Trump wins at border with­out Congress’ help

San Francisco Chronicle - Late Edition (Sunday) - - BAY AREA - By Wil­lie Brown

For­get the wall. Pres­i­dent Trump has found a way to make the border armed and dan­ger­ous with­out hav­ing to build his mon­u­ment to ig­no­rance.

Trump has been talk­ing about build­ing a wall on the Mex­i­can border ever since he got into the pres­i­den­tial race, but he has yet to make any real progress. He stopped pre­tend­ing he’d make Mex­ico pay for it and de­manded that Congress pony up $25 bil­lion in U.S. tax­payer money for the job. His fol­low­ers didn’t seem to no­tice the switcheroo. Law­mak­ers, how­ever, were largely un­en­thu­si­as­tic.

Now, thanks to a rag­tag car­a­van of refugees in Mex­ico whom Trump and his en­ablers por­tray as a dis­ease-in­fested horde of gang­bangers and ter­ror­ists, our pres­i­dent has found a way to mil­i­ta­rize the

border with­out hav­ing to bother with con­gres­sional per­mis­sion.

Trump has dis­patched 5,200 troops to the border and is threat­en­ing to send an­other 10,000. On Thurs­day, he uni­lat­er­ally de­creed that the rules of en­gage­ment would in­clude al­low­ing sol­diers to shoot if some­one throws a rock, al­though he back­tracked a bit the next day and said they “won’t have to fire.”

It’s easy to see how this could create a dis­as­trous sit­u­a­tion for sol­diers and mi­grants alike, not to men­tion Amer­ica’s rep­u­ta­tion in the eyes of the world.

Not that Trump cares. He knows a good is­sue when he see one. And like it or not, polls show that a ma­jor­ity of Amer­i­cans want stronger borders. Trump also knows that Democrats are at a loss about what to do with the car­a­van if, in fact, it ever reaches the U.S.

Of course, with the mi­grants hun­dreds of miles from the border, that won’t hap­pen till Thanks­giv­ing at the ear­li­est. By then the midterms will be long over, and Trump will have made his point.

Break­fast of cham­pi­ons: It was quite a show the other day at the Brown In­sti­tute’s an­nual break­fast at the Fair­mont, hosted by yours truly and fea­tur­ing the two can­di­dates for gov­er­nor. Demo­crat Gavin New­som and Repub­li­can John Cox both de­liv­ered se­ri­ous-minded speeches to the crowd of 1,000 union lead­ers, lob­by­ists, de­vel­op­ers and elected of­fi­cials, each of whom con­trib­uted $100 to help San Fran­cisco State in­terns in the in­sti­tute’s fel­low­ship pro­gram.

Cox ripped into the level of poverty in Cal­i­for­nia and our ter­ri­ble roads. He even earned brief ap­plause when he ques­tioned the idea of safe in­jec­tion cen­ters, say­ing, “I don’t know if I would want my child go­ing to a safe in­jec­tion cen­ter. I’d rather work on them not tak­ing drugs in the first place.”

Cox did his best to get the San Fran­cisco crowd to warm to him, though he stepped on a banana peel when he re­ferred to Char­lotte Shultz as “Char­lene.” New­som played the op­ti­mist, tak­ing off his jacket, rolling up his sleeves and talk­ing up the state’s eco­nomic boom.

Note to Gavin: If you’re go­ing to play it like Bobby Kennedy, with­out a jacket, make sure your shirt fits.

Free food: Join me and my friend John Kon­stin on elec­tion day at John’s Grill. I’m greet­ing, John is feed­ing, for free.

Come one and all! This year key lime pie is be­ing added to the menu, so at least we vot­ers will get a just dessert af­ter all of the noise we’ve had to put up with dur­ing the cam­paign.

In box: At least 10 pieces of cam­paign lit­er­a­ture have landed in my mail­box ev­ery day for the past two weeks.

Did I read them all? Of course not. Who has the time?

Movie time: “A Star is Born.” I’ve seen two other ver­sions of this movie over the years. For my money, the star of this lat­est re­make, Lady Gaga, has it all over Bar­bra Streisand and Judy Gar­land.

Bradley Cooper does an equally good job as the al­co­holic, drug-ad­dicted rocker who’s head­ing over the hill. Worth see­ing.

Big Mac: Wil­lie McCovey was one of the most com­fort­able peo­ple I have ever known. He was a bar­ber­shop guy, with a South­ern ac­cent that got deeper ev­ery year.

He also had a won­der­ful sense of hu­mor.

At the open­ing of what was then Pac Bell Park, the Three Wil­lies were in­vited to share in the cer­e­mony of throw­ing out the first pitch.

As we were headed to the mound, McCovey said, “Watch out for Mays. He’s such a show­boat that he’ll make a point of out­do­ing us, so think of some­thing.”

Sure enough, Wil­lie Mays opened by fir­ing a strike across the plate. McCovey an­swered by lob­bing a slow, arc­ing, devil-may-care rain­bow to the catcher.

Then it was my turn. I bent over and rolled my pitch across the grass.

Mays was clearly an­noyed. McCovey burst out laugh­ing and said, “You did it!”

Like I said, a bar­ber­shop guy. One you hope to sit next to.

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