A foreign investor and former Putin supporter pegs the Russian leader’s worth at $200 billion, says he was stealing for years.
Bill Browder is the CEO of Hermitage Capital Management, an investment fund and asset managementÂ firm with offices in the UK and Russia. He formerly was Russia’s largest foreign investor â€“Â and he formerly supported President Vladimir Putin.Â
But now he says Pres. Putin is the richest man in the world, with a net worth of $200 billion. To put that in perspective, Microsoft founder Bill Gates is believed to hold that title, with $76 billion to support it. Or, to put it another way, Putin, according toÂ Browder, is worth more than the Koch Brothers ($80 billion), Warren Buffet ($58 billion) and GOP political campaign financier Sheldon Adelson ($38 billion) combined.
How did the Russian President amass so much wealth? Browder on Saturday told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria that “the first eight or 10 years of Putin’s reign over Russia, it was about stealing as much money as he could. And some people, including myself, believe that he’s the richest man in the world, or one of the richest men in the world, with hundreds of billions of dollars of wealth that was stolen from Russia.”
Asked by Zakaria what Putin’s net worth is, Browder replied, “I believe that it’s $200 billion. After 14 years in power of Russia, and the amount of money that the country has made, and the amount of money that hasn’t been spent on schools and roads and hospitals and so on, all that money is in property, bank – Swiss bank accounts, shares, hedge funds, managed for Putin and his cronies.”
Browder says the “power is very simple in Russia – whoever has the power to arrest people is the person in power. And so what Putin does is he has a bunch of guys around him who have the power to arrest people. And so it doesn’t matter how rich you are, if you can be arrested, put in jail and have your money taken away, the guy who can do that to you is the most powerful person in Russia.”
This is one more reason why the LGBT community in Russia is in so much danger.
Image via Flickr
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‘Fear-Driven Alliance’: Conservative Explains Why Far-Right CPAC ‘Opportunists’ and ‘Paranoids’ Are Meeting in Hungary
The rise of authoritarianism and fascism growing within the Republican Party was discussed by the opening panel on MSNBC’s “The Reidout” on Friday.
Host Joy Reid noted how the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) is being held in Hungary this year, which is ruled by strongman Viktor Orbán.
“They have elections, of a sort, but also hamper voters’ abilities to make informed choices and heavily control the outcome that the elections are essentially a show,” she explained. “These are the autocratic dreams of a far-right leader obsessed with solidifying a Christian monoculture and who, in 2014, declared his intention to build an illiberal new state citing China, Russia and Turkey as role models. Flash forward to today where CPAC, the once conservative gathering that is now simply a cesspool of the far-right running amok, is holding its conference in Budapest.”
For analysis, Reid interviewed conservative writer Tom Nichols.
Nichols warned “there is a nihilistic, fear-driven alliance here with a group of opportunists, and I want to get back to this issue of about Hungary, the really dangerous thing here is that some of these people believe very deeply in — in some of this stuff and yet others, and I would say people like [Tucker] Carlson and Matt Schlapp and some of the other people capering about in Budapest, don’t believe in any of this and don’t believe in anything of this other than the extension of their own personal power and wealth.
“And when you have this coalition of shallow, empty opportunists along with with a group of paranoids, basically, then you have a really dangerous movement because each side has to keep upping the ante to kind of justify why they are doing the things they are doing,” he explained.
“A lot of this is an act, but the problem is you then paint yourself into a corner… You have to start actually trying to put forward policies and carry things out that, that make you look as if you believe the things that you’re doing. And then after a while, whether it’s an act or its opportunism is no longer relevant: You have become the thing you’ve been prancing about and pretending to be,” he explained.
Watch the segment below or at this link.
Catholic Archbishop Defies Vatican by Banning Speaker Nancy Pelosi From Holy Communion – via Twitter
Calling her stance on abortion a “most serious scandal,” and a “grave evil” San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone publicly announced Friday that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, whose district encompasses his diocese, is now banned from taking Holy Communion.
Archbishop Cordileone, a far right activist who repeatedly has challenged Pope Francis, is now in violation of directions from the Vatican to not politicize the Sacraments. Cordileone’s very public decree – made via Twitter – comes just weeks before the U.S. Supreme Court is set to rule on a case that is expected to overturn Roe v. Wade.
“After numerous attempts to speak with Speaker Pelosi to help her understand the grave evil she is perpetrating, the scandal she is causing, an the danger to her own soul she is risking, I have determined that she is not to be admitted to Holy Communion,” Cordileone tweeted, an apparent attempt to embarrass to the greatest degree possible the Democrat who is second in line to the Presidency,
After numerous attempts to speak with Speaker Pelosi to help her understand the grave evil she is perpetrating, the scandal she is causing, an the danger to her own soul she is risking, I have determined that she is not to be admitted to Holy Communion. https://t.co/l7M85CyG86
— Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone (@ArchCordileone) May 20, 2022
“I am hereby notifying you that you are not to present yourself for Holy Communion and, should you do so, you are not to be admitted to Holy Communion, until such time as you publically [sic] repudiate your advocacy for the legitimacy of abortion and confess and receive absolution of this grave sin in the sacrament of Penance,” Cordileone wrote in that letter to the Speaker.
