Monthly Archives: February 2014

February 28, 2014

Ireland: PBS Nature Documentary

Although green is its emblematic color, Ireland’s verdant fields are not the nation’s only extraordinary natural features. Sculpted millions of years ago by the advance and retreat of vast shields of ice, the Emerald Isle harbors a wealth of wildlife among its craggy mountains, fog-shrouded coastlines, steep gorges, and vast networks of inland waterways.

Watch the documentary here.


Complete Classic Movie: North by Northwest (1959)

Director: Alfred Hitchcock. Stars: Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason, Jessie Royce Landis, Leo G. Carroll. A hapless New York advertising executive is mistaken for a government agent by a group of foreign spies, and is pursued across the country while he looks for a way to survive.


The Pension Fund That Ate California

CalPERS’s corruption, insider dealing, and politicized investments have overwhelmed taxpayers with debt.

After spending years dogged by unpaid debts, California labor leader Charles Valdes filed for bankruptcy in the 1990s—twice. At the same time, he held one of the most influential positions in the American financial system: chair of the investment committee for the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, or CalPERS, the nation’s largest pension fund for government workers. Valdes left the board in 2010 and now faces scrutiny for accepting gifts from another former board member, Alfred Villalobos—who, the state alleges, spent tens of thousands of dollars trying to influence how the fund invested its assets. Questioned by investigators about his dealings with Villalobos, Valdes invoked the Fifth Amendment 126 times.

California taxpayers help fund CalPERS’s pensions and ultimately guarantee them, so they might wonder: How could a financially troubled former union leader occupy such a powerful position at the giant retirement system, which manages roughly $230 billion in assets? The answer lies in CalPERS’s three-decade-long transformation from a prudently managed steward of workers’ pensions into a highly politicized advocate for special interests. Unlike most government pension funds, CalPERS has become an outright lobbyist for higher member benefits, including a huge pension increase that is now consuming California state and local budgets. CalPERS’s members, who elect representatives to the fund’s board of directors, ignored concerns over Valdes’s suitability because they liked how he fought for those plusher benefits.

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Complete text linked here.


UK, US spies hacked into webcam feeds of millions of Yahoo users

Yahoo responded “furiously” when informed of the Optic Nerve program, the Guardian reported, denying knowledge of the program and calling it “a whole new level of violation of our users’ privacy that is completely unacceptable.”

U.S. and British spy agencies intercepted and stored images from the webcams of millions of likely innocent Yahoo users, including “large quantities” of sexually explicit images, the Guardian reported Thursday — a revelation the web giant described as “a whole new level of violation.”

A secret program called Optic Nerve appears intended to collate a digital mugbook of sorts, snapping screenshots every 5 minutes or so from user feeds. But the program targeted indiscriminately, regardless of whether the webcam owner was an intelligence target or not.

More than 1.8 million user accounts from around the world were accessed in one six-month period alone.

Image data from the Yahoo accounts was hoovered up between 2008 and 2012 under the program, which was run by U.K. surveillance agency GCHQ with assistance from the National Security Agency (NSA). The report is based on secret documents taken by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, which have led to international outrage over the stunning extent of oversight of Internet activities.

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Complete text linked here.


Obama’s manipulation of the Internet by Erik Rush

This week, award-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald released the first in a series of news articles confirming that Western governments (including the United States, of course) are “attempting to control, infiltrate, manipulate, and warp online discourse, and in doing so, are compromising the integrity of the Internet itself.”


Erik Rush

Recently in this space, I addressed the incongruities of those on the political left expending vast amounts of time and energy attempting to discredit those on the right whom they maintain are conspiracy theorists, fear-mongers, or straight-up mental defectives. To this end, I highlighted some of the nefarious activities against which my colleagues and I warned and how these notions were ridiculed, only to be confirmed via impeccable sources later on.

Among the more outlandish and absurd postulations I made involved those whom I lovingly call the “White House Basement Bloggers.” My contention: The Obama administration has in its employ cadres of operatives dedicated to Internet activities aimed at everyday American Internet users, as well as those conservative blogs or websites that are more vulnerable than larger, well-funded entities. The anecdotal as well as technical evidence of this has been overwhelming, yet, inasmuch as this administration admits to nothing – even when evidence is overwhelming – nothing definitive had been proved.

