Putin’s Culture of Fear and Death: Garry Kasparov

Boris Nemtsov threw his big body, big voice and big heart into the uphill battle to keep democracy alive in Russia.

Boris Nemtsov, my longtime friend and colleague in the Russian opposition, was murdered in the middle of Moscow on Friday night. Four bullets in the back ended his life in sight of the Kremlin, where he once worked as Boris Yeltsin ’s deputy prime minister. Photos showed a cleaning crew scrubbing his blood off the pavement within hours of the murder, so it is not difficult to imagine the quality of the investigation to come.

Vladimir Putin actually started, and ended, the inquiry while Boris’s body was still warm by calling the murder a “provocation,” the term of art for suggesting that the Russian president’s enemies are murdering one another to bring shame upon the shameless. He then brazenly sent his condolences to Boris’s mother, who had often warned her fearless son that his actions could get him killed in Putin’s Russia.



Former Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn, who highlighted wasteful government spending throughout his career, is joining the activist group American Transparency as its Honorary Chairman.

“Open the Books is doing the work I envisioned when the Coburn-Obama transparency bill became law,” Coburn says in a statement. “Their work is so important because so few groups – or elected officials – do it, and fewer do it well.”

Coburn’s landmark legislation, the “Google Your Government Act,” co-sponsored by then-Sen. Barack Obama, forced public disclosure of almost all federal government spending. American Transparency’s “Open The Books” project extends this idea through a searchable public database of nearly all federal and state government spending.

The database, which can be accessed through a mobile App, documents “all disclosed federal spending- contracts, loans, grants, farm subsidies, direct payments, insurance payments, salaries and bonuses since the year 2000.” It includes spending from 48 of 50 states and more than 500,000 local units of government.

“During my service I saw how small reforms, and discoveries, can generate huge savings and create greater opportunity and freedom for all Americans,” Coburn said. “I’m encouraged that Open the Books is accepting this challenge.”

The Open the Books project has documented potentially fraudulent farm subsidy payments and Small Business Administration loans.

“At OpenTheBooks.com, we are committed to carrying forward Coburn’s robust legacy,” said Adam Andrzejewski, Chair of American Transparency. “We deeply appreciate Dr. Coburn’s courage, principles and national leadership and are extremely privileged to have him as our Honorary Chairman.”

Jail, Exile, or Death: Three Outcomes of Opposing Putin-Robin Shepherd

Did Putin order Boris Nemtsov’s murder? That question risks missing the point. The Russian state is a collection of financial, political and security interests that will do whatever it takes to protect their position. Instilling fear does not require an order from the top.

So, “Will no-one rid me of this troublesome priest”? Or, “Blow his brains out!” We will probably never know what kind of chain of command was at work in Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin concerning the assassination of former Deputy Prime Minister and Putin critic Boris Nemtsov.

But we do know this. If you take on the Russian state in any meaningful way you must reckon with three potential outcomes: prison, exile, or death.

The most famous political prisoner of the Putin era was of course Mikhail Khodorkovsky who spent years in a labour camp on essentially trumped up charges for using his vast wealth — he was once Russia’s richest man — to threaten an alternative to the Putin regime. It is easy to forget that he was once regarded as a potential Russian president.

As the Iranian Nuclear Talks Drag On, Congress Must Act : Senator Tom Cotton (January 2015) A reminder in case you missed this one


Two essential requirements: congressional approval of any deal and new sanctions if the negotiations fail.

Anuclear-capable Iran is the gravest threat facing America today. The Obama administration’s nuclear negotiations with Iran, the so-called P5+1 talks, were supposed to stop Iran’s rush to a nuclear bomb. Regrettably, what began as an unwise gamble has descended into a dangerous series of unending concessions, which is why the time has come for Congress to act.

Our negotiating “partner,” Iran, is not a rational or peaceful actor; it is a radical, Islamist tyranny whose constitution explicitly calls for jihad. Iran’s ayatollahs have honored the call: Iran has been killing Americans for more than three decades.


Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) brought a lot of anger to the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday morning, providing a classic Capitol Hill moment.

“Islamic terrorists don’t need an excuse to attack the United States,” Cotton said.

“They attack us for who we are. It is not a security decision–it is a political decision based on promise the president made on his campaign. To say that is a security decision based on propaganda value is a pretext, a justified political decision.”.

Cotton interrogated Principal Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Brian McKeon about Guantanamo Bay policy.

Cotton compared the argument that the prison served as a recruiting tool for terrorists to recidivism rates. The senator’s first point was that there were zero recidivists currently in Guantanamo Bay because they remained incarcerated, a dig at Obama’s Taliban Five trade.

Cotton asked McKeon how many terrorists were in Gitmo during all the terrorist attacks previous to Sept. 11, 2001. Forcing McKeon to answer the rhetorical questions, Cotton made his point clear: Terrorists do not need the prison to persuade extremists to carry out attacks.

