Government Shutdown Prevents Climate Scientists from Attending a Key IPCC Conference

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Trump

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

h/t Dr. Willie Soon – Denying President Trump funds to fulfil his promise to build the wall appears to be a higher priority for Democrats than allowing US Scientists the funds they need to attend key climate conferences.

Scientists despair as US government shutdown drags on

Space missions can continue to collect data, but thousands of federal researchers are forced to stay at home without pay.

Empty chairs

Organizers of several major conferences are scrambling to replace whole fleets of government researchers who were set to present their work or lead discussion panels.

The American Astronomical Society expects that 10–15% of the 4,200 people who registered for its meeting in Seattle, Washington, from 6 to 10 January will be unable to attend because of the shutdown, says Kevin Marvel, the society’s chief executive. They include the AAS’s immediate past president, Christine Jones, an astronomer at the Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which is run jointly by Harvard University and the Smithsonian Institution. Another Smithsonian astronomer, David DeVorkin of the National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC, is supposed to give a plenary talk at the meeting; plans are being made to find a replacement.

The AAS is looking for ways to lessen the disruption to its meeting, Marvel says, such as webcasting plenary sessions and allowing non-government researchers to give talks on behalf of their federal collaborators. And the American Meteorological Society is soliciting volunteers to replace government researchers who are scheduled to lead sessions or unveil findings at its meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, from 6 to 10 January. The society estimates that roughly 800 federal scientists, mostly from NOAA, have registered for the 4,300-person meeting.

Then there is the Plant and Animal Genome meeting set to take place in San Diego, California, from 12 to 16 January. Many of its organizers and presenters are USDA employees. The meeting gives experienced researchers opportunities to vet potential PhD students and find collaborators, and students a chance to network.

“I don’t really do resolutions for the new year, but it would be nice if the furlough would end so that we can get back to feeding the world,” said John Cole, a geneticist at the USDA in Beltsville, Maryland, who studies dairy cattle, in a tweet on 31 December. “The program committee at PAG [Plant and Animal Genome meeting] would also be grateful.”

Lean times

But many federal scientists are grappling with more existential worries. No government employees at affected agencies are being paid during the shutdown — even those who have been deemed essential, and ordered to keep working. Congress has historically passed legislation authorizing retroactive pay after a shutdown ends, but that is cold comfort to many federal employees trying to survive without a regular salary.

Today I had to apply for unemployment,” Leslie Rissler, an evolutionary biologist and programme director at the NSF, tweeted on 3 January. “This is a ridiculous shutdown unnecessarily affecting thousands of federal employees and families. Wishing all of them, and this country, better days ahead.”

Read more: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-00008-0

A scientist working on AR6 claims the shutdown is affecting climate conferences.

Democrat Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi recently suggested that Climate Change is an existential threat.

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132 thoughts on “Government Shutdown Prevents Climate Scientists from Attending a Key IPCC Conference

    • Tonight, the President will address the nation. He is hinting that he will use his emergency powers to finance his border wall.

      The networks have granted the Democrats equal time to counter the President’s speech. Is this unprecedented?

      It’s trivial to say that history is being made, because history is always being made, but history is being made.

        • Bryan A January 8, 2019 at 3:55 pm
          Don’t know about unprecedented but certain factions wish the USA was unPresidented

          “Not this August”
          Or better,,
          “The hill of Summer”
          https://www.csmonitor.com/1981/0422/042204.html

          Wonderful book. Actual two. One with one President the other with a President from the other party.
          We are lucky we got President Trump.
          Just as we were luck to get President Roosevelt in the 1930s

          Those who want him gone because they simply dislike his policies need to take a bit more history and civics.

          michael

      • cB: “Tonight, the President will address the nation. He is hinting that he will use his emergency powers to finance his border wall.”

        I would be surprised if Trump invokes a national emergency during his speech tonight, although recent laws (1976) apparently give the president the authority to declare an emergency, and there is even a provision that allows the president to do emergency construction without having to go through the approval of Congress!

        I think tonight Trump will try to sell his case to the American people, and will urge the Democrats to come to the table and do a deal. I think he will give them the opportunity to make a deal and be reasonable before he drops the hammer of a national emergency at the southern border on them when they refuse to budge.

        cB: “The networks have granted the Democrats equal time to counter the President’s speech. Is this unprecedented?”

        Its not unprecedented for rebuttals. What is unprecedented tonight is apparently CNN is going to try to do a real-time fact check of everything Trump says, and will point out all the “lies” as he says them, I guess. That’s unprecedented. I wonder if CNN is going to fact-check Pelosi and Shumer’s rebuttal?

        Well, the speech starts in about 10 minutes. Ought to be interesting. Go Trump!

