[youtube://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khOaAHK7efc#t=30 450 300]Comments »
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“Wealthy members of Congress are living the high life at taxpayer expense, while most of the rest of the country continues to suffer through one of the worst economic periods in our lifetimes. According to an analysis conducted by the Center for Responsive Politicsearlier this year, more than half of the members of Congress are millionaires. This is the first time that this has ever happened in U.S. history. In addition, the same study found that a hundred members of Congress are actually worth at least five million dollars. We have a government of the wealthy, by the wealthy and for the wealthy, but as you will see below, that isn’t stopping members of Congress from wasting taxpayer money in some incredibly bizarre ways. Millions of dollars are being spent on “office expenses” and on the hair care needs of Senators, but very little is being done to stop this abuse. It is almost as if the American people have just accepted that this is how “big government” is supposed to operate.
No matter what your political affiliation is, it should bother you that we are overwhelmingly being represented by the very wealthy. We are supposed to be a government “of the people”, but instead Congress is rapidly becoming a millionaire’s club…
For the first time in history, most members of Congress are millionaires, according to a new analysis of personal financial disclosure data by the Center for Responsive Politics.
Of 534 current members of Congress, at least 268 had an average net worth of $1 million or more in 2012, according to disclosures filed last year by all members of Congress and candidates. The median net worth for the 530 current lawmakers who were in Congress as of the May filing deadline was $1,008,767 — an increase from the previous year when it was $966,000.
And this is true on both sides of the aisle. In fact, when you break the numbers down by political party, they come out almost exactly the same…
Breaking the numbers down further, congressional Democrats had a median net worth of $1.04 million, while congressional Republicans had a median net worth of almost exactly $1 million. In both cases, the figures are up from last year, when the numbers were $990,000 and $907,000, respectively.
Of course wealthy people should not be prevented from serving in Congress.
All Americans should have that opportunity.
But when it gets to the point that only wealthy people are being elected, then we have a major problem on our hands.
Yes, a million dollars does not go as far as it used to. But it still puts you in the upper stratosphere of American society.
And these days, there are nearly 200 members of Congress that are multimillionaires…
Nearly 200 are multimillionaires. One hundred are worth more than $5 million; the top-10 deal in nine digits. The annual congressional salary alone—$174,000 a year—qualifies every member as the top 6 percent of earners. None of them are close to experiencing the poverty-reduction programs—affordable housing, food assistance, Medicaid—that they help control. Though some came from poverty, a recent analysis by Nicholas Carnes, in his book White Collar Government: The Hidden Role of Class in Economic Policymaking, found that only 13 out of 783 members of Congress from 1999 to 2008 came from a “blue-collar” upbringing.
Shouldn’t we actually want to have some representatives that come from “blue collar” backgrounds?
So why do we have so few?
Has our political system failed?
Those are some important questions that we should be asking.
And then when all of these wealthy individuals get to Congress, they see absolutely no problem with spending U.S. taxpayer money like it is going out of style. For example, according to the Weekly Standard, more than five million dollars has been spent on the hair care needs of U.S. Senators alone over the past 15 years…
Senate Hair Care Services has cost taxpayers about $5.25 million over 15 years. They foot the bill of more than $40,000 for the shoeshine attendant last fiscal year. Six barbers took in more than $40,000 each, including nearly $80,000 for the head barber.
All of this is just for 100 U.S. Senators?
Many of them don’t even have much hair left anymore.,,,,”Comments »
“On Friday, the Obama administration issued a new rule that will likely lead the government to give billions of taxpayer dollars to health insurance companies involved in the ObamaCare health exchanges. The rule is part of an effort by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to address fears that under ObamaCare, insurance companies will suffer huge losses because the cost for care of the high numbers of sick enrollees will not be offset by payments from healthy enrollees — because not enough healthy enrollees are signing up for ObamaCare.
Townhall reported last December, “A ‘risk corridor’ provision in Obamacare allows the federal government to give health insurers a taxpayer bailout if the cost of providing care for those insured through Obamacare is higher than insurers originally estimated when they first set premium prices.”
Such a program was created to help prevent insurance companies from raising costs to extremely high rates resulting from a more risky population of people joining the new exchanges.
