Tag Archives: National Park Service

Shutdown Updates

Above: Senate Minority “Leader” Chuck Schumer and Speaker Nancy Pelosi deliver a bombast response to Trump’s “Prime Time Border Wall” speech January 8, a political theater duel utterly distinct from the annual “State of the Union” and choreographed response (both traditionally scripted later in the month). 

The Trump Shutdown continues and according to NBC reporter Kelly O’Donnell, even newly crowned repeat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi did not anticipate the stalemate becoming so stale.

Pelosi’s “I thought you would have caved by now” subtext in denying Trump a national platform for the constitutionally-mandated State of the Union show likely masked fury at the president’s pulling the plug on her multi-representative jaunt to (per Trump) Brussels, Egypt and Afghanistan last week. A spokesperson advised NBC News of the trip’s ambitious aims:
“to express appreciation & thanks to our men & women in uniform for their service & dedication, & to obtain critical national security & intelligence briefings from those on the front lines.”

Alas,
The itinerary included a required stop in Brussels to allow the pilot to rest, the statement said, adding that the delegation planned to meet NATO commanders, U.S. military leaders and key allies […] The trip did not include a stop in Egypt.

We’re supposed to have copilots and planes that basically fly themselves to avoid these costly layovers, but after again collecting record income tax last year, the Filthy Feds still ran a deficit. And Pelosi’s posse was scheduled to fly…military aircraft.

Trump normally allows liberal use of the costly planes.

Pelosi last week requested Trump deliver State of the Union in writing so certain security workers wouldn’t have to work without pay that night, as they (and the rest of DHS who haven’t quit yet) have been doing for four and a half weeks. After turning the Speaker’s trip around right after they boarded the bus, Trump proceeded to fundraise off the squelched speech.

And, after stopping the bus, the president or someone in the administration is now accused of chucking Nancy under it. After suggesting she mix with the heathen masses and catch a commercial plane to Afghanistan, it was apparently broadcast to that particular war zone (we are still avenging a terrorist attack from 18 years ago by violently rebuilding the Middle East) that the Speaker’s delegation was, in fact, planning to travel to Afghanistan on a commercial plane. Pelosi cast the move as “inexperience[d]” on the part of the accused, and fingered the now-woke “bad actors” in Afghanistan obliging her to again cancel the trip.

As a country, we know how to throw a classy shutdown. Or at least a classically inept rendition. The Independent noted one of the myriad, bumbling, unaccountable Federal agencies that is still burning bread in times of “we haven’t borrowed a budget yet”
mistakenly paid about 30 employees at the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board.

The culprit Interior Business Centre [sic], an IT division of Department of Interior, blamed a “clerical error.”

The leaders of the chemical safety board quickly sent out an urgent email asking employees not to spend the money. 
“PLEASE DO NOT ACCESS THE FUNDS,” the email read. […]
Three years ago, the Interior Business Centre became a source of ire for federal employees after it failed to pay 40,000 of them on time.

The logical conclusion is the pay error rate is much higher when the IBC (which, to their credit, siphons taxpayer dough to 240,000 employees) is actually up and running.

Although the nation is mostly worried about overpaid bureaucrats and private sector drones with cushy contracts (see below), PBS pointed out a few thousand food stores cannot accept SNAP (food stamp) government benefits starting February 1 because they missed the deadline to renew their license for processing the payments.

Normally we’d shit on the Federal prerogative to coerce communities into expensive programs, then literally regulate them to extinction, but…

https://www.news5cleveland.com/news/local-news/oh-cuyahoga/westlake-man-indicted-for-food-stamp-fraud-and-running-unregulated-slaughterhouse-from-home

But oh, no, the parks. Remaining rangers deplored that their skeleton crews would be unable to keep control over the past holiday weekend, because
“visitors are not enjoying the parks they way they should be[.]” (John Lauretig, former National Park Service ranger and executive director of Friends of Joshua Tree) [our emphasis]

More importantly, The Hill bemoaned this missed opportunity. Holiday weekends typically are big revenue generators. Lauretig estimated that a three-day weekend at Joshua Tree could generate close to $100,000.

[our emphasis]

(Putting land under federal control GENERATES money out of thin air. It’s also JOB CREATION for rangers…if the children running Washington can shit out a budget on time.)

Fortunately, Interior gave its blessing for subagency National Park Service to bring back some staff using the revenue fees. Some essential Parks employees have been ranging without pay until now.

The Democrats have not forgotten about government contractors, drafting some ideas for the 3.7ish million who are not only missing paychecks now, but (unlike Federal employees) won’t get that cheddar in backpay when (if?) the behemoth resumes its meddling. Add in a dash of class warfare, of course:

Lawmakers say they want to help low-wage workers who are shut out of work while doing so in a way that doesn’t pad the pockets of higher-wage contractors who can more easily withstand the financial strain of a shutdown.

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) introduced a bill that would provide back pay for any “retail, food, custodial, or security services” contractors put on leave due to a shutdown. But so far Democratic leaders have not included it in their legislation aimed at fully reopening the government.

Thanks to our sources:

https://www.politico.com/story/2019/01/08/pelosi-schumer-trump-response-immigration-1088722

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/immigration/pelosi-jabs-trump-maybe-he-thinks-it-s-ok-not-n959841

https://nypost.com/2018/07/18/whats-behind-the-governments-record-income-tax-collection/h

https://thehill.com/homenews/house/426032-pelosi-accuses-trump-of-outing-trip-to-afghanistan?userid=115887

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/us-government-shutdown-furloughed-federal-workers-paid-by-mistake-trump-a8724511.html

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/why-many-stores-cant-accept-food-stamps-during-the-shutdown

https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/426102-national-parks-cautiously-brace-for-long-weekend-amid-shutdown

https://thehill.com/policy/finance/425015-dems-struggling-to-help-low-wage-contractors-harmed-by-shutdown