Friday, June 28, 2013

Another Look at Shark Week’s “Snuffy the Seal”

After writing about “Snuffy the Seal” – the Discovery Channel’s tease for its annual Shark Week – yesterday, I feel the need to explain myself a little further. Not because I’m ashamed of laughing hysterically over the commercial, which I maintain was very well done, but because there’s an added depth (or lack of originality, depending on your perspective) to the fictitious account.

“Snuffy the Seal” might be completely made up. But the larger drama of rescuing sea critters, nurturing them back to health and then releasing them into the wild, only for them to get devoured by other sea critters on camera?

That kind of thing does happen, though maybe – maybe – not in such dramatic fashion.

It turns out that, according to Snopes, it’s an urban legend that do-gooders spent $160,000 after the Exon Valdez oil spill to rehabilitate two oiled-up sea otters, which then became a killer whale’s snack in front of a horrified audience.

(Let me take a second to clarify. It’s an urban legend that the oiled-up sea otters were gobbled up on camera. They did, however, cost $80,000 each to revive.)

However, take the case of “Happy Feet,” a penguin rescued in New Zealand in 2011 that was taken in by a local zoo and given surgery to remove the pounds of sand he’d consumed. They released him complete with a tracker to monitor his progress, but lost the signal only a week later either because the device fell off of him… or because he was eaten.

Then there was Dunham, a bottlenose dolphin that was taken in after suffering from pneumonia, shark bites and damage from what might have been a fishing line. His rescuers tagged him, released him and followed him out into the Tampa Bay waters for a few hours… then watched him sustain several shark bites, one from an eight or nine-foot tiger shark.

Dunham didn’t survive.

That was in 2009. And according to the same article about Dunham the dolphin, there was a case in California a few years prior where an injured seal was lovingly nurtured back to health. Donors, volunteers and well-wishers gathered to see the recovered mammal off, only to immediately watch it get eaten by a killer whale.

I could not, however, verify that last one from a secondary source.

But at least the first two examples illustrate something very important that the “Snuffy the Seal” commercial went on to capture.

I can best sum it up this way: We’re not God.

Think it over.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Shark Week’s Snuffy the Seal Suffers Shocking Fate: Disgusting or Hysterical?

The Discovery Channel is getting ready to run their infamous Shark Week, a week in which they focus on… wait for it… Sharks!

The fearsome predators with their toothy leers and bone-crushing bites are mesmerizing. While just the thought of getting attacked by one is nothing short of terrifying, there’s still something entirely compelling about the critters when they’re behind impenetrable panes of glass or on TV.

Maybe it’s the way they glide so effortlessly through the water, or the power they possess or their odd, alien beauty. (Except for hammerheads. Those sharks are just ugly!) And please note that these musings are coming from somebody who is insanely terrified of sharks.

They’re on my list of Top Three Things to Avoid in Life. The one time I encountered what I estimate to be a four foot shark out in the ocean, I panicked so badly that my older sister honestly considered knocking me unconscious so she could drag my unhinged self back to shore.

Yet for all of that, if I had cable, I can guarantee I’d be tuned to the Discovery Channel the whole entire Shark Week long. And not just because of the attention-grabbing commercial just debuted for it…

Said commercial features “Snuffy the Seal,” a fictional… wait for it… seal that was injured out in the wild, then rescued and rehabilitated by some do-gooder organization. To commemorate the occasion, a congenial TV anchor sits straight and tall in his immaculate suite explaining what the audience is about to watch: the live filming of Snuffy the Seal’s release out into the wild.

He cuts to a peppy and adorable cheerleader-turned-reporter, sporting the cutest apricot dress and perfectly arranged brunette tresses, who begins to narrate “Snuffy’s triumphant return” from the safety of a tall, tall pier.

As Snuffy is lowered via crane and harness into the ocean...

I’m sure you have some inkling about where this is going, but I suggest you watch the video anyway.

Then decide whether the commercial is disgusting or hysterical.

Personally, I laughed like crazy… I couldn’t help myself.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The House of Representatives Spent $2 Million of Our Money on Snacks Last Year

I’ve been trying to budget myself better the last year or so, making sure that I put money away into savings after I pay all my bills and still have a little left over to build up my checking.

Unfortunately, I usually fail – sometimes miserably – at this task. While my bills always get paid and I do manage to increase my savings account month to month by a pre-set figure, my checking is abysmally low month to month and not getting any better.

In my defense, I’m not a spendthrift. Really.

I almost never go out for drinks. When I do go out, I try to order the cheaper yummy stuff on the menu. I rarely buy myself new clothing or shoes despite peer pressure to cave in and get those oh-so-cute stilettos that made my calves look awesome.