Until now …

Once again, my outlandish and absurd postulation has been unequivocally proved. The abysmal Healthcare.gov website rollout (which was abysmal by design) notwithstanding, we’re aware that this administration is the most tech-savvy we’ve had to date.

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Complete text linked here.


Executives tell Rep. Ellmers they want immigrants, not her constituents (Video)

“I’m just going to go ahead and say it — Americans won’t do that work, and for what [employers] can get those other [immigrant] folks to do it,” said Dana Cope, who heads an advocacy group for government employees, the State Employees Association of North Carolina. The extra workers are needed to generate more taxes for government agencies, said Cope, who also was a vice president in 2012 at the Service Employees International Union, which is a leading advocate for amnesty and for extra guest workers.

The political risks to the GOP of immigration were highlighted in Cary, N.C., last week, when a PR. event hosted by GOP Rep. Renee Ellmers quickly descended into an extended complaint by business leaders about supposedly uneducated, untalented and unmotivated Americans.

The videotaped session was arranged by business leaders to applaud Ellmer’s support for a proposed immigration rewrite that would increase the current annual inflow of 650,000 guest workers and 1 million immigrants into the overflowing U.S. labor pool.

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Complete text linked here.


Obama accused of ‘cultural imperialism’

‘It is not the prerogative of the president to declare what laws will be enforced.’

President Obama is “arrogant” and his agenda regarding religious liberty and freedom of speech constitutes “cultural imperialism,” charges a senior fellow at a think tank for Concerned Women for America, the largest public policy women’s organization in the nation.

“In our system of government, it is not the prerogative of the president to declare what the law is or which laws will be enforced,” said Janice Shaw Crouse, senior fellow at the Beverly LaHaye Institute of the Concerned Women for America.

She is a recognized authority on domestic issues, the United Nations and cultural and women’s concerns and served as a U.S. delegate to the United Nationals Children’s Summit in 2002. She later was given a presidential appointment to the 2003 United Nations Commission on the Status of Woman, and she was a speech writer during the first Bush administration.

“I am not the only cultural commentator to have observed that this president has overstepped his authority in this area. In addition, it is not the president’s prerogative to say that his interpretation of human rights trumps religious liberty or freedom of speech. Further, it is not his prerogative to say that his interpretation of human rights trumps the centuries old cultural and religious traditions of other nations.”

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Complete text linked here.


February 27, 2014

Pat Boone – Tutti Frutti

“The man that hath no music in himself, Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds, is fit for treasons, stratagems and spoils.” William Shakespeare


Video: Univ. of Wisconsin lecturer tells class 2010 election was ‘white rage,’ attacks Scott Walker in anti-Republican rant

SEIU guest lecturer claims American values are rooted in “division, racism, sexism, classism.” Class was a freshman level general education course. No alternative viewpoints were offered.

A guest lecturer in a freshman general education course at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater (UWW) opened class Tuesday by attacking Governor Scott Walker (R) and blaming the results of the 2010 election on “white rage.”

“The context of 2010 was, white rage. To be honest with you. White people having to pay for health care for blacks and browns and gays,” said Eyon Biddle, Sr., the current political and organizing director for SEIU Local 150, in a video obtained by Campus Reform.

“Racism, with the first black president. Like, you saw a bunch of American pie hatred just bubble up,” he told the students of General Education 130, “Individual and Society,” a class that purports to examine “how people influence and are affected by their social worlds from the perspectives of anthropology, psychology, sociology and women’s studies.”

Biddle then focused his lecture on Gov. Walker, arguing that “[f]olks started voting against their own interests. What, you had white, blue collar males voting for Walker even though Walker’s policies are not for blue collar, white males.”

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Complete text linked here.


All Star Party for John Wayne (1976) – Charles Bronson honors John Wayne

“The magic is as wide as a smile and as narrow as a wink, loud as laughter and quiet as a tear, tall as a tale and deep as emotion. So strong, it can lift the spirit. So gentle, it can touch the heart. It is the magic that begins the happily ever after.” – Unknown