Trump Proposes Covering Mexican Border Wall With Solar Panels

President Trump has proposed using solar panels in the construction of a wall along the 3,200 kilometer (1,988 miles) border separating Mexico and America — a key point in his election campaign. According to three individuals who have direct knowledge of the meeting with Republican leaders, Trump claimed he wanted to cover the wall segments with solar panels so they’d be “beautiful structures.”

Trump cited the wall’s economic benefits as well as its environmental ones. Thomas Gleason, managing partner of Gleason Partners LLC, the company that proposed the design, told Business Insider that each solar panel on the wall would produce 2.0MWp per hour of electricity, and, because of this, the wall would pay off the cost of its construction in 20 years through the energy it sells.

The cost of solar panels has decreased rapidly over the last nine years, from around $8 per watt in 2009 to roughly $1.50 per watt in 2016, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association, and Gleason believes the cost will continue to diminish over time.

While the bottom of the wall would still be built out of stone, the solar panels situated on the Mexico-facing side would be double tiered, with the upper layer moving to capture maximum sunlight.

Though any wall between Mexico and the United States is likely to still be controversial, one equipped with solar panels would have benefits on both a small and large scale. It would provide those on both sides of the border, which is currently underserved by electricity companies, with greater access to power. On a larger scale, it would contribute to the amount of electricity the U.S. generates from clean energy sources, which would in turn contribute to fighting climate change.

Opinions on the proposal are split.

Wunder Capital CEO Bryan Birsic told Business Insider, “While we would prefer a different location and purpose for a large solar installation, we strongly support all additional generation of clean power in the U.S.”

Meanwhile, Nezar AlSayyad, a UC Berkeley professor of architecture and planning, told The Guardian that the wall was still “indefensible” and that “trying to embellish it with a technical function or a new utility … is a folly.” Political theorist Langdon Winner was even more outspoken in his criticism: “I’m wondering what the solar electricity would be used for? Electrocuting people who try to climb the wall?”

Although the wall itself is controversial, any move by the U.S. government to promote solar energy is positive as it would lessen the country’s own carbon footprint and help the world combat climate change.

London Mayor Wants to Cancel Trump’s Visit

After another round of early-morning rage tweeting, Trump has managed to create yet another political enemy where there was once an ally. Following the horrible terrorist attack in London Saturday night killed seven people and injured 48 more, Trump seized the opportunity to do what he does… tweet when he shouldn’t.

Trump first called again for a travel ban in the U.S. Despite the fact that his ban is almost certain to continually fail in the courts due to its very clear anti-Muslim targeting—constantly made more apparent by Trump’s tweets and comments—Trump believes that such a ban would provide additional security.

Moving on from general policy requests, Trump decided to go ahead and attack the mayor of London directly. Sadiq Khan released a statement soon after the attack telling Londoners to not be alarmed by the increased police presence and that everything was under control. Trump, naturally, misunderstood the comment and assumed Khan was saying that the attack itself wasn’t a very big deal.

Rather than eventually realize that he made a mistake, Trump doubled down on his comments, despite virtually nobody else believing Khan had misspoke.

And finally, after all this, Khan has requested that Trump’s state visit be canceled. He called on the British government to not “roll out the red carpet” for a man who so fundamentally seems opposed to British values. Speaking to Channel 4 News, Khan said:

I don’t think we should roll out the red carpet to the president of the U.S.A. in the circumstances where his policies go against everything we stand for. When you have a special relationship it is no different from when you have got a close mate. You stand with them in times of adversity but you call them out when they are wrong. There are many things about which Donald Trump is wrong.

Kahn tried to phrase his comments as if Trump is just a friend who needs to be corrected, but we’re far enough into this presidency to wonder if there are any foreign heads of state who actually believe Trump to be a friend.

A Bunch of Trump Properties Could Be Underwater Due to Rising Sea Levels

President Donald Trump’s fancy for coastal real estate is going to get him in a lot of trouble in the coming decades. Around the world, he’s been putting his name on building and golf clubs on beaches that will be increasingly threatened by rising tides and bigger storms caused by climate change.

The maps below are projections from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for what the U.S. will look like with six feet of sea level rise — the upper end of what the federal government thinks we could see by 2100.