  1. I find the inability to attend a bit puzzling, as the travel expenditures probably have already been made, and nothing prevents the speakers from attending. They can talk on their own time and on their own dime. The American Astronomical Society can foot what ever remaining costs exists.

    From this article it seems these prestigious societies can only afford speakers on the taxpayers expense.

      • I was wondering the same. But figured I new nothing about the wonderful world of federal employment.

    • That’s what one in private industry would do if so moved.

      Furloughs happen quite a bit and often in private industry one’s pay is not made whole as is the case of government employees. In fact, a furlough in private industry is done to save the company money. It’s not done for political purposes.

    • The problem is they would have to cancel the government sponsored reservation and reapply as Dr. X of no particular affiliation. Most academics would die without their institutional title and authority coming along for the ride. People wouldn’t take them as seriously without their mantles, and officially at the moment, they have no mantle. If they were to go and use their office title or affiliation, a concerned citizen could file a lawsuit and ethics complaint on the department for doing unauthorized work.

      • “…The problem is they would have to cancel the government sponsored reservation and reapply as Dr. X of no particular affiliation…”

        Typically for a conference such as this, their cancellation would result in 0-25% being refunded for registration, airfare, and hotel.

        Everything but meals has probably been pre-paid anyhow.

      • They are still government employees, so there is no need to change the affiliation. If they really want to go for professional reasons, they can pay their own way. As it stands, they will get back pay when they return to work, so they are not losing that much.

      • Some people are very attached to the Kingdom of Names.

        This has led to admonitions such as, “O ye who have names to be wise…”

        Having a name bestowed does not simultaneously bestow wisdom. Wisdom is not so easily obtained as a “name”.

    • The expenditures are not made until the traveler files a travel claim with the government. If the authorization to make those expenditures has expired prior to the travel, the traveler can’t travel. Pretty simple actually.

    • Trump should force them to use Skype. If it worked, (and there’s no reason it shouldn’t), he could legitimately cut this unnecessary travel and save a bundle of taxpayer money.

    • You would think that an AGW crisis that would end the world would be sufficient impetus for self funding. They should set up a GoFundMe page, and encourage all the environmentalists/liberals to fund them – after all it’s a crisis. /sarc Does this mean their AGW enthusiasm end when it costs them $$

  2. Frightening that federal employees are having to apply for benefits after only 3 weeks.
    When husband was retired by cardiologist one Monday afternoon, had been at work that same morning, we had a 12 week wait for benefits, and I believe nothing much has changed in system in the last 7 years, as had a son very ill in hospital just this last year, again his benefits finally approved the same week he went back to work yes 12 weeks.

  3. Well, I was thinking to myself, “What’s the problem?”, worried that I might be an idiot for thinking this, but I sense that my first impression might not have been too idiotic, after all.

  4. How about not paying the politicians during a shutdown ?
    You’d probably never have another shutdown again.
    At the moment its mainly low paid workers.

    • Most of them don’t care about the money, but if all of their perks and privileges were suspended, they might notice. Better yet, prohibit lawmakers from appearing on TV until the shutdown is over. This would end it immediately.

  5. As with all “Political” and yes its political even if its about the worlds climate, then yes use their own money and in their own time.

    Since as they keep telling us its all “Settled Science”, then what is there to talk about, other than “We are all Doomed”, and its all Pres. Trumps fault”.

    MJE

  6. Eliminate the commute-from-home day (aka 4-day workweek) for DC workers while you’re at it.

  7. Maybe they should simply ask all their supporters to help with the funding ala our excellent host.

  8. Democrat Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi recently suggested that Climate Change is an existential threat.

    My sophomore Theology class was all about “Existentialism”.
    Lots of “thinking”. No facts.

  9. If only technology could be created that allowed conferences to take place by some sort of shared computer network. With audio and pictures.
    Then they could still have their conference without the cost and without the CO2 emissions.
    If only…

  10. The ‘carbon’ emissions saved will be the equivalent of taking 42 billion cars off the road — hooray!

  11. I’d like to feel sorry for the employees having to file for unemployment, but I just can’t reach that far. We mere mortals have to deal with this a lot. My husband works construction and has no set schedule, no set layoff date, no callback date, nothing. He works when he works. Normal people learn to deal with these things. How many government shutdowns have occurred over the years. Plan ahead.

    (There are people that get paid once a year when the crop comes in or the cattle are sold. They manage.)

    • In the West government represents about one-third of the economy, or more in Europe — I’m not sure what the equivalent percentage is in US.
      Instead of wanting to shut down the productive two-thirds, AGW enthusiasts would be better focusing on government.

