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And, yes, I DO take it personally: 11/30/2008 - 12/07/2008
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And, yes, I DO take it personally

Saturday, December 06, 2008


very cool...

'bout time for something a little uplifting, dontcha think...?!?!

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Friday, December 05, 2008

More violence in Peshawar


now that i've got some good friends in this part of the world, i pay much closer attention than usual to news from the area...

one of my good friends is the computer systems administrator for the project where i work... he moved his family from kabul to peshawar, pakistan, some time back for several reasons, not the least of which was their safety and security... he also felt that the schools there were much better for his kids... since then, he's been working tirelessly for weeks at a time (he also handles the regional offices of the project in several other afghan cities), and then takes a week or ten days to drive over the khyber pass to peshawar to spend time with his family...

in recent months, the trip has become increasingly dangerous... bereft of any identification or even a cell phone, he takes a taxi to the border crossing into pakistan and then catches another taxi on the other side for the remainder of the trip... his language, ability to speak the regional dialect, and appearance allow him to blend in and remain inconspicuous, but it's still a frightening, 9 hour ordeal...

he told me a few weeks ago that, come school vacation time, he'll be moving his family back to kabul... with stories like this, i can see why...

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) - A car bomb killed at least 20 people and wounded scores in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar on Friday, officials said.

The blast occurred near an assembly hall of minority Shi'ite Muslims in a crowded part of the city. One building collapsed in flames and several others were badly damaged and on fire.

"It shook the entire area like an earthquake," said resident Rahim Gul as he tried to remove rubble with his bare hands. "It was a huge and terrible explosion. As we reached here it was all burning. There was rubble all around."

Khizar Hayat, the chief doctor at the city's main government hospital, said at least 20 people had been killed and 50 wounded, 20 of them seriously.

people indiscriminately killing other people... sigh...

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More happy holiday news

Retailers Report a Crisis in All Aisles
November Sales Slump as Shoppers Stow Credit Cards

By Ylan Q. Mui
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, December 5, 2008; Page A01

Retailers posted the worst November sales in more than 30 years yesterday, as holiday shopping not only failed to lift the economy but showed that the financial crisis is further distressing everyday consumers.

Employers cut 533K jobs in Nov., most in 34 years

By JEANNINE AVERSA, AP Economics Writer Jeannine Aversa

WASHINGTON – Skittish employers slashed 533,000 jobs in November, the most in 34 years, catapulting the unemployment rate to 6.7 percent, dramatic proof the country is careening deeper into recession.

The new figures, released by the Labor Department Friday, showed the crucial employment market deteriorating at an alarmingly rapid clip, and handed Americans some more grim news right before the holidays.

on tuesday, the day after i got back, i went in for a haircut... i was talking with the woman cutting my hair and asked how business was going... i was treated to a long dissertation about how rotten business was and just how worried all the shop employees were about having enough money for the upcoming holidays and even about keeping their jobs... the next evening, i stopped by a fast food place on my way to teach my class and overheard several of the employees there talking about the same thing... when you've got minimum-wage, front-line service employees in a twitter right before christmas, you know things are getting bad out there...

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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Happy Holidays from all of us here at the Bureau of Slow-Motion Financial Collapse


i don't know about you, but i'm finding this slow-motion train wreck increasingly painful to watch... how about we just get it the hell over with...?
The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 679.95 points or 7.7 percent, all but wiping out a 783-point gain built up last week. The S.& P. 500 gave back 80 points of the 96-point gain from the same period. The Nasdaq composite index was also off 9 percent.


“To find out that we are 11 months into the recession with no end in sight, I think that concerns people,” [Douglas M. Peta, an independent market strategist] said. “It makes them say, gee, we’re right back into the territory of the 1980, 1981 twin recessions” — and past the more modest dips of the early 2000s and 1990s.

The Institute for Supply Management recorded the worst reading on the health of the manufacturing industry since 1982. “However you look at the numbers, the message is the same: manufacturing is in free fall, with output collapsing,” Ian Shepherdson of High Frequency Economics wrote in a note to clients. “We see no prospect for near-term improvement.”

That view may be underscored on Friday, when the government is expected to report that employers shed more than 300,000 jobs in November, a fresh sign of the problems facing American workers and businesses.

let's be done with it already and move on to building something that works instead of this absurd, debt-based, funny-money economy... just take a look at this chart...

The US Federal Reserve is increasing the monetary base at an unprecedented rate in response to the present deflationary asset crunch, following the longest running inflationary boom in the country's history.

Newly printed dollars are being used to replace the capital losses of America's corporations. If it were possible to replace wealth simply by printing money, humanity would have eliminated poverty shortly after discovering the printing press.

uh, yeah...

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Monday, December 01, 2008

More fear-mongering, beating the Posse Comitatus dead horse and preparing for martial law

it's a trifecta...!
The U.S. military expects to have 20,000 uniformed troops inside the United States by 2011 trained to help state and local officials respond to a nuclear terrorist attack or other domestic catastrophe, according to Pentagon officials.

The long-planned shift in the Defense Department's role in homeland security was recently backed with funding and troop commitments after years of prodding by Congress and outside experts, defense analysts said.

There are critics of the change, in the military and among civil liberties groups and libertarians who express concern that the new homeland emphasis threatens to strain the military and possibly undermine the Posse Comitatus Act, a 130-year-old federal law restricting the military's role in domestic law enforcement.

But the Bush administration and some in Congress have pushed for a heightened homeland military role since the middle of this decade, saying the greatest domestic threat is terrorists exploiting the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.


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Promoting fear of (choose one: biological, nuclear, terrorist, conventional weapons) attack - it's good for business

a friend sent me this article with the following question...

the question...

What's your read on this having spent time near the country mentioned?

the article...
The United States can expect a terrorist attack using nuclear or more likely biological weapons before 2013, reports a bipartisan commission in a study being briefed Tuesday to Vice President-elect Joe Biden. It suggests the Obama administration bolster efforts to counter and prepare for germ warfare by terrorists.


Al-Qaida remains the only terrorist group judged to be actively intent on conducting a nuclear attack against the United States, the report notes. It is not yet capable of building such a weapon and has yet to obtain one. But that could change if a nuclear weapons engineer or scientist were recruited to al-Qaida's cause, the report warns.

The report says the potential nexus of terrorism, nuclear and biological weapons is especially acute in Pakistan.

"Were one to map terrorism and weapons of mass destruction today, all roads would intersect in Pakistan," the report states.

my response...
i think 90+ percent of these stories are designed as fear-mongering, pure and simple... a population living in fear is, by definition, easier to control...

however, if sophisticated biological attacks become part of the arsenal of ANY group, it will because the technology and skill required for their development became available in some manner, intended or otherwise, through the incessant research on same being done by countries like the u.s., in precisely the same way that nuclear weapons technology became available to pakistan and, now, india...

don't think for a moment that a new weapons race such as that announced today by russia in response to the u.s. plans to position missiles in poland and the czech republic isn't planned as a means to increase defense research and weapons systems spending... likewise, nuclear and biological weapons systems proliferation is equally good for business... as always, follow the money...

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