The Obama administration has assured Americans that the risk corridor program would not cost taxpayers anything. The Daily Caller wrote, “CMS has issued guidance in the past promising that if the money collected from successful insurers wasn’t enough to cover all the payments due to the struggling ones, payments would be reduced and shortfalls made up for the following year.”
But insurance companies asserted that the rules fail to consider that some insurers may take even bigger hits than anticipated. America’s Health Insurance Plans addressed these concerns to CMS in April, explaining that minimizing the risk-aversion program could ultimately lead to higher premium rates. As a result, CMS is now moving away from its budget-neutral promise, citing worries from “some commentators.”
“We appreciate that some commenters believe that there are uncertainties associated with rate setting, given their concerns that risk corridors collections may not be sufficient to fully fund risk corridors payments,” the rule reads. “In the unlikely event of a shortfall for the 2015 program year … HHS will use other sources of funding for the risk corridors payments, subject to the availability of appropriations.”
To alleviate insurance companies’ concerns over ObamaCare losses, federal regulations originally allowed insurers access to bailout funds after they spend $60,000 on an individual, but in December, the Department of Health and Human Services introduced new regulations lowering the limit to $45,000.
The Department of Health and Human Services has the power to use taxpayer money to reimburse insurance companies up to 80 percent of their additional cost in the first three years of the law’s existence. Americans for Prosperity’s website explained, “If the cost of insuring individuals under the PPACA is 3% higher than estimated, insurance companies receive a 50% taxpayer reimbursement of the difference. If the cost of the ACA is 8% higher than estimated, which is a significantly more likely outcome, insurance companies receive an 80% taxpayer reimbursement. This bailout of insurance companies could end up costing taxpayers billions of dollars.”
In a notice published on December 2 in the Federal Register, the Obama administration acknowledges that insurers have valid concerns when they observe that they may be saddled with sicker customers that cost more money in the new insurance exchanges because healthier Americans will likely be staying on their existing health plans for another year….”Comments »
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“The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) secretly assembled a terrorist “hands off” list that permitted individuals with terrorist ties unfettered entrance into the United States, according to document released by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa).
The existence of a “hands off” list that permitted easy entrance for suspect individuals into the United States has drawn concern from Grassley, who released a cache of internal DHS emails detailing the list’s existence and discussion about permitting an alleged member of the Muslim Brotherhood to enter the United States.
The emails—sent between U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)—reveal a row over the admittance of one alleged Muslim Brotherhood official tied to Hamas, Hezbollah, and other terror groups.
While the individual in question is not named in the heavily redacted emails, the Washington Free Beacon has learned that the person referenced is Jamal Badawi, a Canadian Islamist leader who has praised suicide bombing and is close to Hamas and Hezbollah.
Additionally, the emails reveal a larger campaign by DHS and its former head Janet Napolitano to purge internal records of hundreds of terror suspects, including Badawi, who had his records purged in December 2010.
Sources who spoke to the Free Beacon and had reviewed unredacted versions of the emails indicated that many files pertaining to foreign terror suspects may have been purged by DHS….”
” “Hollywood Boycott Threatens Trans-Pacific Partnerhsip”
That’s the headline of an article published by the Huffington Post on May 6 reporting on the opposition of many in the entertainment industry to the inclusion of Brunei in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
A coterie of celebrities is irked by the fact that the would-be TPP participant has adopted “a brutal penal code based on Sharia law with punishments including flogging, dismemberment and death by stoning for crimes such as adultery and sodomy.”
While Hollywood might be bringing attention to the TPP because of Brunei’s laws, their colleagues in the television news aren’t being quite so vocal.
A survey of television news coverage of the TPP by the liberal group MediaMatters found that a:
transcript search of CBS Evening News with Scott Pelly, ABC’s World News with Diane Sawyer, and NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams from August 1, 2013 through January 31, 2014 found no mention of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The TPP received one mention on PBS’ Newshour, when Doug Paal of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace argued that approving the TPP would improve relations with Asian nations.
The 24-hour cable news channels have been almost as silent. The report indicates that “the three largest cable networks — CNN, MSNBC, Fox News — covered the ongoing negotiations 33 times during their evening programming. The overwhelming majority of these mentions (32) originated on MSNBC and aired during The Ed Show.”
It is a bit disingenuous for these progressives who claim to be so open-minded and accepting of all lifestyles, to deny to others the right to live their life the way their consciences dictate.
