Saturday, February 22, 2014

Boxer Vitali Klitschko is an opposing force in his Ukraine homeland

Klitschko is helping to lead protesters in Kiev seeking to oust the ruling government. The longtime heavyweight champion has long felt the tug of politics, and now he is mired in the 'powder keg.'

By Bill Dwyre
February 21, 2014

Vitali Klitschko out to prove sport and politics do mix by running for high office in Ukraine
People’s champion: Vitali Klitschko leads a protest rally in Kiev  Photo: Getty Images

Vitali Klitschko may have characterized several of his matches in the boxing ring as life-and-death struggles. Now, he knows the real thing.

Perhaps you have made the connection between the longtime heavyweight champion of the world and the videos and the pictures this week documenting violence on the streets of Kiev, the capital of Ukraine.
By midweek, fighting between government forces and opposition groups intensified. At one point, to keep the riot police away, opposition forces set on fire part of the city center, an area fittingly known as Independence Square.

On Friday, protest leaders and Ukraine's beleaguered President Viktor Yanukovych agreed to form a new government and hold elections by December. Parliament also voted to free Yanukovych's rival, former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, from prison. The agreement comes after protests left scores dead and hundreds wounded. However, some protesters, angry over police violence, said they were determined to stand their ground until Yanukovych steps down.
In the midst of all this is the 42-year-old Klitschko, 6 feet 7 and 250 pounds, with a boxing record of 45-2 that includes 41 knockouts. He officially retired from the ring in December and still carries the title of World Boxing Council heavyweight champion emeritus.
His is a strange juxtaposition.
If you are a boxing fan, he might be your hero. If you live in Bel-Air, he might be your neighbor. If you think you are being oppressed and bullied by pro-Russian elements, he might be your savior.
This week, pictures showed Klitschko in a heavy winter jacket, in the midst of opposition forces, gesturing, leading, speaking on a microphone.
Other photos had him in coat and tie, sitting at a table across from the Ukrainian president his opposition party wants to oust. That was when negotiations were the order of the day, not fires, rock-throwing and bullets. Another picture a few weeks ago showed him smiling and shaking hands with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at a meeting when German help was sought in resolving this crisis.
Last month, Klitschko was quoted as telling the opposition's faithful to let the negotiations play out. Tuesday, when people on both sides were dying and opposition forces set the fire to keep the police away, he was quoted as saying, "This is an island of freedom, and we intend to defend it."
With all this in mind, it is hard to forget that August day in 2009, when Klitschko came to The Times to promote an upcoming fight and sat down with several editors and this typist. The discussion quickly went from boxing to politics and the tug he felt from both. At one point, he actually characterized what was going on in his home city of Kiev as a "powder keg." He said he needed to help fix it, that he badly wanted to.
Now, almost five years later, the match has been lit and he is in the middle of that powder keg. He is an elected member of his parliament's opposition party and his cause is a desire to make his country part of the European Union, not an adjunct to Russia.
Opposition leader and former WBC heavyweight boxing champion Vitali Klitschko, center, is attacked and sprayed with a fire extinguisher as he tries to stop the clashes between police and protesters  in central Kiev, Ukraine.
Klitschko, center, is attacked and sprayed with a fire extinguisher as he tries to stop clashes. Photograph: Efrem Lukatsky/AP
To follow this developing international story, it might be helpful to know more about Vitali Klitschko. Suffice to say, this is no punch-drunk fighter.
Klitschko speaks four languages. He has a doctorate degree in sports science, as does his younger brother, Wladimir, who still holds all the world heavyweight titles except the WBC recently vacated by his brother.
For years, Vitali had three homes, one in Kiev, one in Germany and one in Bel-Air. He recently ended his residency in Germany in an attempt to comply with Ukrainian rules for an eventual run for president.
His three children were all born in California so they would be United States citizens. His youngest son, Max, now 9, was named after Klitschko's hero, the late heavyweight champion Max Schmeling, who was from Germany.
Klitschko's father, Wladimir Rodionovich, was a high-ranking officer in the Soviet military. When the nuclear accident took place in Chernobyl in 1986, his father was sent to help direct the cleanup and soon called his family, just 100 miles away in Kiev, and warned them to stay inside and wash their hands often.
The accident was April 26, and Klitschko remembers the Soviet May Day march (May 1) going on as planned, with thousands of people outside as the radiation from Chernobyl drifted everywhere. He remembers friends who marched that day dying young of cancer.
Wladimir Rodionovich Klitschko died July 13, 2011. He was 64 and was one of the last survivors of the group sent in to do the cleanup. The cause of death was cancer.
Vitali Klitschko fought just six times in the United States, three of them at Staples Center. One was his famous 2003 battle with then-champion Lennox Lewis, who opened a horrifying gash over Klitschko's eye that eventually led to the fight being stopped. Lewis was declared the winner, but Klitschko was ahead on all three judges' cards.
Klitschko's only other defeat was similar. He retired with an injured shoulder while ahead on all the cards against Chris Byrd on April 1, 2000.
On Oct. 2, 2011, Vitali and Wladimir appeared at a Beverly Hills screening of a documentary about their lives. For years, the question had been why the Klitschkos wouldn't fight each other, despite the huge money-maker it would be.
Both always said they had promised their mother, Nadezhda Ulyanovna, who is still alive, that her only two sons would never get in the ring together. That night, Vitali was more specific.
"When I was 6 and Wladimir was 1," he said, "my parents asked me to take care of my brother, and they never told me to stop."
For Vitali Klitschko, the care taking has now expanded from one brother to an entire country.,0,4200061.column#ixzz2u3IF0UKq