  12. “Today I had to apply for unemployment.” – Leslie Rissler. No, you didn’t. You just didn’t want to find a job actually adding value out there in the marketplace. You wanted to continue to force others to take care of you, so you removed your hand from my left pocket and put it in my right.

    • If this person is intelligent, that (should) say that they are smart enough to manage their finances to handle unexpected emergencies.

      If this person is an evolutionary biologist, that (should) say that they are highly educated. An MS at minimum, more likely a PhD.

      If this person is a program leader, that (should) say that they’ve also done a fair bit of post-doc work, and are able to lead and assess the work of an interdisciplinary team of other scientists.

      That this person’s only employment option is with the government, and apparently has no financial cushion whatsoever to survive even a single delayed paycheck, tells me that “should” is NOT “is.”

      • I agree. To date, no government shutdown has ran longer than 21 days, though this could break that record. Government employees know full well by now that can happen. Sadly, they seem to have a sense of privilege that says they can never experience the same hardships the rest of the underlings in society do.

        I worked as a credit counselor in the past. People in America have very, very poor money management skills, even with high incomes. I don’t think it’s lack of knowledge so much as lack of desire to know how to manage money. It’s easier to complain than actually learn the solution.

    • In most states, these people can draw unemployment but have to pay it back at the end of the shutdown if they receive backpay. Unemployment is NOT frrom your back pocket—the employer pays for it. Only if the government extends it beyond 26 weeks is your tax money involved.

      • Sheri, “the employer pays for it” in the same sense that the employer pays taxes. That is, the employer takes it from the customer in higher prices. There is no other way to “pay for it.” The fact that this exchange is mandatory means that government force is the cause. So either the government takes money from me directly to pay “unemployment insurance” [a lie term], or the government forces employers to charge customers more. If I am a customer, I pay.

        The only benefit of the second method is that it conceals the robbery.

        • It actually is taken from the employee in lower compensation. Employers view the “total cost to employ” when making an offer. That includes all the taxes, benefits and actual pay. If they didn’t pay unemployment insurance they would pay the employee more, to compete with other companies which would do the same.

          • My first reply was to “damp”. Ended up in the wrong place. Russ R—no, they would not pay the employee more. They would call the employee an “independent contractor” and the employee could cover all those expenses himself. That way, more people can pay for their own insurance, have no compensation if hurt at work, file their own social security and medicare taxes, etc. It actually might be better that way if everyone had the skills to do so and thus would know what business costs, but I’m not seeing cost cutting and utopia that way. Actually, that is the best possible world if you hate someone dictating to employers how much to pay. They can take lowest bid on contract employees and then not have to pay anyone to withhold taxes, do HR, et. Employers will love the idea.

            I’m not saying these things are not benefits and don’t have a cost, but if people consider this “robbing from others”, then independent contract employees are the only way to avoid that. I cannot see that idea working. I wonder, too, if those who hate employer benefits and call them robbing from others hate car insurance, house insurance, health insurance and anything else that they are forced to pay for. LIke fire departments and police departments. Some people were born 150 years too late….

          • . I wonder, too, if those who hate employer benefits and call them robbing from others

            Strawman alert. No one claimed to “hate employer benefits” or called them “robbing from others” What they called robbery was when the force of government is involved.

            Incidentally, Employers offer benefits to attract workers. IE Employer A offer Salary X and Employer B offers Salary X as well as the benefit of medical insurance, Employer B is going to have an easier time filling the position than Employer A will assuming the two jobs are otherwise the same.

            Same reason many jobs pay well above minimum wage. To attract qualified applicants, employers offer salary and benefits that such applicants will then consider working for them.

            I assume you never benefitted from any such program and worked as slave your whole career for less than minimum wage with zero benefits so you have a right to complain about this.

            You seem to be rather ignorant of how economics work if you believe (as your posting implies) that without a minimum wage law everyone would be working for less than the current minimum wage. That’s total nonsense (as can be seen by the fact that not everyone works for minimum or below with a minimum wage law). You see the job market is a market. The more desirable skills you have the better job offers you can get. The less you have in the way of marketable skills, the less desirable you are to prospective employers and thus the lower the level of salary/benefits you can expect to get. The Minimum wage only props up those on the no/low skill end (jobs that were never meant to be careers). Those higher up on the skills that employers desire command salaries above minimum so the minimum wage is rather irrelevant to such employees.

          • no, they would not pay the employee more

            again, your lack of economic knowledge is showing. Ultimately, yes they would. Employers have a price/valuation (IE dollar amount) that they consider worth it to hire someone to do a particular job. That price covers the total package for hiring an employee – Salary, taxes and benefits. Take away some benefits and that price/valuation doesn’t change, the only thing that changes is how they allocate that price/valuation in terms of salary and remaining benefits. And the reason they would is because there are other employers out there also offering employment packages with their own price/valuation number that they have to compete with. So if they offer X salary and Y benefits they have to compete with other companies who maybe offering X Salary and Z benefits or W Salary and Y or Z benefits, and so on. if their employment package is lacking in comparison, they’ll have a hard time filling the position.

