06/6/15

The Fat Lady Hums A Few Notes

By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton

Amidst all the other emergencies, real and concocted here in the US, one has gone almost virtually unnoticed. But it’s a kicker. The Bird Flu is sweeping the country like wildfire and has now killed 45 million chickens and turkeys here in the US… 20 million 2 months ago and 25 million last month. Nearly 80 percent of those are egg-laying hens, a reality that has been crippling for the egg industry. That’s staggering. And to goose the visuals for a little perspective, take a gander:

This photo provided by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources shows chickens in a trench on a farm in northwest Iowa. Millions of dead chickens and turkeys are decomposing in fly-swarmed piles near dozens of Iowa farms, culled because of a bird flu virus that swept through the state’s large poultry operations. (Iowa Department of Natural Resources via AP)

Oh look… they’re killing all the chickens and turkeys – so many they are dumping them in humongous trenches and burying them. Wonder what that portends for all of us? Well, in Texas, the egg rationing has begun. H-E-B, one of the largest grocery chains in the nation, limits you to purchasing three dozen eggs. The suppliers of liquid eggs are running dry – they supply restaurants, bakeries and other food producers. Prices are beginning to skyrocket as well. Don’t believe me? Ask the USDA:

Guess where we are going today? To buy dozens of eggs. We have two fridges and we’re stocking up. Consider it our modest way of getting into the commodities market in egg futures. Fully 25% of the US’ chickens and turkeys are now ‘offline,’ which is a nice way of saying they have died from the flu or have been euthanized. If one bird gets sick in a batch, they slaughter all of them.

Here’s some info from TwinCities.com – it’s already outdated as the numbers have gone up significantly since this report:

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Millions of dead chickens and turkeys lie in stinking, fly-swarmed piles near dozens of Iowa farms, casualties of a bird flu virus that’s swept through the state’s large poultry operations in the last month.

Contractors hired by the U.S. Department of Agriculture move methodically from barn to barn at the 28 farms, killing the animals that haven’t yet died from the H5N2 virus — a suffocating foam for turkeys, carbon dioxide gas to asphyxiate chickens. Neighbors say they understand the challenge the state’s producers face in disposing of more than 20 million bird carcasses, but are eager for quick action, especially as temperatures rise.

“People in low-lying areas near those facilities have contacted me complaining about a very large number of flies and, until the wind comes up and goes the right direction, a lingering odor,” said Sen. David Johnson, whose northwest Iowa district includes Sunrise Farms — where 3.8 million chickens in 20 barns are dead or dying.

There are few details about how the carcasses are being handled; some are piled up and covered with dirt or other material, turkeys are often composted inside barns and at least one chicken farm is burying them in trenches. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is working with area landfills on agreements to dispose of poultry inside plastic bio-bags and has approved permits for a company to operate portable incinerators in three counties, with the possibility of a fourth roving incinerator.

But one thing is clear, according to Ken Hessenius, a DNR environmental supervisor: “We’ve got to look at all methods of disposal here to deal with this. It truly is a crisis. It’s an extremely difficult situation for all these farms.”

Iowa, which raises nearly 20 percent of the nation’s egg-laying chickens and produces nearly one in every five eggs consumed in the U.S., saw its first reported case on April 13. Since then, nearly 21 million chickens and 470,000 turkeys have died, are dying or are in line to be euthanized. It isn’t the only state dealing with the issue: More than 100 farms in the Midwest have been hit, leading to the loss of more than 28 million chickens and turkeys — 5.5 million of those in Minnesota, the nation’s leading turkey producer.

So, buckle up… because this emergency is expected to last at least a year and a half. The eggpocalypse is upon us it would seem. The poultry industry is facing two, count ’em two, strains of Bird Flu here in the US now. So far, the H5N2 strain has hit the states of Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Arkansas, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Idaho, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington and Wisconsin. It has also been identified in the Canadian provinces of Ontario and British Columbia. The H5N8 strain has not been doing quite as much damage yet, but it has been killing birds in California, Idaho, Indiana, Oregon and Washington. In addition, Canadian officials have discovered that the H5N1 strain is spreading in British Columbia. Wonder why a poultry plague is not big news in the US? By the time Americans figure out there is a problem, it’ll be too late for most of them to take any mitigating action. I don’t know about you, but we depend on eggs. My household eats Paleo and Whole30 and eggs are a mainstay for us. What are the odds that two different strains would go active at the same time? Aggressive little mutant flu virus, for sure. Who knew that chickens would experiment with influenza virology? Those hens need to be careful what eggscapes from their dimly lit underground labs. Without proper precautions, some dumb cluck could devastate egg production nationwide. *Ahem* … okay, meanwhile back on this side of the cartoon curtain…

