While it’s not quite spring yet, we have warmed up enough here lately, that something is out there in the breeze, and it’s playing havoc with Fredster’s allergies, his sinuses or whatever. I’ve hit the flonase nasal spray and the saline today. I have hit the Allegra also but not with much success. If tomorrow is like this I’ll have to hit the generic Xyzal. I found that medicine last year and it has been great! If you are an allergy sufferer, it is one you might want to check out. It’s available in a generic form, levocetirizine, and has worked great for me.
It’s light fare Saturday and to be honest I don’t have a lot ready for today, but we’ll see how it turns out.
Here’s a way to get even with Walmart for crappy wages
While I applaud this young man’s ingenuity, I have to say there must be a better and legal way to get back at Wally World. “An unnamed teenage juvenile was arrested by Norman, Oklahoma police for stealing nearly $30,000 from three area Walmart stores.” “Police say the accused was well acquainted with the chain’s practices because he worked in an Oklahoma City Walmart before being fired for taking money.” I would guess there’s not too much difference in how the different stores operate and that was to this young man’s advantage.
He told employees of the Moore, Oklahoma Walmart that he was there to conduct an inventory of the store before general managers would arrive to do a post holiday inspection.
Surveillance video from the store, which has not been released by the D.A., showed that the teen was left alone in an office where money was stored and he grabbed, “…multiple bundles of cash, stuffing them inside his pockets and clothes,” hugging the manager as he left. Moore Police Sergeant Jeremy Lewis said, “He’s obviously confident in what he’s doing and has a good story.”
Now after he left the Walmart in Moore, he then went to a store in Edmond OK and wearing his old Walmart uniform, “he walked into the store and was assigned to work at a register where he was able to swipe $3,000 in one day.”. Dayum, this kid is good! Oh, but there was this also: he”is also reportedly an actor with a local talent agency.”. A case of “Catch me if you can” perhaps?
There is no way this one turns out okay
An older man in a town in northern Italy decided to hire a sex worker for some afternoon delight or something. I suppose he was wanting to be discrete about it so he hires himself a young woman from a nearby town. However, what happened most probably caused the old guy to lose his “ardor”
When they met, he could not believe his eyes when the realised the escort was his future daughter-in-law, The Local reported, citing Italian newspaper Il Gazzettino.
His 40-year-old son’s girlfriend, who is from South America, had told the family that she was a waitress.
When they met, they decided not to seal the arrangement for the night.
But the man, 70, decided honesty was the best policy, and told his son what had happened.
The news did not go down well and the father and son fought.
The incident, which happened four years ago, only became public knowledge this month when the son sued his father for injuries sustained in the fight.
I think I saw an episode like this on one of the Law and Order shows. That ended badly too.
Hey, the Pope knows *those* words too!
Hey, he’s such a breath of fresh air compared to the widow Ratzinger, I can cut him some slack.
Apparently there are a two words that sound very similar in Italian, as I’m sure there are in other languages. In this case the words were “caso” for case and “cazzo” for fuck. (Would that be the verb or another form of the word?) In any event here’s how it came out:
The Pope’s message of charity was lost in translation on Sunday, as he accidentally muddled “caso” (“case”) with “cazzo” (“fuck”).
“If each one of us does not amass riches only for oneself, but half for the service of others, in this fuck [pause], in this case the providence of God will become visible through this gesture of solidarity,” he told followers amassed in St Peter’s Square.
Well, the speech hit youtube and one Italian commented:
“He wanted to say, ‘in this case’ – it’s a simple mistake made by a foreigner reading Italian, nothing more,” one Italian wrote.
Now, I got curious so I googled and found this information:
Which languages does Pope Francis speak?
Pope Francis’s native language is Spanish but he also speaks Italian, Portuguese, French, German, Ukrainian and Piedmontese (a language spoken in the Piedmont, an area in northern Italy). Of course Pope Francis is also conversant in Latin- the official language of the Holy See.
Okay, so maybe not so much with the Italian, but as I said, I’ll cut him some slack.