          • They would call the employee an “independent contractor” and the employee could cover all those expenses himself.

            If that were the case, they’ve have switched to all “independent contractor” and saved themselves the hassels of having direct employees long ago. But they haven’t, and they wouldn’t. Companies see value in having employees. And as long as employees seen to be of value to a company then they will be compensated to the amount that they are valued (because if they aren’t those employees will find employment elsewhere that will). That compensation either goes entirely into salary or it gets split between salary and benefits.

          • Russ R.: Yes, but all the money comes from the buyer of the product or service – it can come from nowhere else – and this shell game is forced upon us by the government in place of the voluntary, community-based assistance we had before Marxism became the state religion.

            My original point was that Ms. Rissler had only taken her hand out of one of my pockets and put in in another pocket.

          • John Endicott January 9, 2019 at 9:14 am

            “”They would call the employee an “independent contractor” and the employee could cover all those expenses himself.””

            “If that were the case, they’ve have switched to all “independent contractor” and saved themselves the hassels of having direct employees long ago. But they haven’t, and they wouldn’t. ”
            ————————————————————————————

            There are rules about what constitutes an independent contractor vs an employee. The main rule is that an independent contractor cannot be bound by specific working hours. They are free to accomplish the tasks on their own schedule within general time parameters set in the contract.

          • @damp – your comment about having your pockets picked is true in a narrow sense, but less so from unemployment insurance versus funding a government salary. Unemployment insurance is basically paying into a government mandated fund that pools the risk of losing your job across the entire job market. It is a government program that is similar to other transfer programs that force those with steady employment to subsidize those with more frequent problems with unemployment. Many times it is the competitive industries that boom and bust, but still provide substantial benefit to society. Out of all the government programs it is one of the least obnoxious.
            Funding a salary for “evolutionary biologist” is closer to a complete waste taxpayer funds and is very close to being so “non-essential” it could be axed without the slightest negative impact on society. Plenty of jobs like this in academia that contribute to obscene tuition expenses. At least you have a choice whether you are willing to pay the tuition or not. We don’t need most of these career positions filled with bureaucrats, and they are much closer to a complete theft of your tax dollar.

        • Okay, so the employer doing ANYTHING the government mandates is robbing you. Got it. You want employers to pay next to nothing, have zero benefits and the government out of it. You want no workman’s comp, no minimum wages, etc. Back to importing the Chinese laborers like the railroads did in the old west because if they die, replacements are cheap. Exploitation to the point of slavry if they can get away from it. I assume you never benefitted from any such program and worked as slave your whole career for less than minimum wage with zero benefits so you have a right to complain about this.

          • You want employers to pay next to nothing, have zero benefits and the government out of it.

            If you had an ounce of economic knowledge, you’d know that salary and benefits having little to nothing to do with the government. Employers seek to attract employees with the skills they need to accomplish the jobs the employers want done. As such they offer salaries and benefits that such employee find attractive. The more valuable the skills the higher the salary and benefits. Economics 101.

            But even leaving economics out of it, you’d know what you said is not true simply by looking at the world around you and applying a little bit of *thought*. You claim without government intervention (IE the minimum wage) employers would “pay next to nothing”. Think. If that was the case, then instead of paying “next to nothing” employers would only ever pay anyone “the minimum wage”. But employers don’t pay everyone “the minimum wage”, highly skilled workers get paid salaries much higher than the minimum wage. Think as to why that might be. Could it be that employers put value on the skills that employee bring to the table. The more valuable the skill, the higher the salary employers are willing to offer. The less valuable the skill, the lower the salary on offer.

            Next you assert that without government intervention there would be “zero benefits”. Again, take a look at the world around you and think. While there are some benefits that are mandated by government, various employers offer a variety of benefits that are not mandated. If companies are offering non-mandated benefits *NOW* what makes you think all employers would stop offering all benefits if government stopped mandating the few benefits that it currently mandates?

          • If minimum wage was effective, it would be even more effective at $20 / hour. Or even $50 / hour. The problem with it is obvious, if you have ever been an employer. It artificially sets a floor price for employment. Many workers are not capable of producing that amount of value to the company, but they are capable of producing value that is lower than the minimum wage. Those workers are forced out of the labor pool, and do not benefit from getting work experience, and knowledge gained by working with others who have greater capacity to benefit the company.
            It is an attack on the poor, that keeps them in poverty, like most of the “War on Poverty” programs do. If we want less poverty, we have to find ways of helping poor families establish a work ethic, and show them the benefits of gaining knowledge about the world they live in.
            Subsidizing poverty is the same as subsidizing anything else. You get more of it, whether that is what you want or not.

