May 29th, 2012
By NANCY BENAC
WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House said President Barack Obama misspoke on Tuesday when he referred to a "Polish death camp" while honoring a Polish war hero.
The president's remark had drawn immediate complaints from Poles who said Obama should have called it a "German death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland," to distinguish the perpetrators from the location. Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski called it a matter of "ignorance and incompetence."
Obama made the comment while awarding the Medal of Freedom to Jan Karski, a resistance fighter against the Nazi occupation of Poland during World War II. Karski died in 2000.
During an East Room ceremony honoring 13 Medal of Freedom recipients, Obama said that Karski "served as a courier for the Polish resistance during the darkest days of World War II. Before one trip across enemy lines, resistance fighters told him that Jews were being murdered on a massive scale and smuggled him into the Warsaw Ghetto and a Polish death camp to see for himself. Jan took that information to President Franklin Roosevelt, giving one of the first accounts of the Holocaust and imploring to the world to take action."
Sikorski tweeted that the White House would apologize for "this outrageous error" and that Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk would address the matter on Wednesday.
"It's a pity that such a dignified ceremony was overshadowed by ignorance and incompetence."
Alex Storozynski, president of the Kosciuszko Foundation, said Obama's comment "shocked the Poles present at the White House and those watching on C-SPAN. ... Karski would have cringed if he heard this."
National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said: "The president misspoke. He was referring to Nazi death camps in Poland. We regret this misstatement, which should not detract from the clear intention to honor Mr. Karski and those brave citizens who stood on the side of human dignity in the face of tyranny."
Anxious to quell the controversy, the White House also noted that the president had visited the Warsaw Ghetto Memorial while in Poland and that he has repeatedly discussed the bravery of Poles during World War II.
The Polish Embassy in Washington, on its website, has a "how-to guide" on concentration camps that states that references to Polish death camps are "factually incorrect slurs" that should be corrected.
The Associated Press Stylebook states that when referring to "World War II camps in countries occupied by Nazi Germany, do not use phrases like Polish death camps that confuse the location and the perpetrators. Use instead, for example, death camps in Nazi-occupied Poland."
May 29th, 2012
Thousands of computers in Iran belonging to government agencies and private companies have been infected with a highly sophisticated virus, dubbed Flame, in the latest cyberstrike against the Islamic Republic, said cybersecurity experts and Iran's telecommunications ministry.
The malware was widely detected across the Middle East in Syria, Israel and the Palestinian Authority, as well as in other parts of the world, but Iran has the largest number of infected computers, experts said.
At least three times since 2010, Iran has been targeted with sophisticated computer viruses such as Stuxnet, Duqu and Wiper. These viruses have disabled centrifuges for enriching uranium, stolen data from nuclear facilities and erased computers at the oil ministry.
The aim of Flame, said experts at Kaspersky Lab, a Russian information-technology security firm that reported the virus on Monday, was espionage, not physical damage or system interruption.
Flame, which Kaspersky said has been in operation since March 2010, was still active as of Monday morning, Alexander Gostev of Kaspersky Lab said. But after Kaspersky reported the existence of the virus publicly, Flame's operators immediately set about shutting the servers, an effort to protect the stolen data and hide the source of the virus. By Tuesday, Flame had become inactive, he said. "They are trying to hide."
The creation and operation of the Flame virus must have required a large staff, Mr. Gostev said. He estimated that at least 20 specialists would have been required to create and maintain the cyberweapon, similar to estimates of how many people invented and worked on Stuxnet.
Independent security experts said the scope of its complexity and method of operation suggests Flame was sponsored by a nation-state. It wouldn't be economically feasible, they argued, for a private corporation to run such a large-scale international cyberattack. Another reason a state is suspected is that the virus is designed to gather information but has no clear monetizing function.
Iran on Tuesday said it was a victim of cyberwarfare by Israel and the U.S., the semiofficial Fars news agency reported.
"It's in the nature of some countries and illegitimate regimes to spread viruses and harm other countries. We hope these viruses dry out," Ramin Mehmanparast, Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman, said on Tuesday.
Iran's computer emergency response team, known as Maher, a branch of the telecommunication ministry, said on Tuesday that it was sharing research information on the virus for the first time ever on its website. Maher posted a link to antivirus software developed by its researchers to remove Flame and offered assistance to any infected organization.
Maher also said Flame was linked to an earlier cyberattack that erased data. In March, Wiper disrupted internal Internet communications at Iran's oil ministry and stole massive amounts of data.
Flame is the biggest and most high-functioning cyberweapon ever discovered, various cybersecurity experts said. It is comprised of multiple files that are 20 times larger than Stuxnet and carry about 100 times more code than a basic virus, experts said.
