Archive for the ‘Allison Kilkenny’ Category


Kennedy Out, Gillibrand In

January 23, 2009

allisonkilkenny1Allison Kilkenny • Operation Itch Contributing Writer header
see more in NEWS & ANALYSIS  see all posts from Allison Kilkenny 

Politico and other media sources are reporting that governor David Paterson has chosen Kristen Gillibrand to fill Hillary Clinton’s vacant Senate seat.

Gillibrand is a Blue Dog Democrat, which is the name moderate Democrats gave themselves so people stopped confusing them with Republicans. Gillibrand is a pro-gun, fiscally conservative “Democrat.” Blue Dog Democrats are the people who cower at the word “liberal,” and fail to acknowledge that the only gains we — as a country — have made regarding civil rights were because of those dreaded, damn liberals.

I have previously criticized the nomination of Caroline Kennedy because she was clearly a legacy selection. Let’s pretend her name was Caroline Smith, or Caroline Martinez, and she boasted of zero legislative experience, and could only incoherently mutter something about her daddy when asked why she wanted to fill one of two coveted Senate seats. No one would have considered such an applicant. Hence, why I hated the idea of Caroline Kennedy in the Senate. I’ve heard just enough about Camelot, thanks very much.

But Gillibrand is part of the same politically incestuous community. During the Clinton years, she served as Special Counsel to the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Andrew Cuomo, another nominee for Clinton’s seat. She too hosts lavish fundraising parties (out of state, an accusation she ironically used against one of her former political opponents, John Sweeney). Kennedy, no doubt, was seriously considered for the Senate role specifically for her fundraising abilities (the name Kennedy brings in a hefty chunk of change,) so it’s to be expected that cash cows are always at the forefront of these kinds of nominations.

I was really hoping Paterson would go for a fresh political name like Nydia Velasquez, who has served in the House for 15 years, and was the first Puerto Rican woman to serve in Congress. She has dealt primarily with small businesses, and is largely unknown in the political community, but I think that’s a good thing. Kennedy is very well known, has less experience than Velasquez, and I was supposed to take her seriously as a candidate, so why not Nydia? Oh, right, she’s not a legacy, or a Blue Dog.

At least Caroline was unapologetically liberal, a privilege only afforded to Kennedys, it seems. If you have a yacht, you get to look your fellow Democrats square in the eyes and say, “I believe in equal rights and not torturing foreigners. Fuck you.” But if you’re a middle-rank Democrat, you have to pathetically triangulate and apologize until you don’t even look like a Democrat anymore, and -BAM!- you wake up and your name is Kristen Gillibrand and you’re in the Senate.


Cross-posted from


Israel: United, Except When It’s Not

January 14, 2009

 allisonkilkenny1Allison Kilkenny • Operation Itch Contributing Writer header
see more in NEWS & ANALYSIS  see all posts from Allison Kilkenny 



189356476_6fb3c658c8According to our stellar American media, Israelis are united behind their country’s military actions in Gaza.

New York Times:

JERUSALEM — To Israel’s critics abroad, the picture could not be clearer: Israel’s war in Gaza is a wildly disproportionate response to the rockets of Hamas, causing untold human suffering and bombing an already isolated and impoverished population into the Stone Age, and it must be stopped.Yet here in Israel very few, at least among the Jewish population, see it that way.

It’s very east to make generalities like that when one doesn’t include Israeli dissidents, who are jailed when protesting the war against the Palestinian people:

Israel National News:

Five leftist protesters were arrested Saturday night at a demonstration in Tel Aviv against the IDF’s operation in Gaza. The marchers attempted to enter the Ministry of Defense compound but were prevented from advancing by police. One demonstrator was injured. 

Protesters said that the Gaza operation would not contribute to the security of the country. “No one can say that a massacre of Gaza residents will protect the residents of Sderot and Ashkelon,” one of the protesters told a reporter from the Hebrew-language newspaper Haaretz.


Israel: United is a convenient slogan when one completely neglects to mention the hundreds of Israeli Arabs, who apparently don’t count when referring to this vague concept known as “Israel.”


Seven hundred protesters against the Israel Defense Forces operation in Gaza, mostly Israeli Arabs or residents of East Jerusalem, have been arrested since the operation began, and dozens have been indicted. The protesters, 226 of whom are still in custody, are suspected of involvement in disturbances, illegal demonstrations or stone-throwing, police said. Of the detainees, 237 are minors. Most of the protests that led to arrests took place in Jerusalem or the north. 

