Climate Change Environment William deBuys

New Mexico’s Megafires Mark a Turning Point

For People, Land, and the Forest Service.
U.S. Forest Service- Pacific Northwest Region, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

By William deBuys / TomDispatch

William deBuys, Welcome to the Pyrocene

In case you hadn’t been paying attention, it’s hot on this planet. I mean, really hot. And I’m not just thinking about Europe’s worst heat wave in at least 200 years. There, fires in Spain, Portugal, and France rage, barely checked. Nor do I have in mind the devastating repeated spring heat waves in South Asia or the disastrous drought in the Horn of Africa. It’s burning right here!

Scarcely noticed in the rest of the country (or in national news coverage), the American Southwest and parts of the West are in a megadrought of historic proportions. And parts of New Mexico, as naturalist and TomDispatch regular William deBuys describes so vividly today, have been burning in jaw-dropping fashion. (As a poor state, its fires don’t get the attention that those in wealthier southern California might.)

And yet, right now in what Noam Chomsky recently suggested could be “the last stage in human history,” the question is: When it comes to climate change, who’s really paying attention? As the Yale Program on Climate Communication discovered recently, “Of 29 issues we asked about, registered voters overall indicated that global warming is the 24th most highly ranked voting issue.” (Admittedly, it was number three among liberal Democrats, but either 28th or 29th among Republicans.) Meanwhile, coal baron Joe Manchin has just taken climate-change legislation of any sort off the Democratic congressional agenda for the imaginable future with the likelihood that, in the November elections, climate-denying Republicans could take full control of Congress.

And don’t think it’s just voters not fully focused on climate change either.  Given my age (and force of habit), I still read a paper copy of the New York Times daily and, just last week, I noticed a front-page piece of news analysis written by Max Fisher with the headline, “In Many Ways, the World Is Getting Better. It Also Feels Broken.” Climate change is mentioned only in a passing phrase in its second paragraph as Fisher describes how our world is “generally becoming better off” than any of us imagine. And mind you, that was on a day when the first major article inside that paper was headlined “Growing Drought Imperils Northern Italy’s Rice Harvest” and focused on the drying up of the Po River at a moment of global warming-induced “extreme drought” there. At the bottom of the very next page was another piece, “Heat Wave Grips China’s South and East” (“Roofs melted, roads cracked, and some residents sought relief in underground air-raid shelters.”) — offering yet more evidence of “frequent episodes of extreme weather driven by climate change” globally.

In short, our world is all too weird in what it focuses on — and doesn’t. With that in mind, why don’t you head directly into the flames with William deBuys (whose most recent must-read book is The Trail to Kanjiroba: Rediscovering Earth in an Age of Loss). Tom

New Mexico’s Megafires Mark a Turning Point

Firefighters don’t normally allude to early English epics, but in a briefing on the massive Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon Fire in northern New Mexico, a top field chief said, “It’s like Beowulf: it’s not the thing you fear, it is the mother of the thing you fear.” He meant that the flames you face may be terrifying, but scarier yet are the conditions that spawned them, perhaps enabling new flames to erupt behind you with no escape possible. The lesson is a good one and can be taken further. If tinder-dry forests and high winds are the mother of the thing we fear, then climate change is the grandmother.

The Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon Fire blazed across 534 square miles of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the southernmost extension of the Rockies. Although the fire was the largest in New Mexico’s history, it had competition even as it burned. This spring, the Black Fire, a megafire of nearly equal size, devoured forests in the southern part of the state. The combined area of the two fires is roughly equal to that of Rhode Island, the American standard for landscape disasters on a colossal scale.

Records amassed by the Forest Service indicate that, at the fire’s peak, 27,562 people were evacuated from their homes. Four hundred and thirty-three of those homes were destroyed and more damaged, while an even greater number of barns, garages, sheds, and other outbuildings were also lost. The unquantified property damage, including destroyed power lines, water systems, and other infrastructure, will surely exceed the nearly billion dollars in damages arising from the Cerro Grande fire of 2000, which torched more than 200 residential structures in the city of Los Alamos. Meanwhile, the heartbreak resulting not just from destroyed homes but lost landscapes — arenas of work, play, and spiritual renewal, home in the broadest sense — is immeasurable.