Ukrainian Lexicon

For those who are new to the subject — indeed, for those who have been following it for many years — the Ukrainian crisis can seem murky. The Ukrainians have a president,Viktor Yanukovych, who granted himself dictatorial powers and then repealed some of them; announced a truce and then broke it; claims to enforce the law but employs thugs who haul journalists out of cars and shoot them. The Ukrainian opposition, meanwhile, has three separate leaders who may or may not actually control the Ukrainian protest movement at any given moment.
The opacity helps to explain why Ukraine, after years of stability, has suddenly becomeviolent and unpredictable. It also helps to explain why so many inside and outside the country use historical cliches to describe the situation. Often, those cliches are intended to serve the interests of those who use them. Sometimes they are just bad simplifications. Either way, what follows is a handy guide to the terms, words and phrases to treat with deep skepticism:

Fraternal assistance — This is a Soviet expression, once used to justify the Soviet invasions of Prague in 1968 and Afghanistan in 1979. “Fraternal assistance” was intended to prevent Soviet puppet states from being overthrown, whether violently or peacefully. In December, Russian President Vladimir Putin called Ukraine a “fraternal” country, hinting that he sees it as a puppet state. This week, a senior Russian parliamentarian declared that he and his colleagues are “prepared to give all the necessary assistance should the fraternal Ukrainian people ask for it.” This may well be the cue for pro-Russian organizations inside Ukraine to ask for intervention.
Anti-terrorist operation — This is a Putin-era expression, used to justify the Russian invasion of Chechnya in 1999. An “anti-terrorist operation,” in this particular context, means that anything is permitted: The term granted Russian soldiers carte blanche to destroy Grozny, the Chechen capital. This is why so many reacted with horror earlier this week when the Ukrainian defense ministry warned that the army “might be used in anti-terrorist operations on the territory of Ukraine.”
Coup d’etat — This more universal expression has been used since November by both the Ukrainian government and Russian commentators to describe street protests in Kiev and elsewhere. It can mean anything from “peaceful protests that we don’t like” to “protesters using violence against police,” but either way, it is a term being used to justify the deployment of an “anti-terrorist operation,” and not necessarily to describe an actual coup d’etat.
Nazi or fascist — These loaded historical terms have been used by both Russian and Ukrainian officials for many months to describe a wide range of opposition leaders and groups. Fake photographs of nonexistent Hitler posters in Kiev have been circulating online; recently the Russian foreign minister lectured his German colleagues for, he said, supporting people who salute Hitler. Of course there is a Ukrainian far right, though it is much smaller than the far right in France, Austria or Holland, and its members have indeed become more violent under the pressure of police clubs, bullets and attacks.
At the same time, those who throw these terms around should remember that the strongest anti-Semitic, homophobic and xenophobic rhetoric in this region is not coming from the Ukrainian far right but from the Russian press, and ultimately the Russian regime. As historian Tim Snyder has written, “the Ukrainian government is telling itself that its opponents are Jews and us that its opponents are Nazis.” The smears stick. Romano Prodi, the former president of the European Commission, just wrote an otherwise anodyne article ticking off Ukrainian “far-right nationalist groups” as if they were the main problem, proving that even Western statesmen aren’t immune.
Ethno-linguistic divisions or Yugoslav situation — These are more loaded terms, used in both the West and Russia to show that the conflict in Ukraine is atavistic, inexplicable, born of deep ethnic hatred. In fact, this is not an ethnic conflict at all. It is a political conflict and — despite the current opacity — at base not that hard to understand. It pits Ukrainians (both Russian- and Ukrainian-speaking) who want to live in a “European” democracy with human rights and the rule of law, against Ukrainians (also both Russian- and Ukrainian-speaking) — who support an undemocratic, oligarchic capitalist regime that is politically and economically dependent on Russia. Some of the regime’s supporters may well believe they are fighting fascists and militant European homosexuals; others may simply fear that deep reforms will cost them their paychecks.
Either way, this is not a fight over which language to speak or which church to attend. It is a deep, fundamental disagreement about the nature of the state, the country’s international allegiances, its legal system, its economy, its future. Given how much Ukrainians have at stake, the least we outsiders can do is avoid foolish stereotypes when discussing their fate.