          • Sheri: It’s amusing that when I point out what is actually happening, you revert to strawmen and ad hominems.

            “ANYTHING the government mandates is robbing you. Got it.”

            No, that’s a strawman. Words like “always,” “never,” “all,” “anything,” etc. are dead giveaways to a dishonest restatement of an opponent’s position.

            The government taking money from Sheri to give to damp is robbery. Plus redistribution of the loot for purposes of buying votes. (And it is outlawed in the Constitution, still, even after the passage of the 16th Amendment.) Taking money from Sheri to pay a soldier defending all of us, or to pay a judge protecting all of us, is not robbery. It is payment for services rendered. What services has Ms. Rissler rendered to the general welfare, that I am obligated to pay her?

            “I assume you…worked as [a] slave your whole life….” Yes, as a matter of fact I am forced to work for the benefit of others, which is the definition of slavery. And it’s your preferred program, apparently.

          • It is an attack on the poor, that keeps them in poverty, like most of the “War on Poverty” programs do.

            Indeed, but it’s even worse than that. as it can drive the workers who were marginal above poverty into poverty.

            For example, when the Minimum wage is $5/hr worker x is currently working for $6/hr because that’s the value of his skills to the company he works for. Now the Minimum wage is $10/hr. worker x is either out of work (because the company doesn’t value the work he does that highly and so find ways to do without his contributions) or worker x is now working at the new minimum (if the company can’t do without his contributions, after all some labor is required or no goods are made and no services are rendered), which initially sounds good, $4/hr more, however companies price their goods and services based on the costs which include the cost of labor. That means prices go up to cover the additional costs and before long minimum wage works find they are just as bad off under the new minimum as they had been under the old minimum (their real purchasing power pretty much stabilizes at the same level). However worker x’s real purchasing power is now, at best, just as bad off as all the other minimum wage workers were as previously his purchasing power was slightly better off (to the tune of $1/hr more) than his minimum wage worker peers. (at worse it’s a lot worse off as he went from $6/hr to $0/hr as his job wasn’t worth $10/hr and was thus eliminated).

          • If minimum wage was effective, it would be even more effective at $20 / hour. Or even $50 / hour

            indeed. And those pushing for the $15 minimum will find that once they get that, they’re still no better off than when the minimum was lower (assuming they still have a job) and will be pushing for a $30 minimum meanwhile such increases just
            1) make more of the population, who previously had above minimum wage jobs, into minimum wage workers
            2) make people who previously had minimum wage jobs into zero wage non-workers (IE unemployed)

    • “Today I had to apply for unemployment.” – Leslie Rissler.

      Really, Leslie, then can I take it that mean you no longer are an employee of the federal government and will not be returning to your cushy government job when the shutdown is over, nor will you be collecting the “back pay” that will inevitably be authorized by congress. Because if you do return to your cushy government job and most especially if you collect that “back pay” then you are scamming the government by collecting unemployment.

  13. I am a furloughed federal employee, and as far as I’m concerned, President Trump can keep the government shut down until the 2020 election if it gets us border security. As for “Empty chairs”, I’d say that applies to federal climate “scientists” whether the government is in operation or not.

  14. The lead sentence in the featured report at the top is flat out incorrect. Or, in the vernacular of late, “Fake News.” Nobody is being forced to stay at home. They make it sound like they are wearing an ankle monitor on electronic home detention. Help me out here, as I have not been in the military since 2003, but even way back then we were issued government credit cards (i.e. Visa) for reimbursable expenses related to travel. Do the cards still exist? If so, were they deactivated? Are government employees who were going to travel, capable of fronting the expense on their personal credit cards, with the hope they would be reimbursed? Surely scientists in the SES, or at pay grade “GS-99” /s/ can afford to get to Phoenix or Seattle. Since there are some unfilled days of late, put two people in an SUV and drive, and (gasp) share a hotel room. Skip the Hertz counter on this trip. If this shutdown ends the way others have, nobody would be out of pocket anything.

    • They certainly would not be allowed to use corporate travel cards during the shutdown. Funding approval has expired. It doesn’t matter if the government has money in the bank, or spare money before the credit limit on Visa. You can’t use it, it’s unconstitutional.

      • The cards are issued in the name of the employee. Charges incurred on the card, whether truly business related or not, were the sole responsibility of the employee to repay. The expectation, of course, was with the money repaid after submitting a travel voucher for reimbursement. Many government employees of all kinds have run into trouble with their issued cards.

