Day 31
January 21, 2019 9:24 AM   Subscribe

The federal goverment shutdown continues. The Trump Shutdown Is an Environmental Crisis, overflowing trash cans are the least of the problems. (New Republic) ’Barely above water': US shutdown hits black federal workers hardest (Guardian) “MSNBC anchor Stephanie Ruhle reported a story Thursday of a pawned wedding ring as part of the #GoodNewsRUHLES segment she ends the show with: “Yesterday, my friend and colleague Hans Nichols, he brought us this story of one furloughed worker who was so in need of cash she pawned her wedding ring. But we have an amazing update to share: When that woman’s family learned that she sold her ring, on their own they contacted the pawn shop owner, Angela Huffman, and they bought the ring back for her. That is who we are as a nation.” There are no “feel-good” government shutdown stories (Vox) Shutdown Stories: How The Government’s Fight Affects Americans (Huff Post) “The following is an open letter from two employees of the federal government. Due to a fear of losing their jobs, they have chosen to remain anonymous.” We Work For The Federal Goverment And It’s Time To Strike (Splinter)
posted by The Whelk (216 comments total) 40 users marked this as a favorite
 
As a non-American: why haven't any government employees gone out on strike already? Why does the linked article suggest "calling in sick", rather than a full and proper union-run strike?

Is it illegal for these people to strike? Even though they aren't being paid? And if so, why don't the unions flaunt the law and strike anyway?
posted by sidek at 9:32 AM on January 21, 2019 [8 favorites]


That is who we are as a nation.

What a sad commentary.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 9:32 AM on January 21, 2019 [16 favorites]


Why is this a thing that can happen at all? Why don't we just end the concept of a government shutdown? 800,000 people should not be hostages of Congress or the President.
posted by all about eevee at 9:33 AM on January 21, 2019 [31 favorites]


why haven't any government employees gone out on strike already?

Because of what Reagan did to the Air Traffic Controllers.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 9:35 AM on January 21, 2019 [58 favorites]


sidek, federal employees are prohibited by statute from striking.
posted by wintermind at 9:39 AM on January 21, 2019 [32 favorites]


Why is this a thing that can happen at all? Why don't we just end the concept of a government shutdown? 800,000 people should not be hostages of Congress or the President.

Absolutely it should be eliminated, and this is one reason why it is so important to not allocate a single dollar for the White Supremacy statue (aka Wall) in a deal to reopen the government. This has to stop here.
posted by thelonius at 9:40 AM on January 21, 2019 [19 favorites]


It's illegal for these people to strike, yeah. They could quit, but my hunch is that most of them would lose benefits like pensions and whatnot. At some point they're going to have to quit, because people can't go without pay indefinitely.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 9:41 AM on January 21, 2019 [8 favorites]


As other have said, if they actually strike, they'll likely be fired, possibly even charged and arrested.
posted by bonehead at 9:42 AM on January 21, 2019


D'oh, missed the edit window. 31 days of furlough takes its toll.
posted by wintermind at 9:50 AM on January 21, 2019 [3 favorites]


This would be the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute

The question boils down to "If the government is shutdown, how would a strike impair the operation of an agency?" And that none of the unions have significant strike funds to see them through.

But yeah, I'm at the "It's time for labor to shut down AMERICA with a general strike to protest the GOP shutting down goverment"
posted by mikelieman at 9:51 AM on January 21, 2019 [15 favorites]


I do feel I should acknowledge that it is easy for me, not a Federal employee, to call for a hardline siege. I'm not the one who is facing eviction.

How can it be stopped? Would a simple law that said, if there's no funding bill then there is an automatic continuing resolution at the old levels, work? That would still leave open the possibility of shutdowns at debt ceiling time. So there would have to be a second solution there, I suppose.
posted by thelonius at 9:52 AM on January 21, 2019 [7 favorites]


Isn't the whole premise behind not striking that you don't want to risk your work-provided income?
posted by odinsdream at 9:59 AM on January 21, 2019 [5 favorites]


Modest Needs is raising cash to be donated to verified federal employees/contractors with specific lump-sum needs during the furlough.

(Their rhetoric is not 100% perfect, but they have been operating a similar program for the working poor for over a decade now, and they did one such for poor people who lost income due to Hurricane Sandy.)
posted by praemunire at 10:03 AM on January 21, 2019 [7 favorites]


since Jan 1, for every business day the shutdown continues there should be an extension of the tax filing deadline. So currently my income tax would not be due until May 6.
Refunds are being delayed (regardless of official pronouncements), so payments should also be delayed.
posted by pgoes at 10:04 AM on January 21, 2019 [4 favorites]


Shutdowns are a consequence of an interpretation of the Antideficiency Act, so they could probably be prevented entirely by an adjustment in the law. The debt ceiling could be eliminated by statute also.
posted by BungaDunga at 10:10 AM on January 21, 2019 [19 favorites]


Shutdowns are a consequence of an interpretation of the Antideficiency Act, so they could probably be prevented entirely by an adjustment in the law. The debt ceiling could be eliminated by statute also.

However/Whenever this gets resolved, among the settlement details should be legislation that ends the possibility of Federal government shutdowns.
posted by notyou at 10:23 AM on January 21, 2019 [9 favorites]


I came in to offer a smart arse comment that I was honestly surprised some enterprising individual has not invented a way to get super rich by building an app to offer “government shutdown interruption income insurance” for unpaid but still working federal employees yet (like business interruption insurance but for employees).

And then I read this : Pawnshops and payday lenders surge on US government shutdown. And now I feel sick.
Shares in World Acceptance, a South Carolina-based short-term lender, are up 22 per cent since the shutdown took effect about a month ago
posted by inflatablekiwi at 10:32 AM on January 21, 2019 [22 favorites]


why haven't any government employees gone out on strike already?

Because of what Reagan did to the Air Traffic Controllers


Specifically: Regan fired all 11,000 striking controllers and called in military controllers to help fill the gaps.

I cannot think of a better way to accelerate the slide into fascism than encouraging Trump to fire all federal workers and replace the ones his advisors deem necessary with the military.
posted by schadenfrau at 10:35 AM on January 21, 2019 [61 favorites]


That doesn’t mean I have a solution besides, incredibly, a goddamn GoFundMe. I’m stumped too. I just see that as the beginning of a particularly nightmarish path.
posted by schadenfrau at 10:37 AM on January 21, 2019 [4 favorites]


Washingtonian article on Jose Andres feeding furloughed feds and some of the people being fed.

DC woman gives $640 dollars to furloughed feds waiting in line: “These are people that I owe a debt to because they’re doing a job on my behalf and they’re not being paid,” says Wilkinson. She didn’t ask furloughed workers what they wanted to do with the money—she said it wasn’t her business, be it Metro fare, gas money, or simply a drink. According to Wilkinson, federal employees made the choice to dedicate themselves to public service and however they want to use the cash, that’s their choice as well. As she made her way around the building, many asked for a hug instead of the money.
posted by gudrun at 11:14 AM on January 21, 2019 [26 favorites]


I don't want to donate to anything that will show up as a "feel good" story and thereby reduce the level of pressure on the administration to back down. But I would donate to a union's strike fund. Anyone know of a way to do this?
posted by elizilla at 11:32 AM on January 21, 2019 [9 favorites]


Federal unions don't have strike funds, because it is very illegal for federal workers to strike. If union officials did anything to facilitate a strike, they would go to prison.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 11:34 AM on January 21, 2019 [15 favorites]


It seems so nuts from over here. In Australia, like most parliamentary democracies, if the government loses supply or confidence from the floor of the house, a general election happens pretty much immediately, and everyone still gets paid. Such awful self interest and abandonment of principles of governance.
posted by smoke at 12:38 PM on January 21, 2019 [30 favorites]


I was pondering what changes would have to be made to bring double dissolution (or triple?) to the US, and whether it would be a good idea. I suspect it'd have to be a constitutional amendment, and that it'd have all sorts of weird consequences.
posted by zamboni at 12:49 PM on January 21, 2019


And -- to head this idea off before anyone gets the clever idea into their head -- sympathy strikes (i.e.: strikes by uninvolved unions) are also illegal in the US.
posted by mhum at 12:51 PM on January 21, 2019 [9 favorites]


The whole idea of making strikes illegal just baffles me. You can't force someone to go to work (just like you can't require an employer to keep people in their jobs if they decide to walk out). So if workers want to work together to flex the only power they have, how can that be illegal? It just seems like abridging the basic rights to just _decline to work when the conditions are unacceptable_, and to discuss your feelings and plans with your colleagues.
posted by lostburner at 1:00 PM on January 21, 2019 [27 favorites]


So if workers want to work together to flex the only power they have, how can that be illegal?

🎵 My country ‘tis of thee... 🇺🇸
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 1:04 PM on January 21, 2019 [14 favorites]


In Australia, like most parliamentary democracies, if the government loses supply or confidence from the floor of the house, a general election happens pretty much immediately, and everyone still gets paid. Such awful self interest and abandonment of principles of governance.

I mean, you’re right, smoke, but Australians really really really don’t get to dunk on other countries on government stability. We change prime ministers so often that the discarded ones just have to be stacked out the back of Canberra like so much cordwood.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 1:31 PM on January 21, 2019 [19 favorites]


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posted by Static Vagabond at 1:36 PM on January 21, 2019 [6 favorites]


why haven't any government employees gone out on strike already?

Because of what Reagan did to the Air Traffic Controllers


Slate published an article this morning on that topic. Under a normal administration, there are factors then that aren't replicated today:
  1. Public opinion is more with today's Federal workers, in part because it would be workers refusing to do work without pay (and ones who make less-than-median wages); not folks who are well paid and asking for more.
  2. The Reagan administration prepared for the strike, and had a workforce (military controllers) who could step in. Trump doesn't quite have that option--he'd have to train up TSA, food inspectors, etc.
  3. The airline industry embraced it, as working around the strike allowed them to change routes to their favor.
  4. Air travel is more central to the economy than it was at the time--being down for several days will have more ripple effects.
Basically, I think the optics for Trump will suck if he does, the economy would feel it more, and there is no built-in Plan B if it does happen.

I qualified "under a normal administration." I could see Trump firing them out of spite, figuring his base (who already comments "quit whining" on articles about furloughed workers) would see it as a strong move. Perhaps he figures he could use the military to do TSA's job, which, IMO, would likely spiral the situation (more stories of bad treatment in TSA lines by folks who may not know the job, have the temperament for customer service, increased appearance of a police state, etc.).

Again, with a normal administration, I would think such a move would likely create a backlash that kills his popularity. However, I think his base will dig in, and, since that's all he cares about, so will Trump. Congressional GOP will have to start to think about parting ways with him for the good of the country.

I can't believe I typed that last sentence with a straight face. Of course they'll continue to enable him.
posted by MrGuilt at 1:38 PM on January 21, 2019 [9 favorites]


As I recall, the West Virginia teachers' action of striking was illegal under state law; a lot of states have laws on the books saying that public employees can't strike.
posted by Sheydem-tants at 2:04 PM on January 21, 2019 [4 favorites]


Perhaps he figures he could use the military to do TSA's job, which, IMO, would likely spiral the situation (more stories of bad treatment in TSA lines by folks who may not know the job, have the temperament for customer service, increased appearance of a police state, etc.).

Border Patrol, Customs, Secret Service, etc.
posted by snuffleupagus at 2:18 PM on January 21, 2019 [2 favorites]


The whole idea of making strikes illegal just baffles me.

The idea is that Federal workers striking affect the operations of the executive agencies. Of course, the legislation never envisioned a "shutdown", so I would offer that the agreement has been breached by the government, and the workers have no obligation to honor it any longer.
posted by mikelieman at 2:43 PM on January 21, 2019 [6 favorites]


why haven't any government employees gone out on strike already?

- Because of what Reagan did to the Air Traffic Controllers

-- Specifically: Regan fired all 11,000 striking controllers and called in military controllers to help fill the gaps.