Friday, February 21, 2014

New Obama Promise: If You Like Your Life You Can Keep It

By Ann Coulter
February 19, 2014

Political Cartoons by Steve Kelley

Liberals are winning wild praise for their candor in admitting problems with Obamacare. It shows you the level of honesty people have come to expect of our liberal friends. Now, liberals are applauded for not lying through their teeth about something.

What are they supposed to say? This Obamacare website is fantastic! And really, haven't you already read all the magazines in your current doctor's office anyway?

The New York Times has described Obama's repeated claim that you could keep your insurance plan and keep your doctor under Obamacare as a mere slip of the tongue: "Mr. Obama clearly misspoke when he said that."

Misspoke? How exactly does one misspeak, word for word, dozens of times, over and over again?

That wasn't misspeaking -- it was a deliberate, necessary lie. Even Democrats couldn't have voted for Obamacare if Americans had known the truth. It was absolutely vital for Obama to lie about people being able to keep their insurance and their doctors.

Of course, it was difficult for voters to know the truth because every time Republicans would try to tell them, the White House and the media would rush in and call the critics liars.

The White House posted a specific refutation of the "disinformation" about not being able to keep your doctor or insurance plan. That claim, the website said, was being disseminated by Republicans "to scare people."

Their proof consisted of a video of Obama clearly stating, "If you have insurance that you like, then you will be able to keep that insurance. If you've got a doctor that you like, you will be able to keep your doctor."

A video of someone asserting the very fact in dispute does not rise to the level of "evidence," but it was more than enough for MSNBC.

Even when pretending to be critical of Obamacare, liberals lie about the real problems. They tell us they're worried about the percentage of young people signing up for Obamacare. The mix of young and old people in Obamacare is completely irrelevant. It won't help if a lot of young people sign up because their premiums are negligible.

To keep the system afloat, what Obamacare really needs is lots of healthy people, preferably healthy older people. Their premiums are astronomical -- and they won't need much medical treatment.

Premiums are set by your age, not your health. It doesn't matter if you never go to the doctor. Obamacare punishes you for having a healthy lifestyle. The Obamacare tax is a massively regressive poll tax on the middle-aged and the middle class.

Apart from those who are subsidized, everyone pays the exact same amount in penalties or insurance premiums for his age group. It doesn't matter if you don't make as much money as Bill Gates. Any 58-year-old male who doesn't qualify for a subsidy will pay the same Obamacare tax as Gates.

When Margaret Thatcher tried to impose the same tax per person, as a "community charge," there were riots in the street.

Our extremely progressive tax system, where nearly half the country pays no income tax at all, and the other half pays about 40 percent of their income, may not be fair. But most people also don't think it's fair to tax a guy making $80,000 a year the identical amount as one making $80 million a year. That's exactly what Obamacare does.

With Obamacare, the Democratic Party has foisted the most regressive tax possible on America. This ruthless assault on the middle class is all so we can have a health care system more like every other country has.

Until now, the United States has had the highest survival rates in the world for heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Cancer comparisons are the most useful because all Western countries keep careful records for this disease.

For all types of cancers, European men have only a 47.3 percent five-year survival rate, compared to a 66.3 percent survival rate for American men.

European women have only a 55.8 percent chance of being alive five years after being diagnosed with any type of cancer, compared to 62.9 percent of American women.

American survival rates for breast, prostate, thyroid and skin cancer are higher than 90 percent. Europeans do not have a 90 percent survival rate for one of those cancers.

The European rates are even worse than they sound because many cancers are not discovered until the victim's death -- twice as many as in the U.S. All those cancers were excluded from the study.

Canadian cancer survival rates aren't much better than the European rates -- and they've been able to sneak into to the U.S. for treatment! Women in the U.S. have a 61 percent survival rate for all cancers, compared to a 58 percent survival rate in Canada. Men in the U.S. have a 57 percent survival rate compared to 53 percent in Canada.

That's why your insurance premiums have to go through the roof and your Obamacare tax is the same as Bill Gates'. So across the world, we'll all be equal, dying of cancer, heart disease and diabetes as often as everyone else.