It is so dire out there, a number of suppliers are going to what they call “eggless eggs.” These are eggs produced from plants. Sounds so very tasty – not. Whataburger has announced that it is going to be limiting the number of hours that it serves breakfast. McDonald’s and others can’t be far behind. They will either limit hours serving, raise costs, limit their menus or all of the above. I almost feel sorry for McDonald’s – they are mostly shutting down in San Francisco because of skyrocketing property prices. Then there’s the minimum wage fiasco – $15 an hour will also shut them down. Heck, in de Blasio’s commie utopia, 1 in 5 fast food joints are closing their doors now because of the $15 an hour extortion imposed on them. Seattle, Portland and LA are lining up as well. You have to wonder about Walmart running national ads about how great they are since they will be paying their employees higher wages. Egg timer on viability anyone? But, I digress.

And not to alarm everyone more than I already have, but this Bird Flu crap has the potential to jump to humans. The CDC has already issued a warning:

“Clinicians should consider the possibility of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5 virus infection in persons showing signs or symptoms of respiratory illness who have relevant exposure history,” the CDC said in a health alert issued to doctors.

“This includes persons who have had contact with potentially infected birds (e.g., handling, slaughtering, defeathering, butchering, culling, preparation for consumption); direct contact with surfaces contaminated with feces or parts (carcasses, internal organs, etc.) of potentially-infected birds; and persons who have had prolonged exposure to potentially-infected birds in a confined space.”

Boy, this would be an elitist’s dream… how to reduce the population and fast. Let’s pray that this virus does not jump the shark.

I’m in Oklahoma – the rationing is in Texas and soon to come in other states I presume.

The egg shortage and Bird Flu pandemic is just one emergency… we are caught in the middle of a number of harsh scenarios playing out. Everything from the drought in the west which will cause food inflation and other ramifications, to terrorism threats from ISIS.

From the attack in Garland, Texas to the take down of two Jihadists in Boston who were planning to behead Pamela Geller and police officers, lone wolf attacks and worse are becoming a reality here in the States. Yesterday, a US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) helicopter was shot at and had to make an emergency landing. The shots came from Mexico and it’s your best guess whether it was the emboldened cartels or ISIS, who has at least two camps there, or a combo of both. Now ISIS is bragging it can bring a nuclear weapon into the US… I suggest we pay attention with the non-existent borders we now have.

Our cities are also embroiled in an epic crime wave, escalating across the nation. Shooting attacks — mostly ethnic minorities — are up 60 percent in Baltimore so far this year compared to 2014. Homicides are up 180 percent in Milwaukee, 25 percent in St. Louis, 32 percent in Atlanta and 13 percent in New York in the same period. All because of Progressive-manipulated racism and riots, fomenting cop hatred. In other words, Cloward and Piven.

Probably of the greatest concern to many here in the US is our massive unemployment problem, the fall of the dollar and it’s replacement as the world’s reserve currency. Did you know that a global bond crash has started? Didn’t hear that in the news? I’m not surprised. Why do you think they want to do away with tangible money? The powers-that-be want to go digitized so they can implement taxes and a global fiscal confiscation “haircut” to bail their sorry asses out as the fiscal emergency — of their own creation — continues to spiral out of control. The Chinese look to take control with the Yuan as the new global currency. Since they are our biggest debt holder, what do Americans think will happen when they come to collect?

Militarily, Russia, China and Iran are plotting and planning on a World War to end all wars. And with a neutered US, there may be no one standing in their way of global conquest. I saw one major media outlet predict WWIII was a sure bet beginning this summer and to pray it would not be nuclear. If it goes full blown, nukes are a virtual certainty along with financial, cyber and space warfare.

