Ukraine’s Capital Descends Into Chaos

Ukraine’s Capital Descends Into Chaos

I found this article about Ukraine and thought I would share. How can this happen? Where is a solution? It is an obvious political crisis. Putin loaned 15 billion to Ukraine. Is there another solution besides money and military might? Must people suffer the same way they had to in Sarajevo? ( I realize it is a different problem but this did make me think  of the bombed out Olympic Stadium in Sarajevo.)

sarajevo-4

Searching for photos, there are so many of the protests. Human drama.

Ukraine Protest. Protesters clash with police at Presidential office in Kiev, Ukraine

I read a bunch of the recent reports. I liked this one the best as it puts you in the problem better than the other reports.

The biggest nation in Eastern Europe is rapidly sliding into anarchy as the world watches from the sidelines. In Kiev, Ukraine, political activists are disappearing, journalists are being shot at and government-paid thugs are hunting down protesters.

Events escalated after the Ukrainian parliament, seeking to end protests over the government’s decision to scuttle an association pact with the European Union, passed a set of harsh laws last week clamping down on the freedoms of speech and assembly. The draconian measures enraged a motley crew of soccer fans and right-wing militants, who engaged in a sustained battle with police attempting to bar entry to the government quarter. The police used tear gas, rubber bullets and noise grenades, sometimes tying stones to the latter to inflict more damage. Rioters countered with sticks and makeshift shields, and before too long with real shields seized from the police. Both sides threw Molotov cocktails and stones.

Eyewitnesses said that police seemed to be intentionally shooting at cameramen and photographers. No exception was made for pro-government publications and TV channels: The goal appeared to be to prevent footage of the fighting from finding an audience. Some journalists, like this brave Polish TV reporter, nevertheless managed to document the street war.

It was only a matter of time before someone got killed. On Jan. 22, riot police fatally shot two protesters, Sergei Nigoyan and Mikhail Zhiznevsky, on Grushevsky street in downtown Kiev. One well-known activist, Yuri Verbitsky, was found dead in the woods outside the capital. He and a colleague, Igor Lutsenko, had been taken to the woods from a Kiev hospital as part of a broader action in which police and plain-clothed thugs rounded up wounded rioters. Lutsenko, who says he was severely beaten, made his way back to the city. Police say Verbitsky died from exposure, not from the obvious injuries found on his body.

Normally a safe, friendly city, Kiev is now terrorized by groups of thugs, who freely admit they are being paid about $25 a night to scare and beat people who look like protesters.

It’s hard to imagine all this happening in a 21st century European city. The Western reaction? A few angry statements from U.S. senatorsand concerned noises from EU bureaucrats. Yanukovych, known to be free with his promises, told European Commission President Manuel Barroso that he would not introduce a state of emergency. Even without this formality, the Ukrainian capital is a city at war. I have seen angry townspeople wearing motorcycle and bicycle helmets carrying tires to the site of the clashes to build stinking bonfires, which have submerged the area in a gray fog.

From a purely financial perspective, Russian President Vladimir Putin should be unhappy with Yanukovich. Russia has pledged $15 billion, $3 billion of which it has already spent on Ukrainian bonds, to bring the government back from the brink of default and calm the political situation. Yet Yanukovich has only further provoked the protesters and threatened Ukraine’s solvency, spending the money to shore up his support by paying the salaries and pensions of poverty-stricken public sector workers, troops and police. Nonetheless, the Russian government is preparing to release another $2 billion to Ukraine this month.

In a column for the Moscow daily Vedomosti, Vladimir Fedorin, former editor of Forbes Ukraine, speculated that Yanukovych would try to quash the protests by Feb. 7, when the Sochi Winter Olympics are due to open. “That wouldn’t be a bad gift for his Moscow patron,” Fedorin wrote. “The man who, with his Ukrainian colleague, bears responsibility for turning peaceful political protest into a street war, will have to answer a lot of questions from Western leaders who do not pass on going to Sochi.”

That is something of an idealistic view. The West does not care enough about what is going on in Ukraine to engage Putin, who has laid claim to the country by financing a rogue, oppressive regime.

(Leonid Bershidsky is a Bloomberg View contributor. Follow him on Twitter.)

