How the Shutdown is Affecting the US

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Re: How the Shutdown is Affecting the US

Postby Fun With Mr. Fudge » Sat Jan 12, 2019 8:07 pm

Tesseracts wrote:I've taken 3 airplanes recently and I need to take another one to get back home :(.


On the extremely dim bright side, depending on how bad security is, you might be able to a take a plane home with you without anyone noticing. Seriously, though, hopefully everything turns out well.

Absentia wrote:Part of the reason nobody in Washington is optimistic about this cluster ending anytime soon is that no one can figure out what Trump actually wants to do.


I think Trump might try to use that to his advantage. I could easily see him complaining his demands weren't unreasonable and claiming people misrepresented what he wanted, since it's not clear to anyone what he's asking for now. He's already using his ambiguity as a political cudgel. Trump switches between saying "wall" and "barrier" and now says it could be concrete or steel. It seems to me that based on the inclusion of the steel option, he's claiming that Democrats basically voted for his wall idea in the past. They have voted for fencing, but it certainly wasn't to block the entire border, nor did past presidents seek to build the ginormous concrete wall (that Trump once said could be as high as 95 stories) that Trump originally promised and continued to promise for a couple of years.

In the last few days he has gone back and forth and even contradicted himself in the same sentence on whether he intends to declare a state of emergency and use military funds currently earmarked for future disaster relief to build his wall. As of this morning the answer seems to be "no," possibly because he can't find a lawyer to tell him that he has a snowball's chance in hell of surviving a court challenge.


I agree, but I also wonder if he's biding his time because he can't convincingly make the case for declaring a national emergency.

Maybe he'll use the fact that this is now the longest shutdown U.S. history to bolster the argument that it's an emergency. Of course it wouldn't make sense because he's the reason the government is shut down, but since when has he cared about making sense? (To clarify, I place most of the onus on Trump because the Senate unanimously passed a spending bill that didn't include border wall funding, and the House seemed prepared to approve it as well before the Trump backtracked and said no). Maybe some bombshell revelation about Russia will come out and he'll declare an emergency. Or maybe he'll keep the shutdown going until next month and declare an emergency right before on the the day when Michael Cohen appears before Congress.
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Re: How the Shutdown is Affecting the US

Postby IamNotCreepy » Mon Jan 14, 2019 1:42 pm

I almost want Trump to declare a national emergency.

It would allow Congress to vote on a budget and get the government going again, and the legal challenges would prevent anything from actually getting built. Trump could shrug his shoulders and show his base that he did everything in his power to get it done. Everyone wins.

Except, not. I really don't want Trump to come out with a win on this one. It will just embolden him to pull these shenanigans any time he doesn't get his way.

The problem with the separation of powers is that it assumes that the American people wouldn't elect a dangerous lunatic.
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Re: How the Shutdown is Affecting the US

Postby cmsellers » Mon Jan 14, 2019 4:33 pm

IamNotCreepy wrote:The problem with the separation of powers is that it assumes that the American people wouldn't elect a dangerous lunatic.

Actually, the fear of that is precisely why we have the separation of powers. The problem here is threefold, and I'd say that the Founders and Congress deserve roughly equal blame.

First, there's the Electoral College, which is the Founders' fault. Authoritarians like Trump almost never win a majority in free and fair elections, and tend to draw more support from rural areas, so a system which lets a rural minority of the population elect the president is even worse than the "plurality of the popular vote" system much of the world uses.

Secondly, Congress delegated a lot of their powers to the executive, because it's easier than negotiating the minutiae among 535 people, and this is something the Founders never foresaw. They expected and intended Congress to be the most powerful branch, which is what a supermajority of Congress can override the president's veto.

