Trump blinked then caved on shutdown

Donald Trump failed to secure funding for a border wall with Mexico for the two years that the republicans held majorities in both Congress and the Senate. He blames the then speaker Paul Ryan (and probably a lot of others).

He seemed to think he could heavy the new Democrat House leadership into funding his wall, so he precipitated a partial Government shutdown and demanded it. And the new House leader Nancy Pelosi wouldn’t budge. If she had given in it would have probably set the scene for ongoing heavy handed demands from Trump.

It resulted in the longest government shutdown ever. Trump, already viewed by a majority unfavourably, started to tank in approval polls.

Pelosi withdrew her invitation to Trump for the annual State Of The Union speech in Congress until after the impasse was resolved. Trump threatened to speak elsewhere, but ended up blinking and postponing it.

The shutdown continued, and the bad press continued, and the polls dipped more.

Then on Friday Trump caved in, for now anyway.

Reuters: Backing down, Trump agrees to end shutdown without border wall money

President Donald Trump agreed under mounting pressure on Friday to end a 35-day-old partial U.S. government shutdown without getting the $5.7 billion he had demanded from Congress for a border wall, handing a political victory to Democrats.

The Republican president’s agreement to end the shuttering of about a quarter of the federal government without securing wall money – an astonishing retreat – came three days after he had insisted, “We will not Cave!”

But Trump vowed that the shutdown would resume on Feb. 15 if he is dissatisfied with the results of a bipartisan House-Senate conference committee’s border security negotiations, or he would declare a national emergency in order to get the wall money without congressional approval.

He has been threatening to declare a national emergency for some time – but if it was actually an emergency why wait? It hasn’t suddenly become an emergency.

With polls showing most Americans blamed him for the painful shutdown – the longest of its kind in U.S. history – Trump embraced a way out of the crisis that Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had been pushing for weeks. The shutdown, which pitted Pelosi against Trump, was her first test since assuming the post three weeks ago.

Democrats remained unyielding in their opposition to a wall, one of Trump’s signature campaign promises that they call ineffective, costly and immoral.

Speaking in the White House Rose Garden on a chilly, sunny winter day, Trump said he would act to ensure that federal workers get their back pay “very quickly, or as soon as possible.”

That’s a change in stance for Trump.

But this doesn’t end the problem, it just postpones it. And it may make Trump’s problems bigger. He had been encouraged into talking and tough on wall funding by some on the hard right, and they are not happy.

Fox News: Ann Coulter rips Trump over border wall on Bill Maher’s show after attacking president via Twitter

Conservative pundit Ann Coulter both blasted and defended President Trump during an appearance on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” on Friday night — hours after she ripped into the president on Twitter for cutting a deal with Democrats to temporarily end the partial government shutdown without funding for his border wall.

Before appearing on the show, Coulter spent a good part of Friday blasting Trump on Twitter for accepting a temporary funding bill to reopen the government without money for the border wall.

“Good news for George Herbert Walker Bush: As of today, he is no longer the biggest wimp ever to serve as President of the United States,” she wrote in a series of tweets.

On the Maher show:

“I promise you the country would be run much better if I had a veto over what Donald Trump is doing. It’s crazy that I expect a president to keep the promise he made every day for 18 months.”

“Why hasn’t Trump been able to get it through for the first two years? Because the Republicans don’t want it.”

“I’m telling you how to get Trump,” Coulter said. “He promised something for 18 months and he lied about it. That’s how you get Trump. It’s not this Russia nonsense.”

This may damage Trump’s core support.

As is his habit Trump claimed some sort of victory on twitter:

“I wish people would read or listen to my words on the Border Wall. This was in no way a concession. It was taking care of millions of people who were getting badly hurt by the Shutdown with the understanding that in 21 days, if no deal is done, it’s off to the races!”

His words on the border wall have been a moving target as he fails to get funding.

He diidn’t care about the millions of people getting hurt by the shutdown when he made it happen – he even claimed that many unpaid workers supported what he had inflicted on them.

This has also inflicted a lot of damage on Trump’s ego. This sort of report won’t help: Art of the cave: Trump folds, finally

The man whose name graces the cover of “The Art of the Deal” called it a compromise, but let’s be clear: His agreement with Democrats to end the punch-yourself-in-the-face government shutdown was a complete capitulation, brought on in a panic when the gears of American air travel began grinding to a halt.

A less pigheaded politician would learn a hard lesson from how the embarrassing standoff backfired; he found himself unable to squirm out of responsibility for a cataclysm he had proudly announced was of his own making.