From Mother Jones: "On August 5, 1981 Reagan fired over 11,000 workers who refused to return to work. PATCO [Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization], who supported Reagan in the 1980 election, was decertified as a union and the fired workers were banned from holding federal jobs ever again. It took the FAA close to ten years to return staffing to its normal level."

Clinton lifted the ban in 1993, but only about 800 people were rehired.
posted by Iris Gambol at 2:44 PM on January 21, 2019 [22 favorites]


Is there a diagram or table somewhere online that shows the bits of government that are either shut down or impaired because of the shutdown?
posted by eirias at 2:51 PM on January 21, 2019 [1 favorite]


My partner missed their paycheck due to the shutdown a week ago. We've tightened our belts and cut all discretionary spending so we'd only be a little bit in the red each month but there isn't a day to this shutdown that goes by where I think how much worse things would be if I hadn't left federal federal service with the change of the adminstration.
posted by Karaage at 2:53 PM on January 21, 2019 [15 favorites]


It's the rest of us who should be striking.
posted by uosuaq at 2:56 PM on January 21, 2019 [27 favorites]


I mean strike or not, people won't be capable of just not getting paid for very much longer. They'll be forced to take other work, and forced to quit. People have bills and have to buy food, this just isn't going to be tenable.
posted by odinsdream at 3:12 PM on January 21, 2019 [11 favorites]


The whole idea of making strikes illegal just baffles me. You can't force someone to go to work (just like you can't require an employer to keep people in their jobs if they decide to walk out). So if workers want to work together to flex the only power they have, how can that be illegal?

Setting aside some specific occupations (police, firefighters, the military, etc.), it's not so much that you will necessarily go to jail for going on strike, so it's not really illegal, but that you can lose the protections otherwise afforded under US labor law to strikers.

Under US law (the NRLB), employers are prohibited from firing workers who are on strike; this is to ensure employers come to the bargaining table and work with the union to come up with an agreement, regardless of the slackness of the labor market. They can't just fire everyone and start taking applications for replacements off the street, or shut the factory down and move to the next town over.

But if you join a "wildcat" strike (US term for a strike not sanctioned by a union representing the striking workers), your employer can treat your job as abandoned and is free to hire someone else. You're out of work, benefits, etc. (Time to party like it's 1892.)

Employers are not required to fire striking workers; an enlightened employer could, I suppose, decide not to do that—for ideological or practical reasons—and just wait things out as though they're just on vacation. I could see some tech companies doing this with highly-skilled workers; Google probably isn't going to fire a whole bunch of its engineers from its NY or SF offices if they fail to show up for a couple of days, because the cost of replacing them is really high. The workers in that particular case have, due to the current state of the labor market, much of the bargaining power in the relationship anyway, even outside the legally-defined process. But obviously that doesn't apply to lots of other industries and regions, meaning that most US workers are not going to be in a position to join sympathy strikes or a general strike.
posted by Kadin2048 at 3:32 PM on January 21, 2019 [9 favorites]


Peter Gibbons: ... Uh, so I go through these thousands of lines of code and, uh... it doesn't really matter. I uh, I don't like my job, and, uh, I don't think I'm gonna go anymore.
Joanna: You're just not gonna go?
Peter Gibbons: Yeah.
Joanna: Won't you get fired?
Peter Gibbons: I don't know, but I really don't like it, and, uh, I'm not gonna go.
Joanna: So you're gonna quit?
Peter Gibbons: Nuh-uh. Not really. Uh... I'm just gonna stop going.
Joanna: When did you decide all that?
Peter Gibbons: About an hour ago.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 3:34 PM on January 21, 2019 [14 favorites]


I mean strike or not, people won't be capable of just not getting paid for very much longer. They'll be forced to take other work, and forced to quit. People have bills and have to buy food, this just isn't going to be tenable.

This what “drown it in the bathtub” looks like. If people start taking new jobs and don’t come back, chances are pretty good the administration will simply scale-back the affected agencies, slowly disappearing the federal government.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:46 PM on January 21, 2019 [49 favorites]


This is horrifying. Besides giving money to assistance funds, is there anything that I personally can do, as a WA resident? Would it be useful to fly to DC or Kentucky and stand outside McConnell's offices? How can ordinary people do anything?
posted by the agents of KAOS at 3:59 PM on January 21, 2019 [2 favorites]


Because of hiring freezes, we went without an IT person for about 6 years, A few months ago we were able to finally hire someone who was capable and enthusiastic. I wonder if he will still be there when we reopen.
posted by acrasis at 4:02 PM on January 21, 2019 [4 favorites]


You know what should be drowned in a bathtub? Paul D. Ryan's fucking austerity measures, which while they didn't start all this certainly brought it into the modern era.

(Also, I wouldn't be *overly distressed* if Ryan himself had to experience some water-based discomfort, or at least a good solid paddlin').
posted by aspersioncast at 4:41 PM on January 21, 2019 [11 favorites]


But obviously that doesn't apply to lots of other industries and regions, meaning that most US workers are not going to be in a position to join sympathy strikes or a general strike

You may not get fired, as in "this is written on your paperwork saying that is why you got fired", for going on strike. However, it is easy-peasy to fire someone who coincidentally was on strike recently for say, other "performance issues" like they wore the wrong color of socks to work or were two minutes late once. That, folks, is why "general strike" is not gonna happen. You are not safe and protected in your job if you go on strike. I'm not saying we're gonna have the Reagan scenario all the time, but for a lot of people, it's risking their lives.
posted by jenfullmoon at 5:02 PM on January 21, 2019 [16 favorites]


there should be an extension of the tax filing deadline

31/365ths of your taxes (and counting) should be chopped off the top, service is not being provided. Would you pay your cable bill if the company disconnected your line?
posted by Meatbomb at 5:39 PM on January 21, 2019 [11 favorites]


There are several lawsuits related to the shutdown:

American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) has a lawsuit on behalf of all essential employees and two named plaintiffs who work for the Bureau of Prisoners, claiming that making them work without pay is inhumane. (PDF of complaint.)

Another lawsuit, on behalf of 5 unnamed employees in 4 different departments, claims violations of the 13th and 5th amendments - the 4 "essential" workers are claiming work-without-pay violates the 13th, and the furloughed worker is claiming a violation of the 5th, as he can't get authorization to seek other employment during the shutdown. (PDF of complaint.)

National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) has filed a lawsuit and a temporary restraining order to demand that agencies can't require employees to work without pay; a judge has denied that one but the lawsuit continues. The NTEU argues that requiring people to work under the theory that they'll eventually get paid "violates the appropriations clause of the U.S. Constitution. The appropriations clause directs agencies to spend obligated funds only if Congress has appropriated such funds." Since the funds have not been allocated, requiring people to act as if they had, violates the law. (PDF of complaint.)

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NACTA) also has a TRO request (denied) and a lawsuit, claiming 5th amendment and FLSA violations - failure to pay overtime, failure to pay minimum wage. (PDF of complaint.)
Their numbers are at a 30-year low, and since all training has stopped during the shutdown, recovery will be slow no matter what happens.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 6:55 PM on January 21, 2019 [17 favorites]


Meatbomb: "31/365ths of your taxes (and counting) should be chopped off the top, service is not being provided. Would you pay your cable bill if the company disconnected your line?"

I get what you're saying if you're not being sarcastic about this, and I think it's interesting even if you are. It's important that we understand that our taxes are not a transaction in which we get a specific service over a particular period of time: they're an investment that changes over time and relies on continuity.

Your neighborhood doesn't have trash collection for a few weeks? Now you have a rat problem, and it doesn't go away easily once trash service resumes.

Long-term investments include both preventative and speculative measures that are way more effective than pay-as-you-go. The federal government should be the example of that in action. And it is, when idiots and criminals aren't able to hold it hostage.
posted by Riki tiki at 6:59 PM on January 21, 2019 [17 favorites]



It seems so nuts from over here. In Australia, like most parliamentary democracies, if the government loses supply or confidence from the floor of the house, a general election happens pretty much immediately, and everyone still gets paid. Such awful self interest and abandonment of principles of governance.


In 1789, snap elections were a nonstarter because transportation in the nascent republic was primarily by rowboat. Imagine rowing out to announce the election from New York or Philadelphia, reaching Maine, Georgia, Illinois, and then having the election, with the new Congress swarming in to reconvene. So instead we have a strict calendar, and it's a point of national pride that not even the Civil War broke it.

But yes, we need snap elections. Badly.
posted by ocschwar at 7:57 PM on January 21, 2019 [4 favorites]


But if you join a "wildcat" strike (US term for a strike not sanctioned by a union representing the striking workers), your employer can treat your job as abandoned and is free to hire someone else. You're out of work, benefits, etc.

Of course, large swaths of workers (IT, for instance) are at-will, exempt employees who lack the option, either by the industry actively discouraging them or workers not unionizing out of some inertia. This doesn't count either explicit or ad hoc contractors (Uber drivers, etc.), the drive to "Right to Work" laws, etc.

So for a high percentage of workers, striking lacks any protection.
posted by MrGuilt at 8:12 PM on January 21, 2019 [3 favorites]


It's illegal for these people to strike, yeah. They could quit, but my hunch is that most of them would lose benefits like pensions and whatnot. At some point they're going to have to quit, because people can't go without pay indefinitely.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 1:41 AM on January 22 [8 favorites +] [!]


FUCK that. Strike. End the concept that people will work without pay. Some y'all gonna argue like "but fire departments". No. Pay them. This is the one job of politicians. It's why taxes. We can argue about how much, but no, they get to strike, this is a free country and you don't use people like that.

That's where my effort to even try to hear the other side of this argument stops. Strike NOW.
posted by saysthis at 10:03 PM on January 21, 2019 [6 favorites]


Strike NOW

It's not that simple for every job. I work at a job where I can clearly draw a line and say "this is my job" and "this is not my job" and I can work to rule, and if shit happens, the institution or structure is at fault. If the company doesn't want to pay me for 2 hours overtime, the work just doesn't get done, I'm going home.

Then there are people who work at a job involving actual humans. What about the old lady who doesn't understand how to take her medications and will probably end up with liver failure if she doesn't take her meds properly? A large proportion of old people actually just end up "not" taking their meds as prescribed because it's too much trouble. The heroin addict who needs to be enrolled in a methadone program? If you don't make sure it happens, it literally doesn't happen. Old man who is senile and really needs to be put into care and should not be discharged because he has no one to take him home? These are all people who slip through the cracks and in reality only survive through the labor of unpaid overtime from under-resourced public servants who care about these things - in countries with publicly funded healthcare.

In the case of the government shutdown - should the fire department stop responding to calls and just watch property burn down? For law enforcement, do you just stop investigating crimes? Stop responding to people who are calling your department because they have an intruder in the house? Don't bother intervening in a domestic violence incident?

It's not easy to turn off human empathy. It will break you, in some way. And we just had a thread here where members were calling for the head of some nurse who they thought responsible for the death of a woman, saying that she was a psychopath.
posted by xdvesper at 10:25 PM on January 21, 2019 [17 favorites]


It's not that simple for every job.

So who out there is putting that general strike together and running gofundmes and food drives or whatever the equivalent would be?

And how do I help?
posted by saysthis at 10:34 PM on January 21, 2019 [2 favorites]


For society to break enough to push congress (erm, Mitch McTurtle) into passing a budget doesn't take a strike by all emergency services personnel. It takes a strike of air traffic controllers, because if there is nobody telling the planes where to land, even "essential" gov't workers, like rich politicians, can't get to where they want to go. None of them want to be limited to private planes going to and from independent airports, and that's aside from none of them wanting to deal with "there is no mail from out of state because the planes aren't delivering it; that thing you ordered from Amazon or Ikea is not going to arrive this week."