The Hermits Peak fire began April 6th with the escape of a prescribed fire ignited by the U.S. Forest Service in the mountains immediately west of Las Vegas, New Mexico. A few days later and not far away, a second, “sleeper” fire, which the Forest Service had originally ignited in January to burn waste wood from a forest-thinning operation, sprang back to life. It had smoldered undetected through successive snowfalls and the coldest weather of the year. This was the Calf Canyon fire. Driven by unprecedented winds, the two fires soon merged into a single cauldron of flame, which stormed through settled valleys and wild forests alike, sometimes consuming 30,000 acres a day.

The blaze marks a turning point in the lives of all who experienced the fire. It also marks a transformative change in the ecological character of the region and in the turbulent history of the alternately inept and valiant federal agency that both started and fought it.

The Turning of a Climate Tide

Two and a half decades ago, a long-running wet spell came to an end in the Southwest. Reservoirs were full, rivers were meeting water needs, and skiers and irrigators alike gazed with satisfaction on deep mountain snowpacks. The region’s forests were stable, if overgrown.

Then came a dry winter and, on April 26, 1996, an unextinguished campfire in New Mexico’s Jemez Mountains flared into a major conflagration that came to be known as the Dome Fire. I vividly remember the startling whiteness of its mushroom-shaped smoke plume surging into the sky, a sight all the more unnerving because the fire was burning within rifle shot of Los Alamos National Lab, the birthplace of the atomic bomb.

It engulfed much of Bandelier National Monument and stunned observers in two ways. The first surprise was that it erupted so early in the year, before fire season should properly have begun. The second was that it grew to what was then considered immense size: 16,516 acres. How times have changed.

The outbreak of the Hermits Peak and Calf Canyon fires, weeks earlier than the Dome, shows yet again that fire season is much longer than it used to be. The size of the burned area speaks for itself. A day when the combined fire consumed only as much land as the Dome did in its entirety sometimes felt like a good day.

Meanwhile, the news on water here in the Southwest is hardly less worrisome. Arizona’s Lake Mead, the nation’s largest reservoir, was full in 2000. Today, it’s at 27% of capacity, as is its younger and slightly smaller sibling, Lake Powell, which is also on the Colorado River. Plummeting water levels jeopardize the capacity of both lakes to produce hydroelectricity, which bodes ill for the region’s electrical grid.

On the Rio Grande in New Mexico, Elephant Butte reservoir, the state’s largest, is down to 10% of capacity and New Mexico’s inability to meet its water delivery obligations to Texas reveals the absurdity of interstate water compacts based on outdated assumptions about streamflow.

Then came the Hermits Peak and Calf Canyon fires, both sparked by Forest Service land treatments intended, ironically enough, to reduce the risk of rampant wildfire. Both projects were executed in accordance with the existing management rulebook, but the rules are rooted in a past more stable than the bone-dry, wind-fickle, and imperious present.

Chief Forester Randy Moore, who ordered a review of all actions relating to the prescribed fire that exploded into the Hermits Peak disaster, captured the essence of his agency’s failure this way: “Climate change is leading to conditions on the ground we have never encountered… Fires are outpacing our models, and… we need to better understand how megadrought and climate change are affecting our actions.”

To say that macro conditions have rendered the Forest Service’s procedures obsolete should not obscure the issue of human fallibility. The chief’s review uncovered a host of minor bungles (80 pages worth, in fact) that cumulatively unleashed the catastrophe. The bottom line: setting prescriptive fires is inherently dangerous, and the extremes of heat, dryness, and wind brought on by climate change leave only a razor-thin margin for error.

Being behind the curve of change this time around has been a replay of the agency’s formerly nearsighted view of fire itself. The Forest Service was born in fire. It was a young, struggling agency until the heroics of fighting the “Big Blowup” of 1910 in the northern Rockies established its identity in the national consciousness. PR campaigns exploiting the anti-fire icon of Smokey Bear helped complete its branding.

The agency’s fierce stance against fire in all forms crystallized its identity and mission, while also blinding it to important ecological realities. Many forest systems require periodic doses of “light fire” that burns along the ground consuming underbrush, seedlings, and saplings. In its absence, the forest becomes overcrowded, choked with fuel, and vulnerable to a potentially disastrous “crown fire” that storms through the treetops, killing the entire stand. The ponderosa and “mixed conifer” forests that dominated a large part of the area consumed by the Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon Fire were overstocked in exactly that way. The Forest Service rightly deserves criticism for more than a century of all-out fire suppression, which led to unnaturally dense, fuel-heavy forests.