Essentially, I say no purchases ALL THE TIME. Yet I’m still managing to blow my budget month after month after month.

After studying my results repeatedly, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s the little things that getcha. I might think that bringing my own meals to work four out of five days of the work week is acceptable, but that $5-15 I spend the other day adds up to $20-$60 after four weeks.

That doesn’t sound like a lot, admittedly, but when you add it to the rising cost of gas, groceries and life’s other little indulgences, it can all-too easily add up to a pretty penny.

Then again, it’s my life and my money, so I can technically mess it up as much as I want to… even if I come to personally regret it later, usually after every 30-31 days. Congress has no such excuse when it comes to those fun but unnecessary extras.

Thanks to the Sunlight Foundation, taxpayers are discovering that we paid close to $2 million on the House of Representatives alone last year. Not on necessities like security, electricity and running water in their respective office buildings but on donuts, bagels, coffee and other snacks.

Two million dollars!

Like my stop at Dunkin’ Donuts on a Friday morning, that might not seem like a lot in the face of the trillions Congress spends every year. But take it from the calculating (though not budgeting) expert… it adds up!

It adds up right alongside the money the IRS is throwing willy-nilly at illegal immigrants, and the budget increases government departments get every year regardless of whether they need it, and the cost of protecting the President when he jets off to Ireland for “official business” (i.e. vacation), and all of the other things that the government does that it doesn’t at all have to do…

It just wants to do. Because it’s a spoiled little brat that thinks it's above the budgeting rules everybody else has to abide by.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Transgender: The Right to Believe Nonsense and Make Everybody Else Agree

I’m sure by now I’ve fully established that I’m not the most politically correct person, at least not in my online life. In person, believe it or not, I’m actually usually quite respectful and reserved, at least when it comes to the topics of politics and religion.

Which is probably why I get a little passionate here on Words From the Right. It’s my outlet.

But even on here, I tend to shy away from a few choice topics that, to be perfectly honest, make me uneasy discussing. Not because I haven’t carefully researched and thought over the subject material (of homosexuality) but because I don’t want to lose friendships should certain people ever discover this little blog of mine.

Possibly, I’m being a coward in that decision. I’ve contemplated that many times before, and I still can’t rule it out.

But that’s homosexuality. I have no qualms discussing the so-called “transgender” movement.

We can argue ‘til we’re blue in the face whether homosexuality is the result of biological or societal influences (and no, it’s really not determined, like it or not), or whether gay marriage is a human right or a bastardization of the term “marriage.” Everybody has their own way of looking at the issue with varying opinions and research done (or not done).

But I feel – No. I know! – that there shouldn’t be any such confusion whatsoever about the term transgender if it really means what I’m beginning to understand it means: that people can just choose whatever gender they want and everybody else has to accept their choice as a reality.

I already can’t stand it when homosexual men say “they’re just one of the girls.” Because they’re not girls! Regardless of whether they’re having sex with males or not, they’re still male!

The same goes for little boys who like little girl things and have insane parents who encourage said little boys to believe they’re therefore little girls. (Confused yet? Just wait…)

Just because you say it doesn’t make it so, people! If you have all boy parts, then – newsflash – you’re a boy. Not a girl!

That newsflash never reached the parents of Coy Matthis, a six-year-old boy pronounced by a psychologist two years ago as being transgendered. According to them, their son should be allowed to use the little girl’s bathroom at school because he believes he’s a she.

Worse yet, when their school – out of consideration for the actual girls in the building – refused, the Matthises got the Colorado Civil Rights Division to agree that yes, the confused boy with the moronic parents gets to use the little girl’s bathroom even though he’s got boy equipment.

It doesn’t make any sense whatsoever, yet we’re told that it does, which still doesn’t make it so.

Monday, June 24, 2013

IRS Sends Astronomical Amounts in Tax Refunds to Illegal Immigrants

While the Senate gets ready to not read the immigration bill before voting on it, let’s discuss the harmful effects illegal immigration has on this country.

Since 1996, it would seem that the IRS is in the business of sending out Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers, many of which go to people living inside the U.S. who are “not authorized to work in the United States.”

In other words, illegal immigrants.

According to a report published by the Treasury Inspector General’s Semiannual Report to Congress in 1999, “The IRS issues Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) to undocumented aliens to improve nonresident aliens compliance with tax laws. This IRS practice seems counter-productive to the Immigration and Naturalization Service’s (INS) mission to identify undocumented aliens and prevent unlawful alien entry.”

Apparently, it’s also not a good idea for budgetary purposes, and not just because of the additional personnel and resources required to pull off such a stupid stunt.