Some youtube videos
Previously I gave you the “world’s fastest pancake maker”, so this time I have the world’s fastest “sandwich artist”. Don’t know the language of the signs in the background but if anyone knows, please be sure to add it in below.
Ah the English…they can take the most boring thing in the world and make it even more boring. After this I could not contain myself until I went out to learn more about…the hedgehog.
Okay this last one is about a place in Japan called “Rabbit Island” because the Japanese turned it into a recreational area after WW-II. Prior to that it had been a secret testing place for poisonous gas. The rabbits on the island were turned loose. The rabbits used in experiments were put down. Hunting these creatures is forbidden and dogs and cats may not be taken onto the island. Well, rabbits being rabbits and having no predators there, this frequently happens with visitors to the island.
Oh and finally, a reminder: Set those clocks ahead tonight!
Okay Widdershins, that’s all I have. What’s going on with you today?
This is an open thread.
Good Friday afternoon Widdershinners. I’m assuming everyone survived Fat Tuesday and is joyful in their Lentous deprivation.
First, thanks goes to DYB for his insightful and personal post on Tuesday concerning the Ukraine crisis. I hope that was his first of many contributions to the Widdersphere.
It’s a nasty little fact, but at some point in a democracy someone has to govern. Unfortunately, governing by the sound bite and Twitter-wisdom seems to be the new order of the day. Any issue lasting longer than one news cycle is so 2010. If something isn’t dissected, answered, and solved within 24-hours, something must be wrong since no crisis should go unadorned by the comical stylings of the punditocracy.
With the rooster not having crowed on the third day, John McCain had worked up a terminal case of mouth-frothing spit pearls over the Ukraine situation. In front of AIPAC, he went into full-blown Clint Eastwood mode — not the genial Clint conversing with an empty stool, but the Gran Torino Eastwood of “get off my yard” dialed up to “get off my planet!”
Kindly not publicly using the “f-bomb” he utilized the alliteration of “feckless foreign policy” before an AIPAC crowd whose lack of foreign policy understanding is only surpassed by their eagerness to “bomb, bomb, bomb Iran.” Even though “consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds,” it might be illustrative to take a short walk back through recent history to catalogue the reactionary nature exhibited by “Dirty Harry” McCain.
Since 2008, whereupon Russia invaded Georgia and McCain declared, “We are all Georgians,” he has advocated to stay in Iraq, stay in Afghanistan, use force in Libya, Egypt, Syria, Tunisia, Pakistan, and most ominously, Iran. If there is a fire, there’s nothing like a good dose of kerosene.
Then you have his fraternal twin, Lady Lindsey, who went all Girl, Interrupted about Russia. The Lady declared every time the President talked about foreign policy he found himself a victim of uncontrollable eye-rolling — not an all together unique facial tic given its predominance when the Lady hikes up his crinoline and does the cancan for the boys down at the D.C. Manhole.
This type of conduct didn’t used to be acceptable or tolerated. Politics was supposed to end at the water’s edge, but not any more. Even Republican Robert Gates has taken to the editorial pages to tell these blustering blovinators to “cool it!”
The unwillingness to take the mantle of governance isn’t just in foreign policy, it is rampant on the domestic front as well. Another vote to repeal Obamacare, the fiftieth in fact, another show hearing to repeat the mantra of Benghazi, IRS, or Fast and Furious, and then call it a good legislative day.
On Wednesday, after Darrell Issa had flogged and fluffed on Fox News Sunday about Lois Lerner being ready to talk about the IRS, she again did as she was instructed months ago and invoked the Fifth Amendment. Issa claimed her attorney said she was ready to testify. Of course back in the world of reality, Lerner’s attorney denies any such conversation.
In his zeal to put a ribbon around Wednesday’s “show hearing,” Issa actually cut off the microphone of Rep. Elijah Cummings — a violation of the House rules and an unheard of breach of decorum for any committee, not just one chaired by someone who invented a thingamabob called the “Viper Alert.”
