The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: January 12, 2019
In solidarity with the hundreds of thousands of government workers who have been furloughed or who are working without pay, as well as the vast number of contractors, businesses, and local entities whose livelihoods depend upon the normal functioning of the Federal government, the IM Saturday Monks Brunch is SHUT DOWN today.
We have no funds to provide food and drink for the Brunch.
IM offices and off-site facilities are shuttered and locked.
IM authors and staff will not receive their normal paychecks.
(yeah, like they ever got one!)
Readers will not be able to leave comments.
Email will not be answered.
Word is, Chaplain Mike is holding out for Cubs season tickets, but that has not been confirmed.
A few of the consequences of the actual U.S. government shutdown
(from CNN and other sources)
380,000 federal workers are furloughed and not being paid.
420,000 federal employees are working without pay.
Many tens of thousands of contractors who rely on the federal government but are not full-time employees are not being paid and will probably not receive back pay. Federal contractors could be losing a combined $200 million per day.
With 50% of the Food and Drug Administration not working, the FDA has stopped some inspections of food, including fruit, meat, seafood and vegetables.
Air traffic controllers are working without pay.
FBI agents are working without pay.
TSA agents are working without pay.
Secret Service agents are working without pay.
Federal prison workers are working without pay.
1,650 contracts that the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development has with landlords to supplement rents for low income renters cannot be renewed, which may force them to evict tenants or even face bankruptcy themselves.
The Smithsonian’s 19 museums are closed. As is the National Zoo.
National parks are being trashed, though some private groups are trying to provide some clean up. Some Joshua Trees at Joshua Tree National Park were reportedly destroyed by off-roaders.
Though the shutdown is purportedly about immigration, Border Patrol agents are now working without pay, immigration courts are closed, exacerbating the delays in hearing cases, employers can’t use the E-Verify system to see if workers are in the U.S. legally, and 41,000 active-duty Coast Guardsmen are working without pay.
Government-funded science research projects at universities are being delayed.
The Interior Department’s Indian Affairs bureau serves about 1.9 million American Indians and Alaska Natives. The government shutdown has put a pause on crucial functions such as law enforcement, tribal courts, and road maintenance. About half of the bureau’s employees have been furloughed.
USDA federal loans are on hold for people in rural areas.
Several thousand in the U.S. Forest Service are furloughed, halting wildfire prep and training.
The FCC is closed.
Perspectives on the shutdown…
From NPR: David Baker, 35, is an air traffic controller in Norfolk, Va.
“It’s extremely disappointing to know that our leaders can’t get something done,” he said.
Baker and his wife have two boys — ages eight and three. He says every day that goes by, his family feels a heavy financial burden as bills roll in.
“It’s unacceptable,” he says. “We’ve spent the last week calling our mortgage company, our car loan company, calling credit cards and our day care provider saying ‘we don’t know if we are going to make this month’s payment.” It’s hard, he adds, to prioritize whether to go to the grocery store or pay your mortgage. He takes a deep breath and adds, “federal employees deserve better.”
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I think shutdowns are stupid. I think it’s the dumbest way to do government in the world. We start using these stupid shutdown leverage points to try to get our way because we can’t give the other side any kind of a win.
• Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.)
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House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., called the current partial appropriations lapse “a vegetative, stupid, uncalled for, people-affecting process.”
WSJ says it well…
From End This Stupid Shutdown, by Peggy Noonan
The president at the center of this drama is an unserious man. He is only episodically sincere and has no observable tropism toward truthfulness. He didn’t get a wall in two years with a Republican Congress and is now in a fix. He is handling himself as he does, with bluster and aggression, without subtlety or winning ways. He likes disorder.
But the game didn’t start with Donald Trump. Two decades of cynical, game-playing failure produced him.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer have been just as unserious. Brinkmanship and insults—“malice and misinformation,” “soap opera,” “tinkle contest,” “as if manhood could ever be associated with him.” They are playing to their new, rising base and smirking slyly as the bear ties himself in knots. They demanded time to rebut the president immediately after his Oval Office speech. By tradition the networks offer response time after the State of the Union, not after every presidential address. This is because of a certain deference to the office. You allow a president—even if you hate him—to speak in the clear. He’s trying to lead; you let what he says settle in. Then the next day you formally hand him his head. If every presidential address is followed now by swift and furious rebuttal, we’ll never achieve any rough unity again.
In the end Mr. Schumer and Mrs. Pelosi’s speech was no more a success than the president’s: it broke no new ground, didn’t even try to persuade. Trevor Noah caught the mood: They looked as if the hostess at IHOP just told them there’s no senior discount.
Mr. Schumer and Mrs. Pelosi should stop. They should end the drama.
Who cares if it’s a wall, a fence, a bulwark, a barrier, smart tech, increased personnel? Get it done. Climb down. Make a deal.
Who cares how both sides spin the outcome, claim bragging rights, issue the cleverest taunt?
Just solve it. It’s been 20 years.
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What’s this have to do with Internet Monk?
The author of 1Timothy writes, “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings should be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity” (1Tim 2:1-2).
We must look at a text like this in a different light as members of a democratic republic. In our system of government, the people actually hold the authority (under the ultimate rule of law) and our elected representatives are the servants of the people. We sometimes view them as the ones in power and I have heard many biblical passages like this taught (incorrectly) from that perspective. But we have no “kings” and those in government are not “authorities” over us. They represent us and it is our duty to hold them accountable.
The goal remains the same: that we may lead quiet and peaceable lives of godliness and dignity. And various types of prayer are always appropriate in supporting our public servants. But in addition, faithful living in a modern democratic society allows for and requires much more.
Internet Monk is here to explore and encourage Jesus-shaped spirituality, and that is not confined to private devotion. It is my opinion that in a situation like this government shutdown, Jesus, in the tradition of the prophets, would encourage us all to both trust in God and work for justice and peace, especially for the most vulnerable.
We should require that our representatives speak the truth to us, and only support those who do.
We should encourage bipartisan cooperation, which involves sacrifice and compromise for the sake of the common good.
Through the various means that are open to us as citizens, we should communicate these values to our representatives and hold them accountable through giving or withholding our support and our votes.
This is not just about being good Americans, it is about being good followers of the One who teaches us to pray that his kingdom will come and his will be done on earth as in heaven.
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NO COMMENTS TODAY
Think (and pray) about these things.