Thanks to these ITINs, thousands of illegal immigrants are getting ridiculously exorbitant amounts of money from the U.S. government, such as the:

·         23,994 tax refunds totaling $46,378,040 sent to the same address in Atlanta, GA in 2011
·         11,284 refunds totaling $2,164,976 sent to another address in the same city the same year
·         3,608 refund checks worth $2,691,448 sent to yet another Atlanta, GA location in 2011
·         2,386 tax refunds worth $1,232,943 to a fourth such spot, same bat time, same bat channel

And that’s just Atlanta, Georgia in 2011! Similar stories are recorded in Oxnard, California; Raleigh, North Carolina; Phoenix, Arizona; and Palm Beach Gardens, Florida… among others.

This is money that could be being used to… I don’t know… make the country stronger? Or here’s an even crazier thought: how about that money remain with its rightful owners… taxpaying U.S. citizens!

Come to think of it, maybe this isn’t so much a story about the harmful effects of illegal immigration. Maybe it’s about how utterly backwards our government is, from the Senate straight on down to the IRS.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Chelsea Clinton Sorta Sorry She Was Ever Born?

Sorry, Chelsea Clinton, but I’m going to have to call you out for talking without thinking. Again.

At the recent Women Deliver 2013 conference, held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, she took the stage to lament that her mom’s mother was born out of wedlock at a time when women “did not have access to services that are so crucial that Planned Parenthood helps provide.”


Earth to Chelsea Clinton…

The only service that Planned Parenthood could have provided back then that wasn’t already widely available is abortion.

So by pointing that out as a societal injustice or deficit, she’s essentially wishing that her grandmother hadn’t been born, that she’d been chopped up instead into tiny, bloody pieces inside her great-grandmother’s womb for convenience’s sake.

Naturally, if her grandmother was never born, then her mother wouldn’t have been around and could never have had Chelsea Clinton herself.

That simple logic apparently escaped both Ms. Clinton and whoever wrote her speech though.

Go figure.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

GOP Candidate Erika Harold Debacle Highlights the Stupidity of the Republican Party

I am getting so exceedingly annoyed with my own party members all across the board.

The latest example showcasing the widespread stupidity of the Republican Party is the case of Erika Harold, who won the Miss America title in 2003. Recently, she announced she’s running for Congress for Illinois’ 13th District against incumbent Rep. Rodney Davis in the Republican primary.

Along with being a former Miss America, it must be noted that Ms. Harold is African-American.

Now enter Montgomery County Republican Party Chairman Jim Allen, a Rodney Davis fan, who sent a letter to Republican News Watch, a local conservative news site. The letter was less than flattering, as evidenced by the snippet below:

“The little queen touts her abstinence, and she won the crown because she got bullied in school – boohoo, kids are cruel, life sucks and you move on. Now, Miss Queen is being used like a street walker, and her pimps are the DEMOCRAT PARTY and RINO Republicans.”

He also called her “the love child of the DNC” and made a snide reference to affirmative action.

From my limited understanding of Harold, I’m willing to say that she seems nice enough and she definitely did not deserve to be trash-talked like that. Yet some of the comments she made when she first announced her candidacy were needlessly liberal and did in fact indicate that she shared some beliefs commonly held by RINO Republicans… who are more often than not literal losers in elections and the fight to protect this nation.

So I’m fairly sure I wouldn’t vote for her in the primaries if I had the chance. I’m even more certain that her attacker, Jim Allen, is an idiot who needs to mind his temper and learn how to communicate his thoughts and feelings without resorting to juvenile name-calling.

But I’m also going to add that Republican News Watch Editor Doug Ibendahl isn’t the brightest crayon in the box either judging by his response to Allen’s idiocy. He opined that Allen’s rant is:

“… why we as Republicans fail to gain any respect from minority voters… If officials in my party fail to understand how destructive it is to attack an impressive person like Erika Harold merely because she dares to challenge the good old boys, the GOP will remain a losing party for decades. This stay-in the back-of-the-bus mentality destroys any hope the Republican Party has for regaining momentum in future elections.”

How does that make Ibendahl an idiot? Glad you asked.

It’s because he’s pulling definitions out of the Democrats’ playbook, assuming that his own party is filled with racist nitwits and that’s the reason why we can’t get elected. Yet he neglects to mention how that mentality works perfectly well for Democrats.

He also accepts the idea that the GOP keeps losing because we don’t pander enough, when our RHINO Republican pandering is responsible for failed run after failed run after failed run.

Between the three of them – Jim Allen, Erika Harold and Doug Ibendahl – I have to wonder if there’s any short-term hope for my party or the country at all.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Is Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” too “Rapey” or Just Another Sign of the Times?