Issa’s committee has received over a half-million documents, there has been a full independent investigative exoneration of each and every accusation, and the government has spent to date, $14,000,000 on a fool’s errand of chasing a unicorn of conspiracy. As inconvenient as they might be, facts are stubborn things.
Is there any karmic doubt about why Issa’s name is an anagram for “I ass.”
Just last week, I wrote about the Republicans railing against the uber-presidency, monarchy, totalitarian government, and imperiousness. A week later, he is now feckless, ineffective, and inviting global upheaval while he’s Benghazing, IRSing, and rounding up guns here at home.
Dana Milbank calls it “Operation Oxymoron” while I think it is more like a Monty Python skit of a “gelatinous Godzilla?” No matter how critics couch it, we would all be better off if the next time someone cries, “Lights, camera, reaction,” the ensuing words surprised everyone and for a change concentrated on “good policy“.
This is an open thread.
“I will not counsel or maintain any suit or proceedings which shall appear to me to be unjust, nor any defense except such as I believe to be honestly debatable under the law of the land.” From the Oath of Admission to the Florida Bar
Good Thursday, Widdershins.
Yesterday marked yet another inglorious moment in our Fair Republic. The nomination of Debo Adegbile to the post of US Assistant Attorney General for the US Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division was rejected for the very reason that it should have been confirmed. Mr Adegbile held fast to the very principle noted above as being from the Bar Oath. and attempted to win a new trial for someone who had been convicted and sentenced to death under less than stellar circumstances.
I won’t bore you with a protracted discussion of Adegbile’s qualifications, as you can just as easily check out the link. We’ll suffice to say that he served with several litigation firms in the private sector prior to accepting the position of assistant counsel to the NAACP Legal and Educational Fund. He remained in their employ, and worked his way through the ranks until eventually becoming acting president, director counsel, and special counsel in 2013. He has argued before SCOTUS in re: the Voting Rights Act. Quite a meteoric rise for the man who experienced homelessness as a child, then first caught the public eye as Debo, one of the kids on Sesame Street during the 1970′s.
Debo was likely doomed with all of the Republicans from the start, simply because he is an Obama judicial appointee, On this particular occasion, however he lost a number of Democrats as well, because of the NAACP’s spirited efforts to gain a new trial for Mumia Abu-Jamal. Never mind the fact that the initiative was already in progress when Debo arrived there it’s probably still all his fault. Abu-Jamal was convicted of killing a police officer, and that should be that. Everyone knows that all trials with African-American defendants conducted North of the Mason-Dixon line are fair trials by definition. So what’s the problem?
Well, there are actually several. My one foray into the Land of the Frozen North in adulthood was a move to Philadelphia from 1978-1982. I was newly divorced, got an interesting job there, and packed up my child and my cat and moved to the Philly suburbs to see what this was all about, The ER that I worked in fronted on the affluent Main Line Suburbs, and backed up into some areas that would require an extensive renovations to aspire to ghetto status. During this time, I got to know the Philadelphia police.
It’s easy to meet cops if you are an ER nurse. Every ER that I have ever worked in has been thick with officers accompanying victims, detainees, and one another, Police often interchange ERs and coffee shops, stopping by for a cup and a visit. The better of them bring doughnuts for the nurses. In general, I like cops. I count many of them as my friends, and on the Irish side of the family, I have a number of cousins in law enforcement. I guess it’s what we do. Individually, the Philly officers were great guys. As a group, not so much. Their commissioner was Frank Rizzo, and Rizzo’s boys did no wrong, including the odd beating death and one individual who was drowned with a fire hose at a concert in the name of crowd control. Oddly, it was a James Taylor concert, which one would hardly associate with snarling fans. Go figure. At a any rate, it was well-known in the city that there was no point in discussing obvious abuse. Not only would the complaint go nowhere, but worse might follow.
I remember this case, though I hadn’t really thought about it in some time. Philadelphia had some dingers of racial riots in the Seventies, and the infamous MOVE riots in the Eighties that terminated in the Mayor Goode bombing his own city – you just can;t make this stuff up. In this crucible, Mumia Abu-Jamal was accused of killing Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner on December 9, 1981. He was tried, and sentenced to death in 1982. Although the death penalty was overturned in 2001, the Philadelphia District Attorney insisted that Abu-Jamal remain on death row for the next ten years while he feverishly attempted to seek reinstatement, and did not give up until 2011.