The fat lady isn’t belting it out in the US yet, but she’s humming a few notes. The Bird Flu is just one more note in a discordant visage playing out in America. Marxists believe you have to break a few eggs to make a communist omelet – I always thought that was supposed to be a metaphor.

02/15/15

Are We Seeing History Repeat Itself?

By: Alan Caruba
Warning Signs

nuclearbomb

“Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it” is the famed quote of George Santayana, a Spanish philosopher (1863-1952). I am beginning to think that the world is making its way toward a future that repeats the horrors of the last century’s wars and earlier times when Europeans battled Islam to free Jerusalem, to protect their homelands in Europe, and to eject Muslims from Spain.

nuclearbomb1In his book, “Jihad in the West: Muslim Conquests from the 7th to the 21st Centuries” historian Paul Fregosi documented the history of Islam and its attacks on European nations, characterizing jihad as “essentially a permanent state of hostility that Islam maintains against the rest of the world.” It is a Muslim sacrament, a duty they must perform.

Occurring at the same time is the agenda of the global environmental movement and on February 4 Christina Figueres, the executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, said “This is probably the most difficult task we have ever given ourselves; which is to intentionally transform the economic development model, for the first time in human history.”

“This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for the, at least, 150 years, since the industrial revolution.” (Italics added)

nuclearbomb2Figueres was wrong. The objective of the 1917 Communist revolution that began in Russia and Mao’s “Great Leap Forward” (1958-1961) was the same that is now being openly embraced by the United Nations in 2015. The result of both was the death of millions.

Humanity is under attack from an Islam that intends to impose its barbaric seventh century Sharia law and from the environmental movement’s intention to end capitalism and replace it with the income distribution central to Communism.

Both spell a terrible future for the people of the world.

The President of the United States is devoted to pursuing both of these goals as the defender of Islam and the opponent of “income inequality.” We have twenty-two months to survive Barack Obama’s remaining time in office.

Obama was first elected on the promise to end the U.S. engagement in conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. After many years Americans welcomed the prospect of ceasing the loss of lives and billions those wars represented. With the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS) they are now seeing the true price of that policy. Just because we don’t want to fight a war doesn’t mean our enemy will cease to pursue it.

We are at a critical moment in time because it is evident that Obama wants to provide Iran the opportunity to build its own nuclear weapons arsenal. It is a time as well when the military capability of the U.S. has been diminished to what existed before the beginning of World War II. All of Europe and much of Asia would have fallen under the control of Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan if the U.S. had not stepped up to the task of defeating them.

Relentlessly, Obama has done everything he can to reduce the size of our military fighting force and the ships, planes and other weapons needed to protect our security or support that of our allies. He has withdrawn the U.S. from its position of global leadership and left behind allies that no longer trust us and enemies who no longer fear us.

Raymond Ibrahim of the Middle East Forum wrote on February 5 that “approximately 100 million Christians around the world are experiencing the persecution by Muslims of all races, nationalities, and socio-political circumstances.”

At the same time, we are witnessing a new exodus of Jews from Europe, mindful of the Holocaust in the 1940s. According to the Pew Research Center, as of 2013 the Jewish population worldwide was approximately 14 million. Just over 6 million reside in Israel, another 6 million are U.S. citizens, and the rest are in Europe and elsewhere around the world. What has not changed from the last century, however, is the level of anti-Semitism and it appears to be on the rise.

What we are witnessing is a full-scale attack on the West—Christianity and Judaism—and upon Western values of morality, democracy, and freedom.

Whether it will erupt in a new world war is unknown, but if history is a guide, we are moving in that direction.

© Alan Caruba, 2015

02/6/15

Critical Information on Iranian Threats Presented in Washington

By: Roger Aronoff
Accuracy in Media

Considerable media coverage has been devoted to House Speaker John Boehner’s invitation for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak before Congress regarding Iran’s nuclear program and the state of radical Islam movement worldwide. But “Boehner didn’t invite Netanyahu because he cares about Israel’s election,” writes Caroline Glick for the Jerusalem Post. “He invited Netanyahu because he cares about U.S. national security. He believes that by having Netanyahu speak on the issues of Iran’s nuclear program and radical Islam, he will advance America’s national security.”