That isn’t to say that Sharia Law, particularly some of the aspects singled out by the protestors, isn’t reprehensible, it’s just that it seems so incongruous for the enmity to come from those who insist their all-inclusive attitude is evidence of their evolved sensibilities.
The truth behind the naked emperor is that it’s Islam’s prohibitions on homosexuality that underlies the TPP protest. Consider this evidence from the Huffington Post story:
Ellen DeGenneres, Jay Leno and other Hollywood celebrities have joined the Human Rights Campaign, the Feminist Majority Foundation and the city of Beverly Hills in blasting Brunei and calling for a boycott of properties owned by the government of Brunei, including the Beverly Hills Hotel. Virgin Airlines founder Richard Branson announced his companies will boycott all hotels owned by Brunei worldwide. These government-owned investments provide financial support to the medieval brutality in Brunei.
The radical “gay” lobby and the headline-grabbing glitterati that carries its water has little concern for the destruction of sovereignty, the surrender of legislative power to an extraconstitutional committee, and the subordination of the U.S. Constitution to international integration pacts masquerading as trade agreements. The TPP doesn’t appear on the radar of these groups when it infringes upon fundamental freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution, but it is “deplorable” when it infringes on the “rights” of homosexual to commit acts regarded as sinful to most of the world’s religions.
Here again, the source of the celebrities’ anger as reported by Huffington Post:
While human rights groups, religious freedom advocates, LGBT and women’s rights groups protest a regime that supports the public flogging of women who have abortions, the jailing of women who become pregnant outside of marriage, the stoning to death of gay men and lesbians and the outlawing of Bibles and Christian missionaries, the Obama administration seems to be seeking deeper ties with the Islamic Sultanate of Brunei.
The real problem with the TPP is much more malign, however.
Secret Surrender of Sovereignty….”Comments »
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“As the Benghazi scandal wears on with frustratingly little accountability at the executive level, there has been no shortage of speculation regarding the identity of key players behind the cover-up.
American Thinker’s Ed Lasky put forth a theory that Obama speechwriter Ben Rhodes was instrumental in crafting the deflecting narrative that a YouTube video, not an incompetent administration, was responsible for the outbreak of violence that left four Americans dead on Sept. 11, 2012. His suspicions, it seems, were founded.
A series of emails recently released through a Freedom of Information Act request by Judicial Watch show that Rhodes, who possesses no identifiable qualifications for shaping public opinion in matters of national security, conducted meetings with then U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice ahead of her Benghazi comments.
Less than two days before she made the rounds on various Sunday morning political news programs, Rhodes implored her to “underscore that these protests are rooted in [an] Internet video, and not a broader failure [of] policy.” …”Comments »
“Under the program, the DOJ, headed by Attorney General Eric Holder, is attempting to shut down various legal businesses, including firearm dealers, dating services, purveyors of drug paraphernalia and pornography distributors, by coercing financial institutions to close the bank and merchant accounts associated with these businesses.
The businesses targeted follow a 2011 Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation bulletin which lists all of the above legal activities and others as “merchant categories that have been associated with high-risk activity” involving “disreputable merchants.”
“Although many clients of payment processors are reputable merchants, an increasing number are not and should be considered ‘high risk,’” the bulletin reads. “These disreputable merchants use payment processors to charge consumers for questionable or fraudulent goods and services.”
In other words, the FDIC, and now the DOJ, are trying to demonize gun shops by causing banks to view legal firearm dealers as no different than pushers of “ponzi schemes” and “get rich products,” two “high-risk” activities that are also listed in the bulletin.
In 2012, Bank of America told a gun company, McMillan Group International, that because the company was expanding into firearms manufacturing, the bank no longer wanted McMillan’s business.
“We have to assess the risk of doing business with a firearms-related industry,” the bank’s representative told operations director Kelly McMillan.
Last month, BitPay, a U.S.-based bitcoin processor, likewise refused to do business with gun dealerMichael Cargill of Central Texas Gunworks due to a similar policy.
And also in March, a Florida couple who own a gun store received a letter from BankUnited informing them that the bank was closing their business account, which they opened seven years prior, and gave them three days to transfer their money elsewhere.
“I was very angry,” Elizabeth Liberti told the Miami New Times. “They were very inconsiderate. We had all our credit cards going through that bank.”