Protest isn’t limited to the civilian population. Haaretz reports that an Israeli soldier has been jailed after refusing to fight in Gaza:

An Israel Defense Forces reserves soldier, taking part in Israel’s offensive in the Gaza Strip which entered its 17th day on Monday, has refused to enter the Hamas-ruled territory along with his unit in protest of the killing of Palestinian civilians.

On Monday it emerged that the soldier has been jailed for 14 days in a military facility. He was the first soldier to be tried for refusing orders since the beginning of the operation.

And what does the Times say of all of this?

But voices of dissent in this country have been rare.

Oh. Well, I guess they’re rare if you don’t report them.


The Myth of Sanitary War

January 5, 2009

allisonkilkenny1Allison Kilkenny • Operation Itch Contributing Writer header
see more in NEWS & ANALYSIS  see all posts from Allison Kilkenny 


There is a myth circulating in the mainstream media that Israel’s missiles are finding their targets with surgical precision.

toonbombbigThe lie entails comparing something like the 250-pound GBU-39 “smart bomb” to a surgeon’s knife. A small side-note: the United States Congress approved the sale of this bomb to Israel. Actually, they approved the sale of 1,000 of these bombs to Israel. Second side-note: Your tax dollars bought the bombs.

So-called “rational adults” argue that this horrible, destructive device, which has enough explosive power to decimate six feet of reinforced concrete, is exactly the same as the precision guaranteed between a doctor’s steady hand, a blade, and a patient’s flesh.

It’s generous to call this myth stupid. It’s probably fairer to call it dishonest. Of course a bomb can’t be smart, or precise, primarily because of its very nature as a bomb – a tool of mass destruction. This is like the difference between if I punch you in the face or I slam you with a wrecking ball. You may get up after I deck you, but the wrecking ball will turn you into a human stain. I may also knock over a few buildings whilst trying to thwart you because a giant tool of destruction doesn’t offer any precision. That’s also the difference between a ground invasion and aerial bombing. The whole idea of using a bomb or a missile instead of 100,000 ground troops is to cause maximum damage with minimal casualties on the side of the bomb-dropping or missile-firing country.
Read the rest of this entry ?


You Heart Corruption

December 22, 2008

allisonkilkenny1Allison Kilkenny Operation Itch Contributor
more in   NEWS & ANALYSIS      


“Corruption is government intrusion into market efficiencies in the form of regulations.’ That’s Milton Friedman. He got a goddamn Nobel Prize! We have laws against it precisely so we can get away with it! Corruption is our protection! Corruption keeps us safe and warm! Corruption is why you and I are prancing around in here instead of fighting over scraps of meat out in the streets! Corruption is why we win!”

The quote is from the film Syriana, and the character that delivers the passionate/delusional diatribe is Danny Dalton, a Texas oilman and member of Committee to Liberate Iran. Dalton is a patsy, and is being charged with “corruption” in order to protect a much larger, much more corrupt corporation standing behind him. He’s a fall-guy, and that’s why he flies off the handle.

Watching the Bush administration and Wall Street executives gulp and thrash like beached fish made me think of little Dalton. The stock market isn’t a force of nature. It takes men and women (but mostly men) creating very corrupt policies to create America’s initial wealth, and then her downfall. Read the rest of this entry ?


Paying to Play

December 17, 2008

allisonkilkenny1Allison Kilkenny •   Operation Itch Contributor    •  
Read more posts from Allison

The media has been focusing on the Rod Blagojevich scandal with all the zeal of a torch-wielding mob, but they fail to acknowledge that the dirty pay to play model demonstrated in Chicago is a microcosm of the political world. Everyone pays for everything, and only the wealthy can buy access to power.

New York can offer two other example of paying to play with Senator Chuck Schumer, and the legacy candidate gunning to fill Hillary Clinton’s vacated seat, Caroline Kennedy.

Blagojevich’s swear-laced scheming was crude, super illegal, and what ultimately led to his public demise, unsubtle. The governor never learned how to delicately press the boundaries of acceptability, and instead charged through them with all the nuanced skill of a rabid bull.

The fallen governor should have looked to Chuck Schumer, who demonstrates how to us pay to play the acceptable way. Schumer is the official beneficiary, advocate and overseerfor Wall Street. A Democrat, he fully embraced the free market principles that have led to the current financial turmoil. Since Chuck’s largest contributors are from Wall Street, he votes to please his corporate masters, and in doing so, he continues to buy access to power. It doesn’t matter if deregulation is bad for his state, and the country, as long as those fat Wall Street checks continue to roll in.
Read the rest of this entry ?


Is David Brooks Insane?

