Trump order to paint border wall black could drive up cost $500 million or more

[Trump’s] determination to have the steel bollards coated in black has fluctuated during the past several years, and military commanders and border officials believed as recently as last fall that they had finally talked him out of it. They consider the black paint unnecessary, costly and a significant long-term maintenance burden, and they left it out of the original U.S. Customs and Border Protection design specifications.

Trump has not let go of the idea, insisting that the dark color will enhance its forbidding appearance and leave the steel too hot to touch during summer months.

…The Post obtained a copy of painting estimates that federal contracting officials produced, and it shows costs ranging from $500 million for two coats of acrylic paint to more than $3 billion for a premium “powder coating” on the structure’s 30-foot steel bollards, the high end of the options the officials have identified.

…The White House has obtained about $15 billion for the project so far, two-thirds of which has been diverted from Defense Department construction funds and counternarcotics programs. CBP projections indicate the money will pay for approximately 731 miles of new barriers, but those estimates did not take into account the president’s painting plans.

…One official with knowledge of the plans said it wasn’t clear how the painting crews would operate on the Mexico side of the barrier, where only a narrow strip of land separates the two countries. Painters would potentially need to apply the black coating using a specialized boom long enough to extend up and over the barrier from the U.S. side.

…Last year, after Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) heavily promoted Fisher to the president as a cheaper option for building the border wall, Trump urged aides to give the firm a building contract. The North Dakota company and its owner have donated to Cramer and the president, and the company sued the government when its border wall bids were not accepted.

Trump order to paint border wall black could drive up cost $500 million or more – The Washington Post

Loser.

Former Green Beret takes responsibility for failed boat raid aimed at overthrowing Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro

Goudreau said 60 of his men were still on the ground and calls were being activated inside Venezuela, some of them fighting under the command of Venezuelan National Guardsman Capt. Antonio Sequea, who participated in a barracks revolt against Maduro a year ago.

None of their claims of an ongoing operation could be independently verified. But Goudreau said he hoped to join the rebels soon and invited Venezuelans and Maduro’s troops to join the would-be insurgency although there was no sign of any fighting in the capital or elsewhere as night fell.

In an interview later with Miami-based journalist Patricia Poleo, he provided a contradictory account of his activities and the support he claims to have once had — and then lost — from Juan Guaidó, the opposition leader recognized as Venezuela’s interim president by the U.S. and some 60 countries.

…The government’s claims that it had foiled a beach landing Sunday triggered a frenzy of confusing claims and counterclaims about the alleged plot. While Maduro’s allies said it had been backed by Guaidó, Colombia and the U.S., the opposition accused Maduro of fabricating the whole episode to distract attention from the country’s ongoing humanitarian crisis.

…The government’s claims that it had foiled a beach landing Sunday triggered a frenzy of confusing claims and counterclaims about the alleged plot. While Maduro’s allies said it had been backed by Guaidó, Colombia and the U.S., the opposition accused Maduro of fabricating the whole episode to distract attention from the country’s ongoing humanitarian crisis.

Former Green Beret takes responsibility for failed boat raid aimed at overthrowing Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro – Chicago Tribune

Huh?

Tribes Were Supposed To Get $8 Billion In COVID-19 Aid. They’ve Gotten $0.

Tribal governments were supposed to get $8 billion in direct emergency relief from the CARES Act, the $2 trillion COVID-19 stimulus bill that became law on March 27.

More than a month later, they haven’t gotten any of it.

Tribal communities are among the most vulnerable to a rapid and devastating spread of the coronavirus. They face some of the highest rates of health conditions like diabetes, heart disease and asthma, all of which leave them more susceptible to the virus. They are often in remote parts of the country, where it’s tough to quickly disseminate resources and where families live in small homes shared with elderly family members who are particularly at risk. And the Indian Health Service, which provides health care to nearly 3 million Native Americans, is already notoriously and chronically underfunded.

Put those pieces together and add to the situation that tribal governments still haven’t gotten their fair share of federal relief, and it’s not hard to imagine how quickly this could become a disaster.

Tribes Were Supposed To Get $8 Billion In COVID-19 Aid. They’ve Gotten $0. | HuffPost

digh…

In the Midst of the Coronavirus Pandemic, Construction Is Set to Resume on the Keystone Pipeline

So here’s the situation: in the middle of a pandemic, construction workers will move into isolated rural communities with already strained hospital resources. The “man camps” where many such workers in the industry live are associated with violence against women and other crimes, even in the best of times. Now, with the pandemic, many of the Native communities that live along the pipeline route fear for the worst. “This causes eerie memories for us with the infected smallpox blankets that were distributed to tribes intentionally,” Faith Spotted Eagle, a leader of the Yankton Sioux Tribe, said. (The coronavirus is already wreaking havoc on isolated reservations in other parts of the country, and the chronically underfunded Indian Health Service is struggling to meet the crisis.)

…I don’t know if corporations can be evil—I don’t think so, even if the Supreme Court insists on describing them as people. But this is capitalism at its most naked, willing to endanger people in the covid-19 crisis and to heat the earth in the climate crisis, all in search of a bit more profit. In a world running right now on bravery and love, it’s hard to imagine anything much darker.

