Sunday, December 30, 2018

My Sunday Feeling

"I am in the Oval Office & just gave out a 115 mile contract for another large section of the Wall in Texas."

         The Winner of the Electoral College(WOTEC) Christmas Eve on Twitter

No he didn't.  He can't.  

Maybe Trump is just indulging his usual penchant for hyperbole which is a fancy word for lying.  Of which he is setting a record that Stalin would have envied.  

But the only people that can request and/or accept bids on government contracts are Contracting Officers of the United States of America.  Trump is not a CO as they are referred to.  And I know something about this having been in front of the Board of Contract Appeals-a fun bunch presiding over an equally amusing area of the law-three or four times.  

Now, insofar as WOTEC's whoppers go, this is relatively minor.  After all, the AP fact checked (And why do we even refer to it thusly anymore?  Why not "lie check?") his statement and found that CONTRACTING OFFICERS for Homeland Security and the United States Army Corps of Engineers (the latter of which really knows what they are doing) had indeed awarded contracts to build a section of a "wall/fence/Star Trek force field/whatever euphemism they are using to make-it-more-palatable-to-the-Democrats-who-are-fixing-to-shut-down-the-party" down there on the border.  So he was at least in spitting distance of verifiable reality.  

But WOTEC has no more legal authority to "give out" contracts than you or I do. Unless Gentle Reader happens to be a Contracting Officer of the United States of America who has stumbled across these chronicles while looking online for the Federal Acquisition Regulations or FARS as us government contract types call them.  To whom I say "welcome."  And "why aren't you furloughed like everybody else?"

Why do I even care?  Certainly, the perfervid types that populate his "base" who mostly reside within the states that thought firing on Fort Sumter was a damn good idea at the time do not.  And so while I think such examples of truth bending on the part of WOTEC present teachable moments, I have no illusion that these words will mean a rat's ass to those that have drunk the Kool-Aid and do not care to know how their government works.  And that saddens me.  

But here's something else for the Trumpers to consider.  There is a damn good chance the Wall hoped for by the xenophobes in that orbit may not get built.  At least not the Hadrian's Wall thing envisioned by those who never heard of Hadrian or his particular wall.  In the first place, and not to overstate the obvious, there is a new sheriff in town January 1.  If WOTEC doesn't get his 5 billion before the Democrats take the Oath, and it looks like he will not, he ain't gonna get it.  Because-and here's another fun fact about how government works, spending bills originate in the House. Which is now awash in blue.

Secondly, and nobody ever seems to think about this very much, but the Government is going to have to acquire title to much of the land upon which the wall would be situated  through its power of Eminent Domain.  Which means litigation with the land owners over what constitutes "just compensation" for the taking of their property.  The 5th Amendment is your friend.  Look it up. And I don't know what the Chief Judges in the Federal Courts presiding over these cases are doing, but Judge Miller here in the Eastern District of Arkansas has stayed all civil cases in our District due to-guess what?-the shutdown.  Wouldn't surprise me if civil cases are stayed in the Courts along the proposed Wall as well. 
Criminal cases must go on because folks charged with criminal have the right to a "speedy trial."  The 6th Amendment is your friend if you are a criminal.  Look it up.

Finally, if there is indeed a just God, which most of the time I feel can be ascertained by coin toss as much as consulting scripture, He or She will smile upon us and ensure that WOTEC is returned to civilian life in 2020 where he can start his own cable news network. When he is not dodging service of process or giving depositions, that is.

And probably going through a divorce if the old adage regarding the scorned wife is still on the books.  

But I think it highly improbable  that the next President, be they Red or Blue is going to be much inclined to throw 5 billion dollars at a mostly symbolic problem.  Especially given the headaches he or she are likely to inherent from the former occupant of the Oval Office.

Monday is New Year's Eve.  For God's sake use some sense out there.  Best to be home before 10 if that late.  The cops will be looking for folks to take downtown.  If you don't believe me there are any of a number of people of my acquaintance that can explain it all for you.  

Seriously.  Be careful.  I'm off to Tennessee for a few days.

See you next year.  

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