Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Governor Nathan Deal of Georgia shoots his gun to regain popularity.

There are 36 states voting for governor this year. The Republicans that road the Tea Party wave in 2010 have the highest disapproval rating.

This chart appeared in the New York Times a year ago. The reason Deal is signing extremist legislation is an attempt to ride the Tea Party wave again for re-election.

This has nothing to do with whether Deal believes in gun rights or not. It is about re-election, where his campaign monies are coming from and what voters he can get to the polls.

...The chart below (click here) includes the three most recent job approval polls for each incumbent eligible for re-election in 2014. (The four states where term limits prevent the governor from running again — Arizona, Maryland, Nebraska and Arkansas — and Massachusetts, where Gov. Deval Patrick has announced he will not seek another term, are not included.) Surveys conducted before 2012 are not figured into the averages....

Larry Copeland and Doug Richards
4:17 p.m. EDT 
April 23, 2014

...Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, (click here) a Republican, on Wednesday signed the state's "Safe Carry Protection Act," which critics dubbed the "guns everywhere bill," in north Georgia, on the edge of the Chattahoochee National Forest and Cohutta Wilderness area....

It is all about the Governor's popularity, isn't it, Al? Basically, the Governor is "For Sale."

Journalists need to leave Eastern Ukraine. It isn't welcome.

Three is a lot of people add to that violence in destroying a news agency and that equals more to come.

The Russians in Eastern Ukraine are frustrated with the fact there is no movement toward their side of the street as there was in Crimea. They aren't going to conduct themselves well, so why do it? The people of eastern Ukraine know their media is under attack. I don't think that will go over well. But, as long as the journalists persist in bringing information to the people, there will be more and more danger to them. 

There should be a voluntary media blackout. Make it obvious their region of the Ukraine is becoming very dangerous. If journalists can't practice their profession, then what is the next profession that won't be welcome. It won't stop there. 

The Russians in eastern Ukraine are trying to start conflict. They want to provide a reason for Russia's military to cross the border. They want violence and they will attempt to incite it.

New York
April 23, 2014

Three local and international journalists (click here) are missing or being held hostage in eastern Ukraine, while unidentified assailants burned down the offices of a newspaper. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Ukrainian authorities to ensure the safety of journalists covering the crisis. 

"All sides in Ukraine's continuing crisis are responsible for ensuring the safety and well-being of journalists. We call on anyone holding a journalist against his or her will to release them immediately," CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova said. "These attacks on the media are clearly intended not just as a message to the victims but as a warning to all journalists not to report independently on the region." 

Ukrainian photojournalist Yevgeny Gapich has not been heard from since speaking to his family on Tuesday morning from the eastern Ukrainian city of Horlivka, according to the independent Ukrainian news website Telekritika. Gapich had used a code word on the phone that he and his wife used to signal being in danger. News reports said the journalist was accompanied by his brother, Gennady Gapich. Both have stopped responding to phone calls.... 

There is something strange happening in Russia as well. President Putin has started a cultural agency. It was only a week, maybe two, the Russians in Russia started to legislate those with dual citizenship had to register. Now, there is a cultural ministry that will enforce standardization of the culture within the Russian borders. None of this sounds good.

It would be better and safer for the people of eastern Ukraine if there was a media blackout so there is no resistance with these soldiers. They simply need to get on with their lives. 

Kidnapping journalists with upcoming elections is also another attempt to disrupt those elections. The Russians don't want the elections, they want occupation. 

The Former Prime Minister that spoke today stated something very interesting. He said the reason the military is on the Ukraine border is because it give Russia 'something' to leverage power. In other words, if Russia removes soldiers from borders The West will recognize the Russia annexation of Crimea. This is escalating if the eastern Ukraine militias can't behave themselves.

At this point, if the eastern Ukraine media promises to go off the air, the militias may release those journalists they now hold hostage. I think it would be wise. It would be something that can be traded to the advantage of the militias. Any deescalation will benefit the people. It is the safety of the citizens that should come first. This is not about any other priority than being sure people are safe, living their lives and bringing families together.

Something The West has only started today with the Former Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov at the Atlantic Council needs to go forward. The American people and Europeans know Putin. That is primarily the way they identify Russia's authority. That puts everyone in the world in a bubble that benefits Putin and his regime. It concentrates fear. If Americans and Europeans and other countries begin to hear from other party leaders, they will finally hear the voice of the Russian people in a multi-layered way. It will dissolve fear. It will also dissolve the understanding the militias are legitimate. 