So what’s all the fuss? If he killed a cop, he should be in jail, right? Indeed, if he killed anyone he should be in jail after a fair trial. While I was living there, and do recall the trial, it seems some things have come to light over the years that might cast some doubt in the whole “fair” thing. Not only does the NAACP think so, but Bishop Tutu, Nelson Mandela, and Amnesty International concur. The Japanese Parliament has protested, along with the cities of Paris, Detroit, and San Francisco. So what’s going on here?
Amnesty International published a full report of their findings, and it isn’t pretty. Here’s the abstract:
Mumia Abu-Jamal was sentenced to death for the murder of a police officer in 1982 after a trial that failed to meet international standards. In this report Amnesty International conducts a full analysis of the trial of Mumia Abu-Jamal including the background and atmosphere prevailing in the city of Philadelphia in 1982 and the possible political influences that may have prevented him from receiving an impartial and fair hearing.
The major claims are that the trial was rushed, only minimal forensic examination was done, and that there was extreme bias demonstrated by both the trial judge ( a clerk signed an affidavit which states that the judge commented on “frying the n-”) and some jurors. The prosecutors advised the jury that a verdict of “guilty” would be subsequently reviewed, and a verdict of “not guilty” could not – all true, but apparently the information was presented in an inflammatory manner. His defense attorney was said to be less than adequate, although in general, Public Defenders tend to be overworked and under resourced. In murder cases, the attorneys assigned tend to be more experienced, though Abu Jamal’s apparently was anything but. There are two sets of photographs documenting the scene, but only one was used at trial. To top it all off, there has been an actual confession of guilt by someone else.
All in all, this is one helluva mess. There appear to be numerous violations in this trial, and the situation demands review. The ensuing years have brought some change to the Philadelphia PD, and a number of officers were charged with (and convicted of) public corruption, and framing defendants. I agree that there needs to be justice for Officer Faulkner – and Mrs. Faulkner – but there is no justice until guilt has been clearly established.
Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) is one of the “no” votes. He should be embarrassed. Here’s what he said to Philly.com:
“I respect that our system of law ensures the right of all citizens to legal representation no matter how heinous the crime,” but added “The vicious murder of Officer Faulkner in the line of duty and the events that followed in the 30 years since his death have left open wounds for Maureen Faulkner and her family as well as the City of Philadelphia. After carefully considering this nomination and having met with both Mr. Adegbile as well as the Fraternal Order of Police, I will not vote to confirm the nominee.”
Casey parrots Constitutional rights, but filters them through the lenses of a police union and a widow. The police union will never, ever admit that they might just have fubar-ed things back in The Day, and the widow might just have an emotional attachment. The worst part of this is that he is actually an attorney, and should know better. (Although I suppose that what he really understands is the amount of dollars forthcoming from a large union,) I’m wondering how many of the people who voted ”no” fully understand the US Constitution that they promised so somberly to defend. This is a sorry state of affairs – the worth of an attorney is now measured by the popularity of his client.
This is an open thread.
Let’s face it: The situation in Ukraine with Putin basically taking over wherever his black heart desires, poses a dilemma. The choices Obama has are very limited. We can try sanctions of some type but as quixote pointed out last night, hell we can’t even get the members of the E.U. to go along on that. The market itself seems to have given Russia a big dent in their economy or their companies but then the market bounced back although I have no idea how Russian stocks may have done. We could also threaten to not go to the G-8 economic summit in Socchi, but Putin has already said “eh, who cares”. And, would the Europeans even go along with that? Who knows?
Ah but our dear friends on the right side of the aisle…they know what to do! It’s W * A * R ! Full Steam Ahead!! Damn the torpedoes. “”You may fire when you are ready, Gridley.” The only questions I have for our friends is “How ya gonna do it?” Logistics of the situation be damned though because that hasn’t stopped Lindsey Graham or John (I crashed 3 planes) McCain.