It's not that Obama doesn't believe in American exceptionalism; it's that he wants to end it. 

Interview: C.J. Box

Man in a Black Hat

If you see a ruggedly handsome man in a black cowboy hat looking a little out of place in Telfair Square this weekend, it may be award-winning author and Wyoming native C.J. Box.  Christina Kelly sidles up and shares a chat with the bestselling mystery writer.

C.J. Box isn’t your average mystery writer. He’s the New York Times best-selling author of seventeen novels, including thirteen in the critically acclaimed Joe Pickett series. Box’s writing appeals to such a wide and loyal audience because of his memorable characters and riveting plots. Also, he’s not afraid to include real-life controversies in his fiction, undertaking such diverse topics as wind farms, animal rights, and the zero-footprint theme.

As a testament to his craft, he’s won the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Novel in 2009 for Blue Heaven, among other prizes. His books have been translated into 25 languages and both Blue Heaven and Nowhere to Run have been optioned for films.

Fortunately, his fans don’t have long to wait for more from C.J. Box. The fourteenth novel in the Joe Pickett series,Stone Cold, will be published in March and his first short-story collection, Shots Fired, will appear this summer.  As well, his Joe Pickett novels are being pitched as a television series by executive producer Robert Redford. Not bad for this outdoorsman who’s as comfortable on a trout river as he is on a best-seller list. 
Savannah magazine: If somebody walked in on you writing, what would they see?
C.J. Box: I’d either be at my desk in my basement office in Cheyenne or at a desk at my cabin on a trout river two and a half hours away from Cheyenne. In both cases, it would be a boring sight. I write best when I can’t look out a window and have the fewest possible distractions. I can’t have one of those idyllic light-filled rooms Ernest Hemingway used to brag about.  If I could see outside (especially at my cabin) I’d see that trout were rising and I’d have to go catch them. At home, my view right now is of a snow-filled window well. There are rifles and other things on the walls, but if somebody walked in on me writing they’d walk away and say, “What a dull guy.”
SM: What were your favorite books as a child? Do you have a favorite character or hero from those books?
C.J. Box: Very early on, I was a big fan of the Encyclopedia Brown series. I graduated from that to books like A.B. Guthrie’s The Big Sky and I read all of the James Bond novels. My favorite novel is still Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 and my favorite writer is Thomas McGuane. Favorite hero? Probably Philip Marlowe from the Raymond Chandler novels.
Savannah magazine: Joe Pickett is your most well-known character. Are there any parts of him that are based on yourself?
C.J. Box: I think for every writer there is a piece of them in every character he/she creates. With some, it’s more than others. Like Joe Pickett, I have daughters and I love my wife. I’m also an outdoorsman. But I’ve never been a game warden or worked in law enforcement, and I don’t seek danger in practically every situation. Also, I’m a better shot.
Savannah magazine: You’re often shown wearing a black cowboy hat which is most commonly associated with villains. Are you more a villain or a hero?
C.J. Box: This is where I can reveal to you a little about the culture in the West! Black hats vs. white hats is an old western movie thing. In real life, men wear black hats in the winter months and straw hats in the summer months. There are a few men who wear silver-belly Stetsons (I’ve got one) but black is the preferred color and it has nothing to do with the color of one’s heart.
Savannah magazine: Have your three adult daughters read your books? 
C.J. Box: They’ve read all of the books. In fact, they help me out with first drafts and make suggestions and sometimes offer better ideas. Because they’ve read all the books they sometimes have a better overall perspective of the series than I do. My wife, Laurie, is my first reader and she’s an excellent editor.
Savannah magazine: You’ve written about federal government workers, long-haul truckers, serial killers, and some rather shady characters, so how do you research your books?
C.J. Box: I enjoy the research part of each book and I try to get it right. I’ve accompanied cross-country long-haul truckers, climbed to the top of wind turbines, fired the largest handgun in the world, and traveled to interview the locals in places where I’m setting a novel. I find it very rewarding to hear from readers that I got the details right.
Savannah magazine: What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
C.J. Box: As goofy as it sounds, I’m always astonished to learn from (some) aspiring writers that they don’t read much or read widely. I guess they like the sound of their own voice too much. Readers may not. Writers should read both critically and for entertainment to figure out how successful authors do it in regard to craft, characterization, motivation, point of view, etc. It’s right there on the page.
Savannah magazine: You’ve published 17 novels in 13 years. How do you keep up this pace? What gives you inspiration?
C.J. Box: If I was waiting for inspiration I’d be working on Book Two. I write because it’s my job.  Plumbers can’t take a day off because they have plumber’s block. I just go to work every day like everyone else. But I also love it and I think I’ve got the best job in the world. I’m just happy so many readers all over the world like the books.
Savannah magazine: Much of your writing is based in Wyoming, where you live. Perhaps it’s time to introduce your characters to Savannah. Possible?
C.J. Box: One never knows. I was invited to give a talk this year in Wilson, N.C. and now Wilson is a location for the book I’m writing at the moment. I’m kind of a location predator.

