Epicenter, Chapter 7 (2006): “Future Headline: A Czar Rises In Russia, Raising Fears of a New Cold War.”

A Czar is born.

A Czar is born.

(Washington, D.C.) — Recently, I was criticized for describing Vladimir Putin as a “Czar” and a danger to the U.S., Europe and Israel. On that charge, I plead guilty.

I do believe Putin is a Czar, and I believe he sees himself that way. It’s a case I’ve been making going back at least as far as 2004.

In the fall of 2006, I published my first non-fiction book, Epicenter. Chapter Seven was titled: “Future Headline: A Czar Rises In Russia, Raising Fears of a New Cold War.” (I’ve included excerpts from that chapter below.)

We are certainly seeing such headlines and commentaries today. Consider a brief sampling:

That said, let me be clear that it is too early to say that Vladimir Putin is in any way connected to the figure of “Gog” that Bible prophecy speaks of building a Russian alliance with Iran and other nations in the “last days” to surround and attack Israel. Such prophecies are found in Ezekiel 38 & 39. At this point, I cannot rule out the possibility that Putin could eventually prove to be “Gog,” but much more would have to happen before we could fairly draw such a conclusion.

Nevertheless, Putin poses a serious threat to U.S. and allied interests.

SELECTED PAST BLOG COLUMNS ABOUT PUTIN:

EXCERPTS FROM CHAPTER SEVEN OF EPICENTER:

In September I was in Russia for ten days doing research for my next novel. I met with a senior member of the State Duma (legislature), senior officials at the U.S. Embassy, leading Russian political analysts, and the New York Times’ Moscow bureau chief and an economic reporter for the Times.

To each one, I tossed out a possible scenario: a fascist, ­ultra-nationalist coup in Moscow leads to the assassination of the democratically elected leader of Russia and leaves a ­nuclear-armed dictator in power itching for a dangerous new confrontation with the West. One by one, each told me there was no need for a coup; the dictator is already in place. And so he is.

Over the past eighteen months or so, Vladimir Putin has steadily turned the clock back on Russian democracy, centralizing power back in the Kremlin and slowly morphing himself into an all-powerful Czar.

He has nationalized Russian television networks; thrown political opponents in prison on suspect charges; all but threatened to seize and nationalize one of Russia’s largest petroleum companies; announced Russia’s governors will no longer be popularly elected but rather appointed by the Kremlin; and steadfastly supported a presidential candidate in Ukraine even after international observers protested the candidate was trying to steal the election.

Meanwhile, Putin is selling nuclear power plants, fuel, and technology to Iran—the most dangerous state sponsor of terrorism on the planet—has announced a 40% increase in the Russian military budget, and just announced the development of a new class of Russian strategic nuclear missiles.

“We are not only conducting research and successful ­testing of the newest nuclear missile systems,” Putin told commanders at the Ministry of Defense, according to the New York Times (11/17/04). “I am certain that in the immediate years to come we will be armed with them. These are such developments and such systems that other nuclear states do not have and will not have in the immediate years to come.”

The Times added that the Russian military “is widely ­reported to have been trying to perfect land- and sea-based ­ballistic missiles with warheads that could elude a missile-defense system like the one being constructed by the Bush ­administration.”

Which brings us to today.

During a speech in India, Putin lashed out at Washington, accusing the Bush administration of seeking a “dictatorship of international affairs.

“Even if dictatorship is wrapped up in a beautiful package of pseuo-democratic phraseology, it will not be in a position to solve systemic problems,” Putin said in New Delhi.

Dictatorship?

To be sure, the situation in Russia isn’t nearly as bad today as it was during the Cold War. And Putin has done some things right; he has, for example, been supportive of U.S. efforts in the war on terror; has permitted U.S. and NATO planes to fly over Russian territory to support war efforts in Afghanistan; opposed but didn’t directly attempt to block the U.S.-led war against Iraq; and his 13% flat tax plan, among other pro-market economic reforms, has, in fact, helped the Russian economy grow significantly in recent years and attract U.S. and Western foreign investment and companies.