“All of a sudden, we had to run and find another bank to keep our business going. We shut down for two weeks, and they wouldn’t even tell us why.”
BankUnited finally gave them a reason some time later.
“This letter in no way reflects any derogatory reasons for such action on your behalf, but rather one of industry,” wrote branch manager Ricardo Garcia. “Unfortunately your company’s line of business is not commensurate with the industries we work with.”
And it isn’t just gun stores that the Justice Dept. is targeting.
Last week, Xbiz, a news outlet pertaining to adult entertainment, reported that Chase Bank was sending out letters to hundreds of porn stars notifying them that their accounts would be terminated.
“I got a letter and it was like please cancel all transactions, please fix your automatic pay account and make sure everything’s taken care of by May 11,” actress Teagan Presley told Xbiz. “I called them and they told me that because I am, I guess, public and am recognizable in the adult business, they’re closing my account.”
“Even though I don’t use my account, it’s my personal account that I’ve had since I was 18, when it was Washington Mutual before Chase bought them out.”
And when Presley went to Bank of America to open a new account, the bank also turned her away….”Comments »
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SEE THAT CLIVEN BUNDY IS ACTUALLY AN ADVOCATE FOR BLACKS, HISPANICS
Watch Bundy explain how we need to keep things from going backwards for blacks, and how the Federal government has created a neo-slave class via entitlement dependency that is so bad it is arguably worse than plantation slavery was…..”
Original clip[youtube://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agXns-W60MI 450 300]
Edited clip[youtube://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FbnRnhrNFEY 450 300] Comments »
“Suppressed Details of 9/11 Criminal Insider Trading lead directly into the CIA`s Highest Ranks
CIA Executive Director “Buzzy” Krongard managed Firm that handled “put” Options on UAL
by Michael C. Ruppert
FTW Publications, 9 October 2001, Centre for Research on Globalisation, globalresearch.ca, 20 October 2001
Although uniformly ignored by the mainstream U.S. media, there is abundant and clear evidence that a number of transactions in financial markets indicated specific (criminal) foreknowledge of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. That evidence also demonstrates that, in the case of at least one of these trades — which has left a $2.5 million prize unclaimed — the firm used to place the “put options” on United Airlines stock was, until 1998, managed by the man who is now in the number three Executive Director position at the Central Intelligence Agency. Until 1997 A.B. “Buzzy” Krongard had been Chairman of the investment bank A.B. Brown. A.B. Brown was acquired by Banker’s Trust in 1997. Krongard then became, as part of the merger, Vice Chairman of Banker’s Trust-AB Brown, one of 20 major U.S. banks named by Senator Carl Levin this year as being connected to money laundering. Krongard’s last position at Banker’s Trust (BT) was to oversee “private client relations.” In this capacity he had direct hands-on relations with some of the wealthiest people in the world in a kind of specialized banking operation that has been identified by the U.S. Senate and other investigators as being closely connected to the laundering of drug money.
Krongard (re?) joined the CIA in 1998 as counsel to CIA Director George Tenet. He was promoted to CIA Executive Director by President Bush in March of this year. BT was acquired by Deutsche Bank in 1999. The combined firm is the single largest bank in Europe. And, as we shall see, Deutsche Bank played several key roles in events connected to the September 11 attacks.
The Scope of Known Insider Trading
Before looking further into these relationships it is necessary to look at the insider trading information that is being ignored by Reuters, The New York Times and other mass media. It is well documented that the CIA has long monitored such trades – in real time – as potential warnings of terrorist attacks and other economic moves contrary to U.S. interests. Previous stories in FTW have specifically highlighted the use of Promis software to monitor such trades.
It is necessary to understand only two key financial terms to understand the significance of these trades. “Selling Short” is the borrowing of stock, selling it at current market prices, but not being required to actually produce the stock for some time. If the stock falls precipitously after the short contract is entered, the seller can then fulfill the contract by buying the stock after the price has fallen and complete the contract at the pre-crash price. These contracts often have a window of as long as four months. “Put Options,” purchased at nominal prices of, for example, $1.00 per share, are sold in blocks of 100 shares. If exercised, they give the holder the option of selling selected stocks at a future date at a price set when the contract is issued. Thus, for an investment of $10,000 it might be possible to tie up 10,000 shares of United or American Airlines at $100 per share, and the seller of the option is then obligated to buy them if the option is executed. If the stock has fallen to $50 when the contract matures, the holder of the option can purchase the shares for $50 and immediately sell them for $100 – regardless of where the market then stands.
