The Republican party has been associated with state’s rights ever since President Nixon pivoted to a “Southern strategy” to pick up disaffected “Dixiecrat” voters distraught over the Democratic party’s push for civil rights in the 60’s — a move that upended the South’s long-standing “Jim Crow” laws.
While the GOP has retained all the racial animosity that it incorporated in its attempt to win the lion’s share of votes below the Mason-Dixon line, its commitment to state’s rights is now wholly dependent on whether a particular situation fits its corporatist agenda.
The perfect example is today’s revelation that the Department of Energy “secretly shipped about a half-ton of weapons-grade radioactive plutonium to Nevada despite the state’s opposition,” according to a report on The Hill.
The news of the fait accompli came in the middle of a case in federal court in Nevada where the state was suing the federal government to prevent it from shipping the deadly material clear across the country from South Carolina.
During court proceedings, Bruce Diamond, general counsel for the Energy Department’s National Nuclear Security Administration, admitted that the suit was moot since the highly radioactive plutonium had all already been transported to the Nevada National Security Site, about 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas.
“Because sufficient time has now elapsed after conclusion of this campaign, DOE may now publicly state that it has completed all shipment of plutonium (approximately ½ metric ton) to Nevada,” Diamond wrote in a court document, stating that security concerns had prevented the department from disclosing the classified information previously.
For anyone who trusts a member of the Trump administration to tell the truth, the DOE claims that the shipment was actually completed before Nevada filed the lawsuit to prevent it, although it refused to provide any details of the transfer, again citing security concerns.
“Although the precise date that this occurred cannot be revealed for reasons of operational security, it can be stated that this was done before November 2018, prior to the initiation of the litigation,” according to Diamond.
The Energy Department lawyer did not specify exactly how the shipment was transported nor did he provide details of the route the deadly shipment took as it was carried thousands of miles across populated areas. Previously the DOE had said that plutonium would be shipped by truck in specially designed containers lined with lead radiation shields and with numerous other precautionary measures in place.
Nevada filed for an injunction to stop the shipment in November, claiming that the Department of Energy had not thoroughly studied the environmental impacts of shipping the radioactive plutonium. The revelation that they were now powerless to stop an already accomplished mission threw Nevada officials into a fit of anger towards the Trump administration.
“I am beyond outraged by this completely unacceptable deception from the U.S. Department of Energy,” Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) said in a statement.
“The department led the State of Nevada to believe that they were engaging in good-faith negotiations with us regarding a potential shipment of weapons-grade plutonium, only to reveal that those negotiations were a sham all along. They lied to the State of Nevada, misled a federal court, and jeopardized the safety of Nevada’s families and environment,” he said.
Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) branded the administration’s actions “deceitful and unethical,” saying it imperiled “the health and safety of thousands of Nevadans and Americans who live in close proximity to shipment routes.”
Lies and deceit from the Trump administration? What a surprise.
Nevadans are learning the primary lesson of life under President Trump. The administration and the Republican party simply do not care about anyone except themselves and their billionaire donors, the vast majority of Americans be damned.
Until we are rid of both of them, lies and deceit are all we can expect.
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Original reporting by Timothy Cama at The Hill.