I’m eclectic when it comes to my musical tastes (and my reading choices and my food penchants and my fashion likes and dislikes, etc., etc., etc.), so I’ll listen to a little of everything from show tunes to rap to country to pop to Christian to 80’s rock (Pour Some Sugar on Me, baby) to jazz. And I’ll admit that sometimes this means I get addicted to completely inappropriate songs.

Like Robin Thicke’s smash-hit “Blurred Lines,” which is insanely catchy and equally raunchy. Part of the oft-repeated chorus goes:

…I hate these blurred lines
I know you want it
I know you want it
I know you want it
But you’re a good girl…

Not exactly the classiest – or the most clever – lyrics ever, right? But critics are reading even worse things into it.

The Daily Beast questions whether it’s too “rapey.” And MSN gleefully expounds on that idea, saying “it’s a little odd [in the accompanying music video] that Thicke and his collaborators, T.I. and Pharrell, get to wear pants, shirts and even jackets while the objects of their desire (key word: ‘objects’) dance around with farm animals wearing nothing but flesh-toned thongs.”

It’s a little odd? Huh? What century is MSN living in? That’s the standard practice in music videos these days!

And The Daily Beast should consider checking out the lyrics to Katy Perry’s “E.T.,” which literally begs alien men to abduct and have their wicked way with her. Or Rihanna’s “S&M,” which advertises that she likes being tied up and whipped… especially interesting fetishes considering that she’s a black woman and the former victim of domestic abuse.

But we’re supposed to be especially appalled by Robin Thicke trying to convince a good girl to throw her morals aside?


Now none of that is to say that Thicke’s lyrics or video are in anyway conducive to societal bliss or mature relationships between the sexes. Because they’re not. They’re the (admittedly catchy) product of immature minds, and they show a ridiculous lack of respect for both women and men.

Yet it’s pathetic to jump down JUST Thicke’s throat when seduction and sensuality are today’s norm. The Daily Beast, MSN and any other critics intent on ripping JUST this song are more displaying their own lack of brain cells than bringing attention to Thicke’s obvious deficiencies.

Want to get offended over “Blurred Lines?” Be my guest since it really is offensive. All I ask for is some consistency… And please don’t read rape into things that clearly aren’t rape, as that doesn’t do anybody any good either.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Rapper Lil Wayne Tramples on American Flag in Blatant Show of Anti-Americanism

Sorry to get nasty (Ok. No. I’m really not), but when you’re as unattractive as rapper Lil Wayne, you should really work hard on your personality or your intelligence to compensate for your unsightly features, not try to be as ugly inside as you are out.

Yet that’s exactly what he’s done, adding blatant anti-Americanism to the long list of reasons why he’s utterly repulsive. Mind you, that’s hardly surprising considering the sexist, racist, violent material he regularly produces. Hating on his country in his upcoming single, “God Bless Amerika,” just seems like the next natural step to utter cretinism, which seems to be his goal in life.

The lyrics include:

My country ‘tis of thee
Sweet land of kill ‘em all and let ‘em die
God bless Amerika
This so godless Amerika

In the matching music video, he takes that anti-Americanism a step further by trampling on a full-sized American flag that’s been dropped onto the street.

Maybe somebody should tell Lil Wayne that he and people like him – the self-focused, grossly immature, godless, trashed-out celebrity types – are the reason why America is such an absolute mess today. Or let him know that this country, even with all of its faults and sins, has given him the opportunity to make something out of himself… even if he does choose to use that opportunity in all the wrong ways.

But again, that would require he spent more time trying to be something other than ugly. So maybe it would be a waste of time.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Chelsea Clinton Isn’t Thinking Straight

Chelsea Clinton says we need a woman in the White House:

“We need women who are at the head of a boardroom, like at the head of the White House, at the head of kind of major scientific enterprises so that little girls everywhere can then think: You know what? I can do that. I want to do that. I will do that.”

With all due respect to Chelsea Clinton, I’m getting really, really sick of that mode of thinking.

First off, we do have women in politics and business and positions of power. And guess what? They screw things up just as much as the men!

Putting a woman in the highest echelon of American politics isn’t going to make any positive change, any more than electing the first African American president or having a white man in office did.

What we need is people of integrity. Forget their gender. Forget their race.

Stop focusing on factors they had no control over and start paying attention to their decisions and their character.

This is not rocket science, people. All we need to do is think.