And that’s just how they would like at an average high tide. Even today a storm surge could easily raise water levels another six feet in these places. Any sea level rise makes storm surges worse than they would otherwise be, and on top of that climate change is brewing stronger and more frequent hurricanes.\

Climate change and all its dangerous effects could be coming faster thanks to Trump’s pledge to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on global warming.

Mar-a-Lago, Florida

Trump calls Mar-a-Lago his Southern White House, and he’s spent nearly as many weekends there as he has in Washington since the inauguration. But six feet of sea level rise would swamp half the property, including all five of the outdoor tennis courts.

Trump Grande and Trump Towers, Sunny Isles, Florida

These two properties count six soaring towers between them. And while certainly most of the stories will stay dry in a future of sea level rise, the whole region is going to become a lot less desirable once all the low-lying areas are inundated. Costs to save just the patch of land the buildings sit on from erosion will be enormous, let alone if the guests and residents actually want to sit on a beach.

Trump Hollywood, Florida

Southern Florida is the poster child for sea level rise in the United States, and for good reason. So much of the land is within a few feet of sea level and is very densely populated. It doesn’t help that beachfront property happens to be expensive property — rich people wield the influence required to convince politicians that continued coastal development is a good idea, even when the future looks like this.

Trump National Doral, Florida

Trump National Doral’s four championship golf courses are in big trouble when Miami floods. The most surprising part is that the resort is located miles inland from the coast — which just goes to show how bad things are going to look for Florida as sea levels climb. One recent study pegs flood damages at $2.5 billion annually by 2050 for Miami alone.

Trump National Golf Club Jupiter, Florida

The green areas of the map are technically below sea level at six feet of sea level rise, though they are buffered from the tides by higher pieces of land between them. Whether or not that land will actually protect golfers from getting their feet wet remains to be seen, and certainly the whole area will be getting a lot more boggy and soggy.

Trump International Hotel & Tower, Hawaii

It’s not looking good for Waikiki Beach, where Trump has a couple of hotel and condominium properties. Parts of Honolulu and Waikiki could flood not only from encroaching tides but from groundwater that swells up from below because of the rising ocean.

Trump Plaza, New Jersey

It’s not just beautiful ocean-side resorts that will suffer from sea level rise. Lots of the world’s major centers are right on the ocean, including Trump’s hometown of New York City. Just across the Hudson River in Jersey City, Trump owns a 55-story condominium building that is absolutely threatened by rising seas and bigger storms.

These examples are taken just from the Trump Organization’s properties in the Unites States. The company also has coastal properties around the world, including in Panama, Uruguay, and the United Arab Emirates.

Despite Trump’s public denials of global warming, the real estate developer appears to recognize some problems ahead. His organization recently applied to install a seawall at its golf course in Doonbeg, Ireland, citing the need to protect it from “global warming and its effects.”

Space Alien Reports Have Overwhelmed Trump’s Immigration Hotline

Barely 24 hours after United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement opened its “Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement” office — VOICE — its victim support hotline has been flooded with calls by people reporting aliens from outer space.

It seems to have started when Alex McCoy, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and member of Common Defense, a grassroots organization of progressive military veterans and family members, wondered aloud on Twitter about the possibility of millions of people reporting crimes perpetrated by extraterrestrials.

“Wouldn’t it be a shame if millions of people called this hotline to report their encounters with aliens of the UFO-variety,” McCoy posted on Twitter.

McCoy tells Inverse he thought it was an especially catchy idea given that the VOICE office opened on Alien Day, April 26.

His call to action appears to have created a tremendous response. Multiple attempts by Inverse to call the hotline were met with busy signals, and McCoy said he waited for 30 minutes. ICE has also drafted a statement in response to the calls.

Why Is There a VOICE Hot Line?

The federal VOICE offices encourage victims of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants or suspected undocumented immigrants to call the hotline. They will receive information about the suspect and receive professional support. But beyond that, VOICE offers to help people track the criminal history and deportation status of a suspect.

“Additional criminal or immigration history may be available about an alien to victims or their families,” reads the VOICE website.