Thirdly, there's the Senate, where Yertle is blocking an override vote. However he's doing this with Senators representing a minority of the population, and this is partially the Founder's fault. As part of the Connecticut Compromise, each state was given equal representation in the Senate and the Senate was made the more powerful body. However the gap in voter power is far bigger than it was in the Founders' time, and this is in no small part because Congress decided to admit Texas and California as extremely large states, while insisting that all other continental states be roughly equal in area. (Though to their credit, states in the Mountain West do tend to be larger than the other new states.)
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Re: How the Shutdown is Affecting the US

Postby Gendry » Tue Jan 15, 2019 2:11 am

In one of the the least impactful but most amusing effects of the shutdown, the President has decided to serve fast food to the Clemson football team, apparently because so many White House cooks are furloughed. The pictures, as always, are hilarious:
Image
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Last edited by Gendry on Thu Jan 17, 2019 8:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How the Shutdown is Affecting the US

Postby LunarTeaHouse » Tue Jan 15, 2019 5:42 am

I am feeling very blessed that nothing has affected me personally (yet), and my heart goes out to everyone who is suffering needlessly from this ridiculousness.
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This is the most embarrassing piece of work since Clint Eastwood painted his wagon.
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Re: How the Shutdown is Affecting the US

Postby sunglasses » Tue Jan 15, 2019 6:02 pm

McConnell blocks the House vote to reopen the government. Again.


Under Senate rules, any one senator can ask for consent to vote on or pass a bill, but any one senator can object. McConnell blocked the two bills saying the Senate wouldn't "participate in something that doesn't lead to an outcome."

McConnell for weeks has said he would not bring legislation to the floor on the shutdown unless there was a deal between President Trump and Democrats on border security, the issue that has triggered the shutdown. McConnell has described other votes as "show votes."


The House will not have a recess if the government remains shutdown.

And yes, I know what their recess actually is but I still imagine them being stuck inside, pouting because they can't play on the tire swings. The whole idea of Congress playing on an actual playground amuses the hell out of me. Someone photoshop this!

House lawmakers were expected to fly out after votes on Thursday and were not slated to return to Washington until Jan. 28.

Members are expected to be provided with 24-hour notice before being called back into session.

Even if the House was to convene next week, there would be no guarantees of a deal to re-open the government.
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Re: How the Shutdown is Affecting the US

Postby JamishT » Wed Jan 16, 2019 7:46 am

I read somewhere, but I can't remember where, that McConnell is being a politician to the max in all of this. He's not out there making big ol statements like POTUS and Pelosi (sitcom name/concept! Called it!) are, but he's also not particularly helping anything. He got undercut by POTUS when a budget bill passed unanimously, then POTUS said he wouldn't sign it (a unanimous vote would override a veto, but I guess there are political considerations too). From what I gather, McConnell is allowing POTUS and Pelosi to blame each other, while he sits back and waits for one of them to blink. He's gotta keep his GOP/Trumpster voters by not getting into POTUS' crosshairs (again), and he's not gonna get any more or less popular with Democrats so it's not much of a political risk for him to block bills that will be vetoed. He's also allowing POTUS to look worse and worse by saying the hold up is POTUS, not McConnell's desire for a wall.

So while I wish the legislative branch (McConnell including) would call POTUS's bluff and pass a bill, I think there's a plausible political explanation.
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Re: How the Shutdown is Affecting the US

Postby Absentia » Wed Jan 16, 2019 8:18 am

NYT reports that Trump's economic advisers are warning him about the possible long-term impact of the shutdown, estimating that it has already slowed quarterly economic growth by about half a percentage point.

Meanwhile various polls show Trump losing the battle of public opinion, with clear majorities blaming him for the shutdown more than Democrats, and his (already low) approval rating in slow but steady decline since the beginning of the shutdown.