A “call option” is the reverse of a put option, which is, in effect, a derivatives bet that the stock price will go up.
A September 21 story by the Israeli Herzliyya International Policy Institute for Counterterrorism, entitled “Black Tuesday: The World’s Largest Insider Trading Scam?” documented the following trades connected to the September 11 attacks:
- Between September 6 and 7, the Chicago Board Options Exchange saw purchases of 4,744 put options on United Airlines, but only 396 call options… Assuming that 4,000 of the options were bought by people with advance knowledge of the imminent attacks, these “insiders” would have profited by almost $5 million.
- On September 10, 4,516 put options on American Airlines were bought on the Chicago exchange, compared to only 748 calls. Again, there was no news at that point to justify this imbalance;… Again, assuming that 4,000 of these options trades represent “insiders,” they would represent a gain of about $4 million.
- [The levels of put options purchased above were more than six times higher than normal.]
- No similar trading in other airlines occurred on the Chicago exchange in the days immediately preceding Black Tuesday.
- Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co., which occupied 22 floors of the World Trade Center, saw 2,157 of its October $45 put options bought in the three trading days before Black Tuesday; this compares to an average of 27 contracts per day before September 6. Morgan Stanley’s share price fell from $48.90 to $42.50 in the aftermath of the attacks. Assuming that 2,000 of these options contracts were bought based upon knowledge of the approaching attacks, their purchasers could have profited by at least $1.2 million.
- Merrill Lynch & Co., which occupied 22 floors of the World Trade Center, saw 12,215 October $45 put options bought in the four trading days before the attacks; the previous average volume in those shares had been 252 contracts per day [a 1200% increase!]. When trading resumed, Merrill’s shares fell from $46.88 to $41.50; assuming that 11,000 option contracts were bought by “insiders,” their profit would have been about $5.5 million.
- European regulators are examining trades in Germany’s Munich Re, Switzerland’s Swiss Re, and AXA of France, all major reinsurers with exposure to the Black Tuesday disaster. [FTW Note: AXA also owns more than 25% of American Airlines stock making the attacks a “double whammy” for them.]
On September 29, 2001 – in a vital story that has gone unnoticed by the major media – the San Francisco Chronicle reported, “Investors have yet to collect more than $2.5 million in profits they made trading options in the stock of United Airlines before the Sept. 11, terrorist attacks, according to a source familiar with the trades and market data.
“The uncollected money raises suspicions that the investors – whose identities and nationalities have not been made public – had advance knowledge of the strikes.” They don’t dare show up now. The suspension of trading for four days after the attacks made it impossible to cash-out quickly and claim the prize before investigators started looking.
“… October series options for UAL Corp. were purchased in highly unusual volumes three trading days before the terrorist attacks for a total outlay of $2,070; investors bought the option contracts, each representing 100 shares, for 90 cents each. [This represents 230,000 shares]. Those options are now selling at more than $12 each. There are still 2,313 so-called “put” options outstanding [valued at $2.77 million and representing 231,300 shares] according to the Options Clearinghouse Corp.”
“…The source familiar with the United trades identified Deutsche Bank Alex. Brown, the American investment banking arm of German giant Deutsche Bank, as the investment bank used to purchase at least some of these options…”
As reported in other news stories, Deutsche Bank was also the hub of insider trading activity connected to Munich Re. just before the attacks.
CIA, the Banks and the Brokers
Understanding the interrelationships between CIA and the banking and brokerage world is critical to grasping the already frightening implications of the above revelations. Let’s look at the history of CIA, Wall Street and the big banks by looking at some of the key players in CIA’s history. Clark Clifford – The National Security Act of 1947 was written by Clark Clifford, a Democratic Party powerhouse, former Secretary of Defense, and one-time advisor to President Harry Truman. In the 1980s, as Chairman of First American Bancshares, Clifford was instrumental in getting the corrupt CIA drug bank BCCI a license to operate on American shores. His profession: Wall Street lawyer and banker.