In order to avoid another Reaganesque mass firing, the strike has to be widespread enough that firing everyone would destroy the industry for months or years. (ATCs might be at this level now--unlike during Reagan's strike, there aren't a large pool of trained military people ready to jump in and do those jobs, and there's a lot more depending on the planes running constantly.)

Is the White House's wifi being managed by non-paid federal employees? How about the Pentagon's? Internet services don't immediately fall apart if nobody maintains them, but every small hiccup has a chance of taking the whole system down if nobody's reading the warning messages.

Of course, the #1 way to get Trump to demand that Mitch pass something, anything, is to have the Secret Service people start quitting because they can't afford to keep working without pay, leaving him without enough bodyguards to leave the White House. I don't think it's likely, though.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 12:17 AM on January 22, 2019 [8 favorites]


How about the other 49 states boycott Kentucky until they get McConnell to do his job?
posted by xigxag at 6:05 AM on January 22, 2019 [7 favorites]


So who out there is putting that general strike together and running gofundmes and food drives or whatever the equivalent would be?

That's really the issue. In the distant past when a General Strike was a thing, there was a local network of merchants, grocers, pharmacies, etc. who could provide goods, food, and services to the strikers through both solidarity and reimbursement through the union's strike fund, or credit based on that.

Which in the world of regional grocery stores, and their supply chains is no longer possible.

I would suggest that T.P.T.B. have engineered these 'efficiencies' not only to maximize capitalist revenue, but to also deny power to the workers.
posted by mikelieman at 6:34 AM on January 22, 2019 [14 favorites]


We have regional grocery chains. One of them is closed on Sunday for religious reasons and donates a lot of money to Steve King. They're not going to provide goods and services in support of a general strike, unless the general strike is to further the agenda of the theocratic right. The other one is less overtly political, but their corporate contributions still lean heavily Republican. It's just silly to assume that local businesses are going to support a general strike. Small business owners are the natural constituency for fascism. That's not to say that they're universally on the right, because they're clearly not. But I think it's real naive to think that local merchants are going to be on the side of a left or even center-left agenda, especially in right-leaning or divided communities.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:51 AM on January 22, 2019 [6 favorites]


The shutdown’s effect on the US economy, explained (Emily Stewart, Vox)
“The longer it goes on, the bigger the risk is of broader damage.”
...

As the government shutdown continues, chatter of a potential recession has increased. But the experts I spoke with said they don’t believe the US economy is headed toward a recession, at least as a result of the shutdown alone.

“I view it more as a corrosive on the economy than a cliff event,” Mark Zandi, the chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, said.

If the recession goes on long enough and there are other shocks to the system, that’s where the real danger comes in — for example, if trade tensions between the US and China increase, or Brexit goes off the rails more than it already has.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:20 AM on January 22, 2019 [3 favorites]


It's just silly to assume that local businesses are going to support a general strike. Small business owners are the natural constituency for fascism.

Local businesses are likely to support a strike done by local people. If a town is 30% federal workers, and none of them are buying more than absolute necessities right now, the stores that sell anything other than necessities are feeling a pinch. If the restaurants are being told, "sorry, we're cooking for ourselves for the forseeable future" and the gas station is doing 25% of its local business because commuters are not buying gas because they're not going to work - those businesses want the shutdown to end ASAP, because they're not going to be paid for the lack of sales later, and nobody is going to buy 3x as much gas for a couple weeks after the gov't starts up again. If a larger portion of the town did a sparse, simple Christmas last month, they won't be holding a huge gala in February to make up for it. Taxi drivers' lost business is just gone; it doesn't get filled in later.

Regional or national businesses have a much broader customer base. If federal workers aren't over 20% of a store's customers, they may be doing a bit less business than usual, but they can afford to wait, and they don't want to risk the other 80+% of their business by "getting involved in politics." Businesses with stores in multiple locations, some of which are not heavy with federal workers, can absorb the losses in one area and shift their advertising practices in others to focus on the customers who still have money.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 8:15 AM on January 22, 2019 [3 favorites]


If the restaurants are being told, "sorry, we're cooking for ourselves for the forseeable future" and the gas station is doing 25% of its local business because commuters are not buying gas because they're not going to work - those businesses want the shutdown to end ASAP, because they're not going to be paid for the lack of sales later, and nobody is going to buy 3x as much gas for a couple weeks after the gov't starts up again.

I have to agree. I'm in the DC area. I am usually a bring from home person, but took a friend out for lunch last week at a restaurant that is usually packed. I spoke with the owner and they are hurting. They need the shutdown over yesterday.
posted by anya32 at 9:28 AM on January 22, 2019 [12 favorites]




Based on the latest (last week's) polling, at least that I've seen, there's still way too much daylight between pro-wall and anti-wall factions to expect a compromise. Most people seem agree that the shutdown is a problem ("very serious" or "somewhat serious"), but neither side wants to be the side that caves.

While there's more people against the wall than for, keep in mind that 40% of the country is still in favor of building the wall. So that's the entire hardcore Republican base, presumably, and then some. In some states it's probably a majority.
[A] majority of Americans (58%) continue to oppose substantially expanding the border wall, while 40% favor the proposal. Overall opinion on the wall is little changed from last year, but these views have never been more sharply divided along partisan lines: Republican support for the wall is at record high, while Democratic support has reached a new low. [...] Nearly nine-in-ten (88%) opponents of expanding the border wall say it would not be acceptable to pass a bill that includes President Donald Trump’s request for wall funding, if that is the only way to end the shutdown. Among the smaller group of wall supporters, 72% say a bill to end the shutdown would be unacceptable if it does not include Trump’s funding request.
My strong suspicion is that there are a lot of Republican senators who would be perfectly happy to pass a wall-free funding bill and let Trump go pound sand, but they know that if they do, they'll be primaried by far-right candidates who will claim they "surrendered" on a signature issue—one that's important to many Republican voters. So they're stuck, and IMO are just waiting around for some crisis or other excuse that lets them back down while still saving face.

They're basically Hirohito in the summer of 1945: anybody can tell they've lost, but if they surrender too quickly, they'll be murdered by their own hardliners. They need a crisis, a real game-changer, something they can point to and say "well, this changes things, we must compromise". But that hasn't happened yet. A widespread TSA or ATC sick-out would probably do it; I'm not sure what else would.
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:04 AM on January 22, 2019 [8 favorites]


My strong suspicion is that there are a lot of Republican senators who would be perfectly happy to pass a wall-free funding bill and let Trump go pound sand, but they know that if they do, they'll be primaried by far-right candidates who will claim they "surrendered" on a signature issue—one that's important to many Republican voters.

Not merely "surrendered." For the country to not end up right back where we are now, those same senators would also have to override I-1's inevitable veto of any wall-free bill. That's not just surrendering. That's outright treason, as far as the base would be concerned.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:09 AM on January 22, 2019 [2 favorites]


I spoke with the owner and they are hurting.

Yeah it's hard to express how fucking beleaguered we have become over the last two years, with the last month being the husky poo on top of the yellow snow cone.

DC is of course vastly disproportionately affected by this because of the concentration of federal and fed-adjacent jobs. We are pissed.
posted by aspersioncast at 12:03 PM on January 22, 2019 [8 favorites]


DC is of course vastly disproportionately affected by this because of the concentration of federal and fed-adjacent jobs. We are pissed.

I certainly hope that no Republican elected officials can eat in a restaurant in DC these days. But I haven't heard anything like that.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 12:47 PM on January 22, 2019 [1 favorite]




Senate Leaders Reach Deal that Could Reopen Government by Week’s End
WASHINGTON — The Senate will vote Thursday on two separate bills that would bring an immediate end to the partial government shutdown: one backed by President Trump that includes $5.7 billion for his border wall and another that would simply extend funding for shuttered agencies through Feb. 8.

The plan, a compromise between Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, and Senator Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader, offers the first hint of a path out of the partial shutdown, which is now in its fifth week and has left 800,000 federal workers without pay. The two announced it Tuesday afternoon on the Senate floor.
I hope this means McConnell is willing to override a veto. But who the hell knows? 🤷‍♂️
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:58 PM on January 22, 2019 [3 favorites]


Folks who work in the judiciary just got informed that we'll be fully paid until the payday of February 8th, and that we don't have to go into the dreaded 'phase 2' of the shutdown until February 4th. I never, never would have believed that this would go on for so long, but now it sounds like a foolish hope for this to be over by then.
posted by skewed at 1:01 PM on January 22, 2019 [2 favorites]


I certainly hope that no Republican elected officials can eat in a restaurant in DC these days. But I haven't heard anything like that.

Yeah, I ate brunch right next to Jared, Ivanka, and their kids on Sunday. The entire time I was there, nobody at all bothered them* - in fact, I'm not sure how many other people noticed. I'm sure plenty of congressmembers (most of whom are less recognizable than the Kushners) have it any different.

*And nope, honestly I didn't bother them either. I felt so conflicted about it, but I really struggled to think of something effective to say, plus there's something about interrupting parents who clearly had their hands full with pedestrian parenting stuff like cutting up grilled cheese sandwiches and keeping tomato soup out of the barbie's hair - especially since saying anything to them meant speaking to the kids as well. I have so much respect for folks with the fortitude to speak up, and I do believe that it would have been the right thing to do, but once I was actually in that situation, I just couldn't.
posted by mosst at 1:20 PM on January 22, 2019 [22 favorites]


The idea that people are on the verge of actually striking is just lunacy if nobody in DC can bring themselves to gently interrupt the lunatics running things. Not criticising you, mosst - I don't know what I'd do myself. But "harass public officials in public" comes many many steps before a general strike on the ladder of The People Rise Up, so that's a good sanity check on where we are.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 2:09 PM on January 22, 2019 [12 favorites]


So the GOPs deal is "give us everything we want and we'll reopen the government"?
posted by kokaku at 2:39 PM on January 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


As I recall, the West Virginia teachers' action of striking was illegal under state law; a lot of states have laws on the books saying that public employees can't strike.

Me! Or rather, not only are we prohibited from striking, but here in Texas state unions are prohibited from collective fucking bargaining, and so are effectively useless. We had a TA one-day strike with very little planning a few winters ago--I think I heard about it three days before it went up--because of the tuition tax things. So, for example, as a lab TA with my students about a week out from a final, there was very little I could do to, say, negotiate with my instructor--who I needed a good long-term relationship with, because it's important for this side of my job to teach TA positions I know so I'm not constantly pouring effort into learning a new course, and also because TA positions are contract-by-semester kinds of deals with instructors--or prepare my students for their final exam in a different way, or generally act in any way that didn't piss off all my coworkers with no collective support in return.

I taught my kids. It was shitty. I hated it. But at the same time, I didn't get the support from the broader community that would have let me feel safe risking my relationships with my bosses like that.

So if people are going to be pushing a general federal workers' strike, with a magnified risk to employees, there has to be strong signals of community support for those workers in order to reassure a critical mass of people that they do have national support for this strike. And remember, these workers' community is the nation. Moreover, striking successfully and organizing the strike such that people feel like the community definitely will have their backs in the event of the worst takes time, practice, and political savvy as well as planning. The aftermath of the federal strikebreaking under Reagan, among other things, was to totally erode that institutional organization that exists within the structure of a union.

Who knows enough people to organize a strike like this? That's the question. And how on earth can we-the-people chip in enough to reassure that many workers that we will advocate for them to risk their jobs?
posted by sciatrix at 2:52 PM on January 22, 2019 [14 favorites]


The idea that people are on the verge of actually striking is just lunacy if nobody in DC can bring themselves to gently interrupt the lunatics running things. Not criticising you, mosst - I don't know what I'd do myself. But "harass public officials in public" comes many many steps before a general strike on the ladder of The People Rise Up, so that's a good sanity check on where we are.