That said, however, the trend lines are disturbing. Russia is lurching back in the wrong direction. Putin is a dictator in the making.

————————


Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog

YES, WE CAN: Abolish the IRS

Quite a while back, I’m guessing 10 years ago, Papa B recommended I read a book about taxes called The Fair Tax Book. I remember thinking, “Yeah, right. Like I’m gonna read a book on taxes.”

Cutting to the chase, I ended up reading it. And it was fantastic.

It outlined a whole new way of thinking about taxes that is guaranteed to improve the productivity of the economy, increase employment, capture revenues that today are lost to black marketeers, and dramatically improve the fairness of the tax code.

Best of all, it allows the United States to completely dismantle the IRS.

There’s no need for the IRS with the Fair Tax.

And the IRS, for its part, deserves to be dismantled.

Consider the latest news regarding Lois Lerner, the Obama administration and the IRS. The entire system is politicized, with the tax collectors now acting as Democrat Party enforcers and thugs.

The IRS has proven itself unworthy of serving the American people. It is rife with corruption, having played a significant role in Barack Obama’s 2012 election victory by unlawfully suppressing the conservative vote.

As the graph below demonstrates, the Democrat Party and the IRS are one and the same.

The IRS is now completely politicized and utterly corrupt.

It needs to go.

We need The Fair Tax. Supporting conservatives who support the Fair Tax like J.D. Winteregg — Johnny Boehner’s primary opponent in OH-8 — is a great first step.

Doug Ross @ Journal

With Obama’s evisceration of NASA, America reduced to hitching rides into space from… Putin

Guest post by Investor’s Business Daily

Leadership: Putting an economic and political squeeze on Moscow over the Ukraine crisis could bring another Obama chicken home to roost — our president killed the U.S. space program and made us dependent on Putin.

Since 2011, when America’s space shuttle fleet was retired and our space program was dispersed to various museums, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, which proudly put the first human beings, Americans, on the moon some 45 years ago, has largely been fixated on things like monitoring nonexistent climate change and Muslim outreach.

There have been the occasional Mars rover and plans to conduct unmanned chases of comets and asteroids, but our manned presence in space has been limited to hitching rides on Russian spacecraft to fix toilets on the International Space Station (ISS). With the crisis in Ukraine, that might be in jeopardy.

While Russian President Vladimir Putin, currently impaling Ukraine, hasn’t indicated he might do this in response to the Obama administration suddenly developing a foreign policy backbone, the unfortunate fact is we’ve made ourselves dependent on the Russians for manned access to space for the next two or three years.

America’s final space shuttle mission ended July 21, 2011, when Atlantis landed at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. Since then NASA has relied on the Russian Federal Space Agency and its Soyuz spacecraft to get astronauts to and from the ISS.

The Atlantis is there still, on display and out of commission. A prototype shuttle Enterprise is on display in New York at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum after having been towed there on a barge up the Hudson River.

“We don’t have the capability today to put a human being in space of any kind, shape or form, which is absolutely, totally unacceptable when we got the greatest flying machine in the world sitting down at Kennedy in a garage there with nothing to do,” said Eugene Cerban, the last man and last American to walk on the moon.

As Popular Mechanics notes, most of NASA’s human spaceflight resources are focused on the government-owned Space Launch System, or SLS. SLS won’t be ready to fly crew until 2021. After that, it will be able to fly missions only once every four years under the current development schedule.

Private enterprise has tried to pick up the slack.

SpaceX is currently the leader, having already sent cargo to the ISS. SpaceX engineers designed the Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon space capsule with crew in mind from the beginning. Manned missions in near-Earth space may start by 2017.

How did we get in this fix, hitching rides on Russian spacecraft while the Chinese plan to take our place on the moon? An administration obsessed with green energy and high-speed trains to nowhere abandoned the promising Constellation program that included the Ares I rocket that was to replace the space shuttle and the Ares V cargo rocket that was to launch the fuel and supplies to take Americans back to the moon.

