Category Archives: Unreported

Allison Kilkenny: Unreported – Irrational Greeks Claim They’ve Earned Their Money


In addition to Nobel Prize-winning economists like Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz saying austerity during a recession doesn’t work, and the ample evidence in Ireland and the Baltics that retraction is tantamount to death by a thousand cuts, for whatever reason these kinds of measures also aren’t very popular.

The way Evi Simopoulou sees it, the austerity measures imposed on Greece as a condition of a $150 billion rescue package punish everyone for the government’s failures.

“We didn’t eat the money,” said Ms. Simopoulou, a 29-year-old computer programmer from Athens. “They ate the money.”

As the Prime Minister George Papandreou struggles to convince the world that he has what it takes to push through the reforms to keep Greece competitive and the Euro strong, there is one main obstacle in his path: Greeks.

Although he has so far stayed the course, many are furious about the reforms, which have raised taxes, lowered salaries and left them with a pervasive feeling that they are caught in the cogs of larger economic forces. Their anger has spilled over into waves of street protests, incuding one in May in which three people died.

God, poor people are so stupid. They just have to understand that they are financially responsible for bailing out their country in the aftermath of happy time at Wall Street casinos located roughly five thousand miles to their west. It’s time for everyone to suck it up and pay a little more so elites in the Hamptons don’t have to sell their extra yacht.

Why is this so difficult for Greeks to accept?

The problem is we don’t have a great communicator running the show.  I wish Ronald Reagan was still alive, you guys.

– Allison Kilkenny


Allison Kilkenny: Unreported – It’s Not Propagandizing When the Right Does It


Remember back in September ’09 when the right lost their minds right before President Obama delivered a national address to schoolchildren, encouraging them to stay in school? Right-wingers claimed  Obama was propagandizing his secret Kenyan agenda…or something.

Well, if Obama’s attempt to prevent dropouts made wingnuts piss themselves, this will surely make their heads explode:

Now that the midterm elections are history, Sarah Palin is setting her sights and rhetorical skills on the Federal Reserve and its easy money policy.

On Twitter, the former Alaska governor and possible 2012 presidential contender said she would begin a round of discussions at school events to teach children about quantitative easing to prepare them for the results of the Fed’s plan to boost the sluggish U.S. economy.

In an effort to boost lackluster growth the Fed has been injecting cash into the economy by buying up government securities in what it calls quantitative easing. It announced a fresh round of $600 billion in purchases last week and the action was welcomed by the stock market which moved higher on the news.

But critics, such as Palin and conservative Republican Ron Paul who is likely to head a House monetary policy subcommittee when the new Congress is seated in January, say the Fed’s move will do little to encourage economic growth and will ignite inflation.

Mm’k. Someone’s going to have to explain to me how this isn’t Palin taking advantage of schoolchildren’s vulnerable minds.

On the upside, even a five-year-old can see the gaping holes in Ayn Rand’s work, so we don’t have to worry about the threat of future generations being converted to Libertarianism.

(h/t Digby)

Link to this article:

– Allison Kilkenny

Allison Kilkenny: Unreported – ‘They have killed a lot of people, but they do not seem to have killed the group’s key leaders’

That’s a quote from New York Times journalist, Robert Worth, who was interviewed today by Fareed Zakaria, about our role in Yemen’s corner of the Forever Wars.

Yemen, like Pakistan, is where the U.S. is officially unofficially at war. We provide support on the down-low, and occasionally kill people with our flying robots. For some reason, the Yemeni are pissed.

Fareed pondered if it’s possible to ask the Yemen government to extend their rule into remote areas they haven’t controlled in thousands of years.

WORTH: It’s – it’s very difficult. It – it’s hard to say exactly what the right approach is. And the problem is that as the U.S., you know, gets more militarily involved – again, they’re not directly militarily involved, but they’ve been providing lots more training and they’ve been encouraging their Yemeni partners to take more – a more active military role.

