Day: February 24, 2011

The Effects Of A Government Shutdown After March 4

How quickly people forget what happens if the government, which we all take for granted, was to “shut down”!

Of course, the defense of the United States continues, and air traffic controllers still are on the job, but in so many ways, the country and its citizens suffer if the government runs out of money and cannot come up with a compromise budget bill to support government expenditures.

In 1995, Newt Gingrich and the Republicans in Congress forced a government shutdown, which went on for two weeks, and ended up with President Bill Clinton winning the public relations battle, and going on to win a second term, and seeing the Republican party lose seats in the Congress, as a result.

But the memory of Americans is very limited as to what a government shutdown actually entails.

Here are the facts:

Health care–disease monitoring, clinical research, and toxic waste cleanup came to a halt.

Law Enforcement–delays in applications being processed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; delay in delinquent child support cases; cancellation in recruitment and testing of federal law enforcement officials, including border control and immigration officials.

Parks, Museums and Monuments–seven million tourists to 386 National Park Service sites prevented by closures; 2 million visitors to national museums and monuments also prevented by shutdowns; effect on local communities economically due to these closures.

Visas and Passports–20-30 thousand visa applications by foreigners unprocessed every day; 200,00 applications for passports delayed; tourist industries and airlines suffered millions of dollars in lost revenue.

Veterans Services–health, welfare, finance and travel cut back dramatically.

Federal Contractors–lost revenue in the millions of dollars, and many people furloughed without a pay check.

A shutdown would affect the American economy at a delicate moment, while in 1995, the economy was flourishing, and still the shutdown had a deleterious effect, and left a sour taste in many people’s mouths!

How can a government shut down? Only when its leader are so irresponsible as Newt Gingrich and the Republicans were then, and even worse, as John Boehner, Mitch McConnell and other GOP leaders are today, at a time when economic growth and stability should be the priority, but is obviously not the case.

To avoid a shutdown will probably require a miracle, and the Republican Party will again acquire the image as the anti government party, which yet wishes to govern!

Hopefully, the American people will turn on the party which is promoting suffering and mean spirit as their answer to the economic collapse caused by their party under President George W. Bush!

Russ Feingold And Progressives United: The Fight Against Corporate Influence In Politics

Former Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold, who lost his race to Ron Johnson in 2010, after Johnson spent a good part of his personal fortune and utilized corporate contributions as well to defeat Feingold, is now on a new crusade against the corporate influence that defeated him after 18 productive years in the Senate.

Feingold was considered the biggest loss for the progressive movement in America in 2010, and is well remembered for his strong principles while in office.

He has now formed a Political Action Committee, Progressives United, which is out to promote the end of corporate influence on politics, by overcoming the effects of the Citizens United Supreme Court case of January 2010, which totally corrupted the political campaigns last year, and led to the gaining of 63 seats by the Republicans in the House of Representatives.

Feingold, who had worked with John McCain on campaign finance reform, which was overturned by the Supreme Court in the Citizens United Case, has made it clear that he will not accept “soft money” or unlimited contributions for his PAC.

The goal is to overturn the Supreme Court decision eventually, and meanwhile offer support to progressive candidates, and hold the media and elected officials accountable on the goals of the PAC.

Feingold refused to accept outside spending on his campaigns, and unfortunately lost, as a result, but he made it clear that the Citizens United Case is bringing back the Gilded Age “on steroids”!

The battle for democracy in the future is centered around the struggle against the powerful corporate world, which is out to enrich itself at the expense of the citizens of this country, with the concept of greed and selfishness seemingly having no limit.

So all progressive and liberal thinkers and activists should support Senator Feingold in his quest to fight corporate influence through Progressives United!