The most alarming feature, experts said, is that Flame can be highly versatile, depending on instructions by its controller. The malware can steal data and social-network conversations, take snapshots of computer screens, penetrate across networks, turn on a computer's microphone to record audio and scan for Bluetooth-active devices.
The cyber espionage activities described by the researchers are cyberspying techniques employed by the U.S., Israel and a number of other countries, cybersecurity specialists said. Cybersecurity researchers said the complexity of Flame's coding and comprehensiveness of its spy capabilities could suggest it was the work of a government.
Experts said they believe Flame reports back the information to a central command-and-control network that has constantly changed location. Analysts found servers in Germany, Vietnam, Turkey, Italy and elsewhere, but haven't located the main server.
White House National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden declined to comment on Iranian accusations of U.S. involvement.
Analysts suspected Israel and the U.S. to be behind Stuxnet, but the link hasn't been confirmed. U.S. officials have declined to comment on Stuxnet's origins, but former U.S. officials said they regard it as a joint effort between the U.S. and Israel. That virus infected computers in several countries but was written to only sabotage specific systems in Iran, they said.
Stuxnet's purpose differed considerably from the apparent aim of Flame. Stuxnet was designed to damage computerized control systems running nuclear centrifuges, while Flame appears to have been designed for high-end targeted espionage. Researchers haven't found evidence of any damage to systems caused by Flame.
Israel has neither confirmed nor denied being involved with Stuxnet.
On Tuesday, Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Ya'Alon hinted that the country may be involved in Flame, saying in an interview with Army Radio, "Anyone who sees the Iranian threat as a significant threat—it's reasonable [to assume] that he will take various steps, including these, to harm it."
U.S. officials draw a distinction between cyber espionage and cyberattacks, which have a destructive or manipulative purpose and could be considered an act of war.
"We have strong beliefs that there are nations behind this malware. We assume it's related to the regimes and political situation in the Middle East," said Vitaly Kamluk, the chief malware expert for Kaspersky Lab.
Independent experts have been on the virus's trail for about a month. The International Telecommunications Union, the special agency at the United Nations that coordinates cybersecurity efforts, approached Kaspersky Lab in late April to investigate a series of incidents tied to a malware program known as Wiper. In the process of that investigation, the experts discovered Flame.
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has called the Internet a threat to national security and a dangerous double-edged knife that has benefits as well as risks.
Since 2009, Mr. Khamenei has instructed security forces to train and form units to battle cyberattacks to curb the influence of social-media websites.
In March, Mr. Khamenei issued a decree ordering the creation of the Supreme Council of Cyberspace, a committee consisting of high-level military and intelligence officials tasked with supervising cyber activity and warfare.
contributed to this article.
May 29th, 2012
"Wolf Blitzer: The Governor of Hawaii is not a Democrat but rather a Republican"
By Barry Secrest
In this CNN clip, we can see an almost panicked Wolf Blitzer continually remonstrate Donald Trump over the birther issue and how the Trumpster was completely wrong in his numerous assertions concerning Obama's fraudulent birth certificate.
However, what was most fascinating was how, during the CNN piece, Blitzer seemed as if he might suddenly burst into tears at any male menopausal moment, while Trump was having nothing of Blitzer's two--(2) (count them)--trademarked points, which spoke to why Trump was completely wrong.
So, what were the two points?
The first was that the state of Hawaii actually certified the birth certificate. As Blitzer would continually repeat this point, CNN would comically float an image, NOT of Obama's fraudulent certificate, but rather the much ballyhooed "certificate of live birth," which is about as useless as chicken poop on a pump handle in most circles. But float the image, CNN did, all over the screen as if to repeatedly admonish everyone, "see, this is it, FROM NUMEROUS POSITIONS, now shut-up!" Apparently, if we see the image float around on our screens enough we' ll begin to believe in it, kind of like a really cool "Ghost Hunters" episode of a full body apparition seen from several different camera angles.
Which, come to think of it....
At any rate, it gets better, of course, because during the heat of the argument, Blitzer began harassing Trump because of the fact that Hawaii's Governor, Neil Abercrombie, certified the birth certificate as being authentic and Abercrombie is a "Republican," said Blitzer, and Blitzer, my friends is quite obviously wrong on this point.
In fact, Neil Abercrombie, the Hawaiian Governor, is not only a hard-wired Liberal Democrat, but he is also a friend of the Obama family, even claiming to having been present at the time of Obama's birth in Hawaii. So, Blitzer, being the well-polished news anchor that he is, needs to stick to his teleprompter, it would seem.
But then there was point number two, in which Blitzer's most pressing proof was the fact that there were two ads announcing the Messiah's birth in two newspapers at the same time in Hawaii....so this is the most compelling evidence you guys have? Wasn't there a star as well in the east? All of this, even when we have numerous accounts of Obama and Michelle stating he was born in Kenya, or even a publishing masthead indicating Obama's Kenyan birth?
