Things That Matter

Trump Wants To Spend $500 Million To Paint His Border Wall Black While The Pandemic Leaves Millions Unemployed

Despite unprecedented economic losses that have left more than 30 million Americans without work and millions more working in unsafe conditions, Trump has his own priorities.

Since launching his presidential campaign in 2016 on the promise of building a glorious border wall along the U.S. – Mexico border, Trump has been obsessed with realizing this massive waste of tax payer dollars. Now he is renewing calls for the wall to be painted black and in what can simply be described as a cruel and wasteful move.

Donald Trump orders his border wall to be painted black to deter more migrants during the summer when it would be too hot to touch.

President Donald Trump has requested the border wall, one of his signature campaign promises, be painted black, a proposal that could cost hundreds of millions of dollars, according to a new report. 

The Washington Post reported that Trump had ordered the border wall to be painted black in order to make it look more imposing and to make it too hot to touch during the summer. Quoting anonymous administration officials, the Post reported Trump told his senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner to assess cost estimates for the wall painting plan. 

According to estimates, the cost of painting the wall black would range from $500 million for acrylic paint to over $3 billion for a “powder coating” on the wall.

The Democratic National Committee slammed the report, saying Trump “would rather let states go bankrupt than provide them more money to pay their teachers, police officers and firefighters, and fund services for the poor and elderly.”

He is reiterating the call for a black border wall despite a global health pandemic that has left millions infected and millions more without jobs.

As the U.S. death toll from Covid-19 rises to nearly 80,000 and the economy is in shambles, Trump has decided the border wall’s paint job is far more important. The president is insisting that the barrier’s steel slats be painted black, despite officials’ efforts to talk him out of it and $500 million in additional costs that the cosmetic feature is expected to add to the project’s already expensive price tag.

“POTUS has changed his mind and now wants the fence painted,” an official involved in the construction of the wall told the Post. “We are modifying contracts to add.”

It may seem odd to be fixated on the color of his border wall, given the hefty additional costs painting it black would impose on the project and the pandemic currently ravaging the country under his watch—but Trump at least has a good reason. According to the Post, he’s willing to further inflate the wall budget because he believes painting it black would “enhance its forbidding appearance” and “leave the steel too hot to touch during summer months.”

This isn’t the first time Trump has floated painting the border wall black, but officials thought they had talked him out of it last fall.

Reports have emerged in the past over Trump’s obsession with micromanaging the physical appearance of his famed border wall. In May 2019, a Post report revealed Trump had floated painting the ‘slats’ of the border wall a ‘flat black’ so the metal would absorb more heat from the sun and make it harder for people to scale.

Trump also said he wanted the border barrier to include metal spikes at the top that will cut climbers’ hands.

Fisher Sand and Gravel, a South Dakota-based company already being considered for a $400 million contract to build new portions of wall in Arizona, were consulted to provide estimates for painting. They provided the $500 million – $3 billion estimates for painting the structure’s 30-foot steel bollards depending on the option of paint, which the White House has not yet chosen.

Trump has renewed his call for the border wall and blamed migration on the Coronavirus pandemic – even though that’s 100% fake news.

In recent weeks, Trump has increased attention on his border wall project – labeling it a way to protect the country from the Coronavirus pandemic. According to his administration, the structure and the government’s cruel immigration policy have acted as a defense against coronavirus spreading into the U.S. from other countries.  

‘Mexico is sadly experiencing very big CoronaVirus problems, and now California, get this, doesn’t want people coming over the Southern Border. A Classic!’ Trump tweeted Tuesday.

‘They are sooo lucky that I am their President,’ he gloated. ‘Border is very tight and the Wall is rapidly being built!’

However, the president seems to be ignoring the fact that the U.S. in the number one country in the world when it comes to Coronavirus infections and deaths. In fact, at the beginning of the global pandemic, Mexico had considered closing its border with the U.S. to prevent the spread of the disease from the U.S. into Mexico.

Working From Home Can Impact Your Mental Health, Here’s How To Stay Sane And Healthy

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Working From Home Can Impact Your Mental Health, Here’s How To Stay Sane And Healthy

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A recent survey shows that thirty-five percent of workers who telecommute said their mental health had deteriorated as a result of doing so amid the coronavirus lockdown. As someone who has gone from working in a social, fun-filled, compassionate office space, I can consider myself part of that 35%.

Although working from home (for those privileged enough to do so) is a necessity for our safety and that of the community – it definitely presents some unique challenges.

Yes, the benefits are many: avoiding transit problems and the stress of commuting; sidestepping office politics; adopting a flexible schedule that allows for chores and errands to be incorporated into the work day; more time with family and pets; and a break on keeping up a business wardrobe and other appearance-related expenses.

But there’s a dark side. It’s an arrangement that fosters isolation and disconnection, two conditions that feed the greedy depression monster.

Here are some excellent tips for taking care of your mental health during these unprecedented times.

Break up your workday

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Some common challenges when working from home during the pandemic is the lack of stimulation and connection to people you used to see regularly. This can become a bit confusing, so it’s great to try to break up the schedule.

One of the best tips for working from home that I’ve discovered is breaking up the work day with movement. This can be a quick burst of movement (like jumping jacks, or lifting kettle bells) or some lower impact movement like a walk. I’m also a huge fan of taking a mid-afternoon break (longer than your typical 30-minute lunch break) to go on a long walk or run errands.

Get a routine and stick to it

Routine is essential, and it’s even more important when structure is missing.