    • A further point, Australia had the same problem in the Whitlam constitutional crisis, when he tried to keep spending money without control of the Senate, which was blocking supply. The Governor-General sacked him and instituted a new Prime Minister that had control of the Senate and could guarantee supply.

      I don’t know why the American constitution doesn’t have similar provisions.

      • “I don’t know why the American constitution doesn’t have similar provisions.”

        The answer is contained in your own remedy:

        “The Governor-General sacked him and instituted a new Prime Minister that had control of the Senate and could guarantee supply. “

    • They could, but typically programs, rooms, etc. are set well in advance. They used to physically print programs, some conferences still do but certainly electronics allow changes to be made more easily. For those vendors who have government clients, this situation is not good.

      I was at a scientific conference that began on 9-11-2001. I got one of the first planes out of town when the airport opened and it was really weird. The plane was almost completely empty.

      The inconvenience being experience now is really trivial by comparison to 9-11.

  15. Basically they all get paid for not working at the end of the day. For those collecting unemployment I imagine their back pay deducts what they collect .

  16. “…This is a ridiculous shutdown unnecessarily affecting thousands of federal employees and families. Wishing all of them, and this country, better days ahead…”

    I agree, this is a ridiculous shutdown. Hopefully she sent this tweet to Pelosi and the other Dems opposed to a tiny amount of wall funding so that this country can move-on to better days and federal employees and their families can return to their normal lives.

  17. As for all conference attending “over Head” inconvenienced by the shut down
    I offer this,

    michael

  18. Sounds great to me. The fewer people that do to such meetings, the more fossil fuel will not be burned adding CO2 to our atmosphere. These meetings should be held on the Internet anyway to conserve on the use of fossil fuels. The technology to do so has been in place for many wears.

  19. The Astrophysics Conference is actually quite valuable. Especially with all the upcoming NASA missions like Webb space telescope needing to get the word out on how data is to be handled and collaborations are setup.

    The Weather/Metreorology/Climate one… and epecially the AR6 planning, those could go away and no one would be worse off except the hotel bar tenders tip jar and the hookers.

    • Once the Democrats have been publicly demonstrated to be anti-border security we can move on to that juicy nugget. Occasional-Cortex’s 70% tax applied to all the wire transfers from America to Mexican Nationals will fully fund it, plus a sweet chunk-O-change left over. Remittance money, seems to me England had that problem for awhile, then they “solved” it.

    • I thought he effectively paid for it many times over when he renegotiated the trade agreements with Mexico and Canada. That is at least how it was reported by most analysts he then just needed to get his hands on the revenues are you saying that isn’t correct?

  20. One might think, if the future of the world is at stake and AGW is such a doomsday scenario, the ‘scientists’ might actually buy their OWN tickets to conferences.

    And there’s not a Govt Dept I have ever heard of where you cannot claim back legit expenses for such junkets so WTF?

    I guess it makes another stick to beat Trump with if they pretend they are bereft of opportunity to promote the end of the world in luxury.

    And of course we all just ignore all the Dems who have ACTUALLY shut down the Govt – most of the leaders called for closing borders, fence building and increased guards before Trump came along but now it’s suddenly an ‘issue’ – which makes it clear the issue is the restrictions on getting new and illegal Dem voters into the USA.

    • One might think, if the future of the world is at stake and AGW is such a doomsday scenario, the ‘scientists’ might actually buy their OWN tickets to conferences.

      Actually, if “the future of the world is at stake and AGW is such a doomsday scenario” you’d think those “scientists” would forgo the flying off (using “evil” fossil fuels emitting even more “evil” CO2) to various far away locales and simple attend via skype.

      And there’s not a Govt Dept I have ever heard of where you cannot claim back legit expenses for such junkets so WTF?

      with their departments shut down, so too is their expense accounts for such junkets. However, they very likely could charge their own credit cards and then fill out the appropriate forms in order to get those expenses reimbursed once the government is back open for business. Not everyone in every company I’ve ever worked for has a corporate credit card, and there has always been a method for the employee to use their own and then claim reimbursement afterwards, so I doubt the government is much different. Granted it’s a lot more hassel to claim reimbursement than it is to charge the company card, but that’s what’s known as a 1st world problem.

  21. Those people who are worried about the government shutdown should contact Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Shumer and tell them to stop holding the government hostage to their partisan political ambitions.

    It won’t do any good to complain to Trump because I don’t think he is going to give in, so Pelosi and Shumer are your best bets.

    • Complain to Trump!?!? I called and congratulated him! Then I emailed and congratulated him! If I had the money, and it was not restricted airspace, I would hire a sky writer to put it over DC every day for a week!

