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Jan-07-2019 10:56printcomments

On the Government Shutdown

Trump dances to his puppet masters in this sad melodrama.


(SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.) - The partial government shutdown is now in the third week with no end in sight. Trump wants money for a wall between the U.S.-Mexico border and the Congressional Democrats and many Republicans do not.

As you remember, last month the White House appeared to show support for a short-term spending measure that did not contain wall money but would have kept the government open until February 8. But then, ultra-conservative radio hosts Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh as well the Freedom Caucus “completely flipped” Trump, convincing him to take a hardline on funding for the border wall.

The shutdown began on December 21.

Perhaps, the negotiations should be with ultra-conservative radio hosts as well as the Freedom Caucus rather than with Trump as they seem to be the puppet masters in this melodrama.

On January 3, the new House with a Democrat majority passed legislation that would fund all eight government departments for the remainder of the fiscal year, which ends September 30.

It passed largely along party lines, with seven Republicans joining Democrats in supporting this bill. The House also voted 239-192, again mostly along party lines, to fund the Department of Homeland Security at current spending levels through February 8. Five Republicans backed this legislation.

This legislation is virtually identical to the legislation passed by the Senate and House last month. However, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) refused to call for a vote on any proposal that doesn’t have “a real chance” of passing and getting a presidential signature.

There is no border crisis except the one created by Trump himself.

It doesn’t seem to matter to him that a physical wall of 700 plus miles between the U.S. and Mexico is a wasteful expenditure of billions of taxpayer dollars, endangers wildlife, stomps on property rights of private landowners, and isolates our partner, Mexico. And contrary to Trump’s assertion, Mexico will not pay for any wall.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump promised voters a "big, beautiful" concrete wall along the southern border, which Mexico would pay for.

He believes breaking this promise will erode his base and threaten his chances for reelection in 2020.

On January 4, Trump threatened to declare a national emergency to help pay for his border wall to help get funds to build the wall without Congressional approval "for the security of our country” but did not elaborate on the details.

Meanwhile, according to some analysts’ estimates, the economic costs of the government shutdown may already exceed the $5 billion Trump is demanding for a border wall.

I see no immediate end to the shutdown unless a way is found for both sides to save face.


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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.