We know what's wrong with Veteran's Day. We know this country is crawling with jobless, homeless veterans of America's constant occupations and invasions. We know there aren't enough jobs for these people already burdened with so much, and no labor market demand for the "skill set" of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and existential dread. And yet they went out there and committed whatever insanity they were commanded to commit, in the name of America, even if it never mattered to 99% of Americans one way or the other. Instead of the usual Veteran's Day garbage of saying "uhh ... sorry" to those who suffered for empire, how about giving the veterans the only thing that can hold them together: a mission.
Wake up, zombie Americans! It's time to stop wasting our time jabbering about inconsequential matters like sports or cable TV shows or a "government shutdown." Our fellow citizens are, right this moment, facing an actual crisis: waiting in their cars far too long for a Sausage-n-Cheez Biscuit Combo.
A late-night agreement between European finance ministers and the government of Cyprus will keep Cyprus in the eurozone and bail out the struggling island nation—by levying an enormous one-time tax on the biggest deposits in one of its banks. Under the deal, the Cyprus Popular Bank, or Laiki, will be divided into a "good" bank and a "bad" bank; the Goofus will be slowly wound down and closed while the Gallant will be folded into the country's largest bank, Bank of Cyprus. Deposits of over 100,000 euros in both banks will be subject to a haircut of as much as 30 percent—but unlike last week's controversial proposed plan, this deal will not tax smaller depositors. The Cyprus bailout deal has been difficult to reach for a variety of reasons, chief among them the country's desire to preserve its banking sector, the engine of its economy, and the eurozone's desire to punish the Russian oligarchs widely believed to be the largest depositors in Cyprus' banks. ("In my view, the stealing of what has already been stolen continues," Russian President Dmitri Medvedev said in response to the latest deal.) This bailout agreement should allow Cyprus to (sort of) remain in the eurozone (against the wishes of the majority of its citizens; "luckily," no one in Cyprus is voting on the package) and eventually recover its banking income without directly taking money from the little guy—but years of enforced austerity will hurt him just as badly. No one's happy. At least they're less unhappy than they were last week? [Telegraph | QZ | Reuters]
For those who thought that today's noontime stock market malaise could have reversed itself with an afternoon rally: the Dow just closed down 512 points on the day. That's well over 4% of its total value. It also means all of the gains for this year have been erased. And it ranks as the ninth largest single day points loss in history.
Congress still hasn't reached a deal on a continuing resolution to fund the government through September, so we're less than 48 hours away from a government shutdown. Departments and agencies are exhausting most of their time now in panic and preparation. The administration has put out a figure for total furloughed employees: 800,000. Here are more letters from individual federal employees and contractors about how a shutdown would affect them, and what they're hearing. Do you have something to share? Share your greatest fears with firstname.lastname@example.org.
No one can be sure until the last minute, but the odds of a government shutdown in three days have never been higher after a day of collapsed talks. Congressional parties and the White House are hunkering down for cover to ensure they don't get blamed. But it's important to remember, as we watch this parlor game, that a government shutdown affects "real lives" quite directly.
Alert: It is now virtually impossible to buy a fucksaw. I know; I know. JT's Stockroom, which is apparently the world's leading and perhaps only supplier of genuine fucksaws ("You hold it like a gun, and drill into the ass or vagina with powerful and steady force"), is completely sold out: "Due to high demand, this item is temporarily unavailable. We apologize for any inconvenience. Please check back soon!"