WTF Community

Day 718

Updated 1/7/2019 2:32 PM PST

1/ The White House will order the IRS to pay out income tax refunds even though almost 90 percent of its workforce is not working due to the ongoing government shutdown. Some 12.5 percent of IRS employees are still working through the shutdown because their jobs are classified as serving "in the protection of life and property," but the agency's own shutdown contingency plan only extended until Dec. 31 and has since expired. Some IRS employees are still working to implement the sweeping Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, adding to the bureaucratic backlog as the partial government shutdown dragged into day 17. (ABC News / New York Times)

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Here’s the real math on the number of immigrants who might be terrorists at the southern border - that number is 6, and not the 4000 number that has been tossed around.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection encountered only six immigrants at ports of entry on the U.S-Mexico border in the first half of fiscal year 2018 whose names were on a federal government list of known or suspected terrorists, according to CBP data provided to Congress in May 2018 and obtained by NBC News.

The low number contradicts statements by Trump administration officials, including White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, who said Friday that CBP stopped nearly 4,000 known or suspected terrorists from crossing the southern border in fiscal year 2018.

Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen told reporters on Monday the exact number, which NBC News is first to report, was classified but that she was working on making it public. The data was the latest set on this topic provided to Congress. It is possible that the data was updated since that time, but not provided to Congress.


On Thursday, Democrats were sworn in as the new majority in the House of Representatives. They passed bills to reopen the government without addressing the wall. But Republicans didn’t join them. Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the House Republican leader, said the Democratic bills were pointless because Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, wouldn’t let his colleagues vote on them. “Leader McConnell has said he’s not bringing anything up that’s not going to become law,” said McCarthy. Rep. Liz Cheney, the chair of the House Republican Conference, dismissed the Democrats’ legislation as a stunt because “it won’t get taken up in the Senate.”

Why won’t McConnell take up these bills? Because Trump won’t sign them. “The Senate will not waste its time” on any bill that “the president will not sign,” McConnell decreed on Wednesday. Two days later, McConnell stipulated, “Any viable compromise will need to carry the endorsement of the president before it receives a vote in either house of Congress.” The Democrats’ legislation to reopen government was just “time-wasting,” said McConnell, because the administration had already said Trump would veto it.

So McCarthy has passed the buck to McConnell, and McConnell has passed the buck to Trump. McConnell says the matter is out of his hands, because you can’t enact laws without the president’s consent. On Friday, McConnell lectured Democrats in civics. “Making laws takes a presidential signature,” he told them. “We all learned that in grade school.” Other Republican senators agree. Unless “the president agrees to sign a bill,” says Sen. Susan Collins, it “won’t become law.”

That’s not true. Article 1, Section 7 of the Constitution says bills passed by the House and Senate must go to the president. At that point, they can become law in either of two ways. One is that the president signs them. The other is that he vetoes them, but they’re “repassed by two thirds” of each chamber.

The Senate has already proved it has enough votes to override a veto. On Dec. 19, McConnell brought up legislation to fund the government through February, with no money for the wall. Senators passed that bill by voice vote and without dissent. Then Trump made a stink about the wall, and the House—at that point still controlled by Republicans—added wall money to the bill. Senate Democrats refused to support the wall money, and that produced the current standoff. When House Democrats took over and brought up legislation similar to what the Senate had passed—money to fund the government but not the wall—234 Democrats voted yes. To produce a two-thirds majority, House Republicans only need to supply 56 more votes. That’s less than 30 percent of their caucus.


RE posting here…
T is digging in for PR offensive - going to the Southern border and giving a televised address tomorrow night. The direction is “i get my wall” and will make it a national emergency.

Will the R’s back him?..that could be pivotal. Will the federal workers, already humiliated and hostage to this unpopular scheme be beat up enough to create a panic…like a TSA walk-off?

Read Robert Costa’s tweet thread for synopsis of the WH moves.

Trump aides lay foundation for emergency order to build wall, saying border is in ‘crisis’ - The Washington Post

Trump aides lay foundation for emergency order to build wall, saying border is in ‘crisis’
Trump on southern border: ‘It’s a national emergency’

By Robert Costa and
Philip Rucker January 7 at
Trump administration officials made an urgent case Monday that the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border has reached a crisis level, laying the groundwork for President Trump to possibly declare a national emergency that would empower him to construct a border wall without congressional approval.