      • And if I was on twitter, I’d gladly tweet to congratulate him as well. But I can’t stand twitter, so that won’t be happening.

        I’m not worried about the shutdown in the least, in fact I say keep it shut for as long as it takes to get the border secure. If I was one of the government employees of one of the shut down departments, I’d be very afraid of the shutdown lasting long enough for people to realize most of those departments/employees are surplus to requirements and simply not needed.

        • Each time this game gets played more citizens get wise to just how many “nonessential” employees are in government. THAT is a point DJT and his surrogates need to be hammering home.

    • It won’t do any good to complain to Trump because I don’t think he is going to give in, so Pelosi and Shumer are your best bets.

      If Trump is smart and wants to get re-elected he won’t give in. It was his signature promise on the campaign trail, it’s one of the main reasons people voted for him. It’s his “read my lips” issue. If he caves, he can expect to be a 1-term president just like the guy for whom the “read my lips” phase came from. (and that’s before we even get into all the reasons why a border wall is desperately needed on the southern border).

  22. What do you call 800 federal scientists missing a meeting of the AMS which has endorsed the unscientific claims of AGW?

    A good start.

  23. Missed in all the rhetoric about “border security” is the real reason for the shutdown. And federal employees should recognize this as a perk of their job. The Federal Government spends more money than they receive in taxes, and fees. So they have to periodically agree to borrow enough money to fund the difference. If they balanced their budget, they would not shut down the government over policy differences. There is no mechanism for doing that, other than failure to obtain the required outlay money through borrowing.
    In the private sector, when you run deficits for years on end, with no ability to change that situation, the employers have to lay off workers until they can return the company to financial stability.
    So those that are impacted by this shutdown, can be thankful that it is not a forced layoff. I would gladly take some additional time-off with pay, even if I had to charge some things that I normally wouldn’t. It is better than job hunting, with no idea of when you will get another job.

  24. In my first years as a mining consultant in the early 1980s, I took some long boring bus rides, to conserve my newly formed company’s cash! These people have nothing else to do right now. Indeed, what do they have to do anytime really? They just write stuff and talk a lot. They already learned all they needed to know in grade/highschool. Its not as if they are on the cutting edge of their settled science. They have “received wisdom” they daren’t question and their marching orders. The only difference in their lives is they are not receiving pay. Okay, that’s a bit tough. Pack a lunch and jump on the bus. The scenery on the way to Vancouver is the finest you will ever see. Get a backbone and have some adventure. I had to do it with no guarantee that I would ever land a contract and it was dog eat dog and competition with some of the smartest people in the country.

    • Hans Erren

      Are the president and senators getting their wages during a shutdown? Question from a European.

      President Trump is getting no income at all during his presidency, nor during the shutdown. (It is all being donated to charities for the Armed Forces dependents/fire and police dependents.) By the way, to date, more than half of this “shutdown” has been on weekends or government holidays or pre-planned vacation days.

      Sat, Sun, Christmas Eve, Christmas, sd, sd, sd, Sat, Sun, New Years Eve, New Years Day, sd, sd, sd, Sat, Sun, sd. Ain’t no big loss, eh?
      The democrat senators and representatives (half of them millionaires, or married to millionaires) are getting paid for shutting down the government.

    • As RA said, Trump doesn’t get a salary, he denotes it to charity.

      I believe the workers in the White House were all due for a big pay increase after Jan. 1, but that has been put on hold because of the shutdown.

      Congress still gets paid, but I heard yesterday that a bill is being introduced in Congress to halt Congressional pay during any government shutdown until the shutdown is resolved. I think that’s a great idea. 🙂 Not that it will pass.

      • When a New York post reporter asked ocrazio-cortex about her salary during the shutdown, her response was “gotta run”.

    • Another thing Europeans should realize is that this is a shut down of the Federal Government only. Most government services that matter are provided by state and city governments. Most of us are not affected.

      • Indeed. And on top of that, it’s not the entire federal government, it’s only a handful of federal departments that most people don’t deal with on a frequent basis. And within those departments, the areas that are considered of “critical importance” are still in operation (albeit with the workers working unpaid for the time being, they’ll eventually get back pay). Other than the employees of those departments, the vast majority of the people are not affected at all.

    • Trump has not been taking pay since elected. As for Democrat Senators and Reps, they are not only taking their pay they double to amounts of their kickbacks and pay-to-play fees during a government shutdown. Democrat Party motto, never let a good crisis go to waste.

  25. Isn’t the real anguish caused by the realisation that it will be obvious that attendence or non-attendence at such meetings does not make one iota of a difference to the running of the real world. Some sponsors might take notice.

  26. Sorry, I’m Italian so I don’t know much about American Politic, so I’ve a question.
    Who approved the Wall that’s right now on place?

