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WillyT's Journal
WillyT's Journal
December 31, 2013

Home Depot Founder Worries Pope Francis Neither Loves Nor Understands Rich Americans - RawStory

Home Depot founder worries Pope Francis neither loves nor understands rich Americans
By Scott Kaufman - HuffPo
Monday, December 30, 2013 22:39 EST


In an interview on CNBC on Monday, Home Depot founder and devout Catholic Ken Langone said that the Pope’s statements about capitalism have left many potential “capitalist benefactors” wary of donating to the Church or its fundraising projects.

According to Langone, an anonymous, “potential seven-figure donor” for the Church’s restoration of St. Patrick’s Cathedral is concerned that the Pope’s criticism of capitalism are “exclusionary,” especially his statements about the “culture of prosperity” leading to the wealthy being “incapable of feeling compassion for the poor.”

Langone said he’s raised this issue with Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who yesterday praised Pope Francis for “shattering the caricature of the Church.”

“I’ve told the Cardinal,” Langone said, “‘Your Eminence, this is one more hurdle I hope we don’t have to deal with. You want to be careful about generalities. Rich people in one country don’t act the same as rich people in another country.’”


More: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/12/30/home-depot-founder-worries-pope-francis-neither-loves-or-understands-rich-americans/

December 31, 2013

Sheila Bairís Graph Of The Year: For Many Americans, Thereís Been No Recovery At All - WaPO

Sheila Bair’s graph of the year: For many Americans, there’s been no recovery at all
By Wonkblog/WaPo
December 30 at 11:03 am


This chart, drawn from a report by the Sentier Research Group, shows that for a large number of American households, there has been no economic recovery. Caught in a vice of chronic unemployment and falling wages, real median household income (excluding capital gains and losses but including cash government benefits) has declined 4.4% since the “recovery” began in 2009. For many households, the drop has been more severe. For African-American households, it is 10.9%. For those under 25 years old, it is 9.6%. For single females with children, it is 7.5%. Indeed, the only households to experience an increase in real income are those 65 to 74 years old.

So as the investor class celebrates the stock market’s bubbly 25% gain in 2013 courtesy of quantitative easing, let’s not forget the plight of those Americans who work for a living. And in 2014, let’s face up to the ineffectiveness of monetary policy to help them and the desperate need for fiscal leadership to generate real, sustainable growth.


Link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/12/30/sheila-bairs-graph-of-the-year-for-many-americans-theres-been-no-recovery-at-all/

December 31, 2013

Getting Even More Interesting - 'Ex-NSA Chief (Hayden) Calls For Obama To Reject Recommendations'

Ex-NSA chief calls for Obama to reject recommendations
Susan Page, USA TODAY
4:43 p.m. EST December 30, 2013


WASHINGTON — Retired general Michael Hayden, former director of the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency, called on President Obama Monday to show "some political courage" and reject many of the recommendations of the commission he appointed to rein in NSA surveillance operations.

"President Obama now has the burden of simply doing the right thing," Hayden told USA TODAY's Capital Download. "And I think some of the right things with regard to the commission's recommendations are not the popular things. They may not poll real well right now. They'll poll damn well after the next attack, all right?"

Obama, who received the report from the five-member advisory committee just before he left to vacation in Hawaii, has promised to make "a pretty definitive statement" in January about its 46 recommendations. He appointed the panel in the wake of a firestorm over disclosures by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden about surveillance of all Americans' telephone calls and spying on German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other friendly foreign leaders.

The commission, led by former acting CIA director Michael Morell, said the recommendations were designed to increase transparency, accountability and oversight at the NSA.

Hayden, who headed the super-secret agency from 1999 to 2005, oversaw the launch of some of the controversial programs after the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington in 2001. He defended them as effective and properly overseen by congressional intelligence committees and a special court.


Link (w/Video): http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2013/12/30/gen-michael-hayden-urges-obama-reject-nsa-commission-recommendations/4249983/

December 30, 2013

Would NSA Surveillance Have Stopped 9/11 Plot? - Peter Bergen, CNN National Security Analyst

Would NSA surveillance have stopped 9/11 plot?
By Peter Bergen, CNN National Security Analyst
updated 10:19 AM EST, Mon December 30, 2013


(CNN) -- The Obama administration has framed its defense of the controversial bulk collection of all American phone records as necessary to prevent a future 9/11.

During a House Intelligence Committee hearing on June 18, NSA director Gen. Keith Alexander said, "Let me start by saying that I would much rather be here today debating this point than trying to explain how we failed to prevent another 9/11."

This closely mirrors talking points by the National Security Agency about how to defend the program.

In the talking points, NSA officials are encouraged to use "sound bites that resonate," specifically, "I much prefer to be here today explain these programs, than explaining another 9/11 event that we were not able to prevent."

On Friday in New York, Judge William H. Pauley III ruled that NSA's bulk collection of American telephone records is lawful. He cited Alexander's testimony and quoted him saying, "We couldn't connect the dots because we didn't have the dots."

But is it really the case that the U.S. intelligence community didn't have the dots in the lead up to 9/11? Hardly. In fact, the intelligence community provided repeated strategic warning in the summer of 9/11...


More: http://www.cnn.com/2013/12/30/opinion/bergen-nsa-surveillance-september-11/

December 30, 2013

NSA Diverted Computers And Laptops From Shipping Facilities To Install Spyware - RawStory

NSA diverted computers and laptops from shipping facilities to install spyware
By Scott Kaufman - RawStory
Sunday, December 29, 2013 14:39 EST


Der Spiegel reported on Sunday that the NSA’s “Tailored Access Operations” (TAO) has been diverting desktops and laptops shipped to U.S. consumers and installing spyware on them.

According to the report, the process, which TAO calls “interdiction,” involves intercepting packages on their way from manufacturers like Dell, Cisco, and Seagate, and installing bugs or spyware on them at a “secret workshop.”

The packages are then reintroduced into the delivery pipeline and arrive at their destination without the consumer ever realizing their machine has been compromised.

When contacted by Der Spiegel, Cisco senior vice president John Stewart said that his company is “deeply concerned with anything that may impact the integrity of our products or our customers’ networks,” and that Cisco does “not work with any government to weaken our products for exploitation.”

Unlike most NSA operations, which rely on remote access to targeted computers and networks, the TAO’s programs offer unprecedented physical access.


More: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/12/29/nsa-diverted-computers-and-laptops-from-shipping-facilities-to-install-spyware/

December 29, 2013

:( ::::::::::::::::::::::::::

18-year-old girl finds hope while battling cancer
KCRA - UPDATED 1:54 PM PST Dec 13, 2013

Link: http://www.kcra.com/page/search/htv-sac/news/18-year-old-girl-finds-hope-while-battling-cancer/-/11797728/23475746/-/rr5eamz/-/index.html

Her site: The Not-Dying Girl

Link: http://thenotdyinggirl.com/

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