• Pragerisms

    For a more comprehensive list of Pragerisms visit
    Dennis Prager Wisdom.

    • "The left is far more interested in gaining power than in creating wealth."
    • "Without wisdom, goodness is worthless."
    • "I prefer clarity to agreement."
    • "First tell the truth, then state your opinion."
    • "Being on the Left means never having to say you're sorry."
    • "If you don't fight evil, you fight gobal warming."
    • "There are things that are so dumb, you have to learn them."
  • Liberalism’s Seven Deadly Sins

    • Sexism
    • Intolerance
    • Xenophobia
    • Racism
    • Islamophobia
    • Bigotry
    • Homophobia

    A liberal need only accuse you of one of the above in order to end all discussion and excuse himself from further elucidation of his position.

  • Glenn’s Reading List for Die-Hard Pragerites

    • Bolton, John - Surrender is not an Option
    • Bruce, Tammy - The Thought Police; The New American Revolution; The Death of Right and Wrong
    • Charen, Mona - DoGooders:How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help
    • Coulter, Ann - If Democrats Had Any Brains, They'd Be Republicans; Slander
    • Dalrymple, Theodore - In Praise of Prejudice; Our Culture, What's Left of It
    • Doyle, William - Inside the Oval Office
    • Elder, Larry - Stupid Black Men: How to Play the Race Card--and Lose
    • Frankl, Victor - Man's Search for Meaning
    • Flynn, Daniel - Intellectual Morons
    • Fund, John - Stealing Elections
    • Friedman, George - America's Secret War
    • Goldberg, Bernard - Bias; Arrogance
    • Goldberg, Jonah - Liberal Fascism
    • Herson, James - Tales from the Left Coast
    • Horowitz, David - Left Illusions; The Professors
    • Klein, Edward - The Truth about Hillary
    • Mnookin, Seth - Hard News: Twenty-one Brutal Months at The New York Times and How They Changed the American Media
    • Morris, Dick - Because He Could; Rewriting History
    • O'Beirne, Kate - Women Who Make the World Worse
    • Olson, Barbara - The Final Days: The Last, Desperate Abuses of Power by the Clinton White House
    • O'Neill, John - Unfit For Command
    • Piereson, James - Camelot and the Cultural Revolution: How the Assassination of John F. Kennedy Shattered American Liberalism
    • Prager, Dennis - Think A Second Time
    • Sharansky, Natan - The Case for Democracy
    • Stein, Ben - Can America Survive? The Rage of the Left, the Truth, and What to Do About It
    • Steyn, Mark - America Alone
    • Stephanopolous, George - All Too Human
    • Thomas, Clarence - My Grandfather's Son
    • Timmerman, Kenneth - Shadow Warriors
    • Williams, Juan - Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America--and What We Can Do About It
    • Wright, Lawrence - The Looming Tower

“States Warned of $2,000,000,000,000 Pensions Shortfall!”……..

………so the headline runs at Financial Times, in an article by Nicole Bullock:

“The severe US economic recession has cast a spotlight on years of fiscal mismanagement, including chronic underfunding of retirement promises.

“States face cost pressure, most prominently from retirement benefits and Medicaid [the health programme for the poor],” Orin Kramer told the Financial Times.

“One consequence is that asset sales and privatisation will pick up. The very unfortunate consequence is that various safety nets for the most vulnerable citizens will be cut back.”

Mr Kramer, an influential figure in the Democratic party and still a member of the investment council that oversees the New Jersey pension fund, has been an outspoken critic of public pension accounting, which allows for the averaging of investment gains and losses over a number of years through a process called “smoothing”.

Using data from the states, the Pew Center on the States, a research group, has estimated a funding gap for pension, healthcare and other non-pension benefits, such as life assurance, of at least $1,000 billion as of the end of fiscal 2008.

Chris Christie, the Republican governor of New Jersey, said in his state of the state speech last week that, without reform, the unfunded liability of the state’s pension system would rise from $54 billion now to $183 billion within 30 years.

 Mr Kramer’s estimates are based on the assets and liabilities of the top 25 public pension funds at the end of 2010. The gap has risen from an estimate of more than $2,000 billion at the end of 2009.

He also used a market rate analysis based on the accounting used by corporate pension funds rather than the 8 percent rate of return that most public funds use in calculations. Pension liabilities are not included in state and local government debt figures.

Concerns about the financial health of local governments have sparked warnings of a rise in defaults for cities and towns and a sell-off in the $3,000 billion municipal bond market where they raise money.

Last week, the interest rate on 30-year top rated municipal debt rose above 5 percent for the first time in about two years.

Amid the volatility, New Jersey had to cut the size of a planned bond sale. Although Mr Kramer said some local governments would experience “severe strain”, he did not foresee mass defaults.

“I don’t assume that you will have that level of defaults just because there are various remedies, including asset sales, that you can engage before you have to default,” he said.

“States have an interest in their major municipalities not defaulting.”

