If today’s news and culture were a freight train it’d be off the rails and crashed in a ravine by now. Breaking details emerge by the hour that can explode our assumptions. This week I decided to collect a few recent posts that have popped up in the news, shifting our understanding of them dramatically. In no order:

Scheming Democracy: How Cambridge Analytica & Facebook poisoned the bloodstream of U.S. politics (CrankyYank special report, March 2018)

Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie gave testimony to a Senate committee yesterday and I followed along on C-SPAN. Senators’ questions ranged from moderately astute to downright ignorant—and many republicans reinforced their status as Trump sycophants.

When questioned by not-Trump reason-based life forms, Wylie broke some news in that CA was hired in part to depress and suppress voter turnout and enthusiasm. This is not how traditional marketing is supposed to work, and suggests an air of (potentially criminal) gross manipulation.

Wylie’s prepared remarks to Senate Judiciary are worth a read. You can get them here. A neat little nugget:

When I was at SCL and CA, I was made aware of the firm’s “black ops” capacity, which I understood to include using hackers to break into computer systems to acquire kompromat or other intelligence for its clients… Of concern, some of the former CA staff who worked on these projects currently hold senior positions in the British government.

I’ve tweeted at Wylie to see if he’d be willing to do an interview and will of course report back if I hear anything.

Underwater Turtle Mitch McConnell is at the center of the nation’s woes (CrankyYank Vol. 79, Feb 2018)

As the Senate’s head dingus, McConnell has proven to be a grotesque Trump consigliere. (And no, I’m not talking about his gorgeous, supple, fluttery triple-chin.) Dating back when McConnell refused to bring President Obama’s SCOTUS nominee Merrick Garland to the floor, he’s been discarding our republic’s procedures and norms like they’re his household trash.

Cut to present day and McConnell is refusing to allow a vote on a bill (legislation voted out of committee on a bipartisan basis, by the way) that would protect the Mueller investigation. Fellow lawmakers are not taking this obstruction lying down, either, working to craft their own plans to bypass the Underwater Turtle’s obfuscation.

My gut tells me McConnell is up to his aforementioned chin in Trump-Russia, as is the GOP. We’ll wait to see what Mueller uncovers.

Trump is flummoxed by a Korean BBQ menu but yeah he’s totally ready for Pyongyang (CrankyYank Vol. 82, March 2018)

We saw this coming a mile away: Cletus says “oh hey, let’s get along with people. wouldn’t that be great??!” North Korea has been a global pariah for decades for a reason: it is a brutal dictatorship where citizens are imprisoned for speaking ill of their leader and killed on Kim Jong Un’s whims.

Of course Donnie jumped at the chance to meet with NK’s Dear Leader, because a) it changes the subject from the Trump-Russia scandal and 2) it pleases Donald’s Kremlin bosses. He is their asset after all.

Alas, it looks like the meeting (as I predicted) is in grave jeopardy because Kim Jong Un decided he didn’t like our annual military exercises with South Korea. Some media types called Trump’s meeting offer “genius” and some of Donald’s lackeys actually want him to be considered for the Nobel Peace Prize. Whatever Mary.

I’ll always be a 13-year-old teenaged girl at heart, which is why I’m making the critical news judgment of adding the Backstreet Boys’ new single to this week’s Cure Your Crankies segment. Spoiler: the return track, “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart,” is actually really good. Maybe there’s hope for an ‘NSYNC reunion after all? 🔵

That’s it from me this week. I’ll pop back in with any news that breaks and will see you back here next Thursday at 2 p.m. 🙂

Will Pollocksideways is an Atlanta-based freelance multimedia journalist focusing on pop-culture, politics, journalism & media, retail, real estate, travel, politics, and human interest.

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 TwitterFacebook and Instagram–and check out the book links below. Make sure to comment often–cranky loves company.

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