9 billion worth of projects in dozens of states, as well as several locations overseas.

Note: “…the the military construction projects being raided do not include family housing, military barracks and projects that have already been awarded or are expected to be awarded in fiscal 2019.”

It’s ironic to raid the defense budget for a border wall, no? Especially as Trump has repeatedly promised voters that Mexico would pay for one hundred percent of it:

Of course Trump is desperate to get moving on all manner of border security. He promised a big, beautiful wall in 2016, and he is still trying to deliver. With a new campaign in swing, and border security still a central plank, the need to make serious progress on it becomes even more critical.

Interestingly, Brian Kilmeade of Fox News and Friends made a surprising admission this morning about Trump promising voters that Mexico would pay for the wall:

Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade admitted on Thursday morning that President Donald Trump “never should have said” Mexico would pay for his border wall, a promise he made constantly during his 2016 campaign.

During a segment about backlash to the Trump administration using Pentagon money to fund the project, Kilmeade first attempted to highlight the hypocrisy of “the people that could not care less, as President Obama’s administration starved the military year after year and watched it rot away.”

But then he pivoted to the “sensationalist headlines” over the move, including one from The Daily Beast that read, “Trump Raids Elementary Schools to Pay for Wall; Mexico Off Hook.”

“He’s right,” Kilmeade said in response to that headline—though it’s unclear who he meant by “he” in that sentence. “The president never should have said Mexico was going to pay for the wall, though he says they’re going to get it in fees at border crossings.”

Amusingly, just last week, President Trump praised Kilmeade’s performance on the job. This came after Trump’s recent denouncement of Fox News:

“You’re a solid, I used to say, you’re a solid six or maybe seven,” Trump said. “But you’re getting much better. You’re getting great.”

Just counting down the minutes until Trump takes back everything he said about Kilmeade in a Twitter rant, and throws him in the Fox doghouse with the other Fox losers who have drawn the President’s ire for their disloyalty. After he’s done tweeting about Alabama and the damn map, that is…

P.S. Trump said today that the administration is projecting that 500 miles of border wall will be completed by the end of next year (just after the election). In spite of Mexico not paying for it, 500 more miles of wall will certainly go a long way to appease Trump’s base and border hawks.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


Obama Lawyers Attempt to Steal Trademark

Filed under: General — JVW @ 12:17 pm

[guest post by JVW]

As we all know, Barack and Michelle Obama scored themselves somes really nice post-White House deals in various endeavors (by the way, Mr. Obama, we’re still waiting on you to publish your White House memoir for which you are to be so highly compensated). This foray into the nexus of Hollywood and media nicely encapsulates the trajectory of modern progressivism, and would be perfected if one (or both) of them can also finagle a part-time lecturing gig somewhere in academia. I for one would find it highly appropriate for Mr. Obama to commute via private jet from his Washington DC, Chicago, or Martha’s Vineyard home to somewhere like Yale or Princeton in order to lecture the rest of us on the necessity of reducing our green footprint. But becoming a media titan has a lot of moving parts, and it would seem that Team Obama intends to leave no stones unturned along the path.

To that end the Obama media company, christened Higher Ground Productions (just like the Stevie Wonder song!) filed for a trademark on their name, just like any other new business does. In this case, though, they found themselves denied by the Patent and Trademark Office due to an already trademarked e-book company called Higher Ground Enterprises who according to their website has been in business since 2008, the year that Barack Obama first won election to the Oval Office. From the looks of the website, which consists of a homepage with zero — count ’em, zero — links to subpages, Higher Ground Enterprises isn’t doing a whole lot of business these days. (On the other hand, perhaps business is so flush that they are simply no longer accepting online submissions and only taking new clients by referral.) Having come up against a trademark wall as a small business owner myself, there are three different ways to proceed. The first is that you can rename your business to something that hasn’t already been trademarked. The second is that you can contact the business and see about purchasing the trademark from them.

Team Obama is apparently choosing the third way: they are trying to lawyer the trademark away from Higher Ground Enterprises. Via Fox News, the attorney representing the e-book company says that Team Obama’s attorneys have filed a petition to have his client’s trademark cancelled due to non-usage. Team Obama is apparently basing its claim on a technicality of sorts, arguing that the e-book publisher was essentially defunct by the time that the Higher Ground Enterprises trademark was granted in 2016, and that the company operates in an “entertainment services” space which is distinct from Higher Ground Production’s focus on “media production services.” But Team Obama’s language from their original trademark filing, dug up by The Hollywood Reporter, seems to indicate a sense of entitlement to the name based upon the strength of the Obama brand and the exquisite taste of their audience [emphasis in all cases below added by me]:

“[T]he consumers of ‘media production services’ covered by the Application are likely to be highly sophisticated,” stated a letter on behalf of the Obamas’ production company to the Trademark Office. “Media production services are generally offered not to individual consumers but to commercial entities and professionals in their field. Indeed, Applicant has entered a deal with Netflix in connection with its media production services. Such customers, whether multi-billion-dollar media companies or smaller commercial entities in need of media production services, will exercise the height of care in selecting a media production company and are highly unlikely to be confused by a photographer or e-book publisher — particularly when the other party uses a distinguishable mark.”

In other words, our wealthy and highly-educated clientele won’t be confused by the similar names since the other party is — and here you can imagine them practically spitting out the words in a condescending tone — a photographer or e-book publisher. Left unaddressed by Team Obama’s patent attorneys is the question of whether Higher Ground Entertainment’s potential customers would likely be misdirected to a company that wants nothing to do with their ilk, and would you please not park your car in our visitor’s lot or mill about in our lobby.

I can’t help but think that the Barack Obama of Dreams of My Father and The Audacity of Hope would have been a little more sympathetic towards a small business that is being lawfared into submission by a multi-million dollar production company who works for a multi-billion dollar media giant, but I guess now that they are done with elections the Obamas can indulge their inner bullies. Why, if I were to draw a comparison to the behavior of other moguls I would say that their move is positively Trumpian.


Breaking News and Off-Topic Links [9-5-19]

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:29 am

I got nothing. I could write about Trump doctoring a hurricane prediction map with a Sharpie to bolster a stupid thing he said in a tweet, but nah.


This post is for everyone who wants to share a link to a breaking news story or to an interesting news story/blog post that is not related to a current post. Put your link in the comments.

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