The myth of ‘settled science’
President Obama addresses the seriousness of the drought as he speaks to the media with Gov. Jerry Brown (left) and farmers Joe and Maria Del Bosque in Los Banos (Merced County). Photo: Wally Skalij, Associated Press
President Obama addresses the seriousness of the drought as he speaks to the media with Gov. Jerry Brown (left) and farmers Joe and Maria Del Bosque in Los Banos (Merced County). Photo: Wally Skalij, Associated Press
I repeat: I’m not a global warming believer. I’m not a global warming denier. I’ve long believed that it cannot be good for humanity to be spewing tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. I also believe that those scientists who pretend to know exactly what this will cause in 20, 30 or 50 years are white-coated propagandists.
“The debate is settled,” asserted propagandist in chief Barack Obama in his latest State of the Union address. “Climate change is a fact.” Really? There is nothing more anti-scientific than the very idea that science is settled, static, impervious to challenge. Take a non-climate example. It was long assumed that mammograms help reduce breast cancer deaths. This fact was so settled that Obamacare requires every insurance plan to offer mammograms (for free, no less) or be subject to termination.
Now we learn from a massive randomized study — 90,000 women followed for 25 years — that mammograms may have no effect on breast cancer deaths. Indeed, one out of five of those diagnosed by mammogram receives unnecessary radiation, chemo or surgery.
So much for settledness. And climate is less well understood than breast cancer. If climate science is settled, why do its predictions keep changing? And how is it that the great physicist Freeman Dyson, who did some climate research in the late 1970s, thinks today’s climate-change Cassandras are hopelessly mistaken?
They deal with the fluid dynamics of the atmosphere and oceans, argues Dyson, ignoring the effect of biology, i.e., vegetation and topsoil. Further, their predictions rest on models they fall in love with: “You sit in front of a computer screen for 10 years and you start to think of your model as being real.” Not surprisingly, these models have been “consistently and spectacularly wrong” in their predictions, write atmospheric scientists Richard McNider and John Christy — and always, amazingly, in the same direction.
Settled? Even Britain’s national weather service concedes there’s been no change — delicately called a “pause” — in global temperature in 15 years. If even the raw data is recalcitrant, let alone the assumptions and underlying models, how settled is the science?
But even worse than the pretense of settledness is the cynical attribution of any politically convenient natural disaster to climate change, a clever term that allows you to attribute anything — warming and cooling, drought and flood — to man’s sinful carbon burning.
Accordingly, Obama ostentatiously visited drought-stricken California last Friday. Surprise! He blamed climate change. Here even the New York Times gagged, pointing out that far from being supported by the evidence, “the most recent computer projections suggest that as the world warms, California should get wetter, not drier, in the winter.”
How inconvenient. But we’ve been here before. Hurricane Sandy was made the poster child for the alleged increased frequency and strength of “extreme weather events” like hurricanes.
Nonsense. Sandy wasn’t even a hurricanewhen it hit the United States. Indeed, in all of 2012, only a single hurricane made U.S. landfall . And 2013 saw the fewest Atlantic hurricanes in 30 years. In fact, in the last half-century, one-third fewer major hurricanes have hit the United States than in the previous half-century.
Similarly tornadoes. Every time one hits, the climate-change commentary begins. Yet last year saw the fewest in a quarter-century. And the last 30 years — of presumed global warming — has seen a 30 percent decrease in extreme tornado activity (F3 and above) versus the previous 30 years.
None of this is dispositive. It doesn’t settle the issue. But that’s the point. It mocks the very notion of settled science, which is nothing but a crude attempt to silence critics and delegitimize debate. As does the term “denier” — an echo of Holocaust denial, contemptibly suggesting the malevolent rejection of an established historical truth.
Climate-change proponents have made their cause a matter of fealty and faith. For folks who pretend to be brave carriers of the scientific ethic, there’s more than a tinge of religion in their jeremiads. If you whore after other gods, the Bible tells us, “the Lord’s wrath be kindled against you, and he shut up the heaven, that there be no rain, and that the land yield not her fruit” (Deuteronomy 11).
Sounds like California. Except that today there’s a new god, the Earth Mother. And a new set of sins — burning coal and driving a fully equipped F-150.
But whoring is whoring, and the gods must be appeased. So if California burns, you send your high priest (in carbon -belching Air Force One, but never mind) to the bone-dry land to offer up, on behalf of the repentant congregation, a $1 billion burnt offering called a “climate resilience fund.”
Ah, settled science in action.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Iran Has the Bomb
February 20, 2014