McCoy says the real reason for the VOICE line is political, of course.

“This VOICE tip line has nothing to do with helping victims, provides them with no services, and serves no law enforcement purpose,” McCoy tells Inverse. “The only thing it does is collect anecdotes for Trump to use to divide our country and promote racist stereotypes.”

The VOICE office was created in response to a pledge President Donald Trump made in a speech on February 28. By tracking victims of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants, the program has drawn criticisms that compare it to Adolf Hitler’s government publishing stories and statistics about Jewish crime. Does McCoy think this is an appropriate comparison?

“Absolutely,” he says. “There is no legitimate purpose for creating an office solely dedicated to anecdotes of perpetrators from one demographic. That’s what betrays that this has nothing to do with supporting victims.”

Needless to say, ICE doesn’t quite see things the same way. In response to a request for comment, an ICE spokesperson responded with the following statement. It is salty:

The VOICE line remains in operation. As yesterday was its first day I can’t give you any sense of whether this group had any impact at all on wait times or call volume because there’s no prior data to compare.

I hope you won’t dignify this group with the attention they are seeking. But if you choose to do so we’re not to going to dignify it with any official on-the-record response. However, as an ICE official on background, this group’s cheap publicity stunt is beyond the pale of legitimate public discourse. Their actions seek to obstruct and do harm to crime victims; that’s objectively despicable regardless of one’s views on immigration policy.

The VOICE Office provides public information to citizens and non-citizens alike regardless of status, race, etc., whose loved ones have been killed or injured by removable aliens. VOICE provides access to the same information you and other reporters are already able to obtain. Yet this group claims it’s somehow racist to give the same public information to victims of all races and nationalities? That is absurd.

One additional point just to be explicitly clear: reports that VOICE is some sort of line to report immigration-related crime are demonstrably false. This is a line for victims to receive public information, not to report crimes.

Further, openly obstructing and mocking victims crosses the line of legitimate public discourse. VOICE is a line for victims to obtain information. This group’s stunt is an attempt to harm victims. That is shameful.

McCoy isn’t impressed. He offers Inverse this rebuttal:

What is truly beyond the pale is this illegitimate administration’s attempts to use government offices to promote bigotry, spread fear, and divide our nation. The American people are speaking out and making our voices heard that we will not tolerate an office of racist propaganda exploiting the grief of victims of crime. Those victims are entitled to support and justice. VOICE provides neither. It merely collects stories to slander my neighbors, my friends, people who I served honorably alongside in the United States Marine Corps. Calling to report a UFO is absurd, but no more absurd than this unacceptable, un-American program, and we will not stop until it is shut down.

McCoy also encourages people not just to call VOICE with their extraterrestrial reports but to support immigrants’ rights groups United We Dream, Mijente, and DREAM Action Coalition.

The March for Science Is Happening This Weekend

Since taking office in January, President Donald Trump has not only started a rhetorical war with the media and potentially real wars with North Korea and Russia-backed Syria, but he’s also engaged in what critics call a “war on science.”

This weekend, members of the nation’s scientific community are battling back with an Earth Day March for Science at the nation’s capital.

The March for Science initiative is a cooperative partnership between more than 200 scientific and academic institutions as well as nonprofits, uniting to “defend the vital role science plays in our health, safety, economies and governments,” according to the campaign’s website.

On March 28, President Trump signed his Energy Independence executive order, rolling back former President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan to reduce carbon emissions from coal plants across the country. It was a policy move in line with a position Trump has held since at least 2012, when he tweeted that climate change was a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese, a claim he denied making last year during a debate with Hillary Clinton.

The Washington Post reports prior to Trump’s China conspiracy tweet, he argued climate change was, in fact, real, signing a 2009 letter to Congress urging law makers to support a clean-energy economy.

In a November New York Times interview after winning the election, however, Trump acknowledged “some connectivity” between carbon emissions and climate change but added his position on reform “depends on how much it’s going to cost our companies.”

“You have to understand, our companies are noncompetitive right now,” he added.

The White House’s website removed all previous mentions of the phrase, “climate change” in January.

A July Sierra Club report acknowledged then-candidate Trump as the only potential national leader on the planet who doesn’t think climate change is real, the Associated Press reports.