 

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Egypt’s Morsi with back against the wall

The massive protests that overwhelmed Egypt the last two days have created a political crisis that may inadvertently put an end to the promise of democracy. The head of Egypt’s military issued a statement on Monday insisting that if President Mohammed Morsi doesn’t come up with a solution to the current crisis in the next 48 hours, the army will impose a “roadmap for the future.” It’s a vague and open-ended threat that some are suggesting is tantamount to pre-announcing a coup d’état.

The statement, which was read on television by General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, does not say exactly what Morsi must do to avoid such an intervention, or what exactly the consequences would be if he can’t. It is not an explicit demand for Morsi’s resignation, but the statement does say it is necessary for him to “meet the people’s demands” and at this point, resignation is exactly what they want. Protesters have called for Morsi to resign by the end of the day on Tuesday, and several cabinet ministers have already done so in support of the movement.

“The Armed Forces repeats its call to respond to the people’s demands and  give everyone a 48-hour deadline to carry the burden of these historic  circumstances. [The Armed Forces] won’t tolerate anyone doing less than  what’s needed to carry their responsibility.”

No matter which direction the president chooses, the crisis has provided an opportunity for the military to once again assume command of the country, just as they did following the deposing of Hosni Mubarak more than two years ago. The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (or SCAF) took over the governing power of Egypt following Mubarak’s resignation and held on to it for more than year, until a replacement could be elected. Their authoritarian presence angered many Egyptians, who felt one dictator had simply been replaced by another. Then they got Morsi and now they hate him and the ruling Muslim Brotherhood party even more, as seen by the sacking their offices on Sunday.

Now Morsi is equally unliked, but removing him power could be seen a major step backwards for the revolution. After all, Morsi — as he is quick to point out — was democratically elected. If he can be forced out by violent protests or military order, then what kind of democracy does Egypt really have? The people want him gone, but are they willing to do so at the cost of giving power back to a military that can order a president around? The world now waits for his answer.

This may be the first time in history that an army has told its people it plans to launch a coup d’etat.

 

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Pray for Nelson Mandela

English: Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, Gaute...

English: Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, Gauteng, on 13 May 1998 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pray for Nelson Mandela

Reporting as of 11:59 PM Pacific that Nelson Mandela” condition has gradually worsened is he is currently on life support.

The South African activist and former president Nelson Mandela (1918-) helped bring an end to apartheid and has been a global advocate for human rights. A member of the African National Congress party beginning in the 1940s, he was a leader of both peaceful protests and armed resistance against the white minority’s oppressive regime in a racially divided South Africa. His actions landed him in prison for nearly three decades and made him the face of the antiapartheid movement both within his country and internationally. Released in 1990, he participated in the eradication of apartheid and in 1994 became the first black president of South Africa, forming a multiethnic government to oversee the country’s transition. Since retiring from politics in 1999, he has remained a devoted champion for peace and social justice in his own nation and around the world.

This is one of our own folks. I real human being. Who in the face of danger uncertainty, and peril, smiled, then choose to lead. 

President Bill Clinton with Nelson Mandela, Ju...

President Bill Clinton with Nelson Mandela, July 4 1993. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Obama: “Maybe I Should Just Pack Up and Go Home”

Obama: “Maybe I Should Just Pack Up and Go Home”

That’s right, he said it. Leaving your options open is a smart idea. And as options go  Packing Up and Going Home is one of them.

It’s okay man, you didn’t build this mess all by yourself, your government did that for you.

Just remember one thing… Don’t go blow a lot of money in Vegas. You’ll be fine.

Here is a list of ASEAN countries

Here is a list of ASEAN countries.

ASEAN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, was created in 1967 as a political group to strengthen the power and increase growth and development in 12 member nations.

The main goals of ASEAN include improving the economies of member countries, as well as protection and peace between the neighboring nations. The unification of these primarily smaller nations helps them to protect themselves and each other from outside conflicts. In fact, the original organization was formed to prevent the spread of communism in the 1960s. Much like other regional organization, ASEAN also seeks to promote progress and develop local cultures. Cultural activities range from athletic events to awards in literature.    ….Click here to read more and see the full list

 

 

 

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Perspective on a Billion of something

This is too true to be funny.

The next time you hear a politician use the
Word ‘billion’ in a casual manner, think about
whether you want the ‘politicians’ spending
YOUR tax money.

A billion is a difficult number to comprehend,
But one advertising agency did a good job of
Putting that figure into some perspective in
One of its releases.