That runs a terrible risk in Yemen, just as in, as you say, as in Pakistan and Afghanistan, of alienating the local people, who are intensely suspicious of any foreign intervention. And because you inevitably, in areas like that, where intelligence is poor, where the terrain is hard to – hard to reach, and the tribes are powerful, you – you inevitably have some civilian casualties.

One of the American air strikes last year killed quite a number of civilians, and it had a huge, huge effect in terms of protests. And the problem is, of course, that when you already have a secessionist movement in the south and another rebellion in the north, discontent spreads. It’s sort of hard to separate one issue from the other.

ZAKARIA: As you know, there’s talk here about a drone attack on Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born preacher who sort of inspired the – the Nigerian Underwear Bomber and perhaps has been playing a – a more broad role in inciting anti-American jihad. What do you think would be the effect if there were a drone attack an Awlaki?

WORTH: I think it would be very unpopular in Yemen. I think Anwar al-Awlaki is mostly viewed as a charismatic preacher, and because he has – isn’t known to have actually killed anyone, most Yemenis

I mean, first of all, he’s not that well-known in Yemen. He’s better known in the U.S. because of all the – of those – the media coverage of him here. He’s becoming better known.

But I think it would be viewed as an attack on a Yemeni, on someone who, you know, isn’t necessarily guilty. Yemenis are deeply, deeply skeptical of this kind of thing.

So, I think – but I think it would – killing Awlaki would – would have a lot of negative reaction, and so there are some people who say that the Yemeni government doesn’t want him to be found, doesn’t want him to be killed because they – they’re nervous, understandably, about what would happen then.

ZAKARIA: So, if you were to rate the progress that Yemeni government, with American assistance, is making in de-fanging or defeating al Qaeda in Yemen, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula what would you say?

WORTH: It’s difficult to say whether they’ve made any progress. I mean, they have killed a lot of people, but they do not seem to have killed the group’s key leaders.

We have no reason to think that – I mean, we know Anwar al-Awlaki is out there, and he’s a – he’s a very, very, you know, popular ideologist. We have no reason to think that any of the top leaders are – are dead. And it only takes a few people to – to put together a – you know, a letter bomb, essentially, that could have terrible, you know, global consequences on the economy.

And, clearly, the number of people, the number of Yemeni soldiers and police that have been killed in the past few months suggests that – that al Qaeda, if indeed it’s responsible for all those killings, is, if anything, bigger than it was.

So I – I can’t say we’ve made visible progress.


Awesome. So the US is utilizing its default Forever War strategy in Yemen: Defeat extremism with extremism. Bomb hatred. Shoot intolerance. Force the enemy to love you by killing his entire family.

Fareed then brought on Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak to talk about how his country has dealt with extremism, and to express his admiration for Malaysia’s talent at locking up alleged extremists. Apart from the shameless gushing (and Fareed’s indication that he prefers police states masquerading as happy, tolerant oases over messy democracies,) Razak made a few noteworthy points.

First, he believes the way to lessen extremism is to bomb civilians from the sky alleviate poverty.

ZAKARIA: What do you think is the key to defeating the forces of extremism in an Islamic society?

RAZAK: I think there’s several reasons why we’ve been able to overcome those extreme or extremists in our – in our society. First of all, if you look at the genesis of Islam, you know, how it came to our part of the world, it was – Islam was brought by the Muslim traders from the Middle East, and it was a peaceful conversion of the then-Hindu king and the masses became Muslim. So Islam has never really been associated with – with extremism and violence from day one.

Then secondly, you know, over the years, you know, we’ve been able to bring about development and changes. In the ’60s, poverty was more than 50 percent. But now in terms of – of poverty rate in Malaysia, it’s 3.6 percent. You know, so you see, you know, the fruits of development actually lifting, you know, the – this tape of socioeconomic status off of the people.

