Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Tune In, Shutdown, Sell Out

Tune In, Shutdown, Sell Out
by Coast Watcher  

It was a tumultuous start to the year 2019. The Petulant President’s government shutdown broke all records for duration and hardships caused. Trump demands government funding for his border wall. He held the entire country hostage for 35 days. At the end of it he walked away with nothing.

This  administration had two basic reactions to the shutdown. They either showed callous disregard for suffering Americans, or plain ignorance as to the damage they were causing the country and its reputation abroad. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said publicly he didn’t understand why some Federal workers had to resort to using food banks and suggested they take out bank loans to tide them over. Trump’s daughter-in-law Lara Trump said the shutdown was causing “a little bit of pain,” but that the country would “thank them (Federal workers) for their sacrifices.” 

Both reactions from those close to this president show how dangerously out of touch he and they are. Furloughed workers were not on vacation. Missing their second monthly paycheck meant they weren’t able to afford food, or life-saving medication or, especially in the northern states, to be able to heat their homes in the middle of a bitterly-cold winter. Certain Federal workers were expected to work without pay, something which was made illegal by Lincoln’s government passing the 13th Amendment in 1863. To add insult to injury, some GOP Senators even questioned whether Federal workers should receive back-pay once the shutdown ended. In any case, it’s still expected to take several days before that back-pay is issued.

The knock-on effects of the shutdown extends to the communities in which the Federal workers live, because those workers could not spend money on goods and services in those communities. Beyond those on the Federal payroll, 42 million American families on food stamps and section eight housing allowance faced the terrifying prospects of hunger and homelessness. With the IRS shut down millions of Americans will suffer delays in getting vital tax rebates.  

Had the United States extended Medicare and Medicaid to cover all its citizens the effects of the shutdown would have been mitigated to some extent. Instead, healthcare in this country is in the hands of the insurance industry, a body devoted exclusively to making money. No doubt the loans business is also doing a roaring trade as people suddenly lacking their steady income turn in desperation to the loan sharks. 

Then the shutdown ended—at least for 21 days. A deal was reached on Friday January 25 to partially reopen government, and Congress is expected to endorse the measure quickly. Trump is still insistent on getting funding for his infamous wall project. He’s threatening to let government shut down again or to use Presidential emergency powers to bypass Congress altogether when the current deal ends on February 15. The projected cost of Trump’s Wall is around $5.7 billion. The cost of the shutdown exceeded that amount some days ago, something Trump hopes will bring the people of America around to his way of thinking by believing funding his wall would be cheaper than another shutdown.

In that hope, he has failed. The general mood across the country is that Trump is on entirely the wrong track. His actions have sapped the national economy. Recent polls show support for Trump’s actions among his notoriously fervent voter base has sharply declined.  

Liberals across the country are praising House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the skies for going eyeball to eyeball with Trump until he blinked. Perhaps she had a small part in it, in the role of an opportunist politician with a questionable track record for taking bribes, but the real heroes and heroines who ended the shutdown are the American workers.

On January 25, TSA workers walked out of several airports across the country, refusing to work without pay any longer. Trump’s praise for them as “fantastic people,” and “incredible patriots” fell upon deaf ears. Airline cabin staff unions threatened a general strike if the shutdown didn’t end. These actions closed airports and began to impact air travel across the world. It’s no coincidence that negotiations to end the shutdown came about within two hours of this happening. Perhaps also the sense that people deprived of the basic necessities of life such as food and housing might just take to the streets in a second American Revolution that would make the ongoing Yellow Vest movement in Europe look like a picnic.

It remains to be seen what will happen next. We vanished down the rabbit hole back in 2016 when Trump’s victory in the presidential election was announced. Trump’s threat to use presidential emergency powers to override democratic government may come true. Perhaps the Democrat dominated Congress and increasingly nervous GOP Senate will come to some kind of deal. Trump’s ego is such I doubt he’ll suffer his newly-imposed lame duck status for long.

In the meantime, while we were all distracted by Trump’s antics, funding for military activities abroad continued. The citizens of foreign countries died under American bombing and drone strikes. Protests against pipelines driving through Native American lands are ongoing. Venezuela continues to suffer United States' interdiction and interference in its internal affairs. Trump recognized right-wing leader Juan Guaido as "rightful" president of Venezuela, thus blatantly attempting to undermine legitimate President Nicolás Maduro Moros. It’s no coincidence that this gross interference in a sovereign country’s affairs is entirely down to the fact Venezuela sits on the world’s largest oil reserves.

And factories continue to close, workers are laid off in an economy depressed by Trump’s petulance. Ironically one of those factories, Werner Ladders of Louisville, Kentucky announced in August it plans to lay off 188 workers and close the plant by March 2019. Production will move to a new plant in Mexico. Now, what would be useful for climbing over a wall between the United States and Mexico...a ladder, do you think?

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BIO: Coast Watcher keeps watch and wonders what will bring about the political revolution in the USA. If not being paid for over a month and going without food stamps doesn't provoke a general strike (like the threatened strike by TSA and airline workers) then what will?


We won't be silent on things that matter--so don't let them shut us down!

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Cadbury Sources Its Milk from Inhumane Farms, Uses Dirty Palm Oil, and Exploits Its Workers. Demand That The Chocolate Company Clean Up Its Act Now!

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Tell Congress:

"Shut down Trump's children's prisons and then investigate what happened there."

After 35 days, Donald Trump has caved and agreed to re-open the federal government.

There’s still a crisis at the border--but it’s not the one he talked about in his speech in the White House rose garden. That’s because it’s a crisis that his administration created and perpetuates every day.

Donald Trump’s inhumane, dehumanizing immigration policy is still locking up thousands and thousands of children in prison camps.

Through all of the indictments, shutdowns, self-inflicted crises and general chaos of the Trump administration, it’s easy to lose sight of each crisis. But for these children, who eyewitnesses say are locked in cages, trapped beneath barbed wire, and under military-style guard day and night, were seeking asylum through legal channels. It’s sickening that this is being done in our name.

These camps must be shut down now, and then Congress must open an immediate investigation into any human rights abuses these children may have suffered.

The wall is not the answer. A humane immigration system is.

Thank you,

Mike Phelan
Progress America



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Nearly one year ago, on February 14, 2018, 19-year-old Nicolas Cruz walked into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida and took the lives of 17 young men and women with an AR-15. In just the year since then, there have been over 300 mass shootings in the United States — and not one piece of common sense gun control legislation passed by Congress.

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