With Trump, the capacity for evolution is very much an open question. He spent most of his Rose Garden remarks repeating fearmongering tropes, most of them apocryphal, about the urgent need for a 30-foot-high wall along 1,000 miles of southern border.

It would be insane to think that we could be back in the same mess three weeks from now, but remember who sits in the Oval Office.

With Pelosi and the Democrats standing up to him until he blinked then caved. he next couple of years are going to be challenge for Trump, especially if the hard core right also turn against him.

Four more boys rescued from cave in Thailand

Following the rescue of four boys from the cave in northern Thailand on Sunday, another four boys have been rescued on Monday (overnight NZ time), with an attempt to rescue the remaining four boys and their coach on Tuesday.

Stuff: Four more Thai football team members freed in second cave rescue operation

Four more members of the Thai “Wild Boar” football team have been saved from the Tham Luang cave complex after another extraordinary day’s rescue effort in north-western Thailand.

The boys, guided to freedom by a diving team of 18 people that included both Thai navy SEALs and a specialist international dive team, emerged over three hours from about 4.30pm local time (9.30pm NZ Time).

The boys were transferred by ambulance, one-by-one, to a field hospital near the cave for an immediate medical assessment before being taken to the Chiang Rai hospital by a combination of helicopters and ambulances.

That means just five people remain in the cave and opens up the prospect of that quintet being evacuated as soon as Tuesday and this incredible effort drawing to a close.

The second dramatic rescue operation began on Monday at 11am local time (4pm NZT), 16 days after the team first went missing 3.2 kilometres deep inside the cave complex, while anxious relatives endured another agonising day.

Forecast monsoon rains have not yet eventuated, taking a bit of time pressure off the rescue.

So this is more good news.

Questions about going into Thai cave during monsoon season

It was great news that the twelve boys from a soccer team and their coach were found alive deep inside a cave system in Thailand.

Guardian: Thailand cave rescue: where were the boys found and how can they be rescued?

When 12 missing Thai boys and their football coach were found alive deep in a cave system on Monday, joy was tempered with anxiety. The caves are flooded with surging monsoon waters, pitch black and in places too narrow to allow rescuers to pass while carrying scuba gear. None of the boys can swim or dive. The dilemma: risk a highly dangerous escape or wait possibly months for the waters to subside.

News.com.au: Next 24 hours will be crucial in Thai cave rescue drama

A CAVE explorer assisting Thai authorities trying to rescue 12 trapped schoolboys believes “we’ll know in the next 24 hours” if they will live or die.

British cave expert Vern Unsworth, who lives in Thailand, said the conditions were getting worse and there was now a narrow window in which the group could escape.

“I think we’ll know in the next 24 hours…We’ll keep our fingers crossed – everybody needs to pray and hope for a good outcome,” Mr Unsworth told the BBC.

The boys aged between 11 and 16, along with their football coach, have been trapped in the flooded Tham Luang cave system for 12 days.

But heavy monsoon rain is coming, and Mr Unsworth said rain that had already fallen had caused a dramatic rise in water levels in the cave.

Obviously the rescue is the most important thing right now.

But I have to ask why they were in the cave at all in the monsoon season, especially if it could take months for the rainy season to finish and for waters to subside.

Is the level of flooding unusual, even during the monsoon? Or is it a common risk?

Wikipedia says that the Thai monsoon runs from May to October, so flooding must have been a risk for some time.

 

 

Boys and coach found alive in Thai cave

After a junior soccer team and their coach were trapped in a 10 km cave in a mountain in Thailand on Saturday 23 June (nine days ago) there was a sustained rescue attempt by Thai and international teams, often battling flood conditions.

The boys and coach have now been found alive.

Reuters: Junior soccer team found alive in Thai cave after nine days

Twelve boys and their assistant soccer coach have been found alive by rescuers inside a Thai cave complex nine days after they went missing, Chiang Rai province’s governor said on Monday.

The boys, aged between 11 and 16, went missing with the 25-year-old after soccer practice on June 23 after they set out to explore the Tham Luang cave complex in a forest park near by the border with Myanmar.

“Thai Navy seals have found all 13 with signs of life,” Governor Narongsak Osottanakorn told reporters who have been following the increasingly desperate search that has gripped the country.

Relatives of the boys, who have been at a shelter near the cave hoping for a breakthrough, were seen cheering, smiling and receiving calls after being given the news. Rescuers shook hands and congratulated each other as occasional cheers broke out.

It remains unclear whether any of the group are injured or in need of medical attention, but they have been given energy gels to sustain them while a plan is worked out to bring them to safety.

The shouldn’t have had a problem with thirst, but presumably will be hungry.