Graham feels Obama gave Putin the freedom to go into the Ukraine and it’s all because of…Benghazi. (Geez do they ever get tired of that shit?) This was Graham on Greta’s show on Fox.
VAN SUSTEREN: I can’t tell whether you ripped the president more on foreign policy or the Washington Post Editorial Board when they described it fantasy. But you said that the president has a weak and indecisive policy that invites aggression.
GRAHAM: Right. This is a symptom of greater problem. It really, in many ways, started with Benghazi, when our consulate was overrun and our first ambassador was killed in thirty-something years in the line of duty. Three other brave Americans died and not one person has been held accountable. You’re sending absolutely the wrong signal to our foes around the [sic]country. (I’m guessing he meant our foes around the world but who knows?)
Putin basically came to the conclusion after Benghazi, Syria, Egypt – everything Obama has been engaged in – he’s a weak indecisive leader.
It started with Benghazi. When you kill Americans and nobody pays a price, you invite this type of aggression.
Putin basically came to the conclusion after Benghazi, Syria, Egypt – everything Obama has been engaged in – he’s a weak indecisive leader.
Note: I didn’t embed the tweets because I didn’t feel like it…so there!
And then (sigh) there’s McCain. Hell, it sounds like he wants us to attack militarily!
Every moment that the United States and our allies fail to respond sends the signal to President Putin that he can be even more ambitious and aggressive in his military intervention in Ukraine. There is a range of serious options at our disposal at this time without the use of military force. I call on President Obama to rally our European and NATO allies to make clear what costs Russia will face for its aggression and to impose those consequences without further delay.”
And going back to Graham, I did love how Charles Pierce described him on the issue:
Here’s Some Stupid For Lunch
Huckleberry J, Butchmeup is feeling the rush of blood to his…head.
(Graham) “Well, number one, stop going on television and trying to threaten thugs and dictators. It is not your strong suit. Every time the president goes on national television and threatens Putin or anyone like Putin, everybody’s eyes roll, including mine. We have a weak and indecisive president that invites aggression. President Obama needs to do something.”Osama bin Laden’s eyes rolled up in his head and stayed there.All’s I’m sayin’.
* * * * * * *
In other news, I’ve got to say “hats off” to the A.G. of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Jack Conway. He has wisely decided not to appeal federal judge John G. Heyburn II’s decision that Kentucky must recognize same-sex marriages performed outside the state. The governor Steve Beshear (both are Democrats) said the state would hire outside counsel to handle the case. Conway said Heyburn “got it right, and in light of other recent federal decisions, these laws will not likely survive upon appeal. We cannot waste the resources of the Office of the Attorney General pursuing a case we are unlikely to win.” Conway announced his decision in a very emotional statement which you can see below.
Oh, and he’s verrry attractive too!
It’s an open thread y’all.
We have a guest post today by DYB on the Russian Ukraine situation
As you may know, DYB and family migrated to the U.S. from Ukraine. That is where D was born and grew up so obviously he is familiar with the region and a lot of the issues going on there. I asked him if he would share some thoughts on the situation and the background of the area and he happily obliged.
Things Fall Apart
Russia and Ukraine have a very long history. In fact, Russia started in Kiev. Kievan Rus’ was established in the 9th century, with the great city of Kiev, located on the mighty Dnieper River, as its capital. Over the following centuries, with shifting allegiances and Mongolian attacks, and with the increasingly less important Dnieper as a trade route, the federation fell apart. Out of this (somewhat abridged history) was born the Ukraine, Belorussia and Russia. Russia, obviously, became the greater superpower, eventually conquering the other two and absorbing them into its sphere. Of all the former Republics that broke away after the fall of communism, the Ukrainian break was the most painful. Ukraine was the closest to Moscow politically and culturally, and has perhaps the greatest number of Russians living there than in any of the others. Although the Ukrainian language is closer to Polish than it is to Russian, everybody speaks Russian. In the smaller towns and in the country Ukrainian language may be more prevalent, but the ties to Russia run deep after centuries of Russian influence.