I'm not sure I agree. Harassing folks in public is widely considered to be rude. Not showing up to the job you're not getting paid for is pretty close to common sense.
posted by leotrotsky at 3:02 PM on January 22, 2019 [3 favorites]


Clinton lifted the ban in 1993, but only about 800 people were rehired.
Iris Gambol, my father was one of the fired PATCO controllers. He tried to go back because he loved the job so much, and he wasn't alone. Well, it seems like a lot of people's paperwork (FAA Academy records, certifications, etc.) was mysteriously "lost" in the 1980s, particularly if one was too strong a supporter of the union. Nothing against the men and women who did go back, but a lot of people who wanted to go back weren't allowed too, amnesty or no.
posted by wintermind at 3:03 PM on January 22, 2019 [23 favorites]


Harassing folks in public is widely considered to be rude. Not showing up to the job you're not getting paid for is pretty close to common sense.

A general strike involves a lot more people than those not currently being paid. And before those other people walk off their jobs or refuse to do some work, they could start by telling Republican senators, "You're not welcome in this bar/restaurant/bookshop - we may have to serve you, but we don't have to pretend we like you or that we hope you return." And possibly they could refuse service - DC doesn't allow non-service because of political affiliation, but someone who's refusing service because of specific actions might be okay. ("You voted for Kavanaugh; you can leave.")

Whether or not the staff could refuse to serve them, other customers could make their opinions clear.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 3:21 PM on January 22, 2019 [2 favorites]


I think they know they would get approached in public without the kids.

I’d like to see the Democrats insist on a deal that prevents all future shutdowns and that includes approx $0.00 for a wall.

“Nothing. Our offer is nothing.”
posted by schadenfrau at 3:57 PM on January 22, 2019 [8 favorites]


As far as I can tell, the most effective "general strike" we see in the modern era is in the form of massive street protests that shut down a city. From the colored revolutions to arab spring to the yellow vests to places like Venezuela (some of which are left, some right; some of which succeeded, and many which didn't) -- the main way to escape the anti-protest handcuffs that any sensible regime has long ago instituted is to flood the streets. This brings most businesses to a halt, allowing additional people to join the protest since they can't go to work anyway, and gives most individuals plausible deniability to their employers. It basically becomes a general strike, albeit one that comes and goes: a few days of protest with scattered "riots," then calm as things go back to normal, then days or weeks later another round of shutdown protest, hopefully escalating until major policy concessions begin to flow. This is of course far easier when you have a super-majority on your side, or there are huge numbers of unemployed already, or you live in a relatively small country with one or only a few major cities to shut down. But all these things are superable, even in the US: sporadic large protests that shut down various cities at various times and mount progressively in size would probably have a pretty significant effect. But it takes a lot of people who are willing to be arrested, potentially lose their jobs, deal with the ensuing chaos and subsequent blame, and generally weather a lot of mess. But unlike some sort of quasi-formal, quasi-legal "general strike," it is doable. It just takes a fairly desperate, angry, and committed populace, and perhaps more radical leadership to coordinate things than currently exists.
posted by chortly at 5:29 PM on January 22, 2019 [6 favorites]


Smithsonian secretary: How the shutdown harms our great cultural institutions (the Smithsonian is losing 1 million dollars a week, among other things.)
posted by gudrun at 5:31 PM on January 22, 2019 [4 favorites]


As far as I can tell, the most effective "general strike" we see in the modern era is in the form of massive street protests that shut down a city.

I could have sworn I saw someone Tweet something to the effect that if several hundred thousand French civil service workers were locked out/furloughed for a month with no end in sight, we wouldn't be seeing general strikes. We'd be seeing barricaded streets and flaming cars.
posted by mhum at 6:34 PM on January 22, 2019 [8 favorites]


Um, I know that Daniel Bryan is playing a role here, but I honestly never thought I'd hear this type of language come out of the mouth of a professional wrestler. (Boomers, gird your loins before clicking.)
posted by longdaysjourney at 7:27 PM on January 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


There are several lawsuits related to the shutdown

How are these going to proceed when the federal judiciary runs out of money?
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:39 PM on January 22, 2019


I saw someone Tweet something to the effect that if several hundred thousand French civil service workers were locked out/furloughed for a month with no end in sight, we wouldn't be seeing general strikes. We'd be seeing barricaded streets and flaming cars.

To be fair, the US has almost five times the population of France, and over 15x the square mileage. 800,000 workers in France would be a much higher proportion of the populace, in a much smaller area. Part of the problem in gaining public sympathy is that many of the workers are in the "coastal elite" areas that the rural parts of the country already hate; it's taking a while for the effects to reach places where there are few direct federal workers, but that rely on agencies elsewhere to have done their jobs.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 8:02 PM on January 22, 2019 [5 favorites]


we wouldn't be seeing general strikes. We'd be seeing barricaded streets and flaming cars.
And in the US we'd be getting a lot more Kent State massacres.
posted by CrystalDave at 12:28 AM on January 23, 2019 [9 favorites]


many of the workers are in the "coastal elite" areas that the rural parts of the country already hate

The shutdown doesn't just affect employees and contractors, it provides a variety of subsidies and services in rural areas: funding for fire departments, farm loans, transit projects, and assistance to low-income renters, just to name a few. There are extraordinary repercussions for tribal communities. People in rural areas are affected, and they are not so naturally unreasonable that they wouldn't feel solidarity with urban people who are also affected. But they're also less than a fifth of the population--if all you want is sentiment in support of resistance, I'm not sure you need their numbers. I would sooner look to the media and what it is and isn't doing.
posted by heatvision at 3:26 AM on January 23, 2019 [3 favorites]


Why don't we strike? Why doesn't the U.S. have a robust labor movement? Because, as Alex Ptak (paraphrasing Jay Gould) explains in this episode of the Antifada podcast (w/guest Matt Christman), the owners have always been able to "hire half the working class to kill the other half." The willingness to meet popular mass movements with extreme lethal violence has always characterized the controlling systems of the United States.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 6:48 AM on January 23, 2019 [10 favorites]


schadenfrau: I’d like to see the Democrats insist on a deal that prevents all future shutdowns and that includes approx $0.00 for a wall.

While that's been basically where things stand so far, I've mused that they should declare a change of heart. They reverse their prior stance that "not one dime" be allocated to it, and propose a deal offering exactly $0.10. Then everyone "wins" insofar as that could be spun as capitulation for the low-info hat-wearers, while a literal-minded Individual-1 happily rubs it in the faces of those naive Dems.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 8:28 AM on January 23, 2019 [2 favorites]


The Washington Post has a depressing and accurate article on how the president approaches negotiations: before entering a negotiation, he looks for leverage over his adversary. (And to him, all negotiation is zero-sum: the person on the other side of the table is always an adversary.)

His negotiating advantage is that he is utterly indifferent to the suffering of the government workers and others who are affected by the shutdown. Unless it somehow affects him, I unfortunately see no reason why he won't prolong it indefinitely.

And this is why, of course, the Democrats can't give in - if they give in, he will use this tactic again and again.
posted by tallmiddleagedgeek at 9:05 AM on January 23, 2019 [15 favorites]


Joshua Holland (The Nation): Flight attendants union pres calling for "activists from across the Labor Movement to talk with their union leadership about conducting a General Strike to end the Government Shutdown."
posted by Chrysostom at 9:07 AM on January 23, 2019 [30 favorites]


I was about to post that! Nearly laughed out loud to see this come from flight attendants, since as always the most efficient way for labor to squeeze Congress is by blocking their flights home.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:10 AM on January 23, 2019 [5 favorites]


Flight attendants will fuck your shit up if you make them mad.
posted by Etrigan at 9:17 AM on January 23, 2019 [4 favorites]


45 is trying to call Nancy's bluff with his latest letter. He doesn't realize that she's not bluffing.
posted by Sophie1 at 9:37 AM on January 23, 2019 [2 favorites]


45 is trying to call Nancy's bluff with his latest letter. He doesn't realize that she's not bluffing.

I don't think it's about bluffing or counter-bluffing. I think he's trying to establish dominance.
posted by tallmiddleagedgeek at 9:43 AM on January 23, 2019 [6 favorites]


I know what he thinks he's doing, but he's got no idea what the state of play actually is now. Nothing is happening with the SOTU. He's trying to play chicken with a parked car.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:47 AM on January 23, 2019 [24 favorites]


He's trying to play chicken with a parked car.

I love this analogy! I might borrow it :-)

I think that, because he has been so privileged all of his life, before now the cars always moved out of his way if he pushed them hard enough. (Sorry for the metaphor abuse.)
posted by tallmiddleagedgeek at 9:52 AM on January 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


He's such a fucking idiot, though. It'd almost be impressive if it weren't so dangerous.
posted by odinsdream at 9:59 AM on January 23, 2019 [3 favorites]


The Government Shutdown Is Threatening the Lives of Your Favorite Ocean Animals (Jackie Flynn Mogensen, Mother Jones)
“There’s just nobody there” to help save endangered marine animals—from whales to dolphins to turtles.
Beyond curtailing funding of units and agencies tasked with saving marine animals, the government shutdown also means that the granting of permits to third-parties and non profits to legally save marine wildlife is effectively stopped.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:48 AM on January 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


Thing is, he’s called Pelosi’s “bluff” on her use of security as a reason not to go ahead with the SotU. He’s put her in a position have to be unpolitic and bluntly say “no,” making it much more openly personal.

He’s going to give the SotU on the 29th, regardless of where. This is an attempt to make Pelosi look like the childish one. It will be very interesting to see how she plays this one.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:51 AM on January 23, 2019 [2 favorites]


WaPo: Hundreds of IRS Employees Are Skipping Work. That Could Delay Tax Refunds.
Hundreds of Internal Revenue Service employees have received permission to skip work during the partial government shutdown due to financial hardship, and union leaders said Tuesday that they expected absences to surge as part of a coordinated protest that could hamper the government’s ability to process taxpayer refunds on time.[…]

The Trump administration last week ordered at least 30,000 IRS workers back to their offices, where they have been working to process refunds without pay. […] But IRS employees across the country — some in coordinated protest, others out of financial necessity — won’t be clocking in, according to Tony Reardon, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, and several local union officials. The work action is widespread and includes employees from a processing center in Ogden, Utah, to the Brookhaven campus on New York’s Long Island.

The move is the leading edge of pushback from within the IRS, and it signals the potential for civil servants to take actions that could slow or cripple government functions as the shutdown’s political stalemate continues in Washington. U.S. Department of Agriculture meat inspectors have begun to call in sick, Transportation Security Administration sickouts at airports have been rising, and federal law enforcement agencies say the shutdown is increasing stress among agents and affecting investigations.

“They are definitely angry that they’re not getting paid, and maybe some of them are angry enough to express their anger this way,” said Reardon, whose union represents 150,000 employees at 33 federal agencies and departments. “But these employees live paycheck to paycheck, and they can’t scrape up the dollars to get to work or pay for child care.”
UPI: Nearly 8% of TSA workers Calling In Sick During Federal Shutdown. "The number of Transportation Security Administration workers calling in sick amid the federal shutdown has reached nearly 8 percent, the agency said Tuesday." (USA Today estimates the figure is 10%.)

Government Executive reports the administration is warning against such work action: OPM Warns Feds Against Sick-Outs

“The Office of Personnel Management last week issued a rare unsigned memo to agency heads featuring a round-up of frequently asked questions about the lapse in appropriations. In addition to highlighting the process for agencies to distribute new furlough notifications, required now that the partial government shutdown has surpassed the 30-day threshold, officials stressed agencies’ authority to punish excepted employees if they do not show up for work by labeling them as "Absent Without Leave."”
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:55 AM on January 23, 2019 [5 favorites]


One wonders if OPM is itself feeling pressured by internal sick-outs.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:59 AM on January 23, 2019


He’s going to give the SotU on the 29th, regardless of where.

But that's the thing: He can't give the SotU "regardless of where". The Constitution says that the President "shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union". Giving to the Congress doesn't mean "Give a speech that he's pretty sure Congress will watch." He doesn't need to give the SotU on the 29th. He doesn't need to give a speech. He doesn't really even need to give a SotU at all at this point in time. But someone -- a Democrat, a woman -- told him he couldn't.