Inspection: Ahmadinejad visits the Natanz Uranium Enrichment Facility in April 2008
Inspection: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visits the Natanz Uranium Enrichment Facility in April 2008
For several years now, myself and others have been warning that Iran probably already has the bomb. Contrary to Obama Administration promises that they will know when Iran crosses "the red line" to build the bomb, we have warned that such claims are false.
U.S. intelligence is not good enough to so precisely and with such high confidence monitor and verify the status of Iran's nuclear weapons program.
Defense Science Board Report
A recently published Defense Department study "Assessment of Nuclear Monitoring and Verification Technologies" (January 2014), by the blue ribbon Defense Science Board, concludes the following:
"Closing the nation's global nuclear monitoring gaps should be a national priority. It will require, however, a level of commitment and sustainment we don't normally do well without a crisis. ...monitoring for proliferation... presents challenges for which current solutions are either inadequate, or more often, do not exist. Among these challenges are... Small inventories of weapons and materials.... Small nuclear enterprises designed to produce, store, and deploy only a small number of weapons...Undeclared facilities and/or covert operations, such as testing below detection thresholds, or acquisition of materials or weapons through theft or purchase... Use of non‐traditional technologies..."
These intelligence blind-spots align perfectly with U.S. monitoring gaps against Iran's nuclear weapons program. The Defense Science Board Report is tantamount to an admission that Iran probably already has the bomb.
Clandestine Nuclear Weapons Program
Like the North Korean nuclear weapons program, Iran's nuclear weapons program is clandestine, mostly underground, mostly inaccessible to international inspections, and impenetrable to U.S. national technical means. Most of what we know about Iran's nuclear program has been disclosed voluntarily by Tehran to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The U.S. did not even suspect Iran was working on the bomb until 2002, after the program was in operation for some 15 years.
We should know from our own experience that Iran probably already has the bomb. During its World War II Manhattan Project, when nuclear weapons were only a theoretical possibility, and working with 1940s era technology, the U.S. built two atomic bombs of radically different design that both worked perfectly -- in a mere three years.
Iran, with access to copious unclassified information on nuclear weapon designs, working with 21st Century technology, helped by the A.Q. Khan network, North Korea, Russia, and China, supposedly has been unable to build the bomb -- after thirty years of trying. This is an implausibly optimistic assessment.
North Korea developed its first nuclear weapons in no more than 8 years.
Unreported by the mainstream media are warnings that Iran might already have the bomb by such experts as former Director of Central Intelligence R. James Woolsey; former Chairman of the National Intelligence Council Fritz Ermarth; President Reagan's Science Advisor Dr. William R. Graham; former Director of the Defense Nuclear Agency Vice Admiral Robert Monroe; former Director of the Strategic Defense Initiative Ambassador Henry Cooper; and Israeli intelligence officers, the latter going public in the Israeli newspaper Maariv in September 2013.
Historically, the U.S. intelligence community has underestimated and been surprised by foreign nuclear weapon programs. They were surprised by the first Soviet A-bomb test in 1949, by the Soviet H-bomb test in 1955, by China's first nuclear test in 1964, by discovery after the 1991 Persian Gulf War that Iraq under Saddam Hussein was within 6 months of developing an atomic bomb, by Pakistan and India's nuclear tests in 1998, and by North Korea's nuclear test in 2006.
Nuclear Testing Not Necessary
Nuclear testing is not necessary to develop a nuclear weapon deliverable by aircraft or missile. The U.S. Hiroshima bomb (a "gun-type" uranium bomb) was not tested before use -- Hiroshima was the test. Israel, South Africa, and North Korea all developed nuclear weapons without nuclear testing.
North Korea developed its first nuclear weapon by 1993, according to a declassified CIA report and Senate testimony by then Director of Central Intelligence R. James Woolsey. North Korea's first nuclear test years later, in 2006, was probably for political purposes -- nuclear blackmail of the U.S. and its allies -- and to develop more sophisticated nuclear weapons.
Iran and North Korea are strategic partners and by treaty and in practice share science and technology. North Korean scientists are present in Iran helping its missile and nuclear programs. Iranian scientists reportedly have been present at all three North Korean nuclear tests.
A prudent U.S. foreign and defense policy would assume that Iran's nuclear weapons program is probably on a par with North Korea's.
See No Evil
America has a bigger problem with its intelligence community than the inadequacy of national technical means to monitor rogue state and terrorist nuclear weapon programs.
Intelligence community leaders General James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, and Michael Morrell, until recently the Deputy Director of CIA, are proven liars, willing to lie to Congress and the American people to cover up the failures and transgressions of the Obama Administration.