Fox News calls it “an escalation in a decades-long tension between the Roman Catholic Church and liberal Democratic politicians on abortion,” but in fact other extremist archbishops have taken the same stance against other notable Democrats.
Catholics believe the Pope is God’s infallible representative on earth. Last fall Pope Francis chastised far right Catholic bishops in America who were gearing up to ban President Joe Biden from receiving Holy Communion. In June the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) overwhelmingly voted to move toward chastising Biden for his abortion stance, despite the Vatican issuing a clear warning they were not to do so.
President Biden is a devout Catholic who personally opposes abortion but knows as President it is his role to uphold a woman’s right to choose, something has has worked strongly to support and strongly believes in.
“What must the pastor do?” Pope Francis said, The New York Times reported last September when a reporter asked him about President Biden and abortion. “Be a pastor, don’t go condemning. Be a pastor, because he is a pastor also for the excommunicated.”
“I have never refused the eucharist to anyone,” Pope Francis told reporters. The Times aded Francis said bishops should be pastors not politicians.
The Pope also told reporters, “communion is not a prize for the perfect,” and “the eucharist is not the reward of saints but the bread of sinners.”
The San Francisco Chronicle adds that Pope Francis “welcomed Biden for a private meeting at the Vatican last fall and Biden said the Pope told him he was a ‘good Catholic.’ Biden received Communion at St. Peter’s during that trip.”
This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change.
‘Sordid, Corrupt, Lawless’: Experts Call New Ginni Thomas Revelations ‘Breathtaking’ and Ask ‘What Did Her Husband Know?’
The latest revelations about the actions of Ginni Thomas, the far right wing activist, lobbyist, and spouse of a sitting U.S. Supreme Court justice who had unprecedented access to the Trump White House are leading experts to demand Clarence Thomas’ recusal while calling the combination of their actions “breathtaking corruption,” and noting the Justice’s extraordinary hypocrisy.
Later Friday morning The Washington Post reported that Ginni Thomas pressed two Arizona lawmakers to overturn the will of Arizona’s voters in the 2020 presidential election by choosing a “clean” slate of electors, representing Donald Trump and not Joe Biden. The Post notes Thomas did not mention any candidate by name but reports “the context was clear.”
“Before you choose your state’s Electors … consider what will happen to the nation we all love if you don’t stand up and lead,” an email bearing Ginni Thomas’ name, sent to the Arizona lawmakers, reads.
It included a link to a video of a man delivering a message meant for swing-state lawmakers, urging them to “put things right” and “not give in to cowardice.”
“You have only hours to act,” said the speaker, who is not identified in the video.
Thomas also pressed Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows to work to overturn the election, as has been widely reported.
Her efforts, combined with Justice Thomas’ actions on the Supreme Court, amount to “breathtaking corruption,” writes Slate’s legal expert Mark Joseph Stern.
“The conflict of interest between Ginni and Clarence Thomas has never been greater. While Clarence was applying the ‘independent state legislature doctrine’ from the bench, Ginni was using the exact same theory to try to overturn the 2020 election. Just breathtaking corruption,” Stern says.
Clarence Thomas’ continued service on the Supreme Court is a scandalous and appalling breach of judicial ethics. He is implementing the exact same theories that his wife used to try to steal the 2020 election for Trump. It is sordid, corrupt, and lawless in the extreme.
— Mark Joseph Stern (@mjs_DC) May 20, 2022
To be clear, I put “independent state legislature doctrine” in quotes because it’s a baseless theory that shouldn’t be taken seriously. It is precisely what Ginni Thomas describes in that email, though she didn’t use the academic name for it. Read more: https://t.co/6Hwvb1Q6ES
— Mark Joseph Stern (@mjs_DC) May 20, 2022
Former federal prosecutor Joyce Vance, now an NBC News/MSNBC legal analyst and law professor, issued a strong warning:
“Either Justice Thomas recuses in every case that comes to the Court where his wife is heavily involved in the action or the public’s confidence in the Court will be damaged beyond repair.”
Reuters reporter covering the U.S. Supreme Court, Lawrence Hurley:
“I wonder how long we’re going to have these institutions at the rate we’re undermining them,” Justice Clarence Thomas, Ginni’s husband, said last week https://t.co/MQNH8YDupn
— Lawrence Hurley (@lawrencehurley) May 20, 2022
Former federal corruption prosecutor Noah Bookbinder, who is president of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) says it is “outrageous” Justice Thomas has refused to recuse:
“New evidence that Ginni Thomas’s participation in efforts to overturn the 2020 election was even greater than we knew; in this case pressure on AZ legislators to overturn that state’s vote. Makes it even more outrageous that Justice Thomas did not recuse.”
“Wow!” exclaimed Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and former New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof. “Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, pressed Arizona legislators to overturn Biden’s win and choose a ‘clean slate of electors.’ In other words, she supported a coup to overthrow an elected president. What did her husband know?”
Economist and frequent political commentator David Rothschild observes, “Ginni Thomas was conspiring with high ranking Republicans to overturn [the] republic, and her husband was either privy to or actively involved in this conspiracy before using his position to coverup his wife’s role.”
Former SDNY Asst. U.S. Attorney Richard Signorelli sums up:
“clean slate of Electors” = sedition
Ginni Thomas = psycho https://t.co/UGygIBpaPu
— Richard Signorelli (@richsignorelli) May 20, 2022
Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license
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