When the world begins to hear the voices of other party leaders, Russians might actually begin to fact find, solve their problems and move their nation forward. The Russian people may be able to put their cultural integrity back on track to democracy and freedom. When other voices are heard and other faces are identified, Editorials will be written in Western news media. It's all good. We need to open the avenues for political change in Russia and I don't know why this hasn't been the process the entire time.  

The public appearance of Former Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov broke down a wall today. It broke down the Iron Curtain and I'd like it gone forever.

Simon needs to come home to his family. He has conducted a valiant effort in the way he understood his job, but, it wasn't appreciated in a way that freedom he understands is appreciated. He had no idea he would become hated. His is innocent and doesn't deserve such hatred. He believed he was doing a good and necessary job. We want him home where he can continue to practice his profession in the culture he understands best. He never intended any harm in any way.

Fracking technology deteriorates human health. No one would have signed leases if they knew it at the time.

April 23, 2014
By Meredith Clark

A Texas family has won a $2.925 million judgment against an energy corporation over damage to health and property caused by fracking operations....

...Attorneys for the Parrs (click here) said this suit was the first fracking trial in the United States. Hydraulic fracking is a process used to extract natural gas from underground. It pumps millions of gallons of water and toxic chemicals into well drilled deep into shale deposits and pushes natural gas out through cracks that form. At least 15 million people lived within a mile of a well drilled since 2000....

I am sure the industry knew. It wasn't simply new technology. It is time for Americans to stand up for themselves and end this.

The Former Prime Minister of Russia Mikhail Kasyanov is also a critic of President Putin.

He stated he believes the Russian Regime will collapse because the GDP has fallen for two straight months now.

He also stated not to forget Crimea.

Mikhail Kasyanov (click here)

He was just live on C-Span. I am sure his talk with the Atlantic Council will be shown again. He is worth listening to.

He stated, President Putin was very surprised at the response by The West in regard to Crimea and Eastern Ukraine.

The Former Prime Minister is absolutely correct. Russia was on it's way to a more open and democratic nation and that has drastically changed. I will say this, I believe the War in Iraq caused a pause with then President Putin to reassess the reliability of the USA as a peace partner.

I observed nearly a decade of Russian expansion of it's markets and foreign relations due to the instability caused by the Iraq invasion. I thought it was very healthy for the world to have a counter balance to the new aggression of the USA. However, I didn't expect this. This was a surprise to me and evidently most of the world, especially Europe.

I think and hope the next Presidential elections in Russia will be open and return to the progress the people were making to democracy and freedom. I think now that Mr. Putin has shocked the world, the return of a more benevolent presence will be sought in the next elections. 

...2005-2006 – Kasyanov came back to politics to fight for democratic values against growing authoritarian tide as Mr Putin changed the state policy with evident anti-democratic drift. 56000 citizens created the People's Democratic Union (PDU party) and elected Mikhail its Political Leader. Marches of dissenters were initiated by PDU together with other political groups.

2007 – Kasyanov was nominated and registered as candidate for the 2008 presidential elections, soon he was denied participation on political grounds.

2010 – Kasyanov initiated with other politicians B.Nemtsov and V.Ryzhkov the creation of united political group - Republican Party of People's Freedom. They were elected Co-Leaders of this PARNAS party.

2011-2012 - the Party initiated massive protests of citizens against lawlessness and corruption.

Americans don't realize it isn't just them that are hurt by these trade agreements.

by Edward Alden
April 22, 2014

What does President Obama actually want (click here) from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), his administration’s signature trade negotiation with 11 Asia-Pacific countries? During his visit to four countries in the region this week, we may finally get an answer to that question. And it says something about how closely he has played his cards on the issue that it’s rather hard to predict the outcome.

Wait, I hear some objecting. Of course we know what the president wants. He wants, as his National Security Advisor Susan Rice put it in a briefing Friday, a “comprehensive, high-standards regional trade agreement.” But hard as that is to say, it’s even harder to achieve. And the negotiations have reached the point where some difficult decisions–of the sort that only a president can make–are looming. Yet Obama has given few hints about how he might handle those decisions....