The nexus of the entire exchange was how forcefully Blitzer was arguing on behalf of the President, however, as if he were the defacto defender of the President and his storied birth certificate. That, in and of itself, is really all most people need to see in order to powerfully set them to wondering about Obama's true origins.
If it's so ridiculous, why does the Media keep forcefully pressing the argument?
May 29th, 2012
Join Barry tonight, Monday May 28th at 11pm ET on the Matthew Brower Show. They will be discussing Barry's book, "A Perfect Liberal Storm," as well as many other hot political issues. The show is live and will be available anytime after the show, also. The chatroom will also be open for questions during the show.
Then, tomorrow, Tuesday May 29th, join Barry as he is interviewed by Randall Stufflebeam--"The Constitutional Evangelist"--on Constitutionally Correct Radio.
May 29th, 2012
(CNSNews.com) – New York State accounted for the biggest migration exodus of any state in the nation between 2000 and 2010, with 3.4 million residents leaving over that period, according to the Tax Foundation.
Over that decade the state gained 2.1 million, so net migration amounted to 1.3 million, representing a loss of $45.6 billion in income.
Where are they escaping to? The Tax Foundation found that more than 600,000 New York residents moved to Florida over the decade – opting perhaps for the Sunshine State’s more lenient tax system – taking nearly $20 billion in adjusted growth income with them.
Over that same time period, 208,794 Pennsylvanians moved to Florida, taking $8 billion in income.
“Many of these New York and Pennsylvania residents no doubt moved to Florida for the warm weather,” says the foundation, a nonpartisan research group. “[B]ut many more may have moved there because the state does not have an individual income tax, an estate tax, nor an inheritance tax.”
The Tax Foundation has created a “migration calculator” based on data from the Internal Revenue Service, tabulating the number of individuals moving between states each year, and income affected by the shifts.
The calculator shows that 612,520 people renounced their citizenship in New York State and moved to Florida in the 10-year period, taking with them $19.7 billion in adjusted growth income.
Between 2009 and 2010 alone, 40,195 New York residents moved to Florida, taking $1.3 billion in income.
According to the group, New York ranked second among the states for the highest state and local tax burden in 2009. The Empire State was ranked highest for tax burden every year from 1977 until 2006, except in 1984 when it was ranked second.
New York State has a progressive personal income tax rate ranging from 6.45 percent to 8.82 percent for those earning over $2 million. Sales varies by county, and is between seven and eight percent. In Manhattan, the sales tax is 8.875 percent.
According to the Retirement Living Center, which examines tax burdens by state for those nearing retirement, New York also levies a gasoline tax at 49.0 cents per gallon and a cigarette tax of $4.35 per pack, along with an additional $1.50 per pack in New York City.
New York is also one of 17 states plus the District of Columbia that collects an estate tax, with a $1 million exemption and a progressive rate from 0.8 percent to 16 percent.
In 2007, New York State collected $1.1 billion from its estate and gift taxes, the highest of any of the states, according to the Tax Foundation.
California is also known for more onerous taxes and regulations, and the foundation shows similar trends of migration from there to other states like Texas and Arizona.
The Tax Foundation ranked the Golden State sixth highest in the nation for state and local tax burden in 2009.
Between 2000 and 2010, the most recent data available, 551,914 people left California for Texas, taking $14.3 billion in income. Texas has no state income tax or estate tax.
A total of 48,877 people moved to Texas from California between 2009 and 2010 alone, totaling $1.2 billion in income. Another 28,088 from California relocated to Nevada and 30,663 to Arizona, a loss of $699.1 million and $707.8 million in income respectively.
Overall, California had the most departures between 2009 and 2010 – 406,883 people, representing a loss of $10.6 billion in income. Over that year 365,763 people moved there, representing a net loss of 41,120 residents.
Since 2000 1.2 million more people have left California than have moved there, the second biggest net loss, after New York.
Florida, meanwhile, had a negative net migration of 966,934 between 2000 and 2010 – meaning nearly a million more people moved to the state than left. Texas also has a negative net migration – 807,552 – during the same time period.
Florida and Texas rank the two lowest in net migration over the decade, followed by North Carolina, Arizona and Georgia, each of which has a negative rate.
The Tax Foundation acknowledges that taxes are not the only reason to flee a state. “Taxes are one of hundreds of factors that go into a person's decision to move,” it says on its website. “Others include age, technology, job prospects and the quality/quantity of government services provided.”
The foundation also points out that the migration calculator is not definitive. “A true study that sought to quantify the importance of taxes for locational decisions would need to account for as many other factors as possible, in addition to possible serial correlation issues between variables, especially taxes.”