A.
A billion seconds ago it was 1959.

B.
A billion minutes ago Jesus was alive.

C.
A billion hours ago our ancestors were
living in the Stone Age.

D.
A billion days ago no-one walked on the earth on two feet.

E.
A billion dollars ago was only
8 hours and 20 minutes,
at the rate our government
is spending it.

While this thought is still fresh in our brain…
let’s take a look at New Orleans ….
It’s amazing what you can learn with some simple division.

Louisiana Senator,
Mary Landrieu (D)
was asking Congress for
250 BILLION DOLLARS
To rebuild New Orleans . Interesting number…
What does it mean?

A.
Well .. If you are one of the 484,674 residents of New Orleans
(every man, woman and child)
You each get $516,528

B.
Or… If you have one of the 188,251 homes in
New Orleans , your home gets $1,329,787.

C.
Or… If you are a family of four…
Your family gets$2,066,012.

Washington , D.C

HELLO!
Are all your calculators broken??

Building Permit Tax
CDL License Tax
Cigarette Tax
Corporate Income Tax
Dog License Tax
Federal Income Tax (Fed)
Federal Unemployment Tax (FU TA)
Fishing License Tax
Food License Tax
Fuel Permit Tax
Gasoline Tax
Hunting License Tax
Inheritance Tax
Inventory Tax
IRS Interest Charges (tax on top of tax)
IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)
Liquor Tax
Luxury Tax
Marriage License Tax
Medicare Tax
Property Tax
Real Estate Tax
Service charge Taxes
Social Security Tax
Road Usage Tax (Truckers)
Sales Taxes
Recreational Vehicle Tax
School Tax
State Income Tax
State Unemployment Tax (SUTA)
Telephone Federal Excise Tax
Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Tax
Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Tax
Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax
Telephone Recurring and Non-recurring Charges Tax
Telephone State and Local Tax
Telephone Usage Charge Tax
Utility Tax
Vehicle License Registration Tax
Vehicle Sales Tax
Watercraft Registration Tax
Well Permit Tax
Workers Compensation Tax
(And to think, we left British Rule to avoid so many taxes)

STILL THINK THIS IS FUNNY?

Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago…
And our nation was the most prosperous in the world.

We had absolutely no national debt…
We had the largest middle class in the world…
And Mom stayed home to raise the kids.

What happened?
Can you spell
‘politicians’!

And I still have to
Press ‘1’
For English.

I hope this goes around the
USA
At least 100 times

Obama and Romney disagree on gay marriage

Official photographic portrait of US President...

Official photographic portrait of US President Barack Obama (born 4 August 1961; assumed office 20 January 2009) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

First of all, marry who you want. Second, vote for who you want. Third, watching two grown men slap each other around during a political campaign is priceless. Pull up a chair and pay attention. Something remarkable happened last week. Mr. Obama manufactured a run.

I watched the video of President Obama announcing his support of gay marriage. I didn’t just glance at it. I watched it over and over. I wasn’t listening to the words or the message as much as I was watching the facial expressions and body language.

There is a school of thought that 70% of communication is visual. I noticed that Mr. Obama was not all that comfortable with what he was saying. His mouth was moving and words were coming out, but he didn’t convince me he really believed in what he was saying. In other words, there was no conviction in his voice. I am calling politics.

Mitt Romney is a grown man. He has a lot of experience whether in business and in life. He has been in leadership roles and like him or not, has grown to be an influential player on the US political scene.

I said Obama manufactured a run. The whole Obama supports gay marriage punch-line hit me a day later. I was watching a beautifully executed smear on Mitt Romney. It was an announcement that while in high school, Romney cut the hair of a gay student. The political handlers earned their money that day. It’s funny that a week later we don’t hear much about it. But for an afternoon,  Obama supports gay marriage…Romney is a bully with a track record of preying on gay students. Obama reigned supreme.

The strategists and handlers where in the back room giggling and high fiving each other. They got Romney. They got him good. Does anyone care? I don’t. I only mention this because it illustrates how politics works. Shuck and jive. Keep moving. Take you shots. Have three moves planned ahead and ready to go. Romney and the kid with the hair know what happened. But for now…the perception is Obama did a good thing and Romney did not. Check me in month. See if this comes up again. It’s all politics, baby.

Where the next campaign punch is thrown is anyone’s guess. Just be ready. You know it is coming. Just be four steps ahead.