He is in the absolute top percentile of bad losers, and he knows in his bones that not giving the SotU on the 29th in the U.S. House of Representatives will mean that he lost.
posted by Etrigan at 11:07 AM on January 23, 2019 [10 favorites]


[Maybe let's stick to SOTU-letter stuff in the main potus45 thread, just so we don't end up having two parallel conversations at the same time]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 11:09 AM on January 23, 2019 [3 favorites]


HuffPo:
With President Donald Trump and the GOP prolonging the partial government shutdown, a Republican lawmaker had an uncomfortable run-in Tuesday when a fellow airplane passenger found him flying first class from Chicago to Washington, D.C., according to a video of the encounter shared with HuffPost.

“Congressman, do you think it’s appropriate to fly first class while 57 TSA agents aren’t being paid?” the person says to Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), in an apparent reference to the Transportation Security Administration’s 57,000 employees, who are being required to work without pay.

A tipster who asked to remain anonymous shared the video with HuffPost, which hasn’t been able to identify the person who approached Davis.

Davis remained silent, prompting the person to say, “Taking that as a yes.”
posted by Chrysostom at 11:09 AM on January 23, 2019 [13 favorites]


I listen to Live ATC, as one does, and the vibe at O'Hare is...off today. Things are moving about like they usually do timing-wise, but the cadence of things is off. The controllers sound tired and -- at times -- frustrated. I'm not saying that means anything in particular, just that it's noticeable if you're used to the baseline.
posted by wintermind at 11:33 AM on January 23, 2019 [8 favorites]


Hundreds of IRS Employees Are Skipping Work. That Could Delay Tax Refunds.

Every time I see this headline shared it makes me angry. "Skipping work" is such a bullshit framing for refusing or being unable to go work for free. For refusing to be played with regarding whether or not you're an essential employee; oh did we tell you to go home? We changed our mind now that it's going to inconvenience someone. Not you, mind - we're cool with inconveniencing YOU.
posted by phearlez at 11:39 AM on January 23, 2019 [40 favorites]


agencies’ authority to punish excepted employees if they do not show up for work by labeling them as "Absent Without Leave."”

Who could this have been written by? Civilian positions going "AWOL?" That seems troubling, even if it's just a turn of phrase.
posted by rhizome at 12:36 PM on January 23, 2019 [6 favorites]


People in rural areas are affected, and they are not so naturally unreasonable that they wouldn't feel solidarity with urban people who are also affected. But they're also less than a fifth of the population--

There are 4 million people in Kentucky and they are the only people who can affect McConnell. Yes, it's fucking stupid. And also yes, they aren't going to do it because at least half of Kentucky voters are that naturally unreasonable.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 12:42 PM on January 23, 2019 [2 favorites]


Who could this have been written by? Civilian positions going "AWOL?" That seems troubling, even if it's just a turn of phrase.

After a little looking around, It actually looks like the OPM lifted the USN's boilerplate. "efficiency of the service" and all...
posted by mikelieman at 12:46 PM on January 23, 2019 [2 favorites]


> at least half of Kentucky voters are that naturally unreasonable

Or more accurately:
- Voting in KY can be really hard out of urban areas - locations can be remote, and lines can be an issue.
- Voting usually happens during the work day and KY jobs aren't exactly known for giving people time off to vote. If you commute to your job and live in a more rural area, GFL getting to your polling place in a reasonable time.
- Absentee or voting by mail isn't feasible for anyone without a lot of justification
- Many on the Democratic side have been completely alienated by a history of horrible Democratic candidates. This isn't hyperbole. Look at any Democratic candidate outside of a major city.
- Many who are living more in poverty do not have the means to get to their polling place and there isn't exactly a ton of people lining up to transport them, and same deal when it comes to registering for voting in the first place
- Voter intimidation is definitely a thing in many KY locations, and usually has a blind eye turned towards it

I could go on.

The most fundamental issue is that the statewide Democratic party actively works against the interests of Democratic voters - that institution needs to be dismantled and be replaced with people who actually care, and who do represent the interests of Democratic voters. Do that, and get vote by mail in place with postage paid with automatic voter registration - and I'm not saying that you will see a blue wave in KY, but it would look a hell of a lot different than it does now.
posted by MysticMCJ at 1:12 PM on January 23, 2019 [13 favorites]




Echoing something I've seen a bunch on Twitter: This isn't about "bracing" for a longer shutdown but recognizing it as an opportunity to (semi-)permanently destroy government operations they hate.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:29 PM on January 23, 2019 [13 favorites]


So, for various reasons lots of people don't vote in Kentucky who might vote Democrat if they did, and for the same reasons they probably aren't going to talk to McConnell, and that's why he feels perfectly safe letting the government stay closed - because only the people who do vote matter to him.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 2:30 PM on January 23, 2019


> White House Wants a List of Programs That Could Be Cut if Shutdown Lasts Into March

From the article:
Mulvaney’s direct involvement reflects how the White House is now attempting to understand the longer-term implications. A senior administration official, speaking on the condition of anonimity to discuss the directive, said it was an attempt by Mulvaney to have agency leaders focused on the problems that will arise if Congress doesn’t pass a spending bill soon.

They are 32 days into a government shutdown, and they are only now attempting to understand the implications. Way to run the country "like a business".
posted by RedOrGreen at 2:32 PM on January 23, 2019 [6 favorites]


White House Wants a List of Programs That Could Be Cut if Shutdown Lasts Into March

Donald's two-pronged strategy:

1) Do my homework for me
2) Ranking the possible candidates to receive pain

Which makes me wonder: how come we've never heard from Donald's schoolmates? I bet these tendencies go way back for him.
posted by rhizome at 2:32 PM on January 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


Idk, I am (optimistically? naively?) trying to interpret this as a negotiating tool. "If I don't get my way, I'm prepared for this to go on until March!" It may be as serious as Dad threatening to pull the car over right now unless you stop hitting your brother.
posted by witchen at 2:35 PM on January 23, 2019


Who could this have been written by? Civilian positions going "AWOL?" That seems troubling, even if it's just a turn of phrase.

It might help to know that civilian federal employees have "leave": "annual leave" is the term for vacation time, and there is "sick leave," "administrative leave," etc. So, "absent without leave" (AWOL) isn't such a stretch.

This weekend I thought that the prospect of a second round of missed paychecks on Friday might be enough to get a resolution before then, but my hope is waning. Lots of friends here in DC are impacted, and local businesses as well since so many fewer people are working and getting lunch, etc.
posted by exogenous at 2:45 PM on January 23, 2019 [2 favorites]


FLIGHT ATTENDANTS UNION PRESIDENT CALLS FOR LABOR MOVEMENT ACTIVISTS TO CONDUCT A GENERAL STRIKE TO END GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN
The president of the Association of Flight Attendants is calling on “conference activists from across the Labor Movement” to conduct a “general strike to end the government shutdown.”

Sara Nelson, while accepting the 2019 AFL-CIO MLK Drum Major for Justice Award, said, “Almost a million workers are locked out or being forced to work without pay. Others are going to work when our workspace is increasingly unsafe. What is the Labor Movement waiting for?”

“Go back with the Fierce Urgency of NOW to talk with your Locals and International unions about all workers joining together – To End this Shutdown with a General Strike,” she said.
posted by scalefree at 3:29 PM on January 23, 2019 [17 favorites]


Way to run the country "like a business".

Look at it this way: the business they're trying to run the gov't like is probably Mitt Romney's Bain Capital. Its business model was to take over a company, loot it of assets, then bankrupt it, while dumping its employees in the street. So yeah, like a business.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:43 PM on January 23, 2019 [16 favorites]


@jaketapper Photos of special challenge coins being distributed among Secret Service personnel and their families, expressing frustration at the requirement they work without pay because of the government shutdown
[image]
posted by scalefree at 4:25 PM on January 23, 2019 [5 favorites]


RE: the Washington Post's White House Wants a List of Programs That Could Be Cut if Shutdown Lasts Into March piece

The opening paragraph:

White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney has pressed agency leaders to provide him with a list of the highest-impact programs that will be jeopardized if the shutdown continues into March and April, people familiar with the directive said.
posted by Iris Gambol at 5:37 PM on January 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


CNN: White House officials caught off guard by Pelosi's letter canceling State of the Union address
White House officials were caught off guard Wednesday by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi formally disinviting President Donald Trump from giving his State of the Union address from the House chamber, leaving them scrambling for a response.
oh lord my sides
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 5:40 PM on January 23, 2019 [12 favorites]


I listen to Live ATC, as one does, and the vibe at O'Hare is...off today. Things are moving about like they usually do timing-wise, but the cadence of things is off. The controllers sound tired and -- at times -- frustrated. I'm not saying that means anything in particular, just that it's noticeable if you're used to the baseline.

It's been light snow and freezing rain almost all day with over 200 cancellations and more than a 1000 late flights. Plus a plane skidded off the runway on the 19th during the last storm. I don't think you can infer much from ATC during particularly crap weather.
posted by srboisvert at 7:03 PM on January 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


Air Traffic Controllers, Pilots, Flight Attendants Detail Serious Safety Concerns Due to Shutdown

“[...] In our risk averse industry, we cannot even calculate the level of risk currently at play, nor predict the point at which the entire system will break. It is unprecedented.”
posted by newdaddy at 7:14 PM on January 23, 2019 [7 favorites]


I work for a Fed contractor. Today out all hands meeting was.....not so good.

CEO taking a 50% pay cut. VPs taking a 40% pay cut. Non-billable employees asked to volunteer time off without pay. My work is with a fully funded agency but invoices are not being paid so while I been racking up hours, it's not actually bringing in money.

This goes to mid-February and I fear layoffs will happen and it goes well into March I don't see how the company survives.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 7:16 PM on January 23, 2019 [16 favorites]


“[...] In our risk averse industry, we cannot even calculate the level of risk currently at play, nor predict the point at which the entire system will break. It is unprecedented.”



In the interest of safety to life and limb, the system needs to break, and it needs to break in the right place: takeoffs are optional. Always.
posted by ocschwar at 7:21 PM on January 23, 2019 [19 favorites]


I've repeatedly broached the topic of a general strike on potus45 threads, and whether we like it or not, we already are witnessing a general lockout of sorts, (except the workers are still showing up at work). There is also the prospect of all sorts of shit coming down the pipe come Brexit. The European economy depends heavily on unencumbered movement of goods across the English Channel, and upon the Rhine. Both are currently compromised, and it's never good when economists have to think about logistics. SO something along the lines of a general strike may be coming our way.

What's more, we have a party in charge of the White House that is expressly seeking to cement minority rule, thereby making elections less of an effective way to bring about the will of the people. And strikes have another problem in this day and age. I code for a living. I can and do work from home all the time. So in terms of a political show of force, my staying home accomplishes little. If the powers that be can assume that I am scabbing from home, they will. This is why labor actions in Silicon Valley have been so strange. In effect, tech workers can flex their muscles in public only by resigning from jobs, not by striking from them.

So shit's getting bad, and shit's getting weird, and there's a war of attrition coming, which is going to be decided by three questions:

1. What are you willing and able to endure?
2. What are you willing and able to forego?
3. What are you willing and able to inflict?

Say a demonstration erupts in your city and you are trapped in traffic. Can you forego complaining about the inconvenience? Silence is in itself consent in that way. Can you escalate by showing the demonstrators overt support? Can you risk your car being impounded by making it part of the demonstration?

Say you are about to sit at a restaurant and you see Steven Miller or Mitch McConnel are also about to get a table. Can you express your objection to the waiter? Can you do so politely but also loud enough that Mitch and his company here ? Can you call off your meal and leave?
posted by ocschwar at 8:18 PM on January 23, 2019 [17 favorites]


Trump has caved on the SOTU address.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 2:50 AM on January 24, 2019 [3 favorites]


There're somewhere around 300,000 federal workers in the DMV. Somewhere around a third of them live in the actual District.