With the federal government partially shut down amid his stalemate with Congress, Trump will attempt to bolster the administration’s position Tuesday by delivering a prime-time televised address to the nation from the Oval Office — the first of his presidency. He will then travel Thursday to visit the nation’s southern border.


Emergency powers explained. Any money T says he needs might have to be approved of by Congress, but could be challenged by the courts…

What happens when a campaign promise needs fulfilling with a power-mad, lunatic president?


What are emergency powers?

The president has the authority to declare a national emergency, which activates enhancements to his executive powers by essentially creating exceptions to rules that normally constrain him. The idea is to enable the government to respond quickly to a crisis.

Although presidents have sometimes claimed that the Constitution gives them inherent powers to act beyond ordinary legal limits in an exigency, those claims tend to fare poorly when challenged in court.

Can Mr. Trump use them to build a wall?
Maybe. The Trump administration could point to two laws and say they allow officials to proceed with building a border wall without first obtaining explicit authorization and appropriations from Congress, according to Elizabeth Goitein, who oversaw the Brennan Center’s study and is a co-director of its Liberty and National Security Program.

One of the laws permits the secretary of the Army to halt Army civil works projects during a presidentially declared emergency and instead direct troops and other resources to help construct “authorized civil works, military construction and civil defense projects that are essential to the national defense.”

Is Mr. Trump’s legal authority clear?

No. If he invokes emergency powers to build a border wall, Mr. Trump is almost certain to invite a court battle. While Ms. Goitein agreed that “there is a nonfrivolous legal case to be made” that emergency-powers laws might empower Mr. Trump to spend military funds on a wall, she also pointed to counterarguments any lawsuit would have to contend with.


So tax returns may not be paid in a timely fashion. Is this any surprise? Paying out money is not priority with this administration, sadly.

I’d like to reveal something that has been an issue with me for over a year now. I’ve been owed a check for over $1400.00 for at least that long and been told that there is a backlog and that these checks are not “priority”.

It is the last Social Security benefit check earned by my late ex-husband. When he died, they were very quick to yank it back and keep it from being deposited. While I was dealing with the changes to my own payments caused by his death (I was getting my benefits based on his income) a clerk gave me an application for his final check. Since he never re-married and had no minor dependent children, I was the beneficiary of this check.

So I applied and waited… and waited… and was given the above reason for the delay. And still I wait.

Now imagine if you will - there was already a backlog a year ago. A backlog of at least a year, apparently. And while I wait - the backlog continues to build up behind me. If my check is $1400, and other checks average the same, can anybody calculate the massive amount of money that is represented by this backlog???

When a member of my family, who was on disability, passed away just before he would have qualified to collect Social Security (after a lifetime of contributing to the fund, incidentally) we were ordered to return his last check, which had been direct-deposited and they couldn’t just stop payment - IMMEDIATELY or face dire consequences. Of course we did this in the midst of our grief over his death, and while dealing with his end-of-life expenses.

I know this is long, but I’m hoping that it just might cause somebody to investigate and shed some light on the subject - and find out just how much money is involved by sitting on these last benefit checks while they wait for the beneficiaries to die, too. (I nearly did, a couple of weeks ago) If I had, then my last check would probably have gone into Limbo along with his.

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If this isn’t collusion, I don’t know what is. And the question once again becomes, “What did Trump know and when did he know it?”

Paul Manafort shared polling data on Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign with a Ukrainian associate who has ties to Russian intelligence, and he also met with the colleague in Madrid while working on the presidential campaign, according to a court filing from Manafort’s lawyers published on Tuesday.

And Manafort lied to Mueller in an attempt to cover up these acts of collusion – lies he’s trying to explain away by saying they were lapses in memory. But how could he forget handing over campaign polling data to a Ukrainian – crucial data that any campaign regards as “top secret”? And how could he forget about meeting with the same Ukrainian in Madrid? Especially since that Ukrainian was, for years, his “right hand man” while they helped install Putin’s puppet president in the Ukraine and then took part in pillaging the country’s treasury.


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