Has the U.S. attack on Iran already begun?

James Bond, step aside. You’ve been punked by Stuxnet. Stuxnet is the computer malware that has been wreaking havoc around the globe. It is an extremely sophisticated, state sponsored cyber-warfare weapon. It is well beyond the scope of traditional hackers. It takes a well-funded, well-connected organization to pull something like this off. Stuxnet is not the norm. Usually, viruses and malware that make news headlines are over-hyped. This one is the opposite.

I’ll link to a place where you can read the details of Stuxnet if your interested later in this post. Suffice it to say, it’s very techno-geeky stuff. The bottom line is it worked and was, and still is, a significant setback to the Iranian nuclear enrichment program. As far as who was behind it, no one yet knows for sure. It has been speculated that it was a byproduct of the cyber war between China and India. Others say it carries the signature of Israel. And beyond that, it was the CIA that started it all using Israel as a state sponsored terrorist.

This would explain one thing. Many wonder why the U.S. has sat on its hands while Iran continues to near completion of obtaining a nuclear weapon despite dire warnings from around the globe. Perhaps the U.S. did develop the Stuxnet malware and utilize the Israeli’s to execute it. They would have known this was going to buy them significant time due to the setbacks in store for the Iranians. Ehud Barak of Israel has gone on record in June of 2009 as stating that we only had a window of 6-18 months in which to stop the Iranian nuclear enrichment program. After that, there would be unacceptable collateral damage from an attack on Iran. Well, next month is the outside of that window. Perhaps, he gave such a wide window based on the knowledge that the Stuxnet malware operation was underway with an unknown execution date.

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Michigan unemployment tax for employers raised again

The state of Michigan still stands apart from the rest despite losing it’s crown as the state with the highest unemployment rate to Nevada. This is because they have been borrowing from the Feds since September of 2006 to cover their trust fund imbalance. Currently, the balance exceeds $3.8 billion. Only California has a larger balance. States are mandated by law to continue to pay unemployment insurance benefits even if the state fund is exhausted. So they must borrow from the Federal Government. The following figures are for Michigan specifically. Some states will differ.

Michigan just completed the first year of a credit reduction, the only state to do so. This means that normally employers are required to pay 6.2% of the first $7,000 of each employees salary to the state unemployment insurance fund. They have been receiving a credit in the amount of 5.4% toward that amount, leaving only .8% actually paid in. The legislation imposes a credit reduction .3% for each year if a state goes two years without repaying it’s Federal loan balance in full. So Michigan employers only saw a credit of 5.1% this past year while every other state got the full 5.4%. For 2011, Michigan will be joined by two other states in having this credit reduction imposed. Indiana and South Carolina now will see only a 5.1% credit reduction rate imposed for 2011. However, since Michigan is carrying a balance for another consecutive year, they will be assessed a .6% reduction for 2011 meaning the credit is reduced to 4.8%. That’s an additional $42 per employee.  Basically, each year the credit reduction is reduced results in a $21 increase per employee.

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Ethanol credit subsidy set to expire at the end of the year-let’s hope it does

If the GOP really wants to start things off with a bang next year, they should immediately go after the ethanol credit. They expire at the end of this year and will likely be extended at a reduced rate. Currently, ethanol producers receive a 45 cents per gallon taxpayer paid subsidy. Last year, this subsidy added $4.7 billion to our deficit, but the effects extend well beyond the direct cost of the credit. There is also a 54 cents per gallon import tariff in place that will expire. Subsidies for biodiesel expired last year. 

Ethanol is of course a corn product. We found out in 2008 just how many products contain corn when the cost of food skyrocketed. Along with high gas prices at the pump, this is what triggered the economic collapse when people started skipping mortgage payments due to the one-two punch of high food and gas prices. Those prices have been on the rise again for some time now despite the Fed proclaiming we have no inflationary fears. Of course, the Fed leaves food and energy costs out of their core c.p.i. valuations when these costs affect us quicker and more broadly than anything else.

People may be surprised to learn that the biggest benefactors to these credits have been the oil industry to the tune of over $20 billion dollars so far. The program is costing the taxpayer about $6 billion dollars annually. That’s $7 per gallon gas. The ethanol industry will fight back hard as the expiration of the subsidy would cost them thousands of jobs and reduce the price of corn significantly.

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Best Bond gadgets

This video runs down some of the best tech inventions from 007 over the years. What’s weird is it looks like real life is reverse engineering tech gadgets from the movies.

Only a domestic extremist would opt-out

War on terror? History. Enemy combatant? No longer exists. Terrorism? Deleted. Replaced by man-caused disasters.

Illegal alien? No more. Illegal immigrant? Can’t say it anymore. Replaced by newly arrived asylum seekers.

Airline passenger opposed to invasive security checks? Nope. Traveler protesting violation of rights? Uh-uh. Replaced by domestic extremist.

This is the latest attempt from Big Sis to revise the english language. Reportedly, an internal TSA memo has been leaked describing how the Dept. of Homeland Security is going to characterize those who don’t assume the fetal position at the security checkpoint and submit. Interfere in any way with the screening process and the TSA is now directed to report your identity to the DHS as a potential threat. On the watch list you go. Good luck on that next credit check. The revolution can’t start fast enough for me.

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China and Russia agree to end using the dollar for bi-lateral trading

Bernanke’s QE2 is backfiring already. The move yesterday by China and Russia is a significant step toward removing the dollar as the world’s reserve currency. Also, Freddie Mac has moved mortgage rates up and not down as QE2 was designed to do. They also increased the down payment to 25% to avoid paying PMI. Everyone outside the Fed said that QE2 was too late and unnecessary. The evidence is bearing that out.

Via the China Daily

China, Russia quit dollar

2010-11-24 00:34:57 GMT2010-11-24 08:34:57 (Beijing Time)  China Daily

Premier Wen Jiabao shakes hands with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on a visit to St. Petersburg on Tuesday.ALEXEY DRUZHININ / AFP

St. Petersburg, Russia – China and Russia have decided to renounce the US dollar and resort to using their own currencies for bilateral trade, Premier Wen Jiabao and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin announced late on Tuesday.

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Liberal Amnesty Day

In the spirit of the holidays, I have an official proclamation to make. I mean, after all, it is Thanksgiving, isn’t it? What do we celebrate on Thanksgiving Day? Well, of course not all people can agree on anything and this is no different, but it’s usually to celebrate a bountiful harvest. Well, we had a great harvest this year, so let’s celebrate it. So I say let’s extend an olive branch. I’m officially proclaiming Nov. 24th to be Liberal Amnesty Day.

That’s right, you lefties. Today you get a free shot. No strings attached. Just admit the error of your ways and renounce liberalism. It’s a cancer. It’s insidious. It clouds your ability to think clearly. It also dooms our country. Why not set yourself free and come out of the darkness into the light? We’ll just chalk it up to a learning experience and move along. Today you get a clean slate and can integrate yourself back into the normal society. It’s not everyday you get a second chance to make good, so don’t pass it up!

Here’s a quick test to see if you’re ready to take the big step. If you like the following advertisement, you’re finally ready to leave your Liberal death sentence behind.