The outcome of negotiations with Iran could be the ultimate game-changer for the course of history. But, as Glick argues, the Obama administration’s policy is one of enablement—not the prevention of a new nuclear power coming on the scene. Will a nuclear Iran be President Obama’s enduring legacy in the Middle East?  One wonders whether this is how World War III will start. Or should I say, World War IV? Maybe we’re in World War III right now, but just haven’t acknowledged it yet.

To clear up one point that has fueled a great deal of misinformation, Speaker Boehner did inform the White House of the invitation to Netanyahu before the invitation was accepted. The White House remained silent, and then encouraged the narrative that they had been blindsided by the announcement of the plans. The New York Times was forced to acknowledge that fact in a correction.

Iran’s nuclear program may be one of the most important issues of our time. I recently attended an event at the Capitol in Washington, D.C. that tackled the critical national security issue that Iran represents. Two members of the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi, Clare Lopez and Retired Admiral James “Ace” Lyons, spoke at this forum as well.

Unfortunately, the mainstream media didn’t think that the “Iran Truth Squad” event on January 28, hosted by the Center for Security Policy (CSP), deserved coverage.

The topics addressed at this gathering included:

  • How should we approach Iran?
  • The state of the current negotiations
  • What to make of Iran’s tactics and intentions
  • Of the threat Iran poses to the U.S. and Israel
  • Of Iran’s historical and religious roots
  • Of the Obama administration’s attitude and response to them

This two-hour conference, put on by Frank Gaffney and his CSP, answered these pressing questions about the current nuclear negotiations with this regime, and also placed them in the context of what is certainly a corrupt, jihadist government, inimical to free speech and free expression supporting terror worldwide. I urge everyone to watch this, but if you can’t, here are summaries of the different experts who spoke there.

Frank Gaffney:

Gaffney opened the conference by pointing to the considerable amount of disinformation and “confusing statements,” if not outright dissembling, that the Obama administration has provided regarding the Iran negotiations. President Obama said in his recent State of the Union, “with respect to Iran, where, for the first time in a decade, we’ve halted the progress of its nuclear program and reduced its stockpile of nuclear material.” However, Center for Security Policy projections were actually cited by The Washington Post as a “fact check” on President Obama’s claims, and Glenn Kessler of the Post awarded the President three Pinocchios for his false statements.

“We think at the very minimum these are the sorts of alternative assessments that are needed for the American people and their elected representatives to have under consideration as they weigh not only these negotiations that are underway…but also with respect to legislation that is expected to be addressed by the Congress on both sides of the aisle …in the days to come,” said Gaffney. He also noted that you wouldn’t know from the characterizations and negotiations between Washington and Iran that this repressive regime considers not just Israelis or Jews impure, but all infidels.

In addition, Gaffney said, we need to remember there are not only the nuclear capabilities that Iran has declared, but their secret capabilities, as well.

Rep. Trent Franks:

“I would suggest to you that Iran’s nuclear pursuits are one of the most critically significant and grave threats to the peace of the world that we have anywhere to discuss,” declared Representative Trent Franks (R-AZ), who is a member of the House Armed Services Committee and Chairman of the House EMP Caucus. The costs in preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons may be high. However, his response is that these costs pale in comparison to the cost of overcoming a nuclear Iranian regime. “To deal with a nuclear capable Iran is an unthinkable scenario,” he said.

Rep. Franks emphasized that Iran poses a real threat to the United States. He said that Iran has actively been researching electromagnetic pulse (EMP) technology and that hardening the United States infrastructure against EMP could serve as a deterrent by reducing an EMP’s efficacy against America. “But let me suggest to you that even missile defense is not as important as hardening our grid when it comes to deterring a potential enemy against attacking our grid with the use of EMP,” he said.

He condemned the current administration’s current negotiation approach toward this repressive regime, saying, “All Iran needs to gain a nuclear weapons capability is time and this administration seems unfortunately either naively or just insanely willing to allow them to have that time…”

Yoram Ettinger:

Ambassador Ettinger, a former Israeli diplomat who served as Minister for Congressional Affairs at Israel’s Embassy in Washington and as Director of Israel’s Government Press Office, emphasized that stopping Iran from developing nuclear weapons is in the United States’ national interest, not just Israel’s interest. After all, Iran’s desire for nukes exists “independent” of Israel and advances a mega-historical goal of this country: domination of the Persian Gulf and stopping America’s power projection in the region.