Malaysia’s poverty rate is now on par with the United States. And like the U.S, Malaysia now knows to quickly incarcerate any unruly insurgents to “reeducate them” before they can infect the general population.

ZAKARIA: So do you think that there is good government, that there’s rising standards of living, it makes it less likely that these young boys, they’re mostly boy, go into radical movements, go into Jihadi movements?

RAZAK: Yes, with – with one caveat that you do have to ensure the proper teaching of Islam. You know, I keep on saying, being moderate is fundamental to Islam. But once in a while we do have extremists in our midst, whether they are in Malaysia or, you know, they come from neighboring country and we have to deal with it.

And fortunately, our – our security agencies, they’re very, very good at this in – in taking preemptive actions, using the Internal Security Act which allows us to detain people without trial, but it’s not such a sort of onerous kind of punishment. You know, we detain you, you know, we try to reeducate you, and if you accept that Islam is inherently moderate and you shouldn’t resort to violence and extremism, then you’re released back to society.

Yeah, I guess detaining people without trial isn’t that onerous. That’s probably why we’ve been doing it to the boys in Gitmo all these years.

Apart from the cheerleading for police states, Fareed’s guests essentially painted the following picture of the Forever Wars: The drone strikes aren’t working. In fact, they’re turning popular opinion against the U.S. every time another civilian is killed. What really causes societal instability is poverty, and even the very safest “democracies” aren’t ever 100% safe from the possibility of a troublesome agent.

Link to this article:

– Allison Kilkenny

Allison Kilkenny: Unreported – Just Fake It


By allowing banks to kick people out of their homes using fraudulent creative paperwork, this kind of fraud is inevitable.

A sign in the front of a building on West 39th Street tells visitors that it’s the Unicredit Debt Resolution Center in Erie.

Once debtors got inside, they were fooled into believing they were in a courtroom with a judge, but the whole thing was a fake, according to a lawsuit filed by the Pennsylvania attorney general.

Team 4′s Jim Parsons reported that Unicredit America is accused in the lawsuit of deceiving, misleading and coercing hundreds of consumers into paying off their debts.

Well, why not? Banks used hairdressers and Wal-Mart floor workers with no formal training as “foreclosure experts” in order to make millions of Americans destitute because their exploitive loans are now worth more than their homes. After all, indebted people are stupid, and they deserve to be taken advantage of.

I do have to give Unicredit America points for creativity, though.

The Attorney General’s Office told Team 4 that Unicredit lured debtors to the building by sending employees who appeared to be sheriff’s deputies to their homes, implying that they would be taken into custody if they failed to appear at the phony court hearings.

So much of what the elite business class does is pure illusion. Grab a couple hairdressers and call ‘em “foreclosure experts.” Clean up some of the fellas at the bus stop and they’re “sheriffs.” Sell some poor people shitty loans and call them “subprime mortgages.”

When the underclass does this, it’s called fraud. When the elite does it, it’s called Capitalism.

Link to this article:
– Allison Kilkenny

Allison Kilkenny: Unreported – Mark Twain, Shrill Leftist Agent


If only Twain had instead indulged in post-modern, funny-sign-making, we’re-too-cool-to-actually-protest wankery.

Commenter MikeBoyScout writes:

I’m pretty sure all the Very Serious People in 1860 knew we’d always need and have slaves, and that racism was based upon fact.

I just went to an exhibition about Mark Twain yesterday and was struck by how much he sounded like a shrill modern leftie. He accepted evolution as established science, made fun of the idea of the Noah’s ark, wrote with bitter irony about the treatment of indigenous peoples in Australia (a lot of the exhibition was about his writing about his travels to Australia). The tone he took and some of the things he said would be eerily familiar to residents of the contemporary left blogosphere. (I’m sure he wrote all kinds of crazy, racist backwards stuff too, I’m not saying he was a saint.)

I realize this is an unabashedly wankerish, unanswerable question, but is public discourse now at all different from what it was back then? Or are things, at root, pretty much exactly the same?