But that’s just one part of the story. Climate change is writing the rest.

The Fire Service

The Southwest is now in the midst of its second-worst drought in the last 1,200 years. Less publicized is the news that, were it not for greenhouse-gas pollution, the current dry spell would be rather ordinary. Nor is the forecast encouraging: given the warming of the regional climate, by perhaps 2050, coniferous forests in the Southwest — the majestic stands of ponderosa pine, Douglas fir, Englemann spruce, and subalpine fir that clothe the region’s blue mountains — will be, if not extinct, then rare indeed.

Fire, insects, drought, and outright heat, all driven by rising temperatures, will deliver a flurry of blows to doom the forests. However, it is (if, under the circumstances, I can even use the term) cold comfort to realize that, along the way, the ecological impact of the Forest Service’s misconceived ideology of all-out fire suppression will be — and already is being — erased by the implacable dynamics of a changing climate.

Having recognized its error on fire and having also been weaned by endless litigation from its post-World War II subservience to the timber industry, the Forest Service has attempted to recast itself as the nation’s premier steward of our wild lands. The Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon Fire, unleashed by the Forest Service itself, appears to have brought that process of reinvention to an inglorious conclusion.

But all is not lost, for the Forest Service is actually two agencies, and only one of them has failed. The portion of the Forest Service committed to day-to-day custodianship of the national forest system may be underfunded, uninspired, and (despite many outstanding individuals in its workforce) poorly led, but its fire-fighting sibling is thriving. Some people call this portion of the agency the Fire Service.

In an era of global warming, fire-fighting is a growth industry and the Fire Service has managed to outfit itself accordingly. It sports the organizational coherence and high morale of a crack military outfit, while possessing equipment and funding to match its mission. Its infantry consists of fire crews recruited across the West that rotate in and out of action like combat troops.

The “armor” of the Fire Service consists of bulldozers, pumper trucks, masticators (that grind trees to pulp), feller-bunchers (that cut and stack trees), and other heavy equipment that clear fire lines scores of miles long. For air support, it commands not just spotter planes, slurry bombers (which douse fires with retardant), and bucket-wielding helicopters, but drones and state-of-the-art “Super Scoopers” that can skim the surface of a lake to fill their capacious cargo tanks with thousands of gallons of water. Then they head for the burning edge of the fire and, assisted by infrared guidance systems, drop their loads where the heat is fiercest.

Like any modern military unit, the Fire Service also uses satellite imagery, advanced communications, and specialists in logistics and intelligence (who predict fire behavior). Against the Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon Fire, it deployed more than 3,000 personnel around a 648-mile fire periphery. For a time, the nation’s entire fleet of eight Super Scoopers was based at the Santa Fe airport.

You Don’t Need a Weatherman

The trouble with low-altitude air support is that bad weather can keep planes, choppers, and even drones on the ground. In fire-fighting parlance, it’s a “red-flag day” when the weather service issues a red-flag warning (RFW) signaling that winds are strong enough to produce explosive fire behavior. Such a warning also leaves the Fire Service’s air fleet grounded.

In April and May, in the area of our recent fires, more than half the days — 32, to be exact — warranted red flags, a record since such warnings were first counted in 2006. That included nine straight days of RFWs — April 9th to 17th — when the fire-fighting air force was largely grounded and the flames raged.

I remember those blustery days. I live in a village on the west side of the Sangre de Cristo mountains. The fire was on the east side. Most afternoons, I climbed a ridge to watch its immense smoke plumes boil into the sky. A fire volatilizes the water in the trees and other vegetation it combusts, dry though they may be. The vapor ascends the smoke column, crystallizing to ice as it reaches the frosty altitudes where jetliners fly. There, it condenses into blinding white cottony clouds that dwarf the mountains below them. A terrible sight to behold, those pyrocumulus clouds embody the energy released when our oxygen planet flaunts its power.       

Wind may be the most neglected subject in the science of climate change. Nevertheless, it appears that the strength and distribution of wind phenomena may be changing. For example, derechos — massive, dust-filled weather fronts of violent wind — are now materializing in places where they were once little known. In their vehemence and duration, the gales that drove the Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon Fire seem to have been no less unusual.