Thursday, June 13, 2013


IF THE GOP IS THIS STUPID, IT DESERVES TO DIE,” reads an Ann Coulter headline on her website,

Personally, I think she nails the whole entire Republican party’s problem right there – that it’s inexcusably stupid – but the actual article is well worth the read as well. In it, Coulter highlights newly released data from the 2012 presidential elections, and discusses the ongoing debate over illegal immigration/amnesty/whatever the usually level-headed but currently nonsensical Marco Rubio wants to call it these days.

I’ve copied and pasted the first half of the article. Click on the first or the following link to read the rest of it…

“Democrats terrify Hispanics into thinking they'll be lynched if they vote for Republicans, and then turn around and taunt Republicans for not winning a majority of the Hispanic vote.

“This line of attack has real resonance with our stupidest Republicans. (Proposed Republican primary targets: Sens. Kelly Ayotte, Jeff Flake, Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio.) Which explains why Republicans are devoting all their energy to slightly increasing their share of the Hispanic vote while alienating everyone else in America.

“It must be fun for liberals to manipulate Republicans into focusing on hopeless causes. Why don't Democrats waste their time trying to win the votes of gun owners?

“As journalist Steve Sailer recently pointed out, the Hispanic vote terrifying Republicans isn't that big. It actually declined in 2012. The Census Bureau finally released the real voter turnout numbers from the last election, and the Hispanic vote came in at only 8.4 percent of the electorate -- not the 10 percent claimed by the pro-amnesty crowd.

“The sleeping giant of the last election wasn't Hispanics; it was elderly black women, terrified of media claims that Republicans were trying to suppress the black vote and determined to keep the first African-American president in the White House.

“Contrary to everyone's expectations, 10 percent more blacks voted in 2012 compared to 2008, even beating white voters, the usual turnout champions. Eligible black voters turned out at rate of 66.2 percent, compared to 64.1 percent of eligible white voters. Only 48 percent of all eligible Hispanic voters went to the polls.

“No one saw this coming, which is probably why Gallup had Romney up by 5 points before Hurricane Sandy hit, and up by 1 point in its last pre-election poll after the hurricane.

“Only two groups voted in larger numbers in 2012 compared to 2008: blacks aged 45-64, and blacks over the age of 65 -- mostly elderly black women. 

“In raw numbers, nearly twice as many blacks voted as Hispanics, and nine times as many whites voted as Hispanics. (Ninety-eight million whites, 18 million blacks and 11 million Hispanics.)

“So, naturally, the Republican Party's entire battle plan going forward is to win slightly more votes from 8.4 percent of the electorate by giving them something they don't want…”

Continue Reading Ann Coulter’s article, “IF THE GOP IS THIS STUPID, IT DESERVES TO DIE.”

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

CBS News and a Bunch of Silly Twitterers Cry “Rape!” Over Microsoft Xbox One Demo

I don’t understand why we  have to get offended over non-offensive or trivial things but are simultaneously expected to ignore the big stuff that actually is dangerous and unacceptable.

CBS News, for instance, is running an article titled: E3 audience offended by “rape joke” at Microsoft Xbox One event. That headline caught my attention enough that I clicked on it, and I’ll admit that I was disgusted by what I read…

“Microsoft had a splashy showing of next-generation Xbox One hardware and games at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) on Monday that included Bill Gates, Steven Spielberg and ...a rape joke?

“During a demonstration of ‘Killer Instinct’ a male producer of the game was matched up against a woman, who appeared to be bad at playing video games…

“‘I can't even block correctly, and you're too fast,’ she says.

“‘Here we go. Just let it happen. It'll be over soon,’ he says.

“The audience laughs at the remark that many have been interpreted as a rape joke. The banter continues between the two, further adding fuel to the allegations that the joke mimicked a sexual assault scenario.

“‘You have a fight stick,’ she says.

“‘Wow, you like those,’ he says.

“‘No, I don't like this,’ she says.

“On Twitter, the audience reacted right away.

“‘Wow. This is really gross. Male overpowering a female in a game, so of course, rape joke. Good one, Msoft,’ @Vahn16 tweeted.

“‘Oh my god. One of the people just made a rape joke onstage and the audience actually liked it. That's sick,’ @IatosHaunted tweeted.

“‘Even if it was unintentional, Microsoft should've realized they shouldn't make a rape joke in an environment already toxic with misogyny,’ @stillgray tweeted.

“‘Let's bring a woman on stage and joke about how she's bad at games, and say stuff like ‘relax, just let it happen, it'll be over soon’??’ @Jonathan_Blow tweeted.”

It reads pretty darn damningly, right?

But always one to consider issues from more than one angle, I then turned to the accompanying video of said “rape joke.” And guess what? It wasn’t at all.