    • Congress actually approved the wall in 2005 or 2006. Since then, Democrats have blocked funding to pay for its construction.

      • That was just the latest series in this kabuki dance. Never forget Simpson–Mazzoli Act, or the repeated blocking actions through the 1990s.

    • “Who approved the Wall that’s right now on place?”

      Let’s see: Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Chuck Shumer, Nancy Pelosi, Dick Derbin and on and on. When Obama was president border security passed overwhelmingly in the House and got 26 Democrat votes in the Senate.

      Now that Trump has established securing the southern U.S. border as one of his major projects, all the Democrats who voted in the past for a wall, fence, barrier, are now saying the wall is unnecessary, there is no border crisis, and a wall is immoral. It’s all politics to keep Trump from getting a win on one of his signature promises, one that got him elected. This is an effort to damage Trump. They are going to lose.

      And let me say something about “The Wall”. The Democrats are playing an old familiar game: They are misconstruing what Trump said, and then when he doesn’t say exactly what they say he said, they claim he has changed his position, or has backed down, or was lying the first time.

      With respect to the wall, the Democrats claim that Trump originally insisted on a CONCRETE wall. This is a lie. Trump never specified a concrete wall. The examples of proposed walls to be built on the border are of varying kinds, some all concrete, some concrete and steel, and Trump up to this point has not picked one design over another.

      Trump’s supporters did not chant: Build that concrete wall! Build that concrete wall! No, they said: Build the Wall! Build the Wall! They don’t care what kind of wall is built, as long as it does the job of keeping illegal aliens and criminals out of the United States.

      So the Democrats apparently have said to Trump we might go along with a wall but it has to be a steel wall. And as soon as Trump says, Ok, it doesn’t matter to me what it is built from, the Democrats run out and say Trump has backed down, and Trump is changing his tune, and Trump isn’t really sure what he wants.

      It’s a semantics game which the Democrats play very well with the help of the Leftwing Media, and even the Rightwing Media gets sucked into the fake debate.

    • Section by section it has been forced through Congress against heavy Democrat Party resistance over the years. Many times Democrats and RINOs(Republicans In Name Only) will vote for border security spending and then slow walk it, sandbag it, join nuisance environmental law suits against it, and sign on to ACLU law suits against border security and enforcing existing emigration laws. It is a never ending war against leftists of all types.

    • Mariano,
      Just know this about the wall politics. If Trump gets his way he will have a much greater chance of re-election in 2020. The Democrat leadership knows this, they cannot afford to let him win no matter the consequences to our Country.

      My question is simple: Will we not see immediate results from building the wall? (unlike climate change science where none of us will actually be here in 2100 to see if the modelers were correct) Those results could be good or they could be status quo. So what are the Democrats worried about? If they believe the wall will do nothing they should embrace that position, build the wall and use the nothing results to their advantage. But I think we and they all know the wall will work and the Dems would have to credit Trump with getting it done making themselves look the fools for their opposition.

  27. This is as bad as geologists not being able to attend the 2016 AAPG Annual Conference & Exposition because oil prices had collapsed. Except, rather than despairing, they were thankful to still have jobs… if they still had jobs.

  28. “Today I had to apply for unemployment,” Leslie Rissler, an evolutionary biologist and programme director at the NSF, tweeted on 3 January. “This is a ridiculous shutdown unnecessarily affecting thousands of federal employees and families. Wishing all of them, and this country, better days ahead.”
    ___________________________________________________

    Abstruse, dadaistic – he’s a federal employee and unable to get over 10 days without payment. Because of government shutdown –

    – which does not stop him from applying for unemployment.

    – and from receiving unemployment benefits.

    Abstruse, dadaistic.

    • Evolutionary biologist is probably the perfect example of a nonessential government employee.

    • Wanna bet that after collecting unemployment during the shutdown, Leslie will be one of the first in line with their hands out to collect back pay once the shutdown is over?

  29. It would benefit the economy if every four years, the incoming Administration would start fresh by looking at all functions of the government, and determining their cost / benefit ratio, to the taxpayers who are compelled to fund their activities.
    Best estimate (by me), is you could cut back on 40% of the current non-essential workforce, and the public would not notice. Unfortunately unionization of the federal workforce makes this unnecessarily difficult. No organization supports inefficiency, waste, and duplication, more than the government workers union. And when you have legally obligated taxpayers on the hook for it, that is a situation that will eventually have to be fixed, either rationally or irrationally. It violates everything we know about human nature, and valuation of employee contribution to a product.

    • What? And take the mystery out of how it all works so that the average Joe would actually have a clue how these robber barons have been lying all these years?
      Truthfulness is no way to go through political life, son.

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