Sticking to a routine does not mean that you have to abide by the old standard 9-5 office hours, and only take downtime in the evening. It simply means that you have a system for waking up on time, getting ready, feeling confident and getting your work done in a timely manner. 

When you do this regularly enough, it will feel more natural over time, and you won’t have to think about it so much. For me, this has meant taking my dogs out on a walk to get a coffee in the morning and then coming home and getting to work – it’s like creating my own little commute.

Stay connected

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Remember to keep up with friends and family, even if that can only be done through a Zoom or FaceTime call. Text someone you care about, and when restrictions are lifted in your area, try to make plans as regularly as you feel comfortable.

Connection is key, and it can be challenging when you don’t leave your home for long stretches of time.

It’s also helpful to join platforms of people doing similar work as you and interacting with them throughout the day. Or you can join an online book club or participate in volunteer work – having this sort of obligation will go a long way in helping you show up when you don’t feel great.

Incorporate wellness activities into your day

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One of the biggest perks of working from home is that you get to do things you might not be able to if you’re in an office all day.

I’ve been doing 20 minute walks around my neighborhood while listening to music. This moves the energy in the body and allow us to to have a shift in consciousness, which is so important when you’ve been isolated in front of a computer screen.

Another way to experience new energy in the body is to pause from work, find a comfortable place to sit, and then do deep belly breaths. This involves taking one deep breath in, and then focus on the exhale. You’ll notice your shoulders will relax, and your body will feel lighter.

Learn how to detach

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It’s so important when working from home that you keep your work and personal lives and actual physical areas totally separate. For many, it may not be possible to create an actual separate office space but you can create workspaces outside of your most “lived in” spaces. That’s what matters most.

There is a risk that working hours will get longer if the boundaries between work and personal life become blurred. It is necessary to establish a rigid system in which work can be carried out in a planned manner, such as by setting working hours and the timing of contact with supervisors.

No matter what you do, remember that working from home is yet another “new normal” to get used to — and the sooner you adapt to what makes you most productive, healthy, and mentally well, the better.

Mexico Plans To Reopen Cancun To International Tourists But It’s Not At All Prepared For Visitors

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Mexico Plans To Reopen Cancun To International Tourists But It’s Not At All Prepared For Visitors

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There are millions of people just itching for a vacation right now, and Cancun wants to welcome visitors with open arms. However, there’s a huge problem with their plan. Most of the country is still in a severe phase of the pandemic – with all 32 states reporting daily increases in confirmed Covid-19 cases.

In cities such as Guadalajara and Mexico City, even locals aren’t allowed to venture far from their homes and restrictions on shopping, dining, and exercising are still in full force.

However, the country’s president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO), has resumed his cross-country travels and is trying to portray a ‘new normal’ – the problem is little has changed to prevent further outbreaks.

Cancun is aiming to open its doors to tourists from June 10 – but it makes zero sense given the actual situation on the ground.

Quintana Roo, home to the famed beaches of Cancun and Tulum, will resume activities next week – according to the governor, Carlos Joaquin Gonzalez. The state, which depends heavily on tourism, has lost over 83,000 jobs in the last few months due to the pandemic, and with reopening the state could see an economic rebound. However, that entirely depends on the success and implementation of safety measures.

In a press conference, the governor said that tourists could start arriving in the Caribbean destination as soon as June 8th. He added that tourism is an essential activity and that there is no other of greater importance in Quintana Roo “and we are going to fight for it to be considered that way.”

He stressed during the public address that for the opening to happen by June 10th, protocols and hygiene measures must be followed to protect workers and tourists from Covid-19.

And he has good reason to reopen. According to a new survey by Expedia, ‘Cancun flights’ is one of the top 5 searches on the platform. In the same survey, Playa del Carmen, Cancun and Isla Mujeres (all located in Quintana Roo) were announced as three of the most internationally sought after destinations.

Meanwhile, AMLO has launched a cross-country tour touting the lifting of Coronavirus restrictions.

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President AMLO also held his daily press conference from the state of Quintana Roo to mark the beginning of Mexico’s economic reopening and resume his tours across the country.

But this too makes zero sense. Yes, the government has mandated that states can begin lifting restrictions – if they’re no longer declared ‘red zones.’ However, every state in the country is still in the red, with many seeing peak infection numbers.

It’s just the most recent example of confusing messaging from the president.

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While AMLO is eager to get the country reopened and put Mexicans back to work, Coronavirus cases continue to rise across the country. Mexico has now recorded the seventh-highest number of Covid-19 deaths in the world, according to the Johns Hopkins tracker, with nearly 10,000 virus-related fatalities and almost 100,000 confirmed cases. Testing in the country is low and health officials acknowledge that the numbers are likely much higher.

The federal government unveiled a red-light/green-light system to implement reopening procedures state by state. But currently every state is still in ‘red-light’ phase – meaning stay-at-home orders are still in full effect – making AMLO’s messaging extremely confusing.

Time and time again, the president has downplayed the virus outbreak and has criticized stay-at-home orders for harming the economy.

Keep in mind, however, that non-essential travel between the U.S. and Mexico is still largely banned.

Since March, all non-essential travel has been banned between the U.S. and Mexico. However, that ban is currently set to expire on June 22. It’s possible both sides could extend the travel ban, but given AMLO’s rhetoric it isn’t likely he’ll keep the country closed to tourists for much longer.

However, it’s important to point that out even if you technically can travel – right now you really shouldn’t. In much of Mexico, confirmed Covid-19 cases are on the rise with many cities across the country just now entering it’s worst phase.