John Foster and Allen Dulles – These two brothers “designed” the CIA for Clifford. Both were active in intelligence operations during WW II. Allen Dulles was the U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland where he met frequently with Nazi leaders and looked after U.S. investments in Germany. John Foster went on to become Secretary of State under Dwight Eisenhower and Allen went on to serve as CIA Director under Eisenhower and was later fired by JFK. Their professions: partners in the most powerful – to this day – Wall Street law firm of Sullivan, Cromwell…..”Comments »
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“The Internal Revenue Service handed out $2.8 million in bonuses to employees with disciplinary issues—including more than $1 million to employees who didn’t pay their federal taxes, a watchdog report says.
The report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration said 1,146 IRS employees received bonuses within a year of substantiated federal tax compliance problems.
And the bonuses weren’t just monetary. Employees with tax problems received a total of 10,582 hours of paid time off—valued at about $250,000—and 69 received permanent raises through a step increase, the report said. The report looked at bonuses in 2011 and 2012….”Comments »
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WHILE EVIDENCE THAT THE ‘GOVERNMENT’ IS JUST A COMMERCIAL ENTERPRISE IS EVERYWHERE, WE HAVE BEEN ‘CONDITIONED’ NOT TO SEE IT!
Did you know that 98% of the Law Schools in America and England do not include Constitutional Law as a part of their law curriculum? The reason for this phenomenon is because Constitutional Law does not apply to or affect the enforcement of statutes, codes or administrative regulations, which have replaced constitutional law, the common law, public law and penal law and which have been designed to control you.
(Pg 8, Judge Dale’s The Matrix and the Constitution)
Retired Judge Dale has exposed the truth about our history and our legal system. From Judge Dale’s The Great American Adventure:
The Federal and State Governments are not real. They are privately owned corporations [listed on Dun and Bradstreet] called governments. . . and the law is nothing more than their corporate regulations called statutes.
These corporate laws and regulations are called statutes and their affect and control over human beings is deceptively obtained by consent through civil contracts. [See #5 below.] (pg 99)
Everything they have been doing is one gigantic fraud and all of it at our expense!….”Comments »
“It didn’t take long for Putin to respond to the latest news from the west that NATO was about to boost its military presence in proximity to Russia. Specifically he said that Putin does not see a reason to fear NATO which was to be expected. But the even more predictable punchline: Russia must respond when NATO moves closer to country’s border, President Vladimir Putin says during annual televised call-in show.
The Russian president made his views clear during a nationally televised question-and-answer session in Moscow on Thursday, ahead of the Geneva two-day meeting during which the Ukraine problam is (again) supposed to get a diplomatic solution (it won’t). During the Q&A Putin also accused the Kiev government of committing “a serious crime” by sending in troops to quell unrest in Ukraine’s east, as a clash overnight left three pro-Russian protesters dead and 13 wounded. And just to make sure there is a solid enough soundbite, the former KGB spy accused the authorities in Kiev of plunging the country into an “abyss”.
“Instead of realizing that there is something wrong with the Ukrainian government and attempting dialogue, they made more threats of force … This is another very grave crime by Kiev’s current leaders,” Putin said in a televised question-and-answer session with the Russian public that has become an annual event.
“I hope that they are able to realize what a pit, what an abyss the current authorities are in and dragging the country into,” said Putin, who dismissed as “rubbish” accusations that Russian agents were acting in east Ukraine.
Among his other comments, Putin said that the East and South Ukraine were parts of the Russian empire until becoming part of Ukraine under the USSR, with a heavy hint that either the East and South would soon be part of Russia, or that the second coming of the USSR is in the cards, both of which should make the Ukraine government quite nervous.
Perhaps in an attempt to diffuse the tension, he noted he had been authorized by Russia’s parliament in early March to use force in Ukraine if necessary, “but I really hope that I do not have to exercise this right, and that through political and diplomatic means we will be able to solve the most acute problems in Ukraine today.” As the WSJ reports, Putin said Ukraine’s military effort showed the new government in Kiev was making no effort to respond to the demands of those in the heavily ethnic-Russian region.
In short: absolutely no de-escalation from the Russian.
Some of the other things he said:
- Russia will give Ukraine month to start paying for gas before demanding advance payment for supplies. However, Russia kep the gas price set at $485/kcm, knowing quite well Ukraine can’t afford it.
- Ukraine payments for gas stopped after new govt in Kiev took power, Putin says
- Moving Ukraine to prepayments may lead to disruptions in transit to Europe, Putin says….”