“All that has absolutely nothing to do with Israel,” said Ettinger. “Iran, obviously, is a lethal threat to Israel, but the motivation of becoming a nuclear power is focused on [a] much, much more important factor, as far as they’re concerned, and that is the USA.”

After all, “Iran annually celebrates November 4 as ‘Death to America Day,’ commemorating the 1979 seizure of the US Embassy, featuring a burning of the American flag,” Ambassador Ettinger writes on his website.

He expressed skepticism that Iran could be contained or tolerated once it gains or develops its nuclear weapons program, because such strategies contradict the country’s track record. Ettinger called for regime change and said that once Iran gets the bomb, “the only question will be how rapid and how wide in scope will American concessions be” worldwide.

Dr. Andrew Bostom:

Dr. Bostom, author of Iran’s Final Solution for Israel, outlined the cultural background of the Shiite revolution that brought the Ayatollahs to power in Iran in the 1970s, and pointed to the Islamic religious components that make Iran’s antisemitism so virulent.

“The recent [Charlie] Hebdo murders in Paris targeting journalists and, even more egregiously without cause, Jews at a Kosher market, represent uniquely Islamic phenomena certainly in the present era,” he said.

He emphasized that the hatred of Jews and non-Muslims, or infidels, is so intense that it becomes dehumanizing because Islam views infidels as physically, as well as spiritually, impure. As such, someone might even be beaten for going out in the rain because their impurity might wash off, and, in other cases, infidels are not allowed to touch products as they are manufactured. The physical and spiritual impurity of the infidel is derived from Islam’s core texts, he said.

Comparing the Green Movement to those currently in power, Bostom said, “We see really no difference in terms of their attitudes about jihadism, and it’s based on the prototype of Mohammed…” One might ask whether regime change would make much difference.

Clare Lopez:

Antony J. Blinken, Deputy Secretary of State, recently admitted during Congressional questioning that the United States was no longer negotiating to stop Iran from a “breakout” capability to nuclear weapons, “but only to get a better alarm” or “signal” ahead of time, according to Clare Lopez, a member of the CCB and former CIA officer. She serves as the Center for Security Policy’s Vice President for Research and Analysis.

Blinken, speaking for the State Department on January 27, outlined how the U.S. continues to provide Iran with “limited” sanctions relief of “about $14 to $15 billion from the start of the [Joint Plan of Action] through this June.”

In addition to sanctions relief, Lopez said that the November 2013 Joint Plan of Action gave Iran just about everything it wanted: the right to enrich, the right to keep uranium, centrifuge research and development, and continued intercontinental ballistic missile development.

On January 30, the Jerusalem Post reported that “According to unnamed officials, Washington ‘has given the Iranians 80 percent of what they want’ out of the negotiations…”

“Let’s look at this satellite photo imagery from a couple weeks ago,” said Lopez during her presentation, pointing to a satellite image of a new ICBM sitting on a launch pad outside of Tehran. “It’s 89 feet tall, it is definitely intercontinental in reach. That means this one, at least…is not aimed at Israel” but much farther away, she said.

IHS Jane’s 360, on February 1, reported to the contrary that “Claims that Iran is preparing to test an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) are based on incorrect analysis of a satellite image showing the new facility at the Khomeini Space Centre in Semnan province.”

Lopez, in response, pointed out that “a simple, small 1-3 kt nuclear weapon used for an EMP attack does not have to weigh much more than 100 kg,” which is the weight that Jane’s 360 reports Iranian media had indicated the Simorgh can carry into orbit. Also, “the nosecones already are visibly configured to carry a nuke,” she remarked.

Lopez also pointed to the recent alleged American intervention in Argentina on behalf of the Iranians. “The United States pressed Argentina to end its investigation of Iranian complicity in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish center in which nearly 100 people were killed,” reported the World Tribune citing the Middle East Newsline and unnamed diplomats on January 23rd.

We have since learned that “Before his death, Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman had drafted an arrest warrant for the country’s president in connection with an alleged secret deal with Iran to cover up the bombing of a Jewish community center two decades ago, the chief investigator of Nisman’s death said Tuesday.”