Clapper lied about National Security Agency spying on the American people. He lied again in covering for President Obama's false assertion that North Korea does not have nuclear missiles -- during the crisis over North Korea's threatened nuclear missile strikes in 2013 -- belittling the Defense Intelligence Agency's accurate assessment that Pyongyang does, in fact, have nuclear armed missiles.
Morrell lied when he altered CIA talking points on Benghazi to protect then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Obama Administration.
Clapper and Morrell are clear indicators that the Obama Administration has corrupted -- the technical word is "politicized" -- the intelligence community. How can Congress and the American people trust their intelligence leaders to tell the truth about anything that reflects badly on this White House? The fish rots from the head down.
The biggest liar is in the White House.
The Obama Administration's Geneva interim agreement with Iran is probably calculated to kick the can down the road so some future administration will get blamed if Iran eventually does a nuclear test. The model is the Clinton Administration's Agreed Framework with North Korea, which never had any realistic chance of denuclearizing North Korea, but kicked the can to the Bush Administration, so they got blamed for the North Korean bomb when Pyongyang tested in 2006.
Nuclear Surprise
If Iran already has the bomb, why have they not yet tested?
Fritz Ermarth thinks Iran is following the example of North Korea, and probably wants to clandestinely build such robust capabilities so that its nuclear status will become irreversible.
Israel and South Africa never tested because they elected to pursue a policy of deliberate ambiguity, to reap the deterrence benefits of being known nuclear weapon states while avoiding the international opprobrium of making their nuclear status official by testing.
However, most of my colleagues and I conclude from analysis of Iranian and Jihadi statements and writings that Tehran is not interested in the bomb for status or deterrence. The word "deterrence" does not even appear in their military writings about the bomb. It is all about nuclear use, in particular a nuclear electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack that would cause a protracted national blackout, potentially killing millions of Americans through starvation and societal collapse.
For example: "If the world's industrial countries fail to devise effective ways to defend themselves against dangerous electronic assaults, then they will disintegrate within a few years.... American soldiers would not be able to find food to eat nor would they be able to fire a single shot." (Tehran, Nashriyeh-e Siasi Nezami)
The mullahs who run Iran want the bomb for reasons of religious eschatology having to do with the Shiite version of Apocalypse, the return of their 12th Imam, and the ultimate triumph of Islam in the secular and spiritual universe. In this vision, the Jews and Infidels (that's us) must convert or die.
The Islamic Bomb has nothing to do with deterrence theory or geostrategic calculations familiar to Western nuclear strategists. The Mullahs have their own timetable for the Apocalypse. They hold a "12th Imam Conference" in Tehran every year to study signs and portents. Their development of nuclear weapons, and the failure of the West to stop them, is itself interpreted as one of the "miracles" indicating the Apocalypse is nigh.
The possibility of nuclear EMP attack is another "miracle" as it destroys the high-tech society and weaponry that is the source of U.S. strength. In this view, Western materialism and worship of the False God that is Technology becomes our downfall.
A Nuclear EMP attack would cause us to destroy ourselves by means of the corrupt lifestyles of an anti-spiritual civilization wholly focused and dependent upon high-tech materialism. We would die for our sins in the perfect act of divine retribution:
"In the context of the final battle... all of the planes and satellites will fall, computers will fail, other equipment will be made useless and... the Earth will be shaken ... by nuclear war," prophesy Abdallah and Shayk Muhammed an-Naqshbandi, "Technology will stop or turn against the Americans."
The Congressional EMP Commission warned that Iran has several times detonated its Shahab III missile at high altitudes, apparently simulating a nuclear EMP attack. Iran has also demonstrated the capability to launch a ballistic missile from a freighter and make a nuclear EMP strike anonymously, and so perhaps escape retaliation. Iran has also orbited several satellites on trajectories consistent with practicing a surprise nuclear EMP attack against the United States.
Iran has not conducted a nuclear test because its theocracy is not interested in diplomatic "signaling" or Western theories of nuclear deterrence and arms control bargaining. When the mullahs are ready, they will make a surprise nuclear attack. The vaporization of New York City and an EMP attack that crashes American society will be their nuclear tests.
The bottom line is that Iran is a nuclear truck bomb headed our way.
Dr. Peter Vincent Pry served in the CIA, the House Armed Services Committee, the Congressional Strategic Posture Commission, the Congressional EMP Commission, and is the author of Electric Armageddon and Apocalypse Unknown both books available through and