Consequently in November, an anonymous Trump administration source told Reuters the president’s advisers had been examining not only ending the U.S.’ involvement with the 2015 Paris Agreement — on which Time reports Trump’s team is indecisive. The source says some of Trump’s advisers support pulling out of the preceding 1992 Framework Convention on Climate Change treaty, which established global cooperation to reduce carbon emissions 25 years ago.

“It was reckless for the Paris agreement to enter into force before the election” the anonymous source told Reuters.

The president in December appointed staunch EPA critic and climate change denier Scott Pruitt to head an agency Pruitt once described as having “an activist agenda,” according to NPR.

Pruitt previously sued the EPA 14 times while serving as Oklahoma attorney general. He also has served with an alliance of Republican AGs partnering with some of the nation’s top energy producers to persuade Congress not to support climate change initiatives, according to the New York Times.

Free Public Radio reports almost 800 outgoing EPA members signed a February petition opposing Pruitt taking the EPA helm, but since beginning his new job, Pruitt has declined to do what many climate change deniers have been clamoring for the most.

Politico reports conservative critics in March called for Pruitt’s head when he refused to challenge Obama’s 2009 EPA “endangerment finding,” the old EPA’s Clean Air Act assertion that CO2 emissions themselves endanger public health and welfare by warming the planet.

The U.S. Supreme Court in June declined to review legal challenges to the endangerment finding, which in 2012 was upheld in federal court, The Hill reports.

Pruitt, ironically, has argued to Trump any reversal of the endangerment finding would likely be overruled the courts, according to the New York Times.

On Jan. 24, the Urban Policy Initiative reports President Trump signed an executive order to continue creation of the Dakota Access Pipeline, reversing the Obama administration’s pause on the initiative.

After weeks of unending protests from members of the local Standing Rock Sioux native tribe and its allies last year, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in December declined to approve an easement for further construction on the pipeline. CNN reported the Sioux tribe and its supporters have argued the pipeline encroaches on sacred land, and according to Salon, potential oil leaks could contaminate its water supply.

The launch of a new water treatment plant stationed away from the pipeline may greatly reduce the risk of water supply contamination, though Standing Rock supporters are skeptical, Reuters reported.

Movie Theaters To Screen 1984 In Protest Of Trump

More than one hundred movie theaters across the U.S. will screen George Orwell’s “1984” on April 4 in protest of the Trump administration. The organizers chose this date because Winston Smith, the main character in the book — which is officially entitled “Nineteen Eight-Four” — starts writing a forbidden diary, which is viewed in the novel as a significant act of resistance.

“The goal is that cinemas can initiate a much-needed community conversation at a time when the existence of facts, and basic human rights are under attack,” The United State of Cinema, the event’s sponsors, wrote in a statement. “These screenings are intended to galvanize people at the crossroads of cinema and community, and bring us together to foster communication and resistance against current efforts to undermine the most basic tenets of our society.”

Theaters in 79 U.S. cities and 34 states, including three in Canada, will screen the film, including New York’s IFC Center, Film Society of Lincoln Center, and Arizona’s Alamo Drafthouse.

The protest is also intended as a show of support for the National Endowment for the Arts, which is included in President Donald Trump’s list of targets for funding cuts to curb domestic spending. “Any attempt to scuttle that program as an attack on free speech and creative expression through entertainment,” the organizers said.  

Orwell’s dystopian classic from 1949 about resisting an oppressive government regained popularity after Trump became president for its parallels with the current administration. Sales of the book surged again after presidential adviser Kellyanne Conway’s statement about “alternative facts,” a term that is echoed in the book’s concept of “newspeak” where political thought is eliminated, and “double speak”, the ability to hold two truths at once.

In January, the book rose to the top of Amazon’s best-seller list which prompted the publisher Penguin to issue a reprint of 75,000 copies.

Donald Trump Is The Owner of DonaldTrumpSucks.com, TrumpRussia.com And At Least 3,641 Other Domain Names

How many internet domains do you own? I own four, I think, and pretty much all of them are dormant: I just don’t have the time to do anything with them. So it’s understandable that from the 3,643 internet domains that the president of the United States owns, fewer than 500 actually have anything on them, or redirect anywhere.