The real lesson to oppose these agreements are in the Third World. These agreements are suppose to assist other nations out of poverty. That is not the case. These agreements enforce poverty and not just in the USA.

Imagine a Latin American village facing poverty forever. Extremely poor quality of life forever. Children without education and a future. Got that? 

Now, imagine a MOVEMENT called "Fair Trade." An impoverished village can grow coffee and begin the process of 'function.' It begins to have wells with clean water, men that provide clothing and not rags to their family, the ability to buy books and learn language. Food security. Really cool stuff, right? It is the dream of the USA to share it's ability to capture the free market and empower the impossibly poor to move forward and finally embrace the future. 

The comes NAFTA. 

Then follows "The Plantations." 

Then come those with machetes and guns and the end of the village coffee trees and sometimes even the people themselves.  

What happened? Americans came and taught and provided resources and start up costs. The Latin American villages with each family participating in the COOPERATIVE for coffee are once again impossibly impoverished. What happened? 

Now, imagine Wall Street mimicking the 'standards' for certification of "Fair Trade" only they want it on mass production. How do they do that? Yep, plantations. 

The reality of these massive trade policies is the ENFORCEMENT of poverty. It doesn't matter the country. 

Imagine now some thing called Walmart doesn't want a high quality product with all these fancy CERTIFICATIONS, but, they need to compete. What do they do? Do they really want to even invest in establishing plantations?


They create the Big Box Store equivalent of Fair Trade. It is an organization that hands our a certification for MEMBERSHIP called "Fair Trade." No fancy standards, no real 'partnership' in markets to empower the impoverished, just plain old Capitalism and Greed intended to destroy the real "Free Trade" and deceive the consumer. A dream come true. A certification that has no cost except to pay a nominal membership for the right to print the words, "Free Trade" on their coffee. 

NAFTA is an absolute disaster. Without any doubt. It has destroyed emerging markets that begin with RELATIONSHIP CAPITALISM. The new trade partnerships started under BUSH that Obama is 'going along with,' will have the same result. These massive trade agreements are about Wall Street profits and have absolutely NOTHING to do with improving the world's populations and/or creating new markets for American products. 

These trade agreements make the world a far less hopeful place and victimizes the poor. They are horrible. Do you have a lobbyist in Washington, DC? No? In the White House? No? Whatever makes you think you'll ever be anyone?

While Secretary Clinton was advocating women and girls all over the globe, she never asked herself if the markets for their success exists, is emerging and growing. 

Women in the Third World have no rights and when Wall Street is monopolizing the markets and destroying local cooperatives, women are robbed of any hope of the future because they return to chattel rather than empowered to raise their children with the promise their lives are important enough for the future. Women can't own property or accumulate wealth unless their husbands (if they are lucky enough to be married) are succeeding beyond the families imagination. Then and only then will women of the Third World be anything but chattel.

I mean, who is kidding who here? 

"The Great Moral America." Ask the Third World how that actually interprets? Better yet, asK the voters in the USA. 

NAFTA destroys lives and so has every other trade agreement. CAFTA and now the Pacific and Atlantic trade agreements. WHY NOT SIMPLY HAND THE GLOBE to Wall Street? 

Any trade agreement by the USA has caused poverty and not alleviated it. Fact. The intended 'feel good feelings' surrounding these agreements are more cronyism and far less EQUITY.

Let's see. How to grow an monopoly and own the planet.

Fri Mar 14, 2014 5:11pm EDT

A sign for a Bank of America office is pictured in Burbank, California August 19, 2011. 

(Reuters) - The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp (click here) sued 16 of the world's largest banks on Friday, accusing them of cheating dozens of other now defunct banks by manipulating the Libor interest rate.
The global financial institutions broke certain swaps contracts they had entered into with the now-closed banks, by separately colluding to rig the Libor rate to which the contracts were tied, the FDIC said.

Some of the banks accused in the lawsuit, including Barclays Plc and UBS, have already paid some $6 billion to resolve charges from U.S. and European authorities that they worked to manipulate benchmark interest rates....

The FDIC (click here) filed the lawsuit on behalf of 38 banks which went bankrupt at the peak of the downturn in 2008, as a considerable part of the losses for these banks were incurred on interest-rate derivative products sold to them by the bigger banks. As the bigger banks were in a position to influence the benchmark rates in a manner suitable to them when the crisis hit, the losses on these products were exaggerated for the failed banks, including Washington Mutual and IndyMac. The lawsuit names U.S.-based banks Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup, as well as other globally diversified banking groups as well as the British Bankers’ Association which oversaw the LIBOR fixing process at the time....