The state of Pennsylvania, for example, last year advanced money to Harrisburg, its capital, so that the cash-strapped city could avoid a default on its general obligation bonds.

In February, Illinois, which is facing an unfunded pension obligation of at least $80 billion, plans to sell $3.7 billion of bonds to pay for its annual contribution.”

Conservatives Must Determine Policy by First Addressing the Question: Is It Good for the Country?

John Hinderaker at PowerLine wrote the following article with the poll data chart.   The headline runs thusly:  “GOP: Don’t Back Down….. The Voters are With You!”

And so he writes:   “Congressional Republicans arrived in Washington with a mandate from voters to shake things up. While compromise is inevitable, given that the Democrats control the Senate and the White House, Republicans should do all they can to sharpen the differences between themselves and the Dems. They should be encouraged to stand their ground by today’s poll data indicating that likely voters trust Republicans over Democrats on every key issue, often by stunning margins–nine points on the economy, fourteen on health care, ten on Social Security (!), fifteen on national security, nineteen on taxes.

It is not hard to see where the Democrats’ enthusiasm for “bipartisanship” comes from. In the end, compromise will be necessary on most issues. But Republicans nevertheless should press their positions hard and with clarity, so that voters can see that Republicans are doing everything they can to fulfill their campaign promises.

Comment:   These were the items listed on the  poll data:  Economy, Health Care, Education, Immigration, Social Security, Afghanistan, National Security, and Taxes.

The world has changed much over the past 40 years dividing  conservatives such as John Hinderaker from neocons of my American era.   

Consider  political polls.   Mr. Hinderaker, bless his conservative soul, is a modern conservative, a ‘now’ conservative valuing  the polls of the ‘now’ generation……a conservative from a  poorly grounded, poorly educated, poorly read, poorly led narcissistic generation, surrounded by those  blissfully unaware of the human past.

It is this poorly everything  generation, except for ersatz self esteem, noise and sex making,  that went to college and learned it was ‘learned’  to be poorly educated, poorly read, fickled and ungrounded,  loaded with strange values and a worrisome tomorrow.  A drugged culture, a generation without soul and core.  A generation led  by the hate-America Left………. 

………. the generation Mr. Hinderaker and so many conservatives had to endure for most of their lives……especially at university.

This gave American conservatives    Barach Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, MSNBC, NPR, Charlie Schumer, John F. Kerry, ACORN, Barney Frank, the Climate Change flakes, the New York Times, Newsweek, and the neighborhood schools and universities, the Harvards and its  millions of dollars from Saudi Arabia……..creating the  countless  two leggeds  who legislate  equality so one cannot have easier access to  aspirin more than another, a lightbulb brighter than another, and who deserves a transplant of something more  than another…..all to be done by computer impartiality except for those who are willing to expect favors to be  shoveled  under the table, the inevitable in any State autocracy founded on State run equality.

Barach  Obama is popular by the polls at the moment.   He is the same Barach Obama, the  architect of the Marxist State grab for the  country’s health industry, who grabbed most of the American auto industry to guarantee love and adoration votes from his labor unions.  He is the same Barach  Hussein Obama who spent twenty two years at  Jeremiah’s “Goddamn America” parish in Chicago and cozied with terrorist Bill Ayers, and ACORN of  Chicago.

I am a conservative to lefty to conservative by learning and experience.   There were duplicitous  presidents as Barach Obama, no such universities as today’s Harvard, no such Marxism hovering over our American neighborhoods.   There was family, country, occupation and Church with deeper roots and values creating a more stable, reliable, democratic citizenry…….one not persuaded by the shallows of the every day political pollsters.

Conservatives must teach the classic conservative values from our American and Western cultural  past, which gave our country its core for  greatness.   Had this been done over the past two generations, our America would not be facing the internal and external dangers that is does today.  

First on the agenda would should cry out  the question, What is good for the country?

True American, Ed Koch, Writes about Sarah Palin and Her Enemies

I admit it.  Ed Koch is one of my favorite Americans.   Ever during and since his time as mayor of New York City, I viewed him as an American before he was nearly anthing else besides being himself.

What a wonderful quality and rare devotion these days.   Republicans appear numb on this matter.   Democrats, being Marxist in leadership as they have become, are so hateful of the America they’ve been programmed to understand, they sneak around covering their Marxist garb to sabotage our  freedoms and those who defend them.

Ed Koch writes the following article at RealClearPolitics regarding the fevers of our American days this past week.  Its title is, “Palin Holds High Ground Over Harsh and Unfair Critics.”

Mayor Koch:    “As I see it, in the current battle for public opinion Sarah Palin has defeated her harsh and unfair critics.

After the January 8 shooting of U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords and the murder of six others in Tucson, Arizona, some television talking heads and members of the blogosphere denounced her and held her in part responsible for creating a climate of hatred that resulted in the mass attacks.