Making People Whole

In multiethnic New Mexico, history and culture color every calamity. The vast majority of the people evacuated from the path of the Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon Fire were Hispanic, most of them descendants of families that settled the region prior to its conquest by the United States in the war against Mexico of 1846 to 1848.

The Forest Service arrived relatively late on the scene as the colonizing arm of an Anglo-Protestant government centered 2,000 miles away. It assumed control of mountain expanses that had previously functioned as a de facto commons vital to local farmers and ranchers. Some of the commons were de jure as well, consisting of Spanish and Mexican land grants that were spirited away from their rightful heirs by unscrupulous land speculators, most of them Anglo.

The Forest Service may not have wrenched those lands from the people who owned them, but because many such lands were later incorporated into national forests, the agency inherited the animosity that such dispossession engendered. Restrictions the Forest Service subsequently imposed on grazing, logging, and other uses of the land only added to those bad feelings.

The Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon catastrophe has understandably rekindled old resentments. Many of those who lost their homes or other property lacked insurance. (A typical house had been in the family for generations, was never mortgaged, and relied on wood stoves for heat.) Compensation, if it materializes, will have to come from Congress or, failing that, a class-action lawsuit which would grind on for years.

So far, the federal government has provided funding for emergency supplies, shelters, and public safety, but nothing to reimburse individuals for lost property. The four Democrats in New Mexico’s congressional delegation — a fifth member is Republican — have jointly introduced legislation to help the fire’s victims, but its prospects are, at best, unclear and expectations are low since, to state the obvious, the willingness of the Senate to conduct the people’s business is ever more in doubt.

Given that this country has so far done little to protect its citizens from the dangers of climate change, the damage and suffering in northern New Mexico will now show whether it is willing to take the next step and care for the victims of that growing nightmare.

If the Thunder Don’t Getcha…

We prayed for rain to stop the fire and ease the record-breaking dryness. When the rain finally came, it filled us with dread as much as gratitude. Severe burns produce “hydrophobic” soils, which absorb a downpour no better than a parking lot. The resulting floods can be orders of magnitude greater than normal runoff. In addition, sometimes the detritus of the fire — downed trees, mud, ash, and unmoored boulders — mixes into a “debris flow,” a sort of gooey, fast-moving landslide.

Thousands of people living below the fire’s charred slopes now worry for their safety. Already, following a recent cloudburst, the village of Rociada (which means “dew-laden”) was inundated by a flow of hail and ash two feet deep. Like their neighbors throughout the burned area, its residents are likely to be living behind sandbags for years. Many others beyond the fire’s periphery, including the 13,000 residents of Las Vegas, New Mexico, depend on water drawn from valleys now choked with ash. The taste of the fire, both literally and metaphorically, will be with us indefinitely.    

And thanks to climate change, there will be plenty more fire. Our dawning new age, shaped by human-wrought conditions, has been called the Anthropocene, but historian Steve Pyne offers yet another name: the Pyrocene, the epoch of fire. This year, it was New Mexico’s turn to burn. Last year, an entire Greek island combusted, along with swaths of Italy, Turkey and large chunks of the Pacific Northwest and California. Fires in Siberia, meanwhile, consumed more forest than all the other areas combined. When it comes to ever more powerful fires, we New Mexicans are hardly alone.

On my side of the mountains, the county sheriff ordered us to prepare to evacuate. Fortunately, the flames halted a few miles away. We never had to leave. But packing our “go” bags and securing our houses now seems to have been a useful dress rehearsal. The drought and winds will be back. A bolt of lightning, a fool with a cigarette, a downed power line, or… goodness knows… the ham-fisted Forest Service will eventually provide the necessary spark, and then our oxygen planet, warmer and drier than ever, will strut its stuff again.

My neighbors and I know that this time we were lucky. We also know our luck can’t last forever. We may have dodged a bullet, but climate change has unlimited ammo.

William deBuys
William deBuys

William deBuys, a TomDispatch regular, is the author of 10 books, including A Great Aridness and The Last Unicorn, which compose a trilogy that culminates with The Trail to Kanjiroba: Rediscovering Earth in an Age of Loss, just published.

14 comments

  1. Can we end the Noam references. He is not the smartest guy in the world, and is not a drought expert, climatologist, and he’s mothballed, man. Amazingly cloistered for years in Tucson, because of the “virus” running around the streets in Sonora Desert. Then he wants those of us who have other ways to live, to not get the mandatory vaxx, or wear masks wherever, to be forced into poverty — take away our jobs, our social security, disallow us into hospitals, jail us.