Fred Fleitz:

Fleitz, a former CIA analyst, said that he wrote for National Review that Obama’s State of the Union address was “a straight up lie.” In 2008, when President Obama took office, the number of weapons that Iran could make from its enriched uranium or further enriching its uranium stood at zero. Now, the Center for Security Policy estimates it could create eight weapons.

“The number of nuclear weapons Iran could make from its enriched uranium has steadily risen throughout Mr. Obama’s presidency, rising from seven to at least eight over the last year,” he wrote.

“Iran could make a weapon out of its enriched uranium at the reactor grade in 2.2 to 3.5 months right now,” argued Fleitz, basing this on numbers compiled by the Center for Security Policy, where he works as a Senior Fellow. “This administration has no intention of stopping Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons,” he argued. The administration has decided it can live with a nuclear Iran, he said.

The next deadline for nuclear talks is March 24 of this year, with a final deadline set for June 30th. Fleitz would prefer that the talks end altogether, and start over, because a bad deal is worse than no deal.

After all, Iran is already hiding evidence of its nuclear research activities, and not cooperating with International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors, he said.

Admiral James A. “Ace” Lyons (Ret.):

Admiral Lyons, another CCB Member, said that “you don’t negotiate with evil,” and called the Khamenei regime both evil and corrupt. Thousands of Americans have lost their lives at the hands of this country since 1979, he said, and one should not forget the role that Iran played providing material support to the September 11, 2001 hijackers—necessary aid without which this attack could not have happened.

He argued that the only way to stop the Iranian program is to take it out physically. However, since the Obama Administration won’t, it’s up to Israel to do so.

“As the former Secretary of Defense said, ‘it’ll buy us about two years,’” Lyons said. “And I think the way the situation is today, I’ll take those two years. I don’t think we can afford to wait until a potential change in administration.”

“And let me hasten to add, I’m not a hundred percent sure with a change in administration that the appropriate action will be taken,” he said.

But if action were to be taken, the U.S. should provide tanker support to Israel as a number one priority, as well as electronics and suppression weapons and the “bunker buster.” Doing so might just send a message to Iran.

01/13/15

Do Not Be Fooled by Recent Struggles. Russia Poses a Direct Threat to America and Her Interests.

By: Benjamin Weingarten
TheBlaze

While the media spikes the football in the face of a Russia hobbled by U.S. sanctions, the decline of the ruble and collapse in oil prices, Vladimir Putin’s protectorate poses a direct threat to America and its interests that we ignore at our own peril.

In the 15 years since Vladimir Putin ascended to his position as de facto czar, Russia has executed a long-term strategy that the West has failed to recognize and effectively counter under both Democratic and Republican administrations.

Following the fall of the Berlin Wall, the West thought it had defeated the Soviet Union. But unlike in a hot war, the victor did not annihilate its enemy, nor did the enemy’s leaders ever face the gallows.

The collapse of the Soviet Union in fact resembled a corporate reorganization more than the fall of an empire, as heads rolled and the state spun off assets (many later to be “reclaimed”), but the company and its culture endured.

The collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1991 signified the end of Communist rule in Russia.

The collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1991 signified the end of Communist rule in Russia.

In the face of difficult circumstances, Russia, understanding the mindset of its “former” foes, made the brilliant decision to join the West through economic and diplomatic “cooperation.”

This convergence strategy gave the outward appearance of a liberalizing Russia, but consistent with its historical adeptness at subversion and subterfuge, proved a clever way to rebuild, gain leverage over and embed itself within its enemies.

Russia opened itself to trade to raise capital and procure technology that it could use to exploit its natural resources, rebuild its military and enrich Vladimir Putin and his cronies.

In so doing, Russia developed energy pipelines that not only provided it with wealth, but power over not just its “near abroad” — which could literally be made to freeze were it not compliant — but Western Europe. Stated differently, it brought America’s NATO allies into Russia’s orbit.

Russia also allegedly stole a significant amount of information and technology.

Perhaps most terrifying of all, Russia embedded itself in a world business and financial architecture that it could penetrate and exploit.