An example is Joe Scarborough and his crew on the “Morning Joe” show, which I watch and generally enjoy every morning at 6:30 a.m. when I rise to start the day. Because Palin designated Congresswoman Giffords and others for defeat in the November elections by the use of crosshairs on website maps of the Congressional districts, they blamed Palin for creating an atmosphere that caused Jared Loughner (whom everyone now recognizes as being mentally disturbed) to embark on the shooting and killing spree.

Then reason set in, led by President Obama in his now famous and widely-lauded speech in Tucson bringing the country together. Most commentators did an about-face, recognizing that the lack of civility in both speech and actions by politicians, particularly in Washington, were not the cause of the shootings. A friend of the shooter said he had no interest in politics or talk radio. Insanity was the cause of his vicious acts, not political rhetoric.

While the charge of responsibility against Palin was dropped, the Scarborough crew continued to assail her for defending herself on her website where she stated that she had been the subject of a blood libel. Her critics were incensed that she should use the term “blood libel.” That was the description given by Jews to the charge of Christian clergy who falsely accused Jews of killing Christian children in order to make matzos (unleavened bread) during the Passover holiday. That libelous accusation was intended by those using it to cause pogroms that killed and injured thousands of Jews. It started in the early centuries A.D. and continues to date, according to Wikipedia. That same charge – blood libel – is now repeated by the media in Arab countries to stir up the anger of the Arab street against the Jews in Israel. The libel continues to do damage.

Today the phrase “blood libel” can be used to describe any monstrous defamation against any person, Jew or non-Jew. It was used by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon when he was falsely accused of permitting the Lebanese Christian militia to kill hundreds of defenseless and innocent Muslim men, women and children in Lebanese refugee camps. The killings were monstrous and indefensible revenge for earlier killings by Muslims of innocent Christian civilians.

Time Magazine published a story implying that Sharon was directly responsible for the massacres. He sued the magazine. At trial it was determined that the magazine story included false allegations, but since Sharon was a public figure, he received no monetary damages.

How dare Sarah Palin, cried the commentators, use that phrase to describe the criticism of her by those who blamed her for creating the atmosphere that set Loughner off in his murderous madness. Some took the position that it proved their ongoing charges that she is not an intelligent person and probably did not know what the phrase meant historically. In my opinion, she was right to denounce her critics and use blood libel to describe the unfair criticism that she had been subject to.

Here are excerpts from her statement:

“Like millions of Americans I learned of the tragic events in Arizona on Saturday, and my heart broke for the innocent victims. No words can fill the hole left by the death of an innocent, but we do mourn for the victims’ families as we express our sympathy.””Like many, I’ve spent the past few days reflecting on what happened and praying for guidance. After this shocking tragedy, I listened at first puzzled, then with concern, and now with sadness, to the irresponsible statements from people attempting to apportion blame for this terrible event.”

“Vigorous and spirited public debates during elections are among our most cherished traditions. And after the election, we shake hands and get back to work, and often both sides find common ground back in D.C. and elsewhere. If you don’t like a person’s vision for the country, you’re free to debate that vision. If you don’t like their ideas, you’re free to propose better ideas. But, especially within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible.”

“As I said while campaigning for others last March in Arizona during a very heated primary race, ‘We know violence isn’t the answer. When we take up our arms, we’re talking about our vote.’ Yes, our debates are full of passion, but we settle our political differences respectfully at the ballot box – as we did just two months ago, and as our Republic enables us to do again in the next election, and the next. That’s who we are as Americans and how we were meant to be. Public discourse and debate isn’t a sign of crisis, but of our enduring strength. It is part of why America is exceptional.”

Why do I defend Palin in this case? I don’t agree with her political philosophy: She is an arch conservative. I am a liberal with sanity. I know that I am setting myself up for attack when I ask, why did Emile Zola defend Dreyfus? Palin is no Dreyfus and I am certainly no Zola. But all of us have an obligation, particularly those in politics and public office, to denounce, when we can, the perpetrators of horrendous libels and stand up for those falsely charged. We should denounce unfair, false and wicked charges not only when they are made against ourselves, our friends or our political party but against those with whom we disagree. If we are to truly change the poisonous political atmosphere that we all complain of, including those who create it, we should speak up for fairness when we can.

In the 2008 presidential race when Sarah Palin’s name was first offered to the public by John McCain as his running mate, I said at the time that she “scared the hell out of me.” My reference was to the content of her remarks, not to her power to persuade voters.

It was McCain who lost the presidential election, not Palin. Since that time she has established that she has enormous power to persuade people. A self-made woman who rose from PTA mother to Governor of Alaska, she is one of the few speakers in public life who can fill a stadium. Her books are enormous successes. Her television program about Alaska has been a critical and economic success. When Sarah Palin addresses audiences, they rise to their feet in support and applause. She is without question a major leader of the far right faction in the Republican Party and its ally the Tea Party.