“In my opinion, the only problem of Guantanamo Bay is there are too many empty beds and cells there right now,” Cotton said. “We should be sending more terrorists there for interrogation to keep this country safe. As far as I’m concerned, every last one of them can rot in hell, but since they don’t do that, they can rot in Guantanamo Bay.”

130,000 Iranian Fighters on Israel’s Border? By P. David Hornik

Reported details of a possible U.S.-Iranian nuclear deal indicate more than ever that President Barack Obama is under the deadly delusion that he has the magic power to transform the Iranian regime into a responsible, peaceful player on the world stage. As Times of Israel editor David Horovitz sums it up [1]:

Iran is to be allowed to keep 6,500 centrifuges spinning, and there will be a sunset clause providing for an end to intrusive inspections in some 10-15 years…. Some of the terms reported by the AP are even more worrying than those that were leaked in Jerusalem: “The idea would be to reward Iran for good behavior over the last years of any agreement,” the AP said, “gradually lifting constraints on its uranium enrichment program and slowly easing economic sanctions.” There is also no indication of restrictions on Iran’s missile development—its potential delivery systems.

Meanwhile the Middle East Media Research Institute—or MEMRI, an essential resource for translations of Middle Eastern media—has published an alarming report [2] on Iran’s growing military presence along Israel’s border with Syria. The authors are Yigal Carmon [3], founder of MEMRI and a former counterterrorism adviser to two Israeli prime ministers, and MEMRI director Yossi Yehoshua.
Iran Is Increasing Its Physical Presence Along the Israeli Border

Jeb Bush Tries, Fails to Explain American Exceptionalism at CPAC By Paula Bolyard

At CPAC on Friday, Gov. Jeb Bush joined Sean Hannity on stage for a Q & A. Hannity’s final question for Bush was, “Do you believe America is exceptional and why do you love this country enough that you are going to go through the difficulty and trials and tribulations of running for office?”

You’d think this would be a no-brainer for any potential presidential candidate on the Republican side, especially someone like Jeb Bush, a member of one of the most powerful political families in our nation’s history — someone who has had a front row seat to American exceptionalism for most of his adult life.

Bush, now a self-proclaimed “reform conservative” (why the disclaiming adjective?), told Hannity, “I do believe in American exceptionalism,” but he neglected to list any reason why our country is exceptional and he ignored Hannity’s question about why he loves this country.

Legitimizing Iran as a Threshold Nuclear Power? by Yaakov Lappin

The essential problem with the would-be deal is that it will leave Iran with an enhanced ability to enrich uranium — an ability that can lead Iran to nuclear weapons production in a relatively short time.

The purpose of an agreement is to push Iran away from the ability to make nuclear weapons.

According to reports surfacing from the talks, the proposed arrangement will likely leave a good portion of Iran’s known centrifuges, which enrich uranium, intact.

Such a deal fails to provide any guarantee that this same infrastructure will not later be used to get Iran quickly to the nuclear weapons production stage.

An agreement that would be acceptable to Israel is one in which Jerusalem would have sufficient time to respond in case Iran violates its agreement.

Being “Protected” in Turkey by Burak Bekdil

You wonder why rape has become a malady in Turkey? Ask your government deputy and he will explain: Popular Turkish soap operas!

Last November, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan tasked shop owners with “protecting their neighborhoods and the country themselves.” A shopkeeper in Istanbul stabbed a journalist in the chest and killed him because a snowball had hit his window. A few hours earlier, the journalist had bought cat food from the shop.

Imagine a country where taking public transport or merely going to school (especially for young women) or playing with snowballs in the street can be categorized as sports of extreme danger.

If Turkey were a person instead of a country, law enforcement authorities would probably require it to have psychiatric therapy. Pundits are asking: “What has become of us?” Good question. No one has offered a good answer.

Earlier this month about 70 members of parliament spoke at a special parliamentary session. Each speaker, from government or opposition seats, condemned the widespread violence against women in the country. The audience applauded every speaker, from government or opposition seats. There was peace in the house. Three hours after the session closed, the deputies gathered to debate a controversial security bill. Chaos ensued as a brawl broke out. The session ended after five MPs were hospitalized.


The message from a dozen prominent black pastors this week to the Congressional Black Caucus was loud and clear: Don’t skip out on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyuhu’s speech.

About two dozen House and Senate Democrats, most of them black caucus members, have said they will not attend Mr. Netanyahu’s speech Tuesday before a joint session of Congress, which one pastor described as a “slap in the face to the people of Israel.”

“The thing to me that makes no sense is why the Congressional Black Caucus has teamed up with this current administration against Israel,” said Pastor Dexter D. Sanders of the Rock Center for Transformation in Orlando, Florida.