Secrets, More Secrets, and the Shutdown

Some weeks I go looking for topics. Some weeks they bombard me.

This week the catapults were working overtime.

Let’s start with the secrets.  Rep. Russ Fulcher’s September divorce was kept secret for four months.  His wife cited adultery as grounds and yet didn’t make a statement about the divorce?  Reporters didn’t notice?

If only that were the serious stuff.

A report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services revealed that thousands of children were separated from their parents at the border in 2017, months before Trump’s zero-tolerance policy was announced.

Fortunately, it appears that any children still in custody were included in the reports on separated children turned over to the court from July to December 2018. Without records indicating parents, site managers resorted to simply asking kids if they’d come with their parents.

Still, that means separations had been going on for more than a year when Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said, “We do not have a policy of separating families at the border. Period.”

And we’re supposed to trust Neilsen’s word that security will be adequate for Trump’s State of the Nation address?  Maybe I watch too many cop shows, but, I think it’s no longer wise to ever gather all three branches of government in one room.

Back to secrets–

Remember how upset people were when President Trump met with Russian President Putin in Helsinki  for two hours without any staff present? Well, the Washington Post reported last week that, since becoming president, Trump has had four other mystery meetings with Putin. Okay, former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was present at one, but Trump did confiscate the translator’s notes and demand secrecy.

Why does the President insist on having no records of discussions with Putin?

No other president has done anything similar. Nor has any other president done more to end America’s role as leader of the free world or create distrust of the institutions of our democracy.

And the State Department is lifting sanctions against a major Russian producer of aluminum that it had announced in April but never fully implemented.

Last week 136 House Republicans–including the Minority Leader and GOP Whip—joined with Democrats in opposing lifting the sanctions. Unfortunately, an earlier call for a vote in the Senate had failed by two votes.

Yet, President Trump claims he’s been harder on Russia than any other president.

More secrets.  Buzzfeed reported that Robert Mueller had proof that President Trump had ordered Michael Cohen to lie about dates of the negotiations for a Trump Tower in Moscow. And then Mueller said that’s not quite right–and nothing more.

And President Trump revealed the itinerary of a fact-finding trip abroad that Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi and other U.S. representatives were starting as he cancelled their scheduled military transport.

Of course, the government shutdown overshadowed all this.

Trump really offered nothing in his Saturday speech. The courts have already extended DACA protection for another 24-33 months (depending on the recipients renewal date). That’s past the date of the 2021 inauguration.

And the House is already working to fund the border projects other than the wall that the President offered.

And don’t forget that polls consistently show that 60 percent of Americans do not want to spend billions on more wall.

Basically, Democrats fear that if they back down, Trump will shut the government down any time he doesn’t get his way. They did stop the shutdown last January for nothing but vague promises of future DACA action that never happened.

They say the effects of shutdowns grow exponentially. Unfortunately, we seem destined to test that theory.

Note this editorial by Judy Ferro published by Idaho Press – 2019

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