In the Midst of the Coronavirus Pandemic, Construction Is Set to Resume on the Keystone Pipeline | The New Yorker

hmmmmm

Tribes secure big voting rights win in North Dakota

Residents of reservations will be able to register and vote this year even if they don’t comply with the state’s restrictive voter identification law, which requires voters to have an ID with a residential address, under an agreement announced late Thursday.

…The address requirement has disenfranchised thousands of people living on reservations, because the state does not assign street numbers to their homes.

…Under the new consent decree, the secretary of state has promised to ensure Native Americans may vote if they do not have a street address or don’t know what it is. (Some buildings on reservations have formal addresses but no signage, and almost all residents rely on post office boxes and have those numbers on their tribal IDs.)

…The state has maintained the rule was designed to deter voting fraud, but Native Americans see it as a straightforward bid to suppress their reliably Democratic vote.

…Native Americans constitute about 5 percent of the state’s population, making them a crucial voting bloc in close contests. Different tribes have been challenging the law in federal court for almost four years.

Tribes secure big voting rights win in  North Dakota – The Fulcrum

Progress.

When an Influx of French-Canadian Immigrants Struck Fear Into Americans

French Canadians had been pouring into states like Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, finding work in the region’s burgeoning industries. “Manufacturing New England, Puritan and homogeneous no longer, speaks a French patois,” she wrote.

Furthermore, Graffenreid continued, French Canadian workers huddled in “Little Canadas” of “hastily-constructed tenements,” in houses holding from three to 50 families, subsisting in conditions that were “a reproach to civilization,” while “inspiring fear and aversion in neighbors.”

…These Little Canadas, often wedged between a mill and a Catholic church, formed a cultural archipelago, outposts of Québec scattered throughout the Northeast in densely populated pockets. By 1900, one-tenth of New Englanders spoke French. And in the region’s many cotton mills, French Canadians made up 44 percent of the workforce—24 percent nationally—at a time when cotton remained a dominant industry.

French-Canadian workers often lived in overcrowded, company-owned tenements, while children as young as eight years old worked full shifts in the mills. Contemporary observers denounced the mill town squalor. When 44 French Canadian children died in Brunswick, Maine, during a six-month period in 1886, most from typhoid fever and diphtheria, local newspaper editor Albert G. Tenney investigated. He found tenements housing 500 people per acre, with outhouses that overflowed into the wells and basements.

…Some Fall River tenements, continued Hale, “do not compare favorably with old-time slave-quarters,” a not-so-distant memory in the 1890s.

Other immigrants also faced pitiable conditions, but the French Canadians were unique because they thought of themselves as Americans before they came to the U.S. …In their view, “American” was not a nationality, but a collection of “all the nationalities” living under the Stars and Stripes. In keeping with this understanding, they coined a new term for their people living in the U.S.: Franco-Americans.

….If naturalized citizens obeyed the laws, defended the flag, and worked for the general prosperity, he felt their duties were discharged—language, religion, and customs could remain in the private sphere. Gagnon’s concept of citizenship was based on Québec’s history, where French Canadians had maintained a distinct cultural identity despite British rule since 1763. The Franco-American elite expected their people to maintain their identity in the U.S. just as they had done in Canada.

…By the 1880s, elite American newspapers, including The New York Times, saw a sinister plot afoot. The Catholic Church, they said, had dispatched French Canadian workers southward in a bid to seize control of New England. Eventually, the theory went, Québec would sever its British ties and annex New England to a new nation-state called New France. Alarmists presented as evidence for the demographic threat the seemingly endless influx of immigrants across the northeastern border, coupled with the large family size of the Franco-Americans, where 10 or 12 children was common, and many more not unknown.

…”This is the avowed purpose of the secret society to which every adult French Canadian belongs.”

… In the mid-19th century, supporters of the Know Nothing movement led attacks on Catholic neighborhoods from New York City to Philadelphia. In New England, among other incidents, a Know Nothing-inspired mob burned a church where Irish and French Canadian Catholics met at Bath, Maine, in July 1854. In October of that year, Catholic priest John Bapst was assaulted, robbed, tarred and feathered, and driven out of Ellsworth, Maine. While the Know Nothings faded away, in the late 19th century the nativists regrouped as the American Protective Association, a nationwide anti-Catholic movement.

…The New York Times reported in 1881 that French-Canadian immigrants were “ignorant and unenterprising, subservient to the most bigoted class of Catholic priests in the world. … They care nothing for our free institutions, have no desire for civil or religious liberty or the benefits of education.”

…Amaron and Morehouse identified Protestantism with Americanism. For them, it was unthinkable that the U.S. could accommodate a variety of religious traditions and yet retain its political culture.

In retrospect, the fevered discourse about New England’s class of destitute factory workers reveals how little chattering classes in the U.S. knew their neighbors—a people whose presence in North America preceded Plymouth Rock.

…Talk of a French Canadian threat waned in the first years of the 20th century, as migration across the northeastern border slowed temporarily. This Victorian episode faded from memory only when U.S. fears were transferred to new subjects: the even more foreign-seeming Jewish and non-Protestant immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe, who, in the early 20th century, began to arrive in growing numbers on U.S. shores.

When an Influx of French-Canadian Immigrants Struck Fear Into Americans | History | Smithsonian Magazine

hmmm