Allison Kilkenny: Unreported

The end is nigh…unless it’s not

Posted in corporations, Economy, Republicans, wealth divide, world by allisonkilkenny on June 30, 2010

The hysterical debt Armageddonists have been screaming about the need to adopt all sorts of insane austerity policies because if we don’t, China is going to invade and enslave our children…or something. This irrational frenzy is, of course, bipartisan. Both sides of the aisle, for example, recently voted against extending unemployment benefits.

Tea Party sweetheart, Sharron Angle, specifically said citizens are “spoiled” by jobless benefits, and the US should cut unemployment benefits in order to motivate people to find work. Because – as we all know – unemployed people are just too lazy to toil, and there are millions of jobs in some secret industry sector only teabaggers know about, waiting for capable employees to fill them.

No matter how loudly Krugman tries to tell these idiots that cuts are the very worst possible thing they could do right now — what does he know? He only won a Nobel Prize in economics — Republicans refuse to listen. Actually, the world doesn’t seem to be listening, either.

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Canada spends $1 billion to arrest a deaf man

Posted in activism, wealth divide, world by allisonkilkenny on June 28, 2010

Photo from Reuters

To anyone who watched the G20 circus, the headline isn’t much of a hyperbolic stretch. Here was a country, which spent nearly $1 billion on security measures — greater than any summit’s security budget in the history of the world — and yet footage of burning police cars and shattered store windows played on loop throughout the week on Canadian television.

Where were the cops? How were a handful of fringe protesters able to create this — admittedly limited — havoc?

Naomi Klein proposes an interesting explanation. The state and cops had received widespread criticism for the tremendous amount of cash being dumped into security for this single event (78 percent of Canadians believed that the cost was unjustified,) and when some anarchists lit up their police car, they may have decided to take a long lunch break just to teach everyone a lesson.

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Toronto on lockdown for G20 summit: the wall, snipers, and sound cannons

Posted in Capitalism, Economy, police state, wealth divide, world by allisonkilkenny on June 25, 2010

Protesters march through downtown Toronto on Thursday to draw attention to aboriginal issues. (Pras Rajagopalan/CBC)

I find it disturbing that a major city being put on lockdown in order to accommodate the international elite and suppress the underclass has become standard — and acceptable — procedure.

Right now, the leaders of rich and developing nations are in Toronto, and the authorities anticipated that there will be a series of protests during the conferences because there are always protests during the G8/G20 meet-ups.

Capitalism is particularly unpopular right now because the US has unleashed a steroid-filled version of it unto the world, and this economic system has failed to provide for the majority of people. It has, however, created a dwindling elitist echelon who control a vast majority of riches. In the year of Hayward and his yachting adventures, there’s no reason to doubt there will be any fewer protests against the douchiest rich people among us.

Toronto was ready to suppress such dissent, and shape a nice, pleasant narrative for the city’s visitors, by implementing a complete and total lockdown.

The “lockdown” of central Toronto includes a 3m-high (10ft), 3.5km (2.2-mile) concrete and metal fence enclosing the G20 meeting area and a huge security presence. Banks and theatres will be closed, as will one of Canada’s most famous tourist attractions – the CN Tower.

It’s important to remember that the supposed goal of the G20 summit is “to continue the work of building a healthier, stronger and more sustainable global economy.” And what better way to express that kind of egalitarian unity than to build a 10-ft-high, 2-mile-long fence to keep out the serfs?

These kinds of global gatherings have also become a playground for authorities to experiment with their newest, shiniest crowd control devices. Last year, I reported that Pittsburgh police demonstrated the latest suppression technology on protesters near that year’s G20 summit. The weapon du jour were sound cannons.

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The soft media coup: McChrystal talks shit to Rolling Stone

Posted in Afghanistan, Barack Obama, war, world by allisonkilkenny on June 22, 2010

It's my war, and I'll kill civilians how I want to!

If you asked me what publication General McChrystal, the highest ranking US military official in Afghanistan, would chose to meet with for the purpose of discrediting his Commander-in-chief, I probably wouldn’t have said the same magazine that once featured the fabulous Adam Lambert on its cover.

An article in this week’s Rolling Stone magazine depicts McChrystal as a lone wolf on the outs with many important figures in the Obama administration and unable to persuade even some of his own soldiers that his strategy can win the war.

Are we talking about the same lone wolf, who admitted to war crimes in March? I can’t imagine why people are refusing to listen to a man who admitted that the US military has “shot an amazing number of people, but to [his] knowledge, none has ever proven to be a threat.”

This weird story reminded me of Sy Hersh’s statement last year that the military was “waging a war against the White House.”

“A lot of people in the Pentagon would like to see him get into trouble,” he said. By leaking information that the commanding officer in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, says the war would be lost without an additional 40,000 American troops, top brass have put Obama in a no-win situation, Hersh contended.

“If he gives them the extra troops they’re asking for, he loses politically,” Hersh said. “And if he doesn’t give them the troops, he also loses politically.”

McChrystal’s, of course, playing innocent now, and he’s apologized to the White House, but it’s hard to believe a man who spends his every waking hour plotting strategy would “accidentally” leak these kinds of whopping gaffs to the press.

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Protesters prevent unloading of Israeli ship without killing nine people

Posted in activism, world by allisonkilkenny on June 21, 2010

Huh. Here I was, thinking the only way to stop nations from unloading their cargo is to murder nine people, wound dozens, and imprison hundreds more. Turns out, you can do it in a totally peaceful manner.

Hundreds of peace activists prevented the unloading of an Israeli ship at the Port of Oakland Sunday by forming a picket line.

Organizers said their goal was to delay the ship”s unloading for 24 hours in protest of the Israeli military”s May 31 open-seas raid on a humanitarian aid flotilla that had been bringing goods to Gaza. The raid ended in the death of nine Turkish citizens.