I repeat my earlier comment that she “scares the hell out of me.” Nevertheless, she is entitled to fair and respectful treatment. The fools in politics today in both parties are those who think she is dumb. I’ve never met her, but I’ve always thought that she is highly intelligent but not knowledgeable in many areas and politically uninformed. I don’t believe she will run for president in 2012 or that she would be elected if she did. But I do believe she is equal in ability to many of those in the Republican Party seeking that office.

Many women understand what she has done for their cause. She will not be silenced nor will she leave the heavy lifts to the men in her Party. She will not be falsely charged, remain silent, and look for others – men – to defend her. She is plucky and unafraid.

While I disagree with her and I am prepared to oppose her politically, in the spirit of longed-for civility I say, Ms. Palin you are in a certain sense an example of the American dream: You have the courage to stand up and present your vision of America to its people. Your strength and lack of fear make America stronger and are examples to be emulated by girls and boys, men and women who are themselves afraid to speak up. You provide the example that they need for self-assurance.

Ed Koch is the former Mayor of New York City.

Mark Steyn Remembered the Muslim, “Crescent of Embrace” Flight 93 ReHighjacking

Remember the  Muslim Mosque and Center at Ground Zero Islamists were  demanding to build?   Critics were appalled at the crassness of Aggressive Islamists  to demand placing its Victory Sign at the sight where Jihadist terrorists had murdered nearly 3,000 , mostly Americans, September 11,2001.  It was to be called Cordoba House, as a  historic sign of  muslim Arab  victory.  

The demand to build  Cordoba House as a victory ground reminded Mark Steyn of  the strange appearance of  a similar  muslim Victory Sign  in the fields of Pennsylvania where the  hijacked American Airlines Liner 93  had crashed  on that same fateful day when the World Towers were attacked as part of Osama Bin Laden’s Muslim Jihadist War against America…….”The Crescent of Embrace.”

 Article is from Steynonline, posted by Mark Steyn:

The Crescent Of Embrace
from The Irish Times, September 12th 2005

At 9.58am Eastern time, Tuesday September 11th 2001, United Airlines Flight 93 crashed in a field in Pennsylvania.


As UPI’s Jim Bennett wrote, “The Era of Osama lasted about an hour and a half or so, from the time the first plane hit the tower to the moment the General Militia of Flight 93 reported for duty.”

Exactly right. Six decades earlier, the American people had to wait four months between Pearl Harbor and the retaliatory Doolittle Raid. But September 11th was Pearl Harbor and the Doolittle Raid wrapped up in 90 minutes. Flight 93 was supposed to be the fourth of Osama’s flying bombs, its destination either the White House or the Capitol. If not for quirks of flight scheduling and al-Qa’eda personnel management, the headlines would have included “The Vice-President is still among the missing, presumed dead”. Had Flight 93 sheared the top of the White House, that would have been the day’s “money shot”, as it was in the alien-invasion flick Independence Day – the shattered façade, smoke billowing, the seat of American power reduced to rubble.

But the dopey hijackers assigned to Flight 93 were halfway across the continent before they made their move and started meandering back east. And, by the time the passengers began calling home on their cellphones, their families knew what had happened in New York. Todd Beamer couldn’t get through to his wife, so the last conversation of his life was with the GTE telephone operator, who stayed on the line with him and overheard his final words: “Are you ready, guys? Let’s roll!” And then a brave group of passengers jumped their hijackers and, at the cost of their own lives, prevented that day’s grim toll rising even higher. At a terrible moment for America, their heroism was the only victory of the day.

Four years on, plans for the Flight 93 National Memorial have now been revealed. The winning design, chosen from 1,011 entries, will be built in that pasture in Pennsylvania where those heroes died. The memorial is called “The Crescent of Embrace”.

That sounds like a fabulous winning entry – in a competition to create a note-perfect parody of effete multicultural responses to terrorism. Indeed, if anything, it’s too perfect a parody: the “embrace” is just the usual huggy-weepy reconciliatory boilerplate, but the “crescent” transforms its generic cultural abasement into something truly spectacular. In the design plans, “The Crescent of Embrace” looks more like the embrace of the Crescent – ie, Islam. After all, what better way to demonstrate your willingness to “embrace” your enemies than by erecting a giant Islamic crescent at the site of the day’s most unambiguous episode of American heroism?

Okay, let’s get all the “of courses” out of the way – of course, the overwhelmingly majority of Muslims aren’t terrorists; of course, we all know “Islam” means “peace” and “jihad” means “healthy-lifestyle lo-carb granola bar”; etc, etc. Nevertheless, the men who hijacked Flight 93 did it in the name of Islam and their last words as they hit the Pennsylvania sod were no doubt “Allahu Akhbar”. One would like to think that even today one would be unlikely to come across an Allied D-Day memorial called the Swastika of Embrace. Yet Paul Murdoch, the architect, has somehow managed to conceive a design that makes a splendid memorial to the hijackers rather than their victims.