I'd like to think that even Trump can see that this is all very grim news for his reelection chances if he doesn't change course in a hurry, but giving him even that much credit seems optimistic.
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Re: How the Shutdown is Affecting the US

Postby cmsellers » Wed Jan 16, 2019 5:04 pm

McConnell is possibly the canniest politician I know of, and also one of the least ethical. There's a connection, in that a lot of his smart moves were unprecedented, unethical and damaging in the long-term, but Gingrich was the same way, as was Tom Finneran of the MA House (Finneran is probably the single least ethical politician I know of), and both ultimately miscalculated really badly. I've yet to see McConnell make a mistake which seriously hurt him or the GOP caucus, but then Gingrich and Finneran's errors ended their political careers, so it seems like when you run a legislative house, you only get to fuck up big once. I'm still waiting on Yertle's big, career-ending fuckup, but this very clearly isn't it.
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Re: How the Shutdown is Affecting the US

Postby iMURDAu » Fri Jan 18, 2019 12:30 am

Almost all food stamp recipients will be receiving their benefits for February.

The last of which from what I've read will be paid out from today through the 20th of January. That is supposed to last for all of February also.

As for March benefits?

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
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Re: How the Shutdown is Affecting the US

Postby NathanLoiselle » Fri Jan 18, 2019 1:02 am

Bah! You know what's better than food stamps? Drug dealers who take food stamps. Because everyone who's poor needs drugs.
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Re: How the Shutdown is Affecting the US

Postby Kivutar » Fri Jan 18, 2019 1:08 am

I'm supposed to be starting a new job but I can't do visa stuff because of this bullshit >:|
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Re: How the Shutdown is Affecting the US

Postby cmsellers » Fri Jan 18, 2019 1:11 am

From Trump's perspective, food stamp recipients are unlikely to vote and when they do vote mostly vote for Democrats, so what does he care? In fact, I feel like Trump is hoping that sympathy for food stamp recipients and government workers will make the Democrats cave, but if the Democrats didn't blink when government workers missed their first paycheck, I doubt they will when food stamps run out.

However, food stamps and farm subsidies are always authorized together as part of the same bill, so this made me wonder whether farm subsidies were also delayed, and if so whether that would be a problem or farmers could wait it out.

And yes, it turns out that yes, farm subsidies are delayed and it's causing problems for at least some farmers. Farmers tend to be Trump supporters and have largely stuck through him through the damage his trade war has caused, but that may be because he's been giving them a shitton of taxpayer money in extra subsidies to compensate. Money which they now aren't getting.

ETA: That's awful Kivutar, I'm sorry. On the bright side, immigration enforcement isn't getting funded either, so...
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Re: How the Shutdown is Affecting the US

Postby iMURDAu » Fri Jan 18, 2019 2:04 pm

On a lighter note when my wife watched the 90 Day Fiance reunion show they didn't censor a good portion of it.

We were flabbergasted to hear "fuck" on regular cable. Then delighted. Then the next day I mentioned it to a coworker who figures it might be that since the FCC is shut down then why not see what you can get away with. I didn't think that would be a ripple effect but hey.
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Re: How the Shutdown is Affecting the US

Postby Absentia » Thu Jan 24, 2019 8:37 pm

Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross gave an interview on CNBC this morning. It... didn't go great.

For background, Wilbur Ross is worth somewhere between $700 million and $2.3 billion, depending on who you ask. He's a former Wall Street banker with a history of ethics violation and financial ties to Russia. He's leading the charge on the trade war with China and is not-coincidentally heavily invested in the US steel and coal industries. He's commonly seen wearing custom-made $1000 red velvet loafers. He's probably the last guy who should be doing Trump's messaging on this. So he went on TV and...



...suggested that unpaid federal employees should be taking out loans instead of going to food banks. And that the 800,000 unpaid workers are no big deal because they represent about 0.3% of the total US GDP, which is "not a gigantic number overall".

It's worth pointing out that some federal employees are eligible for zero-interest credit during the shutdown, which may be a real solution for them. But most of the affected employees are technically contractors; they would have to take out personal loans, with interest, against a paycheck that is going to arrive at some unknown time in the future.

Nancy Pelosi was quick to point out that this is essentially "let them eat cake", and Democrats are having a field day.
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