President Obama has deliberately presided over the demise of a great symbol of American leadership and exceptionalism. As in so many other areas, we’ll no longer be the leader, just one of many. That’s according to plan.

We once planted our flag on the moon. Now we’ll be lucky to continue hitching rides on Russian spacecraft and paying for the privilege as NASA is reduced to Muslim outreach, monitoring Earth’s climate and looking for endangered species in the Mojave desert.


Read more at Investor’s Business Daily

Doug Ross @ Journal

A Run On Ammunition Has Begun: “Russia Has Reportedly Halted All Exports To The US Of Russian Made Ammunition”

ak-ammo

In recent months ammunition has slowly begun appearing on store shelves at major retailers in the United States. But after nearly two years of shortages that had ammunition manufacturers running their factories 24 hours a day, 7 days a week because of consumer demand and massive government purchases, it appears that another supply pipeline may have been cut.

If you don’t already have it then prepare to go without or pay double the price or more in coming days and weeks:

In the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy and fears of new control control legislation from the Obama administration, extreme shortages of ammunition have been sustained over the past 12-24 months, as panicked Americans have raided the shelves of Cabelas and gun-shows across the country buying literally every round they can get their hands on.

Combined with multi-billion round purchases from gov’t 3 letter acronyms such as the DHS and FBI, (including even the USPS and IRS), the shortages have continued even as manufacturers have responded by drastically increasing production.

Over the past 6-12 months, shortages of some calibers such as 7.62 used in the popular AK-47 semi-automatic weapon have been alleviated somewhat via massive imports of Russian production.

That is about to change.

The largest wholesale gun & ammo distributors in the US have informed us in private conversation today that a massive scramble is on for all 7.62 as Russia has reportedly halted all exports to the US of Russian made ammunition.

Our distributor source informed us that yesterday they had several hundred thousand rounds of Russian made 7.62 TulAmmo, and after receiving word early today on the halt of Russian exports to the US, they have been completely wiped out of every last round in the past 10 hours!

We have only several days supply of 7.62 on hand currently at SDBullion under normal market conditions, and expect it will disappear as quickly as 22 LR once word of the Russian export halt spreads.

While Obama and Kerry threaten Russia with economic sanctions over the Ukranian crisis, it appears that Putin has quietly taken the first step and launched economic sanctions of his own against the US.

We have a feeling that we are seeing only the beginning.

Via Silver Doctors

If this report is accurate, then the motivation may not necessarily be  to cut off ammunition to U.S. gun owners. Perhaps Russia is just ensuring that they have plenty of ammo on hand in the event that a Russian invasion of the Ukraine is initiated by Vladimir Putin.

Whatever the case, this report highlights, yet again, how important it is to have necessary supplies on hand before a major crisis, announcement or political shift.

When the Fukushima radiation plumes began making their way towards the United States and the Department of Homeland Security announced that Americans should have Potassium Iodide on hand to help fight thyroid absorption Americans across the country panicked. The price of a single bottle of KI went from the manufacturer suggested retail price of around $ 20 to a whopping $ 200 per bottle on auction web sites.

After Sandy Hook, as the anti-gun faction of our government began moving to restrict the ownership of firearms and ammunition, prices skyrocketed 300% and shelves were emptied within days.

And, as we’ve seen during critical emergencies like Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, as well as the ice storms that hit the eastern half of the United States in the last few months, grocery stores were cleaned out within hours.

If you’re one second late, you’ll be out of luck.

Develop a comprehensive preparedness plan today and start stocking up.


SHTF Plan – When It Hits The Fan, Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You

Revealed: The Mystery Man Behind Bitcoin: “Not Even His Family Knew”

nakamoto

It’s taken the world by storm, rising thousands of percentage points in just a few years and making multi-millionaires out of early investors. Just $ 1000 invested a couple of years ago would be worth nearly a million today.

Bitcoin and the crypto-currencies that followed in its footsteps have become widely popular with those looking to keep their transactions private, while at the same time driving governments all over the world nuts because there exists no paper trail.

