My dad writes this morning:
"I just received a frantic e-mail from the MoveOn organization, informing me that “The Tea Party and the GOP actually took us over the cliff – and shut down the federal government.” Such a calamity must be analogous to parents running away from home and leaving the children behind. But it doesn’t tell us what the consequences of this “shutdown” will be; what we helpless souls are to do. Do federal regulations no longer need to be obeyed? Are we no longer required to pay federal taxes? Have all of America’s current wars ended? Will drone bombers no longer function and simply fall from the skies? Will the likes of Nancy Pelosi, John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Charles Schumer, Diane Feinstein, et al. now have to return to their home states and seek honest employment? Do these sociopaths have any marketable skills, or shall we see them on street corners with styrofoam cups begging for coins? Will the mail no longer be delivered, and will my “happy birthday” card to aunt Lucy get through to her?"
Sadly, no, the government is not actually shutting down. Here's what Wikipedia says about the "shutdown":
During the shutdown, most "non-essential" government employees are furloughed. This has resulted in approximately 800,000 public servants being put on indefinite unpaid leave beginning October 1. ... "A shutdown," President Barack Obama stated, "will have a very real economic impact on real people, right away."[10
And I think that's kind of the point. Make "real" people (as opposed to, say, those creatures sitting in Congress or the White House) suffer. Make the people who are living week to week on government paychecks feel like their worlds are about to implode and then they'll quickly get in touch with their Congress-creatures and demand that the government not be "shut down". Demand that they do "whatever they need to" to keep the money flowing.
Only the funny thing is, the money IS still flowing. It's still flowing to the prisons holding hundreds of thousands of non-violent "offenders"; it is still flowing to the parts of the military that are needed to invade and occupy the next foreign country that has never harmed us; it is still flowing to the NSA so it can spy on us; it is still flowing out to local police departments in the form of increasingly miltiarized equipment and vehicles that surely aren't intended to combat burglaries, theft or assaults; it is still flowing into the pockets of everyone in Congress, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, and I'm sure the heads of all of the government agencies that employ so many "non-essential" people. I'm sure it will be flowing just fine for the Obama family's next multi-million-dollar trip to Hawaii.
Here are some of the things that WILL be cut:
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, or WIC may be seriously curtailed.
The Centers For Disease Control will not be able to conduct "in-depth investigations to identify and link outbreaks that may be occurring simultaneously in multiple states" or provide flu surveillance due to the furloughing of 68% of its employees.
The Environmental Protection Agency will furlough over 93% of its 16,205 employees. The Agency will almost entirely cease issuing licenses and permits, which may cause delays for companies seeking to build or expand facilities.
The Internal Revenue Service will not provide assistance to taxpayers during the shutdown. Tax refunds are likely to be delayed...
The Small Business Administration will stop processing new loans to small businesses with the exception of loans to businesses affected by natural disasters.
...and of course the salaries of many many of those "real people". Rest assured though that "Airport screeners at theTransportation Security Administration will not be affected." Thank God, because even though there is absolutely no evidence that they have helped to prevent acts of terrorism, and even though everyone in this country is still more likely to be killed by their own furniture than by an act of terrorism, we need these people to molest and humiliate us if only so that we all remember we live in the freest country on earth.
Anyone who knows me knows that it is my fervent wish that the Federal Government shut down completely and forever. We would ALL be much better off. (OK, maybe the Obama family and some of those Congress Creatures wouldn't be.) But that, of course, is not what this is. This is bullshit. This is blackmail against the smallest and least powerful people who are dependent upon government in some way. And it is my probably vain and naive hope that this "shutdown" will help many of these people to wake up and realize that this is not "their" government, it is not "our" government, and it never was and never can be. That this government - that ANY government - acts not in the interests of the people it governs, but in its own interests. That it is a dangerous and costly blight upon society, not a solution to its problems, and that we need to come up with something else.