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Dick Lugar boldly redefines “success,” “satisfy,” “American people”

Posted in Afghanistan, Barack Obama, Democrats, Republicans, war, War on Terror, world by allisonkilkenny on June 20, 2010

Now matter how fast he ran, the dictionary kept making swift gains

Here’s a strange one. Today, Candy Crowly interviewed Senators Lieberman, Murkowski, Feinstein, and Lugar, and somehow managed to survive to tell the tale of it. Feinstein and Lugar specifically talked about Afghanistan, and Candy pointed out how the whole thing has turned into a bottomless quagmire of despair and suffering.

My words, not hers. Feinstein thinks people like me are Negative Nellies. I guess she was included in this conversation as the “liberal” answer to the Republicans’ crazies, but honestly, she sounded like a chickenhawk most of the time. The Taliban is bad. Really, Diane? I had no idea. I thought all that acid they threw in the faces of schoolgirls was part of an exfoliation regimen.

But the gold medal for “What’d He Say?” in punditry excellence goes to Dick Lugar for this exchange. My comments [in brackets]:

CROWLEY: Senator Lugar, she paints a pretty grim picture about a war that’s been going on for nine-plus years. [Again, I thought Feinstein was pretty conservative in her language, but then again, I’m a shrill, hysterical, irrational leftist agent]. If had you to say, on this day I will know that the U.S. has succeed and we can begin bringing troops home, what would that day look like?

LUGAR: Well, your question implies that we’ve defined success, and we’ve never got to that point. That’s a part of our problem, that we’re going to have, as a government, whether it be the president or the Congress, to define success in a way in which the American people find this to be satisfying. Otherwise we’ll continue to argue about the date of withdrawal or how fast, or how — whether we surge more or less, without ever having defined exactly what it is hope from Afghanistan. [What’d he say?]

Wait, what? The only barometer we have for “success,” which, btw, we haven’t even defined, is the satisfaction of the American people? So basically, whatever the American people desire shall by default become the parameters of “success.”

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Nutmeg is coming to destroy Israel

Posted in human rights, world by allisonkilkenny on June 2, 2010

Israel is currently trying to explain to the world why it was justified in slaughtering civilians aboard the Flotilla. The rationale behind the melee is that Very Dangerous Persons were bringing Very Dangerous Items into Gaza. These items included things like…cement.

You see, according to psychic David Frum, the cement wouldn’t be used to rebuild Gaza’s infrastructure, most of which was totally obliterated during the 2008 conflict (some estimate 70% of Rafah city needs to be rebuilt,) but rather to build bunkers for Hamas. We know the cement would be used for bunkers because Frum tells us so, and Frum knows this because Israel told him.

Israel harbors a plethora of prescient visions about the nefarious ways Palestinians would use all kinds of products. They even have a list! Check it out (via Sully):

These may seem like weird, arbitrary things to ban (Nutmeg?) but a sick thread of authoritarian genius ties these items together. Notice the prohibited items (seeds, chickens, donkeys, horses, goats, cattle, wood for construction). These are tools used by autonomous nations composed of a self-sustaining population.

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Isramerica: apartheid or survival

Posted in Barack Obama, human rights, world by allisonkilkenny on May 31, 2010

Demonstrators protest outside of the Israeli Embassy in Washington on Monday. (Jose Luis Magana / Associated Press)

It’s interesting to watch the extent the American government is willing to go in order to remain strapped to Israel even as Netanyahu and Co. plummet off a cliff. America’s leadership is so eager to not only sabotage its own empire, but also its “friend’s” home, that it has committed the very altruistic act of purchasing the straps that will keep the countries hopelessly bound together as they both fall to their certain deaths.

These binds are costly — $30 billion dollars over the next decade in defense aid for Israel — even as the US endures mass unemployment, crumbling infrastructure, and recently experienced a fatiguing brawl in the spirit of securing some kind of affordable healthcare even as Israel enjoys universal coverage.

Israel’s army is an extension of the US army, and the two countries usually stand in stark, unified contrast to the rest of the world’s vote. A typical United Nations vote calling for a two-state solution based on the right of return and compensation for the Palestinians looks like this: 164 nations in favor, 7 against (Australia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, United States) and 4 absentions.

Israel, United States, Palau. It’s like the three musketeers if Dumas ended his novel with the IDF mowing down civilians bringing wheelchairs and medicine to Palestinians.

I mean, holy shit. If you asked me the limit of the United States’s willingness to go to bat for Israel over crazy authoritarian behavior, I would probably have said, “Well, there’s no way they would defend the IDF storming an aid ship — like heavily armed pirates — using European legislators and 1976 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire as target practice.”

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Canadian government dumping toxic waste in Arctic

Posted in deregulation, environment, world by allisonkilkenny on May 30, 2010

Colin Horgan follows up on an article I wrote about BP racing up to Canada in order to get northern legislators to deregulate their industry (because that worked out super well in America). This time, the villain is the Canadian government itself.

After two years and a request under the Access to Information Act, the Canadian Press has revealed that there have been numerous toxic spills and dumps in the Arctic, and that “one of the most frequent offenders is the federal government.”

The CP report continues:

The analysis found 260 spills in the North over five years. There were 137 spills in the Northwest Territories, 82 in Nunavut and 41 in the Yukon.

The biggest spill happened in Nunavut two years ago. Residents of Hall Beach marked Canada Day in 2008 with a dike failure that released 13.5 million litres of sewage in their remote hamlet.

Environment Canada says sewage seeped out of a lagoon into a wetlands area. The sewage didn’t make it into any bodies of water where fish could be affected.

[…]

Some spills took weeks or even months to clean up, while others were dealt with in a day or less.

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