Put in context with gaming terminology, tone of voice, actions and pauses – and the fact that said “rape victim” went on in the next match-up to beat her previous “rapist” handily – the demo wasn’t offensive at all and therefore not newsworthy anywhere outside of gaming sites and publications.

This leads me to beg people to get a life and start worrying about things that actually matter.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A Lot of Stupid Stuff Going on in America

Here are three examples of how ridiculous this formerly great nation of ours is becoming:

·         An elementary school in California is doing a toy gun buyback program since “Playing with toy guns, saying ‘I’m going to shoot you,’ desensitizes them, so as they get older, it’s easier for them to use a real gun,” according to Principle Charles Hill.
·         The IRS told a Texas pregnancy and presumably pro-life counseling service that it wasn’t allowed to “force your religion or force your beliefs on somebody else… You can’t take all kinds of confrontation activities and also put something on a website and ask people to take action against the abortion clinic. That’s not, that’s not really educational.”
·         The U.S. Air Force is making it difficult if not impossible for its rank and file to read anything about the Obama scandals. The official, documented reason given is that “the action could constitute a Classified Message Incident.”

This isn’t looking good, guys…

Monday, June 10, 2013

NSA Whistleblower, Edward Snowden, Explains His Motivations

Today, I’m merely going to link to an article, yet another exposé from the UK’s Guardian about the NSA, the PRISM program that allows it to spy on whomever it wants to whenever it wants and – in many ways – however it wants to, and the total disregard for privacy America now faces at the hands of its own government.

This time, The Guardian is directly interviewing its inside informant and whistleblower, Edward Snowden, who was working for that government up until he decided to go rouge.

I’ll warn you that some of his answers are difficult and some of them I flat-out disagree with. But I believe it’s nevertheless important to hear him out.

After all, he risked a heck of a lot to inform America about what’s really going on with the nanny-stating, disingenuous, opposite-of-helpful, over-bloated government of ours that seems to be moving ever closer to an Orwellian, 1984-style dystopia.

So without further ado, here’s the link. Click on it if you dare…

Friday, June 7, 2013

Meet the NSA’s PRISM Program That Allows It to Access All of Your Internet Activity

Forget the Verizon phone records. That’s old news already thanks to the NSA’s ability to snoop on any old American citizen’s Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Skype and Yahoo activity.

Once again, the UK’s Guardian has the scoop. And I have the cliffnotes:

·         Through a previously undisclosed hacking program called PRISM, the NSA can directly access Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Skype, Yahoo, etc., accounts. Secure login information can’t stop it either, since the agency is actually accessing these tech giants’ systems to spy on everybody.
·         PRISM allows the NSA to gather everything from search history to emails to file transfers and live chats. According to The Guardian, PRISM gives “in-depth surveillance on live communications and stored information. The law allows for the targeting of any customers of participating firms who live outside the US, or those Americans whose communications include people outside the US. It also opens the possibility of communications made entirely within the US being collected without warrants.”
·         Also according to The Guardian, Microsoft was the first to hop on board the bandwagon in 2007. Yahoo followed suit in 2008. Up next were Google, Facebook and PalTalk the next year. YouTube came on board in 2010, Skype and AOL in 2011, and Apple forked over its customers on a silver platter in 2012. More are expected going forward.
·         The NSA says that it has Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Skype, Yahoo, et al’s permission to invade their web space. Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Skype, Yahoo, et al say that’s a lie. Since most of them are happily snuggled up in Obama’s bed, I’m not willing to rule them out as innocent victims at this time.
·         President Bush was originally the one to grant the NSA intrusive access through changes to U.S. surveillance law. Obama then renewed it late last year.
·         When it was first established, the Bush law allegedly made the NSA accountable to these tech companies. The government wasn’t legally allowed to access electronic communications without proper consent. But PRISM creates a convenient backdoor for the NSA to slip through without permission.
·         “A chart prepared by the NSA,” the article reads, “contained within the top-secret document obtained by the Guardian, underscores the breadth of the data [PRISM] is able to obtain: email, video and voice chat, videos, photos, voice-over-IP (Skype, for example) chats, file transfers, social networking details, and more... [It] allows the NSA, the world's largest surveillance organisation, to obtain targeted communications without having to request them from the service providers and without having to obtain individual court orders.”
·         As Jameel Jaffer, director of the ACLU’s Center for Democracy, stated, “It’s shocking enough just that the NSA is asking companies to do this. The NSA is part of the military. The military has been granted unprecedented access to civilian communications. This is unprecedented militarization of domestic communications infrastructure.”

Think the Obama administration is allowing all of this for your own good to protect us all? Read yesterday’s blog… and then think again.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

President Obama Produces Court Order for Verizon to Deliver Customer Phone Records

President Obama is caught up in yet another scandal, this time to do with Verizon… and more First Amendment violations.