...With the manipulation in LIBOR rates affecting a wide spectrum of entities either directly or indirectly, responsible banks face an increasing number of lawsuits for their alleged involvement in the rigging. Last year, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae filed similar lawsuits against banking giants after the Federal Housing Finance Agency estimated that the two government-sponsored enterprises incurred at least $3 billion in losses from the LIBOR manipulation....

Dozens of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac shareholders (click here) flocked to Capitol Hill on Wednesday to rail against a Senate proposal that they say would trample on the rights of the mortgage giants’ investors, the latest in a frenzied push to influence the housing finance debate.

In the past two weeks, three groups have weighed in forcefully on the Senate legislation, which seeks to dismantle D.C.-based Fannie and McLean-based Freddie, replace them with a new entity and shift more of the risks of mortgage lending to the private sector...

Let's just throw this to Roberts and let him deal with it. That has been the methodology of Republicans. They have a yellow streak up their back and can't handle the fact the legislative process actually can solve the problems of a nation. The answer Republicans have is to pass legislation that will dissolve Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Once that has passed the Senate then the stockholders can sue and the Roberts' Court will dispose of the entire mess and the political toll will never be paid.

...On Wednesday, about 50 Fannie and Freddie shareholders went to Capitol Hill to deliver the message. Investors Unite, launched by Tennessee money manager Timothy J. Pagliara, organized the visit with support from consumer activist Ralph Nader, a vocal critic of the government’s treatment of the shareholders.
“This needs to be solved in Congress,” Pagliara, chief executive of CapWealth Advisors, said at a news conference to kick off the event. His firm’s clients own 8 million shares of Fannie and Freddie preferred stock. “It’s a cowardly act to throw that back at the court system.”

Shareholders responded with rowdy applause and waved signs that read “Shareholders Have Rights” and “Don’t Wipe Us Out.” Pagliara said the event was designed to highlight that the Fannie and Freddie debate affects 9-to-5 working people, not just monied hedge funds and institutional investors looking for a tidy profit....

Global Economic Collapse II - Sequel to end all sequels. It is called the House and Senate Republicans wash their hands in a corrupt Supreme Court.

...The Senate proposal is “insufficient” when it comes to protecting homeowners, taxpayers and investors, said Blackwell, a Republican who has served as undersecretary at the Department of Housing and Urban Development and mayor of Cincinnati. His group plans to go national with its message via social media, traditional news outlets and town-hall meetings once its puts together a bipartisan team, Blackwell said.... 

...Founded in 1992, (click here) the 60 Plus Association is a non-partisan seniors advocacy group with a free enterprise, less government, less taxes approach to seniors issues. 60 Plus has set ending the federal estate tax and saving Social Security for the young as its top priorities.  60 Plus is often viewed as the conservative alternative to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP)....

60 Plus official poem (click here) 
Tax his cow, tax his goat,
Tax his pants, tax his coat,
Tax his crops, tax his work,
Tax his ties, tax his shirt.

 Tax his tractor, tax his mule,
Teach him taxes are a rule,
Tax his oil, tax his gas,
Tax his notes, tax his cash;

Tax him good and let him know,
After his taxes he has no dough.

If he hollers, tax him more;
Tax him ’til he’s good and sore.
Tax his coffin, tax his grave,
Tax the sod in which he lays.

Put these words upon his tomb:
“Taxes drove me to my doom.”
And after he’s gone, he can’t relax;
They’ll soon be after his Inheritance Tax!


By Dina ElBoghdady
Published: March 11

...The legislation (click here) builds on a plan by Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Mark R. Warner (D-Va.) that would replace Fannie and Freddie with a new entity — the Federal Mortgage Insurance Corp. — and shift more of the risks of mortgage lending to the private sector....

...The plan calls for underwriting standards that would mandate a 5 percent down payment from borrowers, though it would carve out an exception for first-time home buyers, who would have to put 3.5 percent down.

It also eliminates the affordable-housing goals at Fannie and Freddie and instead sets aside a fund paid for byindustry fees that would go toward ensuring the availability of affordable housing, the statement said.