Things are exactly the same. Passionate, principled people speak up for what they believe is right. That’s a good thing. Those encouraging apathy or a detached ennui (See: Rally 4 Sanity) in response to enormous social injustice are doing more harm than good.

Update: All I can say is, ‘Oy.’

Link to this article:

– Allison Kilkenny

Allison Kilkenny: Unreported – Tea Party’s Assist From the Old Guard

I’m on a few Tea Party email lists, and occasionally I actually read the mailers to see what my insane political cousins (twice removed) are up to. Tonight, the local NYC Tea Party chapter will gather for a panel titled “One Nation Under Arrest: How Crazy Laws, Rogue Prosecutors, and Activist Judges Threaten Your Liberty.”

In order to give the anti-justice system tirade a thin glaze of legitimacy, a couple panelists have been scraped from underneath the boots of the old guard and pasted onto the press release. There’s Paul Rosenzweig, the founder of Red Branch Consulting PLLC, a homeland security consulting company, and former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy in the Department of Homeland Security.

There’s also Brian W. Walsh, Senior Legal Research Fellow in The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Legal and Judicial Studies. Walsh also worked on contract with the Department of Homeland Security where he “integrated private-sector organizations into government emergency preparedness and disaster response efforts at the federal, state, and local levels.”

Unsurprisingly, the panel consists of two privatization hawks who would really, really, really love to gut the public sector and sell it off, piece-by-piece, to corporations.

But this is yet another example of just how stale the whole “revolutionary” Tea Party really is. When it comes time to present the bestest, brightest examples of the party’s shiny, new ideology, frantic Tea Party organizers have to scour the bargain bin of Conservative intelligentsia to find a fear profiteer, whose most recent achievement appears to be penning a column titled “No Wonder The French Are Crazy,” and being cut from the Washington Post‘s Next Great Pundit contest, and another creature, Walsh, who probably pleasures himself to the idea of drowning the TSA in a bathtub.

(For a little more insight, Rosenzweig writes that he’s “amused at the idea that retirement at 60 is a human right or a social welfare entitlement.” Yeah. That’s what we’re dealing with.)

Anyway, it’s to be expected that the anti-government Tea Party movement embraces anti-government hacks, who make their livings scaring the piss out of Americans so they can then profit from insanely profligate private-sector “solutions.” However, it’s telling that whenever it comes time for the Tea Party to lay out their vision of tomorrow, they recycle the same useless morons that exploited Americans’ fear in the aftermath of September 11th in order to build a massive, privatized security structure that – by the way – didn’t fucking work.

This would sort of be like if the American separatists had asked King George to join their ranks. Ya know, just so they could utilize his vast experience.

Link to this article:

– Allison Kilkenny

Allison Kilkenny: Unreported – Another Monday, Another Week of the Rich Fucking the Poor

Hotel workers in Chicago, Hawaii, and San Francisco are staging strikes and walk-outs to protest what they call “cheap recession contracts.” Basically, union leaders say Hilton is exploiting workers even though the company received huge taxpayer-provided bailouts.

Hilton is owned by Blackstone Group LP.

Blackstone in February cut a deal to reduce its $20 billion debt by about $4 billion. The debt was partially owned by the Federal Reserve, which had taken over the debt from lender Bear Stearns, The Wall Street Journal reported at the time.

And of course, the Blackstone Group was co-founded by Social Security privatization hawk, Pete Peterson.

Regular readers of this blog know that I have written extensively about Peterson’s privatization fetish. But this hotel strike story nicely illustrates Peterson’s grand scheme: deprive people of the most basic standards of human dignity i.e. a living wage their entire adult lives, and then rob their twilight years of the same basic standards of human dignity by raiding the Social Security funds.

Quite simply, it’s the Great Heist from workplace to grave.

Link to this article:

– Allison Kilkenny