    The connection to the dirty work of capitalism, a la Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, that’s the seeds of destruction now, in the past, and in the future.

    While the dirty two parties give money to the dirtier seeds of our destruction — Military Extended into Everything Complex. Imagine, trillions given to AI, Satellites, Surveilling, Prison, Bombs, CIA, DoD, DARPA, and the towers of Babel that are the government in cahoots with corporate fascists.

    Every dime and million and billion funneled into the destroyers — app middle men, dirty medicine, Pharma, big Ag, everything, including the paving industries, the carte blanc building industries, all the thugs in their lobbies and societies and quasi-Mafia Unions, well, these are the criminals, too.

    How quickly wil l the unWoke and unDead Woke folk see their masters at every corner, in every real estate and insurance and rental and purchase transaction.

    And we do what as a society? We have Gay Pete tell the USA as transportation secretary that $5.50 is a great thing. This is both insane, perverse and stupid. Nothing about public transportation Marshall Plan. These people, one and all, are pimps for Capitalists, prostututes for their own influencers.

    And what is this constant equipment and truck and plane and drone and Howitzer and guns transfer to the UkiNazi’s doing for those drought stricken 80 percent of USA?

    Oh, we are in the streets man, with Mexican Teacher striking tires on fire. Oh, the USA, lobotomized, the Empire of Chaos, Lies, Amnesia, AmeriKKK-uuuun.

    These stories never take “it” to the next level, i.e., contacting revolutionaries, with deep understanding of what needs to be done.

    Chomsky? For Moses Sake!

  2. I appreciate the exposure of the capitalist system, but you do not provide any solutions, just like Chomsky. I also do not understand how in this day and age how you could possibly read the NYT, a anti-truth, anti-assange, pro-war and pro-empire propaganda newspaper of the worst kind.

  3. I’ve lived in the Santa Fe area for 44-years. As an avid hiker, former land surveyor, mountain biker and photographer, I have enjoyed its beauty and majesty for many years. Can we continue to call this state “The Land of Enchantment”? As much as it pains me to say, those days are all but over and they are never coming back.

    Last week I took a 200-mile round trip drive around the Hermits Peak / Calf Canyon Fire to witness it firsthand, I had to. It was heartbreaking . . . but I just took my sweet old time saying farewell to what once was. When the current rains subside, I will drive into the devastated communities north of Las Vegas to see the areas where most homes and ranches are burned and gone.

    I am left to wonder – how long before the rest of this drought parched state goes up in flames? How long before the western side of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains (the Santa Fe side the author alluded to) burns too? I weep at the thought.

    1. We were about 7 miles from the Cerro Pelado fire. It burned 46,000 acres in Jemez, south of the Caldera. The winds protected us….this time. We kept the vehicles topped off, should the winds shift against us.
      Most of the Piñión pines(Pinus Edulis) in our area are already dead. Oneseed junipers are stressed. Dry arroyos are lined with the sun bleached trunks of dead Cottonwoods. One variety of Mesquite (Prosopis Glandulosa) has nearly reached us- it should be too cold and high for them. Siberian Elm(Ulmus Pumila) is ubiquitous and receives a equal amounts of resentment and gratitude, as it is an invasive, yet gives shade and fuel. Within the lives of the people who live here, the landscape has changed and continues to change into something increasingly alien this far North.
      I’ve come to the conclusion that collapse IS the solution, that we must practice a sort of triage and invite ecological thugs to live with us. It’s too late for remediation. Now, only adaptation remains.
      The rains came. Our arroyo ran black with ash.

  4. Daggamnit! Here I was thinking that since the planes aren’t flying out of the N. California Air Attack Base there must not be fires burning, today. Turns out it might be a RFW day. Cr*p!

    On a different note, people who comment about no solutions being offered are so 🥱 at this point. Communities that live in these areas have been working their/our *ss*s off for years to mitigate fire hazards.

    I also seriously question the sincerity of anyone asking about solutions to the climate emergency/collapsing at this stage of the game. If one has the intellectual capacity to read this website, I imagine they have the ability to either Google, or have enough common sense to figure out, answers to that themselves.

    Ralph Nader wrote about DEADLY lag time in July 2021. Folks, if you haven’t been making changes to your daily way of life, or getting ready for what’s coming/is here by now, there’s no point to crying in the comment section of Scheerpost.