Four years ago, most of us understood instinctively the courage of Flight 93. They were honoured not just by chickenhawks and neocons and Zionists and the usual suspects but even by celebrities. The leathery old rocker Neil Young wrote a dark driving anthem called “Let’s Roll” that began with cellphones ringing. Then:

I know I said I love you
I know you know it’s true
I got to put the phone down
And do what we gotta do

One’s standing in the aisle way
Two more at the door
We got to get inside there
Before they kill some more…

Granted, even then, there were a lot of folks eager to “embrace” their enemies. The day after September 11th, Robert Daubenspeck of White River Junction, Vermont wrote to my local newspaper advising against retaliation: “Someone, someday, must have the courage not to hit back but to look them in the eye and say, ‘I love you’.” That’s not as easy as it sounds. If you try to look Richard Reid the shoebomber in the eye as he’s bending down to light the fuse sticking out of his sock, you could easily put your back out.

But each to his own. If Mr Murdoch sincerely believes in a “crescent of embrace”, let him build one, in his own name, on his own turf. To impose it on Flight 93 – to, in effect, hijack those passengers a second time – is an abomination. Flight 93 is about what happens when you understand that some things can’t be embraced. Perhaps Mr Beamer and the rest did indeed “look them in the eye” and saw there was nothing to negotiate, nothing to “embrace”. So they acted – and, faced with a novel and unprecedented form of terror, they stopped it cold in little more than an hour. Todd Beamer asked that telephone operator to join him in reciting the 23rd Psalm: “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…” He knew there would be no happy ending that day, but in their resourcefulness and sacrifice he and his fellow passengers gave their country the next best thing: a hopeful ending. That’s what the Flight 93 Memorial should be honouring.

Instead, in its feeble cultural cringe, the Crescent of Embrace hands the terrorists of Flight 93 the victory they were denied on September 11th. And it profoundly dishonours Todd Beamer, Thomas Burnett, Jeremy Glick, Mark Bingham and other forgotten heroes of that flight.

Most of us are all but resigned to losing the Ground Zero memorial to a pile of non-judgmental if not explicitly anti-American pap: The minute you involve big-city politicians and foundations and funding bodies and “artists” you’re on an express chute to the default mode of the cultural elite. But surely it’s not too much to hope that the very precise, specific, individual, human scale of one great act of American heroism need not be buried under another soggy dollop of generic prettified passivity. 

Four years ago, Todd Beamer’s rallying cry was quoted by Presidents and rock stars alike. That’s all that’s needed in Pennsylvania: the kind of simple dignified memorial you see on small-town commons honouring Civil war veterans, a granite block with the names of the passengers and the words “LET’S ROLL.” The “crescent of embrace”, in its desperation to see no enemies and stand for nothing, represents a shameful modification: Are you ready, guys? Let’s roll it.”

Comment:  As of this moment there remains the possibility that  Cordoba House will NOT be built adjacent to the Groud Zero Site.

Tucson Shooting Victim, Eric Fuller Apologizes for Threatening Remark

Tucson, Arizona (CNN) — Arizona shooting victim James Eric Fuller sent his apologies Monday for telling a Tea Party leader, “you are dead.”

Dorothy DeRuyter, a companion of Fuller’s, provided CNN with a statement.

“I would like to tender my sincerest apologies to Mr. (Trent) Humphries for my misplaced outrage on Saturday at the St. Odelia’s town meeting,” Fuller said in the statement. “It was not in the spirit of our allegiance and warm feelings to each other as citizens of our great country.”

Fuller, 63, was involuntarily committed to a county mental health facility after he photographed Tucson Tea Party founder Humphries and said, “You are dead” when Humphries began speaking at the event.

Fuller “is apologetic and very sad” about his outburst, DeRuyter said. “He wishes he could go back and do things differently,” she said.

Humphries said Fuller’s comment came when the town hall discussion turned to gun control.

“I was asked to give my thoughts on gun control laws and perhaps the passage of new laws,” Humphries said of the incident. “I said something to the effect that although gun rights and laws are not necessarily the primary focus of the Tucson Tea Party, our community needs to be given the opportunity to allow some time to pass and people to heal before we start this type of political dialogue.”

Fuller, one of 13 people wounded in the January 8 shooting that left six people dead and Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in critical condition, is a disabled veteran and former volunteer for Giffords’ campaign.

Giffords is still hospitalized, but her condition has been improved to serious.

Fuller, who was shot in the knee, had been very vocal since the incident, blaming rhetoric from the right for the shooting. Jared Loughner, 22, has been charged in the shooting, but no evidence has been found that could link a motive to incendiary rhetoric.”

Comment:   Let the apology be accepted, understood, and never be thought of  or brought up again.   Let’s all pray Mr. Fuller’s wounds heal fully and quickly.

Virus Sickens the Iranian Nuclear Bomb Business

and it appears to have been an Israeli-American effort according to a New York Times article reviewed below at HotAir:

          “ordered by Bush”

Greenlit by Dubya, accelerated by Obama. Or at least, that’s what the cyborg time travelers who brought the worm back from the future would have you believe.

The evidence is only circumstantial, but … there’s an awful lot of it.

