At least 14,000 IRS workers did not show up to work this week, disobeying Trump's order

Despite Trump's order to to call 26,000 unpaid IRS workers back to work (still without pay, of course), at least 14,000 of them did not show up at the office as of Tuesday, according to The Washington Post. Two House aides, speaking anonymously, say that 9,000 IRS employees "could not be reached" and 5,000 more "claimed a hardship exemption."

This, in the same week that La Guardia airport shuttered its flights and other airports are experiencing major delays is just the beginning of the destruction Trump's shutdown is taking on Americans and the United States.

But back to the IRS. Via The Washington Post:

The shutdown appears to be affecting the IRS. In the call centers, which answer taxpayer questions over the phone, about 35 percent of calls are being answered, IRS officials told congressional staff, according to one of the aides. The initial plan for filing season was for 80 percent of calls to be answered. The average call time, of 7 to 10 minutes last filing season, has jumped to 25 to 40 minutes.

The IRS is also losing 25 IT staffers every week since the shutdown began, with many finding other jobs, one House aide said, citing the IRS officials' briefing.

IRS employees have said they cannot afford to get to work or pay for child care as they struggle to go more than 30 days without pay.

Shannon Ellis, President of the National Treasury Employees Union in Kansas City sums it up when she tells The Washington Post: “People are panicking. Read the rest

Michael Moore has a message to federal employees: "Don't go to work!"

With 800,000 federal employees either furloughed or expected to work without pay – and expected by Trump to simply ask grocery stores for free food – during the longest government shutdown in US history, Michael Moore has a message to them: "Don't go to work!"

“Any sane person – even if they're for the wall – knows this is crazy that we're in month two of this. Nobody should be working without pay.”

“This is our country. We are a democracy, we're a free society. If this were any other country, if it were Turkey or the Philippines or Russia, and they had an election and the ruler's party somehow lost half their legislative branch like he did in November and then that ruler declared a month later, I'm shutting down the government, what would we call that if it were another country doing that?”

“This guy doesn't want the government to be open, he certainly doesn't want the Department of Justice to be open. So if he tries to pull a national emergency, we the people have to declare a national emergency. We have to non-violently rise up. We have to take to the streets. We have to build our own wall—a human wall—around the White House.”

Via Daily Beast Read the rest

Passenger confronts Republican Congressman sitting in first class on plane during government shutdown

While 57,000 TSA employees are expected to work without pay during the government shutdown, Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), a government worker himself, thinks it's just dandy to travel first class. While sitting in his plush seat on a flight from Chicago to Washinton, D.C., a fellow traveler confronted him.

“Congressman, do you think it’s appropriate to fly first class while 57 TSA agents aren’t being paid?”"

Davis is as silent as a church mouse.

“Taking that as a yes...Taxpayers paid for this flight? Fair enough,” the passenger says.

Apparently, Davis bought a coach ticket and upgraded to first class using frequent flier points. But the optics are ugly, to say the least.

Via Huffington Post, who first obtained the video from the unidentified passenger. Read the rest

Man cleans filthy bathroom at national park, then sends Trump $28 bill

Although many national parks are still open during the longest government shutdown in US history, there is no one around to clean the increasingly filthy bathrooms. Except, perhaps, for one man, Dan Little, who found the bathroom at Mt. Hood National Forest Sno-Park in Oregon to be so disgusting, he cleaned it himself. He then sent a $28 bill to Trump. That's the spirit!

Of course, with Trump's disgraceful reputation of not paying his employees for their work, it's highly doubtful Mr. Little will get a pat on the back from the president, let alone a paycheck.

Via Mashable

Image: S.Schön/Pexels Read the rest

Man with a gun in his carry-on bag slips by TSA and flies from Georgia to Tokyo

A man carrying a firearm in his carry-on luggage got past the TSA screeners at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and flew with it to Narita International Airport on January 3. This occurred during the government shutdown, after "hundreds of TSA agents from at least four major airports had called in sick," according to CNN.

The man, flying on Delta Airlines, had apparently forgotten that the gun was in his bag. Once he remembered he was carrying it, he informed Delta, who then reported it to TSA. It's not clear when the passenger disclosed this information to Delta.

Via CNN:

"TSA has determined standard procedures were not followed and a passenger did in fact pass through a standard screening TSA checkpoint with a firearm at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on the morning of January 3," the release states.

The security breach came two weeks into the government shutdown, during which TSA agents have been required to work but have not received paychecks. CNN first reported on January 4 -- a day after the breach -- that hundreds of TSA agents from at least four major airports had called in sick.

TSA, however, denies that the shutdown had anything to do with their security lapse, claims that they were completely staffed that day, and states that they will "hold those responsible appropriately accountable."

Image: US Department of Homeland Security/Flickr Read the rest

Miami Airport is shutting down a 15-gate terminal that includes United over the weekend because of shutdown

Today is the first day federal employees won't see their paycheck, thanks to Trump's government shutdown, and already we can see its effects. Miami International Airport has announced that they will be shutting down one of its terminals – Concourse G, which has 15 gates and includes United Airlines – on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, starting at 1pm each day. The concourse will be open in the mornings.

With TSA screeners – many who live paycheck to paycheck – working without pay since December 22, a higher rate than usual are calling in sick. This isn't to take advantage, but, according to Business Insider, they're having "financial hardships" that, of course, make it difficult for them to work for free.

Via Business Insider:

An airport spokesman, Greg Chin, however, told the Miami Herald on Thursday that federal screeners were calling in sick at "double the normal rate for Miami" and that managers of the Transportation Security Administration, which runs the checkpoint security, weren't sure whether they'd be able to operate all of the airport's checkpoints at normal hours.

The person added that the TSA experienced a 5.1% unscheduled call-out rate on Thursday, up from 3.3% on the same day in 2018.

The TSA workers' union president, Hydrick Thomas, has said workers are calling out at higher rates because of financial hardship.

"TSA employees aren't calling out intentionally," Thomas told Business Insider last week. "They are calling out because they don't have the funds to make it work."

"The loss of officers, while we're already shorthanded, will create a massive security risk for American travelers since we don't have enough trainees in the pipeline or the ability to process new hires," says Thomas. Read the rest

FCC closed due to government shutdown, Ajit Pai won't be at CES

Is 911 service down in your area? Got a complaint about your mobile provider? Just invented a new iphone-killer, and need safety approval before your product goes to market? Well, too bad, you'll have to wait. The Federal Communications Commission just went dark. All but the agency's most essential operations abruptly halted late Thursday because of Trump's government shutdown. Read the rest