I assume those of you who actually have representation in Congress are already harassing your elected officials about this, but if you're not . . . do you mind? 'Cause like, we actually can't.
posted by aspersioncast at 6:44 AM on January 24, 2019 [10 favorites]


In the interest of safety to life and limb, the system needs to break, and it needs to break in the right place: takeoffs are optional. Always.

It occurs to me that the Super Bowl is, what, next week? Soon. In Atlanta, right?

Can the Atlanta airport handle that right now?
posted by schadenfrau at 7:20 AM on January 24, 2019 [4 favorites]


Can the Atlanta airport handle that right now?

There's a half-dozen private fields in the region. "The Man" won't have any issues at say a regional, like "Falcon Field", (KFFC, FFC), with a Towncar waiting to take them to the Hotel. They will -- as always -- be insulated from their effects.
posted by mikelieman at 7:35 AM on January 24, 2019 [4 favorites]




It occurs to me that the Super Bowl is, what, next week? Soon. In Atlanta, right?

Can the Atlanta airport handle that right now?


The Super Bowl is a week from Sunday. According to ATL airport management, the day after the game they're expecting almost double the usual number of weekday passengers. Considering ATL has already had reports of TSA wait times well over an hour, it should be interesting.
posted by photo guy at 7:42 AM on January 24, 2019 [6 favorites]


Trump has caved on the SOTU address.


It's hard for me to imagine any of the other potential Speakers of the House pulling this off. Democratic caucus members really dodged a self-inflicted bullet there.
posted by DrAstroZoom at 7:44 AM on January 24, 2019 [4 favorites]


From rollcall.com, Wilbur Ross doesn’t understand why furloughed federal workers don't just eat cake need food banks:
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says he does not understand why federal employees who are furloughed or have been working without pay during the partial government shutdown would need assistance from food banks.

[...]

“I know they are, and I don’t really quite understand why,” Ross said when asked on CNBC about workers getting food from places like shelters. “Because, as I mentioned before, the obligations that they would undertake, say borrowing from a bank or a credit union are in effect federally guaranteed.”

[...]

“Put it in perspective, you’re talking about 800,000 workers, and while I feel sorry for the individuals that have hardship cases, 800,000 workers if they never got their pay, which is not the case they will eventually get it, but if they never got it, you’re talking about a third of a percent on our GDP,” he said of the affected federal employees. “So, it’s not like it’s a gigantic number overall.”
Really, really tempted to start adding to my investment porftolio of torches and pitchforks with some tumbrel futures.
posted by mhum at 7:59 AM on January 24, 2019 [8 favorites]




The Super Bowl is a week from Sunday. According to ATL airport management, the day after the game they're expecting almost double the usual number of weekday passengers. Considering ATL has already had reports of TSA wait times well over an hour, it should be interesting.

Yeah, I bet the shut-down would get a lot of attention if a sizeable number of ATL TSA workers and air traffic controllers came down with a case of the Orange Flu just before and after the game.
posted by mach at 8:12 AM on January 24, 2019




Shit, shit, shit. I'm flying back home through Atlanta the day before the Super Bowl. It was going to be bad enough with the shutdown already. Wish me luck. I can't imagine the number of people flying in the day before.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 8:30 AM on January 24, 2019




Okay, this is only going to be of note to like six other MeFites, but: New Japan Pro Wrestling's big American tour has been hollowed out because they can't get visas for most of their workers.
posted by Etrigan at 9:01 AM on January 24, 2019 [6 favorites]


Yeah, I bet the shut-down would get a lot of attention if a sizeable number of ATL TSA workers and air traffic controllers came down with a case of the Orange Flu just before and after the game.

Much as I feel bad playing armchair general to these people, this is the best chance to, dare I say it, hurt the people we should be hurting.
posted by ocschwar at 10:00 AM on January 24, 2019 [2 favorites]


The Super Bowl is a week from Sunday. According to ATL airport management, the day after the game they're expecting almost double the usual number of weekday passengers. Considering ATL has already had reports of TSA wait times well over an hour, it should be interesting.

In recent years, Super Bowl weekends have been known to generate excessive private plane traffic. I imagine it's a very good idea to have extra air traffic controllers on hand.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:04 AM on January 24, 2019 [2 favorites]


“I know they are, and I don’t really quite understand why,” Ross said when asked on CNBC about workers getting food from places like shelters. “Because, as I mentioned before, the obligations that they would undertake, say borrowing from a bank or a credit union are in effect federally guaranteed.”

I'll just file this under "Republicans advocating for deficit spending".
posted by srboisvert at 10:27 AM on January 24, 2019 [8 favorites]


A reminder that Wilbur Ross belongs to the political party which lost its collective shit over Obama's choice of mustard, which clearly signaled that he was out of touch with the working class.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:15 AM on January 24, 2019 [10 favorites]




Dara Lind of Vox has a really great thread of federal employee comments on the shutdown.
posted by suelac at 12:45 PM on January 24, 2019 [2 favorites]


From 1/23: “Federal workers are people, not pawns”: hundreds protest shutdown in Senate building (Alexia Fernández Campbell, Vox)
Government employees and contract workers said they’ve stopped paying their bills.
posted by ZeusHumms at 1:19 PM on January 24, 2019 [4 favorites]


A darkened White House, with only the flicker of TV in Trump's bedroom — Joshua Green for Business Week.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:49 PM on January 24, 2019 [1 favorite]


Trump reveals his utter ignorance of real life by claiming unpaid federal workers can get groceries without any money (Matthew Chapman, Alternet)

This was in response to a question asked of him about Wilbur Ross' comments earlier today.
posted by ZeusHumms at 5:29 PM on January 24, 2019 [5 favorites]


Food Banks Usually Replenish Their Resources in January. This Year, They Got the Shutdown Instead. (Tom Philpott, Mother Jones)
“If this goes into March, it’s going to be extraordinarily difficult.”
There's a potential for a double hit from furloughed government employees plus disruptions to SNAP. Even in the best of circumstances, the early disbursement of February SNAP funds means an unusual 35-40 day wait for the March SNAP disbursement.
posted by ZeusHumms at 5:52 PM on January 24, 2019 [1 favorite]


The President of the United States is so manifestly evil that sometimes things in plain sight are forgotten, temporarily.

HuffPost: In 2014 Fox News Video, Trump Touts 'Disaster' As A Way To Make America Great Again
"When the country goes to total hell — then you’ll have riots to go back to where we used to be when we were great," he said on a "Fox & Friends" show.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 6:30 PM on January 24, 2019 [4 favorites]


What the goddamn fuck kind of expression is "they work along" anyway? Is that a New York idiom? I mean, it's clear he means the Local Green Grocer will recognize Old Man Smith because he buys an apple every Tuesday and gosh darn it don't worry about the tab this time, Mr Smith I know times are hard for you these days.

Like, a fucking absurd 50s fantasy.
posted by odinsdream at 8:28 PM on January 24, 2019 [11 favorites]


I think it's a portmanteau of "work will set you free" and "go along to get along," both of which he would know as mantras that have been imposed upon neglected and tortured underclasses.
posted by rhizome at 9:54 PM on January 24, 2019 [5 favorites]


I've been thinking about this and I really think things are going to come to a head around day 45.

It will be the third check that people have missed, it also be near the end of terms of interest free loans whatever that are floating out there (if people can and are utilizing those theoretical services which I'm not to sure about)Food stamp statements about lack of disbursement for March will be clear AND because they went out early it will be 3 weeks or so without a disbursement. That's 42 MILLION people whose food security is at risk.

Even for people with modest savings, (one months worth) its past that. In addition, things are starting to build. Backlogs of passport processing, global entry interviews, grant approvals, IRS stuff, various permits, site surveys, etc. Conpanies are running out of on hand cash to cover billing processing delays. Things that are disbursed quarterly won't have disbursement of funds.

It's already ugly and getting worse.
posted by AlexiaSky at 4:11 AM on January 25, 2019 [1 favorite]


I am an "excepted" federal employee, in the fun position of getting to work for free. As of midnight tonight, I will be at the same point in my 5 week shift rotation as when the shutdown began. I was on night shifts over Christmas and evening shifts for New Years, now I'm back on nights with some day shifts in between.

I am in the very privileged position to be okay financially for a while. I've been in the agency 16 years and I'm a saver, so I can hang on for a few months. My Amex and HELOC loan holders were very helpful in suspending payments for now with no fees. My boyfriend works for the post office and is still getting paid.

Even so, I am one big ball of stress. Some of that is only tangentially or not at all work related (daycare provider doesn't want to cover weekends I work anymore, my father is in a nursing home and stopped eating much). But a large part of my stress is not knowing when this will end. I have been rather burned out at work even before the shutdown. Now morale and motivation have been completely sapped. A lot of our extra activities like school talks and working with emergency managers is put on hold for the shutdown as it is not essential to save life and property. So I only do the day to day forecast (what I was burned out on), with not much ability to do any resume building and who knows when they will bid any positions anyway. The public doesn't seem to care and most think weather warnings come from the "app fairy"
Wilber Ross is head of my umbrella department and he can go fuck himself. Taking out loans or even calling creditors for extensions like I did takes time and emotional labor that I barely can handle.

So why don't I walk out? In the short term if I only call in "sick" by myself it just leaves my unpaid coworkers having to cover my shifts. Bigger picture, we are all aware that the weather doesn't stop for even a general strike, and we wouldn't be able to live with ourselves if a tornado or winter storm warning was missed and someone died as a result.

Plus there is the fact that some would only be too happy to privatize us. Trump's pick to head NOAA is a big private sector guy. Some Accuweather people wrote a hit piece on the NWS that I won't link to since they already got a lot of flack for it and have backtracked and edited. If we were all to turn off the radars and go home, the privatization goons would be only too happy to pounce. So we keep plugging away. But a breaking point is coming, sooner for some people than others.

Apologies for any incoherence, this rant has been on the first of my 7 night shifts, fueled by caffeine and rage.
posted by weathergal at 5:33 AM on January 25, 2019 [55 favorites]




GOP senators read Pence riot act before shutdown votes (Alexander Bolton, TheHill)
Frustrated GOP senators read Vice President Pence the riot act at a closed-door meeting Thursday, telling him the partial government shutdown needs to end soon, according to lawmakers in the room.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:04 AM on January 25, 2019 [7 favorites]


Knock-on/trickle down effects of the shutdown include wineries, craft breweries, and cideries unable to get approval for labels.

This means new products can't be sold until the ATF is up and running and gets through a backlog of label applications. It means that existing product lines that were re-labelling are in a jam.

So many downstream effects. I'm aware of this one because my local region (Finger Lakes, see link) is full of small wineries, and more recently breweries for craft beers and cider. It's sure to affect the economy here.

Multiply this by all the other "small" downstream effects. The "Let them eat cake" callousness I'm hearing ("Why go to the food pantries." "Just get a loan." etc)… I can't even.

I am not *directly* affected. I am so angry.
posted by jaruwaan at 7:08 AM on January 25, 2019 [6 favorites]


"I am not *directly* affected. I am so angry."

By and about the whole thing.

/Edit
posted by jaruwaan at 7:16 AM on January 25, 2019




WaPo: ‘This is your fault’: GOP senators clash over shutdown inside private luncheon
“This is your fault,” Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) told Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) at one point, according to two Republicans who attended the lunch and witnessed the exchange.

“Are you suggesting I’m enjoying this?” McConnell snapped back, according to the people who attended the lunch.