For years no one really knew who created Bitcoin. It just kind of popped up out of nowhere. There were rumors, based on investigations into the code that it was probably a single developer.

But now, after an extensive investigation by Newsweek’s Leah McGrath Goodman, we finally (think we) know who started it all.

His name is Satoshi Nakamoto, though that was originally thought to be just a pseudonym, and he’s a highly secretive individual with ties to even more secretive government programs. According to Goodman, he’s worked on a host of highly classified projects for the U.S. military including the development warship and aircraft technology, but details about his career are sparse.

Though Nakamoto has some $ 400 million worth of Bitcoins, he has reportedly never touched them. Apparently, once the initial development of the crypto-currency was completed he retreated to the foothills outside of Los Angeles, CA, where he now lives locked away from the rest of the world.

When Goodman showed up at his front door Nakamoto first called the police, and once they arrived, he then answered the door.

It seems that classified government work and his involvement with Bitcoin has made him a bit paranoid.

He’s not looking for fame and that is quite evident considering that not even his closest family members knew he was the man behind one of the largest anti-establishment movements in recent years.

Standing before me, eyes downcast, appeared to be the father of Bitcoin.

Not even his family knew.

A libertarian, Nakamoto encouraged his daughter to be independent, start her own business and “not be under the government’s thumb,” she says. “He was very wary of the government, taxes and people in charge.”

She also describes her father as a man who worked all hours, from before the family rose in the morning to late into the night. “He would keep his office locked and we would get into trouble if we touched his computer,” she recalls. “He was always expounding on politics and current events. He loved new and old technology. He built his own computers and was very proud of them.”

Ever since Bitcoin rose to prominence there has been a hunt for the real Satoshi Nakamoto. Did he act alone or was he working for the government? Bitcoin has been linked to everything from the National Security Agency to the International Monetary Fund.

Yet, in a world where almost every big Silicon Valley innovation seems to erupt in lawsuits over who thought of it first, in the case of Bitcoin the founder has remained conspicuously silent for the past five years.

“I could see my dad doing something brilliant and not accepting the greater effect of it,” says Ilene Mitchell, who works for Partnerships for Student Achievement in Beaverton, Ore. “But I honestly don’t see him being straight about it. Any normal person would be all over it. But he’s not totally a normal person.”

Nakamoto’s middle brother, Tokuo Nakamoto, who lives near his brother and mother, in Duarte, Calif., agrees. “He is very meticulous in what he does, but he is very afraid to take himself out into the media, so you will have to excuse him,” he says.

You want to know about my amazing physicist brother?” says Arthur Nakamoto, Satoshi Nakamoto’s youngest sibling, who works as director of quality assurance at Wavestream Corp., a maker of radio frequency amplifiers in San Dimas, Calif.

“He’s a brilliant man. I’m just a humble engineer. He’s very focused and eclectic in his way of thinking. Smart, intelligent, mathematics, engineering, computers. You name it, he can do it.”

But he also had a warning.

“My brother is an asshole. What you don’t know about him is that he’s worked on classified stuff. His life was a complete blank for a while. You’re not going to be able to get to him. He’ll deny everything. He’ll never admit to starting Bitcoin.”

And with that, Nakamoto’s brother hung up.

Read more at Newsweek

If one thing is for certain, it’s that Nakamoto changed the world. And as far as we can tell he wants none of the recognition that others might have tried to garner had they done the same.

Being a Libertarian in his political leanings, it seems Nakamoto may have gotten fed up with the world of government intrusion and central banking, so he took it upon himself to make a change for the better.

Of course, his background suggests, at least on some level, that the entire Bitcoin operation may have well been a high level classified government project. The conspiracy theories surrounding Bitcoin have been circulating since the very beginning, with many pointing to the NSA or some non-official government agency as being the original developer. The Newsweek report will no doubt re-ignite those theories.

Nakamoto isn’t talking and chances are he probably never will.

Whatever the case, if this is the man behind Bitcoin, then he can honestly say that he, almost single handedly, transformed how the internet does and will do business in the future.


SHTF Plan – When It Hits The Fan, Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You