Housing finance experts who have been tracking the issue say that simply having the two top leaders of the Senate banking committee come to agreement on this topic is significant in that it gives the Senate a starting point for debate on the issue.

But not this year, not even if there is broad support for getting rid of Fannie and Freddie, said Brian Gardner, a senior vice president at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods.

“I’m skeptical that the majority leader wants to put vulnerable Democrats in the awkward position of taking tough votes on the housing finance system,” Gardner said.

Even if the Senate moved swiftly, the House would not, said Guy Cecala, publisher of Inside Mortgage Finance, who predicted the bill would be dead on arrival....

The Secondary Mortgage Markets are the same things as Mortgage Backed Securities. It is that reason the conservatorship of these government supported programs began under Bush and Paulson.

By Zachary A. Goldfarb, David Cho and Binyamin Appelbaum
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, September 7, 2008 

...Authorities see Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (click here) as crucial to the recovery of the housing market. They have funded 70 percent of home loans in recent months. A reduction in their activities could send mortgage rates that ordinary home buyers pay soaring and result in a new, deeper crisis for the already reeling housing market. 

Moreover, regulators are trying to prevent Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's problems from triggering a new wave of failures among banks, which hold vast reserves of bonds and preferred shares issued by the two firms. 

The plan would not resolve the larger question about the future of the two companies -- whether they should be nationalized, privatized or maintain their current structure. Those options have been intensely debated within the government and among financial experts. Some proposals would dramatically change how home mortgages are funded in this country.... 

This is bigger than the GM bailout. It is how Americans obtain mortgages and the terms in which they obtain them. There are many that simply have wanted to dissolve these agencies, but, it is about housing and how to address the need for this type of government involvement and housing affordability.

Published: August 6, 2013

...Mr. Obama on Tuesday (click here) endorsed the thrust of bipartisan legislation from a Senate group that would “end Fannie and Freddie as we know them.” The so-called government-sponsored enterprises for decades bought and sold mortgages from financial institutions to provide money for the banks to keep lending to home buyers. 

Under Mr. Obama’s principles, which he said were reflected in the Senate bill taking shape, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would further shrink their portfolios and lose the implicit guarantee of a federal government bailout. Instead, private investors would be most at risk, with the government a secondary guarantor. 

“First, private capital should take a bigger role in the mortgage markets. I know that sounds confusing to folks who call me a socialist,” Mr. Obama said, drawing laughs and applause. “I believe that our housing system should operate where there’s a limited government role,” he added, “and private lending should be the backbone of the housing market.” 

The president said that any measure he signed into law “should preserve access to safe and simple mortgage products like the 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage....

Currently, a mortgage is written by a bank or other institution and then sold to a securities company, ie: Fanni Mae or Freddie Mac. When the lending institution sells the mortgage it then returns liquid capital back so it can do it all over again.

That is how citizens end up in a vicious cycle of bureaucracies that are nameless and faceless. The consumer ends up without power to even address inaccuracies in handling the mortgages without incurring court costs best burdened by the securities firm. It is how foreclosures occur with robo signatures and automated foreclosure notices regardless of the true status of the mortgage.  

The problem is the foreclosure rate is leveled out at about 4 percent. That is still far higher than the average. The USA also has a larger impoverished population and while they attempt to reach home ownership it is a struggle to keep it. While it would be nice to return to a baseline of one percent foreclosure or less, the average American household today does not reflect that goal. So, where do we go from here? The idea President Obama has is to create affordable rental housing until Americans can move into the opportunity to home ownership. I don't see how that is a Democratic dilemma. 

If the statistics show Americans are still failing at a higher rate than previous to the 2008 Global Economic Collapse then the current system is not working. HOWEVER, it is not working because of American incomes, not necessarily because mortgages and/or housing is not available.

President Obama is correct in that affordable rental housing would solve the IMMEDIATE problem, however, it would not at all solve the extended problem. The answer to the extended problem is to raise incomes to Americans and make it possible ONCE AGAIN to actually reach INCOME SECURITY that allows for home ownership.

It is about the American income and it's stability. Ending the Wall Street gaming of American lives and entering into stable economies has to take priorities. That doesn't happen overnight and while things are looking up, especially in the  past month, there is a need for real stability to build communities that are sustainable. 