[...] during the lunch, McConnell made clear to Pence and others in the room that the shutdown was not his idea and was not working. According to Republicans familiar with his comments, he quoted a favorite saying that he often uses to express his displeasure with government shutdowns: “There is no education in the second kick of a mule.”
posted by RedOrGreen at 7:47 AM on January 25, 2019 [5 favorites]


If he’s so displeased, he should end it.
posted by wintermind at 9:02 AM on January 25, 2019 [2 favorites]


GOP senators read Pence riot act before shutdown votes (Alexander Bolton, TheHill)

WaPo: ‘This is your fault’: GOP senators clash over shutdown inside private luncheon

As far as I can tell, both articles reference the same event, but the top one barely mentions McConnell at all, while the bottom one seems to emphasize Republican senators in conflict with McConnell instead of Pence.

Weird.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:16 AM on January 25, 2019 [2 favorites]


CBS Chief WH Correspondent Major Garrett: Senior administration officials expect @realDonaldTrump to endorse short-term funding bill to reopen government in next hour. Final details being worked out in WH convos now. Unclear if 2 or 3 weeks. Border debate will continue. Stress on Govt systems was increasing.

WaPo: At least 14,000 Unpaid IRS Workers Did Not Show Up For Work As Broad Shutdown Disruption Hits Tax Agency, According to House Aides "At least 14,000 unpaid workers in the Internal Revenue Service division that includes tax processing and call centers did not show up for work this week despite orders to do so, according to two House aides[….] These numbers are as of Tuesday, according to the House aides, and the rate of employees returning to work may have changed since then."
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:49 AM on January 25, 2019 [3 favorites]


Colleges delay tuition, offer aid as shutdown hits students (Collin Binkley, AP)
A growing number of colleges and universities are postponing tuition payments, waiving late fees and providing emergency grants to students whose finances have been tied up by the longest government shutdown in history.


Most of the offers come from schools along the East Coast and other areas with heavy numbers of federal employees, including Denver and Detroit. The help ranges from flexible payment plans to cash grants that can be used on food, utilities, gas and other expenses.


The Education Department is already funded under a previous bill and has generally avoided major problems. It has continued issuing federal financial aid to students, but schools say many affected by the shutdown come from middle-class families and don’t rely on federal aid.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:16 AM on January 25, 2019


If the airport delays escalate, and frankly I hope they reach a crescendo tomorrow in time for the game, be ready to swamp your representatives with a demand that they take a stand to protect the ATCs against any and all retaliation.
posted by ocschwar at 10:51 AM on January 25, 2019


Huh. I'm on furlough, and decided to finally go see the elephant seals at Ano Nuevo State Park next Wednesday, so I bought tickets yesterday, assuming there was no chance we'd be back at work by then.

::shrugs:: Better to get paid, but I'm a bit bummed I won't get to see the elephant seals...
posted by suelac at 10:55 AM on January 25, 2019 [8 favorites]


If the airport delays escalate, and frankly I hope they reach a crescendo tomorrow in time for the game,

The Super Bowl is next weekend.
posted by Etrigan at 10:59 AM on January 25, 2019 [1 favorite]


The question today is whether the 2-3 week interim funding bill will have, as Trump demanded yesterday, pro-rated funding for the wall built into it. And if so, do the Democrats reject it and keep the shutdown going.

I think the temptation on the part of the Democrats to try and get absolute victory will be strong, but to do so may require dragging the shutdown out another several weeks. As has been widely pointed out, Trump has nothing to lose at this point. There is danger in fighting a cornered enemy to the death, and well-understood wisdom in leaving a predictable avenue of escape that you control.

Given that: an interim funding bill, with, say, 3 weeks of funding with pro-rated "wall funds" in it (so, 3/52nds of whatever he initially asked for, I suppose), would be pretty close to to the "ten cents" strategy described above. It would let the White House (and some Republican senators) claim, to a certain species of low-information voter, that he had succeeded in building the wall. Except without really, you know, doing that. And it's not really a political loss to Democrats, since the people who are going to believe that line are so far gone that they're probably among the solid 15-20% of the population that's fucking irretrievably insane and going to vote for Trump in 2020 even if he's not actually on the ballot because he's serving time in Leavenworth, or defected to Russia.

And even if Trump is too stupid to take a face-saving out when it's given to him, that would almost certainly give enough political cover to pick up 9 more Republican senators, which is all you need (last time I saw a count, based on the number of Republicans who already voted for the Democratic bill on Thursday and assuming they'd be in favor) for a veto override. And in some respects that's actually a better outcome for Democrats: it basically demonstrates that the WH is irrelevant, and puts the spotlight on the Senate and House, allowing them more leverage in the future. They could spend the next two years doing the same thing, peeling off just enough Republican support to get to 2/3rds each time, and shut Trump out. While that negotiation may not be exactly fun each time, it's at least within familiar political territory and largely dealing with people who are not demonstrably insane and have rational goals and agendas. And there are a lot more ways to get to 2/3rds, once it's been done the first time, than to try and chase whatever Trump wants on a particular day.
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:00 AM on January 25, 2019


They've pissed off the flight attendants, whose union is urging all its members to stage sit-ins in congressional offices until the shutdown ends. I wouldn't want to fuck with flight attendants: they're used to dealing with assholes, and they have time off during the work day.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 11:04 AM on January 25, 2019 [23 favorites]


@mkraju:

Dems say the deal will include a stop-gap measure until February 15 to reopen the government, and then they will try to cut a border security deal as part of the Homeland Security funding bill in a House-Senate conference. There's no wall money. Furloughed workers get backpay

Trump confirms this -- a major capitulation after demanding funding for border wall tied to spending legislation. This is the exact deal both sides tried to sell him on more than a month ago -- and has been pitched to him ever since, which he's rejected.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:32 AM on January 25, 2019 [5 favorites]


With thousands of furloughed employees returning to work but still broke, I wonder how this will work out in the very short term. Cars need gas, people need food, bills need to be paid, etc...
posted by ZeusHumms at 11:55 AM on January 25, 2019


Also, are we having another shutdown 3 weeks from now?
posted by jenfullmoon at 12:00 PM on January 25, 2019 [3 favorites]


And, for that matter, how many people are going to jump ship now that they have money coming in again but that they know they can't count on after three weeks. Recruiters must be rubbing their hands.
posted by Quindar Beep at 12:01 PM on January 25, 2019 [7 favorites]


Sounds like they should have their pay in a couple of days, according to this Vox article.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:12 PM on January 25, 2019 [2 favorites]


Also, are we having another shutdown 3 weeks from now?

I think the House and Senate will give him enough "border security" to walk away and claim he got a good deal. If he does not take it, for whatever reason, I think he will opt for the National Emergency option rather than another shutdown, because he will lose Shutdown Round Two much more spectacularly than he lost this one. Veto override for sure.
posted by notyou at 12:18 PM on January 25, 2019 [4 favorites]


Two or three *weeks*? Not a chance everyone's back pay will be sorted by then - this effectively gives career federal workers all the job security of temps. That both blows *and* sucks.

He's only done this a) to distract from the Stone indictment, hoping to drawer attention away from the Ever Circling S̶k̶e̶l̶e̶t̶a̶l̶ ̶F̶a̶m̶i̶l̶y̶ Mueller Investigation, and b) because two weeks buys him enough time to claim the shutdown is resolved so he can claim a 'victory' over Pelosi and deliver the SotU in Congress before throwing his tiny hands in the air like Master Blaster, screeching "Embargo ON!"
posted by MarchHare at 12:40 PM on January 25, 2019 [5 favorites]


TBH I'm surprised he caved today; I was figuring we'd have at least another few days of horse-trading over the stupid pro-rating demand.

Maybe he figures he can get something passed with non-wall-specific border security funding and then redirect it to a wall using emergency powers? That will doubtless end up in court for years, but he's probably dumb enough to try.

It's hinted at in the NYT article that McConnell may have convinced him to play ball by telling him that he (McConnell) would use the time to try and recruit Democrats for the Republican funding bill that failed yesterday. That's unlikely to work, but Trump also seems like he might believe it if McConnell said it.
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:42 PM on January 25, 2019


So is this a done deal? Can he still back out when he sees people on Fox News calling him a wimp? I will feel better when it's a done deal.

(I know it's only three weeks. But one thing at a time.)
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 1:02 PM on January 25, 2019 [1 favorite]


He can theoretically back out at any time up to signing the bill (which AFAIK hasn't been introduced yet) but he called a supplemental press conference about 45 minutes ago to talk more about how he's TOTALLY getting the wall in three weeks and if the Democrats try and mess with him he's gonna totally beat them up, oh just you wait, which is a good sign because if he was going to renege that's probably where it would have happened.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:13 PM on January 25, 2019 [3 favorites]


I haven't been able to find a dang thing about the second presser other than reporter Abby D Phillip tweeting White House has just called the press pool to gather unexpectedly. Stay tuned...
posted by InTheYear2017 at 1:24 PM on January 25, 2019


IntheYear2017, the presser was a damp squib, per Phillip: "Trump took one question on the shutdown and whether he'll declare a national emergency: "We’ll work with the Democrats and negotiate and if we can’t do that, then we’ll do a -- obviously we’ll do the emergency because that’s what it is. It’s a national emergency.”" Trump was just looking for more attention after his meeting with a Hispanic pastors group (see the WH pool report).
posted by Doktor Zed at 1:31 PM on January 25, 2019 [2 favorites]


On the bright side, we've just demonstrated that the air traffic controllers, TSA, and flight attendants have the collective power to force the government to re-open. Hopefully they'll flex it faster next time.
posted by kaibutsu at 1:43 PM on January 25, 2019 [9 favorites]




There are Dem bills to pay the contractors (Senate - Smith, House - Pressley). Not sure of the likelihood of passage, though.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:53 PM on January 25, 2019


What the goddamn fuck kind of expression is "they work along" anyway? Is that a New York idiom? I mean, it's clear he means the Local Green Grocer will recognize Old Man Smith because he buys an apple every Tuesday and gosh darn it don't worry about the tab this time, Mr Smith I know times are hard for you these days.

It was ever thus. In Ontario, even before the days of Los Bros Ford, we had a similar experience a quarter-century ago. The newly-elected Conservative government of the era (1995) cut the far-from-generous welfare rates by 21.6%; when challenged to prove that the new amounts were enough to supply someone with sufficient food, the minister responsible recommended haggling with grocers over dented tins of tuna and buying in bulk. His supplied a suggested shopping list to fit the budget of $90.21 a month for food (for American readers in 2019, adjusted for inflation and exchange, this is about $105 USD today); it included bread with no butter, pasta with no sauce, and was less nutritious than the diet served to prisoners in provincially-run jails.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:20 PM on January 25, 2019 [6 favorites]


Epic Trump cave.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:49 PM on January 25, 2019 [3 favorites]


You know what? I know this thing isn't over, and there's time for plenty of rat-fuckery, but I'm really proud of our side: of the Democrats in congress (except Manchin, because fuck him), and all the people calling their representatives from home, and the flight attendants (because that's what solidarity looks like), and everyone who is not terrible who helped to end this mess. And every damn body who works for the government, because you are doing important work and don't get enough recognition at the best of times. Politics is a dumpster fire, and we're going to be living with the effects of this nightmare for the rest of our lives, but we're mostly keeping it together and not making it any worse. So go us!
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 3:08 PM on January 25, 2019 [22 favorites]


I know this is not solved by any means, but can I just say that -- between Brexit and this -- both Theresa May and Donald are frustrated and miserable right now puts a little bit of sunshine in my day?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:07 PM on January 25, 2019 [7 favorites]


I really wish the media would stop making themselves the tools of anonymous former Trumpsters to try to persuade him to renege on his word.

If they want to take their message to Twitter and take their chances regarding anonymity, fine. Why is the media credulously reporting every time they vomit up some irrelevant, and frankly not anywhere near newsworthy even by modern standards, bullshit whining and allowing them to dictate a narrative from the shadows?

