Friday, October 4, 2013


New Mexico relies heavily on Federal spending, and before the Shutdown, there was a lot of speculation about how bad it was going to be. Of course, being out in the Empty Quarter as we are, it doesn't seem like the Feds are either welcome or ever-present, but then there is an Air Force base just over the spine of the mountains to the west, and we hear that almost all their civilian employees are furloughed, and the essential civilians are not being paid. I guess the uniformed personnel are being paid, though, so that's good. I guess.

IHS is operating, they say, but with a skeletal staff, and with many routine services unavailable. The Indian Health clinics will continue to operate until the Service runs out of money to pay them, and then... who knows? They have contingency plans in place and ready to go. It's not as if health care is readily available to rural residents of New Mexico in any case.

Bosque del Apache is closed -- well, anything you might need there, like the visitors center and such, is closed, but you can still drive through much of it. They're getting ready for the Crane Festival in November, but the Shutdown has made it difficult to do preparation work.

Trinity Site has announced the cancellation of their October Opening, one of only two Openings they have a year, so thousands of people from all over the world who were intending to make pilgrimage to the site of the first nuclear bomb explosion will have to make other plans. Oh well.

It's not really clear how the nuclear labs are faring, but I'm sure the furloughed employees are pretty antsy about their projects and all. On the one hand, putting some of those projects on hold might be a good thing for all mankind as they say; on the other hand, the labs are not exclusively dedicated to blowing shit up. So there is something to ponder there...

IAIA is canceling/postponing some of its scheduled programs apparently due to the Shutdown; but there have been financial problems for some time thanks to the Sequester as well. The Sequester has sort of faded into the background of consciousness, but there are real and ongoing consequences from it as well.

Chaco Canyon is closed. As are all the other National Monuments in New Mexico. We were planning on going to a Night Sky Party in Chaco Canyon this October, but maybe not. Well, I'm sure one can still drive that washboard dirt road out to Chaco, maybe even make it to the edge of the Monument (I believe there is a gate where the dirt road changes to pavement at the entrance) and so see the stars from there, but the Night Sky programs they present are really good, and they have very nice telescopes to peer through. But not for now.

I could go on and on, because there are so many things people in New Mexico have taken for granted that simply aren't functioning or available right now thanks to the Shutdown, and many things were suffering thanks to the Sequester.

I was kind of flip in saying "no one would really notice" the Shutdown, just as they haven't really noticed the consequences of the Sequester (unless they're Federal workers or their work is funded by the Feds), but in this case, it's really not so. People are noticing, and thousands are sitting home wondering when they'll go back to work -- or of if they will.

I don't know how to explain it, but there is a growing sense of finality regarding this Shutdown, as if many of those furloughed suspect they will never go back to work, at least not at their former jobs. Could be, I don't know. I have long sensed that the makers of this mess are intent on transforming the government come hell or high water, and they will do it by any means necessary, whether it be by coup as in the SCOTUS usurpation of the 2000 election, or by compression through the Sequester, or by what they are doing now, simply cutting off a fifth of the government through the Shutdown. There is an obvious intent to re-make the government entirely, to serve only the interests of the Highest of the Mighty. The Shutdown serves those interests just fine.

The piece-by-piece restoration of funding the Rs are attempting on behalf of favored interests is an example of how they and their puppetmasters see the situation resolving. The government will be "destroyed" and then those parts of it which serve the Interests will be restored piecemeal, and no one can say a damned thing about it.

Whether this is the End Game or not, I can't be sure. But it is obvious to me that the current engineered crisis is being used as yet another opportunity to further those Interests at the expense of everyone else.

We live in interesting times...

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