December 13, 2008


allisonkilkenny1Allison Kilkenny    •   Operation Itch Contributor
In today’s New York Times, David Brooks disguised himself in the persona of a conservative ambassador (a long stretch from his actual form, a conservative columnist,) and addressed a fictitious foreign king about the state of the United States. This kind of theoretical, farcical gallivanting is always a disaster when manipulated by skilled, funny people, but left in the incapable hands of unfunny man David Brooks, the disaster quickly mutated into a fiery train wreck.

Your Excellency, 

Your humble ambassador requests the honor of your time so that he may apprise you of the mood and conditions in Washington. Seeking nothing for himself, but only seeking to serve your most Serene Majesty, your ambassador has been working tirelessly to understand the spirit of the American capital.

ts-brooks-190Uh-huh. This is like when you walk into the room of a senile grandparent and they’re dancing around with underwear on their head, saying something about being late for tea with the Queen of England. Sure, Grandpa David. Whatever you say.
I guess this is supposed to be whimsical farce, or other euphemisms for intellectuals trying (and failing) to be funny. David uses the persona of upscale tour guide to regurgitate the Conservative position that the auto bailout couldn’t go through because — ya’ know — that would lead to FISCAL INSANITY!!!!111
Read the rest of this entry ?



December 8, 2008

From Drunken Politics
A very special message from the very special group behind the passing of Proposition 8 in California, the legal measure that banned gay marriage.


The Gray Lady Bitchslaps Auto Workers

December 5, 2008

allisonkilkenny1Allison Kilkenny    •   Operation Itch Contributor
The New York Times lead story is U.A.W. Makes Concessions to Help Automakers. The article is pretty aptly titled because the NYT chose to focus entirely on the evil UAW parasites that are sucking the poor, helpless automakers dry through ludicrous demands such as job security and pension/health care payments.

 The Big Three claim their industry is tanking not because of their refusal to change their big, heavy, gas-guzzling car designs, but because evil workers are demanding their contractually promised benefits. The Big Three are failing not because the rest of the world is building fuel-efficient cars, but because the UAW demands that CEOs pay their salaries between the time their jobs get shipped to Mexico, and they find new sources of employment.

You see, all the blame can (and should) be pinned on the workers. At least, that’s what the Big Three claim, and the NYT seems to agree, which explains why so many horrifying facts are splayed across the Gray Lady’s pages without examination, analysis, or comment from workers themselves.

Ford’s chief executive, Alan R. Mulally, said in an interview Wednesday that Detroit needed the union’s help to speed its transformation, particularly in replacing current workers with entry-level employees who will be making $14 an hour in wages under the terms of the 2007 labor agreement.

That’s a pay cut of almost half for the Big Three. In addition, union members aren’t guaranteed their old job security or health benefits. Now that they’ve made concession after concession, there are still no strings attached to the automakers to stop them from closing their plants and shipping jobs to Mexico after everything has been said and done.
Read the rest of this entry ?


India, Katrina, and the Bailout: How Poor People Everywhere Are Being Neglected

December 3, 2008

allisonkilkenny1Allison Kilkenny    •   Operation Itch Contributor
Written beside the American creed of hating terrorists and loving the Irish and Italians should be the footnote and we ignore poor people. Poor people always get the shit end of every deal usually because they can’t get the attention of politicians or pundits, and because of this the poor people in New Orleans and India have a lot in common.

India has more than 100,000 millionaires, and is creating new ones at a rate rivaled only be Russia. Meanwhile, nearly half of Mumbai’s 14-18 million residents live in slums. In the United States, poor people suffer under a specialized caste system that masquerades as a functioning democracy. In the good ole’ US of A, the top 10 percent, roughly those earning more than $100,000, reached a level of income share not seen since before the Depression.

Read the rest of this entry ?


Where is the Economic Team of Rivals?

December 2, 2008

Allison Kilkenny    •   Operation Itch Contributor

24obamateam3-600Barack Obama has promised to fill his cabinet with rivals, which in theory will keep policy discussions and decisions lively and balanced. However, it appears there is at least one area of his fledgling administration that is not open to discussion or debate – the economy.

In Obama’s economic team, only the voice of Bob Rubin’s “Rubinomics” is represented: balance the budget, deregulate, and expand free trade. Those appointees and advisors such as Timothy Geithner, Lawrence Summers, and Peter Orszag are all Rubin disciples, and therefore represent a similar position on the economy. They are hardly rivals. The appointments of men who share a common philosophical umbrella is unwise enough, but Obama is so enamored with Rubin that he went a step further and hired the man’s spawn, James Rubin, as a headhunter.

Read the rest of this entry ?