(Header picture credit: Liberal Society on Pinterest // graphics by me via Canva)
As we approach Issue No. 80 and 2.5 years of CrankyYank, you must know by now that there are certain things that really powder my donut.
Ever since the dark days of Election 2016, something’s been bugging me: Senate Majority Leader Mitch “Fluttery-supple Triple Chin” McConnell’s refusal to join the effort in rebuking Russia’s act of war on our elections systems has gotten swallowed by the scandal tennis-ball machine known as the Trump administration*.
First, some basic backstory: then-President Obama received intel from the FBI, CIA and other agencies that the nation was under attack—sometimes referred to as Cyber Pearl Harbor—during the 2016 election cycle. Russia, through proxies like WikiLeaks, hacked the DNC and manipulated public opinion on the left and right with selectively released info designed to undercut America’s first female nominee for president.
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Obama, as is his bipartisan wont, sought to make a full statement of rebuke about this attack from both political parties. McConnel refused, chosing instead to issue a bland statement of condemnation without castigating perpetrators. (For the record, our own FBI and then-director Jim Comey decided to disclose an ongoing Clinton investigation late in the Election cycle—but not the Trump criminal investigation, which was also happening concurrently.)
As you might imagine, the story doesn’t end there. Russia did NOT just monkey with the election; and they didn’t just appropriate Julian Assange, Snowden, Glenn Greenwald and WikiLeaks to do its bidding. The country’s tentacles reach deeper into our societal ecosystem than anyone could’ve ever imagined. Russia’s Oligarchs have invested in both Facebook and Twitter; the country’s widely used Kaspersky software has been cited as a security risk for U.S. users; and Russia also has tripled the size of its troll farm in advance of the U.S.’s midterm elections.
We need to assume that 95% of money flowing from Russia and Russia-linked entities is from ill-gotten gains. Why? The country is a loosely collected network of billionaires (Putin included) who have grifted their way to enormous wealth by federalizing utilities and engaging in shady deals. Some observers peg Putin’s net worth at upwards of $200 billion—more than Kochs, Warren Buffet and Shelly Adelson combined.
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Which brings me back to the Underwater Turtle. During the 2016 election cycle—and before Comey issued his largely panned presser about new Clinton email—McConnell and his fellow GOPers were panicked about a coming Hillary Clinton landslide. Per Politico, GOP sugar daddies Koch Brothers’ network and Chamber of Commerce were not spending as much in support of their nutjob candidates.
Desperation, it would seem, is the mother of all campaign contributions: many top GOP figures accepted donations from billionaire Leonard “Len” Blavatnik—according to Dallas Morning News:
Donald Trump and the political action committees for Mitch McConnell, Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, Lindsey Graham, John Kasich and John McCain accepted $7.35 million in contributions from a Ukrainian-born oligarch who is the business partner of two of Russian president Vladimir Putin’s favorite oligarchs and a Russian government bank.
As Palmer Report notes, Mitch McConnell was not up for reelection in 2016, but accepted the donations anyway. “Republican Senators ranging from to Susan Collins to Lisa Murkowski to Lindsey Graham to Chuck Grassley to John McCain have taken various stances against Donald Trump over the past few weeks, it stands out that Mitch McConnell – despite being Senate leader – is standing by Trump’s failed policies and refusing to criticize him. Because the Russian oligarch has dual U.S. citizenship, the $2.5 million donation may not have been illegal – but given McConnell’s behavior, it sure stands out as suspicious.”
As Rachel Maddow has reported, Russia and Putin were dead-set on getting sanctions lifted so its criminal mafia gang could again start freely wheeling and dealing. The Trump Administration* and its GOP enablers—McConnell chief among them—are seeing to it that Russia gets what it wants.
Special counsel Robert Mueller, according to ABC News and other outlets, is investigating the flow of cash from Russia to America—likely from all angles. Let’s just say “nobody is safe,” including McConnell. 🔵
Related postscript: With the recent deadly shooting in Parkland, Fla., it’s important to note Russia’s burgeoning love affair with the National Rifle Association. Per CNBC and other outlets, the FBI is investigating “dark money” flowing to NRA from outside and foreign sources. Russia supports whatever causes conflict in America, and until we put a stop to Citizens United we’ll continue to fall victim to it.
The Olympic Winter Games are in full swing and this figure-skating nerd is in full-swoon. Seeing achievers breaking records is one thing, but speaking out in this way will have an even bigger impact in the long term. Multiculturalism is at the heart of what makes America great, as evidenced by the shining examples of our athletes.
That’s a wrap this week guys. We’ll see you right back here next Thursday at 2 p.m., with single bleeps of breaking news when needed.
He is the author of two books (Pizza for Good & Leaving Triscuit), with more on the way. Sign up for the mailing list, follow on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram–and check out the book links below. Make sure to comment often–cranky loves company.
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