Category Archives: news

Life in Checnya: Demonstrating is Dangerous for Your Health

I have not heard a lot of news coming out of Chechnya for a long time. That is because it is too dangerous to report from there. But Vox just came out with this story

LGBTQ people wanted to have a pride march in Chechnya. Then 100 gay men were abducted by police.

And this was not just a temporary detention. According to the story,  a number of the men were tortured and 3 were killed.


Putin’s fingerprints

The latest in this story from NBC via uHffPo

Two senior officials with direct access to the information say new intelligence shows that Putin personally directed how hacked material from Democrats was leaked and otherwise used. The intelligence came from diplomatic sources and spies working for U.S. allies, the officials said.

Putin’s objectives were multifaceted, a high-level intelligence source told NBC News. What began as a “vendetta” against Hillary Clinton morphed into an effort to show corruption in American politics and to “split off key American allies by creating the image that [other countries] couldn’t depend on the U.S. to be a credible global leader anymore,” the official said.

A wake up call?

Election Bombshell: Clinton My Have Florida in the Bag

Reported from MSNBC yesterday –

Keep in mind that Donald Trump has no path to victory in the presidential race unless he wins Florida’s electoral votes. He must win Florida or the race is essentially over.

Here is the news

An early voter survey shows a massive defection of republican voters from Trump to Clinton – 28% is the number. This is unprecedented and if it holds up, could mean a big win for Clinton in that state. The polling firm is predicting that Clinton will win 48% to 40%.

Who are defecting? Remember the “never Trump” movement? It looks like it is those folks — and especially women.

So far, this has not translated into a “down ticket” switch to the democratic candidate.

That is a big story in Florida worth following. Equally interesting is whether we will see republican defections in other states.

Pirates Invade Iceland!

The Pirate Party is nothing new. It was founded some years ago  by Europeans (in Sweden and Germany) who are frustrated with how unresponsive government is to changes in society – especially tech innovations. They question why government cannot use internet for more direct democracy. they want more transparency and more say in what goes on.

And they have come in second in recent Icelandic elections. It is a protest vote, of course, but it is an important one. BBC has the story.

At Long Last, the Assault on Mosul

Mosul is the largest ISIS stronghold in Iraq, and pushing ISIS out of Mosul has been a top priority for some time.  Finally, it appears that the fight is about to  begin.

Quite a lot depends on this working out well for the Iraqi government. Success means a renewed sense of confidence in the Iraqi forces. It might also open the door for making a deal with the kurds, who will play a big role in the fighting. Failure will destabilize the country.

The UIS has been partnering with Iraq to make this work and has advisors on the ground with Iraqi troops. US air power will also be used as much as needed.

My best guess is that the offensive will succeed, and faster than one might expect. But I am an eternal optimist.