Have some standards, for crying out loud. I'd expect that kind of crap from Sinclair or Fox, not legitimate news organizations.
posted by wierdo at 8:20 PM on January 25, 2019 [6 favorites]


Quindar Beep, I’m very concerned about losing people from my group, and it’s possible that I’ll be one of them. The effects of this shutdown are real, and they’ll be long-lasting.
posted by wintermind at 8:43 PM on January 25, 2019 [6 favorites]


A giggleworthy summary from the commentariat and twitterverse.
The next shutdown could potentially start on Feb. 14 which means this Valentine's Day, Trump is going to screw every American all at once!
posted by mono blanco at 5:57 AM on January 26, 2019 [2 favorites]


I once wasn't paid for several weeks due to a glitch. When I did get paid for three pay periods, the take home was a lot less because the tax deductions were (presumably computer-) calculated as though I was making three times higher per paycheck. I suspect that's going to happen and people are going to be pissed.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 1:09 PM on January 26, 2019 [8 favorites]


Even with shutdown deal, federal workers probably won’t see back pay until next week (Lisa Rein and Eric Yoder, Washington Post)
Although employees are on track to go back to work when Trump signs legislation that would restart the government for the next three weeks, its massive timecard and payroll processing systems will take several days to lumber back to life. Employees will have to file timecards, agencies will have to approve them, and the Treasury Department will have to disburse billions of dollars in what is known as an “off-cycle” payroll.

It probably will be next Thursday, Friday or even Saturday before employees are paid, according to former federal personnel and payroll officials and senior agency officials. The delay could cause continued financial hardship for thousands of employees who have been struggling with zero cash flow during the partial government shutdown.

That the agreement came on a Friday makes payments to employees more complex, as human resources offices are not typically staffed, and employees who do return to work on Monday likely will face huge backlogs of work.
Emphasis mine.
posted by ZeusHumms at 3:31 PM on January 26, 2019 [2 favorites]


My agency is going through enormous efforts to get everything into the system by tomorrow evening so that [most] people will be paid by Thursday. We’re doing everything we can, but it’s not easy.
posted by wintermind at 8:18 PM on January 26, 2019 [13 favorites]


I've been scrambling this weekend to prepare a production-ready version of an update to our software that we started working on at the beginning of the year when our government sponsors went into shutdown mode. Without hands-on direction, we had to make an educated guess as to what new features they'd want, and picked a date for delivery when we thought the shutdown might be over. Then when that passed, we tried again to put some more stuff in, and now suddenly they're coming back a week earlier than the date we pulled out of our rear-ends.

So now I get to spend my weekend trying to get it all working so that they have something to give us feedback on, and hoping that they have any time at all to deal with us when they might only have three weeks back in the office and a month's worth of work piled up, including dealing with this crap.

I guess what I'm saying is: when we start to hear reasonable-sounding estimates of how much the shutdown has cost us, take the largest one you can find and add a zero to the end.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:56 AM on January 27, 2019 [6 favorites]


WaPo has a good article on the air traffic controllers who were the straw that broke the camel's back to end the shutdown, and an interesting comparison between 2018 and 1981, when Reagan famously broke the PATCO strike (and, subsequently, PATCO itself):
Perhaps these protesters grasped a truth overlooked by many who invoke the PATCO example: It was not the law that ultimately gave Reagan the authority to break PATCO; it was public opinion. While the public supported Reagan’s stand against PATCO, there is little indication that it would support Trump should his agencies attempt to discipline workers who had reached a breaking point.

Could this event mark a turn as the 1981 strike did? Possibly, for like the PATCO strike it did not occur in a vacuum. PATCO struck just as conservative politics and neoliberal economics were ascending to power; the magnitude of its damage was reinforced by those larger dynamics. The worker actions that helped end this shutdown came in a very different time, one when the left rather than the right is gaining energy, when economic deregulation and privatization are losing their luster, amid growing public concern about rising inequality and weakened worker bargaining power [...]
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:37 PM on January 27, 2019 [8 favorites]


Kadin2048: WaPo has a good article on the air traffic controllers who were the straw that broke the camel's back to end the shutdown
...leaders of federal workers’ unions consistently repudiated collective action. Paul Rinaldi, the president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA), the controllers’ union organized in the aftermath of PATCO’s destruction, was one. As it became clear that staffing shortages were producing air traffic delays on day 35, Rinaldi announced that NATCA did not “condone or endorse any federal employees participating in or endorsing a coordinated activity that negatively effects the capacity of the National Airspace System.”

It is understandable that Rinaldi and other federal-sector union leaders refused to endorse collective action during the shutdown, for it is not merely PATCO’s ethereal ghost that haunts them: The law they operate under ties their hands.
Unions which are an arm of the government: I'll take ways in which modern America is like what they told us made the Soviet Union horrible for $100, Alex.
posted by clawsoon at 3:13 PM on January 27, 2019 [5 favorites]


It is understandable that Rinaldi and other federal-sector union leaders refused to endorse collective action during the shutdown, for it is not merely PATCO’s ethereal ghost that haunts them: The law they operate under ties their hands.

Sure, but I think their announcement, which did not say they would punish people, served as an acknowledgement in the main, which in its necessarily perverse way opened the door to the actions spreading. "Be a shame if anything happened to your airline schedules."
posted by rhizome at 5:45 PM on January 27, 2019


CNBC: The Government Shutdown Cost the Economy $11 Billion, Including a Permanent $3 Billion Loss, Congressional Budget Office Says
• The federal government shutdown cost the economy $11 billion, according to a new analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
• Although most of the damage to the economy will be reversed as federal workers return to their jobs, the CBO estimated $3 billion in economic activity is permanently lost.
• Overall, the CBO projected economic growth will slow this year to 2.3 percent, compared with the 3.1 percent rate last year, as the benefits of the new tax law begin to fade.
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:24 AM on January 28, 2019 [4 favorites]


I suppose we should have expected it from a President whose prior signature move was losing billions of dollars. Now to see if he actually has to suffer the consequences for once.
posted by Quindar Beep at 8:26 AM on January 28, 2019


I think we saw in 2016 that the GOP “moderates” are more than willing to hold their noses and vote the party line if the alternative is The Most Liberal Candidate Ever Who Would Turn America Into A Socialist Wasteland, also known as every Democrat of the last 40 years. So yeah, I'd believe that Schultz is drawing from Trump's voter pool more than ours.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:39 AM on January 28, 2019


In re federal employees not getting paid for another week after the government opens: I keep seeing this spun as "ooooh, that stupid government, taking so long", and I wish people would grasp that this is how long it takes. Issuing complicated pay to a huge group of people takes time. It's not a push-button process.

American ideology is basically "business should provide me with whatever I want instantly, there must be an app for that and if there isn't it's because I'm being done wrong", but people need to understand that doing things takes time and isn't easy.

I work for a large institution and used to be in a position where I would help people get off-cycle checks. With the very, very best good will in the world and everyone working at capacity, it would take a minimum of 48 hours to issue one check - and that was if you were lucky. 72 hours was good, and you still had to go off campus to the payroll building (not on the campus bus route!) to pick it up. This wasn't because everyone was malign; it was because there were two systems (payroll itself and check-issue) that had upload and approval times. And this wasn't because the bureaucracy was bad and evil, it was to prevent errors and to be cost effective by issuing all checks once a day when the system updated.

Doing large things takes time.
posted by Frowner at 9:40 AM on January 28, 2019 [13 favorites]


Doing large things takes time.

The hardest thing to really get into people's heads about the bureaucracy is that, no, there really aren't people just sitting around waiting for their particular thing to need doing. "Oh, it's just one form!" they say, as though we have enough money to pay Kevin to just hang out in the break room until John Q. Taxpayer comes in with the one RF-34 we're going to see that week.
posted by Etrigan at 9:57 AM on January 28, 2019 [8 favorites]


Will the employees even be caught up with the backlog of work from the shutdown by the time the temporary period is over?
posted by Selena777 at 10:09 AM on January 28, 2019


Will the employees even be caught up with the backlog of work from the shutdown by the time the temporary period is over?

No, because now the government is up and running again, all the regular workload is flowing as well. We've been told that some projects are just not going to happen because the shutdown screwed our budget.

In other news, we were also told that we will be paid on Thursday for the 2 missed pay periods, which is reassuring.
posted by suelac at 10:12 AM on January 28, 2019 [3 favorites]


> In other news, we were also told that we will be paid on Thursday for the 2 missed pay periods, which is reassuring.

This is very good news, no question about it - at least for everyone who couldn't just eat cake or get a small loan from their Dad.

But - any updates on the pending bills to give back pay to those poor contract employees? I can't[*] believe that we're going to screw over contract janitors who can least afford it.

[*] Alas, I can. Of course we are.
posted by RedOrGreen at 10:17 AM on January 28, 2019 [2 favorites]




Our office staff came in Saturday to turn in everyone's timesheets so we'd be paid by this Thursday. It was pretty heroic. Meanwhile, the rest of us came in today and threw out all the too-old plants and dead cultures and wondered which things were safe to start in case we shut down again in three weeks.
posted by acrasis at 5:58 PM on January 28, 2019 [6 favorites]


No Republican senators have signed on to a bill to give federal contractors back pay after the shutdown (Li Zhou, Vox)
Many have pushed for backpay for government employees, however.
Very curious.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:03 AM on January 29, 2019 [1 favorite]


WaPo: The Lowest-Paid Shutdown Workers Aren’t Getting Back Pay—Janitors, security guards and cooks aren’t guaranteed compensation after losing wages

"Unlike the 800,000 career public servants who are slated to receive full back pay over the next week or so, the contractors who clean, guard, cook and shoulder other jobs at federal workplaces aren’t legally guaranteed a single penny. They’re also among the lowest-paid laborers in the government economy, generally earning between $450 and $650 weekly, union leaders say. […] After the 16-day shutdown in 2013, approximately 850,000 federal workers collected compensation. About 1,200 cleaners, security guards and food-service workers in the Washington area, however, received no makeup pay."
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:07 AM on January 29, 2019 [2 favorites]


"Contractors don't count" is a basic tenet of the capitalist right, so Republican opposition on this point is no mystery.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 10:34 AM on January 29, 2019 [5 favorites]


doing things takes time and isn't easy.

Part of why government processes (and nonprofit processes) take time is that these systems are intended to have double-checks and to operate transparently. It's precisely because, as agent of the people, we don't want government to "just do" things without following the fair systems so carefully established, getting approvals and filing documentation that it takes longer.

Although anyone who has a fantasy that private sector businesses operate quickly, smoothly and efficiently has certainly not been paying close attention.
posted by Miko at 4:57 AM on January 30, 2019 [8 favorites]


The larger issue of employee misclassification lurks underneath the non-payment of the Federal "contractors." For the most part, the hardest hit workers are not the actual contractors. Their employers are.
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:51 AM on January 30, 2019 [3 favorites]


The chances of Donald Trump declaring a national emergency at the border just went way up

If you read to the end, it postulates that things are so far gone that Republicans believe that the political hit they'd take if Trump declared an official State of Emergency would be less bad than what they'd suffer if he declared another shutdown.

My brother is getting married this summer and he and his fiance are planning a destination wedding. When he texted the family to ask for location suggestions I told him my wife and I haven't stepped foot in the U.S. since Trump's election and still don't want to. His response was "Don't worry, that's definitely off the table." I know my fellow Canadians do not, generally speaking, seem to share my reticence about traveling to the U.S., but nothing has happened to assuage my fears that one of these days the shit is really going to hit the fan down there and you aren't going to want to be a foreign traveler in the States when it does.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:37 PM on January 31, 2019 [3 favorites]


If you read to the end, it postulates that things are so far gone that Republicans believe that the political hit they'd take if Trump declared an official State of Emergency would be less bad than what they'd suffer if he declared another shutdown.

On the other hand, Chris Cillizza fuckin' sucks. Read any of his writing and think about how in-character it is that he started out wanting to be a sportswriter.
posted by rhizome at 1:44 PM on January 31, 2019 [1 favorite]


Some workers still unpaid after shutdown, dread what’s next (Michelle R Smith, AP News)
posted by ZeusHumms at 1:52 PM on February 6, 2019 [1 favorite]


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