The terror act that put Putin in power

I hate to link to the National Review, but this is important. Because I expect something like this will be replicated here:

I believe that Vladimir Putin came to power as the result of an act of terror committed against his own people. The evidence is overwhelming that the apartment-house bombings in 1999 in Moscow, Buinaksk, and Volgodonsk, which provided a pretext for the second Chechen war and catapulted Putin into the presidency, were carried out by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB). Yet, to this day, an indifferent world has made little attempt to grasp the significance of what was the greatest political provocation since the burning of the Reichstag.

I have been trying to call attention to the facts behind the bombings since 1999. I consider this a moral obligation, because ignoring the fact that a man in charge of the world’s largest nuclear arsenal came to power through an act of terror is highly dangerous in itself. Russian human-rights defenders Sergei Yushenkov, Yuri Shchekochikhin, Anna Politkovskaya, and Alexander Litvinenko also worked to shed light on the apartment bombings. But all of them were murdered between 2003 and 2006.

By 2007, when I testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee about the bombings, I was the only person publicly accusing the regime of responsibility who had not been killed. The bombings terrorized Russia. The Russian authorities blamed Chechen rebels and thereby galvanized popular support for a new war in Chechnya. President Boris Yeltsin and his entourage were thoroughly hated for their role in the pillaging of the country. Putin, the head of the FSB, had just been named Yeltsin’s prime minister and achieved overnight popularity by vowing revenge against those who had murdered innocent civilians. He assumed direction of the war and, on the strength of initial successes, was elected president easily.


California driver charged with driving under the influence —of caffeine

Tips For Finding Where To Get The Best Coffee Beans


On January 11, Joseph Schwab of Solano County is due in court over a misdemeanor DUI charge from 2015. But Schwab’s case is different from most. After an initial breathalyzer test showed he had 0.00% blood alcohol content, Schwab was sent to the county jail where a blood test revealed that the only drug present in his system was caffeine.

Schwab was pulled over by a California department of alcoholic beverage control agent on August 5, 2015, for allegedly erratic driving. Nearly 18 months later, the only evidence the district attorney has provided is the toxicology report showing Schwab was under the influence of nothing but caffeine.

After the test came up negative for opioids, cocaine, benzodiazepines, cannabis, and other drugs, it was sent to a second lab in Pennsylvania, which verified the original findings.

Schwab’s defense attorney, Stacey Barrett, filed a motion to have the case dismissed because the charges were not filed until the following June–almost ten months after he was arrested. The motion was denied, and Barrett and Schwab are preparing to take the case to trial later this month.

Solano County chief deputy district attorney Sharon Henry, whose office is investigating the case, says the DUI charge “is not based upon the presence of caffeine in his system.” If the charge is for another substance, the prosecution would have to provide its evidence to Schwab and his attorney, which Barrett says they have not.

According to the California vehicle code, any substance other than alcohol that could impair a driver “to an appreciable degree” could be considered a drug, but Barrett says she has never heard of anyone being charged with a DUI for having caffeine in their system.

Defense attorney Mark Sherman commented, “If prosecutors were to push for the charge to stand, they would have to demonstrate that caffeine was solely responsible for Schwab’s conduct behind the wheel, which may be difficult.”

Even if the charges are dropped, the situation has taken its toll on Schwab, who feels his reputation has been damaged by his arrest and the charges against him. He is prepared to take the case before a jury to clear his good name.
“No one believed me that I only had caffeine in my system until I showed them the lab results,” Schwab said. “I want the charges to be dismissed and my name to be cleared.”


The dog that didn’t bark

Vladimir Putin calls creators of 'fake' Donald Trump dossier 'worse than prostitutes': Russian President claims international conspiracy working to 'delegitimise' the President-elect

Funny, how James Comey didn’t mention this:

WASHINGTON — The FBI and five other law enforcement and intelligence agencies have collaborated for months in an investigation into Russian attempts to influence the November election, including whether money from the Kremlin covertly aided President-elect Donald Trump, two people familiar with the matter said.

The agencies involved in the inquiry are the FBI, the CIA, the National Security Agency, the Justice Department, the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and representatives of the director of national intelligence, the sources said.

Investigators are examining how money may have moved from the Kremlin to covertly help Trump win, the two sources said. One of the allegations involves whether a system for routinely paying thousands of Russian-American pensioners may have been used to pay some email hackers in the United States or to supply money to intermediaries who would then pay the hackers, the two sources said.

You can also read the background on how prematurely the New York Times cleared Trump of the very thing he’s still being investigated for, via Wonkette.


Bowie and Cher

I found this exquisitely odd appearance David Bowie made on the Cher Show, a classic of the variety show genre:


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