After Ukraine’s cessation from Russia its economic and political turmoil – as one would expect – was mighty high. Viktor Yanukovich’s political rivalry with Viktor Yuschenko reached new heights of dirty politics during the 2004 campaign for Presidency. During the lengthy campaign, voting and multiple run-offs Yuschenko was poisoned with TCDD, the most powerful contaminant in Agent Orange. Though he survived the assassination attempt he was physically disfigured. Yanukovich, of course, has never been convicted of being involved, but…. anybody want a bridge for real cheap? The dirty campaign set off what became known as the Orange Revolution of 2004/2005, a series of protests against Yanukovich’s “win,” known to have been rigged. The opposition coalition, which included Yanukovich and Yulia Tymoshenko, was successful in forcing Yanukovich from office. And it left Putin without an ally in Kiev.
Under the leadership of Yuschenko and subsequently Tymoshenko, the country drifted West in its politics and allegiances. A 2009 dispute with Russia over price of gas would lead to prosecution of Tymoshenko for corruption by Yanukovich’s new government – after he returned to power in a legitimate election in 2010. Everyone widely recognized that her prosecution was politically motivated, but Yanukovich – who himself somehow managed to accumulate a personal fortune of $12,000,000,000 – accused her of corruptions of all kinds. No doubt Tymoshenko was not a saint. But the view of Yuschenko’s own house, with its private zoo and fancy cars, suggests a certain lack of honesty as well. Be that as it may, Tymoshenko was found guilty and sent to prison. Putin had his old ally back in Kiev and his enemies (like Tymoshenko and Yuschenko) well out of the way.
Fast forward to 2013. Yanukovich campaigned on a promise to continue forging and strengthening ties with the European Union, political and economic. Putin, however, a former KGB man, has always believed that the break-up of the old Soviet block was a travesty and particularly wanted to keep Ukraine in his own pocket. Aside from the large Russian population still living there, there is also the access to the Black Sea in Crimea. When Yanukovich
very suddenly pivoted on his promises to Europe and made a surprise announcement that he would instead move towards a financial deal with Russia – the beginning of the end arrived. Massive protests in the capital of Kiev, which lasted well into the freezing winter months, have played out on our own televisions. Yanukovich is a man so deeply connected to Putin, he made no decisions without Putin’s approval. Even as the Europeans and the Russians mediated a deal, he ran off to make a phone call to Sochi to ask Putin’s blessing to accept it. The deal promised early elections, but would keep Yanukovich in office for several more months. Putin gave his blessing to the deal. But both Putin and Yanukovich misjudged the mood of the public outside, which at that point has already been attacked by Yanukovich’s special police force, the much despised sadists of the Berkut (Brown Shirts spring to mind), as well shot at by snipers. Whatever deal Yanukovich thought he was making came several days too late and the following day he was forced to flee Kiev. The Olympics in Sochi were just wrapping up and if anyone thought Putin’s silence on the matters in Kiev was surprisingly muted, they got a big surprise once the Olympics ended. Russian military invaded Crimea, pretending to defend the ethnic Russians. There was nothing to defend them from, of course. Russians and Ukrainians have lived without issues for decades. Historically rivalries there didn’t even approach Yankees vs. Red Sox tensions. The random breakouts of violence since Yanukovich’s flight appear to have been organized by the various political factions, not grassroots uprisings. One of the big divides really appears to be generational, not cultural. The older generation, that lived under Soviet rule, seems to have forgotten their lives before. My own parents, residing comfortably in Brooklyn and who, along with all of their friends, get their news solely from Russian television, believe Putin to be a great man, great leader, and of course Ukraine should be controlled by Russia. “Why would that be bad?” my mother asked. I asked her why we left the Ukraine in 1989 if things were not so bad? There was no answer. She believes the protests in Kiev were organized by the West and the protestors paid by the West. The younger generation of Ukraine, however, has no desire to live under a Russian overlord. They would much rather travel across Europe without passports than to Russia. The split is not an easy geographical one. An attempt to split the country would lead to a catastrophic civil war.