On the diplomatic front, Russia became a U.S. “partner” in the “War on Terror,” a curious position given that Russia was and is a key ally of Iran, the world’s leading sponsor of terror. Vladimir Putin of course was the first world leader to call President George W. Bush on Sept. 11, 2001. We do not know all the ramifications of U.S. and Russian intelligence collaboration.

***

Despite a crumbling civil society rife with corruption, the suppression of dissent, rigged elections and the fact that the average life expectancy of a 15-year-old male is three years lower in Russia than in Haiti, Putin’s kleptocratic regime, aided by its powerful propaganda machine, and deceptive religious veneerremains overwhelmingly popular.

This is in no small part due to the fact that during Putin’s reign, Russia has strengthened itself against a West it portrays as aggressive, which has actually remained largely asleep.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, right, poses to the press as he prepares for arm wrestling during his visits in the Seliger youth educational forum  near Lake Seliger, some 450 kilometres (281 miles) northwest of Moscow, in the Tver region, Russia, Monday, Aug. 1, 2011. (AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky, Pool)

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, right, poses to the press as he prepares for arm wrestling during his visits in the Seliger youth educational forum near Lake Seliger, some 450 kilometres (281 miles) northwest of Moscow, in the Tver region, Russia, Monday, Aug. 1, 2011. (AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky, Pool)

To wit, leaving aside foreign adventures in Ukraine and Georgia, under Putin:

Layer these data points on top of Russia’s economic and diplomatic relations with other anti-American regimes around the world, and it is difficult to find any trouble spot for the West that you can scratch without finding a Russian apparatchik.

***

While conventional military strength, intelligence operations and economic warfare against the U.S. are potent weapons in Russia’s arsenal, two recent asymmetric operations alone indicate low-cost high reward tactics Russia could employ to greatly damage our nation and her interests: (i) The terror attacks in France, and (ii) The little-noticed second cyber-attack ever to cause physical damage in world history, after Stuxnet.

On terrorism, while it is likely not in Russia’s interest to directly attack the U.S., sponsoring jihadist proxies provides plausible deniability, and maximal gain at minimal cost.

Lest you think this scenario unrealistic, it was Putin’s own FSB that was alleged to carry out attacks on Russian citizens as a pretext for war in Chechnya in 1999. Russia in fact has a long history of support for terrorism, from Yasser Arafat and the PLO, to alleged ties to Al-Qaeda including senior leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Cyber-terror, to the degree to which it can be masked, could prove equally potent, with the potential to cripple critical U.S. infrastructure and sow chaos at minimal cost.

Again, Russia already has a template from its actions in Estonia, not to mention some of the recent attacks on American institutions alleged to have emanated in Russia.

***

America deludes itself if she does not wake up to the multi-faceted Russian threat.

Russia’s strategic thinking, abundant natural resources and associated economic leverage, defense and intelligence capabilities pose a challenge that sanctions notwithstanding, the West is currently ill-equipped to handle.

Moreover, leaders in the West refuse to acknowledge either out of fear, ignorance, or political correctness (often a combination of the two), that Russian actions to back our enemies, end a dollar-based economy, terrorize those in its immediate orbit, while strengthening its control over Western Europe, all while flexing its muscle in U.S. airspace, indicate aspirations far beyond just rebuilding the Soviet Empire.

This file photo shows President Barack Obama with Russian President Vladmir Putin in Ireland in June. Photo Credit: Evan Vucci/AP

This file photo shows President Barack Obama with Russian President Vladmir Putin in Ireland in June 2014. Photo Credit: Evan Vucci/AP

Recent struggles if anything portend even more dramatic actions by the Putin regime — all likely negative for the West and freedom more broadly — by a leader who is now even clamping down on allies, while seeking propaganda victories to rally his people.

In order to effectively deal with Russia, as with the Islamic world, America must understand the country’s goals, strategies and tactics.

Only then can we devise a coherent plan to deter the threat, and with it, preserve Western civilization.

This piece was written to accompany the three-part series “The Root: Red Storm” on The Glenn Beck Program airing Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday night at 5 p.m. ET on TheBlaze TV.

Follow Ben Weingarten (@bhweingarten) and TheBlazeBooks on Twitter and Facebook.

Be sure to check out Ben’s Blaze Books podcast, consisting of interviews with leading conservative and libertarian thinkers, which you can find on iTunesSoundcloud, and Stitcher.