On top of the IRS targeting conservative groups, the Benghazi botch-up and following cover-up, and the Justice Department wiretapping the Associated Press, now we’re learning that the Obama administration is collecting telephone records on millions of non-media members as well.

The UK’s Guardian somehow acquired access to a secret court order demanding that Verizon hand over reams of customer call records to the federal government. Then the newspaper published its findings for all the world to see.

Now, according to some senior Obama administration official, the court order only pertained to telephone numbers, call lengths, etc., not callers identities or the content of their conversations.

Uh-huh. Sure.

But let’s deactivate all brain cells for a minute and say we believe him and his abhorrent boss. Even in that case, the next statement from the same unnamed official is absurd and insulting:

This information is “a critical tool in protecting the nation from terrorist threats to the United States. It allows counter terrorism personnel to discover whether known or suspected terrorists have been in contact with other persons who may be engaged in terrorist activities, particularly people located inside the United States.”

Terrorist threats like the Boston Marathon bombing attack?

Terrorist threats like what happened in Benghazi, Libya where our embassy was sieged, our ambassador killed and three other Americans literally left for dead as well?

Terrorist threats like the Time Square Bomber, who set a bomb in New York City, which would have gone off if not for some alert, regular, everyday citizens whose phone records might even now be in the hands of the incompetent, immature, hostile federal government?

Terrorist threats like the Underwear Bomber who made it successfully past TSA and onto the flight he planned to blow up? Terrorist threats like the Fort Hood shooter? Or the Little Rock recruiting office shooter?

Clearly, the Obama administration’s is failing miserably in protecting us against terrorist threats.

I might be able to excuse the First Amendment violation if A) Obama actually cared about this country and B) he was actually protecting it. But it’s over-the-top obvious that he and his minions are power-abusing, anti-American dictator-wannabes with delusions of godhood.

So nope. Sorry. That excuse flies as well as a dead horse six feet under. (i.e. not at all.)

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

What I Read in Proverbs and “The Road to Serfdom” This Morning

This morning was one of those mornings where everything seemed to point in a very specific direction at a very specific message.

For example, I came across three verses in Proverbs 14 while reading my Bible, which read:

·         There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death. (v. 12)
·         The simple believe anything, but the prudent give thought to their steps. (v. 14)
·         The simple inherit folly, but the prudent are crowned with knowledge. (v. 18)

That was just after I finished reading over several paragraphs from Chapter 15 of F. A. Hayek’s “The Road to Serfdom.” Here’s my paraphrase of what he wrote all those years ago, while WWII was still raging on thanks to the intellectual and ethical ravages of socialism (italicized lines are direct quotes):

After everything already said, it should be obvious that government won’t stop at merely controlling economic activity. Believing otherwise rests on the myth that an economy is merely a technical, logical and uncomplicated matter that can be run with only the kind of intellect and education necessary to get elected. Even if it could be strictly limited to one portion of the economy, because it doesn’t answer to anybody, any international power could easily become irresponsible and downright dictatorial. For example, if it merely ran air transport, it could influence countless other sectors based on “technical necessities” that nobody else could question. Or it could justify taking more control based on genuine or insincere humanitarian arguments about who it could help if it just had the power to do so. In other words, managing that kind of power is all but impossible…

Those proposals might sound safe at first listen, but one brief, serious consideration exposes their appalling political difficulties and moral dangers. So many people think our future economy depends on establishing almighty rulers over raw materials markets like gasoline, timber, rubber and tin. Yet that means giving certain people complete control to command entire industries and even countries. Every decision they make about who gets what and for how much would simultaneously mean that some country could or couldn’t do certain kinds of businesses. For instance, while one “protects” his friends’ and confidants’ standard of living, he automatically robs numerous others of a chance to advance their economic situations. And those others might be the poorest of the poor with no other place to turn for improvement. With basic commodities controlled by men or groups with the power to veto any suggestions they don’t like, no new businesses could emerge spontaneously, and therefore progress becomes much less likely… This… takes the power of investment and innovation from individuals and gives it to politicians.

Americans are repeatedly told that government interference is good and necessary. And too many opt to be “simple,” “believe anything” and not give another honest “thought to their steps.”

As the Bible cautions, 20th century Germany proved and today’s western world reconfirms, this way we’re headed might look nice at first glance. But the view down the road is never so pretty.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Big Business Crony Capitalist Competition: George W. Bush v. Barack Obama

Let’s compare former President George W. Bush’s alleged big business bias and crony capitalist accusations with those of current President Barack Obama. To do so, please consider the following news story from The New York Times, paying special attention to the last paragraph:

“Since the American-led invasion of 2003, Iraq has become one of the world’s top oil producers, and China is now its biggest customer.