No shots have been fired and no treaties signed but Crimea is now de facto under Russian armed control.
Two large Ukrainian military bases are surrounded, with Russian troops standing alongside local self-defence groups, who demand that the Ukrainian soldiers inside defect from Kiev to Crimea’s new pro-Russia government.
The naval headquarters remains blockaded and key installations like airports are still occupied. Thousands of newly-arrived Russian elite troops far outnumber Ukraine’s military presence here. Crimea has in effect been cut off by roadblocks, where vehicles are being denied access to the peninsula.
But wait! This is not an act of aggression. Heavens, no. It’s self-defense! Those pro-Russian Easterners need to make sure those nasty nationalists don’t hurt them. Putin is just protecting his people, or so says Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
Mr Lavrov said in Geneva on Monday that Russian troops were needed in Ukraine “until the normalisation of the political situation”.
Mr Lavrov said: “The victors intend to make use of the fruits of their victory to attack human rights and fundamental freedoms of minorities.”
He said the “violence of ultra-nationalists threatens the lives and the regional interests of Russians and the Russian speaking population”.
Is anyone buying this? Putin, the defender of human rights? Of course not. It’s Putin’s way of keeping control over a resource-rich region that is divided in its loyalties. Europe or Russia – who will get that natural gas?
Russia is Europe’s biggest gas supplier, providing around a quarter of continental demand, which at current daily flows of 270 million cubic metres (mcm) is worth almost $100 million a day. Around a third of Russia’s gas is exported through Ukraine.
Fears for the stability of supply to Europe increased over the weekend when Russian forces took control of Ukraine’s Crimea region and President Vladimir Putin said he had the right to invade his neighbour to protect Russians there after the overthrow of ally Viktor Yanukovich.
Moscow has in the past cut supplies to Ukraine when negotiating prices with Kiev, causing shortages especially in central Europe, which gets most of its supplies from Russia.
Russia’s Gazprom said on Monday that gas transit to Europe via Ukraine was normal, but it warned that it might increase prices for Kiev after the first quarter, raising concerns that gas could be used for political leverage in the crisis.
Russia may indeed need to increase prices, as the invasion of Crimea has not been good for the economy there. Putin’s decision has caused a selling frenzy.
“Now that (Russia and Ukraine) are actually on the verge of a military confrontation investors will start selling Russian stocks with special fervour,” analysts at Rossiysky Capital said in a note for investors.
Artem Argetkin, trader at BCS in Moscow, said brokers were trying to close their positions at any price.
“There’s a sell-off of everything right now,” he added.
James Hughes, chief market analyst at Alpari UK, warned the sell-off would get worse.
“We can expect some very sharp moves in the ensuing couple of days as markets and world leaders look to establish just how much of a threat there is not only to stability in the area but stability across Europe.”
Heaven forbid the mighty engine of capitalism, once so reviled in Russia, should throw a rod and overheat! Unfortunately, any sign of stabilization, whether it be a complete military coup by Putin or the regaining of sovereignty by the new Ukrainian government, would help the engine run smoothly again. So, we can’t count on the market helping out the pro-Europe faction for very long. As we asked last week…WWOD?
Good Sunday, Widdershins.
It’s been a number of years since the nation obsessed with Russian incursions, but we find ourselves at it again with the current troop movement into Ukrainian territory. I am dizzy trying to figure my way through treaties, acts of Parliament, and who is actually in charge.
While this all clears up, we might reflect on some of the great films made about the Cold War. Some remarkable cinema that revolved around the CW and it’s spies was filmed between the mid-Fifties and the present. A few have actually been remade, but I seem to prefer the originals every time.
So, Widdershins, make some popcorn, pour yourself a libation, and post about films or anything else you might like. And for those North of me, bundle up.
This is an open thread.
(1) Fail Safe - 1964
(2) Thirteen Days - 2000
(3) Charlie Wilson’s War - 2007
(4) On the Beach - 1959
(5) The Manchurian Candidate - 1962