Behind Dimona’s barbed wire, the experts say, Israel has spun nuclear centrifuges virtually identical to Iran’s at Natanz, where Iranian scientists are struggling to enrich uranium. They say Dimona tested the effectiveness of the Stuxnet computer worm, a destructive program that appears to have wiped out roughly a fifth of Iran’s nuclear centrifuges and helped delay, though not destroy, Tehran’s ability to make its first nuclear arms.

“To check out the worm, you have to know the machines,” said an American expert on nuclear intelligence. “The reason the worm has been effective is that the Israelis tried it out.”…

The worm itself now appears to have included two major components. One was designed to send Iran’s nuclear centrifuges spinning wildly out of control. Another seems right out of the movies: The computer program also secretly recorded what normal operations at the nuclear plant looked like, then played those readings back to plant operators, like a pre-recorded security tape in a bank heist, so that it would appear that everything was operating normally while the centrifuges were actually tearing themselves apart.

The attacks were not fully successful: Some parts of Iran’s operations ground to a halt, while others survived, according to the reports of international nuclear inspectors. Nor is it clear the attacks are over: Some experts who have examined the code believe it contains the seeds for yet more versions and assaults

The project’s political origins can be found in the last months of the Bush administration. In January 2009, The New York Times reported that Mr. Bush authorized a covert program to undermine the electrical and computer systems around Natanz, Iran’s major enrichment center. President Obama, first briefed on the program even before taking office, sped it up, according to officials familiar with the administration’s Iran strategy. So did the Israelis, other officials said.

News stories on Stuxnet are typically so rich in fascinating cloak-and-dagger detail that there’s no way to blockquote all the key parts, and this one’s no exception. Read all of it, please, and take note of how the U.S. allegedly was first clued in to the critical vulnerabilities in Siemens’s centrifuge-controlling computer code. Theories about that have kicked around for awhile — including the possibility that Siemens is willingly cooperating in making its systems exploitable — but if you believe the Times, the U.S. was apparently approached by Siemens in 2008 for advice on how to make its system … more secure. I find that hard to believe just because the timing’s a bit too perfect: At the precise moment that America and Israel are scrambling for non-military means to disable the Iranian nuclear program, the company that holds the digital key to Iran’s enrichment facility comes knocking on our door for help on improving their code? Seriously?

As for the part linked in the blockquote, I had no idea that the Times or anyone else had reported in the past on any secret U.S. projects to target Iran’s centrifuges. To be sure, there were vague stories about unspecified covert action being taken, but in the past that typically meant targeting black-market suppliers of nuclear equipment and/or physically tampering with the goods while they were in transit to Iran. The cyberwar angle was something new and unexpected, but it was there long ago if you were paying attention. Spencer Ackerman of Danger Room flags this NYT report from all the way back on April 27, 2009, just three months after Obama was sworn in. Quote: “When President George W. Bush ordered new ways to slow Iran’s progress toward a nuclear bomb last year, he approved a plan for an experimental covert program — its results still unclear — to bore into their computers and undermine the project.” (emphasis mine) It’s no mystery who’s responsible for Stuxnet, in other words; the facts are hiding in plain sight, which is why I didn’t understand when a little current of outrage swept through Twitter yesterday at the Times for publishing this story. The U.S. and Israel are probably the only two countries with the means and the motive to drop this cyber-nuke on Iran (other colorful theories notwithstanding), so they’ll naturally be blamed — in which case, why hide it? In fact, at this point, the higher Stuxnet’s international profile becomes, the more useful it is to other nations as an excuse not to deal with Iran. Russia, for instance, is now insisting that it can’t proceed with its work on Iran’s nuclear power plant at Bushehr in case there’s some sort of Stuxnet infection in the system there too that might cause “another Chernobyl.” That makes no sense in light of the Times piece — the whole point about Stuxnet is that it’s very precisely targeted to disable centrifuges, not to mess with a nuclear power system — but it provides a handy excuse for Russia to back off.

Exit question: I’ve asked this before but I’m still mystified by it. If one of the two goals of Stuxnet was to hide its sabotage by making centrifuge operators believe that everything was running smoothly, why was it so easily discovered by cybersecurity experts? Ideally, this thing should have run on Iranian computer networks for years and years, spinning its centrifuges into oblivion at every turn until Iran simply gave up in utter befuddlement at what the problem might be. Instead, it looks as though it ran for about a year (maybe less) before being detected. Is that … deliberate? If so, why? If not, why weren’t stronger measures taken to keep the worm invisible? Surely if they could build something so ingenious as to commandeer Iranian centrifuges, they could build it to be undetectable by standard cybersecurity measures.”

Comment:   Thank  you President Bush…..Thank you President Obama.  Good bipartisanship, what?