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Today's Tune: Bruce Springsteen - Don't Change (Live 2014)

Is Ukraine the Cold War’s final episode?
An Orthodox priest steps in front of an armed riot police officer in Kiev on January 22, 2014.


An Orthodox priest steps in front of an armed riot police officer in Kiev on January 22, 2014.

One hundred years ago this coming Aug. 4, the day Britain declared war on Germany,socialists in the German Reichstag voted for credits to finance the war. Marxists — including Lenin, who that day was in what now is Poland — were scandalized. Marx had preached that the proletariat has no fatherland, only a transnational class loyalty to proletarians everywhere. “In 1918,” wrote Louis Fischer, Lenin’s best biographer, “patriotism and nationalism, born of the ‘subjectivism’ Lenin so disliked, were ideological crimes in Soviet Russia.”
These are history-shaping virtues in Ukraine today. Because the nation-state is the necessary framework for durable political liberty, nationalism is a necessary, although insufficient, impulse sustaining liberty. Marx, whose prophesies were perversely predictive because they were almost invariably wrong, predicted the end of nationalism. Economic forces, he said, determine political, cultural and psychological realities. So capitalism, with its borders-leaping cosmopolitanism, would dilute to the point of disappearance all emotional attachments to nations. Ukraine’s ferment is an emphatic, albeit redundant, refutation of Marxism.
The political elites who cobbled together the European Union hoped that the pooling of national sovereignties would extinguish the nationalism that, they think, ruined Europe’s 20th century. They considered the resulting “democracy deficit” — the transfer of national parliaments’ prerogatives to Brussels bureaucrats — a price well worth paying for tranquillity.
Now comes turbulent Ukraine, incandescent with nationalism and eager to preserve its sovereignty by a closer relationship with the European Union.
Ukraine’s president, Viktor Yanukovych, is resisting the popular desire for constitutionally limited government and for a national existence more independent of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s presence. Yanukovych wants to trade Ukraine’s aspirations for Putin’s billions.
Russia is ruled by a little, strutting Mussolini — the Duce, like Putin, enjoyed being photographed with his chest bare and his biceps flexed. Putin is unreconciled to the “tragedy,” as he calls it, of the Soviet Union’s demise. It was within the Soviet apparatus of oppression that he honed the skills by which he governs — censorship, corruption, brutality, oppression, assassination.
Remember when President George W. Bush peered into Putin’s eyes and got “a sense of his soul” as someone “very straightforward and trustworthy”? Remember when Putin fed the world the fable about rushing naked from his burning dacha — the fire started when Putin was in a sauna — before the rescue of his cherished crucifix, which had belonged to his sainted mother? Ukrainians, whose hard history has immunized them against the folly of wishful thinking, see in Putin’s ferret face the cold eyes of a prison warden.
Ukraine, whose population (46 million) and size are approximately those of Spain, is a potential economic power. Russia remains what the Soviet Union was, a third-world country with first-world military technologies. Its hunter-gatherer economy — name a Russian consumer good other than vodka and caviar you might want — is based on extraction industries (oil, gas, minerals).
Putin’s contempt for Barack Obama is palpable. Russia’s robust support of Bashar al-Assad is one reason Assad has, according to the Obama administration’s director of intelligence, “strengthened” his position in the period since Obama said Assad should “step aside.” Russia has been less than helpful regarding U.S. attempts to halt Iran’s nuclear weapons program. Where, exactly, has Obama’s much-advertised but never defined “reset” of relations with Russia been fruitful?
Yet Obama seems so fixated on it that he will not risk annoying Putin by voicing full-throated support for the Ukrainian protesters. Obama participated in waging seven months of war against Libya, a nation not threatening or otherwise important to the United States. Yet Joe Biden’s Tuesday phone call to Yanukovych is, as of this writing, Obama’s strongest response to the Ukraine crisis, which matters to the political trajectory of the European continent.
Europe, which for many centuries was a cockpit for many fighting faiths, is now politically vanilla. And as a military or diplomatic power, “Europe” remains more a geographical than a political term. Still, the pull of European political culture has not lost its power. And if Europe’s historical amnesia is not complete, it should hear echoes of 1848 and 1989 in the voices of Ukrainians today.
The Soviet Union — “one of modern history’s pivotal experiments,” in the weasel words of NBC’s Olympics coverage — existed for seven miserable decades. Ukraine’s agony is a reverberation of the protracted process of cleaning up after the “experiment.” So, this is perhaps the final episode of the Cold War. Does America’s unusually loquacious 44th president remember how the words of the 40th — “Tear down this wall!” — helped to win it?
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