Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Zdravstvuj tovarisch

There is a whole lot that is bizarre about the impending presidency, but surely the most perplexing but at the same time revealing weirdness is the apparent acceptance by the Republican party that our new BFF is Vladimir Putin. Nina Kruscheva, who ought to know, discusses the Russian takeover of the United States. I will put this in bullet points in case your attention span is flagging.

  • Trump responded to reports that the CIA had concluded Russia was behind the hacking of the DNC and John Podesta by deriding the CIA as a tool of Hillary Clinton. Quoth NK, "The idea that a US president-elect would take the word of the Kremlin over that of CIA officials and even the most senior members of his own party is already bizarre and dangerous."
  •  But then there is Secretary of State nominee Tillerson,  for whom "taking Russia’s side against the US is nothing new." 
  • And National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who, "like Tillerson, has also been feasting at the Kremlin trough. After being fired by Obama for his incompetent management of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Flynn immediately began to cultivate Russian business contacts. And Putin seems to have been more than happy to see that commercial doors were opened to Flynn. There is a now-infamous photograph of Flynn seated next to Putin at a banquet for RT (Russia Today), the Kremlin-backed cable news network that was a prime source of the slanted, and even fake, news that inundated the US during the recent election campaign. "
  • "As for Trump, statements made by his sons suggest that, if the American public ever got a look at his tax returns and business loans, they would find that he has also been feathering his nest with Kremlin gold for some time."
  •  And of course there is Paul Manafort
Kruscheva thinks that Trump is likely involved in criminal activity. Although she doesn't specify, violation of sanctions against Russia, tax evasion, or collusion in the hacking are all possible. She doesn't mention the likelihood that Putin has information with which to blackmail Trump. All of this is just fine with the Republicans in the House and Senate. And the news media, which are largely incurious about it. How deeply strange.

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