  5. I want to see more and more proposed solutions to ameliorating climate catastrophe and what concrete changes in our daily life those solutions will require. We get inundated with news of mega destruction but nary a word what life is projected to be if these solutions are enacted. Absent these grounded details, we remain abstracted, detached, and soft to defenses like denial and magical thinking. If a solution entails going off oil nationally, does that mean no more plastic plumbing, synthetic textiles, plastic bags, combustion engines, plastic furniture-kitchenware-storage tanks, plastic wrap, etc and if it does then what is to replace plastic/oil/goods? Come on sensates tell us what the picture could be!

  6. One take away toward survival is for all of us is to organize to see the ham fisted ness of the Forest Service be a thing of the past and demand the best qualified – education, training, experience, integrity, intelligence, creative, organized and fully dedicated – and best person to head the Forest Service. A person capable of reforming the Forest Service into matching the sophistication of its cohort, the Fire Service. Given this is life and death, why wouldn’t we sublimate the deep well of our emotional responsiveness to dealing with this calamity into making these two things happen?

  7. Chomsky a disgraced linguist has reduced himself to a fascist dim party apparatchik—-all marxist describe cocktail liberal climate change hysteria as crude–counter-revolutionary—an excuse for liberal ruling class alignment…the principal emphases should be preparation, something observed in Latin America and Europe—opposing climate change is like fighting the ice age…good luck

  8. Chomsky a disgraced linguist has reduced himself to a fascist dim party apparatchik—-all marxist describe cocktail liberal climate change hysteria as crude–counter-revolutionary—an excuse for liberal ruling class alignment…the principal emphases should be preparation, something observed in Latin America and Europe—opposing climate change is like fighting the ice age…good luck…

  9. NASA scientists have reported that, since 1880, Earth’s temperature has increased by 1.9 degrees F. International scientists have acknowledged the problem for years, and since the 1970s, many countries have made much progress in reducing their shares of climate-changing pollution, most notably China and Russia (a big chunk of the planet). Feel free to pursue climate change panic to keep your mind off the chances of our government launching a nuclear world war.

  10. What I find most significant here is the apocalyptic revelation implicit in how Noam Chomsky contradicts himself — especially since our Masters would never have allowed him such celebrity were he not one of their wholly compromised decoys, pimped like computers and all other so-called “social media” to encourage (real) Marxians and any other genuinely humanitarian dissidents amongst the 99 Percent to out ourselves for eventual extermination by the Empire’s 17 secret-police agencies or (see below), by their Asiatic, Latin American and Middle Eastern counterparts.

    Firstly, Mr. Chomsky states that because of our Masters’ ecogenocidal refusal to act against terminal climate change, what we are suffering now “could be the last stage in human history,” (third graf, above).

    Secondly, as if in reassurance (but actually in contradiction), Mr. Chomsky argues, “Human agency has not ended,” (second graf, linked material cited above).

    Thirdly, in the concluding graf of this cited material, Mr. Chomsky backhandedly admits “human agency” has indeed been ended forever; this is the admission concealed most cleverly within his repeated assertion, “the great powers will find a way to cooperate in addressing today’s critical problems, or nothing else will matter.”

    In other words, “human agency” has been reduced to irrelevance; only “the great powers” — that is, only our Masters (every one a self-obsessed, nazi-minded tyrant whose humanity is therefore at best gravely questionable) — have the ability to save us.

    Thus Mr. Chomsky also informs us we’ve been terminally abandoned, as our Masters’ (only) “way to cooperate” is already proven beyond dispute: global cooperation in the cunningly camouflaged destruction — or at the very least, the equally distraction-concealed ecogenocidal terraforming (and terror-forming) — of our (late?) Mother Earth.

    Which, if nothing else, proves how patriarchy and its direct descendants, Abrahamic religion, Capitalism and generic nazism, are — apart from their slower-motion imposition of irremediable ruin — as much doomsday weapons as smallpox-infected blankets or thermonuclear arsenals.

    Why then might we be subjected to such already mooted essays as “Truthout’s” interview with Mr. Chomsky?

    Obviously, to facilitate self-identification of all anti-nazi dissidents for future elimination; also to parallel the propaganda/psychological-warfare function of the (very real) scientific achievements of the global space programs: the weaving of an “everything’s-really-okay” mental straitjacket that makes seduction by our ecogenocidal Masters’ cult of mandatory optimism nearly impossible to resist.