“China already buys nearly half the oil that Iraq produces, nearly 1.5 million barrels a day…

“‘The Chinese are the biggest beneficiary of this post-Saddam oil boom in Iraq,’ said Denise Natali, a Middle East expert at the National Defense University in Washington. ‘They need energy, and they want to get into the market.’

“Before the invasion, Iraq’s oil industry was sputtering, largely walled off from world markets by international sanctions against the government of Saddam Hussein, so his overthrow always carried the promise of renewed access to the country’s immense reserves. Chinese state-owned companies seized the opportunity, pouring more than $2 billion a year and hundreds of workers into Iraq, and just as important, showing a willingness to play by the new Iraqi government’s rules and to accept lower profits to win contracts.

“‘We lost out,’ said Michael Makovsky, a former Defense Department official in the Bush administration who worked on Iraq oil policy. ‘The Chinese had nothing to do with the war, but from an economic standpoint they are benefiting from it, and our Fifth Fleet and air forces are helping to assure their supply.’”

Remember now: this is Iraq we’re talking about, the country that the evil mastermind George W. Bush and his oil-baron Vice President, Dick Cheney, supposedly invaded for its oil alone. Ponder that carefully before moving on to an article from the Washington Examiner about President Obama

“Washington’s think tanks often serve as incubators for administrations-in-waiting. Leave the White House when Democrats take over, spend four or eight years waiting at Heritage or American Enterprise Institute. Lose your Treasury job thanks to a Republican winning, sit tight at Brookings. Sure enough, Obama found a ton of appointees among the ranks of the Center for American Progress, and at least a few have left the Obama administration for CAP.

“But it seems the Obama administration also swaps staff with Google.

“Bloomberg reports that Obama 2012′s data team has moved to Google. But it’s not a buyout out of nowhere. Google CEO Eric Schmidt was part of the Obama campaign all along, according to this Bloomberg story:

“‘During the 2012 campaign, Barack Obama’s reelection team had an underappreciated asset: Google’s executive chairman, Eric Schmidt. He helped recruit talent, choose technology, and coach the campaign manager, Jim Messina, on the finer points of leading a large organization. ‘On election night he was in our boiler room in Chicago,’ says David Plouffe, then a senior White House adviser…’

“This may surprise you if you believed Obama’s campaign rhetoric about him fighting against big business and wealthy executives. But the Google-Obama alliance is long-lasting and intimate.”

Isn't it interesting that Bush/Cheney's big oil didn't profit all that much from the Iraq War, yet big tech – which had been paying next to nothing in taxes, incidentally – is benefiting so greatly under Obama?

It seems safe to conclude then that Bush was either far too incompetent to pull off an international intrigue the size of the Iraq War, getting Congress and other nations on board as he did… or it wasn’t really ever about oil in the first place.

As for the Obama story, well, he’s been a crony capitalist’s best friend all along, snuggling up in bed with General Electric and General Motors, among others since the very beginning. So this isn’t really news at all.

It’s also not difficult to figure out that Bush loses this round to Obama. In a landslide.

Monday, June 3, 2013

The IRS Gets $50 Million in Cushy Conferences; Our Marines Have Hot Meals Revoked

Between 2010 and 2012, when it wasn’t targeting conservative groups and actively, purposely trying to make their lives miserable, the IRS was apparently busy holding conferences for its employees.

An inspector general’s report indicates that there were at least 220 such seminars during those three years that cost taxpayers around $50 million.

Again, that’s $50 million set aside specifically for IRS conferences alone. Not salaries, not expenses, not bonuses. Just conferences. For the blood-sucking vampires at the Internal Revenue Service.

Knowing that, it shouldn’t seem all that surprising that we didn’t budget well enough to properly take care of our Marines in Afghanistan this year.

At Camp Leatherneck, located in the southwestern part of the country near Iran and Pakistan – a trifecta of hostility – Marines working midnight to noon or noon to midnight shifts used to be able to count on a hot breakfast or late dinner. But that’s being cut and they’ll only be given prepackaged meals during that period from now on.

The official excuse seems to be that there aren’t enough Marines left there to justify the expense, since bases are being closed and soldiers are being brought back home at a fast pace these days. Yet doesn’t that mean the remaining military men and women are working harder to fill in the inevitable resulting gaps?

If we’re that hard up as a country that we can’t properly take care of our freedom-fighting soldiers, then why in the world are we pampering our evil agents of taxation and misrepresentation?

Never mind. Don’t answer that.