$10,600,000 of Your Money Wasted Every Day on Climate Change

Art Horn at Pajamas Media writes:

“Seems everyone is talking about the massive United States federal deficit and how it has now reached an unfathomable $14 trillion. Is there any way to comprehend such a bloated number? Try this: the speed of light is 186,000 miles per second. At that speed a photon of light starts at the surface of the Sun and reaches the Earth in 8 minutes. On Star Trek, the speed of light is warp one — at that speed the Enterprise would travel about 6 trillion miles in one year. If each dollar of the deficit is represented by one mile, it would take the Enterprise more than two years traveling the speed of light to go 14 trillion miles.

So what can we cut out of the federal budget to make any kind of dent in this enormous pile of borrowed money? We could start with the vast sums of cash being wasted on climate change research.

This year, your government will spend in the neighborhood of $4 billion on global warming research, despite the fact that there has been no global warming since 1998, and despite all of the billions that have been spent so far yielding no conclusive evidence that using fossil fuels to make energy has any significant effect on Earth’s temperature.

The human component of carbon dioxide that is injected into the air each year is very small, on the order of 3%. Half the carbon dioxide emitted into the air by human activity each year is immediately absorbed into nature. Carbon dioxide is 8% of the greenhouse effect; water in the air is 90% of the greenhouse effect. By volume, carbon dioxide is currently at about 390 parts per million in the atmosphere, increasing at about 2 parts per million annually. In other words, carbon dioxide is increasing at a rate of .5% per year. Since human activity adds 3% of the carbon dioxide that gets into the air each year, the human component of the increase in carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year is 3 % of .5%, or just .015%.

Here is what the federal government thinks is happening with the Earth’s climate due to the burning of fossil fuels — the following quote is from chapter 15 of the Advancement of Science’s 2011 budget request:

Past scientific research demonstrates that the Earth’s climate is changing, that humans are very likely responsible for most of the well-documented increase in global average surface temperatures over the last half century, and that further greenhouse gas emissions, particularly of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels, will almost certainly contribute to additional widespread climate disruption. This climate disruption poses considerable risk to society because it can be expected to cause major negative consequences for most nations and to a wide range of species.

The first sentence is obvious: of course the Earth’s climate is changing; it always has and always will no matter what we do.

The next statement — “humans are very likely responsible for most of the well-documented increase in global average surface temperatures over the last half century” — is speculation. The statement completely ignores any natural variability in the climate. Apparently all of nature’s power to regulate the Earth’s temperature, which has been going on for millions of years, stopped 50 years ago, and now carbon dioxide is the principal driver of the climate. This is political and social advocacy, not science.

Then, this statement: “further greenhouse gas emissions, particularly of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels, will almost certainly contribute to additional widespread climate disruption.” The implication is that there has already been widespread climate disruption — there has not. There is no more extreme weather going on now than anytime in the last 2,000 years. Per the complex Orwellian world of government-speak, we have now moved on from “global warming” to “climate change” to “climate disruption.” Climate change wasn’t frightening enough! What’s next? My money’s on “climate disintegration” — that should keep the money flowing so we can figure out who and what will be disintegrated.

The statement then reads: “This climate disruption poses considerable risk to society because it can be expected to cause major negative consequences for most nations and to a wide range of species.” And that is the key to all of this: the fear factor. Pitching rising sea levels and other catastrophic consequences to keep the research money coming.

If you want to know where to save money in the budget, cut the vast sums of redundant funding headed to redundant federal agencies doing redundant climate change research. Four billion dollars to study climate change — and that’s just for this year!

Check the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s 2011 budget request, and go to chapter 15: Climate Change in the FY 2011 Budget. The numbers are staggering. In 2011, your government will spend $10.6 million a day to study, combat, and educate about climate change.

The big winner in the climate change money train is the National Science Foundation — they are requesting $1.616 billion. They want $766 million for the Science, Engineering and Education for Sustainability program, a 15.9% increase from their last budget. They also need another $370 million for the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), an increase of 16%. They say they also need another $480 million for Atmospheric Sciences, an increase of 8.1%, and Earth Sciences, up 8.7%.

Oh, and $955 million for the Geosciences Directorate, an increase of 7.4%.

The second largest request for money in 2011 comes from the Department of Energy. They say they need $627 million for things like funding for renewable energy. The request represents a whopping 37% increase from last year! They want a 12% increase for energy efficiency programs. They want to eliminate $2.7 billion of subsidies for industries that emit large amounts of carbon dioxide.

Let’s get NASA in on the parade! For 2011, NASA wants $438 million to study climate change, an increase of 14%. NASA’s total Earth Sciences budget request is actually $1.8 billion. Some $809 million of that is for satellites, some of which are specifically put in orbit to study climate change. It is difficult to separate out which ones are for climate monitoring and which ones are not, so I won’t include this number in the overall climate change money train. But make no mistake: a significant percentage of the $809 million is exclusively for climate change satellites.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is looking for $437 million for climate research. This is an increase of 21.4% from the previous budget. This includes funds for regional and national assessments of climate change, including ocean acidification. Once again, another meaty bag of money to tap into for researchers, who have nice cars and big houses and need to keep up the payments.