    Thus, by design, the looming apocalypse can never be effectively acknowledged until it is far too late, as in the undoubtedly prophetic Netflix film “Don’t Look Up”: a most interesting production, especially given the context of the rapidly growing number of scientific authorities who clearly believe it’s already too late to save ourselves — that our Mother Earth’s ability to keep our species alive has already been terminated by patriarchal misogyny.

    Also, with our ability to recognize threats so obstructed, we’re awakening far-too-slowly to the fact it gives our Masters all the time they need to brainwarp us into stupefied surrender to zero-tolerance subjugation: note the inescapable barrier to effective resistance in the 24/7 surveillance we’ve imposed on ourselves by our addiction to cell phones.

    Witness too in this context of slow-motion disclosure our Masters’ handling of the UFO matter, 75 years — three quarters of a century — from official denial to official confirmation of omnipresent evidence that logically allows only two (rational) explanations: either the UFOs are here to monitor us, which given their obvious technological omnipotence means our planet is nothing more than some extraterrestrial species’ rat maze, and we ourselves no more than its lab rats, with all our religious propaganda thus reduced to primitive science fiction; or the UFOs are here much as the Celts, the Norse, the Chinese and diverse other Asiatics were explorers of the Americas centuries before Columbus, which again reduces all our religious propaganda to primitive science fiction and ourselves to future slaves — in either case, humanity besieged by forces so infinitely powerful, resistance is (genuinely and forever) futile.

    Which — at least to those of us who know history — thoroughly explains our Masters’ two-faced betrayal: claiming concern about climate change even as they set aside their ideological conflicts to unite in intensifying its ecogenocidal destructiveness — precisely as our species’ relentlessly self-obsessed, self-preservationist Ruling Classes have (always) done whenever confronted by victorious conquerors: note both the global surrender to generic nazism disguised as “Neoliberalism” and the Chinese Communist Empire’s emergence to challenge the top-seeded USian empire as the planetary champion in the stakes for our species’ most deliberately deadly poisoner.

  11. Does it matter; what Chomsky said, that NM is a poor largely Hispanic state, or that the forest service is a joke? Why digress into trivia, while we are locked into irreversible near term extinction? Seems like a lot of “fill” to distract from the inescapable truth; We are done! Sorry kids.

    1. Sure, curl up, collapse, give up, Daniel. That the Forest Service is a disservice is inconsequential in your book because you’ve read the tea leaves, decided to align with your catastrophic expectation, and have started to collapse, already started bending toward your navel. The fetal position has a lot to recommend it….soothing. And it obviates standing up and standing for something. Free ticket out. As they say say in spanish, Cuidate.

    2. New Mexico, a largely Hispanic state? Wow. So, California is burning, Texas is broken, New York, the lot of them and all those white (sic) states (sic) that abutt the Mississippi, and the cancers, the polluted rivers, etc.? This country is a failed state, and we support the Adolph Zelensky and those Nazi’s. Amazing, the rot-gut of EU and UK. Amazing that USA is broken, blue, red or purple state. This is the disease of unfettered capitalism, the bought and sold Fourth Branches, the Fourth Estate, Education. We have Israel Firsters and Aryans, all there, supporting that shit-hole, Israel, with mountains of free money, fiat weapons, more and more, and even BioWeapon Covid money. Oh, the Goy, oh the rabbi-taught orthodox and secular chosens.

      Money for nothing, the sins of Gandhi, all of that Golden Rule in Reverse.

      Seven Social Sins by Mahatma Gandhi

      Wealth Without Work
      Pleasure Without Conscience
      Knowledge Without Character
      Commerce (Business) Without Morality (Ethics)
      Science Without Humanity
      Religion Without Sacrifice
      Politics Without Principle

      Broken, baby. Trucks and tanks and planes and helicopters, all that metal and trailers and MASH set ups, all the instant cities the US military pops up, and we have weather-dead USA, poor, houseless, and those of us paying 70 percent or more of slave wages for a shit-hole two bedroom for five people.

      Money for nothing. The Value of Nothing, and here we are — a million pundits, on SHeared Off post, posting ludicrous stuff, kings of the manure pile, rhetorical whizz, and they are there, winners all.

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