That’s the conclusion of an investigation by CNN Money, which found that the president’s company owns at least 3,643 internet domains ranging from the predictable (TrumpEmpire.com) to the surprisingly self-critical (DonaldTrumpSucks.com).

The president’s buying spree began two decades ago, when he purchased DonaldJTrump.com on January 20 1997, presumably off the back of installing AOL from one of those free CDs they used to post out with wild abandon.

Since then, he’s been collecting them at a fairly impressive rate, usually purchasing before he needs them. For example, you can see the first seeds of a run for public office being planted four years ago, as Barack Obama was returned to the White House, when Trump purchased VoteAgainstTrump.com, TrumpMustGo.com and NoMoreTrump.com.

The purchase of negative URLs is a running theme (and not exactly unique to Trump – The Guardian reported Volvo’s purchase of VolvoSucks.com 17 years ago), but what’s really interesting about them is the insight it gives you into the damage limitation Trump is planning at any given time. In 2009, Trump launched the Trump Network – a multi-level marketing business that sold tailored vitamin supplements (“hocus pocus,” Harvard’s Dr Pieter Cohen claimed. “None of this is based on actual science”) . At the same time, Trump scooped up a number of domains including TrumpNetworkFraud.com, TrumpPyramidScheme.com and TrumpNetworkPonziScheme.com. The Trump Network was sold under a cloud in 2012.

A similar pattern emerged with regards to Trump University – a suit he settled for $25 million days before taking office. In the run-up to the litigation, Trump registered 157 domains for operations across the USA and Puerto Rico. He registered 98percentApproval.com in July 2013, echoing the organisation’s defense that Trump University had a 98% approval rating. That could be dismissed as a promotional website for the school, if it hadn’t closed two years earlier.

Some domains exist for his current role as – sigh – leader of the free world. While MakeAmericaGreatAgain.Vote makes plenty of sense, TrumpRussia.com raises eyebrows given the accusations of Russian interference with the 2016 election. Other domains exist as monuments to businesses that either closed (TrumpVodkaSucks.com) or never got off the ground (TrumpDoll.com ensures that a night’s sleep may well elude me tonight). Four hundred or so redirect to other ventures: ChicagoTrumpLimo.com redirects to a site that will sell you a fashionably dubious “Proud2bDeplorable” shirt, should you wish. TrumpOnTheBeachOnline.net sends you to a site that’ll let you rent out a party bus in Washington DC.

Still, with more than 3,000 websites displaying just a blank page, the president has a nice hobby lined up for when he leaves the White House in 2024, 2020 or maybe sooner. Ironically, despite amassing a thorough selection of negative URLs, not registering ImpeachTrump.com has proved an unfortunate oversight.

Here’s Why George Orwell’s ‘1984’ Is Currently The Bestselling Book On Amazon

When novelists write dystopian literature, their sentences both hint at and exaggerate a state of their current reality. In some cases, they are a what if? played out, extending trends these writers fear might spell doom. But what happens when those fictional nightmares seemingly become current reality?

Kellyanne Conway, an adviser to President Donald Trump, reflected that possibility after offering the distinction of “alternative facts.” Conway uttered this phrase when questioned regarding Trump’s record attendance numbers at his inauguration.

The idea of “alternative facts,” it seems, reminds many of George Orwell’s classic 1984, which has sits atop Amazon’s bestseller list following Trump’s inauguration and Conway’s phrasing. 1984 features “newspeak,” a type of propaganda that clouds facts and distorts any sense of foundational truth through mixed messaging and overwhelming surveillance.

Via CNN Money:

We put through a 75,000 copy reprint this week. That is a substantial reprint and larger than our typical reprint for 1984,” a Penguin spokesman told CNNMoney Tuesday evening.

[…]

According to Nielsen BookScan, which measures most but not all book sales in the United States, “1984” sold 47,000 copies in print since Election Day in November. That is up from 36,000 copies over the same period the prior year.

Two other editions of 1984 are in the bestseller list, though Orwell is not the only author whose work has seen a recent resurgence. Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, another dystopic society where truth is obscured, and Upton Sinclair’s It Can’t Happen Here, which involves the election of an authoritarian president, have entered the top 100 of Amazon’s bestseller list.