The Department of the Interior (DOI) is also interested in robbing the climate change vault — they say they need $244 million in 2011. Of this total, $171 million is for the Climate Change Adaptation initiative. This program identifies areas and species that are most vulnerable to climate change, and implements coping strategies. Another $73 million is needed for the New Energy Frontier initiative. The goal of this program is to increase solar, wind, and geothermal energy capacity.

Solar and wind power don’t survive without this government funding.

Is that $14 trillion making sense yet?

Of course, there’s more. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wants $169 million to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, an increase of 1%. Do you believe that next year greenhouse gases will be reduced by the EPA spending $169 million? I would bet the ranch that greenhouse gases will continue to increase next year, and the year after that, and the year after that despite EPA spending your money.

Is there any government agency that does not get some climate change funding? The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) wants $338 million for climate change programs. They want $159 million for climate change research, up a whopping 42%. They also want another $179 million for renewable energy, an increase of 41%! The USDA’s climate change efforts are supposed to help farm and land owners adapt to the impacts of climate change. Yes, really.

Redundancy on top of redundancy, piles of money on top of piles of money. All to study climate change, which, according to the theory, should be warming us rapidly, but, according to the data, has stopped. How much of the requested money these government agencies actually get is not yet known. The way they spend money in Washington, you can rest assured they’ll get most of it.

If you’re looking to cut the budget, climate change is a good place to start. If we don’t get a handle on Washington’s spending soon, and I mean very soon, climate change will be the least of our problems.”

Art Horn spent 25 years working in television as a meteorologist. He now is an independent meteorologist and speaker who lives in Connecticut

Paul Krugman, Tired of Inciting, Turns to ‘Logic’ on Healthcare?

Paul Krugman is writing a bit more frequently since his inciting and  accusing  article about the Tucson event  last week.  Yuval Levin responds to one of the articles ,  “The War on Logic”   with this writing Levin titled, “Paul Krugman, Logician:

“Fresh from falsely accusing conservatives of inciting mass murder with metaphors, Paul Krugman has now taken to accusing us of launching a war on logic.

He has come to this conclusion, he notes in today’s column, because conservatives insist that the health-care bill enacted last year will not reduce the deficit, and that repealing it will. Krugman points to a House Republican analysis of the costs of the health-care bill and then insists that the first and foremost argument in that analysis has to do with the “doc fix” to Medicare—the fact that the support of doctors’ groups for passage of Obamacare was bought with the promise of a long-term repeal of cuts to doctor payments but the cost of that promise was not factored into the cost of the final bill. Readers of his column online are given a link to the actual document, where they can plainly see that—whatever they might make of Krugman’s careless assessment of the argument’s merits—this is certainly not the document’s foremost argument (not in terms of priority and not in terms of magnitude of cost), though readers of his column in print would have to go looking. He then dismisses without explanation a number of the document’s key arguments (like the fact that the CBO was compelled to use assumptions of massive cuts in Medicare that are very unlikely to happen, that double count savings in Medicare and Social Security when calculating the cost of the law, and that ignore the cost of implementation) even though the CBO itself has acknowledged them all (here it is on implausible assumptions (p.14), on double counting, and on cost of implementation, for instance). But all the while Krugman accuses Republicans of ignoring the CBO.

Let’s get clear on the basics. Everyone agrees that Obamacare involves a massive increase in spending and a massive increase in taxes. Defenders of the law, including Krugman, want to suggest that the massive tax increases are larger than the massive spending increases, so the bill would reduce the deficit overall. Immense tax and spending increases certainly make for an odd path to deficit reduction, but this is their argument in defense of the law’s fiscal merits. To allow for that case, the law was designed to game the CBO scoring system, and to impose some very implausible assumptions of massive entitlement spending cuts by future congresses. Even with these assumptions, neither the CBO nor the Obama administration’s own CMS actuary argues that the law will actually reduce health-care spending or the rise of health-care costs—which are the actual problems at the core of our health-care dilemma and the reason why insurance has moved out of the reach of a growing number of American families. The solution to the problem, therefore, is not a new entitlement program modeled on the ones that are already bankrupting the government but rather a means of empowering consumers to make purchasing decisions and therefore to put a downward pressure on costs for a change. Republicans have proposed to repeal Obamacare (a repeal that, as the CBO has said, would constitute a massive spending cut and a massive tax cut over the next ten years), and have offered an array of ideas to better empower consumers to reduce costs and extend access to coverage.

Perhaps Paul Krugman disagrees with that approach, but if so he doesn’t explain why in his column. Instead, presumably in the new spirit of civility encouraged by his newspaper, he simply assumes bad motives:

The key to understanding the G.O.P. analysis of health reform is that the party’s leaders are not, in fact, opposed to reform because they believe it will increase the deficit. Nor are they opposed because they seriously believe that it will be “job-killing” (which it won’t be). They’re against reform because it would cover the uninsured — and that’s something they just don’t want to do.

Very logical.”