Kerri Ann Panchuk
October 9, 2013 10:43AM

...But what does a Yellen (click here) pick mean for the mortgage-backed securities investors who have grown accustomed to not only Fed intervention via quantitative easing and ZIRP (Zero Interest Rate Policy), but a constant stimulus in the form of the Fed buying up to $40 billion in MBS (mortgage-backed securities) each month?

"This was expected," said Paul Miller, managing director with FBR Capital Markets. "It’s a bone to the market, saying we are going to continue to have an easy money supply until this economy starts to pick up steam."
He added, "She is a big supporter of the MBS buying spree, so mortgage rates will go down, not up, with this particular appointment."

As for when a Yellen-led Fed will grant a pullback in QE, that decision is likely to revolve around the unemployment rate....

Chairwoman Yellin wants more than anything to have normalcy return to the American consumer. She can't do it alone, but, weaning Wall Street off 'easy money' is one way to return balance.

If the financial sector actually has to take risk to secure incomes to stockholders, there is a very good chance the American consumer will become esteemed once again. If Wall Street has to be responsible for 'growth' it has to increase salaries to consumers and 'independently' redistribute the wealth. By backing off on ZIRP and QE, Wall Street will be forced to reassess it's money supply and realize it can't continue to enforce slave labor among vast numbers of consumers and continue to be successful.  

Wall Street does not like risk. What better than easy money such as QE without any risk. Or, better yet, borrowing money without an interest rate. But, when those options end Wall Street is going to have to look to other ways of REDUCING RISK. Housing is a large part of liquid assets and if the American Consumer has to prove to be 'less of a risk' to insure growth and stockholder income, the companies will have to pay their employees good wages and grow with that increased liquidity in the market place.

Remember how we turned this mess around? Do you? There was subsidies to the American Income by reducing taxes to consumers. That has ended because it had to end to begin to return balance to government income and expenditures. THE NATIONAL BUDGET. The Yellin approach is exactly the same thing but bigger. Chairman Yellin wants all the 'normal' stresses to return to the American Market Place, including the DEMAND by consumers for good wages and fair prices. Not dirt cheap living that has to settle for substandard products from places where American jobs are outsourced, but, a sustainable free market system that actually works for everyone.

Why would Democrats be afraid of any of this? It is about the Middle Class and how to return it to function and majority. It is where Democrats live.  

Vice President Biden was magnificent yesterday in Ukraine. I was so proud of him and his message.

It might be the first time the people of Ukraine actually heard what is was like to live in and believe in a democracy they have longed for. Vice President Biden was unafraid to speak his mind and bring that country a new message. It was wonderful. The leaders of the Ukraine are now known to be legitimate and not extremists as judged by Russia and it's propaganda.

These printed copies (click here) of a presentation released by the U.S. Department of State on Thursday, April 17, 2014, purport to show Russian involvement in Eastern Ukraine. The 11-page document contains images of soldiers in eastern Ukraine that the State Department says are Russian forces, showing militants wearing similar uniforms and brandishing Russian weapons. There was no way to immediately verify the photographs, which the State Department says were taken from the Internet and social media. (AP Photo)

Yahoo News
In a move to reassure Russia’s neighbors, (click here) the United States will send some 600 paratroopers to Poland and the Baltics starting tomorrow as part of an open-ended military commitment prompted by Moscow’s actions in Ukraine.

“I can announce today that a company-size contingent of paratroopers from the U.S. Army Europe's 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team airborne, which is based in Vicenza, Italy, will arrive in Poland tomorrow to begin exercises with Polish troops,” Rear Admiral John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman, told reporters at his daily briefing.

Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania will get 150 American troops each. The full deployment will be complete “by the end of this weekend, maybe Monday,” Kirby said.

Even when those U.S. forces rotate back, new ones will take their place for new exercises throughout the rest of 2014, “but beyond that, it could go beyond the end of this year," Kirby said. "We just don't know. We're just going to have to see how it goes.”

And the exercises “very well could” expand to other NATO allies, Kirby said. “But right now it's going to start with those four countries.”...
These printed copies of a presentation released by the U.S. Department of State on Thursday, April 17, 2014, purport to show Russian involvement in Eastern Ukraine. The 11-page document contains images of soldiers in eastern Ukraine that the State Department says are Russian forces, showing militants wearing similar uniforms and brandishing Russian weapons. There was no way to immediately verify the photographs, which the State Department says were taken from the Internet and social media. (AP Photo) - See more at: