Saturday, January 26, 2019

Something to Know - 26 January

Mike Lester Comic Strip for January 26, 2019

It would appear that Individual 1 is mired in the swamp.  All the bad news with Manafort, Roger Stone, Bumbling Rudy, his careless children, and Special Counsel Mueller breathing down his neck.   He isn't playing golf, and now it looks like he fired his hair dresser.  The guy is a mess.

The Trump Shutdown Ends with a Whimper

Photograph by Susan Walsh / AP

What did the longest government shutdown in U.S. history accomplish? Hundreds of thousands of federal employees missed two paychecks. Long lines, delays, and the fear of disaster visited the nation's airports. The federal court system was forced to limp along, as were federal law-enforcement agencies. (On Friday, many noted that the F.B.I. agents who arrested Roger Stone, President Trump's longtime associate, in a dawn raid, in Florida, had been working for free.) The State of the Union address, Washington's annual bit of pomp and circumstance, was put off. And Trump did not get any money for a border wall, which was the reason the shutdown began in the first place. Last month, more than two years after the Presidential election, Trump suddenly decided that a wall on the southern border—the monument to racism and immigrant fear-mongering that he'd promised his supporters at rally after rally—was something he needed, immediately, even if it meant shutting down the government. On Friday, thirty-five days later, Trump relented. "In a short while, I will sign a bill to open our government for three weeks, until February 15th," Trump said in a statement, which he delivered in the White House Rose Garden.

As recently as Thursday, no one in Washington seemed to know how to end the shutdown. Democrats—who almost universally stood opposed to any funding for a wall—are newly in charge of the House. Republicans, who still control the Senate, couldn't get enough votes to overcome a filibuster. For a few weeks, Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, insisted that the impasse had to be worked out between Trump and Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House. But Pelosi held fast to her no-wall position, and the polls started moving against Trump. On Thursday, the Senate finally took a stab at it, voting on two bills to reopen the government: one with border funding, one without. They both failed. In the meantime, senior Administration officials were out giving quotes to the media about how furloughed federal workers could take out loans to address their "liquidity" problems, sounding every bit like people who deal with cash-flow issues by offloading some stock or maybe refinancing some property in Telluride. The President suggested that groceries could be bought on credit. Then, on Friday morning, news came that planes were being grounded at LaGuardia Airport, in New York. Was that what it took to force action in Washington? The shutdown's other accomplishments included raising awareness about government services and giving federal-employee unions a chance to exercise some power. Border Patrol union leaders stood by Trump throughout the shutdown, while unions representing air-traffic controllers, pilots, and flight attendants may have hastened its end.

The Trump Administration now seems to be trying to contain the damage. In his statement from the Rose Garden, Trump started by profusely thanking the " incredible" federal workforce. "You are fantastic people," he said. Then, as if anticipating criticism from the anti-immigrant activists in his base, he veered into his talking points about walls ("the walls we are building are not medieval walls, they are smart walls"), the immigration system ("our laws are obsolete"), and undocumented immigrants ("they go into our country and end up in places you would least expect"). He walked off without taking questions.


"Yes, yes, but I bring that out in people. I do. I'm not saying that's an asset or a liability, but I do bring that out. ...I bring rage out. I do bring rage out. I always have."
- Candidate Donald J. Trump in April, 2016

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