Other novels to jump into the bestseller list since Trump’s inauguration: Orwell’s Animal Farm, Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, and Hannah Arendt’s The Origins of Totalitarianism.

Betting Sites Play The Odds On A Trump Impeachment

Will Donald Trump be impeached in the first six months of his presidency? Judging by the odds on one betting site, it’s not the least likely thing that could happen.

As Washington prepares to inaugurate a new leader of the free world, the sometimes controversial Irish bookmakers at Paddy Power are currently offering several different wagers — some serious, some outlandish — surrounding Trump’s first term as president.

The aforementioned impeachment offering is currently going off at 4/1, meaning someone who wagers $100 would come away with $400 in the event that Trump gets booted from the White House. Other “Donald Trump Specials” include whether the alleged golden shower footage will appear online (5/1), if he’ll split from his wife Melania in 2017 (16/1), and an extreme longshot — if he’ll paint the entire White House gold (500/1). Trump’s first state visit? Russia, of course, is the early favorite at about 1/1 with Ireland, the home of one of his beloved golf courses, coming in slightly behind at 3/2.

You can also bet on the actual inauguration itself. Want to place some cash on the color of Trump’s tie? Red is the overwhelming favorite there. Think you can pin his exact skin color? You should absolutely not bet on this, but if you’re ever so inclined, cinnamon, pumpkin, and carrot are a few options.

They even offer odds on the number of Twitter “likes” his top post-inauguration tweet receives, with 500,000 – 749,999 “likes” coming in at about 2/1. (For reference, Trump’s victory tweet garnered 636,000 “likes”.)

Paddy Power is quite familiar with Trump’s unpredictability, at least in a gambling sense. Three weeks before the election, the bookies were so confident in a Hillary Clinton victory that they actually prematurely paid out her bettors, a sum totaling more than $1.1 million. We all know how that ended.

How To Watch Donald Trump’s Inauguration Online

Donald Trump, the man who defied the odds to win the 2016 election, will be inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States on January 20.

At the ceremony, America’s Got Talent runner-up Jackie Evancho will sing the national anthem, and Trump will place his hand on two copies of the Bible — one a gift from his mother and the other once used by Abraham Lincoln — to take the oath of office.

Event planners are estimating that 900,000 people will be in attendance Friday, which is half the turnout of President Barack Obama’s record-breaking ceremony in 2008. Notably, more than 50 congressional Democrats have chosen to boycott the ceremony.

While there’s politics in the pageantry, the most important moment of the proceedings will likely come during Trump’s inaugural address.

As it stands, Trump will enter the White House an incredibly unpopular president; his approval ratings have dropped since he was elected in November.

Trump told reporters that his inaugural address will aim to unite America, taking a similar tone as his election night victory speech. But we already know that Trump hasn’t made much progress on this front over the course of the transition process, going after civil rights icon John Lewis on MLK Day weekend and even questioning the validity of approval ratings.

Trump is said to be receiving counsel from advisers Stephen Bannon and Kellyanne Conway and his campaign speechwriter Stephen Miller, as well as several historians specifically regarding the speech’s length, incoming press secretary Sean Spicer told the press Wednesday. But the words will be fully Trump’s own.

Here’s how to watch.

When, where, and how to watch

The inaugural swearing-in ceremony will begin at 11:30 Eastern on the western front of the Capitol building, where Trump will take the oath of office and make his inaugural address to the American people.

The inaugural parade will follow the swearing-in ceremony, scheduled to begin at 3 pm Eastern and make its way down Pennsylvania Avenue toward the White House.

You can stream the ceremonies online. NBC, CBS, FOX, and ABC will stream the events on their websites; however, you may need to log in to your TV provider to access the coverage.

The White House will be streaming the inauguration on its website, and several news outlets, including C-SPAN, Bloomberg Politics, and the Washington Post, have also partnered with YouTube to stream the events.

The proceedings will also be aired on all major news channels, including Fox, CNN, MSNBC, CBS, ABC and NBC News, with special all-day inauguration coverage.